2018 CHEAP & FREE SUMMER FUN

This post may contain sponsored or affiliate links.

Well, we only have FIVE ONE full week of school left until “I’m boooooored.” Be ready with this year’s list of CHEAP AND FREE SUMMER FUN!

This is a 5th year re-post. I have updated as much as I can, and will continue to do so as schedules are released. So, here is the highly anticipated list of summer fun to exhaust your children (2018)!  If you see, think of, or know of any others, send me an email!   GET READY TO HAVE A GREAT (CHEAP) SUMMER!

AND – Check out our extensive list of Vacation Bible Schools HERE!

ALSO – we have a newly published list of TONS of things to do within driving distance! Check that out HERE!

FREE SUMMER TITLE

Go to the Lakefront. What is more relaxing than being near water? The kids can play on the playground equipment, you can take a walk along the lake, take a bike ride, and just get out of the house for a while.

Mand lakefront playground
Photo Credit – Nola.com

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WATER FUN!

St. Tammany has access to a few beaches. Fontainebleau State Park has a lovely beach area. Park entrance fee is just $2.

There is also White Sands Lake Day Beach – just $15 for 12 and up, $10 for 3-11 and under 3 is FREE! This is a local beach located in Washington Parish that offers swimming, beaches, cabanas and inflatable water toys. Super fun and close by! They open May 6 this year!

WhiteSandsLakeWhiteSandswaterpark whitesandscabanas

Splashpads are a great way to cool off and burn off some energy! There is a splashpad just up the street from the Lakefront at the Mandeville Trailhead that will certainly exhaust, ahem…entertain the kiddos. Remember to bring your sunscreen! ! Kids are invited to enjoy the refreshing splash of the aquatic fountains March-October 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Mandeville Splash Pad
Photo Credit – Barrett House

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Coquille Parks and Recreations Splashpad open Monday-Sunday beginning on May 1st!

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Bogue Chitto State Park Splash Pad – Water Playground – Louisiana State Parks’ water playgrounds operate Tuesdays through Sundays, April 1 through October 31, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; the facilities will be closed on Mondays for cleaning and maintenance. Please contact the park directly, to confirm that the playground is open or for additional information.  $3 per person; Free for Seniors (62 and older) and children age 3 and under

Pearl River Splash Pad – James Lavigne Playground located behind the Town Hall, 39460 Willis Alley. The water park is open daily from sun-up to sun-down beginning the week school is out.
Everyone is welcome to enjoy the splash!

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Other Splash Pads

Heritage Park – 1701 Bayou Lane (behind the old Slidell Train Station on the Front Street)  Open daily from 6am -10pm

Fontainbleu State Park – Louisiana State Parks’ water playgrounds operate Tuesdays through Sundays, April 1 through October 31, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; the facilities will be closed on Mondays for cleaning and maintenance. Please contact the park directly, to confirm that the playground is open or for additional information. Mandeville ($3 per person entrance fee to park)

Abita Springs – has a Splash Pad, too. It is located near the Museum (Main Street), behind Abita Middle. This water feature has quickly become the favorite way for local kids to cool off on hot summer days.  Dozens of water jets spray Abita water high in there at varying heights and intervals for the children (and some grown-ups too!) to play under.
Shade areas and benches surround the popular play spot. Open during regular park hours: dawn till dusk.

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Visit Camp Salmen Nature Park – take a hike on a trail, visit some of the restorations, or let the kids play on the fun equipment! If you are a budding photographer, there are many fabulous photo opps out there. So, grab your kids, the camera and go play!

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Here are some points of interest from their website:

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Camp Salmen Nature Park is one of a string of beautiful natural areas on the nature-blessed North Shore. Besides having amenities like picnic pavilions, historic structures, meeting places and scenic Bayou Liberty, the park has four miles of footpaths, bike trails and boardwalks for close-up observation of nature.

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Illuminating the property’s heritage is a 200-year-old French Creole-style building, which was probably built in the first decade of the 1800s and served as the major trading post in the Bayou Liberty region for over a century. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

salmen playground

All photos of Salmen Nature Park provided by my friend, Angela Roques (Queen of Pops).

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CONCERTS:

Sunset at the landing

Sunset at the Landing Concert Series – The Sunset at the Landing Concert Series is a free, outdoor concert held every third Friday from March to October on Covington’s former Columbia Street boat landing, now a permanent performance stage overlooking scenic Bogue Falaya River.

Concerts feature regional and touring artists performing jazz, bluegrass, folk, blues and more.

All are encouraged to bring refreshments and chairs or blankets for lawn seating. Some bench seating is also available.

The series is sponsored by St. Tammany Homestead, the City of Covington and the Covington Farmers Market.

