Lewis and Clark Whitewater Rafting, Jackson, WY

Hadley- 13

Lewis and Clark Whitewater Rafting in Jackson,Wyoming, was a blast!  When we first arrived, we had the opportunity to rent wetsuits.  My dad brother and I didn’t wear them, but my mom and sister did.  You can also rent water shoes, but we already had them.  Then, you will board a bus that will take you and other rafters to the Snake River.  Once you get there, you will be put into a boat.  Our 5 family members were in one boat with a guide named Zac, who was very nice.  You will also get a wet jacket, and a life jacket.  Now you will carry your boat down to the water.  You get in and start to row, but you are already upon some class 1 rapids before you know it.  The class 1 rapids are really nothing to get excited about other then you don’t have to row.  The rafting trip contains mostly class 2 and class 3 rapids.  On some of the rapids, you can’t tell a difference between 2 and 3. Some of their big rapids are Ropes, Champagne, Lunch Counter, and the biggest of all Big Kahuna.  If you were just like us, and hit Big Kahuna just right, you get the biggest splash and are soaked wet. This was all part of the classic 8 mile trip.  You get a chance to see wildlife, and hit some good rapids.  Prices for this excursion are Adults-$72, Kids (6-12) – $62, Kids 6 and under are not allowed (depending on conditions of the river).  The kids 12 and under get a free wet suit rental.  In all, Lewis and Clark Rafting was a great time, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is going to Jackson, Wyoming, soon.

Barnett-10

Lewis and Clark Whitewater Rafting in Jackson, Wyoming, is spectacular.  First of all, when you get there, they will ask you if you want a wetsuit.  I did – especially if you’re a mom or you want to jump in the water.  After that, you sign paperwork and get on a bus for a 15-30 minute drive to the drop off point.  Then, they get you a waterjacket and a lifejacket. When they send you off, they give you a paddle.  Then they show you how to row.  Once you get started it’s pretty flat, then it gets to some class 1 rapids – which are easy and calm. Then, you hit class  2 rapids, which were okay and medium; they were kind of fun.  After that, there were class 3 rapids, which were spectacular.  One of the class three rapids is called Big Kahuna, which was fun and got my family soaked.  It had a horizon.  This means it is a rock out of the water that drops down then back up it was a thriller.   During parts of the trip we could jump in; my brothers and I jumped in; our parents stayed in the raft to stay as dry as possible.  I sat in the middle of the boat, and I was happy to not paddle the boat. It was a a fun day, and I loved going whitewater rafting on the Snake River.  I would definitely do it again.  It was one of my best things to do on my family’s trip.  I think you will love it too.  If you go to Jackson, Wyoming, I suggest you do this.

Geyser Gazers, Yellowstone National Park ,WY

Hadley- 13

The one official, guided tour we took at Yellowstone National Park was Geyser Gazers. First you get on this cool, old fashioned bus.  It only holds about 15-17  people.  (I would recommend booking your tour early because we only had 2 tickets for it. Fortunately, this family of 4 didn’t show up, so we paid the money, and our whole family could go on the tour.) The cost of the tour is adult – $26, children – $13, ages 3-11 under 3 are free. When we first started the tour we got out onto the road and there was a road jam.  We think that it was due to the wildlife (bison).  So we turned around and headed to Biscuit Basin.  This really stunk, not only because we had already been there, but we really then didn’t learn anything new that the brochure didn’t tell you.  Then, we ended up getting to go back to where we were originally planned to go to.  When we got there, we got to see some things we wouldn’t have gotten to see, but again we didn’t really learn anything.  We just got to see new things.   So, if I were you, I would save my $26 and take your own self-guided tour. Read the brochure, and you will end up learning more or the same amount.  We don’t normally not recommend things, but in this case, it was not worth the money.

Barnett-10

In Yellowstone National Park, we took a tour called Geyser Gazers. When you start the tour you get in this cool, old fashioned bus that is in pretty good shape.  It held 15 people and it was $26 for an adult, then children 3-11 are $13, also under 3 years old is free.  When we started the tour, we got stuck in a traffic jam and had to turn back around, because there probably was an animal on the road like a bison or a bear maybe. We headed to Biscuit Basin, which was a total bummer, because our family had already been there that day so that was a let down. Plus, we didn’t learn anything that wasn’t on the brochure. There were only two places we got out of the bus.  This was disappointing, because that meant we could have driven around in our minivan and seen the same things.  Then, finally we went back to the place we were supposed to go to in the first place.  Since we had to make the first detour, we only drove through that area, and we didn’t get to get out of the bus.  We also didn’t get a chance to really slow down and look at anything.   That was the end of the tour which was a total bummer, because we didn’t learn anything new.  So if I were you, I would save my money and tour the park while reading a brochure, because that’s just as good.

