Browse Category: Travel

Urban Adventure Quest!

Turn Nashville into a giant game board with this fun scavenger hunt adventure! Combine the excitement of the Amazing Race with a three-hour city tour. Guided from any smart phone, teams make their way among well known and overlooked gems of the city, solving clues and completing challenges while learning local history. Play anytime during daylight hours. Start when you want and play at your pace. Great Family Fun. Save 20%- Only $39.20 for a team of 2-5 people after Promotion Code: FGBLOG. Sign up online!

 

I can’t wait to do this with my husband! This will be a fun adventure before our baby is born next month! Let’s see how long I can walk before feeling completely worn out 😛

Spring Break Travel: Myrtle Beach

Planning a trip for Spring Break soon? Have you thought about Myrtle Beach? I found some awesome travel deals:

  • Pay for 2 nights and receive a 3rd night FREE at Ocean Creek Resort.
  • For a limited time arrive between 1/1/16 –3/31/16 and stay 4 or more nights and receive 2 tickets to Brookgreen Gardens from Sea Crest Oceanfront Resort.
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Ocean Creek Resort

 

Fall Festival Fun – 25 minutes from Nashville, TN!

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Locally owned FIDDLE DEE FARMS announced today that you are all invited to attend SHUCKLES PUMPKIN FEST & CORN MAZE every weekend from Sept 26th – Nov 8th. This huge festival’s centerpiece is a 10 acre Corn Maze! They are located in Greenbrier, TN – a short 25 minute drive from Nashville.
Fun for the whole family includes “A-MAIZE-ING” attractions, games, farm activities, hay rides, petting zoo, 200 ft. mine slide, ziplines, food and much more!

FESTIVAL DATES & HOURS
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday – September 26 – November 8th.
Hours of operation:
Friday – Noon to 10pm
Saturday – Noon to 10pm
Sunday & Columbus Day – Noon to 8:00p.m.

ADMISSION:
$11.89 + Tax
(2 and under are free)

*Thriving on a Budget readers get $2 off here! 🙂

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Hmm.. this is fishy..

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Gatlinburg, TN is full of tourist shops, mini golf parks and restaurants. It is also home of the Great Smokey Mountains. The area is breathtaking, and if you ever get the chance to visit I highly recommend that you do. My husband turned 26 on August 8th, so on the weekend of the 7th I decided to plan a birthday trip for him. We brought our 5-month old so we made sure everything we did was family-friendly.

 

I was able to score an awesome deal on a lodge in the mountains with a Groupon deal. The lodge had this super cool pool with a waterfall behind it (I didn’t get a picture, so I will add a stock photo from their site). They also offered a breakfast buffet or an a la carte menu, but we didn’t take advantage of either since we brought snacks with us to cut down on spending.

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I was also able to score free tickets to the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium as well as the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies! My husband was especially excited about the aquarium because we are both huge aquarium fans! When you walk into the aquarium, you are greeted with the gift shop on the left and directly in front of you is the path to the first exhibit, the Tropical Rainforest.

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In the Tropical Rainforest, we saw a gorgeous waterfall, some stingrays, piranhas, and other random fish.

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Next up is the Ocean Realm. This section of the aquarium focused on my favorite part – sharks! We saw TONS of sharks! They were up close, far away, to the side, literally everywhere. We were able to ride a 15-minute “moving sidewalk” that took us through a tunnel where fish, sharks, and stingrays were on both sides and above us. I got some great pictures of the sharks and their teeth (yikes!). One thing I would like to point out is that this was stroller friendly!

 

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You can also see some video footage I took of the sharks on our Instagram page (make sure you follow us, too!).

 

The Coral Reef was next. We saw some more sharks (awesome!) among other fish and ocean organisms.

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After that, you will come to an area where you can pet horseshoe crabs in their environment, shallow water. Did you know they have 6 eyes?? CREEPY!

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Next to the horseshoe crabs is the Megalodon Jaws! If you have never seen this, be prepared to pick your jaw up off of the floor! These 7-foot jaws contain 173 teeth and belong to the school bus-sized Megalodon Shark. Weighing 52 tons, the largest of all sharks that lived nearly 2 million years ago!

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We also saw some Lionfish and personally I think they are some of the most beautiful and interesting fish out there. They are up to 15 inches long. Hidden among the colorful fins are venomous spines. A stab from a lionfish is painful but rarely fatal. Lionfish prey on other fish, so we are most likely safe haha!

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Next, we saw some jellyfish. Check out the video on our Instagram page to see them in action!

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Stingray Bay quickly approached and let me tell you, these rays are gigantic! I love the way they flow and swim through the water with such grace and ease. That was the end of our Aquarium experience, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

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We took a small break and then made our way to Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium. I had NO idea what to expect here, but I was ready to see some odd things!

