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Travel

How to Get Around and Have Fun in Argentina

Posted by Frederick Parker on

Getting a vacation on such a time as now when all of the economy is down? You might think this is not possible. But, given enough research and much determination, it is easy to take on other options for a getaway from all the stress of daily life.

With the tight budget, your options are focused on less expensive destinations. One of these is South America, specifically Argentina. And with the thought of this country comes a gazillion, more interesting things ranging from great beef to beautifully intoxicating women to Tango music. Another very famous thing in Argentina is soccer, which the locals fondly refer to as futbol. There are great wines and the source of yerba mate. And no one can forget the infamous Evita Peron. All these and more are sure to spark one’s interests on this Spanish-speaking country in the south.

When in Argentina, there is an endless number of places not to miss out on.

The first destination should be the capital which is Buenos Aires. This is the 3rd largest city in South America and is a good example of the contrasting sides of people’s living conditions. Luxurious and rich abodes are abundant in the city that it can easily make a tourist think of Paris. On the other parts of the city, however, slums are growing rapidly. Despite this, the city prides itself for a very rich culture. It houses a world-famous opera, an important theater district and a vast and exciting culinary experience to partake in. The food choices in the city have become quite varied as the influence of Italian and Spanish immigrants have conquered the city in many ways. The city of Buenos Aires is a good location to find best paella, pasta and pizza, all in one place.

After Buenos Aires, one can choose from: (1) the mountain region and wine country, (2) the waterfalls in the Mesopotamic region, close to the Brazilian border, (3) the northwest region close to Bolivia, (4) Central Pampa and (5) the southern Patagonia.

Patagonia is a must for every tourist in Argentina. The land in the region is actually shared with Chile, but there are several options to go to on the Argentine portion. One can go directly to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego. Being the southernmost city in the world, it is endowed with natural resources that are attractive for locals and tourists alike. Another good option is the big city of Bariloche in the Rio Negro province. There are great hotels and food in this area. A lot of high school seniors visit the place for ski trip right before graduation. Smaller towns in Argentina such as Villa La Angostura, El Boslon and San Martin de los Andes are charming enough to attract tourists. Most of the people in these rural areas are quite warm and welcoming, making the visit more worth it. It is important to take note of the winter season which starts around June.

Another must-see is the Iguazu Falls in the province of Misiones. It has one of the greatest drops in the world. The possibility of crossing over to the Brazilian side is also an enticing opportunity. One should not forget to prepare the visas and necessary documentations for such a thing.

 

Travel

Kidsplaypark.com A Good Place for Kids to Have Fun

Posted by Frederick Parker on

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One of the first things I learned about being a parent is you’re going to make mistakes. One of the most recent of those mistakes for me was teaching my daughter to play tic tac toe. She loves the game so much our floor was littered with paper from her playing it.

Not wanting any more trees to die in vain, I searched the Web for an on-line version of the game. And, that’s when I discovered .

has become a nightly routine for my daughter and me. Rather than play a board game or color as a way to get her to settle down before bed, we instead sit in front of the computer playing games.

The site itself doesn’t look like it is well-designed. The graphics are a little weak and I found a few sections that don’t even work. But, the on-line games the site offers are both easy to play and are fun for both of us.

In addition to tic tac toe (which is actually a little too easy to win at) there are quite a few games that either give kids a chance to improve their hand eye coordination or to use their math skills.

For example, one of the games we played last night was called Bug on a Wire. That game gave you control over a bug that was running along electrical wires and you had to maneuver him to avoid awaiting crows. The longest we lasted on that game was a little over a minute.

On the same site, there’s another game that teaches basic multiplication skills by having you figure out how much you would owe if you bought a certain amount of eggs or apples at the given price. My daughter is a little too young for that one but I’m sure parents of older kids might find it useful. There are also a couple of memory games to choose from.

