Category Archives: On the Road Again

Atlanta Staycation 2014 Wrap Up

Well, it’s taken me forever to finally wrap up my Atlanta Staycation posts, but I’m finally getting to it. Yay!!

Atlanta Staycation 2014 Wrap Up

If you recall, this year instead of doing our typical mountain trip we decided to stay closer to home and just spend a couple days in Atlanta. We stayed busy the 2 and half days we were there.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

The last of our stops on our Atlanta Staycation was at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. It’s quite impressive when you walk around the corner from the parking lot when you see the Dinosaur Plaza that shows off 3 dinosaur replicas.

Fernbank Museum Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta {Staycation 2014}

Another item on our to do list in Atlanta was the zoo. We’ve never been to Zoo Atlanta, well Rob has, but it’s been years ago. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Here’s some highlights from our afternoon there.

Zoo Atlanta

Mammals at Zoo Atlanta

The zoo covers 40+ acres of which most of it is has nice shaded areas with lots of trees. I enjoyed the fact that many of the exhibits could be viewed from several different angles. That’s always important when you’re trying to find where some of the animals may be hiding.

CNN Studio Tour {Staycation 2014}

Another excursion on our City Pass while in Atlanta was a CNN Studio Tour. We knew that this would be a great activity to squeeze in between other events. They start a new tour about every 10 minutes and they last about an hour. Up until a few years ago they didn’t allow small children, but we found out while on the tour that they have lifted that restriction. We kinda wished for our tour they’d bring it back.

Inside CNN Studio Tour - Atlanta, GA

Skyview Atlanta {Staycation 2014}

Skyview Atlanta (by Magnolia Mom)

While we were on our little staycation trip in Atlanta, one thing on our list to do was ride the Skyview Atlanta, ferris wheel. Its located right in the heart of Atlanta on Luckie St. beside the Tabernacle. Although, a bit pricey, its one of those things you say you could live without doing, but it’s well worth it. You get beautiful views as you leisurely, move through 4 complete rotations of the wheel.

World of Coke {Staycation 2014}

Over the 4th of July we took a trip to Atlanta for a little staycation. We got the City Pass, which was a great deal and gave us plenty do. We had a great time at the World of Coke back in 2007 and found it to be even better this time.


Georgia Aquarium {Staycation 2014}

Georgia Aquarium 2014

We recently took a trip to Atlanta over the 4th of July weekend for a little staycation. We got the City Pass, which kept us busy the 3 days we were there at a discount rate. Our first attraction was the Georgia Aquarium. We went to the Georgia Aquarium back in 2007, but that was before they expanded so it was exciting to see all that has been added.

Georgia Aquarium (by Magnolia Mom)

There are 6 exhibits, a live dolphin show called Dolphin Tales, and a 4D movie called Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow. You can find a map of all the exhibits here.

At the Cold Water Quest exhibit you’ll see a collection of animals that live in the cold environments, obviously. Here you get to see the 4 Beluga Whales (Grayson, Qinu [Kee-nu], Maris, and Beethoven) as well as Harbor Seals, Giant Pacific Octopus, Sea Dragons, Southern Sea Otters, and African Penguins. You get the opportunity to touch sea urchins and star fish in the Rocky Shore Tidal Pool.
Cold Water Quest

In the River Scout exhibit, you’ll see animals found in the rivers of Africa, South America, Asia, as well as Georgia. One of the really cool animals you’ll see is the American Alligator that is an albino. How often do you get see one of those? The exhibit also features Amazon Exotics, African Cichlids, Archerfish, Freshwater Turtles, Piranha, and Asian Small-Clawed Otters.
River Scout

The Georgia Explorer features Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Grey Triggerfish, Pencil Sea Urchin, Arrow Crab, just name a few. One of the coolest fish I saw the entire day was the Red Lionfish. I was able to get some really pretty pictures of them, because they didn’t move much.
Georgia Explorer
The family enjoyed the shark and ray touch pool in this exhibit.
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The Tropical Driver exhibit demonstrates many different habitats that house Seahorses, Garden Eels, (Rob’s favorite), Clown and Anemone, and much, much more.
Tropical Diver

In the exhibit called Sea Monsters Revealed: Aquatic Bodies, it takes you out of the world of living exhibits for something a little different. We learned a great deal about how the bodies of sea animals were created to live in the deep blue seas. The creators of this exhibit took these amazing (deceased) sea creatures and preserved them by using a revolutionary polymer preservation technique known as plastination.
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Lastly is the Ocean Voyager exhibit which was for sure my favorite. Here you’ll go through the exhibit tunnel, where you’ll be surrounded by fish swimming by and even overhead. You will see Sting Rays, Blacktip Reef Shark, Blue Runner, Giant Grouper, Longcomb Sawfish, Sandbar Shark, Zebra Shark, Hogfish, and 100’s of other species of fish.

