Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Falls Park, SD

On road trips I'm always on the lookout for quick stops where we can stretch our legs and see something new. Falls Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is the perfect side adventure!

There's quite a bit to do in this area, but we were on our way to the Badlands and just needed a quick stop so we stuck to Falls Park. The boulders near the falls and scattered nearby are perfect for restless legs and the mill makes for a perfect picture-taking opportunity. 

Speaking of photos, be sure to take time to visit the free 50ft viewing tower inside the Visitor's Center!

There are a few other buildings that might be worth popping into, if you have time. The old horse barn now houses exhibits regarding the history of regional agriculture. The cafe has a few historic items on display.

If you have time and want to explore some more, there's a series of paved paths than can be followed. Sculptures are scattered around the park. Twelve are permanent and additional sculptures are added on a rotating basis.

What You Need To Know

The hours vary slightly during the year and the park is closed on major holidays. 

The paths are paved, but the boulders near the falls are uneven and require sturdy footwear.

When we were there, visitors were allowed to walk out on the rocks and explore. Their website doesn't indicate that anything has changed,  but be sure to look for and obey any signage.

Downtown Sioux Falls is nearby and has lots of dining options, but there is also a cafe at the park during the warmer months. Of course, with some planning, this would be a great place for a picnic, too!

If you'll be driving through at night, consider swinging by! The park is lit up and would still make for great viewing!

Additional Resources

Learn more about the sculptures and even find a map here .

Learn more about Sioux Falls.

Read up on the Sioux people.

Check your local library for the books below, but if you decide to purchase, please use my links as I'm an Amazon Affiliate and any purchases made through my site helps support my blog!

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Ark Encounter, Williamstown, KY

The story of Noah's Ark has always interested me. On one hand, I've heard and read about it so many times that it almost seemed mundane. At the same time, I could never quite grasp the immensity of the structure or really comprehend just how it was all possible. It was one of those "I guess I'll just have to believe it because the Bible says it's true" sort of deals. Until last Summer.

I cannot think of a neater way to bring the Bible to life than to visit the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY. Everything about this attraction is very well done and will be appreciated by visitors of all ages and interests. It will answer questions you had and questions you never even thought to ask!

Is this how the smaller animals were stored? Just one possibility!

The sheer size of the structure is impressive. The attention to detail is fantastic. There's a lot of scientific information to satisfy even the most dedicated, but it's also a very immersive and entertaining for those who just want the experience.

What You Need to Know

The local town doesn't have much going on - or at least it didn't when we were there. Plan ahead for lodging and meals. It's probably best to plan on eating at the Ark.

Prepare to do a bit of waiting and walking before the actual Ark. The parking lot is large and good parking can fill up quickly. Ticket lines were long and once we were inside we had a good bit of walking to get to the actual Ark. Thankfully, there's plenty to entertain and distract on the way there, but you'll want to make sure you have anything you need on hand because running back to the car will be quite the task.

For more FAQs including accessibility, locker and stroller rental, and more, click here. 

Depending on your group, you can spend anywhere from 3 hours to 2 days at the Ark Encounter. Our crew had our fill after about 4 hours. We also went off season so there wasn't much waiting for anything we wanted to see. If you're going during peak hours and members of your group really want to read everything, you might want to consider staying two days. 

Many people visiting the area also take time to see the Creation Museum. If you plan ahead of time, you can purchase combo tickets and save money!

Additional Resources

Worksheets and crafts here.

Bill Nye and Ken Ham tour the Ark video.

Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study 

Search for the books below at your local library! If you decide to purchase, please consider using the links below. I'm a member of the Amazon Affiliate program so buying through my links helps support my blog!

I don't usually promote toys, but the one below is a classic!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Local Adventure: Elephant Rocks State Park, MO

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to travel. I can't help but marvel at the amazing diversity on this planet; rocks, trees, flowers. Flat prairie land, tall mountains, sandy beaches. It's all incredible.

I also really, really, love my home state of Missouri. Missouri is where I was born and raised and I'm fairly certain I will live here until the day I die. And I'm perfectly fine with that. I love visiting new places, but I really value having a home to return to when it's over.

So every now and then I'm going to highlight some fun places to visit here in MO (and probably Southern IL, too.) Most of these places are no more than 2 hours from St. Louis. If you're in the area, I hope they inspire you to check them out. If you aren't in the area, I hope these posts encourage you to explore something cool where you live!

