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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Traveling Season - Dallas

I love going on road trips.  I can remember only a few trips as a kid.  A few camping, and one trip with my grandparents.  We drove from Houston to Washington state, with lots of stops in between, including the Grand Canyon.  I was 15 when we made this trip.

For many years, Hubby and I have said "one day."  "When the baby is older."  "When the kids can really appreciate it."  Why wait?!  They may not fully understand, or get everything out of it, but they will get something out of every experience.

Typically we take a trip in late June/ early July.  This trip is a mission trip to Oklahoma to help with tornado clean up.  I like to find a way to give back.  What better way to see the country than to help our neighbors!?

To start off our summer we went to Dallas this weekend.  This was just a fun trip.  No serving.  Just playing.  We had a free trip to Great Wolf Lodge and the last day of co-op was something to celebrate!  Great Wolf sounded like just the place to celebrate!

Wednesday: A bit of sleep first thing in the morning.  We don't get a lot of sleep in days, but I let the kids sleep until 8.  After morning chores were finished, we had a quick breakfast and got in the truck by 10 am.  Dallas is only 4- 4 1/2 hours away, so we shouldn't need to stop more than once.  My kids have always been good travelers.  The sit and read books (I LOVE the kindle.  300+ books in one small space) or play car games.  About the time we got to Ennis it was time for a potty break.  Then the last part of the trip was quick.  We got to our destination about 3 pm and were able to check in early.  After just 30 minutes, we had the truck unloaded and everyone dressed for swimming.

If you have never been here, you have GOT to go.  Even if it is just once.  We went December 2012 for our Christmas trip.  The water park is always 84 degrees and even in December, it was pleasant.  This time, it is much warmer out, but the outside portion of the water park was still closed :(  That's ok!  It is not at all crowded!  Since the water park is open until 9 pm, we stayed in the water until 9.  Just because we could.  The kids love the five tall slides more than anything else.  Crooked Creek (or the lazy river) runs a really close second, followed by the wave pool.  We have never had a reason to check out the baby area, but it is always full of little ones.

Thursday:  Sleep in day.  We don't sleep in often, so the older kids take full advantage of sleep in days.  Today we slept in until 8:30.  Baby Girl and I were already awake and reading (I can't sleep past 6:30/7).  After everyone woke up, filled their bellies and got dressed (bring an extra swim suit!  It is no fun putting on a cold, damp suit at 9:30 am!) we went back to the water park.  There are SOO many other thing to do here:

MagiQuest $
Compass Quest $
Shadow Quest $
Gift Store $-$$
Scoops - kids spa $$-$$$
Elements - Adult spa $$-$$$
Cub Club - design a bag, pillowcase or t-shirt $
Arcade $-$$
Creation Station - Like build a bear $$
XD Theater $
Lazer Frenzy - lazer maze $

If you plan to do the above activities, get a paw pass, it will save you a lot of money.
Also, they have (my kids have outgrown)

Story Time
Wold Walk - nature walk around the hotel
The Great Clock Tower Show

We had planned to not do the other things on this trip.  It was a short trip (1 half day, 1 full day and 1 day to pack and leave), so I wanted to make sure they got the most out of the water park.  We did the other things last time, when we were there for a week.

Around 1 everyone was hungry.  While there is a great restaurant on site, and several snack bars, we are on a tight budget right now.  There are 3 other trip coming up!  We just left for a bit and went to cici's pizza.  It's only a few minutes down the road and we were all able to fill up for under $20 (moms rule is no soda when we eat out.  It nearly doubles the bill!)

When we got back we took a rest time and then got back in the water until 8pm.  By then we were all exhausted.  I really enjoy bringing the kids here.  They have so much fun, and get totally worn out.

Friday:  No time to play, just pack.  We could do a late check out, but with a four hour drive home I would rather not.  Besides, I had some fun things to do on the way back.

After we pack up, it's time to hit downtown Dallas.  We have been through Dallas quite a few times, just never stopped to look around.  Our first stop was to ride the trolley.  It was not the highlight of Big Boys day, but it was a nice way to see the area without hitting anyone, without walking 15 miles, and without missing everything between red lights.

After the trolley ride, we were running short on time, so we walked to Thanksgiving square (on the way to the truck anyhow).  The museum itself was nice.  Simple, but interesting.  We never made it inside the chapel because we didn't want to interrupt the muslum service that was going on.

That's ok.  The kids found more interest in the pigeons outside anyhow.  After the girls fed the birds the remains of their sandwich, they found out that if they sit still, and simply raise their arms out to the sides (like a T), then the birds will land on their arms, hands and head.  It was so funny to watch my bird ladies in training!

We took way too much time on the trolley and playing with birds that it was now time to go :(  I wanted to see the bridge  and do a few other things.  Oh well.  Next time.  I will plan ahead a little better next time.

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