For more information, including current performing artists, please visit www.sunsetatthelanding.org.
Location: Columbia Street Landing on the Bogue Falaya River
Transportation/Parking: Free off-street parking
Hours: 6-9 p.m.
Admission: Free

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Jazz’n the Vines – All shows are Saturday evenings from 6:30 to 9 pm with gates opening at 5 pm:

AMANDA SHAW & THE CUTE GUYS APRIL 21st, 2018

DEBBIE DAVIS AND JOSH PAXTON MAY 5TH, 2018

GAL HOLIDAY & THE HONKY TONK REVUE MAY 19TH, 2018

RODDIE ROMERO & THE HUB CITY ALLSTARS JUNE 2ND, 2018

NEW ORLEANS SWAMP DONKEYS JUNE 16TH, 2018

THE IGUANAS plus FIREWORKS!!  JUNE 30TH, 2018

All shows are Saturday evening from 6:30 to 9 pm at Pontchartrain Vineyards!

Ticket sales for each concert go on sale the week after the preceding concert! SEE THIS PAGE to buy tickets. 

All shows 6:30 to 9:00 pm.  Gates open at 5:00Admission: $10.00/person. Pay at the gate. Children 17 & under FREE.

Bring:  Flashlight, umbrella, lawn chair, picnic dinner. Please do not bring:  Outside  alcohol, pets, fire or BBQ pits, sky lanterns.

Pontchartrain Vineyards wines and food from various Local Vendors will be available for purchase.

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Columbia Street Block Party – Downtown Covington – held the LAST Friday of each month – See classic cars, hear music and stroll the streets of beautiful, historic downtown Covington.

Columbia Block Party

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Geocaching! This is a very recent discovery for my family, but my kids are hooked! Get out and go geocaching! Download the FREE app – Geocaching and get started. Basically, you use your phone to go on a real life treasure hunt! The app will only show you things that are very nearby, so don’t think that there aren’t “caches” in your area. Trust me! They’re out there! I live in VERY rural St. Tammany and we have at least 5 within 5 miles of us. They are ALL over Covington. We did several yesterday afternoon. So far, the only ones we have found are just to sign/date the log and then record that you did find it on the app. This lets subsequent cachers know that someone found this one recently. It’s very fun and the kids are loving it! Totally free and it gets you out of the house!

This was our first find last year – Note the location!! Don’t let the kids go alone! Some are in pretty precarious positions!1st geocache

And another last year in downtown Covington:

IMG_2422Now as you get a little more involved, there are caches with “treasures” in them. You are supposed to take what you find and leave something of the same approximate value. We haven’t gone that far yet. But, I would love to know if any of you have, what types of things do you find? What do you leave?

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GO FISH!!!

Sign

Go fishing at the St. Tammany Fishing Pier – plenty of shade under the Twin Span bridges! Clean bathrooms.

Pier Entrance fees are $3.00 for individuals 12 and older to fish from the pier; visitors 12 and older who do not wish to fish from the Pier will be charged $1.00; and children under 12 can enter for free. Everyone must have a fishing license.
Visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Pier hours are as follows: Monday and Tuesday, CLOSED
Wednesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Remember children under 12 are always free.

Location:
54001 E. Howze Beach Road near Slidell, LA MAP
(East side of I-10, exit 261 by the shore of Lake Pontchartrain)

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Louisiana’s Free Fishing Weekend Set  – 2nd Saturday and Sunday in June

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries invites Louisianans of all ages to fish for free the first weekend in June without a fishing license on any of the state’s public waters.

Louisiana offers miles of shoreline and a myriad of freshwater lakes, marsh, and bayous to take opportunity of during this annual event.

The Department hopes the weekend will introduce newcomers, visitors and people with rusty skills to one of Louisiana’s most popular sports.  If you already have a fishing license, consider taking a friend or family member who has never been fishing.

Anglers are allowed to fish on all public bodies of waters without a license, but all fishing regulations still apply.

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Bogue Chitto Youth Fishing Rodeo – JUNE 9, 2018

Calling all kids from ages four to twelve! Whether you’re new to fishing or an experienced angler, join us for the “24th Annual Bogue Chitto Youth Fishing Rodeo,” Saturday, June 10, 2017, at the Pearl River Turnaround Fishing Access Site.

For a per child rodeo registration fee of $25, which supports the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges, children receive a fishing rod, worms, a t-shirt, and the whole family gets lunch. Prizes are given for children’s age categories, and for categories of fish, as well as overall biggest fish.

Click here to download a Fishing Event Registration Form

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LET’S GO TO THE MOVIES!!

Regal Summer ExpressSo very excited that this came to Covington a few summers ago! Regal theater in Covington (behind Target and Best Buy) offers $1 movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. These are older family movies and there will be 2 each week.

Movies are at 10am each day as listed below. There is no discount at the concession stand to go along with this offer. Get there early – lots of summer camps attend and they fill up fast!  The schedule below is for Covington Regal and is subject to change.

NEW EXTENDED SCHEDULE THIS SUMMER:

LOOK HOW MANY WEEKS THIS RUNS!!! 

Week 1 Tue. Jun 5 to Wed. Jun 6  – HOP & Max
Week 2 Tue. Jun 12 to Wed. Jun 13 – The Iron Giant & Curious George
Week 3 Tue. Jun 19 to Wed. Jun 20 – Despicable Me & Ice Age: Collision Course
Week 4 Tue. Jun 26 to Wed. Jun 27 –  Storks & Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Week 5 Tue. Jul 3 to Wed. Jul 4 – Despicable Me 2 & How to Train Your Dragon 2
Week 6 Tue. Jul 10 to Wed. Jul 11 – The Lego Movie & Alvin and the Chipmunks
Week 7 Tue. Jul 17 to Wed. Jul 18 –  Sing & The Peanuts Movie
Week 8 Tue. Jul 24 to Wed. Jul 25 – The LEGO Ninjago Movie & Ferdinand
Week 9 Tue. Jul 31 to Wed. Aug 1 – The Secret Life of Pets & Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Week 10 Tue. Aug 7 to Wed. Aug 8 – The Lego Batman Movie  & Trolls
Week 11 Tue. Aug 14 to Wed. Aug 15 – Minions & The Boss Baby
Week 12 Tue. Aug 21 to Wed. Aug 22 – Paddington 2 & Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Week 13 Tue. Aug 28 to Wed. Aug 29 – Despicable Me 3 & Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
Week 14 Tue. Sep 4 to Wed. Sep 5 – Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax & Kung Fu Panda 3

***EACH WEEK, BOTH MOVIES PLAY ON BOTH DAYS***

SUMMER KIDS FLICKS – SLIDELL This is a great thing to do on rainy days, or just to get out of the house. GET THERE EARLY, it fills up quickly. $4 gets you a seat, a box of popcorn and a drink. GREAT deal!

 

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2017 NEW ADDITION!!!! MOVIE TAVERN IN COVINGTON!!

TUESDAYS & WEDNESDAYS AT 10AM. TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE BOX OFFICE ON THE DAY OF EACH SHOW!

Same schedule as Grand Kid’s Flicks

Full menu is also available. Great for daycares, summer camps and large groups. All movies rated G or PG. Box office opens at 9:30AM. Movie begins at 10AM.
To book a large group contact SpecialEvents@movietavern.com.

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FREE MOVIE NIGHTS IN SLIDELL – 2018 Schedule

Here is a Fun Summer activity…..and it’s FREE! Bring a blanket or bag chairs and relax outside with these classic films!

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Covington Louisiana Actors Playhouse Series – at Covington High Auditorium – This group puts on a few plays over the summer and are they are FABULOUS! We have seen several and can’t wait to catch more this year! Students are $8 and adults are $10. Introduce your kids to stories without a screen!  Schedule below:

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ROLLER SKATING!!!! 

Skaters Paradise in Slidell: (this is an older schedule. Call to verify before going. Will update asap.)

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Sun Town Hall – $5 per kid – Each FRIDAY Night

First SATURDAY of the month is to benefit Fire District 9 – 7 pm to 10 pm, for a fun night of skating! Only $5.00 per person. Concessions will be sold.

Also by Fire District 9 – YOUTH FIRE CAMP! Very affordable camp!!

St. Tammany Fire District 9 * Fire Camp – REGISTER HERE

 

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READ! READ! READ! 

That’s what all the teachers say to do over the summer to prevent your kids from forgetting or sliding back before the next grade!

Each year, the St. Tammany Parish Library Children’s Department hosts a Summer Reading Program for ages 0-11 years old. Registration usually begins in late May. Visit our library at www.sttammanylibrary.org to register.

This year’s program is: LIBRARIES ROCK!

 

Story Time at each Branch is FREE.  Get the details for your local branch HERE

There are also plenty of programs for the bigger kids and teens. Find the TEEN PAGE HERE.

Other Reading Programs:

Barnes & Noble – 

Kids Earn a Free Book!

Barnes-_-Noble Summer 16

Here is How

The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is here to help you on your way, encouraging you to read books of your own choosing and earn a FREE book, simply by following these three easy steps:

1. Read any eight books this summer and record them in your Summer Reading Journal (English or Español). Tell us which part of the book is your favorite, and why.
2. Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 16th and September 5th, 2017. Find a Store
3. Choose your FREE reading adventure from the book list featured on the back of the journal.


