Tag Archives: Kids

Atlanta, GA | Atlanta Botanical Gardens

The kids ready to enter the Atlanta Botanical Garden

    The kids ready to enter the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Those of you who know me, know that I like to grow things. I am wired to nurture whether it be children, critters, or plants. So, the Atlanta Botanical Garden has been on my wish list for a long time as a place to explore and we had the opportunity to do just that this last week! The main attraction was the Chihuly Exhibit which is placed throughout the entire garden to delight and give you the opportunity to explore the many types of gardens.  Here are a few of the highlights we saw along the way. Mind you, photos are great, but to experience these for yourself — you must see these glass and neon sculptures in person to fully appreciate them. They are amazing! #atlantabg #myfavchihuly

Chili Glass Sculptures at The Atlanta Botanical Garden
Chihuly Indigo Blue Icicle Tower, installed in 2015
LJ at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Our 6-year-old had to try out the cool outdoor seating along the Kendeda Canopy Walk.

As we entered the garden, we chose to go to the right and walk the Kendeda Canopy Walk to see four Chilhulys and the Cascades Garden where the giant topiary — the “Earth Goddess” — resides with a beautiful reflection pool full of brightly colored Chihuly glass. Nearly all areas are handicap accessible with nice wide paths to enjoy. If you’re limited on time and only have an hour to explore, you might want to check out some of their recommended “Power Hour” tours.

Earth Goddess at The Atlanta Botanical Gardens

The background on how the Earth Goddess was built and constructed to be a living topiary.
The background on how the Earth Goddess was built and constructed to be a living topiary.
The Earth Goddess at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens with Chihuly Glass Sculptures
The Earth Goddess at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens with Chihuly Glass Sculptures

Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers along the way! 🙂 I loved seeing a beautiful bearded iris growing along the path — my Grandmother used to grow these along her house every year.

Viviette Smelling Flowers
Stop and smell the flowers!
Bearded Iris
My Grandmother used to grow the most beautiful bearded irises.

The Atlanta Botanical Gardens make a great stop to stretch your legs if you’re visiting Atlanta. It took us about two hours to walk through the gardens at a leisurely rate, but I left feeling like I could have seen even more. We didn’t make it to the Children’s garden the day we visited, so we will have to go back and share that as well.

Kids walking and looking at gardens
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is a great place to stretch your legs and enjoy the sights while you take a walk.
Erin Castillo 2016 5kidsandarv.com
Blue and White in the Levi Parterre, a permanent Chihuly piece in the Atlanta Botanical Garden

For a moment I felt like a princess walking in her palace grounds with the groomed hedges in the Levi Parterre garden. Had it not been sweltering hot in the middle of July, I would have loved to sit on one of those benches for a bit. Definitely best to visit early in the day throughout summer months and prime weather conditions in Atlanta will be in the months of April/May and October/November.

Get great inspiration from the many beautiful planters at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
Get great inspiration from the many beautiful planters at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
Orange Glass Chihuly Fountain Sculpture by Gift Shop
Three Graces Tower  (2016)

I’ve been working on my own garden this year, so it was a real treat to see how professionals approached an edible garden. The vertical garden was a beautiful assortment of textures! I would have loved to see some aquaponics as an addition to how they were growing food.

Edible Garden

Edible Garden and perennial wall.
Edible Garden and perennial wall.
Garden Walkway
Walkway to the Edible Garden area.

Also on my wish list is to return in the evening with my husband to view the Chihuly Nights where the garden glass sculptures are lit up with neon. There’s a restaurant on location making it a perfect date night destination! (Garden admission is required to access the restaurant.)

Column of Fire Chihuly Saffron Tower
Chihuly “Saffron Tower” (2008) with water mirror reflection pool in the Glade Garden. Remember, they ask that you not throw coins into the water features.
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Tiger Lilies infront of the Zebra Reeds (2015)

The Fuqua Orchid Center was mostly closed off except for one small section, but that section was full of gorgeous and rare orchids to enjoy. It was like stepping into a slice of paradise! Own an orchid? Check out the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s blog.

Chihuly Black and Green Stripe Herons with Icicle Clusters (2015) in the Fuqua Orchid Center
Chihuly Black and Green Stripe Herons with Icicle Clusters (2015) in the Fuqua Orchid Center

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Stepping into the Fuqua Orchid Garden is like stepping into a tropical paradise!
Stepping into the Fuqua Orchid Garden is like stepping into a tropical paradise!

We ended up purchasing a membership since it was the best value ($109 for 2 adults and up to 8 children + you get 4 visitor passes to use throughout the year).  Don’t forget that your membership card also gets you a discount in the Gift Shop! Chihuly in the Garden and Chihuly Nights will only run from April – October of 2016, so be sure to stop in if you are traveling to Atlanta during those months!

