Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

The most important battle of the Civil War took place in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a tiny town about 75 miles from Washington, DC. The battlefields at Gettysburg are surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands of monuments which help bring history to life for children and their parents. A must see are some of the unexploded ordinances lodged in buildings within Gettysburg. Each regiment that fought in Gettysburg has a marker at their base location; and it is a great treat to see where our ancestors fought. All of the Civil War’s greats have monuments here such as General Lee, President Abraham Lincoln, General Abner Doubleday (for the baseball fans), General Custard, and many more! Families can spend a few hours at this historical site, but several days could be spent learning about the intimate details of what really took place in our history.
Once at Gettysburg, you can tour yourself, get on a tour bus, or hire a private guide to drive your car and give you a personal tour of the battlefield. Before doing any of the above, the first stop needs to be the new visitor’s center. This is where you can pick up maps, hire the guides, get bus tickets, visit the museum, and just stretch your legs from the 90 minute drive. The self-guided tour is for those with an unlimited amount of time, but you’ll miss out on a lot of the little details that make Gettysburg worth the trip. The official tour bus is about $28 a person, and takes you on a specific route. You cannot skip stops, or stay longer in a place if you want; you are on the tour bus’ schedule. This is a good idea if you’re traveling solo and just want to get the Gettysburg experience quickly.
My recommendation is for the private tour guide. Make sure you hire an official guide from the visitors’ center ticket booth. It is $55 dollars for a two-hour-tour (if you are two or more, it is cost effective too). He will drive you to all of the important spots, so you don’t have to worry about one-way streets, oncoming traffic, as you are trying to see all of the sights. He drives while explaining the history of each location, and its importance during the battle. You can also have your guide look up where your family’s regiment fought, and he’ll take you to their markers (great for pictures). Even if your family didn’t fight, you can request that he take you to other famous individual locations, like Lee’s headquarters, Doubleday’s location, etc. Be sure that you take his advice and get out of the car every once in a while. The Virginia state monument is beautiful, as is the view from Little Round Top (possibly the most important site of the entire battle).
The tour ends where it began, at the visitor’s center. Use this time again to see the museum, watch the video, or just stretch your legs one more time before the drive home.

Website:
http://www.gettysburg.com/
Website 2: http://www.nps.gov/gett/index.htm
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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sesame Place in Pennsylvania


 We went to Sesame Place in the beginning of September 2008 and in the beginning of June 2009. Both times were a blast - for both the adults and the kids. In 2008, we went with our 3 year old and 1 year old and basically our 3 year old had a blast and our 1 year old didn't have too much to do, but it was still fun for him. This past June, both our 4 year old and 2 year old had a blast. The parade was really fun! They got to high five some of the Sesame Street characters and a 2 year old who was with us got to dance with some of the characters during the parade.

Aside from the parade, there are shows - The Elmo Show, Big Bird Show, etc. where children get to sit in the audience and watch their favorite characters perform as if they are on TV. In addition to the shows and parade, there are rides in water (where you can get a little wet or soaking wet) and on land, as well as places where you can climb on nets, a carousel, and some rides for younger kids (around age 2 years). The rides in the park are fun for children as well as adults.

Both years, we chose to go on Sundays either after the school year has begun (beginning Sept.) or before the school year has ended (beginning June). We did this to try and avoid the insane summer crowds on Sundays. Also, both times we were part of a group that either we or others organized. The group rate is significantly cheaper than buying tickets at full price. A group is 15 or more people who pay in advance to go on the same date (although they do not have to arrive together in any way or even know one another). For every 9 people you have in your group, you get a free ticket. If you do not want to eat the park food and would like to eat a picnic lunch/dinner, then I recommend that you leave a cooler in your car and park in one of the preferred parking lots near the entrance which are also near picnic tables. Big coolers are not allowed in the park (only small ones are okay).

Lastly, we wore clothes that we would wear to go on the water rides (e.g. swim suits, etc.) and went on the water rides first before lunch. That way, during lunch your clothes have a chance to dry or you could change your clothes then for dry rides, shows, and the parade and not have to carry clothes, towels, etc. with you in the park. Enjoy!
The website is: http://www.sesameplace.com.
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Saturday, September 5, 2009

South of the Border in South Carolina











On the way to Florida there is an area called "south of the border". There are souvenir shops /bathrooms/hotels and other attractions to spend time at. There is an arcade for kids as well as a merry-go-round . In the store called the "antique shop and hats around the world" there are riding toys and there are also statues of animals for the kids to look at and take pictures on. Additionally, there was an amusement park right next door with rides like the pirate ship, Ferris wheel, mini golf etc. A lot of people stop here when they drive by and there a lot of signs so you really cant miss it! Also there is a big sombrero that you can ride in to go to the top of a tower (200 feet they said). They call this place, America’s favorite highway oasis!
Website: http://www.thesouthoftheborder.com/
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