Saturday, November 06, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

New Orleans Aquarium of the Americas

The New Orleans Aquarium offers a fun filled and educational experience. It's only a short drive of about an hour from Baton Rouge. If you're looking for something to do then a trip to the New Orleans Aquarium may be just the thing for you and your friends or family to have a fun day. In April of 2007 my son Tyler's first grade class had a big field trip down to the aquarium. The kids had been studying recently about ocean life. This trip was a logical tie-in with what they had been studying a good way for the students to end up their year with an exciting trip. It was my turn this year to go in the big field trip as my wife had gone last year. I took off a day off work and had a memorable day with my son.

There was another first grade boy on the trip that had been on the basketball team that I coached for my son. He was also on the same coaches pitch baseball team (which I did not coach). Anyway, I had told the boy's dad at a ball game that he could hang out with Tyler and I some on the trip which he did.

Above is a picture of Tyler posed in front of a diver that was feeding fish as we first went in. It was sort of like a tunnel with water on top and on both sides. It's an impressive way to start the tour of the facility.

The boys later saw the penguin exhibit and got a big kick out of that. They didn't dance lie they do in the Happy Feet movie but they were still cute little birds. It was a beautiful day to be spending time with my son.

Below is a nice picture of the boys at the top of the stairs in the jungle like exhibit part of the aquarium. Later, after everyone finally cleared out of the aquarium, we all gathered in a spot along the river not far from the aquarium for a nice late lunch and a bus ride back to the school. Tyler had a great first grade year with straight A's of which I'm quite proud of him for. All in all, it was a really nice trip to the New Orleans aquarium and if you're looking for something to do then you might go check it out yourself.

Aquarium Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays)10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Mailing Address: P.O. BOX 4327, New Orleans, LA 70178Street Address: 1 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130Phone: (504) 581-4629 OR 1-800-774-7394 (Monday - Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Friday, March 05, 2010

BREC Bluebonnet Swamp

In June 2007), my son Tyler and I journeyed over for a short day trip to see the BREC Swamp sponsored by the parks department of Baton Rouge at Bluebonnet Blvd. I had heard about this place and been wanting to check it out. Anyway, above is a picture of Tyler and I hiking along the trail. The main entrance has a large air conditioned building where you pay your admission. The fee was $2 for adults and $1 for kids. I paid for us and we got a map and were off on our adventure hike.

We hiked a good little ways and stayed to the left and saw lots of dense trees including some that had fallen. There was a lot of moisture in the hot humid morning so we both began to break a sweat fairly quickly. I stopped to get a picture of this cool looking red headed lizard that was climbing on a tree. That picture is on the right hand menu bar. It was an interesting adventure so far at the BREC swamp.

We kept on hiking to the left and crossed several man-made wooden boardwalks in the portions along the hike that went over low lying areas that were filled with maybe less than one foot of water. These areas along the trail with the Cyprus trees and stumps certainly brought to mind my vision of what swamp land looks like. Below is a picture of Tyler walking across one of the wooden boardwalks.

Anyway, as I said we stayed to the left and eventually ran into a dead end that led to the nearby library. There was a boardwalk and a screen door that was locked with the library parking lot right behind the door. So we turned around and headed back the other way. Since it was hot, this dead end part of the journey could have been left out. If you do go on this hike and the weather is hot, you might want to try to avoid this part of the trail that leads to this dead end.

We hiked on back the way we came and then veered of to another trail which we had not traveled. As best that I could tell from our map, it would eventually loop back around and lead to the main building where we started. We walked a ways and came to a large pavilion that had a few picnic tables and a sort of observation deck area. A picture of this is on the right menu of Tyler looking out into the swamp from under this pavilion.

After hanging out under the pavilion at the BREC Swamp for a little while we were both getting pretty hot and thirsty so we we ready to make our way back to the main building. If you go on this hike you might want to bring your own bottle of water. We made it back to the building and were glad to get a chance to cool off some. We got some water and then we made our way around to look at the various creatures that are on exhibit in that building. There was also a very huge python snake curled up in a large cage. The Bluebonnet Swamp has lots of snakes. This python was really big and Tyler was impressed.

The BREC Swamp also does presentations for summer camps. There happened to be a summer camp group that was there at the same time we were. There was a young lady that was talking about the swamp and answering questions from the children. She also was letting the kids touch a small corn snake of which she was happy to let Tyler take a turn too.

