Wings and Waves

Give my kids a pool/waterpark/ocean and they can be happy for hours (or a week, as was the case when we stayed at Disney’s Aulani in Hawaii!).

We love a good water slide! We went to Wings and Wave again, because my kids enjoy it so much. They had BOGO Friday’s, so when the kids had a Friday off school, we headed up to enjoy! We have never paid full price here, it is too expensive (especially for a family of 7!), but BOGO is much more affordable (and baby was free). Considering we spent the entire day there – from open to close – we got our money’s worth! I think this was our 3rd or 4th trip.

Their food there isn’t terribly expensive, but we took snacks and lunch in with us. Are you supposed to? Well, not sure about that, but no one stopped us and we used their tables to eat and no one cared (but your mileage may vary).

They have waterslides for kids of all ages. From babies to thrill seekers. You will have a workout complete when you are done here. The BIG slides are located on top of the building, inside a 747 (the park is airplane themed) that is on top of the waterpark. It is a HIKE up there. A Good 5-6 stories each time you walk up there to a waterslide. There are 4 slides coming out of the 747. My older kids rode each one at least 6 times. Not sure how they managed to hike up there that many times! There weren’t many lines when we were there, so they got to ride a lot!

There is a big dump bucket play area for kids of all ages. It has 2 or 3 slides that smaller kids can go on (I believe they still have a height restriction, it’s just not as tall). The baby liked playing in the water coming out of the ground here. There is also a toddler area with small slides for them to go down and more splash pad areas. There is a vortex and basketball playing area.

There is, of course, the wave pool. This is always a favorite. The kids love riding the waves in their innertubes. They also enjoy jumping the waves as well. Now if there was just a lazy river, I could live here (I love lazy rivers… I could live on one. I wish I had one circling my house)

Wings and Wave is quite a bit of fun and a great way to spend a day as a family. Bring water bottles and snacks. Don’t pay full price. Wait for them to have a special, especially if you have more than 4 people.


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Wildlife Safari

Another of my favorite places in Oregon is the Wildlife Safari. We go about once a year. You can always get a Groupon for it, so never pay full price.

There is a little zoo area that is free for anyone to visit. Some fun animals, including flamingos and wallaroo’s, and a petting zoo! You can also take a Camel ride. Years ago, I rode an Elephant here. I still fondly remember that and I was just a kid! They often have one of their Cheetah’s here as well (their Cheetah program is world famous).

The Drive-thru is the main attraction at Wildlife Safari. You can almost always get a great picture of a giraffe. They always seem to be walking on the road next to our car (every visit, without fail!). Zebra’s often come close to the cars as well. One time, the Rhino was walking on the road near us. We stayed well back from it, but it still made me a bit nervous with that horn! The Bears and Elephants are fun. Last time we were there, they were feeding the Lions! It was so cool to watch!! I took some video of it because we were so transfixed watching it.  They have an area where you can buy food and feed it to the animals from your car. We did it once and it makes it very hard to move the car again because the animals swarm your car to get the food!

It is a fun way to spend a morning or afternoon. I love seeing the animals up close and wandering around in their habitats. The little zoo area is fun as well. I can highly recommend coming here with kids of all ages. They will enjoy pointing at and watching the animals from the car! Just don’t pay full price and get a Groupon before coming.

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Salt Creek Falls

One of the best things about living in the Pacific Northwest is the beauty that surrounds you everywhere. We have some of the most incredible Waterfalls. Silver Falls is one of my favorite places on this planet. I’ve driven by Multnomah falls so many times, that I think I forget the amazing beauty that I simply take for granted having seen it so many times.

On the way to Crater Lake, Salt Creek Falls was just off the road. Thanks to friends posting pictures, I knew about this place (that I had never heard of before). It is the second (some things I read say 3rd) highest waterfall in Oregon. How had I never heard of it?!?! Well, I posted pictures after we went and we had several friends planning trips to Crater Lake that added it their to-do list because they hadn’t heard of it either – glad I wasn’t the only one.

