The boys and I went to see “Madagascar 3″ on Friday. I was hoping it wouldn’t be the typical “not good” movie since the first movie is usually the best. We lucked out. It surprisingly was entertaining. It began slow, but picked up in the middle. The movie begins with the main four characters still wanting to return home. Their home originally was a zoo in New York City. On their way of trying to make it to their destination they get paired up with a circus. Alex (the lion), Marty (the zebra), Melman (the giraffe), and Gloria (the hippo) decide to perform with the circus in hopes of making it to New York City. Performing well for a sponsor will lead to New York. It was not only funny, but also inspiring. Alex gives a speech on staying true to who you are and sticking together as a family. They end up in New York, return to the zoo, and find out it truly wasn’t their home anymore. They all realize they have been truly “living” outside the zoo. I think it really touched my heart because it shows us all again that it is about the “quality” of your life. So, the animals stay with the circus and stop pursuing the idea of returning to the zoo. I believe that was a good true ending to the Madagascar trilogy, but with enterainment, you never know what they will come up with next.
I write this posting on a sad note. Interstate Lanes in Round Rock, Texas has closed. This past summer we visited the bowling alley at least twice a month. I wanted to make sure to post this information to the site since I had wrote an article in 2010 about the bowling alley. It will always be remembered as the first place we took our two sons bowling for the first time.
The boys and I recently went to see “Alvin and the Chipmunks:Chipwrecked.” It was good, but not great. Kid movies that are great for me, are the ones who hold my youngest son’s attention. Midway through the movie, he started to complain and want to walk through the aisles. It starts out with a trip taken by Dave and all six chipmunks on a cruise. The chipmunks end up on a deserted island after accidently flying a kite overboard. Dave and an unexpected character (Ian) are on a mission to find them. The movie does show how a bond between father and son are unbreakable and no matter what trouble Alvin gets into, the bond will be there. It’s a cute little movie, but I would wait for it to come out on dvd.
We went to our favorite theatre (City Lights Theatre in Georgetown) to watch Megamind. My boys are still terrified to watch movies in 3D so we watched it in 2D. It’s been a few years since we had the opportunity to watch a movie in 4D or 3D. My two sons experienced 4D at SeaWorld and ever since then they associate 3D glasses with the 4D experience. The 4D experience has special effects during the movie. It consists of wind blowing, water being sprayed on you, shaking, and awesome sound effects. My boys did NOT like the 4D experience. Megamind was a good movie. It wasn’t great, but worth watching. The movie is about a villian defeating the hero and being bored afterwards. He tries to invent a new hero, but that goes terribly wrong. Megamind (the villian) ends up having to defeat the new hero to have peace restored within the city. My four year old and six year old stayed entertained the whole time. I had hoped for more comedy. I would recommend to watch Megamind, but only at matinee prices.
We are definitely checking out the Sky Ridge Plaza Pumpkin Fest in Round Rock tomorrow. I just confirmed the plans. The festival will still take place if it rains. There will be tents set up. This will be our third year to participate in the event. The event is totally free. The link I provided will give more detail on what will be there. http://www.skyridgeplaza.com/pumpkinfest2010.html
I confirmed that the costume contest will take place at 5:00 p.m. and will be judged by three categories. They will be judged by the most scariest, cutest, and most original. The festival is from 12 to 9. I’m sure it will be as much fun as it has been in the past.
October is filled with fun events. I love this time of year. It’s the beginning of all the holidays and nice cool weather. The one event I will definitely take my four year old to is the Fall Fun Festival in Old Settlers Park located in Round Rock, Texas. It’s on Thursday, October 28th from 9 a.m. to 11:30. We have attended this event for three years in a row. My six year old has outgrown the event since it’s geared toward preschoolers and toddlers. Fortunately Andrew (my six year old) will be in school and won’t realize he’s missing out. It’s a free event that includes treat bags, games, a hay ride, a chance to see a fire truck up close, and refreshments. They encourage the children to come in costume. It’s also encouraged to bring a canned item to donate to the Round Rock Serving Center. I’m a little sad that this will be my last year of getting to participate in the event. My little boy is growing up. I will just have to treasure it.
