A Full Day of Fun in Pigeon Forge

We spent two nights in Pigeon Forge. We arrived in the evening with just enough time to check into our hotel and get to Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. This left us with one full day to explore. We did so much in that one day though that I feel like we were there longer. We started off our day with breakfast at our hotel, The Inn at Christmas Place.

After breakfast, we walked to MagiQuest which happened to be next door. It was a little too early though and it wasn’t opened yet so we decided to go check out the Christmas Place store. Christmas Place was directly across from our hotel. The outside was the same Bavarian style as our hotel and they had several rooms of full of Christmas decorations and ornaments.

You can see our hotel from the window on the picture to the right.

Once we were done looking around the store, it was time to head back over to MagiQuest.

The boys played MagiQuest for about an hour and then we went downstairs to go through the Odyssey Mirror Maze. After that we walked over to The Island and ate lunch at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.

After lunch we checked out the fountain for a little bit. The boys were tired of walking by this point so we even though everything is within walking distance we went back to the hotel and got in the car to head to our next destination, The Tomb escape game.

Once we escaped The Tomb, we went back over to MagiQuest so the boys could play for another hour and then we played Pirate Golf.

After Pirate Golf, it was already time for dinner so we went back over to The Island. We ate at Timberwood Grill. Then we took a look at some shops while we waited around for it to get dark so we could see the fountain show when it’s lit up at night. While we waited we went to the 7D Dark Ride for Los Banditos.

After that we went back to the hotel one last time and that was the end of our day. We had so much fun in Pigeon Forge. The boys absolutely loved it and were ready go back before we even left. There are so many fun things to do. We passed by so many other attractions that the boys wanted to do that we didn’t have time for. Everything is really easy to get too. If you don’t want to walk, or have kids that get tired like the boys did, there is a trolley that you can ride.

I’ve been telling everyone that mentions visiting Tennessee all about Pigeon Forge. It’s such a great place for a family vacation. Pigeon Forge is also right by the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, which is where we headed to the next day.

Have you been to Pigeon Forge? What are your Pigeon Forge recommendations?

Waves of Fun at California Tide Pools

Connor mentioned to me one day that he wanted to go to the tide pools in California. Since we were going to be heading out to Disneyland, I decided to look up the tide pools to see if there were any close by Anaheim. I ended up finding some on Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium also offers guided tide pool walks so I figured that was our best bet. We drove in from Blythe, California and had just enough time for a quick lunch before the tide pool walk.

Before the walk, we gathered in an auditorium at the aquarium and learned the rules for the tide pool walk along with what causes the tide pools and what animals we might find. The boys were already familiar with the animals and knew all about them so they were excited. Once they had told us everything we needed to know, it was time to head out to the tide pools.

Following the guide out to the tide pools.

Once we got out to the tide pools we were free to explore and the guide was there to answer any questions.

The first animals the boys came across were hermit crabs. We found these little guys everywhere; there were tons of them.

The guide even found one that didn’t have a home.

The boys were most excited about finding sea hares. The first sea hare they found was a black one which they were really excited about because the black sea hares are rarer to find. They also found several brown sea hares. We really loved the sea hares. They’re super cute and the boys loved petting them. The brown ones do squirt ink so they have to be handled very gently so that they don’t get startled.

Can you find the brown sea hare in the bottom right picture? The brown ones are camouflaged pretty well. The black sea hares stand out more.

We also found a couple of sea anemones and a sea urchin. The boys really liked these as well. They liked the sticky feeling of the sea anemones. The sea urchin they found was a red one and the guide told us that the reds were rare. She said they usually only sea purple ones.

Besides those animals above, we also found a chiton and what I think are limpets.

The chiton is in the picture to the left.

There was one more animal we found and it was a really difficult one to find. It’s a tiny fish called a sculpin. JT and I kept missing them because they swim away really quickly but Connor was really good at finding them. I finally managed to get a picture of one that stopped on a rock for a few seconds.

We stayed at the tide pool for about an hour and had so much fun. The boys wanted to stay longer but it was almost time for the high tide to come in.

I’m so happy that Connor mentioned the tide pools because it was absolutely amazing and we loved it. If you have a chance to visit the tide pools you should definitely go. It is well worth it. We had the best time and the guides from the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium are also great. Connor especially loved talking with the guide and showing her the animals he found.

Have you ever visited tide pools?

3 Terrific Reasons to Stay at The Trinity Hotel

Are you looking for a unique hotel? There’s one in Carlsbad, New Mexico called The Trinity Hotel. I came across it while checking out the Visit Carlsbad website and it sounded so cool that I knew we would have to stay there.

Here are 3 terrific reasons (in no particular order) why you should stay there too!

It’s a really cool, historic hotel.

The Trinity started out as First National Bank in 1892.

You can still see remnants of the hotel’s days as a bank. There is a wine room downstairs where you can see one of the safe doors and one of the suites has been named the Safe Room because it contains the second story safe which has been turned into a media room.

The are only 9 rooms!

The Trinity Hotel only has 9 rooms and they are very spacious. With only 9 rooms, you get to choose the room you want when making a reservation. There are two rooms downstairs and the rest are upstairs.

We stayed in one of the upstairs rooms, room 207. Both the room itself and the bathroom were spacious and comfortable. Our room had a queen bed along with a sofa bed.

The Trinity provides terrific amenities and extras.

A comfortable and spacious hotel room is not all that you’ll get when staying at The Trinity. They also provide several cool amenities.

In each room you’ll find a wine chiller with complimentary bottled waters. There are also complimentary Littlers fudge bites, which the boys loved. In the bathrooms, you’ll find Trinity bathrobes and nice bath products. Like most hotels, they also provide an ice bucket but along with the ice bucket there are wine glasses and a wine opener. I also happened to like the small plant on the night stand and the chandeliers in the hallway. They also provide ear plugs in the night stand in case you need them.

The Trinity also has a restaurant downstairs. We didn’t get to try it since we arrived late on a Saturday night but they do provide free pastries, coffee, and juice in the morning to hotel guests. Coffee is also not just limited to regular coffee; espresso drinks like cappuccinos and lattes are included. I was able to get a white chocolate mocha and a blueberry scone and the boys got orange juices. The Trinity also provides a free wine tasting daily from 4-7pm.

There was also an arcade game in the lobby that the boys enjoyed playing.

We loved our stay at The Trinity Hotel. We only stayed one night but the boys wanted to stay longer. The hotel staff and owner are also all very friendly and welcoming. We ended up coming late because of traffic in California that threw us off the day before but the owner waited for us to get there and then showed us to our room and gave us a little history about the hotel as well.

I highly recommend checking out The Trinity if you are ever in Carlsbad.

What other unique hotels do you recommend?