Elephant Rocks State Park is so named because of the massive pink granite boulders that sit clumped together in this state park. This area is well known for its granite and a nearby quarry stays busy supplying the state with granite for building projects.

View from the top
What you need to know

The park itself is peaceful and can be explored in just a couple of hours. For those with limited mobility, you can walk the 1 mile trail around the boulders. For those who like to climb, you're free to climb the boulders and explore to your heart's content.

Tight squeeze

Even big kids like ERSP!

Take plenty of water and sun protection because there's no cover on the rocks and it gets HOT up there!

If you're wondering about safety, I'd say it's pretty safe for kids who are sure-footed and listen well. Everything is pretty stable, no loose gravel or anything like that. If you decide to climb you'll need to be in decent shape. It's a great workout!

 Shaded picnic sites, flush toilets, and a playground can all be found at the park. There's not much to be found in the immediate area surrounding the park so a lunch and/or snacks are a great idea.

While the park can easily be enjoyed in a few hours, you can still make a day trip out of visiting this area! Johnston's Shut-Ins State Park is only 20 minutes away. Consider visiting ERSP first and then cooling off with a dip at Johnston's Shut-ins.

Additional Resources:

Learn about MO geology here, which highlights Elephant Rocks. (Secular viewpoint, but some interesting scientific and historic info throughout.)

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Diamond Head State Park, Oahu, HI

If you or your child happens to be crazy about craters, then hiking the rim of Diamond Head crater should be at the top of your travel bucket list. While extremely challenging, the views from the top make for a fantastic reward. As a bonus, those who brave this trail can boast about experiencing the best view of  the city of Honolulu. 

View from the military observation tower.

The trail from the parking lot starts out innocently enough, but quickly steepens. You'll climb up the side of the crater, through a tunnel, into an old military observation tower, and then outside. Once on top, you can view the interior of the crater to one side and the ocean and city on the other. The view is amazing and provides ample photo opportunities. 

View of the observation tower

City of Honolulu

Rim view of the inside of the crater

What you need to know

Arrive early. Even in the off-season, this was a popular attraction. If you don't mind extra walking and want to save money, you can park off-site. Otherwise you pay a small fee to park and then you'll have to queue up and wait until a spot opens up. Thankfully, parking lot attendants are available to make sure everything is done in an orderly fashion.

Water fountains and restrooms are available at the beginning of the trail, but there's nothing past that point so make sure to stop in on your way up. 

Aside from the brief time spent in the tunnel and observatory, there's no shade to be found during the hike, so sun protection is a must!

The trail is rigorous and very steep in some places. Not stroller or wheelchair accessible. Climbers need to be in good health. There are only a very few stopping points over the course of the trail. The trail is narrow and there are a lot of handrails so you can't easily rest unless you simply stop in the middle of the trail, but then you'll be blocking other hikers.
Steep, uneven trail.

It's absolutely worth noting that there is a fairly long tunnel that hikers have to traverse if they want to get to the top. There's simply no way around it. There is some faint lighting and some handrails, but if you're claustrophobic, you may want to keep this in mind.
Narrow tunnel
There's a refreshment stand near the parking lot so consider having some cash on hand. After your grueling hike you will probably be in the mood for something cold. They offered several types of tropical soft serve and smoothies. We rarely spring for things like that, but it sounded so, so good after we were done.

Learn More
Here's an 8-minute video about volcanoes

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Biltmore, Asheville, NC

It's not very often that my crew gets overly excited about touring a historic home. I have to pick my battles carefully and make sure these types of stops are far and few between. Imagine my relief and delight when the Biltmore house tour engaged everyone in our group!

The Biltmore was the home of the Vanderbilt family and is the largest home in the United States. Situated on 8,000 acres, this 178,000 sq ft house also boasts a conservatory, acres of gardens, a boat house, winery, and much more. While there's so much here to keep you busy, it's absolutely possible to see most of the home and gardens in one day.

If you're a fan of period dramas such as Downton Abbey, you'll be giddy at the Biltmore. Construction on the home started in the late 1800s and has been very, very well preserved. Some early 1900s updates were made, but you'll feel whisked away to another time and place as you tour the home and wander the grounds.

