Our Visit To The DeYoung Family Zoo In Wallace , MI

Once again my husband came up with a spectacular idea to make my weekend a bit more fun while taking it easy and letting this muscle strain heal…he suggested we take a trip to Wallace, MI and visit the DeYoung Family Zoo.

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I have a love/hate relationship with zoos since I sometimes feel sorry for the animals penned up and not free to be in their normal environments. Although, I do love the zoos that offer a place for animals to rehabilitate from injury or even survive as happy as can be in the case of a birth defect. I have found that its best not to know and just enjoy the zoos we visit to the best of my ability since let’s face it, zoos have been around forever and will always be a popular place for families to enjoy whether I like them or not. In this instance this is by far one of the more rustic non commercialized zoos I have ever been to. For a reasonable entrance fee you can enjoy a natural setting with animals and very little hype when it comes to snacks, gift shops, and extras around every corner.

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There are no paved sidewalks in this zoo and no big guard rails to keep you at a distance from the animals. However, every cage is double fenced and found easily with hand painted signs through out the area. It’s like hiking through a jungle full of various animals.

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The do offer food to purchase and feed the animals in the feeding area. Although, we only saw one place to buy food and that is in the same building you enter and pay admission in. So save yourself some time and buy this at the same time you pay your admission fee.

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There are also signs posted along the way when special feeding times are for the large animals if you enjoy this type of thing. Crowds gathered for the hippo were amazing so this is something you will want to make sure you grab your spot in time.

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It was a nice change from the zoo in our area here. All dirt trails, tons of trees, and nothing for your children to beg you to buy throughout the entire zoo.

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I would highly recommend this zoo if your looking to get away from the big city and enjoy a few hours of animal adventure.

Get here early for good parking since parking is limited. Bring your own snacks or a picnic lunch since snacks/food is also very limited. And remember bug spray since this is Michigan and bugs are everywhere!!! And if you forget the wipes/hand sanitizer…no worries, they offer soap and water right on the premises to clean up after the feeding area.Oh, and I almost forgot….grab some tissues/toilet paper since all the facilities are porta potties and some where out of toilet paper while we were here.

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Summer Fun At The Milwaukee County Zoo

Are you looking for something to do in WI this summer? For a full day of fun you could visit the Milwaukee County Zoo. My husband and I used to take our son here years ago and recently we decided to go as a couple.

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It has been at least 6 years since I last visited this zoo and I was quite amazed at the difference now compared to back then. First, let me say gooood jobbbb to all the employees today….the zoo is much cleaner than it ever used to be. Very noticeable and nicely kept.

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It took us about 4 hours to see the entire zoo and we did none of the specialty rides or attractions except for the special exhibit that was happening during the time we were there. So I would bet a family with kids could literally spend an entire day here if they wanted to explore the entire zoo.

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Upon our arrival it was raining so we choose to do all the inside exhibits first where you walk between building viewing animals.

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Which worked out perfectly since the rain stopped right before lunch time which meant we could then do all the large outdoor exhibits without getting wet.

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I was really happy to see that they still offer the opportunity to carry in picnic food. They offer many eatery places along the way or a place to grab a quick snack but in my opinion, all the prices are very expensive.Take a look at some menu choices inside the zoo.

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Although, with a little planning you can easily pack a nice picnic and enjoy this just the same for a lot less cost. We even saw families tail gating in the parking lot and if you know anything about WI, you know that we are professional tailgaters here.

As for the special exhibit going on while we were visiting….this was also an extra cost of $10 per adult above and beyond the admission price. And when I saw what the special exhibit was I was all in since I LOVED going to see the Body Works( a few years back) I just had to see the Animals Inside Out also.

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If your looking for a great place to spend some family time and learn about nature and wildlife, give a thought to visiting the Milwaukee County Zoo. Your children will love it and so will adults.

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*** All opinions are my own regarding this establishment. All admission fees, parking, and special events were also paid by myself.

 

 

Photos Speak Louder Than Words-Memorial Day Weekend 2017

Since photos often speak louder than words…..let me recap Memorial Day weekend for you simply using photos and very few words.

