There are four days in 2018 that entrance to our National Parks are free for visitors.
From the National Park Service website:
Come experience the national parks! On four days in 2018, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone. Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2018:
The entrance fee waiver for fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.
More information can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks.htm
I am a planner. I like to research and I like to have a general idea of how my vacation is going to proceed. I am trying to say “Yes” more. Be more spontaneous! Its harder than it sounds but I am trying.
The opportunity came to crash with friends in Brooklyn for a few days. Awesome and I would love to go, except I have a job and a friend’s wedding on Saturday… Wednesday night a friend told us about a killer airfare from Midway to New York, jokingly I told Daughter wouldn’t that be fun. We did not have time to go this summer, pretty much every weekend is booked and getting off work can be hard. Pipe dream, see what next year brings. Husband said if you can get off work, you should go. Really, he is not a spontaneous person either. I was pretty sure I could not afford the airfare let alone get off work. Ha, ha, ha. I could afford airfare, actually it was pretty cheap for short notice. But I had to ask off from work and that was given a green light also if I could squeeze around my deadlines.
This was Thursday morning, bought my airline tickets in the afternoon and flew to New York on Saturday for a few days! Crazy! Even crazier was Daughter’s reaction when she got out of school Thursday to be told she was going to New York on Saturday. She was pretty excited to say the least!
We got ourselves packed up and for the first time in a year all of my flights were on time. Found the apartment with no issue and we were in Brooklyn!!!!! Daughter had picked out a few things she wanted to see on the trip and number two was Times Square. All I knew was I could get there on the Q train so off we went into the city that made Chicago look like a little burg.
Now people who have visited will get this little funny. We popped out of the train station at the Time Square station with several exits and found ourselves in the theater area. We went right instead of left. LOL! Took a nice little walk of the area before we found where we wanted to be. Actually daughter saw the huge H&M Store and was in heaven. So that little detour got us to Time Square by accident.
Memorial Day through Labor Day the Blue Star Museum program offers free admission to military personnel and their families. (This includes active duty, National Guard and Reserve military members and their families.) This program is offered by the National Endowment for the Arts.
This includes more than 2,000 history, art, science and children’s museums. Here are some examples of museums that are included:
- Chicago : Science and Industry, Art Institute, and the Frank Lloyd Wright House
- Orlando: Orlando Museum of Art, and Mennello Museums
- Dallas: Dallas Heritage Village, Frontiers of Flight Museum and Dallas Museum of Art
- Seattle: The Museum of Flight, Frye Art Museum and Seattle Art Museum
A website with more information and a listing by state can be found here :http://bluestarfam.org/Programs/Blue_Star_Museums
Thanks to all of our current and previous military members for all that they have done and continue to do for our country!
I am not 100% sure how we go the idea to visit the Jelly Belly Distribution Center in Wisconsin. I must have heard/read/seen something and when Daughter was munching thru a bag of Jelly Belly’s in the car I said “Did you know we could go there?” I say stupid stuff like that a lot and nothing ever happens. By default my phone rang right then and jokingly Daughter said “Ask Aunt Em if she want to go to Jelly Belly?” Daughter was laughing hard and thought she was being silly. Ha, Ha, jokes on her! Aunt Em having no clue what the heck is going on said Yes. So we put together a road trip to Jelly Belly and beyond.
Jelly Belly has a Wisconsin Visitors Center in Pleasant Prairie, I didn’t know where that was but its about an hour from Chicago. Very easy to get to off from I-94. They offer free warehouse tours, a sample pack of Jelly Belly’s on the tour and a very large candy store. Whats not to love!!! Free tour, free candy and it’s Jelly Belly.
Daughter likes to act like we drove for miles and hardly survived the trip. Or she is really, really excited to be here.
We took a beach break by walking the nature trail from the South Padre Convention Center. (7355 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX) I had to convince daughter she would see something cool as all she wanted to do was boogie board at the beach.
This was the something cool I wanted to show her, she told me we could have just driven by it. Oh the start of the teenage years, looking forward to them so!
Its Whaling Wall #53. We parked right near it and walked along the side of the property to the nature walks. Free to park and walk around the bay side trails/ boardwalk.There is a little garden behind the conference center and these trails take off from the driveway to the left of the conference center.
For some reason there were tons of butterfly in these bushes next to the boardwalk.
We saw a duck who keep hiding when we walked by.
And this crazy duck kept sitting on the rails…
We took in the scenery.
It took us around half an hour to walk the boardwalk trails, look for fish in the water and take a few pictures.
This boardwalk is located next door to the South Padre Birding Center. From the looks of things they used to share the boardwalk trail. In several spots it looks like they put up new boardwalk trail right next to the conference center trail. They charge $5 a person to walk their boardwalk thru the same shrubs and backwaters to the bay. Same bay and 99% the same trail, I wasn’t going to pay $15 for that same experience that took about half an hour. During birding season you will see more but in early June it was fun to walk and see the local birds.
How do we do this?
#2 some of the best things in life are free. Really!
Some free things we did in Texas:
- Watch the sunset on the beach.
- Walked the Laguna Madre Nature trail.
- Walked out on the fishing piers, like Pirates Landing.
- Window shop around town.
- Sitting on the beach and playing in the surf.
- Free movies on lighthouses, buildings, in pools and in parks.
- Chasing crabs on the beach in the dark.
These items cost us nothing and I will tell you that my husband trying not to swear when pinched by a crab was priceless! Search out the free things to do either on Trip Advisor, the towns website or Facebook page.