Category Archives: Sightseeing- A Workout?

Grand Canyon Caverns- revisited

Read my original post for the low down (what to bring, wear, etc) and what to expect when you take the TOUR:

https://fatadventures.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/grand-canyon-caverns-peach-springs-az/

My Hiking Partner and #1 Grandson and I went VERY early and were able to score a private tour w/ Ben (who is awesome and EXTREMELY good with children). The 45 minute, 3/4 of a mile tour is a lot of up and down, stop and go but a good way to get out and stretch your legs and get a bit of exercise on!

There’s really nothing new to report about this Route 66 attraction. I was there-like- 3 or 4 years ago and it’s just as campy and fun (and quite interesting).

New Pics Below. As you can see, the only difference now is the 4 1/2 year old boy in the photos! Get all the info you need regarding prices and tours here: http://gccaverns.com/toursactivities/caverns/

Click on the pics for a bigger version…

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Another Ghost Town- Nelson, NV

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I just can’t get enough of GHOST TOWNS and Nelson, NV does NOT disappoint. In contrast to the desolate surroundings of Rhyolite, Nelson is a jumpin’ little Ghost Town oasis also in the middle of nowhere. Be prepared for a very pretty desert drive!

Hollywood loves Nelson! Many movies and music videos have been filmed here and they actually carry the DVD’s/pictures in their gift shop/mini-museum.

The Lowdown-

NOT wheelchair friendly

A nice little stroll/exploration- I wouldn’t say a workout but about a slow walking hour.

Food/Drink: They have a store but I’d bring water

Kid Friendlyish- Really cool for kids over 7 maybe. One’s who listen and don’t touch because there is a lot of rusty metal lying around!

BRING A CAMERA

Sketchy cell phone reception

Wear closed shoes and dress for desert weather

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Directions from Las Vegas:

  1) Turn left to merge onto I-15 S toward Los Angeles
   
3.1 mi
  2) Take exit 34 for Interstate 215 E toward Airport/​Clark County 215 W/​Henderson
   
0.5 mi
  3)  Keep left at the fork, follow signs for I-215 E/​Henderson/​Mc Carran Airport and merge onto I-215 E
   
11.0 mi
  4) Take exit 1 to merge onto I-515 S/​US-93 S/​US-95 S/​Great Basin Hwy/​Veterans Memorial Hwy toward Boulder City
   
8.8 mi
  5) Take the ramp onto US-95 S/​Veterans Memorial Hwy
   
10.2 mi
  6) Turn left onto NV-165 EGo past the “Modern” city of Nelson, drive 2 miles and you’ll be in the “Ghost Town of Nelson”

Check in with the Office before you embark on your journey into the past…be nice and buy something cool in the gift shop to help support Nelson! FYI- They have a Silver Mine on the premises and they off tours in advance.

Here’s the link to the tours they offer: http://www.eldoradocanyonminetours.com/

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They used this plane in a movie…I think it was “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” but don’t hold me to it.

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and finally…

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Our hosts are ready to throw us out and go to bed!

I had a GREAT time here and spent longer than I had anticipated. I will definitely return  with my Grandson when he listens a little bit better…

Rhyolite Ghost Town- Rhyolite, NV.

DSC03952Ms. Fat Adventures LOVES a good Ghost Town and by golly- this place TOTALLY fit the bill!

Here’s a link to the history…fastinating stuff: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhyolite,_Nevada

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Directions from Las Vegas: 

Take the I-15N to the 95N. 2ish hours later, turn left on NV-374/Main St. (you’ll be driving through Beatty, NV)

Continue for about 2 miles. Make a right at the big sign that says RHYOLITE!

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Bring:  WATER, snacks/lunch (or you can chow in the lovely town of Beatty) and a camera.

Wear: 1) SUN BLOCK ( I can’t stress this enough). 2) Tennis shoes or hiking boots (NO flip flops) 3) Warm clothes in the winter- cool in the summer. Actually, I’d avoid the summer completely. This place is SMACK in the middle of the desert and about 5 miles from Death Valley.