We haven’t been to a movie in a while so I jumped on the chance to take the boys to see “Alpha and Omega” when it got released. We went to a ”new to us” theatre in Georgetown called City Lights Theatres. We were very impressed with the theatre. It was clean, comfortable, and enjoyable. I say enjoyable because my two boys were in awe of how cool the theatre was. The entrance to the theatre was overwhelming with pictures of movie posters, a man who greeted you with a suit and top hat, and a very large selection of menu items. Unfortunately we only bought a kids movie meal that included popcorn, a drink, and a fruit snack. We ate lunch before we went. I can’t wait to go on an empty stomach to order a hamburger or fried mushrooms. The reason we chose this theatre was because it was the only one showing “Alpha and Omega” in 2D. My boys do not enjoy 3D movies since they will not keep the glasses on during the entire movie. The movie was really good. It wasn’t awesome, but it captured my two sons’ attention. The storyline consisted of two wolves who loved eachother, but couldn’t be together due to family obligations of uniting other wolf packs. I believe it was a little too mature for my 4 and 6 year old, but it was animated and they seemed to really enjoy it.
City Lights Theatre in Georgetown
What a crazy name for a festival! The Hairy Man Festival is held every year in Round Rock rain or shine. I know that first hand since last year we went while it was raining. It was still fun, but I would have rather been without the rain. I’m hoping this year it’s not a muggy, rainy, and very muddy experience. The festival included performances by local schools, food booths, and a lot of games. The entry fee is two perishable items or $2 each person. The festival also includes a contest for the hairiest man. Fortunately, we never stick around for that. But hey, maybe that’s fun for some people. We can’t wait to go this Saturday, September 25th from 11 to 6. We like to go right when it opens at 11 so we aren’t fighting too many lines or crowds. My oldest son, Andrew enjoys the cake walk the most. Collin, my youngest enjoys the train ride. I hope they are both there this year. Either way, we will be there.
My Boys on the Train Ride Last Year
A Game Finding Toys in a Haystack
Going to Pedernales State Park was all by chance for us this summer. We were visiting Krause Springs and didn’t have an enjoyable time so we travelled a little further and went to Pedernales State Park. I probably need to start off with why we didn’t enjoy Krause Springs. When we first arrived at Krause Springs the parking lot was full so I thought the area might be crowded. We were not allowed to see the springs or how crowded it was until after we paid the fee to enter. There also were NO REFUNDS. Since I had a good friend recommend the place, I was excited for us to go in. The fee was $5 for each adult and $4 for children ages 4-11. Under 4, the kids were free. We had to sign a release of liability. Having to sign a release should have raised red flags for us. Cautiously we walked down a steep hill to arrive at the springs. We went on a Friday afternoon and the place was definitely crowded. We were trying to manuever through people, tip-toe around people, and we tried not to step on anyone. First my husband slipped leaving his elbow bloody. Then the father of the friends that came with us fell. Both men were trying very hard to keep the kids from falling, but ended up being the ones who fell. My husband ended up being fine, but the father of our friends couldn’t move his arm. They wanted to leave immediately. Our friend couldn’t drive home because he was in so much pain. He ended up going to minor emergency, got put on pain pills, and now has to go to an orthopedic surgeon. Krause Springs was a beautiful site to see, but I honestly believe it’s not a place for small children. From what we saw, it didn’t look like there were many spots young children could wade in or stand in without the water going over their head. Our experience just wasn’t pleasant this time around.
We watched another good movie. “Despicable Me” was great. When I first saw the previews for the movie, I was not impressed. I told my husband he will be taking the boys to see it. He agreed, but when it started showing at the theatres I couldn’t resist from taking them. It was one of those rainy days where I wasn’t sure what we should do, so I took them. It was one of the best decisions I made. I loved it. The boys sat through the movie. They didn’t toss and turn in their seats and I know my oldest had to use the restroom, but he held it. The movie was entertaining from beginning to end. “Despicable Me” also had a unique storyline. It was based on a villian character turning soft after he adopted three girls. My boys’ grandma asked them what their favorite movie of the summer has been and they both replied “Despicable Me.” I would definitely recommend the movie to anyone and everyone.