Chuck E. Cheese

Each time your child reads for 2 weeks in a row, they will earn 10 FREE tokens at Chuck. E. Cheese! Head on over here to print the form. Valid through 12/31/16 at participating locations. Food purchase required for redemption. Limit 1 of any free token offer per child per day. **they actually have TONS of reward calendars for everything from reading to not picking your nose! HA!  See them all HERE!

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Home Improvement/Craft Workshops  

Home Depot – First Saturday of the month – FREE – CLICK HERE to register for these

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See the full list of FREE KIDS CLASSES at Pelican Park HERE. Calendars appear to be posted monthly.

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 Michael’s Camp Creativity:  Click here for more info –

STRIKE!!!!!

Kids Bowl Free

Kids Bowl Free in Hammond, Houma and Baton Rouge. Kids get up to 2 free games per day! See their page for more info and see THIS page for a list of Louisiana participating bowling alleys.

***If you have an activity that you would like me to add to this list, please either message me on Facebook or email to kari@northshoremama.com and put FREE SUMMER as the subject. It’s too much to keep up with by just comments here. Thanks for the kind words and I am thrilled that you all enjoy this list!

 

 

Spring Break Stay-Cation ~ Part 2 – Infinity Space Center

This post may contain sponsored or affiliate links.

Last week, my family and I had the opportunity to tour another potential “staycation” visit for you.  If you recall last week, I introduced my SPRING BREAK STAYCATION series. I know that many people choose to stay home during Spring Break, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get out and have some fun with your kids before the summer heat hits.

So, today, I will introduce to you the Inifinty Science Center in neighboring Pearlington, MS.

Infinity Title

This awesome exhibit is located just 2 miles past the Louisiana/Mississippi State Line at Exit 2. It’s just 11 miles from the I12-I59-I10 interchange in Slidell and just 35 miles from I12-Hwy 190 (Causeway) exit in Covington. However, I would bet that many St. Tammany residents either (A) – never knew it was there, or (B) haven’t made the time to stop and check it out!

Those who fall under (A), in your defense, it has only been open since April 12, 2012.  But, those who fall under (B), I hope to encourage you to stop by!  Especially if you are a teacher looking for a great new field trip! Infinity Space Center works their field trips around the local curriculum for each grade level. So, what you are learning about in 5th grade, they know and will be able to re-enforce those lessons while you are there.

INFINITY is the center for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for Louisiana and Mississippi schools. INFINITY has an active partnership with the University of Southern Mississippi to support the addition of more interactive educational exhibits and to implement educational programming at the science center, including teachers’ workshops and K-16 STEM programs.

There are two main indoor exhibit areas, including an immersive theater and outdoor exhibit area. Indoor exhibits include Great Nations Dare to Explore, Science Express, Science on a Sphere and the Space Gallery.  While I personally feel that this exhibit is best suited for middle school and up, there is a whole area dedicated to the little ones, too! There is a Space Shuttle made out of Legos, a play station to use Legos or Tinker Toys and also a playground to climb and slide!

Lego shuttleKidsZone

Here are some of the highlights of the Center:

infinity simulator

The ‘ISC – OMEGA Flight Simulator’ is a 15 passenger, HD big screen experience. This high-tech thrill ride is utilizes the same technology used for training professional pilots.

The Science Express is a walk through tour with hands-on demonstrations; multimedia interactive, models; videos and artifacts; all focused on the impact of human exploration adventures.  This exhibit is “go at your own pace” type of exhibit and has something for all ages and all abilities.

The Science on a Sphere exhibit with its 68″ global presentation offers planetary data of the past, present and future. It shows the fluctuation of airplane departures around the world, near real-time weather and earthquake data sets via NOAA satellites and also U.S. Geological Survey seismometers and weather patterns.

The Space Gallery is a collection of artifacts from 50 years of NASA research and space exploration. You will see actual suits used in training of astronauts, tires and other parts from the shuttles, as well as scale models of shuttles and some full scale models of rockets. But, the crown jewel of this exhibit is the space station module!

Module

Outdoor exhibits include Rocket Engines and various NOAA buoys.

NOAA 2   NOAA Tsunami

You can also take a bus tour of Stennis Space Center and view the entire facility. You will even drive by the rocket testing stands. My kids were totally impressed with these! This is a 20 mile tour that takes about 45 minutes.  They are scheduled every hour from 11-3.  You just sign up at the front desk 30 minutes before departure.  This tour is included with your admission, so don’t miss it!

Rocket test site

Want to take your time and explore? Don’t worry, there is food on site! Open from 11-3, you can choose from burgers, corn dogs chicken nuggets, or even local favorites like po-boys, gumbo and jambalaya!  (No outside food or drink allowed in restaurant)

Infinity Space Center also offers Astro Camps!

