The Lake Lewisville Environmental Learning Area (LLELA) has become one of our favorite places to explore during the day; great hiking trails, abundant wildlife and lots of scheduled activities!
We haven’t made time to camp there yet, even though they have amazing campsites along the Trinity River, just south of the dam. But we jumped at the opportunity to spend the evening at LLELA during one of their two May Stars on the Prairie events!
It was a wonderful evening of star watching! We watched the skies just as the sun went down. Jupiter and the star, Sirius were the first heavenly bodies to appear in the sky, and we were immediately able to see the difference between looking at a stable planet and a twinkling star! We located the constellation Leo, which was very exciting for my little boy with the same name!
We were able to view the planets Jupiter and Saturn (and even see it’s rings) through one of the two telescopes they had on hand that evening, and we learned about the differences in telescopes.
My daughter downloaded our new, favorite FREE App for my phone, Google Skymaps! Every night since, we have gone outside and used it to name and located the stars!
Towards the end of the evening, we were even able to participate in a little scientific research for Globe at Night. Using the constellation Leo, we compared it to a “magnitude chart” we were given, which scientist will use to determine the amount of light pollution in the area, after we upload it to globeatnight.org from home!
My Mommy Tip:
- We learned it takes 2-3 minutes for your eyes to adjust to seeing a white light, and were asked to cover our flashlights and phones with red Saran Wrap, and cover up my son’s light up shoes! He used duct tape and completed covered his entire shoes! This turned into a simple way for him to understand light pollution, a concept usually hard for little ones to grasp.
On our visit, the skies were extremely clear, but had they been cloudy, we would have done a night hike instead. Guided night hikes are offered, click HERE to visit their calendar of events.
Although my five-year old was a little terror for me, running about with his favorite stuffed dinosaur and introducing people to his many invisible friends that accompanied us that evening, he absolutely LOVED it! Every night he is thrilled to go outside and look for “his” constellation!
To read about one of our previous visits to LLELA, and more information about their hiking trails and Beaver Pond Paddling Trail, click HERE!
Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun (or under the stars)!
I’m super busy finding fun and exciting activities to fill up our Summer Bucket List! I can’t wait to visit Water Works Park in Denton! My Readers Save $3 Off Admission with this exclusive Water Works Waterpark coupon!
“Water Works Park has everything you need to make this an awesome summer! We offer exciting Aquatic Explorer Camps, Kayaking Camps, and swim lessons for kids on summer vacation, and we’re the perfect destination for day care and summer camp field trips. Enjoy four giant water slides, a lazy river, a children’s play pool, sand volleyball, and more. For more information, visit our website www.dentonparks.com“
My Readers Save $3 Off Admission with this exclusive Water Works Waterpark coupon!
Ever since we visited Maddogz Paintball in Waxahachie, and my little five-year old got to try out a climbing wall, he has been asking and asking to do it again. Of course, he also CLIMBS everything in the house, yard and playground, going as high as he can get!
But climbing “the walls” is different from climbing a rock wall. We went out to the Elzie Odom Athletic Center in Arlington to try out their wall. It’s open to the public 7 days a week, and you don’t have to be an Arlington member to climb, but you will pay a couple of dollars more.
We were shown how to hook up his harness, and I was given a quick lesson on how to “belay”. I was also attached to a harness and his rope then attached to me, so that I could control if and how quickly he would come down. It only took a minute to understand the concept, and maybe a minute more to get the coordination and focus on my part down, since neither coordination nor focus come very easy for ME!
The wall is set up for different levels of abilities, with some sections much more difficult. Of course, my little boy was starting out on the easiest part.
He LOVED the climbing part! What he didn’t like so much was when he happened to look down. It took a few times for him to understand that he wasn’t going to fall, and how easily it was for him to come down. What I loved about it was that he could do it as many times as he wanted. We stopped once or twice for a potty break or just to rest, and then tried again!
The room has a fun theme, too! He’s already asked about having his birthday party there, which can be rented for special events, and even overnight!
Once he really understood how to come down, or repel, there was no stopping him! He never made it all the way to the top, and I never even suggested he might go that high! I was just so proud of him for trying over and over again, going up as high as he felt comfortable and then coming down again! He was quickly creating new climbing techniques, like the Twisted Dragon and the Lizard Sprawl. He had a great time, and had a sense of accomplishment, and that’s what was most important!
My Mommy Tips:
- In order to belay for your child, you must wear a harness, so be sure to wear appropriate clothing and shoes, avoiding dresses and heels.
- Your child should must wear closed toe shoes and if wearing shorts, be sure they are long enough that the harness can fit over them comfortably, so that it’s not rubbing on their skin.
The center, located at 1601 NE Green Oaks Blvd, sits on the Trinity River, just downriver from the takeout on the River Legacy Paddling Trail. It’s really a pretty sight from the river, jutting up above the trees.
As a Naturally Fun Blogger for the City of Arlington, I am invited to several events through the city, but I am not financially compensated for these post, and all opinions are my own. To check out our most recent Naturally Fun Adventure, click HERE.
Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun!
On a recent Spring afternoon, my daughter, who has been having a hard time with the social complexities of 5th grade, needed a little “us” time. We left my husband and sons with a big bowl of popcorn, and headed out for some girl time.
