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Tag Archives: homeschool field trip

Sometimes Ya Gotta Kiss the Moose!

Kimberly No Comments

As far as I know, I’ve only got 30 maybe 40 more trips around the sun – and I sure as heck didn’t sell it all, stuff my kids in a tiny box on wheels and head out on the open road to miss opportunities and more importantly, to teach my kids to live out loud!

So when I hear about a rock that needs rubbin’, a bull that needs ridin’ or a moose that needs a little smoochin’ – you can bet your bottom dollar, I’m on it!

The morning of our Blue Angels field trip, Margie M. reminded me that we should have lunch at McGuires Irish Pub, so we headed straight there from the Pensacola Naval Base.

look at the two faces in this pic… happy and strangled

What a great place! Mixed up bathrooms (I love when restaurants really test their patrons) money hanging all over the ceiling (about $500,000 according to Google) and a moose with a bare muzzle from too many kisses!

Whether you live on wheels or stick and bricks… I hope you take every opportunity to kiss the moose!

 

 

 

 

Glass Bottom Boats in San Marcos

Kimberly 1 Comments

Hungry for an economical and educational field trip, Renee and I packed up the kiddos and headed to the aquarena at Texas state in San Marcos.

There, we boarded one of the original boats from 1945 and left the dock to explore the natural springs.

 

This was our first experience on a glass bottom boat and we all enjoyed it very much!

The water was crystal clear. We were even able to see the spring water bubbling up from the sand at the bottom.

Can you see the turtle?

We were able to watch the underwater wildlife in their natural surroundings and even got to check out some of the local aviary life.

 

The tour lasted a half hour and cost our family $27.00 (which left some $$ for some frozen yogurt!)

This unique aquafir used to be home to mermaids and a swimming pig… But we found no evidence of them.

 

 

Exploring Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Park, NM with Video

Kimberly No Comments

When you travel full time, you can’t see everything. This is one of the ironies of full time rving.

Don’t they all look thrilled!

Whether its due to finances, weather, crowds, time or just plain overlooking, families need to realize that some things will need to be left for the next trip around.

Count me as one of those friends

 

This was actually a hard lesson for me (the family itinerary maker) to learn.

The excitement is growing

 

When I sat in my house, making list upon list of all the places we’d visit, I thought I’d be disappointed if we had to forego some excursions. And truth be told, I was. In those early months, I was known to pout and carry on when we couldn’t do this, or wouldn’t be able to eat that, etc

Buttons along the front animate the scenes

But somewhere in the midst of year two, I matured (thankfully and possibly somewhat questionably) and realized we don’t have to take every opportunity set before us and chances are we will be here again, some time in the future, and won’t it be nice to have something to look forward to then. Ahhhhhhh!

So what does this all have to do with Tinkertown Museum?

Well, this is one of those places we missed due to overlooking and possibly your family would have no trouble overlooking such a place, but you might regret it!

This scene blew me away

It seems I have a certain gene that loves colorful collections of, what might be called by the untrained eye, JUNK.

Never a truer word!

My husband, bless his heart, lacks the gene and runs around with not one, but two, untrained eyes.

A one man band in a box!

But he’s always very accommodating so when I exclaimed one evening in Texas, “oh no! We’ve been to Albuquerque twice and we completely missed Tinkertown, we need to go back!”. He said, “ok”.

Kids have their own guest book

So back we went, to a city neither one of us are particularly fond of, to see the Tinkertown Museum.

Leave a message in a bottle

It took Ross Ward over 40 years to carve, collect, and lovingly construct the collection on display. His miniature wood-carved figures were first part of a traveling exhibit, driven to county fairs and carnivals in the 1960s and ’70s. Today over 50,000 glass bottles form rambling walls that surround a 22-room museum. Wagon wheels, old fashioned store fronts, and wacky western memorabilia make Tinkertown’s exterior as much as a museum as the wonders within.

Outside you’ll find a unique collection of items Ross and his wife have collected from ghost towns.

When you go to Tinkertown make sure you bring quarters and ask for a scavenger hunt handout, or download and print it from their website.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our time at Tinkertown and we know you will too!

For more of the sights and sounds of Tinkertown, check out our episode of One Epic Adventure.

 

 

Investigating Gravity at The Coral Castle Homestead, Fl

Kimberly 1 Comments

Ancient Aliens, the show on H2, is huge in this RV! In fact, so huge, we don’t really have a TV anymore, just an Ancient Aliens viewing device.

