Visiting Tellus Science Museum, GA

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A trip to visit family over Thanksgiving brought us to north Georgia and a day at the Tellus Science Muesum.

As with most science museums, they had a nice balance of hands-on exhibits as well as  visually interesting but not fully interactive. Mining for gems was a hit as well as walking through the dinosaur exhibit.

Our little guys even sat through the planetarium show!

I have found that it works well to balance a trip by alternating the time the kids are able to play. After the planetarium show we went to the My Big Backyard exhibit so they could run and explore. Here kids can play with light, rainbows, mirrors and more in the greenhouse. The shed is filled with sound experiments, and the garage is a great place to discover the properties of magnets and work with electricity.

The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast

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The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast is located in Indian Riverside Park. You can easily spend a day at the museum, then play on the beach and in the fountains.

The kids loved the pet vet exhibit.

The building room.

The body exhibit.

The giant play ship!

Publix shopping exhibit.

They played for hours and then some. Another day well spent.

Children’s Museum of Atlanta

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The Atlanta Children’s Museum is located in downtown Atlanta just down the street from the Georgia Aquarium and Coca Cola. We parked in a parking garage across the street and walked our way in and then purchased tickets for about $14 each. There are many permanent exhibits as well as an array of hands on programs throughout the day. One program we were able to participate in was a science class where they demonstrated how electricity moves through circuits using a van de graafft generator.

You know, that machine that makes your hair stand up? 

Next we visited the Let Your Creativity Flow exhibit where you can build sand scupltures and put them on display.

Here you can even paint on the walls!

In the Leaping Into Learning exhibit, children enter a forest where they can cast their rods and catch colorful fish and even go under a waterfall without getting wet.  My nephew loved catching fish and playing with nets in the water.

The overall favorite was definitely the Tools for Solutions exhibit.

We spent a lot of time working the crane. They had to move the balls through the unit with simple machines using creative thinking and teamwork. They played here for hours. Other programming includes story time, music and motion, and crafts shown here below.

Another fun area was the Publix delivery truck, loading dock and store. Options for play seemed endless.The Museum also hosts special programs such as Home School Days, Summer Camps, Meet the Holidays (events where kids celebrate holidays from around the world), as well as opportunities for children on the Autism Spectrum during early hours and rental rooms and packages for birthday parties.

We will definitely be making a return trip next time we’re in town.

33.762578-84.391685

Visit a Pow Wow, Port Saint Lucie, FL

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On our visit to the annual Port Saint Lucie Pow Wow, we discovered lots of interesting things.  We at first didn’t realize that the tee pees at the front gate were private, and we accidentally took a self tour and then we were very kindly re-directed. The Pow Wow was held at Savannas Recreation area on Midway Rd. which also has a park and picnic pavilions where we had lunch and played a bit. My niece enjoyed the colorful Indian headdress and my sweet daughter, nephew and I enjoyed the cultural encounter hosted by the Florida Indian Hobbyist Association. It’s an annual event coming up on 50 years! Lots of things to see and do at a Pow Wow.

Revisiting St Augustine

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We are a family who homeschooled for 20 years. Though both my girls have now graduated High School and are in college, I have never outgrown the lure of adventure that awaits someplace that we haven’t yet explored. I also enjoy revisiting places that held great memories, either by taking a return trip or via a walk down memory lane in photos.

Today is a photo trip : )

Did you know that St. Augustine is the oldest city in the nation? It was founded on September 8th,1565 which was 42 years before Jamestown and 55 years before Plymouth. Next year, 2015, will mark the 450th anniversary of this Spanish settlement. The city is already gearing up for a big celebration.The “Old City” is home to the national monument of Castillo De SanMarco. It also boasts the oldest wood school house in the USA, now conveniently located near an ice cream shop.

The St. Augustine Light Station tour included a trip to the top of the lighthouse and some nautical hands-on exhibits on the grounds around the lighthouse.

Mostly though, we just enjoyed time away with the family that weekend.

Visiting The Florida Oceanographic Center

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A visit to the Florida Oceanographic Center affords you unlimited access to a stingray tank and much more, though the stingrays remain the favorite. The Center offers daily feeding times where you can grab a shrimp by the tail and a stingray will come along a suck it out of your hand. Awesome, but not if you’re allergic to shrimp. If you are, like me, then please maintain a shrimp-free experience. If you are a preschooler, you might also be just as interested in the sensation of water as you are the stingrays, which is just a win-win as far as I’m concerned.

