Travel

The Philadelphia Zoo: Fun for the Whole Family

Posted by Frederick Parker on

The Philadelphia zoo was the first ever zoo in America, and what better way to spend a summer day then to walk around and see the great animals it has to offer. With over 1,300 hundred animals, 15 habitats and 45 acres the Philadelphia Zoo has something for everyone. The zoo is two miles from downtown and there is parking on site. You can also take the bus or trolley there.

At the zoo you can see lions, tigers, and cheetahs. An animal you don't want to miss is the snow leopard, perhaps the most beautiful cat in existence. The zoo also has giraffes, rhinos and hippos, as well as the very rare white rhino. The hippos, Unna and Cindy, are always fun to watch.

The zoo has some great primates like lemurs, spider monkeys and gibbons. But there are two you must see. The orangutan and Western lowland gorilla. Orangutans are absolutely amazing to watch swing from tree to tree, and with the addition of the baby Batu they are a must see.

However the most special animal in the zoo are the Western lowland gorillas. The Philadelphia Zoo has an area where the gorillas can sit right on the other side of a large plexi-glass window. When the gorillas are there you are literally 2 inches away from one of the most powerful and imposing animals in the world. You can look them right in the eyes and hear them breathing.

The zoo also is home to reptiles such as alligators, crocodiles, and Galapagos turtles. There are also snakes including king cobras, pythons, and anacondas. The king cobras are amazing, see here for a videos of the zoo's pair.

Besides animals the zoo has all kinds of activities. You can ride camels and ponies, rent swan boats, ride a carousal and take up a hot air balloon to get a bird's eye view of the city, don't worry its tethered. There is also a train for the kids and face painting.

Admission to the zoo is $18 for adults, $15 for children, and free for kids under 2. They can be purchased here and printed on line. A trip to the zoo zoo is certainly one that should not be missed, and one that you will not soon forget.

 

Ideas

Five Ways to Have Fun with Five Dollars

Posted by Frederick Parker on

In today's economy, entertainment is often one of the first budget-cutting casualties. Unfortunately, when your finances have you stressed, you probably need the stress-relief of fun and relaxation more than ever. Despite what the media seems to imply, you don't have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. Just five dollars can pay for two people to have a fun hour or more together.

Go to the Dollar Theater

Most metropolitan areas have at least one second-run movie house, and in most cases, seeing a movie there only costs one or two dollars. Go see that movie you didn't feel like you could afford when it was seven bucks. You can forget the world and have fun for two hours and still have change left from your five dollar bill.

Have Ice Cream at the Park

Go through a drive-through and get two double dip cones in your favorite flavors. Take them to the local park or nature area and enjoy a lazy hour wandering in nature while you eat your ice cream and have some great conversation. There's no reason to leave when the ice cream's gone.

Have a Skee-Ball Tournament

Find your local Chuck E. Cheese or other arcade that has Skee-Ball lanes. Five dollars should buy you twenty tokens. Take ten tokens a piece, choose side-by-side lanes and have a ten-game tournament. Choose ahead of time how to decide the winner–highest points in a single game, most tickets won or most games won are all good options. Afterward, you'll probably have accumulated enough tickets to get some candy to share at the reward redemption window.

Go (Silly) Shopping

Go to your local mall and have fun finding the strangest or most unique item you can buy for five dollars. Look in stores you'd ordinarily never go in. Even if you find something right off the bat, no fair buying it right away. The point is to have fun looking. At the end of your trip, you can decide which was the best thing you saw and go back for it.

Get Puzzled

A jigsaw puzzle can provide many hours of entertainment and can have a calming, de-stress effect. Go together and choose a puzzle with a picture you both like–you might even decide to glue it together and hang it when you're done. If you haven't done many jigsaw puzzles before, go for one with bold colors and a mid-range number of pieces. You don't want your stress relief to turn into frustration.

 

Kids

Beat Your Kids’ Boredom This Summer with Fun Summer Activity Suggestions

Posted by Frederick Parker on

Having your kid’s home this summer should not be something you dread. If you do dread it it’s probably because they get in your way while you’re trying to clean up, work, or just run errands. Kids usually get really bored during the summers because they’re on summer break and their parents are working therefore their fun is very limited to inside of the house or at somebody’s else’s house where they stay while you work. If you’re looking for ways to entertain your kids this summer and you want some low cost ideas then keep on reading this article.

Low-cost ideas for kids summer breaks are endless. There is literally numerous ways that they can have fun while doing activities at home that cost little or no money at all. The following ideas below are just some of them. You should not limit yourself to these but definitely mention them to your kids and maybe even the neighborhood friends.

– Have fun in the yard with sprinklers and watermelon: This is great, especially if you get hot summers in your area. Having a sprinkler going outside and letting your kids get wet in it while maybe playing tag and listening to music can certainly be entertaining. Let them have some friends over and take out some of the water guns that are stored away in the garage for them to play with, a water slide, and even some balls for them to play around with. Once they seem tired out you should take out a bowl of watermelon for them to munch on. You will not have to worry about them getting all sticky because they’ll be in the water. Watermelon is great for water fun!