KID FRIENDLY with supervison.

PET FRIENDLY

CELL PHONE FRIENDLY– not really

WHEELCHAIR FRIENDLY– if someone is willing to push you up the hill, then YES.

My Co-Host: DSC03996Vegas Victor aka Superman

Our little road trip lasted about 2 hours and the scenery across the desert was absolutely GORGEOUS!  Snow on the mountains, white puffy clouds and a sky so clear and blue that your most poetic words would not do the description justice. We excitedly entered the town of Beatty and 10 minutes later made the turn into Rhyolite.   FYI- February in the Desert is freakin’ COLD. Wear a lot of layers and bring gloves and a hat! The wind was brutal but it added to the ambience- creepy wind, creepy place!

EXERCISE LEVEL: If you park at the BOTTOM of the hill: ADVANCED. If you park at the TOP of the hill: Medium.

We parked at the top, hiked around, took pictures, climbed on stuff and had a BALL! We walked all over- exploring every INCH of the place. Some people just drove up, took a few pictures and then split. We spent OVER 2 hours running around the joint. Yes, we got some exercise but to determine how many calories we burned would be impossible!

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You can’t miss the famous BOTTLE HOUSE: DSC03998

On the way out, we stop at the Goldwell Open Air Museum

www.http://goldwellmuseum.org/

The artist wasn’t in but his art was!

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SUGGESTION: Visit the town of Beatty on the way back to Vegas! Check out the: http://www.beattymuseum.org/  while you’re there- it’s VERY cool!

The Natural History Museum- Los Angeles

ADDRESS

900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Phone: (213) 763-DINO

For Hours, Directions and Admission Prices- http://www.nhm.org/site/

EVERY 1st TUESDAY is Free

My Co-Hosts for this Adventure

 

My Grandson Caiden and his lovely Auntie Bay

BRING

  • Water
  • a picnic lunch if you want to save your cash
  • a camera

EXERCISE LEVEL: You’ll be walking ALL DAY.

*Everyone thinks that LA has no history… think again.The Natural History Museum is located in beautiful Exposition Park. The park was purchased by the City of Los Angeles in 1889 and destined to become the Cultural Center for our young city. The original a building for the NHM was Open for Exhibition on November 6th, 1913 and exhibits can still be viewed within its walls today. Currently, a grand construction project is underway. The city is adding on an additional wing along with many other features that will enhance your Museum experience!

 

The Original Stained Glass Dome located in the 1913 building

Our Adventure aka The Low Down:

AFter getting THE BOY dressed, the car packed and our SF Vanilla Iced coffees THANKFULLY in our grasps- Bailey, Caiden (sans cafe’) and I hit the road to Exposition Park.

Parking is $8 and there is easy access to the muesem AND a terrific playground across the street! Currently, the train is being extended to the area (USC is right next door) so it will be even easier to get down there and get your culture on…

Caiden only cared about ONE THING…DINOSAURS!!!

We tried to see other exhibits first: Early California, the Animal dioramas, the Gems but that was 86’d by Caiden and he was the boss on this day so… OFF THE DINOSAUR HALL!

The displays are incredibly well done. Easy enough to scan the info when trying to entertain a 2 year old but with enough facts to actually learn something. Nice going NHM!

The Boy LOVED all the great Dino Dioramas and his Auntie Bay had a great time expanding her horizons as well!

Caiden was VERY into the Animal Diorama Hall. He has quite an obsession with Elephants so he was in complete HEAVEN when he saw this:

Soon, we all became cranky and had to eat. The new NHM Grill is fabulous! Mac n Cheese for my little Man, Veggie Burger for Auntie B and a BBQ Chicken Salad for me…Nom!

To a access the menu, go here: http://www.nhm.org/site/plan-your-visit/where-to-eat

DO NOT MISS: Walking throught the BONES OF A FIN WHALE!

We visited the Insect Zoo and them Mr. Caiden had a meltdown so we went outside to the HUGE, Grassy area in front of the museum and let him run around. That completely burned him out (and us as well) so we were D-O-N-E.

