World’s Largest Pheasant

by Josh on February 3, 2014

huron south dakota worlds largest pheasant

The world’s largest pheasant is located in Huron South Dakota.  And, for someone like me who loves roadside attractions – this is a gold mine. Photo worthy and something you can pin to a travel folder — count me in!

This roadside gem is on the North side of Huron, right on highway 14.  It was built in 1959 at a cost of 23 thousand bucks, pretty spendy in those days. R.F. Jacobs was the sculptor – he also sculpted the pink flamingo that sat on top of the Flamingo Casino in Vegas.

The old bird was restored for it’s 52nd birthday.  It had deteriorated over the years and over 30 thousand dollars was raised to refurbish and maintain the fowl.

If you find yourself anywhere near Huron South Dakota, this is worth a look.  And, they have one of the largest rocket slide parks in South Dakota too.  Astro City is total worth your time.


Rocket Slide Parks of South Dakota

by Josh on September 14, 2013

finding rocket slide parks of south dakota

Rocket Slide Parks, you know those space age inspired pieces of play equipment.  They were tons of fun to play on when you were a kid.  And, they probably don’t meet today’s rigorous safety standards.

I love to pile the kids in the van and find new parks to play at.  When there is a sweet play set even better!

Astro City in Huron SD

Pictured above is a play set known as “Astro City.”   This thing is 32 foot tall, a little scary – but a lot of fun.

The park where this piece is located has tons of other play options too.  Plus picnic shelter and bathrooms.  Plan to spend some time enjoying the Rocket Slide in Prospect Park.

Spearfish Rocket Park Slidefind the Rocket Slide Park in Spearfish South Dakota

The slide in Spearfish is smaller than the one in Huron, but my kids like the configuration better.  There are two seats at the top of the rocket in the cockpit.

This park is located a quiet part of town and doesn’t seem to get a ton of traffic.  Often we get the whole park to ourselves.

Do you know of any other great parks, with really cool play equipment?

Please tells us about it!


Lodge at Deadwood Family Suite

by Josh on March 27, 2013

photo of the family suite at the Lodge at Deadwood

When we travel with our crew, we require a large room like a the family suite at the Lodge at Deadwood.  We need enough room for all the kids and their stuff.  The room reminded me a bit of the family suite in Fredericksburg Texas we stayed in.

The family suite we stayed in has two queen beds and a sofa bed.  Plus, two comfortable chairs and a bench.  Two flat screen TV’s works great for families.  Of course, there is high-speed Wi-Fi and room service is available.  There is a small fridge, microwave and coffee maker.

Our room had a balcony, unfortunately it was covered in snow – so I didn’t think we could enjoy it- but my wife asked about having it cleared at the front desk.  There was someone from maintenance at our door in about 1 minute and the balcony was snow free in no time.  Even without a balcony, the views of the surrounding Black Hills are nice from most places at the resort.

The water park was certainly the highlight of the visit for the kids.  They wanted to spend all their waking hours playing there.  Hopping across the lily pads or playing on the pirate ship.

The staff at the hotel and resort were very friendly and helpful.  I made a mistake with our reservations, and they quickly corrected my error without making me feel bad.  Every staff member I interacted with made me feel welcome.

There are plenty of attractions in the Deadwood area to keep you occupied.  And, after your long day of exploring the area you can find a good nights rest at the Lodge.

{ 1 comment }

Lodge at Deadwood Water Park

by Josh on March 26, 2013

image of children playing at the lodge at deadwood water park

We are taking a mini 2-day vacation in Deadwood South Dakota.  A little, late-March getaway to let the kids enjoy a pool.  We decide to stay in a family suite at the Lodge at Deadwood just across the road from Tatanka and down the road a bit from the Preacher Smith Monument.

It is a great indoor water play land for younger kids.  It has water cannons, geysers, lily pads with climbing rope, a pirate ship and three slides.
The pool area is open 8am to 10pm most days and there are plenty of towels poolside to dry off with.  The zero entry pool depth varies from about 18 inches near the pirate ship to about 4 foot near the lily pads.

The pool room also has a hot tub, for those of you looking for a good soak.  Deadwood hosts many events throughout the year, but you can find some fun any week of the year.

If you find yourself in the Northern Black Hills of South Dakota, consider swinging through Deadwood.

{ 1 comment }

Kansas Statue of Liberty Replica

by Josh on February 12, 2013

photo of the statue of liberty replica near Gaylord Kansas

In North Central Kansas, you can find a Statue of Liberty Replica looking over the small valley between Gaylord and Harlan.  This little roadside rest area is only about 30 miles from the Largest Ball of Twin in Cawker City.