Tours are self-guided. Each person will be given a booklet that informs you of the highlights in each room. A tour guide leads each group around and points out a few details. Audio tours are also available, if you have more time and would like more info. The Vanderbilt's were very wealthy and well connected and their home boasts many treasures in each room. Having said that, based on the sheer enormity of the home and the time it takes to tour (about an hour) we opted to pass on the audio tour. 

After touring the house, you'll want to browse the gardens. The conservatory is beautiful and is full of gorgeous plants.

There are several terraces, pathways, ponds, fountains, and even a trail, depending on how much time you want to spend outdoors. You're completely free to explore at your own pace.

What you need to know

Like a lot of popular attractions, this one can get very busy during peak times. Tours are timed to keep the crowds down so you'll want to purchase tickets online ahead of time. Plan carefully because it's near impossible to add someone to your party after tickets have been purchased.

Before reaching the house itself, you'll leave the main road, park, and then walk along a wooded trail. The trail leads you to the far end of the drive, which is where the above picture was taken. As you can see, there's a good bit of walking before you even start the tour. Shuttle services are available, for a steep fee, but you must plan ahead and make a reservation.

Restrooms are limited. You'll want to be sure to use the restrooms up by the house prior to starting the tour because there are none to be found inside the home, in order to best preserve the house. 

Quick-bite restaurants, gift shops, and restrooms can be found within walking distance of the house. We were surprised by the quality of the food and appreciated that they had a few gluten-free options available. 

There are activities galore so you could easily spend a full day or even several days here on the estate, but the house and gardens were the main draw for us. You can see everything in just a few hours and then continue on your way.

Be sure to read up on their policies so you know what to expect regarding pets, outside food and drinks, etc. You do need to walk through a scanner so large pocket knives might be better left in the car.

Despite the restrictions, the Biltmore is very family friendly! Visit their page to learn more and to find family-friendly itinerary suggestions. 

If you visit, I hope you end up enjoying your time as much as we did. We really were in awe of the sheer size of the home and with all of the attention to detail. What a neat insight into the Vanderbilt family and that time period.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Throwback: Jekyll Island, GA

Summer is just around the corner and I can't stop thinking about the beach.

There, now you're thinking about it, too! :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

T. R. Pugh Memorial Park, Little Rock, AR

If I had to choose one word to describe T.R. Pugh Memorial Park it would be "magical." From the moment you step inside the gates, you'll feel transported to fairyland. It's for good reason so many go to this park for pictures and weddings!

The main structure, the grist mill, was built in 1933 and was intentionally made to look abandoned, but it's perfectly safe to explore. Several unique bridges, sculpted to look as though they were constructed from branches, grace the park and provide lots of climbing opportunities. There are foot paths and ponds and everything is surrounded by lots of natural beauty as well.

I can't imagine there's ever a bad time of year to visit this gem, but if you can go in late Spring/early Summer as we did, you'll get the added benefit of all of the lovely flowers in bloom. Be sure to take your camera and maybe even consider dressing up a bit to take advantage of the scenery and get some great family photos.

Grist mill and pond

Exploring the grist mill

The wheel

One of many views from the inside

Turtle spotting from the big bridge

How cool is this bridge?!

Bridge and pond from the mill

A child's paradise!

View of mill from bridge

We easily could have stayed for hours and I'd love to return some day!

What you need to know

It's free!

Because of it's picturesque beauty, many weddings are hosted here throughout the year. I highly recommend calling ahead to make sure a wedding isn't taking place when you are planning to visit. Also, keep in mind that it may get crowded on weekends. We were there first thing on a Sunday morning and had the place to ourselves for about half an hour which was nice.

There are no restrooms or water so be sure to take that into consideration before heading out.

Some of the park is accessible, but not everything will accommodate a stroller or wheelchair.

For more info and fun facts about the park, you can visit their online brochure. I hope you enjoy this amazing place as much as we did!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Sequoia National Park, CA

With a nickname as exciting as "land of giants" you can be sure that Sequoia National Park is well worth a visit. Whether you're looking for time spent in nature, or abundant educational opportunities, this park delivers on both fronts.

Following the General's Highway makes for a great day trip if you're short on time. On the other hand the numerous campsites and lodges make this an easy week-long getaway, as well. The opportunities are endless and solely depend on what works best for your family.

Tunnel Rock

When planning your visit, I suggest viewing the driving map that the park provides. Viewing other maps can be confusing because there are many entrances to the park, but most of those entrances don't connect, they simply take you to trailheads. Those looking for a kid-friendly visit will find the driving map to be more straightforward.