– Make a neighborhood sports team: If your kids are really into sports then maybe you should consider letting them form their little sports team with the neighborhood kids. This could have them occupied and entertained the whole summer. All they need is to gather all their sports equipment with the rest of the other kids and find a nice spot to play. If they like baseball then the street is perfect as long as there’s a chaperon, if they like other games then they can look to someone who has the space and equipment at their house to play. Most parents will agree that this is great for kids as it allows them to not be bored, to get to build long lasting friendships, and even get workouts in daily. Make sure to provide enough refreshments for them and a lot of healthy snacks. They’ll be really thirsty and starving at all times after such strenuous activity.

– Visit the library: If you have a kid who doesn’t like to be outside or if you have a kid who is just more interested in books ands school than on sports and outdoor activities then the library is the place where you want them to be this summer. At most public libraries you can get your kids a free library card or some are less than ten dollars and then your kids can check out unlimited amounts of books to take home this summer. They can also just hang out there at the kid’s center which has computers that they can use, supervision by staff, and even activities and book readings. They can also meet up there with friend and then be picked up at a later time. They can take their backpacks with them maybe with some lunch which they can eat outside in a bench or something. This is great!

– Go online to play games, get printable, and even start a project: Now this might not sound so fun to some kids, but if you set up your kiddo with a gaming account at maybe or at and you surf around with them you are sure to have them entertained at the computer for hours. There are many printables also that can be coloring book pages, cut and paste activities, and even activities pages which will allow your kids to have more activities to do this summer.

If you were looking for great summer ideas for kids to stay entertained close to home and at a low-cost I hope that you found this article helpful!

 

 

Ideas

Have Fun with Your Fiction, Part III – Experiential Fiction

Posted by Frederick Parker on

Writers are not infrequently given advice that goes a little something like this: “Write what you know.” This piece of advice typically suggests writing about topics you are moderately to expertly knowledgeable of. If you don’t know what an atom is, you shouldn’t be writing science fiction. If you’ve never experienced deep hurt or great love, it might be difficult for you to write realistic or relatable fiction based in either of those topics. For example, I once wrote a romantic story of a single father who falls in love with the single and cancer-recovering mother who happens to be a favorite person of his daughter; meanwhile, the daughter meets and begins to fall for the son of the woman. All this happens in the midst of the turmoil of one family’s struggle to deal with the loss of a family member and divorce, and the other family’s battle with the broken relationship between mother and son. I had a teacher read parts of the story. Her comments made the “Write what you know” advice all the more potent to me. “It’s okay,” she told me, “but you can’t possibly really know what you’re talking about.” To this trusted advisor, the most realistic portions of the narrative were the young girl’s journal entry interjections into the story’s plotline. Her journal entries were actually snippets from my own journals.

To only be limited to writing about what you know, however, can feel like quite the unbreakable boundary when it comes to experimenting with the art of fiction. In this examination of “writing what you know,” we won’t look so much at basing your entire work on your own personal knowledge. Rather, let’s look at how taking close looks at some of your personal experiences can help when it comes to developing your characters’ backgrounds. In this instance, writing what you know relates more to your character’s experiences than to your narrative’s framework. You may be working on the next best thriller, but if your character has no substance he or she will invariably begin to bog down your narrative with his or her flatness. To avoid such flatness of character, try experimenting with engaging your own past experiences and memories-and perhaps even those of others who are open to having their experiences dramatized by you-by allowing your characters to “borrow” them as their own.

The best way to incorporate your experiences or the experiences of others into your work is to know exactly what kind of experience your character needs to endure. Say, for instance, your character has just been terribly embarrassed and has a strange reaction he or she must explain to another character. First, you will want to have a “catalogue” of embarrassing experiences to choose from; in this case, you’ll want these embarrassing moments to have had strange reactions. Let’s say you have a friend who shares with you the story of a time in sixth grade when he was mocked by his classmates; in order to avoid seeming entirely embarrassed by the incident, he chose to make a joke of it by singing the chorus of “Everybody Plays a Fool.” In this case, you might have the character, after his most recent embarrassing moment, murmur “Everybody plays a fool . . . sometimes” in the presence of another character. This allows the second character to inquire as to why those words came to your main character’s mind; this inquiry can lead directly into your main character’s flash back to that moment in sixth grade.

The benefit of using your own experiences as the experiences of your characters is in creating realistic and relatable back stories to drive the development of your character as a person who seems real to your audience. It also saves you the hassle of having to come up with experiences for your character off the top of your head. Using a few rehashed versions of your own experiences allows you to get closer to your main character without necessarily feeling as though the character is you. Using your experiences also allows you to have fun recalling your own memories and experiences while at the same time sharing them with your audience without your fiction being reduced to an autobiographical piece. In many ways, such use of personal moments will make your work autobiographical to a certain extent; yet even Shakespeare implanted parts of himself into his characters-like Prospero in The Tempest-without the story becoming overtly self-concerned. Your experiences benefit your character in a very major, almost essential manner: it gives your character depth.