(At this time, all camps are fully booked. But, please join the waitlist as things can ALWAYS change!)

Saturday Camps – Ages 7-12: $30.00

Registration forms are available now for Dec 7, 2013, camp. See link below.
One-day fun-filled, themed missions loaded with hands-on activities offered on select Saturdays usually in March, April, October and November, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Summer Week-Long Camps

Registration is now open for 2014 Astro Camp Summer and Astro Camp STARS.

Astro Camp: Ages 7-9 & 10-12: $175.00 During the summer months of June and July, Stennis Space Center offers six week-long Astro Camps, 8:15 am – 3:45 pm.

Astro STARS (Spaceflight, Technology, Astronomy & Robotics @ Stennis) Ages 13-15: $200.00 One week-long engineering and technology camp is offered in June, 8:15 am – 3:45 pm.

Basic Information

Infinity Space Center is open Monday through Saturday – 10am – 4pm

Admission: $10: Adults (Age 18-54) $8: Senior Adult (55+), Military $6: Children (4-17), Ages 3 and under FREE

Group Sales: $5: School Groups, Groups are 20 or more. Bus driver/tour guide is free with group —

During Spring Break, they have presentations about the solar system at 11am and 12:30 in the Immersive Theater.  There will be science presentations scheduled downstairs at 10:30 and 11:30 and demos about living and working in space upstairs in the Space Gallery at 12pm and 1pm.  These presentations run about 20 minutes and are subject to change due to staffing.

Possum Walk is open for the season. It is a section of Heritage Trail that runs between INFINITY Science Center and the historic town foundations and cemeteries of Logtown and Possum. The nature trail, however, is not for the faint of heart: from INFINITY, it runs about 7 miles each way on foot. However, you CAN reach Logtown and Possum by parking at the trailhead in Pearlington (the other end) with a walk of only a couple of hundred yards.

Guided bus tours of the Stennis Space Center will continue as always: 11am, noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

COMING UP:

Starting May 1, INFINITY will open at 9am, an hour earlier than in the past.  Our café will also open earlier: 10am.

Registration is now open for the remaining Astro Camp spring sessions — Saturdays, May 10 and May 17 — and this summer.  See the Camp page for more info HERE.

The Infinity Space Center is so anxious to get some Northshore families to come and visit during Spring Break, that they are giving me 5 pairs of tickets to give to you!

That’s right…5 of you will win a pair of tickets to go and visit this awesome exhibit during the week of Spring Break (tickets will be good through May 1).

Just fill out the Rafflecopter below and you will be entered. (Tickets will be a will call situation. Tickets are good through May 1, 2014. Must claim within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen.)

***My family and I were given complimentary passes and a guided tour of the Infinity Space Center in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions are 100% my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Northshore Mama’s Spring Break Staycation Series ~ GLOBAL WILDLIFE

This post may contain sponsored or affiliate links.

Many people choose to stay home the week of Spring Break. But, the kids are still out of school and even if you have just one day off with them, it seems such a waste to stay inside the house while the weather is nice.

So, I decided that I would offer up a series of ideas of “Staycation” or, in this case, “Daycation” outings that won’t take all day to get there and back. After all, the little siblings (or Mommy) may need to get back in time for a nap!

So, this is the first installment:
GLOBAL WILDLIFE

Global title

The term “Global Wildlife Coupons” is CONSISTENTLY in the top 3 search terms that bring people to this blog.  So, for over 3 years now, people are looking for tickets to Global Wildlife! Of course, whenever there is a discount available, I always share it with you.  But, today, I want to share with you some of the high points of our visit on Friday.  For those of you who have never been, here is what you can expect:

When you head out to the vast 900 acres that makes up the Global Wildlife Center, you will embark on a one and a half hour guided Safari Wagon tour over the beautiful property that is home to more than 4,000 animals. You will personally interact with MANY of these creatures and even feed some of them right out of your hand.

You will board a long train of covered wagons that are pulled by a tractor. That right there, my friends, is HEAVEN for little boys!

As soon as the wagon leaves the loading stations, the deer (your first encounter) know that you have the snacks and they are coming to get them.

GLobal beginning

There are various species of deer, but most of them are called FALLOW DEER. These come from Mesopotamia, or what we know today as Iran and Iraq. There are many varying shades of coats on these deer, and your tour guide will tell you all about what causes that.
wagon evan feed

 

Now, my very favorite part of the tour is the giraffes. The Reticulated Giraffes to be specific. I could post every single picture that I took of them. I think that they are just mesmerizing because they are such massive creatures, but they are so graceful and elegant. I honestly could just stare at them all day. Because these beauties are very gentle and docile, you can get super close to them. You can pet them and feed them right out of your cup.

giraffe smile

I think the one above is smiling for the photo!  Look at these GORGEOUS creatures. Simply stunning.giraffe close up

Ok….so now you know of my obsession with the giraffes. My 2nd favorite animal to stare at on these tours in the Zebra. Again…I could just watch them all day. Maybe it’s the busy patterns that attract me. Hmmm….