Our entire trip at the swamp was probably an hour long. I recommend that if you go during the summer to go early in the morning because of the heat. I could see that a nice cool fall day through the swamp could really make the experience a little more pleasant. Anyway, we both had a nice adventure on our day trip to the Baton Rouge's Bluebonnet Swamp.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

U.S.S. Kidd Tour in Baton Rouge

The USS Kidd Battleship in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana offers and fun and rewarding educational experience for you and your family. I took my children to downtown to check out the U.S.S. (United States Ship) Kidd on (7-06-07). Anyway, Tyler and Haley seemed to really be interested in all the cool things that were on the ship. It was a cloudy summer morning and the weather cooperated long enough with no rain for us to be able to walk around all levels of the ship and spend plenty of time in the adjacent museum. We were even able to park right at the entrance which was great. The cost for me was $7.00 and Tyler was $4.00 and Haley got in free.

Tyler and Haley posed for a picture on the right hand side of the ship near where a Japanese Kamikaze plane crashed into the the USS Kidd killing 38 crewmen and wounding 55. I posted this picture for you to see on the left hand menu. You can also see the depth charges here used to attack submarines. There are pictures of the actual plane heading for the Kidd in the museum and fragments from that explosion.

We made our way down some very steep steps down below to where the Kidd's sailors slept aboard this battleship. Now being a fairly tall man like I am, I would have had a lot of trouble sleeping in one of these bunks. Tyler and Haley had plenty of room here as they tried a bunk bed out. That photo is found at the end of this posting. Another picture on the left menu shows Tyler searches for enemy planes back on deck.

Later on as we walked across the Baton Rouge attraction we came upon the large anti-aircraft gun that was at the front of the ship. It was a chance for Tyler to sit and turn the wheels to make the gun aim back and forth. He was thrilled to pretend to be aim for enemy planes as Haley wished she was big enough to do the same.

We began to get a little hot and sweaty on this humid Louisiana summer morning so we headed over towards the exit and took a picture with an employee of the Kidd's named Tabitha. She was nice and told us some more things about the battleship and agreed for me to take her picture for this website and Tyler found a battle helmet to pose with. By now, we were all ready to head back to the cool air conditioning in the museum and get some water.

Here we are back in the cool A/C in the museum. We all walked around a bit and cooled off and checked out all the models boats and many other interesting historical items in the naval museum. Included on the lower left menu bar is a picture of Haley near a shiny old diving helmet. We had a really nice time at the USS Kidd Battleship and museum.

I think that a tour of this historical landmark is a great idea for something fun to do for you and or your family in Baton Rouge. I hope you enjoy your visit to the Kidd just like we did.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The One Second Blues

My memories of the 1972 LSU-Ole Miss game in Tiger Stadium are quite enjoyable and precious to me. I was about 8 years old at the time and went to the game with my father and a friend of his and his young son. My father later passed away of a heart attack when I was nine, so this memory with him was extra special to me.
Well, things seemed bleak for the Tigers as fans were leaving the stadium early to beat the traffic rush. We stayed and the Tigers ended up with one more drive with former LSU great Bert Jones leading the Tiger offense. Jones ended up with only one second left on the clock on about the Ole Miss 20 yard line with the Tigers trailing 16-10. Ole Miss fans would later complain that the one second left on the clock should have run off on the previous play and should have ended the game. Anyway, Bert Jones found halfback Brad Davis in the end zone for a tying touchdown on the games last play and of course the remaining Tiger fans went wild. Showing no time left on the clock, kicker Rusty Jackson came in and booted the extra point through the uprights and the Tigers came out with a thrilling 17-16 victory over arch rival Ole Miss. This game will always be a special one to me as it was a great childhood memory to share with my dad.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A visit to Baton Rouge's Chuck E. Cheese's on Siegen Lane

If you have not been to a Baton Rouge Chuck E Cheese restaurant yet with your kids, you're missing out on loads of fun. This place is always a favorite for families and a dream place for the kids. Be ready for lots of people to be there catching in on the fun. We recently (July '07) went to the newer Chuck E Cheese on Siegen Lane in Baton Rouge and we all had a great time. A picture of Tyler and Haley ready for some fun is in the left menu.

We were quite surprised at the large amount of people that were at this popular pizza place at only 5:00 PM. We usually try to go out to eat early in order to avoid the crowds and waiting lines for tables. We had a coupon that my wife obtained from work that was for a large pizza and 100 tokens for $30. This was a very good deal as 100 tokens would normally cost $25 according to my wife. We also ordered some hot wings and drinks too.

We had to search hard to find an open available table once we made our way with out drinks and little number marker that the waitresses use to bring your order to you. We decided to go ahead and play some games while we waited, since we had so many tokens. The kids were not interested in sitting down and ran off with tokens in hand to play some games.

