A Day Trip to Seaside, Florida

About a month ago we had an event to attend in Panama City, and on our way there we decided to veer off of Highway 98 and take a drive on 30A.  We had such a great time wandering around the pretty little streets and eating sweet treats from an airstream trailer! 

When you arrive in Seaside, the homes might look familiar because they were used in the Truman Show, that movie where Jim Carrey thinks he lives in the perfect community with the perfect life.  Seaside offers many family friendly activities throughout the summer.  There are free sand sculpting lessons, theater performances and music in the ampitheater, and First Friday Artwalks. 

There are movies under the stars and a farmer’s market.  Throw your bikes in the car or rent them from any number of bike rental places because Seaside is best explored on foot or bike.  One of the things I love the most about Seaside was the little row of Airstreams that serve up grilled cheese, snowcones and BBQ. 

The drive from Pensacola to Seaside will take you approximately two hours on Highway 98.  Along the way, you will pass several state parks, a Fresh Market (my favorite stop along the way!), the Gulfarium, and more.

If you want to make your visit to Seaside more than just a day trip, there are cottages available for rent.  If that is not in the budget but you want to make a weekend of it, Grayton Beach State Park has both cabins and full facility campsites.  You can also drive another 30 minutes or so to Panama City Beach and spend the night in one of the many hotels there. 

Along 30A, you will also find Watercolor, Grayton Beach State Park, Alys Beach and so much more.  My pal at Mommy Travels, wrote a little bit about her family friendly favorite spots on 30A over at Traveling Mom.  She has also written about biking along 30A and a weekend along 30A.   

My husband and I fell in love with Seaside in those few hours and we can’t wait to return!  Have you been to Seaside? What is your favorite thing to do on 30A?

Day Out with Thomas at Wales West

Today I spent a perfect Mother’s Day with my mother and my two children at the Day Out with Thomas at Wales West Railways located at the Wales West RV Park in Silverhill, Alabama.  Wait a minute…did you say RV park?  Yes, I did!  The RV park has a train track that runs through it and around the it.  They hold events throughout the year that the train lovers in your family would adore! 

Day Out with Thomas is a yearly event where Thomas the Train travels to different depots for visits with children all around the United States and Canada.  At Day Out with Thomas visitors get to take a 20 minute ride on Thomas’s train, meet Sir Topham Hat, and take pictures with Thomas.  There is also an Imagination Station where kids can play with trains, watch Thomas videos and hear Thomas stories. 

Wales West also offers a train ride on their smaller train and a look at the model trains.  There were concession stands where you can purchase treats and drinks. 

We had a great time exploring and although the kids enjoyed the ride on Thomas the Train they much preferred the ride on the smaller train because it seemed much faster to them!  This event would be perfect for your little ones who are in the middle of their Thomas the Train phase! 

Thomas will be at Wales West next weekend before he heads to the next station.  He will be there on May 14th and 15th and tickets are still available.

Wales West offers all sorts of family friendly activities throughout the year like a summer program, 4th of July Fireworks, Pumpkin Patch Express and the Arctic Express, a Christmas train. 

Wales West is located at 13670 Smiley St., Silverhill, Al and the contact number is 888-569-5337.

Disclosure: I received four tickets to Day Out with Thomas.  My opinions are always my own with no outside influence.

Day Out with Thomas – Wales West

What: Day Out with Thomas; Where: Wales West RV Resort in Silverhill, AL; When: April 30th. & May 1st., May 7th. & 8th., and May 14th. & 15th. 2011; Cost: $18.00 per person plus tax 

Tickets for the Day Out with Thomas at Wales West RV Park are still on sale.  On April 30th, May 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, and 15th, take a ride with Thomas, meet Sir Topham Hat, listen to a story or watch a video and so much more.  Tickets to this event are $18.00 plus tax per person.  We will be visiting with Thomas on the second weekend that he is in Wales West and when we get home I will be blogging all about it. 

Have you attended a Day Out with Thomas?  Are you going this year?  Do you have any tips for us to know before we go?  If so, please leave us a comment! 

PS.  While you are on the Wales West website, check out information for the Cottontail Express event which is going on now.

Snow in the South – Foley, Alabama – Let it Snow

On December 4th, it will snow in Foley, Alabama!  Well, it won’t really snow but it will be the next best thing!  Let it Snow is a holiday celebration at Foley Heritage Park held on December 4th from 11 to 3.    Admission is free.  There will be snow, games, prizes, food, and entertainment.