Anyway, this is the bummer of the whole thing: The Zebras are MEAN!

You can’t pet them. You can’t feed them except to pour the food out.

Our tour guide Clarissa said they are “black and white and mean all over.”  Yes, they are actually mean! They bite and kick at each other and will actually bite one another’s tails off. Because the base of a zebra tail is about the same size as a child’s arm……well, you see where I am going.

So, it’s a big NO-NO to even have your hands out when the zebras come up. You can pour food out of your cup to feed them on the ground, but NO PETTING and NO FEEDING UP CLOSE!  #dontfeedthezebra

zebra close

Another favorite animal of mine are the Llamas. They are not as graceful. They are not as beautiful, but they make me laugh so much!

They all have a little bit of a goofy looking overbite and they are completely unaware of it. Again, I have so many pictures of the Llamas making faces. After we got home, we looked through the photos and my kids were howling laughing at the Llama pics. I even caught what appears to be a Llama selfie, complete with “duck lips”.

Llama selfie

This particular Llama stalked us for about half of the tour. Always right there. Always ready for his close-up. Yes, I said HIS. Don’t let those lovely lashes fool you! That was a male llama and he stayed with us until COLE saw him.

You see, Cole is the dominant male Llama on the property and when he saw this poor guy on the turf he shares with his SEVEN girlfriends, he literally CHASED. HIM. OFF. THE. PROPERTY. And this poor thing knew what was coming because he was hightailing before Cole ever got near him!

llama chase
Now, here is some VERY IMPORTANT information that Clarissa shared with us.  You’ve all heard that llamas will “spit” on you.  But, maybe not so much.  That’s not “spit”. It’s putrid stomach contents and fluids…aka – llama vomit! It has such a foul odor that it takes as much as TWO WEEKS for your skin cells to die and fall off and the odor on your skin to go away! (<—Oh. My. Gosh!)

Now, don’t let that scare you away from the llamas, just be sure to not tick them off! Have plenty of food ready – and if you run out, don’t look them square in the eye!  Pretend to ignore them as I did in this pic back in 2011!

old pic Kim 2011
Photo Credit: Kimberly Goushey

There are so many other interesting facts that will educate you, entertain you and even make you giggle. Like – What happened to the animals during Katrina?  What happens when a Rhea Bird gets caught in the corner of the fencing on the property.

So much to see, touch and learn while you spend an hour and a half on this wonderful tour.

You should call to check Tour times before going as they vary.  Below is the pertinent information about Global Wildlife tours:

Guided Wagon Tour Donations:

  • Adults $17.00
  • Seniors (over 62) $15.00
  • Children ages 2-11 $11.00
  • Children under 2 FREE!
  • Private Pinz Tour $35 per person

Feed:

  • 32oz Souvenir Cups $2.00
  • Family Bucket $30.00 – at least 20 cups  A Savings of $10.00
  • Sack $62.00 – at least 50 cups   A Savings of $38.00
  • Bin $75.00 – at least 75 cups  A Savings of $75.00 

Group rates are available for the following special safaris:

  • School Field Trips
  • Company Gatherings
  • Private Parties
  • Church Groups

Please remember that reservations are necessary for groups of 25 or more and to receive group rates.

Hours of Operation

Open year round, 7 days a week. Always call (985) 796-3585 first for safari check–in times and availability. Tour times are updated every Friday. Tickets are available on a first come first serve basis.

Types of Payment

Cash, Check, Credit Card: Visa, MasterCard, & Discover

***My family and I were given complimentary passes and feed for the animals in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions are 100% my own. These photos don’t lie!

Our *2nd* day at Gulf Islands Water Park

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My hubby and I took our kids (4, 7) to Gulf Islands Water Park this week for one last fling before school starts. This was the kids’ and my 2nd trip, but hubby’s first. We got there just before noon, and being the last Friday before school started (for us, anyway) the park was already packed. But, just like last time, we stumbled upon a lone table with no “claim items” on it. So, we were able to leave our stuff at an umbrella table all day and have a place to sit when we needed it. We had been warned that the tables would be taken early in the day, so, we were thrilled at this turn of events happening to us again!

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We hit the “Lazy Pearl River” first. Anyone who finds this “lazy” hasn’t done it with two crazy kids hanging off of their back! My little ones had vests on (you can bring your own as long as they are US Coast Guard approved, or use the park’s free!) and they had just finished two weeks of swimming lessons. But, they still used every bit of energy they could muster to try to SWIM instead of float. That’s about the time we floated into the Wave Pool area and the fun really began! They loved it, but I was exhausted!

