by Amy Kucharski, Waco, Texas
Well, it’s five days until the first official day of Summer, and many friends are announcing vacation plans, but since we just moved across the country, we’re feeling spent – in every aspect! Because of this, we are enjoying free and cheap local entertainment. It helps us get to know our new area and feel more connected to our new home – and did I mention it’s free or cheap? I’m not sure if this qualifies as a “staycation,” but it got me wondering; what are some of your favorite local region-specific hangouts? Here’s a run-down of what we’ve been doing for fun since we moved to Texas – I mean, besides unpacking boxes – and that’s loads of fun, trust me!
Several people told us about the local Mayborn Museum; it’s kind of a discovery-mueseum-meets-local-history spot for families, owned and run by Baylor University. The locals love this place and it’s wonderful for newcomers! We learned so much about the area; the museum includes a replica of the fascinating Mammoth Site where some two-dozen remains were recently found; the largest collection of mammoth remains that died in a single event. There was an interactive dinosaur exhibit, a room for kids to explore weather and even practice forecasting on camera, another room on the history of typewriting and ancient symbols, and a whole second floor we haven’t even visited yet! We definitely signed up for the cheap family membership on this one, and even got to sign-in the cousins for free when they visited! http://www.baylor.edu/mayborn/
The Mayborn also had an outdoor “little house on the prairie” type area, where families could visit an old one-room schoolhouse, home of a tenant farmer, general store, etc. It is a wonderful area.
Next, we had heard about the local farmer’s market and absolutely had to check that out. It was a great place to pick up not only fresh local produce but other wares as well, including handmade soaps and lotions, baked goods, and my favorite…grass fed beef tamales!
A great thing to do in a new area is to visit sites of local note. In Waco, we have the suspension bridge complete with large iron statues illustrating the cattle-herd across the bridge. For many years, by reason of contract, this was the only pathway across the river, and this bridge was the model for New York’s Brooklyn Bridge.
And we have Cameron Park, which is second in size only to Central Park in New York City. I took a photo from the breathtaking view at Lover’s Leap. http://www.waco-texas.com/cms-cameronpark/
And last, one of the fun things about being new to an area is driving around and discovering things on your own. I’m always drawn to water, so we decided to drive alongside Lake Waco and see some of the beautiful homes that overlook the river. Pulling into what we thought was another neighborhood, we discovered an entrance to the Lake Waco hike/bike trails. We can’t wait to return and explore these trails!
Despite these many adventures, we still have many local sites yet to visit. We’ve heard the Zoo (in Cameron Park) is delightful, and we barely began exploring the areas we visited, so we will definitely be returning to them, again and again.
Have you been enjoying local sites in your area? Does your family have an out-of-area trip planned? Consider guest-posting about your recent trip or upcoming plans. It will be inspiring to see what, and how, other families plan and enjoy outings.