It is REALLY easy to get to – the Waterfall is just off the parking lot. Any age or ability can get to the viewpoint.

If you plan a stop here – bring bug spray!!! Seriously, you will be EATEN ALIVE! Soooooo many Mosquitos. We did not bring bug spray. It was VERY early in the morning, but luckily there was one lone lady there. She had Bug Spray. She very nicely offered to spray all of us with bug spray. Thinking back, it may be strange to allow a stranger to spray you and your kids with some spray. Well, she looked nice and trustworthy! And she was, it was organic bug spray from Costco. It was very nice of her to share and it kept us from getting too many bug bites!

If you’re on your way to Crater Lake or near this area of Oregon, stop by Salt Creek Falls and view a spectacular Waterfall. Just don’t forget the bug spray!

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Crater Lake National Park

Now that I finally finished up the DC posts, I can do some of the other places we went to this summer! We finally made it out to Crater Lake National Park. I lived within an hour in a half of Crater Lake for several years of my childhood. I have been there often. When I got married, my husband had never been. What?!?! How can someone who has lived in Oregon for their entire life never been to Crater Lake? We fixed that in our first few years of marriage.

However, we hadn’t really been since we had kids. Shame, I know! But there aren’t any hotels nearby and it is a bit far from home to make a day trip. Well, we planned a trip longer trip to a few other places, but canceled it because #5 didn’t like traveling in the car – AT ALL! We waited a few months and decided he could travel in the car – so we planned a different trip to places in Southern Oregon and Crater Lake was one of the items on our visit list.

We got there before their admission kiosk was open. They use the honor system if it is not being staffed. We had a yearly pass, so it didn’t matter for us. Then they were doing TONS of construction on the roads. When we got to the ranger station, they told us they would be closing that road later in the day, so we lucked out getting there early, otherwise, it would have added 2 hours to our trip to go around to the other entrance! That would have sucked….

Also, this was the very end of June, beginning of July. There was still TONS of snow on the ground. Like feet of snow. I wonder if it ever cleared out this summer? Maybe by the end of August…. So much snow!

We got to the parking lot/visitors area. Went to the gift shop and got some goodies. Stopped by the Ranger Station and got our Crater Lake Junior Ranger badges. #4 also wanted his own junior ranger vest, so we bought him one to match his brother’s. He was thrilled. I think they wore them an entire week together after our trip.

#5 was thrilled by the lake. He kept pointing at it and having us look. It was adorable.

Because of all the snow, we were unable to hike anywhere. Everything was closed due to snow. In July. CRAZY!

So we mainly saw the Lake, went “Oh. Ah. How Pretty!” and left. There just wasn’t anything else to do! Couldn’t even drive around the lake due to snow blocking the east side and road construction on the west/north end (the side we came in on)

We had a picnic lunch – take any food you want because there really aren’t any places to eat within an hour or more of here (which is true for most National Parks)

It is a beautiful National Park to visit. Just don’t plan on spending a large amount of time here, unless there is no snow and you’re able to do a few hikes! I’m sure we’ll head back there in a few years!

Don’t forget to get your Junior Ranger Badges while you are visiting Crater Lake!

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Hampton National Historic Site

Our last full day in the DC area was pouring rain. We were tired after 2.5 weeks of going non-stop. However, I knew we couldn’t stay home all day or the kids would get bored and fight with each other. Luckily, Hampton National Historic Site isn’t too far from my parent’s house, so we decided to go there. Plus a chance to earn another Junior Ranger badge!