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Next, we went to the massive kiddie-pool area. There is so much room and so many different things to do in this area! My 4 year old could go up and down the waterslide by himself to his heart’s content! He had a blast!

There were slides for toddlers and then slides that were perfect for just what we did: find a shady spot, sit in the shallow water and watch the little ones run up the waterslide and ride it down….over and over and over! Perfect!

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We finally ventured over to the Riptide Racer and my 7 year old asked me to ride it with him. I have to say that I was a bit nervous, but didn’t want him to miss out because my nerves scared him. So, I went with him…..WAY up the stairs….ABOVE THE PINE TREES. We made it down and ended up riding about 4 more times that day. He LOVED it! It was fun, but that 3rd drop is a DOOZEY!

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We finally made our way over to the Horn Island Blaster and Camille Cutter (see both slides in distance in pic below. Blaster is green on left, Cutter is red on right). They looked similar from the ground, but as you got closer, you could see that the Cutter was a little milder than the Blaster. So, he decided to try that one. He sat close to me and therefore, all of our weight was on one side of the raft, thus becoming the FRONT. So, we went down the entire slide backward. (The heavier side will flip around to the front! Keep that in mind!!)

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This time, I planned to eat in the park because I remembered the amazing smells of the burgers grilling last time.  I ordered one Super Double Cheeseburger combo (comes with chips and drink) and a 5 piece chicken tender (comes with fries and a drink). My husband hasn’t had a soft drink in almost a year, so I also got an extra bottle of water. My total was $23.51.

Now, before you say that’s expensive for two meals, I got the DOUBLE cheeseburger so that hubby and I could split it and have a little more protein, and I added 2 extra tenders for $1.99 so the boys could share that meal.  It was plenty of food for the 4 of us and was less than we pay when we go out to a “cheaper” restaurant. So, I don’t find the prices to be outrageous for a theme park. The Super Double was $.75 more than the regular and the extra tenders were $1.99. Outside the combo, the drink prices were about what you would pay in a restaurant. It is $2.75 for a large fountain drink. But, the cashier pointed out that I could get a 20oz bottle for $2.68 and could get a free cup of ice. So, that gives you more drink for a few cents less.

So, one last day of summer fun and a couple of yummy snacks and we are off to school this Friday.

If you want to enjoy your “one last fling” at Gulf Islands, they currently have their Season Passes marked down to $39.99 (reg. $54.99) and this Tuesday, August 6, 2013, is “Season Pass Holders’ Bring a Friend Free Day”. Regular one day tickets are $29.99, so if you go on Tuesday, buy a Season Pass and your friend, spouse, child…whatever, will get in free. So, Rather than spend $59.98 plus tax for the two of you, you will pay $39.99 AND get a coupon book good on treats in the park.  Also, they are open through Labor Day, so if you DO HAPPEN to go again before then, you will be covered!

If you are the odd man out or won’t make it that day, HERE is a coupon to save $5 off a regular admission. Not valid with any other offer or discount. Excludes Saturdays. Limit 6 per coupon. Must submit coupon at Admissions Office.

Gulf Islands Water Park is located just this side of Gulfport.

17200 16th Street
Gulfport, MS 39503‎
(228) 328-1266

Ticket prices are as follows:

Adults (anyone over 42″- 1 day pass – $29.99  HERE is a coupon to save $5 off a regular admission. Not valid with any other offer or discount. Excludes Saturdays. Limit 6 per coupon. Must submit coupon at Admissions Office. (Thanks, Blogging, Babies and the Bayou!)

Under 42″ – $21.99

Age 2 and Under are free.

Season Passes are $54.99. $39.99  Season pass holders receive a coupon booklet and may participate in various “bring a friend free” events.  **This Tuesday, August 6, 2013 is bring a friend free day for season pass holders!

 

 

Disclaimer – I received 4 one-day passes in exchange for this blog post from usfamilyguide.com. All opinions, pictures and details are my own.

Our day at Gulf Islands Waterpark….

This post may contain sponsored or affiliate links.

My bestie and I took our kids (3, 4, 7, 7) to Gulf Islands Water Park this week. It was a first visit for all of us. We got there just after noon, so the park was already pretty full. But, as we walked across the area, I spotted someone getting up from a table and we grabbed it! So, we were able to leave our stuff at an umbrella table all day and have a place to sit when we needed it. We had been warned that the tables would be taken early in the day, so, we were thrilled at this turn of events.