Our first stop was some browsing at Vintage Vibe, a fun, eclectic shop where everything has a wonderful, whimsical flair. It’s definitely not your mother’s resale shop! We looked at a few new pieces for her bedroom, and left with several picture frames.
We next popped in to the Mansfield Public Library, to return some books and pick up something for us to read together. She chose The Giver by Lois Lowry, one of her favorite authors. She’s read it before, but it’s nice to revisit your favorite stories when you are feeling unsettled in your own life.
After picking up a couple of drinks at nearby Dairy Queen, we ended up at Julien Feild Park at 1531 E. Broad. We spread the quilt from her bed under one of the large trees that are scattered around the park, and watched the wind rustle it’s leaves as we each took turns reading a few pages.
This post is part of Mansfield Magazine, for which I’m excited to be a Local Voices Blogger! Please click HERE to continue reading more about Julien Feilds Park, and our afternoon together there. Thank You!
Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun!
Our family has been canoeing for years, and my daughter even received her first kayak the past Christmas. It would be great to take out my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, and share this exciting activity with them! The training class is the first of two classes I must take before I earn my Aquatic Explorer certificate and can take them out.
Prior to the class, we were sent emails suggesting that we dress in layers because the April temperatures were unpredictable. It also suggested that we wear a wetsuit or snug fitting, synthetic clothing, since we would also be getting in the water! I was dismayed to find out my wetsuit had mysteriously “shrunk” since I last wore it. Apparently, my husband’s weak claims of an unknown force shrinking all his clothes are correct!
There were eleven of us in the class, and we quickly determined that some of us were proficient paddlers, and some had never been in a canoe before! Barbara Cutter of Cutter Aquatics in Colleyville, was leading the class, along with her friend and fellow paddler, Chris. The ladies began by teaching us the correct name for the parts of a paddle, the appropriate way to hold the paddle and paddle strokes. After 30 minutes, my head was completely reeling! Although our family takes our canoe out several times a month, I quickly realized that I had a lot to learn!
It’s important to understand that this was a Girl Scout training event, and GS’s always have very specific ways to do things! If you’ve ever attended a GS camp out, you know that GS’s have their way of starting fires, washing dishes and much, much more! So, we weren’t just learning the correct way to paddle, but the correct Girl Scout way to paddle.
After taking down the canoes, we put in the lake. I even found out that I SIT DOWN in the canoe wrong, keeping my behind hoisted high in the air until I have both feet in the boat! I have a confession that I’ve been practicing the correct way at home!
We practiced paddling around the lake, working on turning and forward paddling. The sun has come out from behind the clouds, and it was turning into a beautiful day!
At mid-day, we sat down for lunch, and listened to canoeing stories from Barbara and Chris. Amazing and inspiring women, they have canoed around the world, and even competed together in the Texas Water Safari, a grueling four day race from San Marcos to Seadrift on the Gulf Coast, for the first time at the age of 50!
We changed canoe partners and paddling positions, and practiced going forwards and turning around buoys. Then came the part I was most looking forward to, practicing rescues!
I was more than happy to be one of those who capsized their boat, although it felt strange to purposely flip a canoe! Once in the water it took a minute to acclimate before we helped the assisting canoe pull our canoe up onto their’s, and flip it! Once it was floating upright, we had to pull ourselves onto the boat from the water! It was difficult but exhilarating at the same time! Next we assisted as the other canoe flipped, and we helped them to turn over their boat and their re-entry!
Happily, the warm sun made being wet very comfortable.
Of course, the best part of any Girl Scout activity is the friends you make. We finished up and said our goodbyes, looking forward to seeing them again when we complete the second part of the training.
Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun!
After about a year of pleading, my oldest son and daughter received their first bows, and are participating in a 4-H archery shooting sport club. They are really enjoying going to practices, and my daughter was even able to participate in her first archery tournament!
Their club hosted a campout and a flashlight target practice, and my kids couldn’t wait to go! Since I wasn’t able to attend with them, I’ve asked each of them to write about it!
My Little Katniss Over the weekend I went to a 4-H camp and shoot out with our 4-H club. After listening to a safety speech about staying with our chaperone and staying away from Poison Ivy, we loaded up our things and headed to the campsite. I had my own tent and had some trouble setting it up. We then broke up into groups. I was with my brother, Cole, his best friend, Nate, and another little girl. We worked cleaning up the new 3D archery range. We raked and used the weed trimmer, chompers and shovels to clean out the lanes. We then played “Catch Wolf” with shotguns and we shot skeet! It was my first time to shoot a shotgun, and I never missed! Afterwards was flashlight target practice, but we didn’t use our flashlights becausse our team leader was in the military, and said if you turn off your flashlight you can see anything that is in the way. Also, it was my first time to use my new bow! When we were done we went to the campfire and roasted marshmallows for smores. It was alot of fun!
Hawkeye “On the 4-H campout last week we showed up and signed in. We mostly did conservation work, burning and cutting down poision ivy. Besides that we went skeet shooting with 20 gage or 12 gage (shotguns), later we went flashlight bow shooting and I hit all but one then we went to sleep.
To learn more about 4-H Shooting Sports, and upcoming summer camps, click HERE
Both my kids are using Genesis Bows, and we love them! They are terrific bows for kids their age, and the bow’s single cam technology makes it easier for the kids because it shoots like a bow with a higher poundage. Genesis Bows are the official bows of National Archery in the Schools Program.
Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun!