2015 National Park Free Days!

TIPS FOR TENT CAMPING IN YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

Grab your calendars, national park fans — the 2015 National Park free days have been announced! For nine days next year, the entrance fee to all national parks will be waived in commemoration of the following events:

January 19: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February 14-16: Presidents Day weekend
April 18-19: Opening weekend of National Park Week
August 25: National Park Service Birthday
September 26: National Public Lands Day
November 11: Veterans Day

It’s never too early to start planning your next national park adventure. For help brainstorming places to visit or where to stay, check out our FREE Owner’s Guide here. And don’t forget that we have one more fee-free day left in 2014! Get out and enjoy your national parks on November 11 in honor of Veterans Day!

Spine Chilling Nights In The National Parks

haunted tours
The cracking sound of a twig in the distance. The menacing hoot of a lone owl in the pitch-black night. The inexplicable creak of a floorboard in an empty historic building. It doesn’t take an overactive imagination to be spooked by the sometimes eerie nature of our national parks!This month, several sites across the country embrace fall’s ghoulish festival of Halloween as they welcome visitors for fun (and some even hair-raising) events! If you’re looking for a startling, entertaining, and educational good time, you can head to:

De Soto National Memorial (Florida) — Encounter restless spirits, zombies, and night creatures as you walk one of the largest haunted trails in Manatee County.

Minute Man National Historical Park (Massachusetts) — Join the Guild of Historic Interpreters in a very spooky, candle-lit setting for an evening of traditional New England ghost stories.

Oregon Caves National Monument (Oregon) — Hear the creepy stories of local history and the lesser-known tales of the caves as you take a haunted candlelight tour.

William Howard Taft National Historic Site (Ohio) — Learn about the unearthly origins of the “Hallows Eve” celebration from an unexpected Victorian visitor.

There are many ways for you to enjoy the peculiar, thrilling, and strange history of our national parks this Halloween. To see an expanded list of events, check out the National Park blog here if you dare!

Join the Giant Pumpkin Boat Regatta & Festival in Damariscotta, ME

Pumpkin Regatta(c)chiotsrun–flickr
Have you ever watched giant pumpkins float down a river? How about giant pumpkins that have been carved into boats that people attach a motor too? It’s one of those events that have you to see to believe. Mark your calendar for October 13, 2014 because that is the day of the annual pumpkin boat regatta in Damariscotta, ME.

Damariscotta hosts an entire weekend of festivities including everything from the pumpkin boat regatta to parades, pumpkin derbys, pumpkin catapults, food, kids activities to as much fun as you can pack into one weekend. The regatta, started in 2007, has been gaining more and more attention over the years. It has been featured on the Discovery Channel, The Chew and CBS News–Sunday Morning to name a few.

Pumpkin Regatta(c)chiotsrun–flickr

The regatta has evolved over the years and includes two divisions a paddle race and a motorboat race. Within those division there are heats that determine the final winners, who are awarded Golden Gourd trophies.

Since I have a complete fascination with the odd and bizarre this festival is right up my alley. It’s hard to imagine a big enough pumpkin that can be carved out and have a boat motor attached to it. I don’t know what they have in the soil in Maine, but they are growing those pumpkins BIG.

Here’s a quick video that shows a clip of both the paddle pumpkins and motorboat pumpkins.

Damariscotta, ME is located 50 miles northeast of Portland and is a small town located on the Damariscotta River. If you want to attend the event and plan to spend the night you should make plans now.

While you are in the area be sure to visit the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, built in 1827. The entry fee is only $2 per person and looks like a beautiful lighthouse to visit. For a full list of additional nearby activities click here.

Prepare to have a great time at Damariscotta Pumpkin Festival & Regatta. When you go be sure to let us know what you thought and if you floated a pumpkin down the river.

Hands On Learning at the Mississippi Children’s Museum

Mississippi Children's Museum

A visit to Jackson, Mississippi with your family would not be complete without a stop at the Mississippi Children’s Museum. With 40,000 square feet of fun to offer visitors, children can explore the rich history of Mississippi, learn about health, science, technology, literacy and the arts. As a mom of four boys who homeschools, I am always looking for ways to make learning fun, and the vibrant colors, hands on play and free range layout of the Mississippi Children’s Museum provides just that. Watch your children rush from one themed area to another soaking up fun facts and burning off some energy.

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Studebaker National Museum

Studebaker National Museum

The Studebaker National Museum located in South Bend, IN takes you through the history of one of the most iconic cars of its time. Manufactured in South Bend from 1902-1963 the Studebaker established itself as having a reputation for quality and reliability. Even though Studebaker is no longer manufactured you can admire this fabulous cars at the Studebaker National Museum.

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Route 66 Drive In Theaters

route 66 drive in
Written by American Songwriter Bobby Troup in 1946, the classic R&B song has been covered by many artists through the years including Nat King Cole who first made it famous and then on through history with The Rolling Stones and even John Mayer. The song covers the cross country road trip that begins in Chicago and takes you all the way to LA.

If you ever plan to motor west,
Travel my way, take the highway that is best.
Get your kicks on route sixty-six.

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Summer Bucket List: Go to the Drive In Theater

drive in
What’s your first memory of going to a drive-in? Were you a small child that got to sit up on the hood of the station wagon, leaned up against the front window with a pillow behind you and a blanket under you? Did you watch the cartoon first flick from the roof of your car while your parents sat inside of the vehicle? Maybe you didn’t go to drive-ins as a child, but you and your friends had blankets and folding chairs out by the cars as you watched Airplane or Star Wars on the big concrete screen.

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Orlando’s Newest Attractions to Become this Summer’s Biggest Blockbusters

orlando summer fun
It’s shaping up to be a fabulous summer in Orlando!! Visitors can look forward to climbing aboard the Hogwarts Express or exploring the mine where “a million diamonds shine,” to plummeting down one of the steepest waterslides in America, Orlando’s newest offerings are sure to make 2014 a blockbuster summer.

If you want to be in the know about what exciting things are happening in Orlando this summer be sure to visit Wanderlust Moms often to stay up to date!

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