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Wow, what a weekend!!! We finally dusted off our paddles from the long winter, had a little fog one morning, rain another morning, and relived a place that we use to take our son every year when he was smaller. We enjoyed dinner outside at our favorite place….the front porch and we all are feeling rejuvenated and ready for a great summer ahead.

Did you do anything fun you care to share….if so feel free to comment?

 

 

 

Deer Path Trail In Hartman Creek State Park, Waupaca, WI

Everyone who visits Waupaca,WI will have been told to check out Hartman Creek State Park and the Chain O Lakes. Without a doubt these two places are two of the fine treasures of this area. If you do anything that involves a paddle you must make a trip to paddle the Chain O Lakes.

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However, since our first visit here a few years back I have been wanting to hike this area and never seem to find the time…that is until now. I made the trip this past weekend for a solo hike on Deer Path Trail in Hartman Creek State Park.

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Deer path trail was about a mile long and I would easily rate this as easy. One of the shortest hikes in the park but one I found to be very nice and peaceful.

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This trail loops around Allen Lake and the trail head and parking lot are easily located by good signage upon entering the main entrance of the park.

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I did print off a trail map before leaving home, however, for this trail it was well marked and easy to follow without needing the map. You basically follow the lake around.

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Kids could have so much fun hiking this trail. There were so many places to easily access the lake to search for critters and such and many benches for mom and dad to sit and let them explore while hiking.

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Terrain on this trail changed a few times. It starts out with a small trail which was not pleasant for me since I prefer wide trails for the simple reason it’s easier to see snakes. However, it widens and narrows throughout the entire mile and brings you through a pine forest, up a few hills, and one big trail hazard I had to climb over but I am sure the park employees will take care of this in the near future.

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If your looking for a nice, quick hike in this area and don’t want to spend a lot of time researching a trail, this would be an easy one for anyone to do. Or if your camping in the park and need your children occupied while you relax, this is perfect. Bring some little nets, a bucket, and maybe a magnifying glass and let them explore while you relax.

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Trading The Gym For The Outdoors

Lately, I find myself choosing the outdoors over the gym to get my daily workouts. As the seasons change I typically find this to be what happens, although this year it seems earlier than most for this to be happening.

I am not, by any means, a gym die hard. I do, however, like to keep a routine and try and make it there at least twice during week and twice on the weekends in the winter months. The remainder of the time I just find it more convenient to workout at home. When winter comes to an end, I still try and make it there twice during the week but weekends often are spent outside instead.

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That being said, I can’t help but struggle during the week with going to the gym when the sun is shining and there is so much to be offered outside to get in a great workout. Which means some weeks I don’t make it to the gym at all.

For one, I love to do yoga, weights, and stretching in nearby parks. Find a back corner where there is peace and quiet and you can really clear your mind and get in a good sweat.

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As a family we have come to love disc golf. It’s challenging, it’s often a nice walk through a wooded park, and offers fun while your exercising and you often don’t even realize it.

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You all know if I had to choose a great hike over a visit to the gym….the hike would win every time. Here in the midwest, hiking season is short so I take advantage of every chance I get to log trail miles. Granted, I don’t get to work every muscle group I could be working at the gym….however, hiking is one activity that’s truly brings me peace and let’s me know that I can literally walk away from life for a short amount of time. On the trail I can just let everything go.

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Once summer arrives in full force, our paddles come out, get dusted off, and the water calls my name every weekend and even some week nights. From kayaking to paddle boarding, I often struggle with which one to do on which weekend. I know right….what a hard decision to have to make. Believe me…..it really is sometimes.

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During the months of June,July, and August I will be very lucky to touch foot in the gym even once. Weekends are jam packed with summer fun and week days are also jammed packed with other types of summer fun while I work. Caring for children during the days in the summer months is twice as exhausting as in the winter months for me. Winter offers the same activities in rotation. Summer, however, leads to all sorts of summer fun….especially when my husband and son are also home to join in the action. Things such as water balloon fights and critter hunting always add to the fun of summer.

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Do you prefer to spend time exercising outdoors or inside?

What’s you favorite outdoor exercise?

Hello March….Your The Month I Wait For All Winter

Although I was feeling a bit unhealthy this week suffering from this nasty virus, it still was a great week for me since it was the beginning to another month…..March. Which means another month closer to summer.

