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Monday, July 24, 2017

State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA

20228831_10214447969139793_3852338394662733307_nFor our last outing while in the Hershey area, we traveled to Harrisburg to check out the State Museum of PA. In preparing for our visit, I checked out the parking options in the area, and it looked like there was limited on street parking, with the majority of public parking being a number of parking garages in the vicinity. That is my biggest dislike of only having a dually for our mode of transportation, as it can be quite challenging to find a parking spot – especially in a city. So we decided to wait and go into the city on Saturday morning, which turned out to be a great idea. We went first thing in the morning and had our pick of parking spots, finding one right out in front of the museum.


We really enjoyed our visit. There was a whole section where we could see what a early Pennsylvania village would look like.

Here Schaun is checking out early toys.


A chairmaker’s shop…


…the environment as it would have looked many thousands of years ago…


I’m glad our dragonflies aren’t this big anymore!


An archaelogical dig…



20258391_10214447974739933_5967857312460486367_nThere was a whole section with early modes of transportion…including a Conestoga wagon, of which unfortunately, I did not get a picture.



I’m very glad I don’t live in this 1950s era pull behind!


...or sleep in this bed!

We had an enjoyable time exploring items from Pennsylvania’s past. It was a fun way to finish up our two week visit in the area.


We are on our way back to Ohio now – back in Woodland PA for a couple nights. Tomorrow we arrive back at Countryside Campground, and our trip with Schaun will be over – until next year.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Busy Week Having Fun

It was two weeks ago today that we went and picked up Schaun at his house for our first RV summer trip. It has been such a fun couple of weeks, but we are starting to get toward the end of our time here now. The day after tomorrow it will be time to head out, back to Ohio.

This week has been a little more laid back than our first week. It has been super hot, so we have been going to the pool every day and enjoying the natural cooling of the water. We were going to go to the Wolf Sanctuary nearby, but when I went online to make reservations for the tour, they were sold out – for the rest of the month! So if anyone ever wants to check that out, make your reservations early.

For the most part, we’ve just been eating meals at home while we’ve been here in Hershey, but we did want to treat Schaun to one special restaurant meal. We were tossing around ideas of where we should go, but then we remembered Schaun’s love of shrimp and decided that we would take him to Red Lobster. 20139941_10214403285702735_9002021231985252291_nHe had never been so he was pretty excited to check it out.

Here he is trying their cheddar biscuits for the first time!


Schaun with his very own “shrimp your way” platter…

He enjoyed half of it at dinner that night, and the other half for dinner the next night at home. Good to the last bite!

Yesterday it was finally time for our trip to HersheyPark. I didn’t get many pictures, actually hardly any, because Schaun’s favorite part of the park was in the water area, and there was just too much water spraying around to have my phone out.


Harry got this one solitary shot of me on the Scrambler – alone because I am the only one who likes the fast twirly rides!



This area, and the Wave Pool, is where we spent the majority of our day. Lots of fun, and again, it was another really hot, humid day so a great day to spend in the water.

We had a really fun day at Hershey, and I think it turned out to be a good day to go. It wasn’t really crazy busy and there weren’t super long lines, at least at the things that we wanted to do.

Today we will spend a little more time at the pool, and start getting packed up a bit. We have one more outing planned for tomorrow – to the State Museum of PA in Harrisburg.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hidden Gem - Safari Time!

20023949_10214376004580724_7269673476662354437_oWhen I started researching the area in preparation for our trip, I did a pretty extensive (I thought) internet search for any kind of tourist place in the area. I had a pretty good list of places to go and things to do, enough to cover our two week visit. But our favorite experience so far was at a place that we only found out about by chance!

Last week at Zooamerica, on our way out, Harry struck up a conversation with one of the guides, who asked us if we’d had a good day. Upon hearing that we had, he recommended we check out Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, and we were so glad we did!

19990370_10214376961524647_706463726681717997_nThe place opened at 10 am, and we left in order to arrive right as they opened. That was a good move. We ended up with a really close parking spot and we were SO surprised when we left to drive out past fields of cars that had arrived after we had.


We started out with the hour long safari tour. Wow, what a great tour. We rode around in an open air bus, where the animals were traveling 19990191_10214377013165938_6322274896748363762_naround in free ranging groups. As we passed the different animals, the bus would stop and the tour guide would talk about the animals, their habits, where they lived, etc. 20032047_10214377011045885_193115711400677952_nIf I have any complaint about the tour, it would be that the guide simply talked without any kind of a microphone, and with all the excited kids on the tour it was really hard to hear what he was saying. But the overall experience was so great even without being able to hear him all the time.







We all really enjoyed the safari tour.

After the tour, we walked over to the other side of the park, where there were more traditional zoo type enclosures.




