Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Under The Boardwalk.......(sing with me)

This weekend we took a short trip to Fort Walton Beach, Florida to hangout with family. We went to the The Boardwalk in Fort Walton (http://www.theboardwalkoi.com/) to start the day with some beach volleyball. This place is really cool. Right on the beach, you can enjoy an entire day hanging out - with everything you need there at your convenience. Restaurants, souvenir shops, ice cream shop, arcade, a playground for the kids, adult beverages for the grown ups, beach volleyball courts, seating in the shade, & CLEAN bathrooms!

Some heavy competition was going on at the volleyball courts. Hubs & I enjoyed watching all that was happening ( we were having our ups & downs with the volleyball games - age up & skills down:) Meanwhile, my daughter found a friend her age to play in the surf and collect sea shells. My son found a friend about twice his age who was skim boarding. The guy was really kind to him and showed him how to use the board. (Mama is biting her tongue not sure what the fascination is with violently throwing yourself into the sand & surf. I watched through my fingers as he slowly got better about standing upright.) He also gave us some pointers on what kind of board we should get him and where we could pick it up locally. After hanging around The Boardwalk for several hours, we headed to find the surf shop to buy a skim board. (More watching through my fingers is on tap for me.)  :-D / :-[

Now it's back to the beach with a new skim board for the boy, a new boogie board for the girl, more family who just arrived in town, and hubs is going to try out his cousin's paddle board for the first time. We had a great time in Fort Walton Beach. The only problem with the visit was that it was too short but we are looking forward to heading back soon. Next trip will be to check out The Gulfarium, located right next to The Boardwalk! http://www.gulfarium.com/

Now I leave you with a video of hubs attempting to ride a paddle board. I can attest, they are not as easy to ride as it looks (thankfully my trip didn't get on video) These are his third and forth attempts at getting on the board. He's 6'6" and the board is not long enough. As you're about to see, in paddle boarding - size does matter. :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wanna "Play"?

Grown ups! We found the perfect place for you to play!

I came across www.iplaypensacola.com while looking for websites to add to www.thegulfcoastevents.com. (Shameless plug? Maybe so but it's my article;)

The description of the place as a "Barcade" works well. (insert screechy record noise here to stop the music) Yes, you read that right, bar + arcade = Barcade! Think of Dave & Busters but on a smaller, more neighborhood bar scale. They do not serve food but there is a hoppin' joint next-door called "HopJacks" that we plan to try next time out (good reviews on Google Places & the pun was intended:). http://hopjacks.com/

Any-who, our group of 7 grown ups (we all suffer from a little Peter Pan syndrome) headed to downtown Pensacola with a plastic bag full of quarters, dreams of high scores, and (let's be honest) thoughts of whose butts we were gonna whip at which games! You can sit there and pretend you're not competitive but WHAT-E-VER!

First let me say, props to the City of Pensacola because we were all VERY impressed by how clean the area was. There were also police officers around throughout the night. So, bravo Pensacola! We look forward to coming back.

Now, back to Play - there's no cover to get in. It is 21 & up and all the games run off quarters (if you don't have a plastic bag full like us, they have a change machine). The skee ball games were $0.50 and it seemed like most everything else was $1.00. (With our bag full of quarters we were having too much fun to focus on how much each game cost) We were like kids in a candy store.........uh.......or kids in an arcade! The staff was friendly, it wasn't too smokey, the music was fun, the other patrons were cool, and we really had a great time.

Our night included the boxing challenge, which the ladies rocked too. Mini skee ball tournaments (We don't know who won because my group wouldn't let me set up brackets. They were scared of me, I know it.), the guys had a fun but serious competition of foosball, dance revolution (video provided), and several rounds of pool.

Everyone had a blast at Play and, due to pictures & status updates posted on Facebook that night, we have other friends who want to join us the next time we go out there. I'd like to give a shout out to Brandy who works at Play. Very helpful and completely awesome. Thanks Brandy!


**Please note that designated drivers were in place and we ask that you don't drink and drive. Fun is more fun when everyone stays safe. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Greatest Living Spear Hunter - This is for real!

Spear Hunting Museum - Summerdale, Alabama

I've past this place several times over the years and never thought about going inside. If you frequent Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, you probably have too. It's a rather small building for a museum and I just wasn't sure what I'd find inside.

While creating this website, I found the museum's website and the stories are fascinating. It's like reading fiction - I still wasn't sure what to expect but I wanted to find out. I told my hubs & kids, everyone was pumped, my Mama even wanted to go, so we were off.

I'm afraid to share too much so that you can enjoy the surprises as we did. However, I have to write something! :) Let me start by saying, if you are against hunting, DO NOT GO. In fact, just stop reading now and we'll all be happy and peaceful. :) Now, back to the adventure. If you are a hunter, this man is your king - trust me.