March is a busy month for us here. Birthdays are spread all throughout the month, we have a day trip planned to attend an REI garage sale event for members, I have my first overnighter with a friend planned that I am so looking forward to, and don’t forget….this is the month where daylight gets longer in the evenings since we all change our clocks in a few days……hurraaaayyyy!!!!!

Since I have no workouts to share from this week of rest due to this nasty bug, I thought I would catch up on some of my favorite things lately. However, in all honesty, I did not rest completely…..I got in small workouts here and there because the guilt was worse than the virus plaguing me. Crazy I know, but it is what it is. Anyhow…
Remember those mirrors my son snagged before his employer threw them out….well they are up and I LOVE THEM!!! These will benefit my workouts so much being able to watch my form during yoga and weight lifting.

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Speaking of time changing and girl’s weekends….I have one coming up and we are so excited about it. A friend and I, that I have known for over 20 years, have planned our first over night girls weekend away from life here at home. We both do the same thing for employment….childcare. And if anyone knows anything about childcare you would all agree, winters are LONG! So we decided to take a weekend and go away over night to a near by town, stay at a bed and breakfast type lodge, shop, wander, and eat our way through 48 hours of not caring for anyone but ourselves and celebrate another winter passed. How cool is that? Does anyone else celebrate surviving winter????? Probably not, but that don’t mean we can’t.

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Speaking of surviving winter, it feels so good to be back outside with my kiddos. Fresh air does wonders for nap time, gives us all a new perspective on life, and makes them eat so much more food. I am so ready to pack away the puzzles, coloring books, and the finger paints and change over to sidewalk chalk, critter hunting, and bike riding. What about you?

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A few weeks ago I made a plan to try at least one new recipe a week since I was completely burned out on our dinner rotation. This has been going wonderful. We have tried many new things, some being keepers and some being not so great. However, I have not had to throw any out completely and we have not found ourselves ordering takeout due to any disasters. What have I learned these past few weeks during all this trial and error of meal planning? We LOVE sun dried tomatoes!!!!

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I have also been starting to stock up on our active seasons snack box that we keep stocked for those grab and go trips to who knows where. Typically, I will pick up trail mix, Clif bars, turkey jerky, nuts, chocolate, etc. and have that ready to go all spring, summer, and fall. Although, this year I am trying some new(to us) bars, and ideas for this box since I am not able to eat some of these prior things since surgery for some reason. Recently, I picked up numerous flavors of Larabars and this Nourish snack mix and found we love both and both agree with my new way of eating.

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That’s it for me today. My weekend looks a bit sketchy at the moment with many options, not enough time, and only one of me to be everywhere with everyone. However, I have narrowed it down to spending time with my husband since next weekend I will be gone and plus, we think we may start geocaching this weekend which is one of my favorite things to do together. So exciting….

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Hiking Terrell’s Island

After a great suggestion from a fellow reader I finally found time to get out and hike Terrell’s Island near Omro, WI.

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This trailhead was fairly easy to find and offers ample parking and of course the most important part….a port a potty.

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Upon arrival you will notice many signs of what is allowed and what is not allowed at this area. There are trail maps and information boxes with a lot of information nearby.

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As you can see this trail is mark handicap accessible which is so wonderful. Not many long trails are so accommodating to persons with disabilities.

We decided to actually begin this trail backwards since the wind was strong and in the direction of blowing us backwards if we would have began at the #1 trail marker. Here is where we began our hike.

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This trail is actually a breakwater path that leads in and around a large area of Lake Butte Des Morts, which means we were almost always surrounded by water.

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There are ample opportunities to sit on provided benches and rest if needed.

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Eventually, I would say about a mile or so, from the end of this trail you will leave the waters edge and enter into a marshy area.

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At trail marker #4(remember we are going backwards) you will see in the distance another port a potty.

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You will finish the trail at the parking lot you began at, almost 4 miles later.

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We really enjoyed this hike. It’s long enough to offer a good walk, it’s on the water which is a plus for us, it’s well cared for by the club that owns it, and offers many different sights along the way. My advise to you would be, if it’s windy or cooler make sure you have a jacket. On the day we did this hike it was about 50 degrees and 15-20 mph winds which made it quite chilly.

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I would highly recommend this hike to anyone.

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