I let the ladies go off together first to play games while I "guarded" our table. Tyler's old enough that he can run around and play games by himself. There is a security system in place at the entrance to prevent a child leaving with a stranger. Tyler agreed to pose for a picture for me at a game that was close to our table. He's a good sport when it comes to posing for pictures for me and his mom.

My wife came back after a few minutes and gave me a turn with Haley and the games. The rides for the smaller kids are all in the same area together. I spent some time following Haley around from rides and games. One game was sort of like an electronic coloring board. She also had a blast making here way through the climbing tunnel. Haley really enjoyed the monster truck ride.

The pizza and hot wings arrived at our table and we took a break from playing games to eat. The pepperoni pizza was quite good and so were the hot wings and sauce. It was hard for the kids to concentrate on eating as they were so excited to go back and play more games.
If you're in the mood for serious food and fun with the kids and don't mind the crowds, the Baton Rouge Chuck E Cheese Restaurant at Siegen Lane in Baton Rouge offers lots of games and indoor rides. It almost certain that your family will have a great time. We had plenty of fun as you can tell.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Geocaching is a fun hobby

I recently discovered geocaching in Louisiana as a new hobby and really fun thing to do with my kids. It's been a good while since I had something to add to this website but I'm really happy to be able to tell you about this new interest of mine. Now I had heard of geocaching before but was unsure about it and thought that perhaps it was too complicated or too expensive to undertake as a hobby. This is not the case at all and here I'll give you an idea about geocaching in Louisiana as a fast growing recreational hobby and perhaps you'll decide it's something that you would like to do also.

I had looked at geocaching in Louisiana as a hobby after I recently purchased a GPS for my wife for Christmas. It had some information about it in her literature and on the company website when I was updating her maps. I read up on it and the main reason I didn't try it was that I was concerned about the cost of a hand held GPS unit. After all I reasoned, we had just spent a bunch of money for all the Christmas presents. I read up on the iphone apps available for geocaching and I wasn't convinced that they would work good enough. A few weeks later I saw that one of my Facebook friends was geocaching with his sons. I immediately contacted him to ask him more about it.As it turned out, he had seen some people that were looking for something one day and asked them about it. These were local geocache hunters and they explained what it was to my friend. He decided to download the iphone application by Groundspeak that cost at this time $9.95. He decided to give geocaching in Louisiana a try with his three sons. That is what he did and then he told me that is worked okay and what to expect.

I decided that I would go ahead and pay the money for this app instead of paying a couple of hundred bucks more for an new hand held GPS. It was also let me try it out and see if I liked it. I decided to give it all a try on the recent Martin Luther King holiday that I had off along with my children. It was a really pretty day and I wanted to get out of the house to have an adventure with the kids. I entered my local zip code into the app and it showed me a list of local hidden caches in my area. You do have to go to to register for free first in order for this app to work. Anyway, we hopped in the SUV and were off to hunt for "treausres" as I told my kids. This was our first day of geocaching in Louisiana.

We went to the local car wash just around the corner from my house to try and find out first cache. It was hidden with a magnet on the side of a power box on the side of the building. I'm not certain that we would have found this had the maintenance man not seen us and showed us where it was. We signed the log with my user name from the website and also wrote the date. I then logged back onto my iphone and recorded my find and made a comment. This was not really that great because the man told us where it was. We decided to head out for another one and a new adventure.

We made our way about 3 miles down the road to the local park. There were two hidden there and we first decided to look for one hidden by the baseball fields. This was fun as we realized it must have been hidden in a group of trees that were in the corner of a grassy open area. Sure enough the camouflaged box was hidden in the middle of these tress. There was a lot of trinkets in this box and we had brought some things along with us. Geocaching protocol states that if you take something then you should leave something of equal or better value in return. We took a ladybug eraser for my daughter since she loves ladybugs and let a little plastic slinky in return. This was fun to find this and really I consider it to be more our first find since the man helped on the first one.

We had problems finding our third one for the day and it led me to believe that the iphone app was not ideal to use for this. It'll work if it's all you have but if you really want to get into this hobby of geocaching in Louisiana, then the purchase of a device better suited for it would help you be able to find these hidden caches better. It is obviously not nearly as fun to try to find a cache and come up empty on the hunt. If this sounds like something then I really recommend that you give it a try. If you're an iphone owner like so many people are, then the purchase of that app would be the easiest way to give it a try to see if you like it. I'm excited to try it some more in the future and have had a few others successful cache finds since that first day. I'm certain that there are many more adventures that await us with this exciting new hobby.