A couple of my daughter’s favorites are Dino Draw and Fish World. These aren’t really games as much as a way for her to work on her artistic side by creating a virtual fish tank or prehistoric valley by adding fish or dinosaurs to the picture. I think we’ve played those at least a dozen times each and she never grows tired of them.

Her other favorite is Hide and Seek, which involves her trying to locate a baby elephant hiding in a library.

If it’s a rainy day outside and you’re looking for something to keep your kids occupied for a while, is a site you should have listed in your favorites section.

 

Travel

Gulf Beach in Milford, CT is Fun

Posted by Frederick Parker on

At Gulf Beach in Milford, CT you will have so much that you will not want to leave. Keep in mind that to access this beach it is free, no fees, so right off the bat that sounds really good. When you get to the Gulf Beach you will want to arrive early or later in the afternoon to avoid traffic. By going later in the afternoon many people will be leaving to go home for dinner so you will get a good spot.

Once you are there get ready for some fun in the sun. There is an access pier at Gulf Beach and you will some fantastic pictures of the views on there. Be sure that you have your camera and your binoculars handy. You will really need them. When you are on the access pier you will be able to do some fishing, which is nice way to spend some time and you will also have a great view of Charles Island. There are also walking trails if you want to take a stroll when you are at the Gulf Beach. You will really relax and enjoy yourself in so many ways when you are on this beach, so have a great time.

On this beach there are restrooms for your convenience and there are picnic areas and a concession stand for when you get hungry. Packing a picnic is always a good idea when you are going to the beach and then if you need anything else you can stop at concession stand and get it. It will be something that you will like having on a beach, so use it if you want to.

There is a lot to do when you are at Gulf Beach and you will also want to bring along all your beach gear. Include a kite and other things to make your day complete. Do not forget the suntan lotion, sunglasses and your sun hat and umbrella if you need one. You will have an exceptional time, so make sure that you plan it into your day and have fun with all there is to do when you are at the Gulf Beach in Milford, CT. Everyone in your group will have a wonderful time when you are visiting this beach, so make the very most of the time that you will have there. It will be a great afternoon.

 

Travel

10 Fun Things to Do in a State Park

Posted by Frederick Parker on

State parks across the nation are facing budget shortfalls just at a time when their affordable activities are in demand by a public that may not be able to afford an across the country vacation and are opting to stay closer to home. State park systems have always had to work within tight budgets, however, and are determined to maintain the natural beauty and wonders of their individual states.

If you have never been to a state park in your own state, let alone another state, you have missed out on some wonderful natural treasures across our country. There’s more than camping and hiking at state parks. In every state, you’ll find unique activities and events, pristine natural wonders and lots of healthy outdoor fun.

What can you do in a state park?

Walk a trail

Simple walking may seem like a boring activity or even a challenging one if you’re older or have health issues. But in most state parks, the trails are designed and rated to fit various skill levels. Ask for the park map when you enter the park and study the trails. In Indiana, they are clearly described and marked for difficulty level and length. At Mounds State Park in Indiana, these vary from a seven-mile round trip hike that encompasses the entire park including the Native American Mounds and the White River, the two key natural features of this state park, to a short 15-minute stroll down a wide, gentle path that leads to a scenic view of the river or another 10-minute walk to view one of the historic Mounds. Trees, meadows, wooded rest stops, benches, walking through rushing creeks, steep climbs up and down ladders and cliffs, or beautiful easy walks through wild flower meadows are all trails that can be found in Indiana State Parks.

Rent a canoe or boat and go paddle

Many state parks have some form of water area. It could be a river, lakes, streams or an Olympic Size swimming pool. In those with lakes and streams, you can often rent a canoe or some form of boat to explore the waterways of that park. Turkey Run State Park in Indiana has amazing Sugar Creek running right through it, complete with lazy floating down the stream areas and fun mini falls and rapids that, in canoe season (usually in the spring), can provide a short hour or two of canoeing up to the entire day for a longer run that takes you through the park and down Sugar Creek to the pick-up point.

