Mount Rushmore National Monument, SD

John-15

Mount Rushmore is one of the main things that Americans should see in their lifetime.  It is one of the National Monuments that is well known and is popular to see.  Mount Rushmore holds four of Americas great leaders heads carved in stone.  When you get there, you might have to wait a while to get into the actual park since there could be a long line of cars to get in. The cost for a vehicle is eleven dollars (RVs and motorcycles as well). From the entrance you can park in four main parking garages, each one of them named after the four presidents.  From the garage, you get out of your car and can walk up to the the main path that takes you to the visitors center, book store, and gift store. While you are walking the main strip to the visitors center (not a long walk), you can see the four President’s heads. While on the path you are greeted by all of the state and territorial flags of the United States of America.  Once you get to the visitor’s center, you can watch a short clip on how they designed and created Mount Rushmore, I would recommend watching the clip since it is free and gives you a more in-depth perspective on how it was created and who the creator was.  I would also recommend going around and looking at the different info. they have on Mount Rushmore.  I would recommend going to Mount Rushmore since it is a cheap and easy stop on a road trip.  You can stay for only 20 minutes or much longer if you are interested.  If you are in the area, you should see and view Mount Rushmore.

Hadley- 13

When you are first driving up to Mount Rushmore (if you came the way we did) you get some really good pictures.  We were able to see Mount Rushmore through some really neat arches carved in mountainsides that were created for the road to wind through.  When you arrive, you have to pay your car fee which is $11.  This is the same for motorcycles and RV’s.  When you find a parking spot – it shouldn’t be that hard – you will walk up and see the entrance.  You can walk up and take a picture with the flags, and then I recommend going down the stair, and going to the visitor center.  Here you will get information about how Mount Rushmore was constructed and how everything was carved out.  You can also go see a short, 15-minute movie.  It tells mainly about the presidents and the guy who constructed the monument.  In my opinion, the movie might not be worth it if you have to wait the 15 minutes for a new movie to start.  Then you can hike up and see it closer.  We had already been horseback riding and had gone on a jeep tour at Custer State Park that day so we didn’t do the hike all the way up to the base.  Visitors can also go into the gift shop there and buy T-shirts and more.  Kids can also get their junior ranger booklet and complete it to get your badge for little kids.  If you are ever near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, I definitely recommend seeing one of America’s iconic monuments.

Snow Lodge Bike Rentals, Yellowstone National Park, WY

Hadley- 13

When we were at Yellowstone National Park we decided that to get around the easiest was to go by bike. At the gift shop in the Snow Lodge is where you rent bikes. The guy who helped us get our bikes and helmets was very nice and knew what he was doing. We first started out by getting our bikes, and then we started biking on the trail that goes to the left when you face Old Faithful(Upper Geyser Basin Trail).  We got to see a lot of geysers and a lot of hot springs. We even got to see Grotto Geyser and Castle Geyser erupt!  We also went to Morning Glory Pool. This isn’t a pool by the way.  It was amazing.  It is very colorful and looks like a huge puddle of rainbow colored water.  The bad part is people throw in coins and other trash – that ruins the pool – so please don’t throw coins or trash in the pools. Then, we biked out to Biscuit Geyser Basin.  There is a half mile loop where you get to see many more geysers and pools.  You can also hike to an observation point or Mystic Falls.  We didn’t do either of those because we had our bicycles with us.  The best part of our trip though was when we biked the 2.5 miles out to Biscuit Basin, we saw a Bison just eating grass.  We stayed our distance because we knew how dangerous they were.  We were about a hundred feet away from it.  We sat for a long time and just watched it.  After we got back, we biked a little more and turned our bikes back in.  Prices for bikes are $8 an hour, $25 for a half-day (which is 4 hours) and full-days are $35 for adults,  $6 an hour, $15 half-day, and full-days are $22.50 for kids. Bike trainers are $5 hour, $12 half-day, and $16 full day.  If you are ever going to look at geysers and pools this is the way to do it! You get around much easier and get to enjoy it even more.  I would definitely recommend renting bikes.

Barnett-10

When my family went to Yellowstone National Park one day, instead of walking we biked the park. This was fun and exercising.  We went to Snow Lodge and rented bikes from the gift shop. When we started, the guy we rented bikes from gave us rules – like stand 7 yards away from bison.  When we started, we headed on the boardwalk and went to Castle Geyser.  It was only steaming though, and it didn’t go off.  Then we biked to Morning Glory Pool, but it has faded its color because people threw trash in it over all the years.  When we got back on our bikes and headed to Daisy Geyser.  Riding bikes is my mom’s favorite activity.  Everyone else complains about having to go, but really it is fun.  We got to see a lot of geysers.  Some of them were going off and some of them were not.  We also saw a bison.  We did not get even 7 yards away from it because it looked really big and my parents were afraid that we would get hurt.  I think everyone that goes to Yellowstone should rent bikes.  It is a fun thing to do.