Keys Cable Park – Marathon, Florida

John- 15
Keys Cable Park is a place where you can learn how to wakeboard or learn more about wake boarding.  Keys Cable Park is located on the Northern part of Marathon Key.  The cable park is in a small mangrove area and is closed out from the ocean.  The park has two towing cables:  one for advanced and one for beginners.  The cables run diagonally across the lake area.  The cable park has a couple of options to choose from for wake boarding. One of the options is learning how to use and ride a wakeboard.  The rates for this is 39 dollars for a half hour, 49 dollars for one hour, and 69 dollars for two hours.  The best choice would be for a half hour.  In a half hour, I learned how to get up on the wakeboard, how to change directions on a wakeboard, and the basics of how to wakeboard.  The coaching staff was excellent in showing what to do and the best way to do it.  Another thing that is optional would be for the more advanced group of wake boarders.  The option is rental time for the obstacle course area.  With this choice, you ride the obstacle course and are not being coached in anything.
The Keys Cable Park is a great place to stop as you are heading down past Marathon Key or if you are staying on Marathon Key. It is a great place for most ages that want to learn or know how to wake board.  Both my dad and my little sister had a great time and learned a lot.  It is a great place to stop if heading down to Key West to stretch your legs and get out of the car for a while.  If you are just there to watch your kids, there is a small beach-like area where you can lay in the sun and rest while your kids are learning how to ride on a wakeboard.

Hadley- 12
Keys Cable Park is a lake/inlet where you can learn how to wakeboard.  If you have already wakeboarded before, then you can try tricks or can just have a good time practicing.  Keys Cable Park is located in the northern part of Marathon, Florida.  Here you do not get pulled by a boat like you might think – you get pulled by a cable.  The cable is operated by one of the employees.  If you go there to learn, they told us that it is much easier than by a boat. This is because the cable pulls not only forward but also upward. This keeps you from falling down into the water, like you might with a boat towing you. We had never been wakeboarding before, but now that we received a wakeboard for Christmas, we wanted to learn.  We didn’t want to wait for the summer to try it out.  Their instructions were not the best, but doing it on a cable was a lot easier than doing it on a boat.
First when you get there, you get fitted for a helmet and your wakeboard. Then, you will wait for your lesson to start.  You will get on the side of the edge of the dock, and they will pull you up.  There are two different spots that you can be towed from – you can have a lesson or just a ride.  One has a lot of obstacles and the other doesn’t.  Just be aware that the water is salt water.  While you watch your kids you can sit on a little beach, or if your kids are taking a break then they can get in the water.  Don’t worry about changing either; there is a changing room that you can use when you get there.  There is also a bathroom, so you can go the bathroom when you get there.  If you are ever in Marathon, Florida, then Keys Cable Park is definitely worth a stop.

Danger Charters – Key West, Florida

John – 15
One of the things you have to do while in Key West is go snorkeling. The best trip to take for this is a Danger Charter. Danger Charters is a half-day or a full-day trip. During the trip you will be snorkeling, sailing, and kayaking. But, if you are looking for a romantic trip there is also a wine and sunset trip. During the half-day trip and full-day trip you and 20-25 other people will be on board a 65 foot traditional style schooner. After the sail boat heads out of the bay and into an open area the sail boat stops and allows you to start snorkeling for a while. Then you head back onto the boat and go to the mangroves and kayak out there. After that you head back into the bay and end the journey. The difference between the full day trip is that the full day trip you stop and eat lunch at a sandbar. One of the best things about the trips is that they give you snacks and drinks that are included in the price. For the sunset sail trip you head out on the boat and watch the sunset while drinking a variety of wines. The sunset trip is voted the number one thing to do while at Key West. The prices for the trips are 80 dollars for a half-day trip. The ages are 4 and up. For the full-day trip the cost is 110 dollars and for the wine and sunset sail is 80 dollars. The sunset and wine sail is from ages 4 and up so if you have kids you can bring them along as well. The times depend on the month that you go and the time of the year that you take the trip. If you head to Key West, this is one of the number one things you should do on the island. The Danger Charters boats are less packed as others we saw going in and out of the harbor. They like to give you a crew that is nice and makes sure you are OK during the whole trip.