Take a swim at a pool or beach

Most likely the number one activity for kids in state parks is the swimming fun. And many have swimming facilities, especially is there is a campground in the park. Again, it might be on a beach at a lake, or in the cold clear waters of swimming pools and splash parks but it’s wet and it’s fun.

Have a simple picnic and play on the playground

There was a time in American life when the summer Sunday picnic was a classic event. Mom would pack fried chicken and potato salad in real picnic baskets with plastic divided plates and silverware. The family would pile in the car and drive to the nearest city or state park for an afternoon of playground and picnic fun. It was just simple joy. You can still pack a picnic at all state parks. Bring in your own picnic basket and enjoy Mom’s fried chicken or the Kentucky Colonel’s. Just don’t feed the animals! And take your trash out with you when you leave. Throw a blanket on the ground and take a nap in the summer sun while the kids play on the playground nearby or toss a Frisbee on the wide expanse of grassy lawn.

Ride a bike

Take your own bike or rent one in the park and ride the paved roads and trails for a healthy physical and fun activity. Make it a family trip or just a solitary run and wear your helmet for safety. It’s a safe place to ride with wonderful scenic views.

Buy a GPS and go on a geocache

This activity may have peaked somewhat from its height of popularity about five years ago, but it’s still a lot of fun with millions of people world wide participating. The idea is that people participating in Geo Cache hunts that are like mini treasure hunters. You can create your own Geo Cache and hide it in a state park. It’s legal in Indiana and most state parks as a fun activity. You then enter the coordinates into the world wide computer system and this is where the fun begins. You can access the coordinates of other Geo Caches around the world and go looking for them and other people can look for yours. When you find a Geo Cache you are allow to remove one item from it and replace it with something that you have brought to add to it. We’re talking very small items here and finding something clever to add is part of the fun. Plus tracking your item as it moves around the world. People on the site can leave notes about their finds and virtually track their treasures. Obey park rules about where off the trail you hide your geo cache and don’t trample park lands and destroy nature by digging, etc. as you search and hide.

Go fishing

It’s as simple as that. From easy sit on the bank, toss in a line and lazily monitor it, to serious get in the boat, travel the lakes and streams to find the perfect spot to catch catfish or blue gill or any native fish in your state, fishing is one of the most popular activities in a state park. You have to have the proper fishing licenses and follow the rules, but anyone can find fish in state park waters.

Attend one of the many state park naturalist activities and programs sponsored by various parks

In Indiana there are sponsored naturalist activities around the clock at many state parks. You can attend nature hikes, go caving, participate in an archaeology dig, attend a dramatic play, tour historic buildings and sites, learn a craft, and go birdwatching. And that’s just a tiny fraction of the unique state park activities sponsored in just our state alone. You can find out about all these activities at your state’s DNR website. Most state parks also publish a state recreation guide with every bit of information you might need to explore one of their state parks or recreation areas. It comes out new every year.

Take a lawn chair or blanket and just sit and be still or read and relax

Because we purchase a state park family pass every year, we can journey to any state park we want at any time and get in free. State parks all have their own little precious spots of nature that we find to be our favorites. Usually something quiet and off the beaten path. Take a blanket, book or chair and just go relax. Do nothing but absorb the sounds and smells of nature outdoors. It will replenish your soul when the world gets your down and you just need some solitude or quiet.

Go camping

This is the activity that most people think of when they think a state park. And most state parks and recreation areas offer some form of camping. It varies from primitive no electricity take a tent to full fledged RV hookup sites with all the amenities of home. Either way, the goal is the same. Get outdoors, enjoy the park, vacation, relax, sit around the campfire, roast some marshmallows, take a short hike, play with the kids and my favorite. Turn off the TV and just be out in nature.

Additional State Park resources

Falls Creek State Park in Tennessee (one of my favorites)

Vermont State Parks (another favorite)

Turkey Run State Park in Indiana (our family’s favorite place to camp close to home)

Indiana Recreation Guide (printable from online) Check for one in your state

Geocache International