We went to this event last year and had so much fun.  The snow is actually big ice blocks that they blow into a fenced off area.  Last year they had separate play times for the different age groups.  The little children got to go first and then they gradually let older children play.  It was pretty icy and once it became a free for all the snow area was pretty chaotic.   

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • Wear tennis shoes or shoes with some sort of grip on them.  After a little while, the ice gets muddy (especially if it stays as warm as it has been!) and slippery.
  • Throw an extra set of clothes in the car so the ride home won’t be a soggy and uncomfortable one.
  • Make a day of it!  The trip from Pensacola to Foley will take a little while so make a day trip of it.  Visit the Train Depot Museum (which is located adjacent to the Let it Snow event), stop at the Tanger Outlets, or watch the Foley Christmas Parade which is the same day.
Foley Family Vacation on raveable

Tree Farms in and around Pensacola, Florida

When do you put up your Christmas tree?  Do you put up a fake tree or a real tree?  Does your family head out to a Christmas tree farm to cut down your own?

Here are a few U-pick Christmas tree farms in our surrounding area.  Even if you already have a tree or put up a fake tree, a visit to the farm can be fun for the family.  If there are any farms to add to the list or if any of these are no longer operating, please let us know!  As always, make sure to call ahead before you go.

Fish River Trees – Located in Summerdale, AL; This is the only farm on the list that we have visited.  We had such a great time and we didn’t even go to pick out a tree!  There is a ride around the farm, hot chocolate to purchase, Santa and reindeer to visit.

Whispering Pines Christmas Tree Farm – Located north of Milton; They have staff to help you with your tree purchase.

Country Pine Christmas Tree Farm – Located near Bratt; Enjoy the pond, free cookies and candy canes for the kids, and run around while looking for your tree.

The Christmas Tree Forest – Located in Pensacola; They have both choose and cut and potted trees.

The Loop

We are welcoming Lisa as a guest poster again!   Today she is sharing one of her favorite activities to do: drive what her family calls the Loop!  We have done different portions of this drive before, but I love the way she has mapped out exactly what they do on a day drive!  What are your favorite sites along this trip?  Share with us in the comments!

Have you driven the Loop recently?? 

Well, that’s what we call this trip in our house.  We’ve lived in West Pensacola for many years and often venture into Alabama for a fun day or afternoon.  Here are a variety of fun activities you could cover in an afternoon or a full day. 

It is great for younger kids too!

There are many other things you may want to stop at, but we’ll outline just a few of our favorites here…

(there are a lot of small towns this way and lots of history if you are interested in that… stop and look!)

Start your journey driving out of Pensacola via Hwy 98 from Blue Angel Pkwy.  You’ll cross through Lillian, AL into the small city of Elberta.  Elberta is famous for their annual Sausage Festival  (next one is October 30th!).

There is a wonderful cheese farm here called Sweet Home Farm (located at 27107 Schoen Road , Elberta, AL 36530).  Watch the right side of the road for the yellow sign after you pass BJ Farms on the left at 27168 HWY 98.  They are only open Friday and Saturdays from 10-5pm.  Be sure to have cash on hand. The cheese is wonderful and if you are a cheese fanatic, be sure to bring a cooler to store your cheese while you play for the rest of the day!

Continue on Hwy 98 into Foley and turn left onto Hwy 59.  There are many things to do in this area as you travel south on Hwy 98 towards Gulf Shores.  Here are a few ideas:

 1. Foley Kids Park. Lots of shade!  Just off of 59 at Alston & Verbena 

2. My kids love the McDonalds on Hwy 59 because it has a huge treehouse instead of the regular playtubes.

3. The Foley Outlets:  The Outlets have had a major reconstruct over the past couple of years.  It is much more family friendly now with a covered playground (shade!), small water fountains for the kids to cool off, a carousel and a small food court…and a Starbucks. Look for the yummy fudge store right beside the Gymboree Outlet store. 

4. Old Time Pottery: Find lots of bargain priced things for the home. Especially nice during the holidays when they have a huge assortment of Christmas decorations.   

5. The Pelican Place: Stores include Target, Books a Million, Bed Bath & Beyond, Cobb Movie Theatres and several little specialty shops. Check out Sweetie Pies for some amazing homemade pie! (maybe you should bring a BIG cooler for all that cheese and a pie you’ll bring home!).  My children LOVE the water fountains here.  

