Grant’s Farm, St. Louis, Missouri

One of my favorite roads trip our family has taken was a three week trip from Connecticut to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We spent a few days in St Louis, Missouri and one of our highlights was a visit to Grant’s Farm.         Note: this post has been fact checked as of March 2018.

Grant’s Farm was originally owned Julia Grant’s family. After the Civil War, it was purchased by Julia’s husband, Ulysses S. Grant, and then by the Busch family, makers of Anheuser-Busch beers,  in the early 1900s. Located about twenty minutes southwest of of downtown St Louis, it’s open from April through October, with full time hours during the summer months, and limited hours in April, September, and October.  The farm is home to dozens of animals, including elephants, deer, kangaroos, donkeys, goats, buffalo, and the famous Clydesdale horses.

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10 Reasons Why I Love the National Parks Service System

Seven years ago I planned my first major road trip. My children were toddlers and we were planning on traveling almost cross country to visit good friends who were temporarily relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sharing my itinerary with my Uncle Bob, he asked if I planned on visiting any National Parks. I knew of the National Park Service system, but didn’t know much information about the various locations. Uncle Bob pulled out a worn, tattered, small blue spiral book and about an hour went by before I spoke again. (Full disclosure: Uncle Bob is a good storyteller and he does have a TON of travel experience.) His National Parks Passport book was filled with stamps dating back to the early 1970s. It was the perfect memento of his travels and I knew I had to start my own passport book.

Since 2012, I have collected dozens of passport stamps from various stops in the National Park Service system. There are over 400 locations in the United States and American owned islands. These locations include parks, monuments, battlefields, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and even the White House. With every stop, I became a bigger and bigger fan of the National Parks system. Here are my top 10 reasons why:

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Why I Love Staying at Marriott Hotels

Airbnb and Homeaway are popular ideas when it comes to housing while traveling and I love the idea of staying in a neighborhood and really becoming part of a community. I also know several people who love hitting the road in their camp or trailer, or even camping in an old fashioned tent, communing with nature. For me, and my husband and young(er) children, it’s less hassle and gives me more of a “vacation” versus “trip” feel to stay in a hotel when we’re traveling as a family. I like the idea of someone making my bed with fresh sheets each day, whipping up breakfast, and helping me navigate around a new place.

My family has become loyal fans of the Marriott company. You’ll read specifics about my favorite Marriott properties in some of my posts, but my favorite brand of the company is the Residence Inn. Residence Inns are designed to feel more like a home than a “regular” hotel room. Plus, they’re consistent in many ways I appreciate:

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Presidential Libraries & Museums

Don’t let the word “library” misguide you. While there are thousands of papers and personal records of the presidents to read, and spaces for scholarly research, there are just as many opportunities to explore, touch, see, listen, and learn about American history at the 13 presidential libraries located throughout the country. (President Obama’s Chicago library and museum is currently under construction.)

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first to establish a presidential library, followed by each succeeding president, as well as predecessor Herbert Hoover. The National Archives and Records Administration oversee the 13 presidential libraries. I first wrote about presidential libraries for Kidventurous in 2014, but have since visited more libraries and museums and learned lots of new things! At your first stop, be sure to pick up the passport for all 13 libraries so you can collect the stamps.

Crown Center in Kansas City, MO

My favorite, major family trip (to date) was the first one we took in the summer of 2012. We logged 5700 miles in our trusty Chevy Equinox, driving from Connecticut to Phoenix, Arizona and back to Connecticut. On the back end of the trip, we spent a few days in Kansas City, Missouri. And we.loved.it. Love the people. Loved the food. Loved the family friendly places to explore. I blogged about our stay for Kidventurous here, but I thought I would revisit some of these suggestions and elaborate on them. Note: I did fact check as of June 2017.

Today I want to focus on the Crown Center & Union Station area of the city. My suggestion for parking is to go to Crown Center.  There are two parking garages; I would park in the one labeled “Seal Life and Lego Land” which is on the East side of Grand Avenue. You can park on all day and walk to some of our favorite spots:

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