Although we travel full time, most of the sights and locales the show investigates are still quite a many miles out of our reach.

So when we heard that an Ancient Aliens sight was right in our backyard, we packed up the kidlets and my mother and headed poste haste to Homestead, Florida to tour the Coral Castle.

 

Built over 28 years, single handed by a 100lb, Latvian eccentric 5″1′ tall man named Edward Leedskalnin.

The attraction consists of hundreds of monolithic structures, quarried from the location and “placed” by Leedskalnin without the assistance of anything more robust than a sketchy pulley and chain assembly.

 

It is rumored that Leedskalnin had discovered the secrets of antigravity, hence the interest from the Ancient Aliens crew.

I was personally astounded by how a single slight man could accomplish such a feat given his equipment and chains couldn’t handle the weight of the stones he moved.

Coral Castle is a testimony to what one man can achieve in his lifetime and totally worth a visit!

Click below to view our One Epic Adventure episode about Coral Castle.

 

 

Swim with the Florida Manatees

Kimberly No Comments

Right before the rally, we took a short day trip to Swim with the Florida Manatees. While this is definitely a once in a lifetime experience, it was all the more exciting because we did it from a private houseboat.

The Yabba Dabba Doo, piloted by Capt. Jake, is a private houseboat available for rent for an amazing upclose encounter with Florida’s sea-cows.

Once you board the boat (early in the morning because that’s when the Manatees are most active) breakfast is awaiting you and your scurvy crew.

The crew of the Yabba Dabba Doo encourage you to make the boat your home for the duration of the trip. With an onboard bathroom (complete with shower) and tv – you have all the creature comforts one could ask for.

Look at this selection!

Then its time to don your wetsuits and set sail down the Crystal River.

All wetsuited up

On your voyage you’ll see quaint riverside eateries, bait shops and an island full of … Monkeys?!?

Spotting our first manatee

After a short 1/2 hour trip, there you are, at Manatee Central.

Here, in Citrus County, is the only space where you are permitted to touch the manatee. The rules are very clear, only 1 hand, be quiet, and don’t try to chase or ride the gentle giants.

Capt. Jake, puts you right in the action and as you slowly lower yourself from the stern of the boat, your manatee encounter begins almost immediately.

These creatures seem just as curious about us, as we are about them. They nudge you, play games with you (like hide and seek) and welcome your caresses.

Capt. Jake told us a little secret too! If you scratch a manatee just under its flipper, it will roll upside down for a good belly rub. Were we successful in getting a manatee to roll over? Check out the video below.

Your definitely going to want to bring a waterproof camera so you can capture every moment of this delightful experience.

Click on the brief film below to see for yourself!

 

Want to have your own Manatee Encounter?

You can contact Capt. Jake at http://www.swimwiththefloridamanatees.com or call them (352)396-7525

They are open all year round, even on holidays!

We had an awesome time and highly recommend a trip on the Yabba Dabba Doo!

What to pack for your Manatee Encounter:

  • Towels
  • Waterproof camera
  • Bathing suits
  • Dry clothes to change into
  • Wet Suits and Snorkels (if not provided by your tour guide)

 

Fulltime Families Ten Bests – Adventure Playground, Berkley, CA

Kimberly No Comments

Playground_Fat

Many years ago, when I sat in the OB/GYN’s office awaiting a checkup on my very first baby, I thumbed through a magazine and was immediately captivated by an article about the current state of playgrounds in the country.  The article spoke of the ‘sterilization of parks and swing sets’ and how our search for safe play areas had given birth to a new generation of play equipment that was safe, but ultimately boring.  The article declared, “in the absence of challenge at a play ground, children will take even more and greater risks to test their limits or to help them become confident in their physical skills.”

Risky play exposes children to stimuli they may have feared, such as heights. “As the child’s coping skills improve, these situations and stimuli may be mastered and no longer feared,” according to Ellen Sandseter, an associate professor at Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education in Norway, who co-wrote a study in the journal Evolutionary Psychology last year. Dr. Sandseter suggests that hindering children from participating in risky play may result in an increase in neuroticism and phobias.

“It’s important that play environments are as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible,” Dr. Sandseter says, adding that broken and fractured arms and legs shouldn’t be considered serious injuries.