First we met Heather. She is a spear hunter as well and also has her conquests on display in the museum. She is the curator for the museum, a very friendly personality, and shared with us some interesting information before we began our self guided tour. She than joined us again at the end of the tour to explain to us the difference between hunting gators in Florida and doing so in Louisiana (or like they do on "Swamp People") 

   Okay, really, first we were met by something else but you'll just have to go see for yourself what that was. Museums are usually filled with replicas and/or wax statues. Anything authentic is behind thick glass or kept from viewing completely. Mr Morris has his life as a hunter on display with REAL enthusiasm. (that was a hint). The walls are filled with proof of amazing adventures, stories to read, and we were fortunate enough to meet Mr. Morris and hear a few of his tales first hand.

Mr. Morris is 78 years old and still hunting. He shared that he is actively planning a trip to Africa to hunt big game that he's been unable to hunt so far. He also shared that since he has mastered the art of throwing two spears at a time, he is currently working to develop a mechanism to enable him to throw THREE spears at once!

I enjoyed our talk with Mr. Morris so much because he is a no excuses kind of fella. (Reminds me of my Ma Me. I always say that she coined the phrase "Just do it" - not Nike)  Military background, adventurous spirit, and confidence that he has the God-given ability to figure things out - Mr. Morris puts no limitations on himself. At the same time, he is cautious and seems to learn from his mistakes.
My kids and my husband were enthralled with everything in this museum (this is not always the case with the males in the family). I believe they would enjoy going again and again (especially the guys) and it looks like I have a new place to shop for Christmas. :)

Admission is $3 per person for a self-guided tour. I think it was $8 for a guided tour.

The Spear Hunting Museum
20216 Alabama 59
Summerdale, AL 36580-3026
(251) 989-7700

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Laser Spectacular featuring the music of Pink Floyd

Wharf Amphitheater in Orange Beach, Alabama
Friday, July 1, 2011

I was completely pumped when I saw the info about this event come across Twitter. When I was in high school, we used to go see these kind of shows at the Louisiana Nature Center. The show was in the planetarium and they were always so cool! My kids love music, especially my son, so I thought this would be a great family night.

It was a small crowd so getting in and out with parking, lines, and seating was a breeze. The show was pretty cool to my husband & I. My son said it was, "really cool but really loud", and my daughter kept saying, "I don't get it, what is this about?". LOL

Hubs & I had a good laugh at the kids' reactions then we decided to go ahead and get them the glasses. You know, the drug effect without the drugs (We didn't explain that part to the kids). The show was much more interesting to them with the glasses.

Overall, it was fun and we had a good night. I will say that the show being outdoors made it difficult for them to create the full effects of the show. It was not as vibrant as other shows I had seen but for the price - it was well worth it. (We caught the BOGO free and the kids were free so total ticket price = $10)

The highlight of the night was my son hip hop dancing, no shirt and no shoes, to the music of Pink Floyd. He drew quite a crowd for his performance, at one point there were 7 people video-taping him. I'm assuming it will end up on YouTube somewhere......Oh  look - there it is below. :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Amazing.......and I am now more thankful for Sugar!

I found this museum through this website (yep, I use it too). I sat down Thursday afternoon and looked through the pages of this site to find something within about an hours drive that my family & I could do on Saturday. There were a few selections but I decided on the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum because it looked like something my kids and my Mama would enjoy.

We arrived in Pensacola around 10am, which is when the museum opens. It is a block or so from the beach, which you can add to your adventure for the day. It is more than a museum (although a museum is included). It is actually a historical village of period buildings that you can tour. Some are original/refurbished and some are recreations. The area is beautiful and all the people who work for the museum are dressed in period clothing.

You enter the village store greeted by its attendant, then he explains where to go, what to do, what to see, and what time the walking tours are available. He provides you with a map and you are on your way.

Our first stop was the actual museum just down the street from the village. It's three stories of interesting artifacts and stories with a hands on children's exhibit on the third floor. After well over an hour in the car (stops for breakfast & ice for our cooler) with a 7 & 9 year old and before we went to the "do not touch zones", this was where we HAD to go first.
It is so cool. Clothes to wear, a fort to man, a cottage to live in, a general store to shop, a ship to sail, an Indian camp, and I'm sure I am forgetting something. My son did not want to leave. I believe he would've played there all day but they had a birthday party booked so we had to move on. (Thank God because we wanted to see everything else:)

From here we went on a tour and learned exactly how awful it was to live during that period. They had to eat bad meat, sleep on rope beds, and share a piece of sugar that was in someone else's mouth or mouths because it was so expensive, you could not waste a drop of it. (Thank you, Lord, for all my blessings - electricity, refrigeration, my Sealy mattress, and Domino's sugar!) Of course, we also saw the beautiful furniture, decorative pieces, clothing, and the amazing way they conserved everything. We think we know recycling - these people were the masters.

Reminder to my son his bed isn't uncomfortable.