Atlanta Location:

ADMISSION:

Adult $21.95
Child ages 3 to 12 $15.95
Child under 3 Free
Garden member Free

Weather Policy: The Garden is open rain or shine. Most gardens are located outside so dress appropriately for weather. There are indoor air conditioned and heated areas for visitors including the visitor center, café and conservatory and orchid center. Refunds or rain checks on admission ticket purchases are not granted for weather related reasons.

PARKING: On-site parking is available in the SAGE Parking Facility:

Time Period Cost
Drop-off period (0 – 30 minutes) Free
31 – 60 minutes $2.00
Each additional 30 minutes $1.00
Maximum daily rate $15.00

DIRECTIONS:
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is located adjacent to Piedmont Park at 1345 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta, GA, 30309.

View Google Maps

REGULAR HOURS (as of July 9, 2016)

April – October
Tuesday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Wednesday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Garden is open from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Monday, July 4 for Independence Day.

Chihuly Nights Hours
Wednesday – Sunday, 6 – 10 p.m.

November – March
Tuesday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Please note: The Children’s Garden is closed for renovations until summer of 2016. The Garden is undergoing capital improvements including renovated gardens and new amenities. Closed Mondays and in the daytime on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

REFRESHMENTS
In Atlanta, enjoy a Garden inspired menu from the team of Chef Linton Hopkins, a James Beard Award winner and popular local restauranteur, at the new Linton’s restaurant. Light snacks and refreshments are also available seasonally. Outside food and beverage are not permitted. During daytime hours, Garden admission is required for Non-Members. During Chihuly Nights, Garden admission is required for both Members and Non-Members.

Linton’s Information

For visitor info, go to the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Web site at http://atlantabg.org/visit/visitor-info

Be sure to observe this garden etiquette when visiting… http://atlantabg.org/content/1-visit/2-visitor-info/garden-etiquette.pdf

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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!

Midori Travel Journal – Just for Kids!

I’ve used the Midori Travel journal for about three years now and I continue to love having a sketch book and journal with me — I call it my UNfacebook! lol I get to record life as it happens and it can remain personal.  I just don’t have time to scrapbook, so it’s also sort of a way for me to do some creative journaling and throw in photos at the speed of life. You may have heard of Smash Books (similar concept), but the Midori system makes it easy for you to swap in various journals depending on your need.

We have invested in three Midori leather journals for our three older sons. We love that the more they use them, the more adventurous they look (think “Raiders of the Lost Ark”). The boys use these to keep track of ideas as a sketch book, they use them to track and organize school projects, and for our cross country trip, they had an insert to record any experiences they did as we went.

Don’t have a Midori? No worries! This little booklet type journal can easily fit an any glovebox and act as a stand alone. (I do encourage you to  put a heavy card stock cover on it if you are not putting it into a Midori.)

Our six year olds journal

(Above: I filled out a travel journal for my youngest son who was five at the time and not quite a writer.)

There’s even a spot for the kids to put their ID (in case they leave the journal somewhere) and they can color or shade in each state they’ve visited. I’m wrapping up the “stamp” designs for each state that you can print onto sticker paper and use to endorse the page (making it feel official). If you visit any National Park, you can also use their free stamp to stamp this area of the journal!

State by State sticker passport

 

Below is a sample of what you’ll receive in the file. The file is laid out in such a way that all you have to do is print the pages front to back in order. When you assemble and fold in the proper order, the states are all alphabetized so you can find them quick!
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Above is a sample of the intro page where you can personalize it with your mailing address should the journal be accidentally left behind at a location you are visiting, along with a spot to shade or color in the states you have visited.

Encourage your child to add photos, postcards, brochures, press a flower they find between the pages, and more! This is meant to be a memory keepsake for your child to look back on all his/her adventures.

Get the early-bird discount of 10% off!  The Kids Passport Travel Journal is on sale today, May 15th through Saturday, May 31st (2017) in the store!  Coupon code: LOVEMYMIDORI

This is a digital file, so you can download immediately and print as many journals as you need for personal use. Please don’t share the file with friends, but instead encourage them to support our family by downloading a copy for themselves. Thanks so much!

 

 

 

Osmo for iPad: Our kind of travel learning game

Oslo Words Numbers Tangrams

So, while the boys were working on set, the parents were in the holding area hanging out and one of the Moms I met pulled out Osmo and I got a great demo as I watched she and her daughter play the Word Game (thanks again, Tanis).

The minute I saw it in action, I knew my tech-loving guys would love interacting with the technology using the tiles that come with the set. Originally, I thought of our Kindergartner, but it’s turned out to be fun from age 5 on up!

Kindergartner playing on Osmo

How it works:  A reflector mirror attachment that comes with each set uses the camera on your iPad to “see” the tiles thru color recognition. When you plop a tile down in the viewing area, Osmo identifies the shape, letter, or number.