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Smack dab in the front of the Odditorium is the heaviest man ever drafted. This guy is BIG! Check out some pictures that my husband and I took:

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When you walk in to the Odditorium, you are greeted with a door covered in noses. It is definitely odd, and not something you would expect to see, well, anywhere! Next we saw a plate of sushi made of felt. That was cool to see! It looks real, but it also looks like moldy sushi since it is made of felt! We also saw a two-headed calf. I learned that this calf was born on a farm in Gatlinburg, which is pretty neat. We also saw a statue of a man who was born without anything below his stomach. He was actually a twin, and his brother was born with a completely normal body. This man was extremely talented and was able to do so much with only half of a body! It was impressive.

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The Worlds Longest Gum Wrapper Chain was really neat to see as well. A school teacher created it over an 18-year period.

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While we were carrying our stroller up the 3 flights of stairs to the next floor, I was frustrated that they didn’t have an easier way for strollers and handicapped people to make it up to the next floor. However, once we made it we saw an elevator and we felt a little silly that we didn’t see it earlier and that we just carried a fully loaded stroller up the stairs. Oh well, it was great exercise!

 

There are 3 floors total, and each floor is filled with odd facts, pictures, recreations and interactive exhibits. This is especially great for elementary and middle school aged children, but there is definitely something for everyone!

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We can’t wait to take my son back to the aquarium and the odditorium when he’s older and see if anything has changed, been added, taken away or updated. This was definitely a trip to remember and the perfect way to celebrate my husband’s birthday!

My Readers Save $3 Off Adult and $2 Off Child Admission to all of Ripley’s Attractions in Tennessee.
Use Online Promo Code: USFAMILYGUIDE
Must purchase online. Guinness World Records Museum, Ripley’s 5D Moving Theater, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium, Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, and Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze

Click here 🙂

The Tennessee Aquarium – Check out our pictures!

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Today my family and I went to Chattanooga, Tennessee (about a 3 hour drive from our home) to visit the Tennessee Aquarium (the biggest freshwater aquarium in the country!).

 

If you have never been there and you ever get the chance, please take advantage of it! There are two parts of the aquarium: (Ocean Journey and River Journey). The first one is made up of 3 parts/exhibits. The first exhibit is a sensory one where you can actually touch some stingrays! They also have a pair of beautiful macaws (see our Instagram page for more pictures) and a butterfly garden where you can go in and see the butterflies up close – they might even land on you! After you are through with that exhibit, you will then see Penguins’ Rock and the Secret Reef (sand tiger sharks and sandbar sharks as well as thousands of colorful reef fish and two large Green Sea Turtles). The Boneless Beauties come next. This includes the Giant Pacific Octopus, cuttlefish, and the electrifying jellyfish! Lastly, the Undersea Cavern ends your tour through the Ocean Journey. 10-foot sharks and brightly-colored coral line the halls!

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River Journey is the second part of the Tennessee Aquarium.The second part of the Aquarium is full of life! We ended up seeing river otters, huge rays being fed by divers, tons of other river giants (and they are not exaggerating when they say giants!), turtles, frogs, crocodiles, and more assortments of fish. The whole aquarium took us about 3 hours to successfully make our way through, and we have a 4 month old so we were stopping to change him and feed him often. We also took a break in between both parts of the aquarium to eat some snacks ourselves. You are allowed to bring your own food and drinks, and that is something I really like because buying food on top of spending the day at an attraction such as a huge aquarium can get pretty pricey and it all adds up quickly. We did, however, treat ourselves to some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream afterward since it was so hot! I didn’t even know they had a ‘place’ – I have only ever seen the ice cream in the grocery store!

 

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Something else I want to point out about the Tennessee Aquarium is that they are wheelchair/stroller friendly and they make sure to have an elevator on every floor as well as the well-known blue button that opens doors for us when our hands are full (with a wheelchair or stroller). They are also nursing-friendly, as they have a nursing room for nursing mothers so we do not have to feel out of place nor do we have to stand in a bathroom stall (yuck!) to feed our babies. I really appreciate when a place has a nursing area, because most do not.

 

Overall, we had a great day at the Tennessee Aquarium and on top of seeing some really great animals and fish, we learned about why it is so important to protect our freshwater species and take care of our environment. I saw a really important fact that stuck with me. It was displayed in one of the tanks – we will destroy the Earth with the items we refuse to destroy (such as old cell phones and license plates that end up in our waters and harm our animals) so we really need to remember that recycling is important rather than throwing our trash somewhere where an animal can be harmed from it. Be careful with your fishing lures and what you put on them as well!

 

Click here to find the Tennessee Aquarium (Chattanooga) on Facebook.

 

Click here to find them on Twitter.

 

Click here for ticket and show information.

 

 

 

The southeastern United States is one of the most ecologically diverse places on Earth. The Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, TNACI, works to preserve, protect and sustain the region’s natural treasures and to bring people of all ages closer to nature.