After the tour was over, we went to the Museum of Commerce. My kids participated in candle-making with Ms. Kimberly who was formerly a laundress but turned her life around. While they made their candles, my Mama & I had a chat with Mr. Stewart who was the school teacher and a loyal British subject. After he regained consciousness over seeing me in shorts (women were not to expose their ankles so I was beyond risqué in my shorts) we talked. The year was 1787 (as we recall) and Mr. Stewart was indignant about the rebels who lived in the 13 colonies led by Washington. He thought is was ridiculous that they didn't want to pay taxes and that they wanted representation. He said they were like "spoiled children". He stated that they had freedom as long as they followed the decrees of the king. It was very interesting. I couldn't help but think how sad it is that we've strayed so far from the beliefs and convictions of our founding fathers (those rebels). Many in America talk like loyal subjects instead of free Americans. (okay, off the soap box. This is about fun!)

From here I'll spare you a play by play and just share the pictures of some of the things I enjoyed seeing and learning.

Low-income Family Parents Bed - Kids slept on the floor

Upper-Middle Class Family Parents Bed - Kids shared beds but boys had a room and girls had a room.

"Hip Tub" where they took a bath about 6 times a year.

Beautiful church that has been refurbished. We couldn't go inside because there was a wedding that day.

Fast-forward a few hundred years and inside the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Museum there were several items that I owned as a child. Wait.......what? I'm not old enough for my things to be in a MUSEUM! Apparently, that is false. I'm still not old. Period. Do you hear me?

Elephant bank I used to put all my change

Empire Strikes Back glasses that were from Burger King. I remember begging for them. I loved Star Wars! :)

For more information on the Museum:
Website: http://www.historicpensacola.org/
Phone:  850-595-5985
Facebook: West Florida Historic Preservation, Inc., Haunted Tours

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Things I want to do.....

Since I began this little project of mine I have had several changes in my life. Now that it is summer and my kids are out of school, I want to enjoy being with them and go explore some of the things that I have discovered while putting together this website.

So here is my To Do list for the summer (it may continue to grow considerably after this post):

The American Sport Art Museum and Archives in Daphne, Alabama
     * I don't live very far from this one and yet I've never been there. I plan to change that this summer.

Estuarium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab on Dauphin Island in Mobile, Alabama
    * Once again, don't live far from here and have never been. Fixing. :)

5 Rivers - Alabama's Delta Resource Center in Spanish Fort, Alabama 

     * This is a beautiful facility in the center of some really gorgeous property surrounded by water. 
        They have many different activities and I'll have to do a little more research to see what we can
        get ourselves into.

USS Alabama Battleship in Mobile, Alabama

     * We see this ship and all it's glory every time we pass over the Mobile Bay. My kids will love to
         finally get to go inside and see what it's all about.

July 1 - LaserSpectacular featuring the music of Pink Floyd at the Wharf Amphitheater.
     * I am so excited about this show. When I was in high school, we used to go watch shows like this
       all the time at the Louisiana Nature Center. They were always so cool.

Kliebert's Alligator and Turtle Farm in Hammond, Louisiana
     * Okay, I discovered this place because of "Swamp People" on the History Channel. Have you
        seen the show? I love it! Being from New Orleans, the show reminds me of the beautiful
        culture that I grew up with and I love Louisiana so very much. :)

Abita Mystery Museum in Abita Springs, LA
    * I found this museum from an article on Twitter and I cannot wait to go check it out.

New Orleans Food & Beverage Museum
    * I don't know how my kids will feel about this but this is MY to do list, right? :)

Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport, MS
    * This museum is said to be one of the top Children's Museums in the country. The exhibits look
       amazing and if we go on Sunday, admission is only $5 each. :)

The Stennis Space Center in Mississippi
    * I remember going on a field trip when I was in jr high (I think, maybe high school). I know my
       kids would love it.

Wonderworks in Panama City, FL
     * This sounds like a pretty cool place to take the kids. It's a little pricey for a day trip but I hope we
        can make it over there anyway.

Well, I believe that this is a very hefty list of things to do this summer. In between camps, VBS, geocaching, and trips to the pool our summer should be quite an adventure. I'll keep you posted on how we are doing through blog posts. Any tips and tricks regarding any of these locations would be fantastic! Thanks for reading and I'll talk to you soon. :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

I Think I Can, I Think I Can, I Think I Can........

Just wanted to drop a note to let everyone know that we are slowly but surely adding to the lists for each state. I updated the Alabama list today with some museums in the state and I'm not done yet. If you come across a website that you think would be great to share on this site, please shoot me an email.

Have fun and I'd love to hear about your adventures! :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Find Events on Twitter

Lists - I created lists for each state of those that I'm following to get info. So you can follow the lists to see everything they are tweeting about.

I abandoned the hashtag method of grouping events together because it proved to be too difficult for many reasons. So, now you can look at my "Favorites" list to see upcoming events across the Gulf Coast.

I hope this helps and let me know if you have suggestions. Have fun! :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

You Learn Something New Everyday

I have had the best time putting all this information together and I've even learned a few things about the areas I call home. I'm looking forward to adding to this site and I hope it will be with your help and input. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter @GulfCoastEvents and a Facebook page will be up soon too! I'll keep you posted.

Now I have to go look through all my posts and plan my next adventure. Will it be with the family or a night on the town with my hubby? Hmmmmmm, why choose? I'll just plan both! :-D