We got to see birds, primates, bears, as well as walk through a house of reptiles



19990498_10214377173649950_5941467809694068128_nWe finished up at the petting zoo.


We all had a great time, and the Lake Tobias Wildlife Park has definitely gone to the top of our list for best experience of the trip!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

To the Depths of the Earth

19959153_10214363250381877_1819736261945254421_nWell, maybe not that far. Yesterday’s adventure took us to Indian Echo Caverns, which is an underground cave system that goes about 110 feet below the surface.

The tour is about 45 minutes long, and they have a pretty good system. When we arrived, we paid for the tour and received a ticket with our tour group number written on it. The tour before us had just left, so we had about a 20 minute wait. We used the time to browse the gift shop. Schaun has a rock collection so we found the perfect item for him to pick up after the tour – a selection of small polished rocks where you could fill a small bag with the rocks of your choice.


After a short wait, our tour number was called and our group assembled. There were maybe 15 people in our group. Our tour guide led us down the stairs (71 stairs) and into the opening of the cave.

Pictures won’t do it justice. The formations in the cave were pretty awesome.


Our tour guide was great. Explained a lot about how the cave was formed and its history.




One of my favorite parts of the tour was where the guide talked about what total darkness was, and how a cave is one of the few places where that is attainable. She asked us to cover anything that might give off light, had us close our eyes and then she turned the lights off. When we opened our eyes – nothing! Wow. That was an experience.



Another of my favorite parts was hearing the story of a man who lived for the last 19 years of his life back in the 1800s in this cave. That area above our heads was where he had his bed and possessions. (Although I googled him this morning and found that he had a pretty sad life – he was known as the Pennsylvania Hermit.)



They call this spot the crystal lake.

There were a lot of random tidbits about the various rooms in the cave system as the tour guide led us around. It was really interesting and we all enjoyed it.

After the tour we went back to the gift shop so Schaun could pick out some rocks for his collection. We were home by lunchtime, and then enjoyed an afternoon at the pool.

Another fun day, and we have more planned for today!

Friday, July 14, 2017

An Afternoon at Chocolate World

19958905_10214340151804427_8288522818079058543_n (2)Yesterday was super hot and muggy, so it was a good day for a nice indoor activity. One of the things on our list to do was a tour at Hershey’s Chocolate World. The tour itself is free but of course there are many other opportunities to spend some money.

I went online the night before and looked at the options. There are several experiences available, and they also had bundle options which give you a few bucks off. We were interested in the Chocolate Tasting Experience and the Make Your Own Chocolate Bar experience. There wasn’t a bundle option for just those two, but there was one that included those two as well as a 4D movie. The total for those three experiences was $28 per 19905227_10214340151484419_7800211437209516483_nadult and a few bucks cheaper for Schaun. Given that the Make Your Own Chocolate Bar one was twenty bucks all by itself, I didn’t think that bundle was a bad deal.

Besides the admission to events, these places charge an unbelievable amount of money for a simple sandwich and drink at their food courts. So I bought our tickets online and scheduled our events for the afternoon so we could eat our own lunch. When we arrived there, I was so glad that we had our tickets already because the line at the ticket counter was crazy and it was great to be able to walk right on by.


We did the free tour first. It reminded me of a Disney ride. It was interesting and entertaining. We rode on a car while animated Hershey bars explained the process of making chocolate.

From there we went to the 4D movie. I didn’t take any pictures there, but it was more fun than I expected. Schaun definitely enjoyed it. We had 3D glasses on and the movie was animated and interactive with the audience. Also, after each experience we received a small Hershey bar, so that was a tasty treat.

19989741_10214340154164486_198802856731011540_nOur third event of the day was the chocolate tasting. We received a small bag with four sample bars. Two of them were standard flavors, and two I had never had before. The person running the tasting talked some more about the process of making chocolate, and then went through the process of how to taste chocolate. Number one rule – no chewing!


After we tasted each, we got to choose the taste that came through to us, and then we were able to compare our opinion with others in the room.

It was fun. And yummy.


And the experience I left to last was the highlight of the afternoon – Make Your Own Chocolate Bar!!

We got all gowned up to go into the chocolate room.

The first part of the process took place in a room with computer monitors. We each scanned our ticket and got to make choices about our bar. We could choose up to three components to add. Schaun chose pretzel pieces. I chose toffee bits and rice crisp pieces. There were other options also, like cookie bits or chocolate chips.


Then we got to follow our chocolate bar through the process.


20050463_10155563339874766_1482844159_oThe component we chose was added to our bar.


And then our bar was completely coated over with milk chocolate.

After all these steps, our bars traveled through a cooling chamber.


20107669_10214348130363886_961855440_o (2)

And finally, we were able to design the wrapper for our container.

The end of a super fun afternoon!