Picnic Table Talk: Vacations!

It’s time for another ABC’s and 123’s Picnic Table Talk. This week’s theme is about Vacations.

~What is your favorite place to vacation?

We love to go on local overnight road trips to nearby destinations. There are so many local treasures within a few hours drive. We’ve been to Indianapolis, Michigan and Wisconsin to vacation at various kid-friendly spots.

~Where is the best place you’ve vacationed with children?
It’s a toss up between Indianapolis and St. Joseph Michigan. They both have fun things to do for kids.

At Deer Forest in Coloma Michigan (near St. Joseph):


We actually got to step inside the enclosure to feed the deer, and when you went in with your bucket of food, they swarmed around you. There were many more deer on the other side of me I’m not showing. There were other animals, including your typical calves, sheep, chicken and turkeys.

One of my favorites was an Arctic Fox.


I think it was because I wrote a school term paper (okay, whatever it’s called when you are in elementary school) on the Arctic Fox, so this little guy brought back the memory of my project. It was one of the first times we actually had to do library research for the paper. I remember spending time looking up the facts in the library, writing them all down on notecards, then using the notecards to come up with an outline and then writing the paper from the outline. Okay, that’s boring as heck, but I used to be a bit of a geek in school (can you tell?).

They had a section at the park of a wooden structure mimicking the buildings of an old western town, with a general store and sheriff’s office. I kind of forgot to take a picture of that building, but I did remember to take a picture of the panning for gold (okay, gemstone) attraction.


And our gems



We overnighted in St. Joseph, and we went to the Curious Kid’s children’s museum there. It was of course a lot of fun for the kids. I wished I could take one of the exhibits home with me – the pulley exhibit. I’ve been wanting to set up a pulley experiment, but I wouldn’t be able to find one quite like this. Those red weights were really heavy and it got progressively easier to pull up the weights when the pulleys did the work for you.


(that’s not me in the picture, but someone else).

I did do a quickie lesson in pulley mechanics with my oldest, asking her which weight was hardest to pull and which weight was easiest to pull and why. I also videotaped the mini lesson while doing so (gotta love the digital cameras these days with video capability), so we could go review it.

~Where have you vacationed this summer

We visited Indianapolis over spring break, but I’m including it here because we may or may not actually have a summer trip (though we do go to Wisconsin Dells in September).

Indianapolis had it’s great features too, especially the Indianapolis Children’s Museum I posted about before, and their Zoo boasted a wonderful dolphin underwater dome:


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14 Responses to Picnic Table Talk: Vacations!

  1. Crystal says:

    Wow it looks like you have been to some great places. My kids would love the deer forest it sounds really neat.

  2. Susana says:

    We love short road trips too and the mine fluming–such fun. Great pictures of some fun looking places and nice time spent with your family too!

  3. Keri says:

    sounds like fun trips! how cool to be SO stinkin close to all those deer- and it sounds like they weren’t afraid of people! i love that you have memories of writing your “term paper” in school- you must have been one scholarly kid! 🙂

  4. growinginpeace says:

    They were both a lot of fun. And it was really cool to be that close to the deer, though you had to be careful because they wanted to stick their heads into the bucket of feed. It was crazy.

    Thanks for the nice comments.

    Yeah, I guess the nerd in me is coming out. 🙂 I was really fond of learning about the arctic foxes though. I don’t remember all the papers I did for school, but some of them really stood out.

  5. Katie says:

    Thanks for the heads up about St Joseph, a friend just suggested visiting there to me. We’re going to Grand Haven for our escape this year but from the looks of it there and Indianapolis are must see places. My MIL just gave me a clipping about that zoo.

    I totally have a picture of the Balloon Fiesta that didn’t make this post because I was writing it at 2 AM and ran out of steam. Plus I tend to write too long of posts anyway. So I’m breaking it up into at least two. We also like Taos, Madrid, Bandelier, and a few more. All great stops, you should definitely try to get there “one day”. I am so glad we made a point to go to the Grand Canyon while living in NM. My chicklet won’t remember it but we went at the last possible time we could go for a long time. She was still content to be in a baby carrier. I’d be too scared to take her now. But wow what a sight!

    We didn’t get to see half as much as we wanted to of NM we thought we’d be there another year and had big plans. But when the opportunity came up to move back to MI by family we had to jump then.

  6. Jenny says:

    Fun trips! My backyard gets a lot of deer!

    I love the underwater dolphin home! How cool is that?

  7. Crystal says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog-Bear world is a part of Yellowstone but it is almost 2 hours west. It is about 20 mintutes from Idaho Falls.

  8. Diana says:

    I was a total nerd in school, too. I remember my first research report was on kangaroo rats, and I still have it… It looks like you have had some fun little vacations!

  9. growinginpeace says:

    Katie – we had a lot of fun at in St. Joseph, and we might go back later this summer. I hope you get the chance to go too.

    I can’t wait to see your part II of your pictures. It will be great, I’m sure!

    Going back to NM is definitely on my to-go list. I want to wait a few more years so the littlest one will remember it!

  10. growinginpeace says:

    Jenny – we don’t get any deer in our backyard, but plenty of BUNNIES!


    The underwater dome was so wonderful, and we almost missed it! We didn’t realize what it was until just before we left, we tried to check out the dolphin building. Lo and behold, we found the dolphin dome. I spent an awful lot of time talking to one of the dolphin caretakers and asked lots of questions about how they behave. Apparently they like to bug the ones that are “sleeping” in the water by poking them with their noses! There were 8 of them in the dolphin tank when we went there, so there was a lot of activity going on. It was so awesome!

  11. growinginpeace says:

    Crystal – yeah, I imagine Yellowstone must be pretty huge! One of these days I want to go different trips to see all our natural treasures!

  12. growinginpeace says:

    Diana – yes, we did have some fun little vacations. I didn’t realize you live in Arizona. That’s another place I want to take the girls. I’ve only been to Phoenix before as a little girl, and all I remember it being was HOT!

    My husband has never been to the SW, ever. I would love to take him and show him and the girls around. I used to catch blue-tailed lizards with the boy next door!

  13. teachingyoungchildren says:

    Having local vacations sound like a great idea and something that I hope to manage eventually. Before Anna was born, we have visited almost all National Parks of California, but there are still so many places where I would like to go. However, now all my vacation time is spent in family visits or in Christmas company shutdown. I prefer to stay home over Christmas and not go anywhere.

  14. growinginpeace says:

    The great thing about local vacations is that you can fit them in over the weekend, so you don’t have to take time off from work.

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