The article went on to describe a playground utopia.  A place where children were supplied building materials (including hammers, nails and even saws!) and created their own playground daily.  I was beyond intrigued!  This sounded like the perfect antithesis to the sterile, squishy equipment in the park by my house.  I filed the name of this place in the back of my mind and vowed to bring my unborn child and his or her unborn siblings to this place in the future.

Flash forward 9 years and I’m a few 100 miles from San Fransisco, researching the family fun that awaits us at the City by the Bay.  I turn the page of my tour book and there is it!  Adventure Playground! 

I am beyond thrilled and set aside a whole in my itinerary to visit this place.

The day arrives and we plug the address into the GPS and head to what possibly might be considered America’s Most Dangerous Playground.

toniadventureplayground

Tonia grabs a saw, Dominick and Blaise start nailing up walls, and a new addition to the playground is born, ala the Traveling Travaglinos.  In between all this building, there’s plenty of time to play on the zip line, in the other kid built additions and through all sorts of recyclables that would otherwise be sitting in a garbage dump for the next century, had they not been dropped off here.

playground2

With all the opportunities for risk, creativity abounded and I could see children in all manner of frenzied activity as their ideas came to life at their own hands.

 

adventure_playgroundIt was so amazing to watch!  If you find yourself in the San Fransisco area, we think you’re crazy if you don’t go play at Adventure Playground!

adventure_playground2

If you want to see what else we did while parked in San Fransisco, just check out this post!

 

Diamond Mining at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Kimberly No Comments

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It’s off to work we go!

In the middle of nowhere Arkansas is Crater of Diamonds State Park. Located in Murfreesboro, AR, this is the only diamond mine in the US and the only mine in the world where prospectors can keep their finds!

This is very encouraging!

This field trip was one of the first things on our bucket list, and when I heard we’d need to take the camper to Little Rock for repairs, I knew it wouldn’t be hard to talk the family into the 3 hour detour.

Pick a spot

We camped in the newly renovated campground attached to the state park, with huge paved sites, full hookups, beautiful bath houses and cheap laundry (only a dollar a load!).

The site of the largest diamond found

The next morning, we hit the mine! I had done considerable research, and a ton of visualization exercises (cause more than half of it’s a mental game) and knew we were not leaving without a diamond!

Shade and water and dirt

Every where you look, fellow miners are lugging around buckets full of hope (dirt)!

Bring step stools for the little ones

The atmosphere at the water sluces is a downright party as people chit chat about where their from, past finds, secret techniques and hot diamond spots in the dusty field.

Did we strike it rich?

As I looked around, I could not shake the feeling that people really like to work hard. There’s something extremely satisfying about getting really dirty and sifting through tons of mud! After all, we had all paid $7 each (not including any rental equipment, snacks or souvenirs) to come to this patch of soil and dig. And most of the people we met, use their vacation time from work to come and do this!

It was then that I realized, diamond or no diamond, the real treasure was being here with my family, on a random Wednesday in May. No pto forms to fill in, no school work to make up. Just us, and the dirt because that’s what we chose to do today. It is obvious we are rich beyond measure!

But I know you want to know if we found any diamonds to take home!

Well, check out the video and see for yourself!

 

 

Learning about Civil Rights at the Arkansas State Capitol

Kimberly 1 Comments

We woke up at the crack of dawn. My alarm is so foreign to all of us that we all stumbled around dazed and confused searching for the ringing source for 10 minutes.

One of my favorite cities

We had a 9am appointment to get the axel issue fixed at Little Rock Camping World.

After we delivered the camper to the service department, we found ourselves with free time on our hands and decided to go tour the Arkansas State Capitol, ie, former office of President Bill Clinton. This is something we missed the last time we came to Little Rock.

We stopped and smelled the roses

I was also excited to see the monument to the Little Rock Nine, that was erected on the north lawn.

The eternal flame

We've been to a bunch of capitols by now, including the US Capitol so we knew what to expect.

The AR Supreme Court

We skipped the tour and even the handout for the self guided tour and just started poking around, opening doors and checking out the rotunda, the Supreme Court and the senate chambers.

The we walked the grounds and found the sculpture I was very excited to see. I must admit, it was slightly off putting. As Dominick noted, “the looked zombies!” But it gave of the opportunity to discuss desegregation and the courage of these 9 high school students.