20130701-184236.jpg

We hit the “Lazy Pearl River” first. Anyone who finds this “lazy” hasn’t done it with two crazy kids hanging off of their back! My little ones had vests on (you can bring your own as long as they are US Coast Guard approved, or use the park’s free!) and they had just finished two weeks of swimming lessons. But, they still used every bit of energy they could muster to try to SWIM instead of float. That’s about the time we floated into the Wave Pool area and the fun really began! They loved it, but I was exhausted!

20130701-184250.jpg 20130701-184259.jpg

Next, we went to the massive kiddie-pool area. There is so much room and so many different things to do in this area! My 4 year old could go up and down the waterslide by himself to his heart’s content! He had a blast!

There were slides for toddlers and then slides that were perfect for just what we did: find a shady spot, sit in the shallow water and watch the little ones run up the waterslide and ride it down….over and over and over! Perfect!

20130701-184332.jpg 20130701-184434.jpg

20130701-184346.jpg 20130701-184404.jpg

We finally ventured over to the Riptide Racer and my 7 year old asked me to ride it with him. I have to say that I was a bit nervous, but didn’t want him to miss out because my nerves scared him. So, I went with him…..WAY up the stairs….ABOVE THE PINE TREES. We made it down and ended up riding about 4 more times that day. He LOVED it! It was fun, but that 3rd drop is a DOOZEY!

20130701-184535.jpg 20130701-184547.jpg 20130701-184559.jpg 20130701-184610.jpg

We finally made our way over to the Horn Island Blaster and Camille Cutter (see both slides in distance in pic below. Blaster is green on left, Cutter is red on right). They looked similar from the ground, but as you got closer, you could see that the Cutter was a little milder than the Blaster. So, he decided to try that one. He sat close to me and therefore, all of our weight was on one side of the raft, thus becoming the FRONT. So, we went down the entire slide backward. (The heavier side will flip around to the front! Keep that in mind!!)

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We headed back to the Racer and he convinced my friend’s daughter to go up with him. After they rode that, he convinced her to do the Cutter. They both squealed as we rode it THREE times! The line for the Cutter was not more than 20 minutes any time. The Blaster was always longer.

We didn’t eat lunch in the park, but we did get drinks. The prices were about what you would pay in a restaurant. $2.75 for a large fountain drink. But, the cashier pointed out that I could get a 20oz bottle for $2.68 and could get a free cup of ice. So, we did that because it was more drink for a few cents less.

Like I said, we didn’t eat in the park, but I did take note of the prices. Mainly because lots of people told me how outrageous they were. I didn’t find it to be that overly priced. For $7.75, you could get a burger, chips and a drink! That’s about what you would pay for a combo meal at a fast food chain! But, these burgers smelled FABULOUS! I wish I would have gotten one, but the timing just didn’t work out for it with all the kids. Next time, I will try a burger! I did see them being cooked on a grill and they smelled amazing. Did I mention how good they smelled?

They also offered dippin’ dots and snowballs and I thought those items were a little high, but not more than at any other theme park.

My only complaint was that they announced at 5:30 that the park would be closing at 6. We knew that, and the announcement was just a reminder to everyone. But, as the throngs of people began to flock to bathrooms and dressing rooms to change into dry clothes to leave, they came in to clean the bathrooms and closed them down and locked the doors! So, you could either leave wet or stand in an EXTREMELY long line of people trying to change themselves and their children. We requested that they open the bathroom back up and the lady let me in to change, but did not re-open the bathroom. I thought that was quite silly to shut down the facilities when they were in the highest demand and the park was still open. I did find out later that there was a plumbing issue. This makes it more understandable and I think it would have been better received if we had known that at the time. But, apparently, this is not the norm. (Whew!)

But, other than that, we had a blast and the kids LOVED it! It was crowded, but not too much that we didn’t have fun. Since we went on a Thursday, I would recommend trying it out during the week for the first time. I’m sure it’s beyond packed on the weekends. But, it’s totally worth the drive from our area and the kids will LOVE it!

Gulf Islands Water Park is located just this side of Gulfport.

17200 16th Street
Gulfport, MS 39503‎
(228) 328-1266

Ticket prices are as follows:

Adults (anyone over 42″- 1 day pass – $29.99  HERE is a coupon to save $5 off a regular admission. Not valid with any other offer or discount. Excludes Saturdays. Limit 6 per coupon. Must submit coupon at Admissions Office. (Thanks, Blogging, Babies and the Bayou!)

Under 42″ – $21.99

Age 2 and Under are free.

Season Passes are $54.99.  Season pass holders receive a coupon booklet and may participate in various “bring a friend free” events.  This 4th of July is bring a friend free day for season pass holders!

They also offer swim lessons, camps and have several celebrities from Disney Channel scheduled to appear this summer! They are giving away two passes each day on their Facebook Page! Check it out!! It’s a great day of fun in the sun and it’s pretty close to home for us!