There's so much diversity and plenty to do here. A few of the highlights include Hospital Rock where you can view petroglyphs, Crystal Cave where you can see impressive stalactites and stalagmites, and the Giant Forest Museum where you can learn more about sequoias and the park in general.


The park hosts a plethora of Ranger-led programs and talks so be sure to check the calendar to see if any are available during your visit. There's something special about being able to hear directly from some of the people who know and love the park so well.

No trip to Sequoia would be complete without visiting General Sherman. General Sherman is a sequoia who has the distinction of being the largest living thing on earth. Visitors are only permitted to get so close to the tree, but it's an impressive sight and there are various photo opportunities along the path. If you enjoy hiking, you can take a 2-mile hike among these giants.

On our visit, we entered the park from the South West, via the Ash Mountains entrance. The Foothills visitor's center is a good first stop to grab Jr. Ranger books, visit the restrooms, and learn about the park a bit.

Next, I recommend simply following the road up through the park. We tried exploring down a few side roads, but they were very narrow and only lead to campgrounds, trailheads, etc. Save your time and just follow the red line of the map - General's Highway. We stopped at Hospital Rock and various outlooks and then continued on to the museum and General Sherman before stopping in at Lodgepole to eat and turn in the completed Jr. Ranger booklets.

Because it was snowing so much, we weren't able to visit Crystal Cave or the Tunnel Tree, but those are both right off of General's Highway and seem like a lot of fun. If you're short on time, choose one or the other.

What you need to know

Being a National Parks pass holder comes in handy here. The fee is about $35.00 per vehicle. While that does grant access to both Sequoia National Park and King's Canyon, that's still more than most of the parks charge for admittance.

Elevation changes quickly so be sure to check the weather. We visited in May and were not allowed to enter the park until we'd rented snow chains! We ended up having to install the snow chains once we hit the higher elevations due to snow. Make sure you have jackets handy!

Depending on when you visit, certain roads, passes, or attractions may be closed so be sure to check the website for alerts and hours of operations. In addition, Crystal Cave requires tickets so if you're determined to visit that particular attraction buy tickets ahead of time.

There are multiple snack bars and restaurants scattered throughout the park, but there is no fuel so make sure to gas up.

Big Trees Trail makes for a good family hike at just a little over a mile long. Moro Rock is neat, but there are 400 stairs to climb, just fyi!

Some of the roads are very narrow. We took off exploring and started to head down Badger's Pass which turned into a very frightening experience when we came nose-to-nose with another vehicle. The park doesn't recommend long vehicles or vehicles towing trailers to go past a certain point so be sure to plan for that.

King's Canyon is adjacent to Sequoia National Park. While we weren't able to make it there, it looks beautiful. If you have time to spare, consider at least driving the King's Canyon Scenic Byway to take in the views.

If you'd like to see both parks, I'd recommend considering your overall layout and then cutting through the parks; start in one park and leave via the other. You may find that you don't have time to visit the South Fork King's River portion of King's Canyon, but you could still experience a good portion of both parks.


Here's a printable color page.

A fun craft tutorial.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Mesa Falls, ID

While highway 191 directly connects the two parks, the beauty and calm of Mesa Falls makes it a lovely side trip to tuck into your Yellowstone/Grand Tetons vacation.

On our visit, we spent the morning in Yellowstone and then made our way to Mesa Falls. After just a couple hours at the park, we spent the rest of the day and the night in Idaho Falls. Both places were peaceful and picturesque and just what we needed after the hub-bub of Yellowstone.

The main attraction at Mesa Falls is, of course, the falls. At 10 stories tall, they are simply stunning! We were mesmerized by them.

You can see the upper falls near the Visitor's Center and then later drive down to a lookout where you can view the lower falls.

The Visitor's Center was welcoming and very kid-friendly so make sure to leave time to look around. Even though it's a state park, they had their own version of a Jr. Ranger booklet. Pop in first thing so the kids can work on their badges while you explore the park. In addition, an activity book is available for download before the trip to break up the monotony of the long drive.

There are several hands-on activities for kids. The skulls and skins room was a big hit with everyone, with a large variety of pelts for viewing and touching. When we were there, there were some large birds nesting in trees across the falls. A telescope was available to view the birds. Also, a children's area was set up with color pages for little ones. Something for everyone!

