Sunday, September 25, 2016

Free Activities for the Family Can Be Just As Fun As Pricey Ones....

Hello Luvs,
Checking out the jackrabbits
and quails.

These past few days have found the family doing two free activities that offered just as much enjoyment (I would argue even more) as paying. I say this because some people feel that free activities will not offer as much as when you pay. Our experience has been the opposite. I want to share the things that we did which offered history, wonderful architecture, and the beauty of nature right at our feet.
Water left it's mark,

The first was the Hoover Dam area. When traveling from Arizona to Nevada you have an option of avoiding the slower moving traffic that follows the winding road across the Hoover Dam.  You can do this by taking the new bridge (there are signs well before that give you the option) that bypasses it. We typically do that, however we decided on Friday (since we were grabbing our mail nearby) to take the scenic route. We have yet to do the tour and might do that in the future. Instead we parked in the free lot and walked down to the central part.
The bridge that enables you to
cross the dam area quicker.

As we traveled down we noticed a couple of things right away. The first being the fact that there were many many hats that were at the bottom of the dried out section. More than likely a gust of wind blew the hats off of different visitors. Since going down to retrieve it is not an option their hats were now part of the site-seeing tour. The other thing was that we passed a place where there are cement pillars that reminded us of a submarine. Found out later that there used to be water in that section. Anyone can note the remains of water no longer there on the rocks that surround the area.
Art deco goodness!

So what offers value to this visit when not being guided. Well, the architecture for one. It is Art Deco goodness personified. All the cooper, cement, steel, mirrored glass, and other materials shined and reminded us of just how beautiful they could be. Reading the various signs along the way educated us about anything from the dog Nig who carried his lunch with him everyday while the workers were constructing it to the number of men (100) who lost their lives 'To ensure that the desert would bloom' as the plaque reads. We will for sure visit again and take the tour. Until then, check out some of the pictures taken while there.

Look Ma...I'm standing
on the Moon!!!!

Our stop yesterday was at the Red Rock National Park. While the Hubster did live close to the area (and visited it on several occasions) it was the 1st time there for the kiddos and the 2nd time for me. Once a year they offer FREE admittance into the area. There was a pretty good turn out still remaining when we arrived at 3:00. The first thing that struck us was the visitor's center. 

Pretty sure I couldn't fit!
There is a section that tells you more about it's history with an area that shows a film. But the outside is what really stole the show! We delayed seeing it because Baby Girl was not feeling well. After some time sitting and a water she felt better.

There was not a lot of time left to see the outside (since they closed at 4:30) but we made the best of it. Outside, the installations they have focus on Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. There are many things that are hands on for kids and art that makes the adults happy. While out reading about Fire and its relevance to the area we noticed a jackrabbit under a bush. Being in the desert offers a different variation of animals. Since we arrived later in the day (purposeful to avoid the most potent sun block of time) we drove around the scenic loop which is 13 miles in length. We searched for a good place to take a hike, and after a couple of stops we found a trail that looked interesting. 
The entrance and installations on the
front side of the Center
The view was stunning! 

The trails name is Lost Creek-Children's Discovery. Several families were already there, and it offered two different options in which to come and go. Along the trail there were searches for scat, animals, birds, cool rocks, petroglyphs, and interesting plants/vegetation. Take about the perfect outside classroom!  I managed to capture many that caught our eyes. That is why there are a few collages. I could not cut anymore! Sometimes I feel as if I could take non-stop pics, however I wanted to be as interactive with the kiddos as possible. It was funny to find scat on the top of rocks (and dead center on top of that) over and over again. By the end of the hike the kiddos began singing a scat (inspired by the Hubster) every time they found some. Pretty sure others were wondering just what we were going. I have included a portion of what we came across throughout the blog.
Installations exploring water, air,
fire, and earth.

The entrance to  our trail and
beautiful mountains and rocks
we came across.

So why do I think that the value of a free event is just as fun and educational? Well, first off is the fact that different people go about things at their own pace. It is not a one approach fits all type of world. Being able to go about exploring in a way that suits your family lends itself to a more enjoyable time. Being on a tour finds you spending more or less time at a spot than many would like. It also offers you the opportunity to stay in your entertainment, educational, physical activity perimeters. More people can take part because having the money to visit is not an issue. Make sense?

Now that I have offered my two cents what do you think? Are you a tour kind of person, or are you the type that likes to blaze their own trail (staying on the actual trail though vs. destroying and/or disturbing a protected area...just sayin'). I would love to know!
There was also amazing vegetation
and petroglyphs.
Of course I had to pose in this little opening
and document our departure!

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Til next time,



  1. We have had some of our best adventures over the years when going off the beaten trail. There are lots of quietly, hidden and even free gems in amongst the more populous, crowded and expensive tourist traps. We used the Insider's Guide travel books for years but now a quick internet search is likely to turn up lots of free/less known activity options. Travel on Kat!

  2. Thanks Kathleen for commenting. I am going to check out that publication. Reddit and reaching out to various meet up groups has helped also. Librarians are a wonderful resource too. Ya gotta read the one I just posted.....we are on our hunt for the RV, but we now know what we want...YAY! Oh, and you ROCK!!!!