As you enter into the heart of Gulf Shores, there are an abundance of things to do and restaurants to visit.  Here are a few of our favorites (which could be a reason for a return trip soon!)

1. LuLu Buffett’s famous restaurant – Try the Fried Green Tomatoes and her wow sauce.  There is a large sand hill for the kids to play on so you can enjoy a relaxing drink with hubby.

2. The Hangout – Another great tourist restaurant with a sand hill with a tunnel for the kids.  Avoid visiting during peak tourist times however or plan to eat before or after the peak eating hours of the day.  For locals, I suggest to visit in late Spring and early Fall. They usually still have music and tourist activities but smaller crowds and of course it isn’t so hot!  We visited last September and they were doing a “Put on a frozen tshirt contest.” 

3. The Track 

4. Gulf Coast Zoo 

5. Souvenir City – walk into a giant shark and look at beach and touristy souvenirs.

Once you reach the end of 59, turn left onto Beach Blvd. Gulf Shores has such a great feeling. It’s like being on vacation when you are so close to home! There are several wonderful places to stop and walk out on the beach in this area. 

We especially love the beaches here but our favorite is the Gulf State Park under the big bridge towards the FL/AL state line. Just a little further down is Hwy 161 (*see below for a detour). There is a new Publix here and a Dairy Queen! YUM!

You can choose to continue on and cross the state line and see the infamous Florabama! If you follow this road through Perdido Key look for Lillian’s Pizza and Vallarta’s, two great places you’ll find tourists and locals munching away together!!  This road will continue on and meet at Blue Angel Pkwy about 2 miles south of where you started. 

*But if you still need a few more things to do..here is another great tip:

Turn at 161 where Publix is. Drive north until the road ends.

1.  Turn right and about a mile down is the Orange Beach Kids Park.  A wonderful playground with several shaded areas for picnics, restrooms and even a fishing pier!

2. Turn left and several miles down is The Wharf. Lots of fun boutiques, restaurants, Build-a-Bear, Rave Motion Theatres and a Ferris Wheel! 

Before you go, don’t forget…

1. Swimsuits, extra change of clothes for the kids and sunscreen!

2. Pack a lunch if you are trying to budget but keep a few $$ for the ice cream, carousel or ferris wheel!!

3. Don’t try to do it all in one day! There is a lot to do out in this area!

4. A cooler for the cheese and pies!!

Lisa T

Wife and Mom of Three (8,7,5)

www.LisasWeePiggies.com

Summer Road Trip Celebration – San Antonio, Texas

A few months ago, I entered a blog contest and won a trip to San Antonio, Texas.  The prize included a two night hotel stay and four tickets to six different attractions.  San Antonio was about a twelve hour drive so this trip probably would not be fitting for a weekend of course!  We left Pensacola on a Friday and returned on the following Tuesday with both Friday and Tuesday being all day travel days.  Even though we had to cover all of our food, several extra hotel nights, and attractions that weren’t included in the prize, we had a great time in San Antonio and are glad we went! 

 

Ten Kid-Friendly Activities in San Antonio, Texas

  • Six Flags Fiesta Texas – With your admission fee, you get entrance into both the theme park and the small water park attached to it.  The little ones will love Wiggles World and the Boardwalk.  The older children will enjoy the Superman ride and the other very scary roller coasters!
  • San Antonio Missions National Park – This national park consists of the different missions scattered throughout San Antonio.  Before you visit the missions, stop by the Visitor Center and pick up a Junior Ranger Booklet to take with you.
  • The Witte Museum – We moved quickly through this museum so we didn’t spend much time here.  The best part for the kids was the H.E.B. Science treehouse where they had several hands-on activities for kids.
  • Buckhorn Museum – We only went to this because the tickets were included in our prize package but this is definitely not for the feint of heart.  There are animals that are no longer breathing…everywhere…lots of them.  The kids did enjoy the Texas Ranger side of the museum.
  • San Antonio Zoo – This is not the biggest zoo we have ever been to, but it is one of the most kid-friendly zoos we have ever been to.  There is lots for the kids to do to keep them active including a petting zoo where you can actually go into the pens and a discovery center with an area to play.
  • San Antonio Children’s Museum – Great children’s museum with lots of hands-on and interactive activities for the children.
  • Take a boat ride through the Riverwalk – The Riverwalk tours are about 35 minutes and if your kids like boat rides they might get a kick out of this activity.  I wish it had been a little bit shorter because my three year old had her fill about halfway through the trip but we really enjoyed the trip.
  • Eat dinner at Tomatillos – We loved our Tex Mex meal here so much that we went back the next day for a second meal.  On the kid’s menu, they have a plate of refired beans, rice, and tortillas for just $2!!!
  • Schlitterbahn – You may have seen this waterpark on the Discovery Channel show…this waterpark will keep the whole family busy all day long.
  • If you are a fan of theme parks, stop by Sea World San Antonio.

