It’s about this time of year that we begin to seriously think about warmer days ahead and what new adventures might lie ahead for our tribe to explore.
It’s been awhile since we’ve been to the beach — at this point, I’m thinking a trip to Tybee Island, GA as it’s been about five years since we’ve been there with the kiddos. On my list of “things I’d love to experience” is a live hatch of baby sea turtles and this region of Georgia offers opportunities to experience those up close. My little girl LOVES sea turtles and the boys would enjoy experiencing this, too!
It’s also been on my mind to explore Birmingham, AL and surrounding areas a bit more. There is rich history here in Atlanta and in Alabama relating to the Civil Rights Movement and this might be the year that we deep-dive into that with a trip to connect the kids to those events through visiting the sites where they took place. There’s also a couple of car-making factory tours that I would love for my older teens to go on with the right planning. (I’m thinking that we’ll avoid this region during the months when tornados are more common tho’ — i.e. spring.)
It also might be good to do something more humanitarian and take the kids up to Tennessee to see if we can partner with the ongoing efforts to restore the region where fire took it’s toll this past year in the Dollywood area. :*(
Hmmm… Decisions, decisions.
The reality is where we end-up going will partly be dependent on hubby’s work travel schedule. But in the meantime, part of my process is to plan ahead by day dreaming on Pinterest. Pinning things that might sound of interest (should we get to that region), makes it a lot easier for planning to gel and come together when the time comes to put ideas into motion.
I encourage you to do the same today. Get a jumpstart on your own travel dreams with one of the boards I’ve started. And if you know of a great resource that I haven’t pinned yet, by all means send the travel idea my way. I love new places to visit and often locals know the best places to enjoy.
Let’s dream a little… So, where would you like to go and explore this year?
Ah Memphis… When I think of Memphis, I think of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jazz music, and world class barbecue.
The night before we rolled into Memphis for the first time, we stayed outside the city and boondocked at a Super Walmart at Olive Branch that offered overnight parking.
RV Terminology: Boondocking is essentially camping without hookups and at no cost using public land or parking overnight with permission.
In the morning, I began to look into activities that we could do while also towing a travel trailer because we only intended to stay in Memphis for the day and then continue on to our next destination. When researching options, the key is to make sure there is adequate parking and sometimes that means calling ahead and having a game plan.
All my sons love music. My middle son (who is 11-years-old) he tends to be the one that wants to make music, so I asked him if he wanted to go see where Elvis lived and the museum that talked about this music legend. I realized I hadn’t done due diligence in teaching him about the King of Rock and Roll when he simply asked, “Who is Elvis?” (Gasp!)
So, I did a quick search on YouTube and played some videos of Elvis. I was shocked – my boy was unimpressed. When we weighed the cost of going to Graceland, I did not want to drop $171 when our family that didn’t have any interest. When traveling cross country, our goal in choosing activities was to keep it cheap to stretch resources and to make sure that things we chose to do would be something everyone wanted to take part in. So, right out of the gate, Graceland got bumped.
Graceland and Platinum Tour:
– Adults $40 ea x 2 = $80
– Youth (13-18) $36 ea x 2 = $72
– Youth (7-12) $19 ea x 1 = $19
– Child (under 5) $FREE TOTAL for Graceland Experience for 7 people = $171
That kind of money would purchase about 73 gallons of diesel (@ today’s cost of $2.35). And 73 gallons of diesel would take us about 728 miles (using our average 10 mpg when we tow.)
When I checked Trip Advisor, the number one rated thing to do was Sun Studios. The cost for our family would be $12 ea. x 4 adults = $48 (children 6-11 are free, so one child would be free in our situation.) The downside to this option was that there was no convenient place to park a travel trailer nearby AND they do not allow children 5 and under in (we’ve got two in this age range). So, Sun Studios was put on the “visit another time” list when we were in a better position to enjoy the experience.
We decided to check out the National Ornamental Metal Museum since our older two sons have been interested in taking up welding. But this museum is more about blacksmithing than welding and they include a one-of-a-kind apprenticeship program for those wanting to learn the art.
Our boys loved the sculptures in the garden and we enjoyed the quiet courtyard and the picnic tables that invited us to enjoy a picnic lunch.