The fun part of road trips is coming up over a hill and finding a great little spot like this.  A place to get out of the car and stretch your legs.  Roadside Attractions are my favorite.

This was one of the statues erected by the Boy Scouts in the 1950s.  It apparently had be a target of vandals over the years, but had recently been restored.

Here is a video snippet of the the area.


Things to do in Port Aransas with kids

by Josh on December 5, 2012

photo of the beach at Port Aransa

What are fun things to do when you and your kids are in Port Aransas Texas?  Don’t worry there are plenty of things to do in this little Texas beach town.

Go to the Beachphoto of beach pass

This is probably the most obvious.  Get your feet in the sand and enjoy the Gulf of Mexico.  But, first head to the visitor’s center and buy a beach pass.  Then you can park your vehicle near your own little piece of the beach.

The pass is a great little reminder in your window of all the fun you had in Texas.  I can almost hear the waves crashing every time I see this little sticker in our window.


Mustang Beach is know for shells.  Shells wash up on the beach here from all over the Caribbean.  Pick up a copy of the Island Moon Newspaper to find out when low tide(best time for shelling) is and hit the beach.

Encyclopedia of Texas Seashells can make a game out of identifying the shells you find with your children.  We spent hours just wandering the shore collecting shells.


There are tons of great options when it comes to shopping.  If you just need some new photo of large walk-in sharkboard shorts, extra beach towels or souvenirs – you have plenty of choices.

We found the prices to reasonable too.  Even though this is a big tourist destination, the price are not inflated (just the beach toys are inflated Winking smile).


Eat Seafood

You are at the coast, enjoy some fresh seafood.  If you rent a house like we did, you can cook your own.  Enjoy some pan fried grouper for breakfast or enjoy all the shrimp you can eat.

If you don’t feel like cooking, there a lots of great restaurant options.  The Crazy Cajun is just one place that offer seafood in a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for families.

Build Sandcastles

It is no surprise that Port Aransas is home to Sandfest.  The sand if perfect for amateurs and professionals to build sand castles.  We spent hours just playing in the sand – time well spent.

Ferry Crossingphoto ferry crossing port aransas

Take a drive up the coast and visit Historic Rockport and Fulton.  Living in South Dakota we don’t often have a chance to experience a ferry crossing.  These large boats quickly and efficiently move you and your vehicle from the island to the coast.  Ferry service was first started in the mid 1920’s and was the only way to get to the island until 1954.


Visit Mustang Island State Park and Birding Site.  Wildlife photographers flock to this area.  Hoping for a chance to get that perfect shot of migrating birds.

Rent a Golf Cart

photo of a port a golf cartGet around the island in open air style.  A golf cart is a great way to explore this little beach town.  There are plenty of place to rent from.  You may want to call ahead and reserve one on busy weekends or during the peak season.



Just soak up the sun and relax when you are in Port Aransas, Texas.  You are at the beach, don’t make a schedule.  Don’t plan.  Just let your day unfold.

There is just something very relaxing about having your feet in the sand.  And, knowing the only thing you have to do today is be.


La Crosse Christmas Lights

by Josh

Pin It The Christmas light display on the shore of the Mississippi River in La Crosse Wisconsin is the only one I’ve ever see with a fire breathing dragon.  This is a huge display. Other than amazing lights, you will find a live manger scene, live reindeer, hay rides, an ice castle and more. You […]

Read the full article →

Crazy Cajun Port Aransas

by Josh

Pin It After a long day of playing in Port Aransas, we headed down to the Crazy Cajun.  This a nice place to get some great food with the family.  Offering a relaxing atmosphere, where the kids can color on the table cloth until the food arrives. The place is famous for “The Hungry Cajun.”    […]

Read the full article →

Port Aransas Sand Castles

by Josh

Pin It We visited Port Aransas Texas for the beach.  And, we were not disappointed.  The sand and water are perfect.  Plus, the sand is loads of fun to play in and if you are artistically inclined, it is great for building sandcastles. We spent a week in this small Texas beach town.  Of course, […]

Read the full article →

Top 7 Black Hills Family Hikes

by Josh

Pin It The Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming are a perfect family destination.  There are great parks, museums, campgrounds, national monuments, weather and more. We’ve called the Black Hills home for more than a decade, but it still feels like we are on vacation every time we get out and explore the area.  […]

Read the full article →