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Category: Kid-Friendly Trips

Eat My Words: Top BBQ Joints

January 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Eat My Words: Top BBQ Joints

Each of the four iconic barbecue regions—Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, and North Carolina—serve a different style of barbecue. Lockhart, the official Barbecue Capital of Texas, is home to four major barbecue restaurants including award-winning Black’s Barbecue, which has been owned by the same family since 1932. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Typically, Memphis, St. Louis, and Kansas City are all about the ribs. In North Carolina, pulled pork dominates the menu, and Texans love brisket. Of course, you’ll also find chicken, turkey, and sausage along the way. Some of the biggest differences in cooking methods involves the type of wood such as oak or hickory, and direct or indirect heat. Then, there is the wet versus dry debate because some pit masters baste their meat while it is cooking and others use a dry rib. And of course, an entire book could be written on barbecue sausages alone. Vinegar-based sauce is preferred in the Southeast, while the Midwest and Western regions like... [Read more...]

Planning family travel with Pinterest

January 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The other day, I stumbled on a post about using Pinterest as a tool to plan family travels. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I have started “pinning” things on a board titled Homeschooling on the Road, which contains a ton of fun activities for our kids to enjoy while we travel. Some of you might be wondering what Pinterest is about. Well, it’s essentially a tool for collecting and organizing things you love.  You will find many “pins” out there, but the beauty of Pinterest is that your own board can be personalized with your own interests. Today, I will talk about using Pinterest to incorporate geography activities while driving with the kids. While traveling, you can interest the kids in a destination if you plan carefully and strategically. With Pinterest, you can excite their interest by downloading maps, coloring pages and gathering information on where you are going. Here are some links that I find particularly interesting when... [Read more...]

Shreveport, Louisiana – hold a gator!!!

January 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Shreveport, Louisiana – hold a gator!!!

For our last stop in Shreveport, Louisiana, we went to Gators & Friends.  G&F is a combo petting zoo and exotics park.  You purchase your admission in a cute gift shop that offers everything from stuffed alligators to dried alligator heads.  In the gift shop, you can also buy large cups of animal feed for $2. (the food is for hand feeding some of the domestic animals)  Immediately out the back door will be your first glimpse at gators.  Lots of gators.  The alligators are grouped based on size so they don’t eat each other! A little farther behind the gift shop, there is a big walking loop that is bordered by pens of animals.  Everything from ring tailed lemurs to kangaroos, camels to goats, chital deer to capibara.    The kids enjoyed feeding the geese, ponies, and goats (they had The Cutest new kids in there too!); personally, as a mom, I loved the container that the animal food came in! LOL!  The food came in large hot beverage containers, and the kids could just... [Read more...]

If You Only Do One Thing in Tucson…

January 16, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

If You Only Do One Thing in Tucson…

There are numerous reasons to visit Tucson and the many other historic towns and sights around Southern Arizona. Some RVers come for a day or two. Some come for a week. Others stay for the season. There are numerous reasons to visit Tucson. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved Those of us who spend time in Southern Arizona have our favorites places. What you do and where you go depends partly on the season, the amount of time you have available, and your interests. If you only do one thing while in Tucson… Then go to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. If it is HOT, go early; drink lots of water. Do take Gates Pass to get there. (Take Speedway west and keep going.) Stop at the rest area at the top of the pass for a great view amid a magnificent saguaro forest. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum, and botanical garden, all in one place. The Desert Museum is unique among zoological parks for its focus on interpreting the complete natural history... [Read more...]

Shreveport, LA… discovering Louisiana…

January 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Shreveport, LA… discovering Louisiana…

During our recent time in Shreveport, our whole goal was to hit the best of the best in the area.  We tried to find a variety of destinations and activities, and here are a couple more sure-to-please-stops to add to our previous post Walter B Jacobs Memorial Nature Park…  This 160 acre park, located just west of Shreveport, is a haven for birds and other wildlife.  The park sports extensive walking trails through wooded areas, and there are bird and deer enclosures on the property.  The park has a visitor’s center with multiple rooms filled with interesting and educational displays, including a room with local reptiles in it (some of them were venomous snakes).  There were a lot of hands-on activities for the kids, and interesting exhibits for us bigger people. The park holds numerous naturalist-led programs, for all ages, throughout the week; the staff is friendly and knowledgeable.  We signed up for a ‘slithering snake’ talk, and the naturalist that was... [Read more...]

Shreveport, LA – full of good clean fun!

January 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Shreveport, LA – full of good clean fun!

