San Diego Zoo

It is impossible to do the San Diego Zoo in one day. We know because we tried. We arrived bright and early before the Zoo opened and walked our butts off all day. Literally, we walked our butts off all day and we still did not see everything. We didn’t even attempt to go to the Safari Park.

We walked at least 15 miles according to my fitness tracking app on my phone. Our middle child will tell we we almost died! We did spend the day in high gear to get as much of the San Diego Zoo in as possible.

This amazing bird is a Secretary Bird. Our youngest was thrilled to get this picture. I would guess that the Secretary bird could be one of his favorite stops while were visiting the animals at the zoo.

On to the Skyfari gondola ride of TERROR! Just kidding, but can you see the look that says – we are off to our deaths mom, don’t take any more pictures. Well, that feeling didn’t last long and we were able to enjoy both of our rides on the Skyfari.

There was on part of our ride that was scary. We saw a small child standing on the safety rail of their gondola about halfway through the trip! Don’t do that kids, it’s a long way down. Goodness!

At the end of the day, and I mean it they were closed, we made our way out with almost seeing everything. We suggest at least 2 days to enjoy the Zoo and another day at least for the Safari Park. Don’t take my word on the Safari Park, we haven’t been yet.

Go to San Diego Zoo’s Website for more information.

Hoover Dam

This was a fun, funny stop for us. We did have to wait out a delay of opening the dam at the nearby Lake Mead view point. After the brief delay we were on our way to check out this dam historical monument. While we opted out of the exhibits we did walk the dam and visit the gift shop.

A little Dam history. Hoover Dam was built during the depression. It took less than 5 years for thousands of workers to complete. The Winged Figures of the Republic, by artist Oskar J. W. Hansen, sit on the Nevada side of the dam and are part of the commemoration of the dams dedication by President Franklin Roosevelt.

The Dam bathrooms. This was the best mens bathroom my boys have ever been in according to them. As described by our middle son they had cool old style bathtub like urinals, boxy metal sinks, gold lining around the mirrors. The entire bathroom was black marbled granite. To get into the bathrooms they had to climb a flight of stairs, passing a window with a view looking out the leeward side of the dam. They felt like they were stepping back in time. I’m sure if you would like to know more you can google more information or plan your own visit!

For more information go to the Hoover Dam Website.

Thermopolis Wyoming

I think that Thermopolis is the not so secret, secret getaway awesome nature AND family fun experience just waiting for everyone in Wyoming. Hot Springs State Park is the main attraction here. One feature of the park is the Buffalo Trail Road. Park staff often feed the buffalo.

We didn’t manage to catch a feeding, but we did get to see some of the babies. It is important to remember that these are wild animals. Even if the calves are cute and the adults seem to be relaxing, do not approach buffalo. It is best to enjoy them from a distance or from your car.

Now that I told you a little about the nature in Thermopolis, I can tell you about Star Plunge. Star Plunge is not the only hot springs water park in Thermopolis, Hellie’s TeePee Pools is across the parking lot. Both of these pay for use water parks are located in the Hot Springs State park, but hey are not part of the State Park(you’ll have to pay to use). Here we are taking a dip at the Star Plunge Hot Springs Water Park. We have not been to Hellie’s.

You can take a free dip in the hot springs at the State Bath House. The Bath House is a free soaking facility with showers. In addition to these great activities there are mineral pools, hiking trails, interpretive trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, river access, amazing views and more. Check out the Hot Springs State Park website for more information.

An honorable mention has to go out to Taco Johns.. All of my boys love Taco John’s and were happy there was one in Thermopolis. They talk about going somewhere there is Taco John’s at least once a week.