This one has got to be the hardest post from my "Five Days of Traveling with Kids" series to write because we have been to so many neat places. We tend to find the out of the way places that aren't touristy (is that a word?). I'm going to just go ahead and jump right in and start listing some of our favorites in no particular order.
- BCM Missionary Conference - Okay, this one is kind of cheating. This is geared toward all of the BCM (Bible Centered Ministries) missionaries but anyone can go. It is held almost every year at a great camp and retreat center called Camp Sankanac in eastern Pennsylvania. There is a great group of ladies from EG Ministries that run the children's program every year and they are fantastic! Over the years my boys have been inside a whale, measured Noah's ark, made candles, made volcanoes...and much, much more. And they learned a lot in the process! We love conference!
- Aunt Carol's House - Okay, again this is cheating. You can't really visit my sister's home (well you could but she might be giving me a call very quickly). You can, however, perhaps glean from our experiences. Remember, a vacation doesn't have to be at a fancy place. Any place new is worthy of exploration. There are new stores to visit, new parks to explore. What's might be ho-hum to the locals could be exciting to you and your family. We always have a great time visiting my sister. (Sorry, no links to this one. My sister doesn't have a website!)
- Sandy Hook - Part of the Gateway National Recreation Area - When we visit my sister, we do try to take at least one day to explore a new out of the way place. One year we visited Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook is on the New Jersey side of the Gateway National Recreation Area. There are also units of the recreation area in New York, but we haven't visited those. Sandy Hook is amazing. It has the oldest working lighthouse in the United States - dating back to the 1700's! It also has an old fort, a lot of old buildings and a bunch of beaches to enjoy. It was a blast the day we went. The tour of the lighthouse was awesome and the beaches were really nice. Be careful, though, when we were there a section of the expansive beach was set aside as a clothing optional beach but, there are miles of beaches and unless you knew where it was you probably wouldn't pick that one. It is marked anyway. I can't remember if that particular beach was in the recreation area or on the outskirts. It's hard to imagine a nude beach in part of a National Recreation Area.
- Philadelphia Historic District - Okay, so this one's not so "out of the way" but it is one of our favorites. This was another "give Aunt Carol a break" day and is a must see if you are any place close. We visited Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, sat on top of a double decker bus on a bus ride of the historical area...it was fascinating! We loved it. Put on your walking shoes, though, and make sure that you have a stroller for the real littles to ride in.
- Virginia Safari Park - I mentioned in one of my other "Five Days of Traveling with Kids" posts that we like to take two or three days to travel a distance that could be covered in one long day. We then take it easy and stop at sites along the way. On one such drive we stopped at the Virginia Safari Park. It was hilariously fun. It's an actual drive through zoo with animals that come right up to your car or van. You can buy buckets of food to feed them and they will actually stick their heads right in the windows to get a snack. They allowed us to open the sliding doors of the van but make sure that the children were secured in some way. John Allen loved it. Joshua was afraid at first but calmed down after a while. Jacob, on the other hand, would have nothing to do with it! He was scared to death. He climbed into the back seat with a terrified look the whole trip. They also have a petting zoo and a bird habitat that you walk into and birds roam freely. John Allen was trying to be a good zoo keeper and coax one of the birds to come to him. Instead the bird got very irritated, cornered John Allen and wouldn't let him leave. I had to form a barrier between the bird and my son and ease my way to the door until he could escape. Good memories! This is a must see if you are traveling through VA on I-81!
Not us but you can see what it's like!
- Virginia Museum of Transportation - On the same trip that we went through the Virginia Safari Park, we visited the Virginia Museum of Transportation. Another must see in Roanoke, VA, again right off of I-81. There were planes and cars and...oh the trains! There were big trains and little trains. They had trains that you could walk through a huge model train exhibit. The kids had a blast and so did Mom and Dad!
- The Blue Ridge Parkway - Did you know the Blue Ridge Parkway is actually a national park? I remember my dad took us on The Blue Ridge Parkway when we were on vacation once when I was little, and I wanted to carry on the tradition and drive through it with my children as well. I didn't remember all of the little historical stop offs and exhibits. We loved spending time driving down it. We visited an old railroad at one exhibit, bought arrowheads at one of the national park centers, drove through an old town and visited an old general store, picnicked...we had a blast. If you ever have the chance to drive on the parkway you have got to do it!
- Boxerwood Gardens - I've already talked about this fascinating place in one of my other "Five Days" posts. It is really a neat place that isn't advertised nearly as much as it should be. We were looking for a place to picnic and let the kids run and play on one of our trips home from conference/Aunt Carol's and stopped at a welcome center in Lexington, VA. They recommended Boxerwood and we are so glad they did. You must stop in to check it out and meet Uda the dog. Get it You Da Dog! Yep, that's what they named her and she fits right in. So friendly to the kids. Again, it's a must see!
- Creation Museum - If you haven't visited the Creation Museum near Cincinnati, OH then you must if you are in the area. It is fascinating. We loved the whole thing. Except, of course, John Allen's artificial eye falling out during one of the movie presentations. But, that's a post for another time! Anyway, the planetarium is great. It is worth the extra cost.
- Hollywild Animal Park - I won't say much about this safari/zoo because I am in the middle of writing a post all about it. It's one of our recent adventures. But, check the link out and if you are in Spartanburg/Greenville, SC area then make an effort to go. You will love it!
- Philadelphia Zoo
- Great Smoky Mountain National Park
- Silver Springs Park in Florida
- Knoxville Zoo
- Nashville Zoo
- and on and on and on.
Traveling With Kids Part One - Packing "Have Tos"
Traveling With Kids Part Two - Traveling "Have Tos"
Traveling With Kids Part Three - Overnight "Have Tos"
Traveling With Kids Part Four - Homeschooling on the Road
And don't forget all of the other TOS Crew members who participated in "The Five Days Of..." blog hop. Just click on the link below to get to the main page and explore. Have fun!