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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Family Friendly Attractions- Oregon Coast

This blog article was originally posted on my first blog In Our Pond.  I started out trying to put all my travel content on my homeschooling blog, but it grew to be too big.  So, I'm moving all the road trip stuff over here!  It'll probably take me a while to move all the posts, but I'll also be posting new content on here as well.  In Our Pond will now be exclusively for homeschooling and parenting content, while this blog (Party Through the USA) is for all the family travel posts.  Check them both out!


Family Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast  #roadtrip #kids #vacation


We're home from our three night, four day vacation on the Oregon Coast.  While we did spend a lot of time exploring the beach near our hotel, we also visited four popular attractions in the Portland area.  Every attraction has been given a family-friendliness rating of 1 to 5 🌟 to help you decide the best fit for your family.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion of these places, and I have received nothing for these reviews.  I hope this list encourages you to make some fun family memories this summer.

Two of our family-friendly attractions were completely free!  On the way to the beach, we took a potty stop at MULTNOMAH FALLS.  There is a nice, well-maintained hiking trail up to the falls, a gift shop with bathrooms, and lots of parking.  It's always cooler near the falls than in the parking lot so it's a refreshing place to visit on a summer day.  You can spend ten minutes at the falls or an hour with a picnic and a hike.  Highly recommended for family-friendliness.  🌟🌟🌟🌟



Bonneville Fish Hatchery

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

On the way home, we stopped at the BONNEVILLE FISH HATCHERY to stretch our legs.  The kids insisted on calling it a "fish factory," which I love.  I don't think it quite met their expectations.  They were also hoping to see more aspects of a fish life cycle.  We did get to see a huge sturgeon in a pond, and some big brooding trout.  The waking paths were lovely and well-maintained.  The hatchery was free, but it was also low on amenities.  Very family-friendly but sort of non-climatic.  🌟🌟🌟🌟

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon



Sea Lion Caves
Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon
photo credit- Emily Wilson

One day, we drove down the coast to visit the SEA LION CAVES, which is the world's largest sea cave and the brooding grounds of sea lions.  The bathrooms are free, but everything else is quite dear.  You pay to take an elevator down into the cave, where you encounter sea lions in their natural habitation.  The cave also had a few educational exhibits and a skeleton of a sea lion.  This attraction is not handicap accessible, and didn't offer very much for the amount of money that it cost.  🌟🌟🌟



Oregon Coast Aquarium

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

Our very favorite attraction was the OREGON COAST AQUARIUM.  It was costly, but worth the extra money.  We spent about two hours there, but a family with older, interested kids could spend a lot longer.  They have a good variety of things that are found on the Oregon coast and beyond.  They have seals, sea lions, and otters in the mammal category, invertebrates like jellyfish and an octopus, sharks, and lots of fish.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

I love this picture because all the kids are doing similar things with their hands and all seem so engaged.  We saw sea lions sunbathing and seals swimming.  We missed the feed time, but I'm sure they would have enjoyed that as well.  We loved how this exhibit could be viewed from so many different sides and levels.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon
photo credit- Emily Wilson
I was really surprised how much my kids loved the touch tank (we did it twice).  None of them hesitated at all to gently poke the creatures- skates, starfish, urchins, sea cucumbers, nudibranch, shrimp, and anemone.  We could have spent a lot of time here, too, if the kids had been better rested.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

One of the best known features of the aquarium is the tunnel.  There are 4 different types of tanks, which ends with the sharks.  The kids were so engaged in this exhibit, watching the fish from the sides, above and below.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

The kids spent a lot of time laying on their bellies and staring down at the fish.  It was such an interesting experience- a peek into the aquatic world from their level.  At one point, Tadpole moved his arms and legs like his was swimming and scooted across the window.  I think this area would have been a lot less interesting if it had been crowded with people.  We went on a Friday, and had lots of room for laying on the floor.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

There were many more thing that we saw and experienced that I'm not going to talk about today.  The aquarium is opening a new exhibit soon (Memorial Day weekend 2017), so we'll have to go back again.  Even without the new tanks, I know that we'll return because the aquarium was so nice and is the sort of place with will grow with the kids.  🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

*A lot of it is outdoors, so be prepared if the weather is rainy*

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon


So, that's it for my reviews.  We loved our time on the coast and can't wait to go back.  The kids haven't stopped talking about putting their feet in the ocean, seeing whales from our hotel room, exploring tide pools, and the amazing aquarium.








Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon




Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon



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Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon







Tuesday, June 12, 2018

All American Road Trip Ideas for Kids


It's officially summer time here in the USA, which means a lot of red, white, and blue holidays and family road trips.  One of the most traveled times of the year is the days around July 4th, our nation's independence day.  In celebration of the great American road trip, I present a star-spangled, red, white, and blue road trip theme.


Printables

One of the easiest things to collect for a road trip is printables, and there are so many options online.  These are a small sampling of all thing ones you can find!










Food

The most important thing about summer road trips is having snacks that don't melt!  This list is a bit heavy on the "treats," but I don't regret it.  The red, white, and blue is so fun!










Activities

Some of these would be best at your destination or at a rest stop, but most would be ok in the car.  Put in the comments what other activities you like to do in the car.






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Friday, June 8, 2018

Bananas! Our Minion Road Trip- a Summery

Our Minion Road Trip- a Summery // Party Through the USA // themed road trip // Minions // yellow // party // minion food // sensory bottle // i-spy bottle


I promised in the Minion planning post to update you after we got back from our trip and this is that post.  We went on a ten hour road trip to meet family for a camping trip.  It was a light trip compared to our twelve day one we have planned for later this summer, but it was a good tester to see how the other trip may go.  We were reminded once again that the children can NOT sit next to each other on long journeys (smile).  But, overall, the trip went very well.


Our Minion Road Trip- a Summery // Party Through the USA // themed road trip // Minions // yellow // party // minion food // sensory bottle // i-spy bottle


I surprised the kids with the Minion theme.  Since we had a relatively short trip, I only packed us a few themed toys.  The kids shared a Minion Bop-It toy, which was a perfect fit for my sensory-seeker (Skimmer- age 5).  Amazingly, the $5 toy is still unbroken (rare for this family), and we're planning on buying a few more soon.


The kids also shared a Minion Look and Find book.  It has fun, colorful Minion pictures that made the kids laugh.  I wish that the box with the list of things to find had been full of pictures instead of words, since it made it very difficult for my three non-readers to use the book independently.  It would be best for a reader and non-reader to do together.


Lastly, I made the kids a Minion I-spy bottle.  As a candy treat, I ordered a big bag of banana shaped Runts.  It was way too much candy for us to eat, but it made a really fun filler for the sensory bottle.  I also added some dyed lentils, which you can see on the top of the left picture.  Then, I added some cute and squishy Mini Minions, a few google eyes, and some random yellow things from around the house.  The kids complained that the bottle was too full, but it did keep them busy for a long time.  They're asking for more sensory bottles for the big trip.


Our Minion Road Trip- a Summery // Party Through the USA // themed road trip // Minions // yellow // party // minion food // sensory bottle // i-spy bottle

One of the hallmarks of our family road trips has been themed lunches.  The Minion-theme was a lot harder than I expected.  I used a printable from the web for the eyeballs and glued them onto 2 oz condiment cups with the banana candy in them.  We had simple lunch meat sandwiches on circular bread, banana chips, and veggies with homemade hummus.  The kids decided the hummus was icky (but the love the store bought kind- so...).  I think the only winner in this lunch was the sandwich.  Oh, well.  I packed our lunches in Ziplock 3-compartment containers, which are a great size for the kids to hold on their laps.


I also bought a few Minion-themed convenience foods like cheez-its, gummy candies, and graham crackers.  Buying marketed products is a really easy way to get themed foods.  Of course, for the Minions, you can also do any yellow foods, such as the yellow bell peppers in our lunches.  We also had some bananas.


Read the first blog (linked at the bottom) to get even more Minion road trip ideas!

Happy Traveling!




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Our Minion Road Trip- a Summery // Party Through the USA // themed road trip // Minions // yellow // party // minion food // sensory bottle // i-spy bottle







Our Minion Road Trip- a Summery // Party Through the USA // themed road trip // Minions // yellow // party // minion food // sensory bottle // i-spy bottle