Hadley – 12
When we were in Key West over Christmas, we went on a Danger Charter. The boat you are on is a sailboat. We did the half-day trip. On our boat there was about 21 people, so there is lots of room. They provided snacks and drinks. You can either go on a half-day or a full-day trips. The half-day cost $80 for the AM trip, and for the PM trip it is $85. For the full-day trips, then it is $110 per person. What you do on the trip is leave at 9:00 or 9:30 in the morning and come in at about 2 or 2:30. Then the afternoon leaves at around 2-3 depending on the months you are there. For the full-day trip you leave at 10AM and come back at 4-4:30 depending on the month. On the trip you get to go snorkeling and kayaking. They take you out pretty far and give you snorkeling gear and you jump on in. Since we were there in December, the water was pretty cold, but you got used to it. We got to see lots of things like, lobster, a morel eel, lots of fish, a barracuda, and much more. Then you get back on the boat, and they take you over to a little mangrove island. You get to go kayaking and learn about the mangroves, about the birds, and some history of the island. We even got to seen a shark. Around the island there are lots of fish the little sharks like. If you are ever in Key West and need something to do, Danger Charters are really fun and you get to learn a lot. I definitely recommend Danger Charters.

The Turtle Hospital – Marathon, Florida

John – 15
Going down to Key West, or any of the Keys, is a long and trying drive. But, on the way down is a great place to stop and take a break and stretch your legs. The amazing place to stop is a turtle hospital. The Turtle Hospital is located in Marathon Key. It is a great place for every age and enjoyable for all. The Turtle Hospital has a tour that happens every hour starting at 9am and running to 4 pm. The cost for children ages 4-12 is 9 dollars and for adults is 18 dollars. Throughout the tour you will get to not only see turtles but learn more about them and how to save them. At the beginning of the tour you will view a slideshow that shows how turtles end up in the hospital. After the slide show, you head into one of the bigger tank areas; they have two tanks that are filled up with water and these hold some of the turtles they have. Once you are done there, the tour heads out to the other areas to visit the more tanks. In this area there are around 23 individual tanks and the largest sea tank – which holds 100,000 gallons of water. The tank (which used to be a pool) is filled and circulated by the sea water that flows in and out of the pool. At the hospital you will get to see turtles ranging from 12 permanent to 60 injured turtles that are there for rehabilitation. All in all the Turtle Hospital is a great place to stop and view turtles and learn more about them.

Hadley – 12
The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida was a place where we stopped on our way down to Key West. This was a really good stop; it was fun and you got to learn a lot. The Turtle Hospital is a not-for-profit organization. You can take tours from 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm. The tours cost adults $18.00 and children (4-12 years old) $9.00; children under 4 are free. When you go, you get to watch a slide show at the beginning telling you the types of turtles you will get to see. The instructor will also tell you about some of the diseases these turtles are facing. Then they will take you outside and you get to meet the turtles. During the whole tour you will get to see about 40-60 turtles depending on how many they have. Sometimes they won’t have as many because they have released them. We got to see a lot because this winter some of the turtles didn’t get to warm enough water quickly. They were stuck in New England and sent to the Turtle Hospital to save them. If you are ever near Marathon, Florida, it is definetly worth the money and time. And it is a great cause.

Barnett – 10
When our family was traveling, we stopped at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida. If you go on a tour – which I suggest – the admission for four years and under are free, then four to twelve years old is nine dollars, then the cost for over twelve or adults is eighteen dollars. First they take your tour group into this room to see a slide show about why the hospital and turtles are there and the types of turtles that there are. Then they will take you to see some turtles and tell you their names. Plus they will explain why the turtles are there. For example, Bubble-Butt has bubble-butt syndrome. The Grinch got hit by a boat. After that there is Frumpy, which is sad, because he got hit by a boat and half his shell broke off. Two other turltes, Mickey and Tink, also have bubble-butt syndrome. If I ever got to drive thru Marathon, Florida again I would go to The Turtle Hospital again.