Re-entering the Museum, we hit the Store on the way out. Expensive but we like to support the Museum- especially on a free day!

Below you will find a picture of a Burnt Out 2 Year Old after eating a VERY expensive Museum Lollipop:

Yeah…he’s had enough.

The Wrap UP:

All and all (minus the meltdown) we had an excellent time and an exercise filled learning experience. In my HUMBLE opinion- NHM/LA still needs A LOT of work to catch up with NHM/NY or The Field Museum/Chicago (luvs!) but it’s still an LA must see.

Santa Barbara Zoo- an excellent combo of exercise and sightseeing!

Address: 500 Ninos Dr   Santa Barbara, Ca.

For Admission, Hours, Directions:  www.sbzoo.com

Bring/Wear:

  • Water- at least one big bottle.
  • Comfortable Clothes
  • Sturdy Tennis Shoes
  • A Camera
  • SUNSCREEN!!!

Kid Friendly: Yes

Handicap Access: A little hilly but YES

Dog Friendly: No

Cell Service: Yes

Food: Throughout the zoo or bring a picnic!

Shopping: Support this Zoo and buy T-shirts and fun stuff for the kiddies!

The Low Down:

Santa Barbara has one of the most beautiful zoos I have ever visited. I actually liked it better than the San Diego Zoo and it is -by far- heads (and tails) above the LA Zoo. I live 10 minutes away from the LA Zoo but I would rather drive an hour and a 1/2 to cool, breezy Santa Barbara. I think it’s the lack of  graffiti scratched plexiglass and droves of gang banging families that makes it more appealing. Anyway…

My Gorgeous Co-Host today was:

 

The Boy! My Grandson Caiden (the best co-host ever)!

The BOY and I escaped the over 100 degree weather in LA and cruised our way up to Santa Barbara. The Zoo is GORGEOUS, the grounds are spectacular and the animals are thriving. There are plenty of hills so you will definitely get your exercise in for the day. During the week, it’s not very crowded so Caiden was able to walk along side of me and not get trampled on by other guests!

There is a wonderful play area with a hill that the kids can slide down on collapsed boxes or run up and down using their own energy. They have a little tree house and a children’s garden too.

      

 At selected times during the day, they run a Dinosaur Show that features a Giant T-Rex Puppet! When the T-Rex came around the theater building into plain view, Caiden and I both thought it was the real deal!     The Boy and I said on a hill above the theater and had a picnic while the show went on. Walking up and down those hills can give a small boy a BIG appetite!

Caiden’s favorite part of the zoo is the Elephant enclosure. Above the enclosure is a picnic area with table and chairs. We were able to pull the chairs right up to the fence and watch the Elephants eat. Keeping a 2 year old occupied is a feat in itself and being able to get so close to the Elephants and watch them do “Elephant Stuff” kept him busy for a good 20 minutes…thank you for the excellent placement of chairs, SB Zoo!

  

At the top of the ZOO, you will find Lions, Gorillas, Condors and giraffes. You can feed the giraffes for $3 (or maybe $5)…

Me: “Caiden- what’s that?” 

Caiden: “A liiiiion.”

Me: “what’s he doin?”

Caiden: “Seeeping. He says RRRRR….”

Me: “Good job Buddy! Gimme 5!”

One of the best displays of Bugs and Lizards I have ever come across is located at the beginning of the Zoo. Even if you are squeamish, do not avoid! Seriously- it’s dark, damp, mysterious and interactive. Lots of buttons to push and creepy crawlies to discover!

  

BY THE WAY- Check out the SIZE of this Vulture! It’s bigger than Caiden!  

DO NOT MISS:  The Train that goes around the Zoo. Totally worth the $4!

                                    The view from the Picnic Area way at the top of the Zoo.

                                    The Gift Shop closest to the Main Gate. 1/2 Price T-Shirts!

The Wrap Up: The Boy and I spent close to 4 hours at the ZOO and had an amazing time. Once back in the car, it took him all of 3 minutes to fall asleep. That is solid proof of a successful trip!

