Jeep Family Road Trip Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, AL: Train Ride, Petting Zoo, and Nature Hike

I grew up on Lookout Mountain in Fort Payne, Alabama; which happens to be the midway point between Chattanooga and Gadsden- less than an hour from both cities.

A month ago, my wife and I took a scenic drive all the way down the mountain to downtown Chattanooga. But this past weekend for our son’s Fall Break, we simply drove in the other direction, which led to Gadsden -home of Noccalula Falls.

Despite visiting the place throughout my own childhood, somehow I had yet to take my own family there. I suppose our new Jeep serves as constant motivation to discover (or rediscover) nearby hidden gems!

Children ages 3 and under are free admission, so we only paid a total of $16 to enter the park. That granted us access to the petting zoo, the train ride around the park, and the trails that go down to the bottom of Noccalula Falls.

It was a great way to spend an Autumn morning…

So if you are looking for a fun affordable family road trip, I highly suggest Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, Alabama!

Dear Jack: Your Week at Nashville Zoo Camp

8 and a half years.

Dear Jack,

You are one lucky kid. Last week, you got to spend 5 days of summer camp at the Nashville Zoo!

It was especially cool since you got to spend that time alongside your friend Duncan, who you have known since before you were born:

We were in birthing class with his parents back in 2010 when then two of you were still in the womb!

Needless to say, you had such a great time that we’ve already decided to send you back again next year.

Not to mention, your sister is already saying she wants to go in a few years once she is old enough!

Love,

Daddy

2010 Jeep Wrangler JK Sport to the Nashville Zoo with the Kids

It is exactly 30 miles from our garage to the Nashville Zoo; which really isn’t bad for such a great source of family entertainment.

Somehow though, it’s been a solid two years since our family has journeyed down there.

But as I’ve mentioned before, now that we have a Jeep Wrangler as our family weekend vehicle, suddenly anywhere we go is not only more exciting, but also worth the journey.

Despite being an SUV, the JK series of the Jeep Wrangler doesn’t have much storage capacity. However, I was still have to squeeze in the double stroller in the back, which made things much easier for my wife and I to shuttle the kids across the Nashville Zoo. It takes a solid 3 hours of constantly moving if you want to see all the animals.

We actually started off our visit to the Nashville Zoo with my son and and my wife (Jack and Jill) finally getting to try out the Soaring Eagle.

Check out the quick video I made of their ride…

As the population of Nashville continues to rapidly grow, so does the number of exhibits at the Nashville Zoo. For example, I don’t remember there being rhinos the last time we were there…

But as you can see from these pictures from this weekend…

There was a lot to see and do…

And we were so exhausted, Mommy and Daddy took a nap when we got home…

Even if our kids didn’t.

3 Experiences to Share With Your Kids in Syracuse 

By guest blogger Eathen Smith, as part of the sponsored Hotel Planner campaign.

Syracuse is a well-known family-friendly destination located in Upstate New York. There is so much to discover here. The accessibility of the city is perfect for families with young kids seeking conveniently located hotels near attractions and places to visit. Syracuse has a diverse cultural mix, and families describe the mix of people and general atmosphere as warm and welcoming.

Green spaces and historic architecture complement the people. Children can experience wonder, creativity, learning, and just plain fun in a hassle-free and convenient environment. Experience a taste of what Syracuse has to offer by choosing some family-friendly ways to see the city.

Something Unique for Everyone at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Children have many opportunities to be connected to the wildlife and educational experiences offered by the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. Elephants, penguins, tigers, and all kinds of marine life will delight kids of all ages. The zoo offers birthday parties with catering, crafts, games, and admission all included.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo also features many upcoming events such as Under the Sea Day. Ocean themed games and fun activities like a bouncing castle are all part of the fun. Conservation themed events are also held regularly during the year. Members are also offered a number of free or discounted events.

Family Friendly Festival and Events.

There are also many different festivals and events to put on the kid’s to-do list during the calendar year. Syracuse is named the City of Festivals for good reason. Family-friendly events such and the Great New York State Fair include rides, music, livestock competitions, and animals for all ages. The festival runs from the second last week of August through to early September. There are also Greek, Italian, Irish, and Scottish Festivals held yearly. A range of different kid-friendly activities and delicious foods for the whole family can be found at all the festivals mentioned.

Walking With Kid Convenience

Sensational Syracuse is responsible for the maintenance of over 1000 acres of open space including parks, swimming pools, and, ice rinks. For visitors on a tight schedule or budget, it is highly recommended to check out some of the convenient walking tours offered throughout the city.

The Onondaga Historical Association offers a map of the Syracuse Historic Walking Tour. Over 70 historical attractions are shown on the map and tours can be started or finished at any point. This is perfect for just choosing a few sights that are of interest to the children. There are plenty of hotels in Syracuse located in close proximity to the tour. Public transport or a taxi can do the rest.

Why choose Syracuse? It is easy, fun and perfect for all ages. Hotels are plentiful and can be found for every budget making it a convenient destination. It has the perfect mix of free and paid events sure to pique the interest of children of all ages. Festivals, attractions, history, green space, architecture, education, and lots of fun are all a possibility in Syracuse. 

Image via Flickr by vastateparkstaff

Dear Holly: Your 1st Visit to the Louisville Zoo

1 year, 1 month.

Dear Holly,

As part of our 9th wedding anniversary celebration, Mommy and I took you and your brother to Louisville, Kentucky in the outstanding 2017 Toyota 4Runner.

While this made your brother’s 3rd time to this zoo, it was your first time to experience it.

The highlight this time ended up being when we got to see the bear taking a fun swim. It was like he was just showing off; like a cartoon bear! The exhibit was built around a 2 story tall tank.

We started out seeing the bear from the bottom floor of the tank. As you can see, you and Mommy marveled at the sight!

Your brother asked, “What if this tank burst open and we had to swim with the bear?”

After a few minutes of taking it all in, we went upstairs and saw the swimming bear from a higher perspective. It was almost like he was smiling at us as he swam!

Being that your current animal obsession is birds, you obviously loved pointed each one out to me, whether it was an owl or a parrot.

When it came time to see the gorillas, I’m not sure you were convinced it was even an animal! After all, you’re used to me sometimes dressing up in my Chewbacca pajama onesie as a joke.

So yeah, you may not have been impressed by the gorilla for that reason, but at least your brother was.

Speaking of the gorillas, perhaps one of my personal favorites parts of our visit to the Louisville Zoo was when we all individually got our pictures taken in front of the “How do you measure up to a full-grown gorilla?”

Your picture is hilarious, as you’ve obviously so small and cute compared to the outline of a gorilla! Meanwhile, I was the best match to the gorilla- which I guess is a good thing?

Love,

Daddy