We have the perfect lake to swim at. Russell Park in Georgetown, Texas is the lake to go to. We have been a total of three times this summer. Russell Park has a large section carved out for swimming. My two sons love it. My husband and oldest son attempted to catch fish, but had no luck. Each time they did not receive one nibble. The swimming was great, but it wasn’t a place to go fishing. Another setback is that there aren’t grills/pits near the beach. In order to do any cooking you must walk or drive to a grill/pit in another section of the park. It isn’t too far, but inconvenient. Fortunately, we had family members with us to handle the cooking. There are restrooms available on site, but not clean. Something to keep in mind, is that there is a fee to enter the park. It must be cash. We usually do not carry cash so I thought that might be useful information. The fee is $4.00 per vehicle up to four adults, kids under 12 are free, and it’s an additional $1.00 for any adult after the four. I totally think it’s worth it, but only if you like to swim in lakes. If you are a pool person, this isn’t the place for you.
The Beach Area
My Boys with Aunt and Uncle
Wow! I am sorry it has been so… long since I have posted anything. I thought I would start off with Hoppin Hippo since it was a fun and clean place to visit. I was really impressed with the whole facility. The first thing to keep in mind is that both parent and child must have socks. I was not aware of that when I went. Hoppin Hippo has socks you are able to purchase for $2.oo. The whole wearing socks thing is a great idea. It sounds a little harsh, but I think it might prevent people from getting any fungus or nasty disease. Overall the facility was clean and inviting for kids to play. When my boys first walked in they immediately went to the wooden clubhouse, climbed the stairs, and put on a costume. There were buckets full of costumes the children were able to play with. After running freely like they were the actual character both boys went into an inflatable giraffe. It was the kind of inflatable that you enter through one side, crawl through, and then end up on the other end. The giraffe was their favorite. Next they jumped on a bouncy house and went down the slide attached. Hoppin Hippo also had a large playscape with a ball pit, another inflatable next to it, and a small plastic playscape in the middle of the facility. I’m hoping the pictures I post will give it more justice. Hoppin Hippo’s website states that it’s recommended for ages 0-7. I believe that’s the perfect age group for this place. A child over 7 would probably think it would be too kiddie. Since my two sons are 4 and 6, it was perfect. We’re trying to make some time to visit again, but our summer keeps getting shorter. We will definitely try one day.
The Inflatable Giraffe
Bouncy House with Slide
Zoos are definitely busy in the summer. I haven’t found one day out of the week to go when they aren’t busy. We visited the San Antonio Zoo on a Thursday. We arrived at 11:00 and the first parking lot was full so we had to park in a second lot. The walk was quite far, but we were about to take a long walk through the zoo, so we didn’t mind. Fortunately the parking is free. The zoo included animals like bears, elephants, tigers, giraffes, monkeys, and the newest exhibit included hippos. The zoo had a really cool kids section. Inside an air conditioned building there was a set-up of fishing poles with magnets to pick up fish. It also included a little playhouse for pretend play and small tunnels like caves the kids could go through. Not too far from the designated children’s area is a petting zoo. The boys got to feed and brush several goats. Any interaction with animals are fun for our boys. It took us three hours to walk the zoo. We were heading to the car, but Collin (my 4 year old) saw some train tracks. We couldn’t pass up the chance to let Collin ride the train. It’s going on two years that he loves trains. Andrew (my 6 year old) at first passed on riding with us, but decided to go at the last minute. It was $3.00 for adults and $2.50 for children. It was worth the money. The train ride was actually pretty long and enjoyable. There were several areas surrounding the zoo we had never seen before. So, the train ride concluded our trip and we all had a great time. When I asked the boys what they liked best Andrew said the hippo at the zoo and Collin said the train ride. Typical!
Andrew in front of Giraffe Exhibit
Boys Pretend to Fish
Riding the Train
We finally made our first trip of the summer to Fiesta Texas. By this time last year, we would have been three times already. Time is really getting away from us this summer. Our trip was made on a Wednesday. It was not crowded. We didn’t arrive until twelve so we went directly to the waterpark. That was the best decision to make since we were already sweating at that point. The water really helped keeping us cool. The areas throughout the waterpark included a wave pool, tube rides, a lazy river, slides, and two areas designed especially for kids. The kids’ areas were shallow and had multiple fun objects to play on. It included a small whale to slide through, a huge cowboy hat to stand under and get soaked, a boat to climb, and so much more.
It took hours to finally get the boys to want to go ride roller coasters. We timed it just right. When it was time to ride, it wasn’t so hot. There honestly are a lot of rides the boys can go on. It kept us busy for the rest of the day. There were bumper cars, roller coasters, a Scooby Doo ride to shoot ghosts and goblins, airplanes, diesel trucks, a train that travels the whole park, and swings. At the end of the night there is a firework show, but our family gets way too tired to make it. There is plenty of entertainment at Fiesta Texas and as soon as time allows, we will return.
