Baby · Life At Home · Travel

5 Reasons Why You Should Take Your Child to the National Audubon Society

During the summers my daughter and I love adventuring to new places and exploring new things. Last year was tough because she wasn’t even one, and she couldn’t do very much. This year is a whole different story. She can interact with things, play, and observe. That’s why I decided to try out our local Audubon Society here in town, and let me tell you it was one of the best days we’ve had in a while.

I cannot speak for all Audubon’s across the country, but I’m sure each one works hard to make it fun and interactive for kids and adults. I was amazed at all the fun things we could do and see there, especially for my almost two-year-old daughter.

Hiking

They have tons of hiking paths and trails that you can choose to walk. Deep in the woods, or just a small trek around their facility, it could leave you walking for hours. They allow strollers, so my daughter and I walked a path through the woods and were able to see tons of birds, wildlife, pinecones, trees, and berries.

Audubon walkAudubonAudubon trail

Wildlife

I’m sure each Audubon center is different in terms of the wildlife. Our local Audubon has one specific gem that many locals know, and that is Liberty, a bald eagle. She happily has her own big exhibit that she stays in and watches visitors as they pass by. My daughter is obsessed with birds and was so excited to see one so large. It was incredible to see her so close.

Audubon bald eagle

Audubon nest
Margot inside a life-size bald eagle nest.

Gardens

Our Audubon has a local garden that they encourage you to enter and look around. It was a pretty big garden that housed many different flowers and vegetables. They ask that you be respectful of the growing crops, and do not touch, but they love for visitors to enter the enclosed space and look around at all the food and flowers they are growing. My daughter was obsessed with the tomatoes!

Audubon gardenAudubon gardensAudubon tomatoAudubon tomatoes

Interactive Play and Exhibits

Once we had explored outside for a while we moved our exploration inside. We learned there was so much more to discover inside as well. Every room, including little nooks and crannies, had either blocks, books, toys, animals, or something that she could interact and play with. I couldn’t believe how much was offered.

Some things we did inside included:

  • Pretend fishing with local fish in our area
  • Read books about many local animals
  • Played with insect puzzles
  • Played with puppets that had to do with pollination
  • Used binoculars placed by a window to see wildlife outside
  • Traveled through a hollowed out tree tunnel
  • Looked through tanks at different turtles and fish
  • Saw life-sized spiders (inside glass of course)
  • Picked pretend fruit and veggies
  • Played with stuffed animal birds
  • Checked out the gift shop

Audubon binocularsAudubon play roomAudubon playAudubon puzzleAudubon spidersAudubon treeAudubon turtle

 

The Observatory

This may have been our favorite place in the entire Audubon. This beautiful top floor allowed you to see so much of the property and its surroundings. You could easily see the pond, so many trees, some of the paths, and of course some birds and wildlife around. My daughter was fascinated by the view, and we looked out of the glass for a while.

Audubon overlookAudubon observatory

Check out the Audubon’s website to find a local Audubon near you to explore with your family. I promise you won’t regret it!

Audubon hike

Travel

The Three Best Things We Discovered On Our Trip to Disney World

My husband and I went on our honeymoon to Disney. Disney has tons of unique and exciting things that people don’t know about. From “Hidden Mickey’s” to secret doorways in shops or restaurants there is so much to discover.

Here are just a few simple things we found at Disney that are worth mentioning.

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(glasses from Warby Parker)

The Wild Africa Trek.

If you’ve been to Disney before you may have been on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride where you ride an open vehicle through a savanna to see wild animals for about 20 minutes.

If you’re interested in experiencing a bit more than that try the Wild Africa Trek. It is based off of the same ride except you are hiking through this safari ride, getting up close views of the animals, and eating at an African post for lunch. You get a personal tour of the animals and their amazing environment that Disney has created for them.

It is a very fun experience. You can read more about it here.

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Enjoy having part of the park to yourself?

My husband and I stayed at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Friends had told us to stay there because it was walking distance from Epcot, which is where we planned to spend a lot of time. We were so happy with this choice for a few reasons.

It had a fabulous view. You could look out onto the water and see the lights of the boardwalk across. It had tons of entertainment options. Pool by day, boardwalk games and performers by night.