Most interesting was how the docent explained to us how one goes about passing their Journeyman Bladesmith Certification by making a knife and what his/her knife must be able to do before being considered a work master craftsman. The make two knives — they make one for structure and one for aesthetics. The one made for structure goes thru a series of tests and ultimately is put in a vice and bent at a 90 degree angle. If it survives, the test is passed. (You can learn more by watching this video.)
If you’re looking for unique, one of a kind hand artisan gifts, check out their online store.
WHAT KIDS CAN LEARN THRU THIS EXPERIENCE:
The craft of metal working and the diversity of the trade and how much practice a skill requires to become good at it.
It took us about an hour-and-a-half to go thru the museum buildings and walk around the grounds. Here are the details for planning your budget and outing…
RV & Bus parking available along road outside of the museum. *Children must be accompanied by parent or guardian. Be sure to check their website before you visit to see if there are any other restrictions as things change from the time of this posting.
TIP: Bring a picnic lunch on a nice spring or fall day! They have a couple of picnic tables and a lovely courtyard. If you go on a Saturday or Sunday, you may be able to see a demonstration. Check the Web site for details.
Tuesday–Saturday / 10AM–5PM *Closed Mondays, Easter Sunday, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Dec 24-26, Dec. 31, and Jan 1. The Museum is CLOSED due to weather when Shelby County Schools are closed.
Demonstrations: Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm (forging) and 3:00 pm (casting), except when there are classes in the Metals Studios. Visitors are invited to watch classes. Please call to confirm demonstration schedule.
Was this information helpful to you? If so, please click the links below to share on Facebook or pin to Pinterest so that others may enjoy this experience as well. Thanks for spreading the word!
5 Kids and a RV recommendations are based on personal experience and do not represent the business or not-for-profit we feature. We share our experiences in an effort to inspire parents and caregivers to engage and explore with their children. On occasion we may post a review or provide information as an affiliate.
5 Kids and a RV: “Let’s go learn something today!”
I’ve been pinning areas of interest we’d like to visit via Pinterest for awhile now. But, today I began the process of requesting Visitor Guides from the states we plan on traveling through as a way to involve the kids (holding tangible brochures with pictures and information) in the planning process. We can also use the materials for educational purposes as they learn about each state they visit and add it to their scrapbook. Each state also has digital versions available to download. Click the link and look for “Travel Guide” and you’ll see usually both options: print and digital. Hope this helps your research!
Our first time boon-docking was a bit of an adjustment as we are accustomed to being at a campsite – not on pavement. We weren’t entirely comfortable with the attention we got from curious folks we asked if we were “camping”. My pride twinged a bit and I shook it off as I reminded myself that the money saved that night could go back into the travel and play fund. A woman sat on a nearby curb, having a smoke and talking on the phone – an odd spot being that we were parked at the furthest point away from the store.
The kids felt a bit uneasy, too. My middle child asked if he could lead us in a prayer. I loved that he knew God could be our source to qualm any fears and that we could place our trust for safety in Him. Daddy headed into Walmart to grab some ice cream – a great treat as we watched the sun set.
The evening was warm and we found it more comfortable to sit outside and enjoy the breeze. At one point, while settling in at night, a van towing a pop up tent parked right outside our front door. My husband asked if he couldn’t park further away being that the whole parking lot was available.
When it came time for bedtime, we fired up the generator and the AC did it’s job to make everyone comfortably sleep. Everyone except Daddy that is. He never quite settled into sleep as any noise had him up checking on things.
Evidently we had a drunk wander past and continued on after hubby opened the door to make himself known. The parking lot cleared out quite a bit. Our youngest woke us up at 7 am, so we just packed things up and off we went down the road in search of coffee and breakfast.
I have to hand it to to Walmart at Hamilton, TN. The manager was very accommodating and friendly. There were other trucks and another camper that joined our area later that evening.
I think one nice addition for our own peace of mind would be so sort of video on the front to see the vehicle and door as well as the back if the trailer – that would give my husband and I some eyes to what might be outside. I know my Mom’s Tiffin has these feature and I can see why that might come in handy now. Otherwise, I loved how we saved money and would be open to trying it again!