Ocean Voyager

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This exhibit houses the world’s largest indoor aquatic habitat and when you go into the room with the towering glass wall, its just amazing to watch 4 Whale Sharks along with Manta Ray and 100s of other fish. Absolutely breath taking.
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The dolphin show was pretty cool too. I was surprised that it had a broadway-like-singer, with the dolphins coming out set to a story with music and lighting effects. A little silly and over the top, in my opinion. I would have been more interested in hearing about the dolphins and learning more about their training, etc. The reason you don’t see any pictures of the dolphins or the show is because you are not allowed to take pictures or video.

If you plan to go to the Georgia Aquarium, you can eat at the Café Aquaria. However, I’d recommend going to the information desk and get your ticket stamped for re-entry. When we were about three-fourths of the way done seeing everything we decided we needed to stop and eat lunch, so we walked over to the CNN center. The CNN center has a wide variety of places to eat in their food court.

When planning a trip to the Georgia Aquarium, I would recommend at least half a day. If you’re with a group bigger than 4 people, definitely plan for longer. Or if you’re like me, I wanted to go back to a couple exhibits and see part of the exhibit a second time around. I mean you’re paying all this money might as well get your moneys worth, right? And definitely plan to get there early. The best times to be there are early in the day and late in the day after the crowds die down.

The Georgia Aquarium is a must see! So next time you’re in Atlanta, don’t pass it up!

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See more pics from our trip the aquarium here.

Cub Scout Mountain Trip 2014::Appletree Campground, NC {Day 3}

If you missed Day 1 or Day 2 recap of our trip with the Cub Scouts to the North Carolina mountains, please catch up on those first.

Day 3 of our trip consisted of another hot breakfast, chapel, clean up, hike, and drive home.

Waiting for chapel to start.

Cub Scout Mountain Trip 2014::Bryson City, NC {Day 2}

If you missed my post on the 1st Day of our Cub Scout Mountain trip, click here.

The 2nd day ended up being a little different for us. Many folks decided to go white water rafting on the Nantahala River. This is not a scout sanctioned event, so this was just an outing for any family that wanted to go. Rob and I had decided not to go, because Rob will be doing it soon with the boy scout troop. However, we didn’t want Monkey to miss out if he wanted to go, which he did, so he ended up getting to go with another family. Here’s a collage I did of a few pics that one of the Dads took during their rafting adventure…

Cub Scout Mountain Trip 2014::Appletree Campground, NC {Day 1}

Friday morning we got up early, gathered up a few last minute things, and hopped in the car on our way up to the Nantahala National Forrest for our last Cub Scout Summer trip ever.

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I took this picture before we left. We just recently got a tow package on my Pilot, because Rob has 2 times where he has to pull trailer for scouts. The first time being this last weekend for the cub scouts. The other being next week for the boy scouts. Oh I digress…

So we had an uneventful trip up to North Carolina. We ended up stopping for lunch with our friends who were coming for the cub scout trip as well. They were stopping at Doug’s Cafe for lunch, so we decided to meet them there. When we turned in we decided it would be easier to park in the empty lot across the street. We found it curious that we saw people riding a donkey and horse, which seemed out of place.


Doug’s ended being a food truck, which I was super excited about that since I’ve been wanting to eat at a food truck.
Doug's Cafe Andrews, NC
Doug’s offers bar-be-que, Cubans, and hotdogs. All of which is reasonably priced. We all got the $5 deal (bbq sandwich, chips, and a drink).

The had a rock that made for a perfect chair for Monkey.
Doug's Cafe Andrews, NC

They also had a log carved out for a bench and another bench in front of their marquee sign. As we sat eating, Rob asked the owner, Doug, where they could get fire wood. He ended up giving us some. Then, another guy came by and showed us where we could get more. Then, proceeded to tell us about his rafting and ziplining business if we were interested. As we loaded the trailer with more wood, we saw part of a wagon train arrive back.
Not long after that, we had another guy come over and inquire about our group. He invited us to come across the street to “look” at the horses, where we were then invited and given a group rate on a rancher’s rodeo Saturday night. We took the information and said we pass it along to the other families.

At this point, I know I was “sold out” and ready to get to the campground.
Google map showing Appletree Campground near Topton, NC

Our cub scouts booked a spot at Appletree Campground, which is designated for groups only.
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It was a lovely spot that the kids enjoyed immensely. Who said boys are hard to please, drop them off near a crick creek and they are good for hours upon end.

When we arrived, we were a little concerned as the skies turned overcast, so we started getting everything set up. We were very impressed with the campground as it was quite spacious and beautiful. Our outings chair is awesome!
Appletree Campground

We got lucky and didn’t have any major precipitation. After getting all set up a group of us decided to see if we could find the Nantahala River, which we were told ran right near the campground.
Hike near Appletree Campground

We could hear the river, but we were climbing so we knew we were just getting further from the bank. We ended up seeing it, after traversing a lot of overgrown vegetation.
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We headed back as it was getting late and we needed to start dinner. The new cubmaster and former cubmaster (Rob) got the fire going over at the fire pit as they shared old and new scout stories.

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After our dinner of hot dogs, homemade macaroni, and chips, I didn’t waste much time hitting the air mattress in the tent to enjoy my book and the nice cool temperatures.

See all the pics from Day 1 here.

Read about our Day 2 adventures that Rob and I enjoyed in Bryson City here.