New Orleans

Our drive to New Orleans coincided with a huge storm hitting middle America and the east coast, which gave us a whole day of rain to look forward to. As Floridians, were used to driving in the rain. But driving an RV amongst people who don’t know how to drive in the rain could spell disaster. So we took precautions – we left early and drove under the speed limit the whole way. We may have annoyed some people, but we got to our destination in one piece.

We pulled into a Walmart to grab lunch for the boys when Damon realized the car battery was dead. I have no idea why the battery keeps dieing – Damon thinks it’s the extra things in the car (like our heated seats), that are draining the battery. On the plus side, we bought that battery at a Walmart, so we were able to return the dead one and got a replacement for free!

Our RV park is located just a few miles from downtown New Orleans, which means it’s pretty small and tight. At least we’d be able to get to local attractions quickly. I’d been looking forward to the pool here, but the weather didn’t look promising – cold and rainy.

Thanks to the time changes, fall back plus moving over a time zone, the boys were asleep by 7! Always nice to go to bed early, but it meant an early morning for us the next day.

As predicted, it was cold and rainy, so we took our crazy boys to the Louisiana Children’s Museum. This is exactly what they needed. This two-story facility was filled with hands on activities perfect for the boys. We spent three hours there before they needed lunch. In fact, the museum worked so well, that both boys fell asleep after they had lunch.

After some thrifting, we decided to head back to the RV. The owner of the park warned us that the main highways basically becomes a parking lot from 3p-6p. Don’t have to tell us twice!

The next day was another early, cold, and wet morning. No problem – we headed to the aquarium!

Damon was hesitant to visit as our last few visits to aquariums weren’t very successful. As we approached the building, mini-man got very excited and started talking about sish. Always a good sign.

One saving grace was the aquarium was completely dead. Little-dude had fallen asleep, so mini-man and I were able to just sit and look at fish for as long as we needed.

This aquarium was an amazing combination of detailed exhibits while being interesting for kids. It was also the perfect size for kids to walk around and not get too tired.

The next day we were finally given some dry, sunny weather. We took advantage and took the boys to a local park. In addition to being an amazing playground, it was house in a beautiful park filled with old oak trees.

While the boys played, we noticed a train going around the park and learned that just a few feet a way was a small, kids amusement park.

After we finished the playground, we searched out the train and made the last one of the day. It wrapped the perimeter of the whole park – one of the longest kid trains we’d found. It was so calming that both boys fell asleep.

Of course, as soon as we got back to the car, they both woke up. So we decided to head to Cafe Du Monde. Everything I’ve ever read or heard from people about New Orleans is that Cafe Du Monde is a must.

And I can see why. Despite being busy, we found a table quickly and got served instantly. As soon as the server brought out the beniets, little-dude dove right in. I think he at half of our order! After I had half of one, I offered it to mini-man, who, to our shock, tried! And liked it! He kept shouting ‘YUMMY!’. You know it’s good if the picky three year liked it.

Afterwards, we walked around the French Quarter a bit, enjoying the architecture and the atmosphere.

Our last in New Orleans was absolutely perfect outside and we had nothing planned. However, mini-man started talking about wild animals, which inspired us to visit the Audobon Zoo.

And I am so glad we visited. This was by far the best zoos we’ve ever visited. The quality of each exhibit and habitat was outstanding – lots of detail, an ability to get close to the animals without compromising animal comfort, and a variety of exhibits to explore.

Everywhere we walked, there was something new to see. Although it’s a large zoo, it felt small and cozy. My favorite things was the oak tree lined pathways. These are old trees and I appreciated that the park maintained them and worked them into the expert of the park.

My other favorite part was their attention to children. Many zoo provide a playground and that’s it. In addition to a playground at the front, the zoo offered a water play area and climbing structures, with slides, in each area of the park. It was a great way to see the animals with the boys and let them play at the same time. It was the very first time we’d stayed at a place from open to close.

We did so much at this stop and I feel like we got a very good feel for the city of New Orleans. I’m glad it’s close to Orlando. We hope to come back soon and spend some more time there. But, for now, it’s time to get to Florida!

Taking our Furbabies on the Road

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These poor cats. We adopted Kizzy and Cloud in 2008 while we were living at our townhouse in Orlando. And over the past ten years, these cats have lived in a lot of different places:

  • 2009 (October): We drove them cross country for three days to move to California.
  • 2010 (April): About six months later, in early we drove them back to Orlando, and into my in-laws house in Celebration, Florida.
  • 2010 (October): After many months of house hunting, we then moved them to our new house in Orlando.
  • 2013 (February): After a few years of downtime, we moved them to an apartment near SeaWorld
  • 2014 (January): We moved them back to our townhouse in Orlando.
Tired Cloud
I think this pretty much sums up how he feels about car rides

Is that it? unfortunately not.

  • 2015 (September): We flew them out to California!
  • 2016 (September): We fly them back to the townhouse in Orlando

And now we are asking them to live with us on an RV and travel the country to who knows how long. I think I better stock-up on kitty treats.

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Theme Park – SeaWorld Orlando

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I am a huge theme park freak. Growing up in San Diego, my family and I would often visit SeaWorld, Disneyland, and the zoo. Damon and I even met while working at Walt Disney World – so you could say theme parks are in my blood. I was so excited to take Mini-man to visit these same places.

After taking mini-man to a few theme parks I learned some very valuable lessons and applied them to this trip. Damon and I agreed ahead of time to only go for a few hours, see a show, see some animals, and leave. Keeping expectations simple is becoming the key to our success. (every time I spell success – the 1980’s song S-U-C-C-E-S-S from the ‘Secret of my Sucess’ with Michael J. Fox plays in my head)

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Anyways, we got to the park around 10am just in time to see my favorite show ‘Blue Horizons’ – an amazing performance showcasing the beauty and power of the Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin. We sat up high to stay out of the sun (in Florida, always seek out cover for shade or protection from rain). Mini-man loved watching the dolphins jumping through the air and was completely mesmerized during the show.

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One of the great things about visiting SeaWorld Orlando in October is their Halloween Spooktacular – included with park admission! We headed to the Bayside Pathway to partake in the festivities. The celebration offers trick-or-treating, a dance party, face painting, character meet-n-greets, and much more! Since Mini-man was under one, we decided to just walk the pathway slowly and do some trick-or-treating. This was fascinating to mini-man – he loved reaching into the bag and pulling out the candy to play with it. (don’t worry – Damon valiantly stepped and ate the candy on Mini-mans behalf). 

Since the pathway ends in Shamu’s Happy Harbor we decided to try some of the attractions in this area. Much to our suprise, there was nothing that mini-man could do! All of the rides required a child to sit in their own. And while Mini-man could sit on his own he couldn’t quite stay seated on his own. It really amazed me that a park that markets itself to kids, wouldn’t have anything for those who are under two.

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Afterwards, we were getting hungry and decided it was time to leave. SeaWorld has some amazing food, but it can be pricey and a little hectic. Little tip – there is a Wendy’s, Panera, Taco Bell, and Mellow Mushroom just outside of the park (no more than a 10 minute drive).

Thanks to our ‘keep things simple’ strategy, we managed to have a fun day with each other and create lots of amazing memories.