We also really enjoyed the walk along the falls. The local flora was abundant and so pretty!

What you need to know:

Visitor's Center hours are from 9:30-5:30 in the Summer. A $5 entry fee per vehicle is charged.

Restrooms and water are available, but there are no restaurants in the park or near the park so be sure to plan accordingly.

This park made for a great stop that can be done in 2 hours - or less if you just want to stretch your legs for a bit.

large portion of the trail is accessible so it would be fine for strollers. If you want to get closer to the falls, you'll have to be able to navigate some steps.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota, a awe-inspiring blend of history, nature, and art come together at Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Completed in 1941, this 60-ft sculpture honoring 4 American presidents, continues to grow in popularity with around 2 million visitors a year.

14 pillars featuring all 50 state flags flank the entrance to this national memorial. After soaking in the view for a bit, head inside the visitor's center to learn more about the sculpture and the men whose likenesses are featured.

Jr. Ranger books and audio tours are available so be sure to grab those right away to make the most of your time. I've found that the Jr Ranger booklets help my boys pay attention and get them actively seeking out information instead of growing bored.

View from the trail

The Sculptor's Studio is worth a visit and the trail is a must do, weather permitting! To recoup your strength, treat yourself to a treat or an ice cream at the Market Place and then be sure to browse the gift shop for a memento.

What you need to know:

Unless you are a true history buff, you can easily visit Mount Rushmore in just a couple of hours. The longest part was the trail. It's less than a mile long but has over 400 steps so it is quite a workout. Sturdy shoes and sturdy legs are a must!

It's $10 to park.

Despite Rushmore being a quick stop, the Black Hills area offers plenty of activities to fill your day. Take the Iron Mountain Road out of the park, then drive through Custer State Park and on to Needles Highway. They'll be lookouts and a visitor's center along the way.

Tunnel on Iron Mountain Road. If you look closely, you can see Mt. Rushmore!
When we visited, we started our morning with breakfast at Wall Drug. We then saw Mt. Rushmore, drove Iron Mt. Rd, wound our way through Custer State Park, zipped along Needles Hwy, and were able to make it to Devil's Tower before it got dark.


Read more about visiting Mt. Rushmore with kids here.

Free printouts for each president here. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Turkey Run State Park, Marshall IN

Over the past several years, we've been blessed to hike some pretty awesome trails. Turkey Run is, at least for now, my favorite hike of all time.

Turkey Run State Park has a lot to offer nature enthusiasts. You can stay at the Inn or at the campground, which are both open year round. In addition to canoeing, horseback riding, swimming, and fishing, various programs and events are available. Be sure to call ahead to the Visitor's Center to get an idea of what's being offered when. 

There's a covered bridge and a few historical sites at the park that are worth visiting depending on the interest level of your group, but the hiking hiking trails are one thing that every visitor should make time for. 

Or at least one hike in particular.

Trail 3 was amazing! You cross a swinging bridge over the river near the beginning of the hike, which is always a good way to start off an adventure. Once on the other side, the fun really begins.

The trail was easy to find at first and we followed it down into the canyon. All of the sudden it seemed that the trail was gone. If I hadn't heard about this trail from a friend I would have assumed that the trail had been washed out and turned us back. There wasn't a sign, but I trusted my gut and simply followed the canyon floor for a little while. After a while, we caught up to some other hikers, and then later on we did run into some signs. Whew!

We were there early in the year so there was a small stream running through the canyon. Sometimes the trail crossed the stream, at other points the trail was the stream. We wound through some fairly snug spaces, over fallen trees, and even up some rough hewn rock steps embedded in a cliff wall.

My MIL on the ledge steps

We followed Trail 3 up out of the canyon to where it intersects with Trail 10. (Tip: don't bother with the lookout. There's literally nothing to see!) We followed trail 10 to the lookout and then back to finish Trail 3 down into the canyon via some neat wooden ladders. 

The trail loops back through the canyon and around to the swinging bridge which took us right back to the parking lot. 

What you need to know

This trail was a lot of fun and very adventurous. I'd only recommend it for kiddos who are able to walk and climb well. I would think that babywearing would be extremely difficult if not dangerous on some stretches of Trail 3. 

