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Category: Kid-Friendly Trips

Why You Should Visit Dauphin Island, Alabama

March 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Why You Should Visit Dauphin Island, Alabama

We recently took a day trip down to Dauphin Island, Alabama.  Located less than an hour from Mobile, and on the southwest edge of Mobile Bay, it is a 15 mile long barrier island that often goes undiscovered by I-10 travelers.  We were on a tight schedule with only a few days to spare until we needed to be in Orlando, and we have a big rig (40-foot toy hauler) and weren’t sure what the campgrounds down there would be like, so we left our fiver in Mobile while we drove down for the day. Once we got there, we were wishing like crazy that we had more time and would have brought our RV down.  (There are several campgrounds on Dauphin Island, so be sure to go to the Good Sam Campground Directory to check them out and see which one would best suit your needs/wants). Dauphin Island was charming. It has a distinct small-town feel, where kids are still free to ride their bikes around the neighborhood after school, where you can walk to the local snack shop for an afternoon treat, where the... [Read more...]

Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games and Activities to Turn Travel into Learning Time

March 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games and Activities to Turn Travel into Learning Time

As a homeschool mom, I believe that my kids can learn at any moment during a day. And fortunately—or unfortunately depending on your point of view—we also emphasize learning when we are traveling. To be honest, I think that our vacations are the best times to learn something outside of our regular environment. When we go to the U.S. or a different city in Canada, we always try to include visits to museums or historical sites. So you shouldn’t be surprised if today I present you a book that will help you stimulate the brain of your kids while you are driving to your destination. It’s called Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games and Activities to Turn Travel into Learning Time. I can’t help but find this book fascinating. It’s a well-known book among homeschoolers but all traveling families can also use it. This book might save you from the never-ending question, “Are we there yet?” by allowing you to incorporate learning activities while on the road. Whether you... [Read more...]

New Orleans—Visit the Audubon Zoo & Aquarium!

March 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

New Orleans—Visit the Audubon Zoo & Aquarium!

As we continued our much-too-short tour of Louisiana, our final stop was New Orleans (also known as NOLA).  We spent a couple of days in town visiting destinations that were new to us. Our first stop was the Audubon Zoo, where we spent a lovely day touring the well-laid-out grounds.  The Audubon Zoo is part of the Audubon Nature Institute, which has three separate locations in New Orleans; those include the Zoo (which also includes an IMAX theater) an Aquarium, and a newly opened Butterfly Garden and Insectarium.  While we were at the zoo, we enjoyed seeing the wide variety of animals that the zoo had on display.  We were able to see everything from engaging sea lions to an orangutan that was working the crowd in an attempt to acquire forbidden handouts. We especially enjoyed the Louisiana Swamp area of the park with it’s fun Cajun restaurant and baby gator tank with a viewing tube; of course there were big alligators here also. This zoo is great for adults and children alike.... [Read more...]

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, home of the USS Kidd…

February 24, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, home of the USS Kidd…

While we were checking out Louisiana, we wanted to stop in Baton Rouge to see what they had to offer for fun and interesting stops. While we didn’t have much time to  explore, we did find a couple of fun stops that fit into our schedule and interests. Our first stop was at the Bluebonnet Swamp, which is a county park located in the eastern part of the city of Baton Rouge. This 103-acre park is an ideal location to get out and explore the swamp, and it’s an exceptional stop if you are a “bird nerd.” Located just a short walk from the parking lot is a 9,500-square-foot exhibit building that houses a small gift shop and numerous animal habitats including many snakes and other reptiles.  Outside are several walking trails that lead along the swamp edge and through woods; the walks vary in length from 1/3 of a mile to 1 and 1/2 miles long.  Bluebonnet is a great place to spend an hour or so learning about and exploring, Louisiana swamp habitats.  It’s also... [Read more...]

Unique Orlando day-trip destination…

February 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Unique Orlando day-trip destination…

We are always on the lookout for a unique day-trip destination that’s fun and interesting, and this winter, while we were spending some time in Florida, we found such a treat of a day-trip in Orlando. We spent a morning at Wycliffe Bible Translators in Orlando, checking out their Discover Center. Wycliffe is a non-profit organization that translates the Bible into languages that do not currently have the Bible available to them in their “heart language” (your heart language is the language that you think, dream and naturally speak in). Named after John Wycliffe, the first man to translate the Bible into English, the Wycliffe Discover Center focuses on informing people of the need for Bible translations and the works that are in progress. The Discovery Center is a very engaging, interesting, and informative place; you can either self-tour the facilities, or the center offers 20 minute guided tours on the hour, every hour, from 9 to 3.  They also have a special talk every... [Read more...]

Valley of Fire State Park: Simply WOW!