It was also so close to a back entrance at Epcot that brought you into France. Most mornings we got up, walked to our private back entrance and went to the French bakery, without ANYONE in sight! Three of the mornings we went to the French bakery for breakfast the french workers said, “Oh good morning! You are our first customers!”. It was so nice to be able to order food, find a seat and relax without the pressure of the Disney crowds.

Other places around there you could stay include Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Boardwalk.

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Going for a special occasion? Wear the buttons.

Disney now has a special thing they do for people that visit them for a special occasion. If you are visiting for a birthday, anniversary, just got engaged, graduation, etc. they will provide you with a button that you can wear all throughout Disney World.

Our buttons were pretty big. It kept getting in the way of the bag I was wearing. We did not want to wear them at first. We purposefully left them off, and when workers would say, “Oh did you not get a button?” we would tell them we forgot it. One day we decided to just “wear the stupid button”.

And that was the day we felt like celebrities.

Everywhere we went workers told us “Congratulations on your recent marriage!” Restaurants gave us free deserts. Starbucks gave us a discount on our coffee, and wrote cute notes on our cups. A small ice cream vendor even gave us free ice cream at one point.

After that day I’m pretty sure we even slept in those buttons.

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There are so many other amazing things that Disney World has to offer.

What are some tips or tricks that you found on your trip to Disney? Comment below so others don’t miss out.

Enjoy!

Britta

 

Travel

6 Reasons Why You Should Do the Wild Africa Trek in Disney World

Many people are aware of the Kilimanjaro Safari ride in Disney World.  It loads passengers onto a safari bus, and you travel through a savanna for about 20 minutes spotting random animals in the distance. It’s an enjoyable ride for all ages.

But did you know you can dive even deeper into this experience?

The Wild Africa Trek allows you a three hour experience of walking along a grassland path, crossing a rope bridge, and riding in a safari vehicle across the savanna.

It is amazing, and you should do it.

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You get a front row seat to the animals.

You get so much closer to the animals in this trek than in the safari ride. You are still far enough away that you and the animals feel safe, but you can get a wonderful view of these animals in their natural environments on the hike and in the safari vehicle.

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There are two guides that lead the way and follow behind.

As you go through your three hour tour (I cannot say those three words without singing the song from Gilligan’s Island), there will always be one tour guide in the front and one at the back. You travel in a group of eight so it’s very easy to ask questions to the guides and have conversations about the park and the animals around you.

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You wear special gear.

As you travel you get special equipment to wear to ensure safety and to provide convenience. You get a vest to keep any phones or items you want to bring with you, including the water bottle they provide. They even have a personalized name tag all ready for you when you get there. You wear a headset so when you’re all walking in a straight line your tour guide can just talk in their microphone and you will hear them well enough so you are not alarming the animals.

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You get to walk across a creaky bridge over alligators.

Yeah. For real. They harness you in, and the bridge has a net around the sides, but it’s still pretty sweet. I mean, look at those gators!

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They feed you.

After you hike for a bit, you finally reach an African post to stop and eat lunch. They will have prepared you a meal of first-class, African-inspired snacks. It will vary but you may possibly indulge in prosciutto, smoked salmon, fig cake with Boursin cheese, Brie and apricot, yogurt, hummus, and/or tandoori shrimp. Delicious.

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You get complimentary photo services.

Not only are the guides there to make sure that you are safe, but they continually snap pictures of you on your experience. Typically the front guide leads the tour and the back guide takes most of the pictures. They will snap pictures of you hiking, on the bus, at lunch, and across the bridge. They will make sure you get the website to access these pictures completely free of charge.

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If you’re not sold yet, I would recommend you look more into this yourself at Disney’s website. It is a fun experience for adults and children 8 years and older. You need to be in good health, and wear appropriate attire (shorts or pants, comfortable shirt and gym shoes; no flip flops).

You would need to make sure you signed up for a time beforehand because this is not something you can just show up for. It also does cost extra money, but let’s face it; doesn’t everything at Disney World?

If you have any questions or comments, or would like to share about your experience please contact me or leave me a comment below.

Enjoy!

Britta