The trail was maintained just enough that you could navigate it safely. Large trees were used as foot bridges, the wooden ladders were solid, but rustic, and there were a couple of places with sturdy steps to ensure good footing. Otherwise, it's not overly commercial and fussy. It was a perfect combination!

Wear shoes that are sturdy and can handle getting wet. 

There are some steep areas, as you can see in the picture above, that don't have any sort of railing. It's a decent drop!

Trail 3 was rugged, but since it clocks in at under 2 miles, it's not particularly grueling and it's nice an cool down in the canyon!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, FL

 The Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in the state of Florida, and the second-tallest lighthouse in the entire country!

What made our time here really memorable is all of the additional activities available aside from just climbing the lighthouse. The Lens Museum was fascinating, the Lighthouse Keepers Dwelling was packed with valuable information, and the Cuban Raft Enclosure is eye-opening. All of this and more is included in your ticket price!

Lens House

Lens house

More lens house. My favorite building!

Hands-on learning

Station 1

What you need to know

The museum doesn't open until 10 so this is a good activity for a late-start day.

Nothing bigger than a purse is allowed past the museum so diaperbags and backpacks will need to be left in the car. Thankfully, parking is very close to the entrance.

There are 203 steps up to the top of the lighthouse and some parts are very steep so it's quite the workout! Small children must be able to walk by themselves, they can't be carried up the steps.

Wear sturdy, non-slip shoes!

Allow yourself plenty of time here. Not only does it take a while to huff and puff up all of those stairs, but all of the exhibits really are worth seeing and experiencing. Your kiddos will be able to learn a lot about the history of lighthouses, the history of the Inlet, light refraction, and much more! Leave time to soak it all in.


More info on lighthouses here.

Lighthouse lesson plan.

Video about the Fresnel lens.

Friday, February 15, 2019

SeaWorld Orlando

I had the joy of visiting SeaWorld, Orlando, for the first time since I was a child and I'm so glad I was able to share the experience with my family.

If you're looking for a theme park experience without paying a lot of money or spending a lot of time, SeaWorld is a great option! We were able to experience a lot in just one day and the price was very reasonable. Plus, educational opportunities abound!

For starters, SeaWorld offers printable curriculum that's available to everyone! Click the link and scroll down. Three options are available to suit the age/grade of your child. Answer keys are included, thank goodness. These would be great to print off beforehand to work on en route to SeaWorld! 

As with any theme park, I highly recommend doing a bit of research ahead of time to get the lay of the land and have some idea of everything available to you. We didn't pay for anything extra, but there are a couple of upgrades you can purchase such as dolphin encounters, that would make for really neat experiences.

Some of our favorite areas:

Antarctica was a highlight for us. My youngest loves penguins and he really enjoyed seeing the penguins and all of the attention to detail in this section. I would skip the penguin ride itself, though. It was silly and smelly and you don't have to ride it in order to see the penguins. Oh, and make sure you're nice and dry before hitting this area of the park because it's COLD in there!

The killer whale show, One Ocean, was also really well done. You'll be in awe of these amazing creatures and impressed with their intelligence and gracefulness.

Sea Lion High was a cheesy show, but we still enjoyed it. Be sure to arrive early to watch the mime. He stole the show!

What you need to know:

Preferred parking was only $5 more and it eliminated our need to take the tram or hike to the park entrance. If you have a stroller, you get to park even closer! Very family-friendly.

Be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of a show, in order to get seats. If you want a particular location - the splash zone for instance - plan to arrive 30 minutes early.

The splash zone is very hit and miss, but I'd advise you to take it seriously. People who did get splashed were SOAKING.

We felt the park could easily be experienced in 1 day. Consider getting the 2-day pass if you also want to visit Busch Gardens.

Don't skip the shows! We saw three of them and loved every one. They were really, really well done.

Seriously consider booking a tour. There's still plenty to see and learn without a tour, but I think there's plenty of time to include a tour and it would make the experience even that more memorable.

Additional Resources

Penguin unit study.

Dolphin facts.

A whole list of shark documentaries.

Killer whale fact sheet.

Look at your local library for the books below, but if you decide to purchase, please use my links. As a part of the Amazon Affiliate program, purchases through my links help to support my blog!

This ocean-themed curriculum is awesome. I used it with my youngest a few years ago. You purchase the textbook and then the journaling notebook that's the right age for your student. The textbook and easily be reused or resold. This curriculum also works very well for homeschool co-ops!