We just finished up a visit to Shreveport, Louisiana.  While we have been through Louisiana several times, we have always taken I-10 and never really stopped and explored.  This is the first time that we have ventured north, and we sure are glad we did! During our 3 days in Shreveport, we found all sorts of fun things to do, so whether you are a snowbird, or a family on vacation, here are a couple of our favorite local picks… One of our very favorite destinations was Holiday Lanes – a fun, clean, smoke-free bowling alley in Bossier City (NE Shreveport)!  Not your typical RV destination to be sure, but definitely added a fun and memorable aspect to our Shreveport visit!  We loved Holiday Lanes! The lanes were very well maintained, and even the settee area was classy and comfy with leather couches!  The alley has an enclosed adult lounge complete with large screen tv and pool table, and a pro shop.  The alley is both adult, and family friendly! We were impressed by how... [Read more...]

The Houston Zoo – Fun for Everyone…

January 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Houston Zoo – Fun for Everyone…

This past week, we enjoyed a lovely day spent touring the Houston Zoo, enjoying their varied exhibits, and getting to see and learn about animals from all over the world.  The park has an area devoted just to unique and tropical birds, and another to different kinds of primates.  There is everything from Asian Elephants to African Kudu, Grizzly Bear to Cheetah.  We all had favorite areas in the zoo – Caleb, our 2 year old, loved the aquarium – it was all we could do to get him to move on to check out the other animals.  The reptile house, with it’s albino alligator, and extensive collection of poisonous snakes was popular with our boys and Peanut (our 6yo girl), while the other little girls liked everything in the Children’s Zoo! The zoo is a great place to visit whether it’s summer or winter - with plentiful shade in the warmer weather, and climate controlled buildings to visit in the cold (or a/c when it’s hot out), there is always a place to... [Read more...]

A Must See Fall Event: The Taos Balloon Rally

January 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

A Must See Fall Event: The Taos Balloon Rally

One more event to add to your travel planning calendar for this new year is the annual Taos Balloon Rally. Balloons in the air over our home During the last weekend in October every year, Taos, NM hosts an event that should find its way onto every traveler’s calendar, at least once: The Taos Balloon Rally. While there are a number of balloon rallies that take place each year, and the rally in Albuquerque is larger and more widely attended than Taos’, this is one not to be missed. Many pilots and attendees find Taos their favorite place to fly, owing this to the air quality, causing the balloon to respond in just the right way.  Others find that, due to the air up in Taos being colder, the balloons will fly longer. Still others add that the scenery and weather here are unbeatable. This year’s event was Taos’ 31st annual balloon rally. It kicked off at 8:15 on Friday morning with a mini ascension. Then, as is typical, at 8:30 pilots offered tether rides for elementary school children... [Read more...]

Havasu Balloon Festival Partners With Good Sam

January 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Havasu Balloon Festival Partners With Good Sam

Join Good Sam Club for high-flying fun at the fourth annual Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair, January 17-19, 2014. Good Sam members can join tens of thousands of spectators watching hot-air balloons soar high above London Bridge, the crystal-clear waters of Lake Havasu, and beautiful desert landscaping. Like Albuquerque’s renowned Balloon Fiesta, the Havasu Balloon Festival turns the Southwestern sky into an airborne parade with the world’s oldest flight technology dressed up in fanciful colors and contemporary shapes. Beyond experiencing the thrill of more than 60 thermal-powered aircraft aloft above Lake Havasu, members will get a lift knowing their camping fees support deserving charities. One of the biggest events in the region, the Havasu Balloon Festival was launched by the Lake Havasu City London Bridge Lions Club and the London Bridge Rotary Club as a way to fund local charitable groups. Four years later, that’s still the mission, with the 2014 festival operated by volunteers... [Read more...]

Welcome the New Year with a New Tradition

December 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Welcome the New Year with a New Tradition

For most of us, New Year’s traditions revolve around indoor activities—eating and watching football. Catalina State Park near Tucson, Arizona, offers three First Day Hikes of varying length and difficulty. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved However, an outdoor activity could make your holiday rituals even more fun and an invigorating way to kick off the New Year. America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature, and welcome the New Year with friends and family. State parks nationwide have added First Day Hikes to their January 1 program schedule. All 50 states are participating in the third annual event that invites families and friends to celebrate the New Year amid the sights, sounds, and wonder of our natural world with fun, guided hikes. “Last year, First Day Hikes hosted 22,000 people, who covered... [Read more...]

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