Sea World- San Antonio Texas

John 13–
The Sea World in San Antonio, Texas, is a really fun family place to visit. My favorite thing to see and do there is the sea lions. The sea lion show is one of the best shows. The sea lion show is a comedy skit about a sea lion that is a detective and is trying to find out who stole all the fish from a fish company. The show includes a walrus, sea lions, and an otter. My second favorite thing there is the Great White roller coaster ride. The ride has a lot of upside down turns and other stuff like that. Another popular show is the water ski show. The water show has a lot of different tricks and stunts. They use three speed boats, jet skis, bare foot skiing, slalom skiing, and a lot of other tricks. It is also a really good show. The biggest and most popular show is Shamu Rocks. It is the best show to see the killer whales perform.

Rides: The rides at sea world were amazing. My favorite ride there is the Great White Roller Coaster ride. The ride does a lot of flips and other sharp turn type of things. The second best roller coaster is the Steel Eel. It has a lot of high sharp drops and is really fun and amazing to do. The big coasters require the riders have be 48 inches or taller. For the smaller rides they have to be 42 inches or taller. One of the water ones that is awesome to ride is called the Rio Loco. It is a ride that goes around a lazy river type of journey, but has a lot of different white water rapids and at the end of the ride there is a waterfall. Watch out ’cause you get soaked wet! Journey to Atlantis is another water ride. At first it sends you pretty high up then it shoots you down backwards! Then you go back up a small hill and then straight down. You come down with a huge splash. The people that get really soaking wet are the people at the bottom on an observation station. When the boat comes down, a huge wave of water hits you and gets you soaked.

I think that Sea World is a good family friendly place to visit. The prices are high, so when you are you going it is a good idea to bring a lot of money with you. They do let you in with a little bag, so if you want to bring water you can. I recommend everyone bring a bottle of water, because it was 110 degrees the day we were there. If you do buy a pass for the whole year, buy this special cup they have and you get a discount for refills. There are a lot of hands on things to see and do. So, if you are in the area, I recommend going there and seeing Sea World.

Hadley-11
Sea World is a fun place to go. There are roller coasters and animals all at the same time. The best show to see – I think – is Shamu Rocks, which is the Shamu show at 8:00 PM. Shamu does a lot of cool tricks and flips. The best roller coaster is the Great White roller coaster. Even though it has all the twist and flips, it is really smooth. The Steel Eel, which is the other roller coaster, doesn’t have any flips, but it is not very smooth. Sea World also has a lot of rides for little kids and you can meet characters like Shamu. Even though you can’t feed the Dolphins (unless you want to pay $12.00 per person) you can feed the sea lions. It is really fun. We didn’t do the water park, but it also looked fun. We did some of the other shows and they were also really cool. So if you are in San Antonio I think you should really go. It is fun!

Rockin R River Rafting – Guadalupe River, New Braunfels, TX

John – 13
Rockin R River Rafting company is on the Guadalupe River. The day that we went rafting, the river was going really slowly. I recommend you not to take the inner tubes and take the larger river rafts. Even though it may cost more, you will spend less time slowly going down the river. Plus you can hold more than one person in one of the white river rafts. Our entire family of 5 easily fit into a raft. The company is a good friendly company to go rent your inflatable stuff from. The place is the average price in the area to rent from. The river doesn’t have that many rough rapids, and it is fine for kids of all ages (but I would recommend you not take a baby on the ride). Rockin R River Rafting is one of the better places to rent stuff from on the Guadalupe River.

Hadley-11
The Rockin R River Rafting is a really fun trip down the Guadalupe river. There are different things you can rent to ride in. There is a raft for 5 people and a tube for 1 person available for rent. The tube takes a long time to float down the river. The raft allows you to paddle and move faster. There are different rapids, some aren’t that bad, but if the river is low you will get stuck sometimes. In the river there are catfish, and it has a rock bottom so the rocks are slippery. There are two places that you can stop at 1 hour and another is 2.5 hours if you are paddling in the raft. The one we did was the 2.5 hours, and it was really fun. So if you are ever near the Rockin R River Rafting it is worth a stop.

Barnett – 8
I love the Rockin R River Rafting company. It is fun to go on a river rafting trip. You can up to six people in a raft. You can bring snacks on the trip, but you are not supposed to take metal or glass containers. It is a good idea to take drinks along, because I got thirsty. I did not have to paddle the raft. Everyone else in our family had to paddle, but the little kids don’t have to paddle. We saw a lot of turtles on our trip. They are swimming along the river and up on logs on the river. There were two people in the river trying to catch turtles for turtle soup! The trip took over two hours. Explorers should go on a trip like this. You should go to Rockin R River Rafting because I recommend it.