Grand Canyon Caverns- Peach Springs, Az.

 

                                                     Your Host (trying not to get eaten by a T-Rex): Rocky

                                                     Missing Host (possibly eaten by the T-Rex): Super Victor

Website Link: http://www.gccaverns.com/

Directions:  Grand Canyon Caverns Mile : 115 RT66 63 Miles NE of Kingman AZ and 65 Miles West of Williams and the Grand Canyon Railroad.

The Low Down: By far, the BEST tourist attraction I have EVER been to (and I LOVE touristy stuff)!

All the facts you could possibly want to know about the Caverns are in this picture!

Where’s the EXERCISE? OMG! This tour is 45 minutes of hills. One of which is “affectionately” called, CARDIAC HILL. Excuse my french but- No Shit! They say it’s a 6% incline…it’s more like a 666% incline (huff-puff)! The air is so pure that it takes a minute for you to get used to it. Trippy, right?

Our Tour Guide was FANTASTIC and gave us all the facts with comfort and ease. There is a small (very small) museum to tour after the main tour which answers any other questions you might have regarding this AMAZING hole in the ground. One of the best facts they told was that the Caverns were used as a Bomb Shelter in the 1950’s! You can see all the food and water that they stored there way back when…The cavern is large enough to hold 2000 people and keep them alive for 2 weeks. Really?! Whoa…

They have a room built within the 2 football fields long cavern that you can rent for $700 a night. I’ll pass, thank you but it was cool to look at!

Wicked Cool, No?!

Here are some more pictures of “down below.” If you’re claustrophobic, get ready to struggle…

 

I do have more pictures which will be posted at a later date!

Bring/Wear:

  • Water- at least one big bottle.
  • Comfortable Clothes
  • Sturdy Tennis Shoes
  • A Camera

Kid Friendly: Yes

Handicap Access: They have a special tour for Wheelchairs and such

Dog Friendly: No

Cell Service: You’re 22 stories underground…who in the world are you calling from there?

Food: There is a restaurant that serves excellent sandwiches. Try the turkey! Nom!

The Wrap Up: Standing back and staring at the medium sized building which houses the Gift Shop, Mini-Museum and the Restaurant- I shook my head in amazement, not actually believing what is 22 stories below. A mild-mannered attraction with such touristy goodness inside… how lucky was I to experience this natural wonder?!

Keepers of the Wild- Valentine, Az.

As per their website, ” A non-profit organization caring for sick, injured, orphaned or displaced wildlife with the intention of returning them to appropriate habitats in the wild.”

…and what an amazing job they do!

 Address: 13441 E Hwy 66
                      Valentine, AZ 86437-1109
                      (928) 769-1800

Cost: $18 a person and worth EVERY penny! There is a tour as well, but you’ll have to call for the price

Kid Friendly? Yes!

Dog Friendly: NO!

Cell Service: No.

Food/Drinks: Vending Machines

Workout Level: You can make this as hard or as easy as you’d like.

When first arriving at “Keepers,” you are greeted by Willy the Cockatoo who is a lovely gentleman. After paying the admission, we headed to the bird house to say hello to those noisy, little critters. My Co-Host Victor and I opted to walk the grounds ourselves for exercise. The tour is WAY more informative but the walk is WAY better for you- lots of little hills and one really big one that once you get to the top, you’re able to see the WHOLE compound.

“Keepers” has a variety of Big Cats: Tigers, a White Tiger, Jaguars, Leopards and one GORGEOUS Lion! They also have Wolves, Coyotes, Ravens, Emus, Llamas, a Burro, Wolf  Hybreds and lots of Monkeys.

We spend over 2 hours exploring the compound and I think they do an amazing  job. I really enjoyed the walk and felt it was a good, but slow workout especially the big hill!

FYI- They are adding hiking trails to the grounds. One is already open but there are more to come. I would definitely pay to see the compound and then hike the trails afterward but only in the winter or spring. I bet it’s brutal there in the summer!

“Keepers” is a wonderful organization and I felt privileged to have contributed to their cause!

Here’s some EYE CANDY for you: