See portions of this article in print in the March 2012 edition of The Journey, A Magazine for Women!
The Waterpark at the Villages
Located in Flint, just outside of Tyler, this indoor waterpark with a retractable roof opened in 2008 and has something for everyone. There are 4 big water slides, a lazy river, and a wave pool; but the biggest draw for me is the young child’s area. This playscape has several small child water slides, a huge bucket that dumps gallons of water from overhead, and bridges and waterspouts galore!
Spring 2012 Cost: $19.95/adult, $16.95/under 48”, Free/under 2
Sci-Port Science Center
SciPort in Shreveport is a wonderful hands-on learning experience where children of all ages can spend hours exploring and learning. The galleries and exhibits cover almost every area of science and math. From pulleys and skeletons to swamp creatures and,our children’s favorite, a bed of nails, kids will leave will full brains and tired bodies!
Spring 2012 Cost: $13/adult, $10/ages 3-12
Visit a pioneer village straight out of the mid 1800s to early 1900s. Walk through an old-time blacksmith shop. Check out a railroad depot. Visit a livery stable or any one of the community’s log cabins, or just stroll through the East Texas forest. See demonstrations of the old ways from people who have either studied the art or lived it. Be sure to eat at the world famous Pickett House Restaurant while you’re there to enjoy some homestyle southern food.
Hours: 9 – 5
Spring 2012 Cost: $4/adult, $2/children under 12
Discovery Science Place (Tyler Children’s Museum)
Here is a place for kids to discover through hands-on fun! Children of all ages can explore caves and a huge ship, role-play in HomeTown, USA, and build, build, build to their hearts’ content!
Hours: M-Sat 9-5, Sunday 1-5
Spring 2012 Cost: $6/person, 2 and under free
Steam Excursion at Texas State Railroad
This is a must for your little train enthusiast! A roundtrip excursion on one of the historic steam engines departs from the Rusk depot at 11 am and returns at 3:30 pm. The trip is 1 ½ hours each way with a 1 ½ hour lunch layover at the Palestine depot for a total 4 ½ hour experience. Ticket includes a delicious box lunch made fresh from the Bon Appetit Coffee Shop & Bakery.
Spring 2012 Cost: Standard Seating $56/adult, $38/ages 3-11
Located just 20 miles from downtown Houston, the Kemah Boardwalk is home to fabulous waterfront restaurants, amusements, charming retail stores, festivals and seaside shows every day. Children can enjoy taking a ride on the train, stomping waterspouts and splashing in the sprinklers, feeding the hungry catfish, touching a stingray, and much more! And for the big kid inside yourself, don’t miss the exciting roller coaster, the Boardwalk Bullet!
Gators and Friends Alligator Park and Exotic Zoo
Located just 10 miles from Shreveport, LA. you and your family can watch in amazement as giant alligators feed, wrestle and swim! These remarkable creatures will alternately awe and scare you as you view them in their natural habitat. In addition to the huge reptiles, Gators and Friends has a fully stocked petting zoo where you and the kids can walk among tame and cuddly miniature horses, kangaroos, ring-tailed lemurs, deer, coatimundis, goats, llamas, a camel, a capybara (the largest rodent in the world), and even a Scottish cow! Get up close and personal with these sweet and exotic animals. You can even help feed them at feeding times!
Cherokee Trace Drive Thru Safari
From the comfort of your own vehicle, you can observe, feed, and photograph these beautiful creatures. This natural environment has miles of roads that take you into a whole different world. Spot a Watusi (African longhorn cow) mother and calf grazing near a spring-fed pond. Watch the Blackbuck (Indian antelope) stodding across an open field.
Bring the whole family! Bring the class from school! Bring a picnic. Make the short drive to Cherokee Trace.
It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s educational.
Texas Freshwater Fisheries
The facility includes a over 300,000 gallons of indoor and outdoor aquariums displaying dozens of species of native fish, waterfowl, alligators and amphibians in recreated habitats. Includes a museum, fishing, dive show, guided tram tour, and more!