Also there to explore are touch tanks with star fish, anemones, snails and such. The “one finger only” rule applies here. Note: If your preschooler likes to carry a toy with them, try not to have the toy visit the touch tank. It happens.

Hands on exhibits can be found outside under a shaded area and inside as well. The grounds are accessible to strollers and wheelchairs alike. You can bring coolers for lunch at a picnic table. If not bringing lunch, definitely bring drinks to stay hydrated. If you forget, there are vending machines for drinks but no snacks for sale.

The second most watched exhibit was the Lagoon Fish Feeding Program. There is a large man-made pond that houses a variety of local fish. At feeding time, they come out to play. There are more fish on display inside in small tanks and aquariums. Keep an eye out for the moray eel.

We like to walk the trails on our trips and many trails in Florida lead to a view of the water, in this case, the beautiful Indian River Lagoon.

The Center offers many educational opportunities throughout the year and hosts a popular summer camp as well. There are numerous opportunities to extend the learning experience, or just take a simple day trip like we did. Either way, a visit to the Florida Oceanographic Center is a day well spent.

Visit Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center for more information. Print out their Animals on Display page and create your own scavenger hunt form!

Oxbow Eco Center

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What’s it like inside the Oxbow Eco Center?

There’s so much to explore and get your hands on and your eyes around at a nature center. We are blessed to locally have “The Oxbow.” I love to watch the wonder in a child’s eye when they experience something for the first time, like standing eye to eye with an otter.

Ever lay your hand across the back of a bobcat? Curious about a crane’s beak?

Then head to the Oxbow. Your experience can be different every time. On our last visit, the staff had just received a nest of baby birds that had fallen out of a neighboring tree – we were mesmerized as their little beaks chirped up at us.

Peek through the glass at the snakes and turtles, run your fingers through the sand at the sensory table, take a hike on the trails…all part of a day well spent.

Chasing the Sun

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I enjoy a bike ride in the “country” at the end of the day. Now that September has arrived though, the days are getting a bit shorter and I often find myself chasing the sun.

I ride just south of town as do many other cyclists. Here you can see the cattle endlessly snacking on tall grass and hear gators call out from the canals at dusk every night.

There are other critters out there too…as I was taking this picture I spotted a strange tail poking over the tips of the grass in the distance. I didn’t wait around to see what it was! Perhaps a Florida Panther? Bobcat? Fox? Wild Hog? (Ok, maybe a dog, but that doesn’t sound as exciting.) You never know what will appear out here…

A beautiful Florida sunset bike ride with wild critters is, for me, a day well spent.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center

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We have been to the Loggerhead Marine Center in Juno Beach numerous times and have enjoyed every trip. Who isn’t enamored by a sea turtle? Most recently we signed up for a summer sea turtle walk at a cost of $17 per person. They do not promise a sighting however, but you will see an informative but looong 2 hour powerpoint slide show while you wait to see if a sea turtle comes ashore and begins to lay eggs.

We experienced a few “false crawls” where the turtles come ashore and then retreat. The center has spotters on the beach in “walkie talkie” contact with the presenter in the center where the group waits. So be prepared to wait until midnight at a slide show for a sighting. We were falling asleep come 11:30pm and still had a 40 minute drive home, so we left early. We learned a lot about turtles though! We brought my 8 year old niece and the age limit is 8 and up with good reason – much late-at-night patience needed and no guarantees. Kids can get disappointed with all the build up and no turtles : (

On day trips you are guaranteed to see the turtles in the tanks and they are an awesome sight to see. The tanks are set up so all ages can peer in and observe the rescued sea turtles, most of them injured in some way and recouperating. On days they release the turtles out to sea, crowds of over 1000 can gather on the beach to watch, so go early if you choose to view a release.

Mostly we just tour the small edu-info center and then visit with the turtles in the tanks outside. They added a fun hands-on “turtle hospital” exhibit that the kids loved. They put on lab coats and, with measuring tapes and calipers in hand, they tend to plastic sea turtles. The little ones lingered there a while day-dreaming about becoming turtle doctors. The entrance fee is a $5 donation per person.

Out back is a park, covered picnic table, and across the street just behind the center is the beach.

You don’t see sea turtles every day, so when you do – it will be a day well spent.

Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park

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Winter is best for zoo trips in South Florida. So off we went over winter break and…so did lots of other people! Very crowded, had to kind of wait to see some animals and wait for a table to eat at concession stand, but we still had a fun day. Was glad to have my college daughter and friend home to spend some time with us!

A day well spent at Palm Beach Zoo