For more family friendly San Antonio activities, visit Wandering Off.  This mama lives in San Antonio and writes about all of her adventures.

Looking for other options for a summer road trip?  See our other summer road trip posts: Tallahassee, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia;  Aliceville, Alabama; and Jacksonville, Florida.  We will continue with our Summer Road Trip Celebration through the rest of the summer!

Today, I am linking up with Trekaroo for Spotlight Thursday.

San Antonio Family Vacation

Bass Pro Family Summer Camp

This is the last week for the Bass Pro Family Summer Camp!  “Camp” occurs on Tuesday and Thursday as well as Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6.  Check the website for the official schedule and be sure that the Spanish Fort and Destin stores are participating!

Bass Pro Family Summer Camp

This is the last week for the Bass Pro Family Summer Camp!  “Camp” occurs on Tuesday and Thursday as well as Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6.  Check the website for the official schedule and be sure that the Spanish Fort and Destin stores are participating!

Summer Road Trip Celebration – Shark Tooth Creek, Aliceville, Alabama

Today, for our Summer Road Trip Celebration, Pensacola with Kids is welcoming Lisa from Lisa’s Wee Piggies.  She is an adventurous Pensacola mom of three children and I was so excited when she was interested in writing a guest post.  I hope to hear more from her in the future!  If you are interested in guest posting, please email me at jennifer (at) pensacolawithkids.com or use the Contact Form.   

To kick off Summer 2010, my husband and I wanted to take the kids on a little adventure!  What’s more adventurous than camping and shark hunting?

Shark Tooth Creek is a fantastic family friendly weekend activity located outside Aliceville, AL.

Owned and operated by Ken Owens, the shark tooth hunting adventure last approximately 2-3 hours and includes a trip to shark tooth creek via Shark Tooth Creek Express, shark tooth hunting in the famous creek, your lunch in the pavilion followed by play time at Mr. Owens personally hand constructed playhouse.

Shark Tooth Creek is approximately a five hour drive from Pensacola, so we opted to camp overnight Friday and Saturday. There is a large pavilion with two sets of bathrooms that include showers.  The pavilion also has a large utility sink, grills (bring charcoal) and plenty of picnic tables and electrical outlets (great to recharge phones & dvd players, coffee machines, etc.)  One family ran an extension cord with a big fan to their site!  There are two large fire pits with fire wood provided.  Campsites sit on a hillside overlooking 75 acres of water!  There is a dock along the water with a water trampoline (the kids loved swimming and jumping!) and two canoes that you can use.

Typically the shark tooth hunting excursion begins around 9:45 am. After everyone checked in with Mr. Owens, we were all loaded up into the Shark Tooth Express truck and driven out to the creek about 10 minutes away. Mr. Owens made great commentary that thrilled the children! 

Since most of the river is shrouded in trees, the hot sun didn’t bother us very much. We spent about an hour or so, walking the creek and finding different kinds of shark teeth!  This area has been visited by many serious Paleontology groups for the past 50 years. Upon return to the pavilion, we had a quick lunch and were allowed to visit Mr. Owens private tree house complete with a zip line!

 Things To Know Before You Go:

 Tips from the Torres Family

  •  Wear appropriate footwear. Full foot water shoes for toddlers and preschoolers. Flip flops or crocs for older kids. You’ll be walking through water in some areas and it can be a little muddy if it has recently rained.
  • Bring your camera!
  • Be sure children wear a swimsuit under a tshirt and shorts during the adventure. There are a few little spots they can get wet.
  • If you don’t fancy camping, Tuscaloosa, AL is a 40 minute drive away. We got rained out late Saturday, and decided to hit the Country Inn & Suites instead of chancing the approaching thunderstorms with three kids!  Bring lunches, swimsuits, sunscreen etc since you can still use the pavilion and swimming areas in the afternoon.
  • Book in advance! Pricing and more information can be found at www.sharktoothcreek.com.

Lisa T.

Pensacola Mom of 3 (ages 5,7,8)

www.LisasWeePiggies.com

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