We should have checked the website – they only offer tours at certain times. We got there like 5 minutes after the tour started. Ugh. They do them about every hour, except at lunch-ish time, which is when we went. So we left and got some lunch – Pit Beef!! YUM!!!. We returned and were the only ones in the 2:00 tour. You HAVE to take a tour if you want to see the house. Kinda lame, but whatever. Since it was only us on the tour, we didn’t have to worry about the kids getting bored and disturbing other people. I don’t have any pictures of the inside because a toddler had my phone to keep him happy on the tour. My husband took pictures, and someday, when I’m not lazy, I’ll have to upload them! You can always google pictures of the inside. It is quite beautiful. They apparently change the furnishings with the seasons, so it will be different each time you visit. At one time, this was one of the largest homes in the United States. It is quite impressive! My husband managed to set off one of the alarms taking a picture too! Not the kids… my husband. We all thought it was funny. Our tour guide was lots of fun and very knowledgeable.

Since it was pouring rain, we didn’t get to see much of the grounds, which was disappointing. You don’t need to be on a tour to see the grounds, you can wander at your leisure. Maybe next time it won’t be pouring, so we can explore some more. We did get to check out the big Ice hole, which is a giant hole in the ground where they kept ice… My son thought it was cool.

You have to get your Junior Ranger Badge here. No mailing it in. Thankfully, they were pretty easy to fill out! We got a bonus 50th Anniversary leftover from last year too. Double score – another 2 to add to their collection. They got quite a few on this trip!!

With this post, it ends all of our stops during this trip to DC! Man, we accomplished a lot during this trip. We love our time out there, but are always happy to be home to less humidity, traffic, and people!

Now onto our next big trip to Hawaii!

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After Monocacy and Harper’s Ferry, we went to Antietam. Unfortunately, the kids were getting tired by this time, so we didn’t spend that much time there. I would have liked to stay longer, but such as life. Just means we have to go back again! (maybe switch things up and go first when they are fresh!)

Antietam was the bloodiest battle in the Civil War. There are several monuments, cannons, bridge, and an observation tower to see. We hit the highlights before heading home. Tired/grumpy kids are no fun! Next time, I’d like to check out more of the monuments on bloody lane and the Burnside Bridge. We at least went up the Observation Tower and could see quite a bit of the battlefield and monuments from up there. Worth the hike up the tower!

You can earn a Junior Ranger badge here too. I think we mailed this one in, which was good since the kids were in no mood to do it when we got there.

Next trip, we will hopefully explore this battlefield a bit more!


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Harper’s Ferry

The first time I went to Harper’s Ferry, I didn’t realize the historical significance of it. Have you heard of Harper’s Ferry? If not, you should do some research before visiting this beautiful place!

Harper’s Ferry was important during the Civil War. It also has significance to the Lewis and Clark Expedition – they spent quite a bit of time here. I am not a historian, so I won’t go into all the reasons this place is important – I’ll leave that up to the actual Historians.

You park at the visitor’s center and board a bus to enter the city. There is very limited parking in the city, so going by bus is the best way to go, and it’s free. There are several little museums, replica stores to look at, visitor’s center, John Brown’s fort, a few monuments, a replica collapsible Lewis and Clark boat, and much more to see. The Appalachian Trail and the C&O Canal meet here too!

The biggest problem with the little museums is they smelled VERY musty and mildewy. I opened the door of the Black Voices museum and I had to turn around and leave. It smelled terrible. My lungs hurt just opening the door. Which is a bummer because I really wanted to see that museum. Hopefully, they fix that soon. A couple others smelled badly too. The Lewis and Clark ones weren’t too bad.

We like to walk across the R/R bridge – a fun little walk that the kids enjoy. The entire town is cute and fun. A lovely way to spend a few hours in West Virgina (coming from Maryland, you drive through Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia in less than 2 minutes. So weird when we are used to the big states here in the West!)

You can earn 4 different Junior Ranger Badges here. Up to 3 for Harper’s Ferry and one for the Appalachian Trail. You have to complete the booklets to earn all 3 Harper’s Ferry Badges – you can earn less if you don’t have the time to complete the book. We were told by the Ranger there that they are changing their Junior Ranger program, so it could be different the next time we go! I guess we’ll see if he’s right! You need to visit the Appalachian Trail visitor’s center in Harper’s Ferry to get that badge as well (it has its own separate booklet)

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