Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hike to Utah's Iconic Delicate Arch

I love exploring off the beaten path, but the owner of the RV park we were staying at said Delicate Arch is where it's at and a must see before leaving Moab.  We had another trail already picked out, but since you never know when these beauties will fall we decided to check it out.

You'll need to travel approximately 15 miles into the park to reach the trailhead, but you'll pass many beautiful sites, including Balanced Rock and The Great Wall, along the way.  There was ample parking, including a separate lot across the street for RVs and busses.  They say the best time to photograph the Arch is in the late afternoon, but due to time restraints we had to visit midday.  Thankfully, the temperature were a perfect 50 degrees.  

Even with the cooler temperatures, much of the hike you are exposed and shade is pretty much non-existent.  Be sure to bring plenty of water.

The first half mile of the hike follows a well defined path.  At this point it even feels like you are walking more along a tourist attraction than a hike in nature.  Don't worry, the hike only gets better and breathtaking views await!

The next part of the trail you will follow the cairns along the slickrock.  The trail goes up, up, up the slickrock before leveling off.

Just before reaching the arch, the trail follows a rock ledge.

Along the ledge you'll see a "window".  If you can make the climb up to it, it’s worth the view and provides an awesome photo opportunity. I went up with our oldest three children without any problems.

There are several steep drop offs that made this momma's heart pound a little with so many kiddos to watch and keep safe.  It is certainly not the most dangerous or difficult hike that we have done, but be smart and be safe. We allowed our children to run wild and free along the slickrock, but kept a much closer rein on them along the ledge and at the arch. 

Most importantly, spend some time to take in all of God's majestic creation.  It offers some of the best views of Arches National Park!

We were in awe of the monumental size of the arch!

Where are you heading next?  Be sure to check out my travel page for other fun hikes and adventures. 

Need a snack?  NingXia Wolfberries are great fuel for the trail!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Day at Newport Aquarium

We were camping in Kentucky and the blistering summer heat was getting to us!  Desperate for some activity to do inside that all 6 children would enjoy, we made a day trip to Newport Aquarium.

The tickets were reasonably priced, but we were able to score an even bigger discount by booking as a group 48 hours in advance (you need a minimum of 12 people to qualify for the group rate).  If you are arriving in an RV or bus like we were, be sure to call ahead to get directions to the bus lot for parking.

There are lots of opportunities for children to touch sea creatures, so you may want to consider wearing short sleeve shirts and perhaps even packing an extra shirt to change in to at the conclusion of your adventure.  This was the first aquarium that we have been to where we could actually touch a shark - a very exciting experience for children and adults!

The Sting Ray Hideaway was another favorite.  Not only could you touch the stingrays, but you could also crawl through a 30 foot tunnel and watch them swim around you and pop up right in the middle of their home!

Research ahead of time to find out what time the shark feeding is.  It is a show you don’t want to miss and it only happens once a day.  

There are a few other times during the day when the divers get in the shark tank for a presentation.  

Seahorses: Unbridled Fun was certainly an exhibit that lived up to its name.  There is something magical about watching these creatures swim about, and I am always amazed at the diversity and creativity of God’s creation.

The children can let their creative juices flow and design a sea horse or sea dragon of their own.  Their creation will swim across the screen above, but you can also choose to have their creations emailed to you.  

The entire aquarium is set up as one big one way loop that you walk through, so to reach the entrance/exit you will either need to back track or rush ahead.  Our kids certainly did not mind making several passes through Gator Alley, home of Mighty Mike.  At 14 feet and 800 pounds he was certainly an impressive sight!

Halfway through the aquarium you will come to the Frog Bog - a playground for little ones to run off some energy and our girls to satisfy their insatiable need to always be doing gymnastics.  

Don’t rest too long because some of the most exciting parts of the aquarium await you.  

We loved Amazon Tunnel, a 32.5 foot long tunnel holding some of the world’s largest freshwater fish.  Ring of Fire: World of the Octopus is home to not only the octopus, but starfish and jellyfish.  We were mesmerized!

We also spent a lot of time watching the Penguins.  Presentations are given here throughout the day, so you may want to research those times as well.  

Even exiting the aquarium is exciting as you walk across a 6 inch bridge over the shark tank!  Enjoy your day!!!

Where are you heading next?  Be sure to check out my travel page for links to some of our favorite adventures.