inside entrance to Kirby Science Discovery Center

15 Ways to Explore the Kirby Science Center in Sioux Falls, SD

This summer, we spent an unexpected few days in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We were supposed to stay overnight as a layover on our way to Wisconsin, but when we saw all of the family friendly activities, we decided to extend our visit. We had a wonderful 3+ days exploring the area. One of our favorite spots was the  Kirby Science Discovery Center, located in the Washington Pavilion. 

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Year in Review: Highlights of 2021

Even though 2021 was the second year impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic, we feel blessed to still have had many amazing adventures. We spent most of the winter in Connecticut exploring many local spots; the summer road tripping across Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, and Wisconsin (did we mention the number 4300 miles?!?!); and the spring and fall revisiting some of our tried and true favorite spots for new activities. This post is always one of our favorites each year, as it’s fun to go back down “memory lane” and reflect on the best parts of each adventure. So here is a recap of our (documented, publicly shared) 2021 adventures:

Playing “I Spy” at the Colorado State Capitol

Visiting about a state’s history is one of our favorite activities and whenever we’re in a capital city, we make time to tour the state Capitol complex. The buildings are architecturally beautiful and the guides are usually enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and engaging. To date, we have toured capitol buildings in Massachusetts, Rhode Island (#5), New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Arkansas (#6). On our summer 2021 road trip, we spent the day in Denver (we were in town primarily to see the Rockies) and made time for a tour of the Capitol.

At one time, Denver was the second largest city in the West (behind San Francisco) and was part of the Gold Rush of the 1860s. Originally, what is now considered the state of Colorado was part of the Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, and New Mexico territories. In 1861 Colorado was declared a territory and became the 38th state in America. At first, Colorado City and then Golden were declared state capitals until 1867 when Denver became the permanent state capital. Construction on the Capitol building started in 1886, was completed enough for the building to be occupied in 1893, and then fully operational in the early 1900s. The building was designed on an axis in the form of a Corinthian Cross and closely resembles the design of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

10 Ways to Explore the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail, CO

On a recent visit to Vail, Colorado, we spent a wonderful morning at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and enjoyed our visit so much, we decided to devote a full post to the gardens. The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is considered the highest (8,200 feet above sea level!) botanical garden in the world. The word alpine means “above treeline” and the gardens are organized by regions, including the Eastern Himalayas, Patagonia, and Scottish Highlands. Vail’s higher evaluation and cool, dry climate make it possible to grow alpine plants from around the world. The complex, located inside the Ford Park, includes 19 gardens with well marked walking paths and plenty of signage to explain the name and origin of each plant, flowers, bush, and tree. Betty Ford, wife of US President Gerald Ford (who is the namesake of the adjacent amphitheater and park) “gave her name” to the center in 1988. Today, the gardens are one of the most popular attractions in Vail Valley and for good reason.

10 Kid Friendly Winter Activities at Crystal Springs Resort in New Jersey

One of our favorite highlights of 2020 was the opportunity to visit Crystal Springs Resort in northwestern New Jersey (an hour from New York City), and from the moment we left the resort property, our children have been asking to return. Since we first visited during the summer, we thought it would be fun to see the resort during the winter (ish) season. So this past weekend we headed back to New Jersey’s favorite resort (a well-earned title) for a Winter Wonderland weekend of holiday magic.

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City Guide: 15 Kid Friendly Activities in Boston, Massachusetts

I’ll disclose that Boston is my hometown, so this post will be “wicked” biased. But even the biggest Yankees fan will admit that the birthplace of the American Revolution, the home of winning sports teams, waterfront activities, world class arts and culture, and curator of foods like Fenway franks, bakes beans, chowdah, and Boston Cream Pie, is one of the most special places in the world. There are SO many family friendly activities you’ll need weeks years to see and do it all, but for our latest City Guide we’ll start with these 15 places the whole family is sure to love.

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