Archive | Texas Bucket List RSS feed for this section

All Summer and No Plans Makes Mommy a Dull Girl (AKA crazy)

7 Jun

The other day when I awoke I thought about the ten errands I needed to run and started planning my day in my head, when I immediately stopped my thought process. How the heck am I going to grocery shop with the kids??? An awful picture immediately flashed before my eyes of kids fighting in the grocery cart, whining for toys, crying because they didn’t get their choice of a sugary-filled breakfast…and so on and so forth.

When both of your kids are in school full-time you become pretty spoiled when it comes to making those quick trips here or there. The best way to get kids out of the house and mommies back into the world of sanity are camps. After the camps run out (or the money) we always tend to hit our favorite, local spots. Killeen Independent School District is very good at sending flyers home toward the end of the year with numerous camps available throughout the summer. Along with what you will get in your child’s folder, below you will find a few other camps we have utilized over our time or other random places you can take them when you are looking for some good, nearby fun. The links will take you directly to the summer activities/schedules. Good luck parents and stay sane!!!

University of Mary Hardin Baylor  – camps including art and music, sports and swim lessons

Texas Tumblers – kind of like a day care, but they make it fun with weekly, themed camps. My son went during the science week and part of his adventures was going to Inner Space Caverns.

Wazoo’s Indoor Inflatable Play Center – Perfect for a hot day!!! It will wear them out!

Lions Junction Family Water Park – Temple

Summer Fun Water Park – Belton

Salado Creek – (pictured above) This is a wonderful place my kids love to go. The link will take you to Pace Park which is a public park in Salado. If you drive just past the park, you will see a public parking space and just beyond that…the creek. Take some lawn chairs, some rafts and watch your kiddos enjoy one of my favorite childhood pasttimes…floating the creek!  We also took nets to catch minnows. Be sure they wear some rubber-soled,river shoes…the rocks can get slippery!

Bats…they’re creepy…but in Austin…they’re cooL!

16 May

View of bats emerging from below Congress Bridge. Approx 8:15 at night

 

A great day trip to Austin can take your family just about anywhere due to the fact that there is SOOOO much to do!!!  Recently, my husband went TDY and I found myself with a completely open Saturday. Instead of washing the car, mopping the floors or starting a new decorating project…I loaded us up and made a late-day trip to Austin. We started by checking out a local toy store I ran across on the internet called Toy Joy. It’s 100 % safe to take your kids there (no naughty/funny business) They have a ton of “old school” things that took me back to my younger years. In the end, I walked out with a “Pet Tornado”, a harmonica, a bow and arrow, a “thirsty bird”, a battery-operated monkey who smashes cymbals together, and a bunch of  “funny eye glasses”. It was a blast!!!  By no means…not cheap…but worth every penny when I realized we had killed over an hour in a toy shop and I wasn’t about to strangle anyone.

From there, we drove over and had dinner at Shady Grove Restaurant near Zilker Park. The wait was a bit long, but the kids had fun running around in a little shaded, grassy area while I sipped on a WONDERFUL frozen margarita. Dinner was very good, just wish the wait hadn’t been so long (over an hour)
After dinner, we found some public parking close to the Congress Avenue Bridge and followed many other stragglers who were apparently in the mood to see some bats. We settled into a spot under the bridge on a grassy little slope and we timed it JUST RIGHT. Within three minutes of sitting down, the infamous Congress Avenue Bridge bats emerged. The kids LOVED IT and I must say I was pretty impressed. There are soooo many of them and the whole city seems to get behind these creepy little animals as they emerge for their nightly feeding time.  A simple little occurrence that happens everyday in nature and there’s no doubt my kids will remember it for years to come.  Oh yeah…and it’s free!!! .Make sure to check it off your Texas Bucket List too!

Gruene, Texas…the perfect day trip

16 May

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you’re looking for a perfect get away trip that doesn’t break the bank and can be done in a day…then visit Gruene!!!! It’s an absolute must-see and it’s roughly two hours away from Killeen. (pronounced like the color, green) Recently, we made a day trip out of  it with close friends.

 First, we decided to do something fun with the kids, so we stopped in at Natural Bridge Caverns. It’s one of Texas’ natural attractions just outside of New Braunfels. From start to finish, the cavern tour lasted about two hours. The kids absolutely loved exploring the historical cavern system.  When we were finished, we decided Gruene would be a great place to stop in for an early dinner.  

We first made a quick stop at Gruene Hall for a few beers and a sneak peek at some local country music talent. Then we walked on over to eat a very nice and relaxing dinner at The Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar. The food was great and the setting was amazing.

 

If ever you would love to get a true taste of Texas….Gruene, Texas would be my #1 recommendation. Hop on over and check it out!

The Texas Bucket List

21 Mar
 

 

Lake Whitney, Texas

Having only a few more months left in the Lone-Star-State, we are trying to squeeze in all this big ol’ state has to offer an adventure-seekin’ family. One thing I learned…if you’d like to go camping in one of the 93 Texas State Parks…plan ahead…WAAAAYYYYY ahead. We thought a month out would be ample time to schedule a two night camping trip in one of the Hill Country regions. Come to find out, those prime parcels are booked up to a year in advance. After spending an hour on the phone with a gal who was trying her best to find us a place, she came up with two nights during Spring Break at Lake Whitney.It was literally the ONLY place available within a two-hour drive of Killeen, Texas. I booked it, hoping it would at least offer my young family a fun, first-time camping experience.

All in all I give Lake Whitney a “B”. I think the highlight for us was the camp site we were assigned..Site 128. It literally was right on a bluff that overlooked the lake.  Very scenic…a little windy, but the view was totally worth it. We splurged and rented a pop-up camper from the Ft. Hood MWR. $40/day plus a $50 deposit. The site had electricity and water. We had to walk about 1/4 mile to the closest bathrooms which were brand new and in very nice shape.

The lake itself is pretty basic. There is a main beach area which is open to the public. We were turned off by the number of people there, so we found a nature walk that took us right to a private beach. We were able to let the dogs off their leashes and clown around without seeing a person for hours.

The park is clean and quiet, maybe not as “pretty” as some of the other places you can find in the Hill Country, but all in all it was a fun and pleasant experience for us.

Other state parks you must visit:

Garner State Park – Hill Country

Guadalupe State Park – Hill Country

Pedernales Falls State Park – Hill Country

Enchanted Rock State Park – Hill Country