Wiggles Roller Coaster
Andrew on the Swings
We have been on vacation and still are on vacation. I have been so exhausted that I usually just fall asleep instead of making time to write. My eyes are closing as I write this. As soon as I recuperate, I can’t wait to share all of our adventures.
Finally, I was not disappointed in a movie. Toy Story 3 was incredible. From beginning to end, Toy Story 3 is definitely a movie worth seeing. There was even a part in the movie that I cried on. My two boys also loved it. There were a few scary parts for my four year old. He’s still talking about the scary monkey from the movie. Luckily, he hasn’t had any bad dreams, but the movie is a little intense on some parts. Overall, the movie was very entertaining. To be honest, if they wanted to go see it again, I would take them. Toy Story 3 was that good of a movie!
Tuesdays are the days to go to Gattiland for our family. I’m surprised I haven’t blogged about Gattiland yet because we have been numerous times. We love everything about Gattiland. We love the pizza, the games, and the atmosphere. We like to visit on Tuesdays due to the half price games. In the summertime it is definitely much more busier than during the school year, but Gattiland has plenty of room. Other than having party rooms set aside, they have three large rooms accomodating each kind of visitor. The first room is the Rock Theatre that shows cartoons or a kids movie on two large screens. Our family always chooses this room. The second room is the Sports Room that has the same, but shows some sort of sport instead. The last room is the Old Town Cafe. I like to refer to this room as the “quiet room.” There aren’t any screens in this room and every time we have been, it’s the room with the least amount of people. Gattiland is a buffet style restaurant and serves pizza, salad, pasta, and dessert. Our two boys always eat well when we visit. After we get our tummies full, we head to the game room. There are too many games and rides to list, but some are Deal or No Deal, skee ball, bumper cars, air hockey, and basketball. Everything is done through a game key. All money and tickets won are put on the game key. It makes everything a lot more easier to keep track of. The prizes are much better than Chuck-e-Cheese. They are actually worth not throwing away at the end of the day. We always have a great experience and the boys are always eager to go back.
Sunday afternoon we visited Rock ‘N River Family Aquatic Center in Round Rock, Texas. A friend of ours threw her daughter a birthday party there. The party allowed our friend to reserve three shaded tables. Rock ‘N River is like a miniature water park. It includes water slides, a lazy river, and a water playground. Our two sons loved it. When we left they stated it was their favorite place to go swimming. It was a little too crowded, but we managed. We want to go again, but I’m hoping to go during the week next time to see if there’s less people. We were allowed to bring in our own food and drinks. The Center does have a concession stand that includes mostly soda and chips. The soda was $1.50 each and the chips were .75 each. There is also a snow cone stand. The prices for a small, medium, and large were $2.50, $3.50, and $4.50. A small snow cone was perfect for each of our boys. One thing to keep in mind about Rock ‘N River Family Aquatic Center is that it does not allow you to bring in floats. They provide life jackets and you are able to use them without a fee. We all had a blast and can’t wait to go again.
I’m not sure how we got the information about “free bowling,” but today we tried it out. Interstate Lanes in Round Rock is offering a free game of bowling for kids ranging from pre-k to 12th grade. The kids get one free game each day from May 15, 2010 until August 31,2010. The shoe rental is not included. The fee is $1.50. This offer was totally worth the drive for us since our two boys only last one game. On Interstate Lanes’ website there is a summer fun card that must be printed out to bring for the free game. We had no problem using the print out copy of the card. Mondays are discount days so this might be a routine on Mondays for the summer. We all had a delightful time and look forward to going again.
Saturday morning I woke up the boys early so we could be at Lake Pflugerville by nine. I wanted to be there when it first started because I didn’t know what to expect. When we arrived it wasn’t too crowded. We turned in our registration form and then proceeded to get poles and bait. KidFish provided both. The bait was chicken liver. We weren’t allowed to start fishing until nine. The objective was to catch a fish, bring it to their measuring station and then hope your fish would be the biggest one at 12. We stayed for almost two hours and didn’t get one nibble. Unfortunately noboby did either. I’m not sure how the rest of the day played out, but Andrew had a blast. He wanted to stay until 12, but Collin got restless after two hours. I am very pleased Collin lasted that long. We all had a great time and will definitely go again the next opportunity we get.