Half Shell Raw Bar – Key West, Florida

John – 15
The Half Shell Raw Bar is one of many good places to dine in Key West. The Raw Bar is set right on a dock area with a nice view of the ocean/marina area. During the time that we ate, we sat right next to the water and saw millions of beautiful fish swimming around trying to grab at every little bit of food that falls in the water. The Half Shell Raw Bar is a good place to eat if you are looking for fresh seafood. The prices are a little high, but if you are looking for good, fresh food then this is one of the places to eat!
One of the best things they had were oysters on the half shell. The oysters were some of the best I have ever had. They had a nice freshness to the taste; you could still taste the saltiness of the seawater on them. You can see the people shucking and opening the oysters near the back of the restaurant where the main bar is.
The Half Shell Raw Bar is a popular place to eat on the island, and I would recommend getting there early or making a reservation so you don’t have to worry about not getting to sit down or spending a long time waiting.
Another recommendation for an appetizer is the peel and eat shrimp. The shrimp also has fresh taste – just like it came out of the ocean and has not been sitting out for a while. The peel and eat shrimp is one of the best on the island and is the perfect size to eat. For my main dish I ordered shrimp that was grilled. The grilled shrimp was amazing and tasted really good. The shrimp was cooked perfect and was the best tasting shrimp I had on the island and our whole trip to Key West. It has some spices, almost like a barbecue on it that was amazing.

Hadley – 12
When we where in Key West we went to the Half Shell Raw Bar. The restaurant is right on the water. It is the sister restaurant Turtle Kraals another good restaurant. When we ate there, we asked if we could sit on the water, and we got to sit with a view of the marina and the ocean. They have many different types of seafood to eat. Obviously they have some of the best oysters, and you can even watch the guys shucking them. We had some oysters, but also some peel and eat shrimp. For our main meal, I got the fried shrimp. They also have many different sides you get to choose from. For the pick two, I got my favorite was the Cuban bread. It had a good taste it; was like spicy garlic bread. The Half Shell Raw Bar, always has a fish of the day. When we were there, they had grouper and dolphin fish. It was one of the best places we ate at the whole vacation. My mom got the grilled shrimp and my dad got the grouper. They both said theirs was very good. While we ate our oysters, we threw out some food to the fish and there was a big rainbow type fish swimming next to us that was really cool. We didn’t have a reservation but it was very busy there, so i would definitely recommend getting a reservation if possible. All the food was very good and you could definitely tell that it was fresh because we had ate at places later and could tell it wasn’t very fresh because it had a weird taste. The Half Shell Raw Bar is definitely good place to eat.

Barnett – 10
The Half Shell Raw Bar is the place to go if you like seafood. The restaurant overall was a great restaurant to eat at. You can sit by the water or at the bar. I had the fried shrimp, and I thought it was good because it was just crisp enough and the shrimp was fresh. The grilled shrimp kabob was also good because it has spices, and it is grilled perfectly. The shrimp was also really juicy and had good flavor. The waitress we had was bad because she had to go to an appointment and didn’t tell anyone that she was leaving. Finally, we had to ask someone where she was. But the second waitress we had was better – she found out to take care of us. The cooks were good because they got our food out fast and had good recipes. The place had licenses plates all over the walls. If I were you I would go there to try it; this is my opinion. If I had the chance I would definitely go back again.

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.

Crawfish town USA

John-13
Crawfish Town USA is in the state of Louisiana. It is a good place to eat fish and other sea foods. But, it is best known for crawfish; it supposedly is one of the best crawfish restaurants in all of the United States of America. All I had was the fried crawfish; the reason why is that the season for crawfish is a limited time. People are allowed to hunt crawfish during season, and that season is only 2 weeks long. I thought that since the name is Crawfish Town USA, they should have crawfish sold year round – even if that means that they have to freeze the crawfish. The place is like an old barn. The inside of the place is nice, but the waiters and waitresses were not helpful to those who are not from around here. My family and I got hush puppies, and they were the best I have ever had. Another good appetizer to get is the crab legs. They are deep fried and served with the tarter sauce. I thought it was really good and had a good taste to it. I would not likely go there again unless it is crawfish season cause I would like to try crawfish, and that was the main reason why we went.

Hadley-11
Crawfish Town USA in Louisiana is a good place to eat, but the name of the restaurant is not correct. They don’t sell the 2lb. crawfish bakes year-round. They only sell it when it is crawfish season. When we got there we were disappointed that we couldn’t eat crawfish. The waitress wasn’t very helpful either. We asked what was good, and she couldn’t really answer. I got the crawfish erouffee and it was good, but wasn’t that good. It was really too spicy. You can still get dishes with crawfish, but not the crawfish bake or steamed crawfish. We also got hushpuppies and fried crab legs for an appetizer; they were both very good. The place looks like an old barn. It is red on the outside too. I would not go back unless it is crawfish season. It was a fun place to eat, but I recommend going during crawfish season.

Barnet-8
Crawfish Town USA is in Louisiana. It has the best crawfish in Louisiana, but I didn’t get to taste any. They have gumbo, crawfish, hushpuppies, and crab legs. The time we went to Crawfish Town USA, the crawfish was not in season. Crawfish Town USA looks like a barn kind of on the outside. They have a deli next to the restaurant. They must sell some of their things there, but we didn’t buy any because most were really good enough to want to buy and take home.