The tiles come organized each in their own box with easy to open and close magnetic closures. And this Mom loves the added thought to put a magnet under the paper layer of each cover so that the set stays together. (Very smart Osmo product developers!) The base fits an iPad or iPad Mini.

Osmo Learning Game

Here’s a quick one minute video to give you a demo of our Kindergartner in action using Numbers, Words, and Tangram.

This is perfect to take with us on the road in our RV! The boxes are fairly small and light weight. Plus, since each of our kids have their own unique profile (up to six profiles can be assigned), it can be used K-12 and quickly adapt to their level of learning. If you’re curious how it works for older kids, I’ll be posting more examples of the olders using Osmo soon. In the meantime, if you want to learn more, you can visit their Web site here.

OSMO Genius Set

click to learn more >

Our Wish for Your New Year…

If there’s anything I’ve learned from our travels in 2015, it’s this… that the best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and the memories we’ve made along the way.

This last year we took our dream trip traveling cross country by RV to be a part of wheat harvest and to visit with family that lives in the northwest. This was a big first for us as in the past 11 years we have always flown. It was an amazing experience that stretched us financially, emotionally, and physically — and most of all taught our children that we can trust in Jehovah God.

We attempted the trip actually three times in the same year — even having to turn back from St Louis at one point and return home due to things going on with my husband’s job as it went thru a transition.

We learned a lot about relationships. We reconnected with some, were blessed by those friendships sending us off and reminded of what love really is, probably let some people down because we couldn’t always do what we hoped to do or because we were away for a long time, and we met some great people along the way. This blog will share that journey as we recap and prepare for our next trip.

Wishing you a Happy New Year full of new adventures and the people you love... Erin & Jes and our tribe
5"x7" Post Card Template

Most of all, we grew stronger as a family. I thought we were close before, but when your sitting in close-proximity with 7 people for 5 days straight and experience stressful driving conditions in the midst of all that, well, you learn just how much you can do as a family! lol

So, lots to share with you and if you’re thinking about taking a trip this year — I hope you pursue that dream. Make it a goal and put everything you’ve got into it. I don’t miss the things we sold and the sacrifices we made to take our trip, but the things I do remember are moment after moment watching my children grow in love for the people we love and their wide-eyed excitement about exploring this amazing world God has created for us.

I look forward to you journeying with us thru this blog in 2016… Happy New Year!

Erin

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We’ve done this trip — you can too! [Guntersville, AL]

AL_Guntersville

Guntersville, Alabama (or Bass Capital as some call it) known for the pristine Lake Guntersville that frequently hosts the Bass Master Classic.  It’s mid-November and our visit is a four-day stay.  Lake Guntersville State Park is located along the banks of the Tennessee River in NE Alabama. The park overlooks the majestic 69,000-acre Guntersville Lake and ranges over more than 6,000 acres of natural woodlands and touts an 18-hole championship golf course.  The Main Campground includes 321 improved campsites, a primitive camping area, bathhouse, playground and recreation area, and country store.  All improved campsites have water and electrical hookups, picnic table, grill, and fire ring; some sections also have sewer hookups.

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The moment we unhook, the boys grab their rods and hit the lake in hopes of getting something on their line.  This is the second time we’ve camped at Lake Guntersville State Park.  The last time was three years ago and we visited during the month of May. That trip was great, but only days after we broke camp and headed home a tornado hit the area and caused severe damage, closing the RV camp until restorations could be completed this year in May of 2013.  It was a little sad to see the trees that once stood in this area are no longer around — it looks like a completely different park in some ways.  If you do stay at this park in the spring months (April thru June), be sure to have a weather radio that automatically turns on and tune it to the area as tornadoes are not uncommon with spring storms.  We prefer to visit late summer or fall for that reason.

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I particularly love how I can look out my window and check on the boys fishing on the shoreline or dock.  The sites are fairly close together which I am not too crazy about.  They do include a fire pit, picnic table, and are a gravel parking surface. Our chosen space was not very level and required effort on our part to get it right. We have two doors on our travel trailer and the back door by the bathroom was a little high off the ground but more level by the main door. We did have full hook-up and that was convenient. Our nightly rate was  $19 for full hook up + a 12% lodging tax surcharge.  Sites are first come, but it is helpful to reserve in advance in case it fills during busier times of the year.   The conference center is situated on the bluff and overlooks the Lake and RV park (see photo below).  Some young trees have been planted, but none to offer shade or beauty yet.

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We did some geocaching within the park. The first one was easy access, but the second one was a bit more intense and I wouldn’t advise it with little ones and no path. I feel a bit uncomfortable with four boys enthusiastically clamoring thru the woods — it puts my mama safety-senses into overdrive. The kids, of course, are oblivious to my silent concerns over poisonous snakes, falls that could cause a broken limb (of a child, not tree), or hunters that aren’t paying attention … and they climb over rocks and logs in the heat of the hunt for new-found treasure — the cache did not disappoint them. 😉