February 12, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Valley of Fire State Park: Simply WOW!

The lights! The glitz! The shine! Sculpted, chiseled, and twisted red rock formations more dramatic than most others we have seen dominate the park’s 42,000 acres. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved From the bizarre to the beautiful, Las Vegas has it all: New York, NY, The Venetian, Caesars Palace, and Paris—and the Bellagio water fountain show. When the neon of Vegas becomes too much, head out to Valley of Fire, Nevada’s first state park, so designated in 1935. With its blood-red sandstone cliffs and weird rock formations, there’s an other-worldly feeling here. Valley of Fire State Park is 55 miles—and a few light-years—northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and on exit 75. Sculpted, chiseled, and twisted red rock formations more dramatic than most others we have seen dominate the park’s 42,000 acres. We felt as though we had been transported to the alien surface another planet. The Valley of Fire derives its name from red sandstone formations, formed from great... [Read more...]

Destination Gems in Lafayette, Louisiana

February 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Destination Gems in Lafayette, Louisiana

We recently spent a few days exploring Lafayette, Louisiana. We parked for four nights at Poche’s, just east of town. While this was not our first stop-over in Lafayette, it was our first time to find destinations to explore! These are some of our favorite discoveries: Vermilionville Living History Park.  Much like Williamsburg, with its period costumed re-enactors, Vermilionville is living history Cajun style!  This 32-acre, fully handicap-accessible park features numerous homes that are restored, as well as a church, schoolhouse (where we were treated to an upbeat, fun accordion concert), trapper’s cabin and blacksmith forge. The park has a lovely gift shop featuring artisan creations. There is also a great cafe’ onsite that serves Cajun style meals. There is the informative Watershed Exhibit which features the surrounding flora and fauna,  and a cooking school, where the staff gives cajun cooking lessons (check the schedule online).  My family’s favorite... [Read more...]

Poche’s Fish n’ Camp – Louisiana Cajun Camping!

February 6, 2014 by · 5 Comments 

Poche’s Fish n’ Camp – Louisiana Cajun Camping!

While we were exploring southern Louisiana off of I-10, we spent four nights at Poche’s Fish n’ Camp. Located just a few miles east of Lafayette, in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, this RV park was the perfect place to base camp out of and to also spend a few days relaxing. Poche’s has lots of “Louisiana-flavor” and is very unique! The office is a small wooden cabin that’s decorated with all sorts of fishing paraphernalia, and there is a small store (2 shelving units) inside that features popular products like laundry soap and canned pork and beans. We were tickled with our site at Poche’s—in all, there are 88 sites that are long and level. Most are concrete pads that will easily accommodate a 40′ class A with a toad parked across the front (there are a few pull-thus, but most are back in).  Each site has a fire ring, and the sites have full hookups; both 30 and 50 amp are available.  All sites have nice grassy yards, and the grounds are obviously... [Read more...]

As the Boudin Turns

February 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

As the Boudin Turns

Philadelphia might have the cheese-steak sandwich. New York may boast of its pizza, and Texas has BBQ—but Southwest Louisiana has boudin, and eating it guarantees a tingling palate and a full stomach. Boudin is one of most unique, tasty, and distinctly uncorrupted regional specialties in America. (Source: seriouseats.com) In many homes, boudin is more revered than crawfish, with recipes passed along for generations. Chances are, if you don’t live in or around Louisiana you haven’t heard of boudin. Boudin, a sausage made with pork, rice, and seasonings is generally considered the signature food of Acadiana and other rural parts of southwestern Louisiana. The pronunciation is a bit awkward. Visitors often say “boo-DIN” or “bow-DIN”. The locals say “boo-DAN”. If you’re having trouble with the pronunciation, just ask for a link. Most locals use that colloquial term, anyway. I had my first taste of boudin last winter and I am seriously hooked. History of Boudin Boudin is... [Read more...]

Czeching Out La Grange

January 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Czeching Out La Grange

We headed to the Central Texas town of La Grande to “Czech” out what might just be the “Best Little Day Trip in Texas.” Texas Quilt Museum © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved The events of La Grange’s famous Chicken Ranch inspired the stage play, movie, and the lyrics of a popular song, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Then there’s the ZZ Top song that still fuels Texas folklore. The brothel is no longer around—it was officially closed in 1973 after operating for more than 130 years. The building was sold and hauled to Dallas where, for awhile, it served as a restaurant that served—what else? Chicken. Later, the building burned to the ground. All that’s left these days is the legend and some fading memories. However, there’s still plenty to do in this town. For starters, we Czeched out the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center. This museum gave us a feel for the culture and early days of Fayette County when thousands of Czech immigrants populated the area. The... [Read more...]

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