 

 

Then, it was back to camping world and ultimately to Crater of Diamonds State Park to “pick up” the diamond they have waiting for us. 😉

 

Unearthing America at the Toltec Mounds, Little Rock, AR

Kimberly No Comments

Part 1: Prehistoric Field Trip

We stumbled upon the oldest site we have toured to date. The Toltec Mounuds are just right down the road for us, so despite the rain, we hopped in the truck and went to the Toltec Archeological State Park.

Since we are obsessed with that new series, “Unearthing America” this site held a new allure for us.

 

We learned that the mounds were built in 600AD. Which means, this is the oldest site we have visited. Our second oldest was Tuzigoot in Arizona (1000AD).

The visitors' center was awesome. It was full of artifacts that had been discovered at the site and Native American stuff.

We were also able to squeeze in a geocache before we left.

Part 2: This place? Really??

 

At the ranger's suggestion, we headed to a dilapidated General Store from 1918, called Cotham's. it seems we had stumbled upon an Arkansas institution, frequented by the likes of Bill Clinton.

 

They serve the original hub cap burger, 17 oz of meat!!! I was more intrigued by the Mississippi mud pie… Decadent chocolate cake, split down the center, stuffed with ice cream and then bathed in hot fudge! Oh yes, come to Momma!!!

 

Just an ordinary day and another example that adventure is everywhere!

 

The St. Louis Arch, Gateway to the West

Kimberly No Comments

Warning: This blog post contains way too many superlatives! One of our 10 best touring days!!

Dominick took this amazing picture


Have you ever taken your dually through a parking garage? With those spiral exits? That can put a damper on your city touring quite quickly. So last night as we were planning our day in St. Louis, Mike Burrell came up with the idea of renting a van so we could leave both trucks at home. Brilliant!

 

This morning the dads pulled up in our “ride”. This solution was totally awesome as we all had tons of room (we rented a 15 passenger van for the nine of us) and we could chat, snack, play minecraft and relax on our 120 mile ride into the city.

 

The other day, when we toured the Anheuser Busch Brewery, we caught a glimpse of the arch but today was the big day when we would actually go see it in person and even go to the top. What a fantastic day!

Seeing the arch through the alleys of Laclede's Landing was breathtaking! I felt my pace hasten and my heart race as we made our way to the arch grounds, this huge grass expanse with a stainless steel icon.

Holy Cow! There it is!!!

The Arch complex is truly fascinating as all the action is really going on below your feet, while your attention is fixed on the gigantic 630ft monument.

What does that mean exactly? Well, the visitors center, museum of westward expansion and the loading areas for the trams are all below the great lawn the arch is hovering over.

Big Tip Here

I should backtrack just a moment and mention that while we were on our 120 mile drive, I called the arch office ahead of time and made a reservation for our tram ride. It was during that phone call that I discovered there was currently a 2 hr wait for visitors without reservations. When we arrived we only had to wait 15 minutes to board the tram so the advanced reservation was well worth it.

Now, about the tram. Since the arch is curved and 630ft tall, a normal vertical elevator wouldn't cut it. Instead, the arch designers came up with a type of hybrid Ferris wheel system. 16 Round pods (8 onthe north side and 8 on the south side) hold 5 passengers each. The caterpillar like system inches it's way up and over during the entire ascension.

You can join us on our tram ride by clicking on the video below:

 

After the 3 1/2 minute ride, you are delivered to a room with a view. You will have to crouch and bend a bit to see the view, but it's well worth your best contortionist talents. There's the mighty Mississippi lapping against Illinois to the east, and the city of St. Louis stretches out in front of you like a diorama to the west.

Can you tell there's a cardinals game in progress?

You can stay in the observation room as long as you'd like. When your done, a quick tram ride will bring you back down.

This is a misrepresentation of the true chaos that is the Travs doing a jr program

 

As I mentioned before, all the action is below ground. Our next stop was the Museum of Westward Expansion which was amazing!! A stroll along the back wall has you following in Lewis and Clark's footsteps on their 2 year expedition to the Pacific.

You'll also find a life size teepee, an Indian history, a covered wagon and tons of other artifacts and exhibits detailing this critical time n US History.

We made sure to do the junior ranger program and earned some pretty sweet badges.

Next, it was off to the City Museum. I'm so glad we visited this one of a kind attraction. It's like no place we've ever seen! So fantastic that it needs its own blog post so click here to read about the enigma that is the City Museum.

 

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