Sometimes, using the shared experiences of others may prove more helpful than trying to use your own experiences. For example, let’s say your main character is based on several good friends you’ve had over the years. In such a case, your own experiences might not carry much weight in the development of your character; in fact, many of your own experiences may have been much different had the person or people your character is based on had them. In these cases, using the experiences of your friends and acquaintances would prove far more helpful. However, it also involves tact and responsibility on your part as the author. A writer should never use the personal experiences of another unless certain that it wouldn’t cause personal problems or turmoil for the person referenced, particularly if those moments were related in confidence. For instance, let’s say you want your character to have a drug related incident, and you happen to recall a story from a friend about a time when they were caught high. However, if your friend shared this story with you in confidence, or is ashamed of the incident, it would be wise not to use the experience without their permission. You may try to hide the real person’s identity in your recreation of their experiences, but you may also be very surprised to see how easily friends and family recognize themselves in your work.

Using your own experiences is also not limited to experiences you had in the past. Sometimes, the best way to come to an understanding of how your main character will react in a particular scenario is to put yourself in his or her shoes. Let’s say your main character is faced with a personal dilemma and must make a very difficult choice. What would you do to decide what your next course of action would be in that scenario? Who might you consult, and who would you absolutely avoid talking to? Where would you go to figure things out? Small details like this will likewise help to make the experience faced by your character more realistic. In these instances, it becomes vital that you are honest with both yourself and your audience. Don’t try to make yourself feel like a braver or wiser person than you think you might actually be in a particular situation; if your solution to a pressure situation is to tuck tail and run, perhaps that would be the best course of action for your character. There’s no need to be ashamed of feeling you might make the wrong choice in a given situation; in any case, trying to make yourself sound more heroic in such a situation will only make your character’s reaction seem all the more fabricated. At the same time, you don’t want to insult your audience by trying to convince them to believe your character is Mr. Exemplary when in fact he is more of a Mr. Wants-to-do-good-but-is-too-scared-to-half-the-time.

The same sort of method may be used in creating dialogue for your characters, with the added fun of being able to engage friends in your characters’ conversation to make the banter all the more realistic. Particularly if you relate well to one character and your friend relates well to the other, you may find yourself unexpectedly inspired. For example, in a recent story, a somewhat naïve young character, Peter, has an argument with his aggressive, somewhat evil future self. At this point in the story, I was growing more interested in the future self than my current main character and related to him much more. I had been discussing the story with a good friend who reminded me a great deal of Peter in many ways. Before writing the scene where Peter and his future self have this argument, I talked it over with this friend; our conversation wound up becoming the same conversation Peter has, almost verbatim. It came as a great surprise to me to discover myself growing very angry when my friend, as “Peter”, confronted “me” with holes in my logic; I was also surprised by how easily I took on the role of this somewhat despicable future self. These revelations helped to develop the character of the future self, as well as helped give me a better understanding of why Peter was who he was. To be honest, I wanted to cut the story off to get rid of the increasingly bothersome present-Peter until that moment, when my friend helped remind me of why I loved Peter so much. Granted, your experience with putting yourself in the shoes of your character may not be quite as literal as this instance, but even smaller forms of this personal engagement with your characters’ experiences will help develop a better understanding of who your characters are and what makes them that way. In conclusion, there are a few “rules” to the engagement of personal experiences in your fiction. First, be honest with the experience; whether you develop the experience through your own perspective or borrow from your past experiences, try to make reactions as pure to the reality as possible to avoid creating unbelievable fabrications. Second, when using the experiences of others, always be sure you have those people’s permission to use them! No work of fiction is worth offending a friend or loved one for the sake of a more realistic experience for a character. Third and finally, don’t be afraid to really “get into it”; if walking a mile in your character’s shoes means literally living out his or her experience, live it out (as long as it’s legal)! Engaging your characters as real personalities is a great way to get to know who they are. And, in the end, who knows what you may learn about yourself from these experiences!

 

Travel

Swing Around Fun Town Lots of Fun

Posted by Frederick Parker on
Swing Around Fun Town Lots of Fun

See the source image

Swing Around Fun Town is a great place to take your kids to and enjoy a relaxing Saturday afternoon. There is an endless amount of things to do and have fun at Swing Around Fun Town.

First they have go karts which you can ride. They have the fastest and longest track in the St. Louis Area with the new models. The go kart track is very large and it takes you under and over bridges. They have single seat go karts, and double seat go karts for moms and dads with children. The track is located outside and open during the winter but the temperature must reach 50 degrees for them to be in operation. The go karts are lots of fun and well safety equipted. And then if you have a child who is 3-8 years old then they can enjoy themselves on the kiddie karts. The kiddie karts is made just for the children themselves to drive without a parent present in the kart. The track and karts are specially designed for younger children with safety in mind and well monitored.

And then outside there is also Bumper Boats you can enjoy yourselves on. With a giant bumper boat pond you there is enough room to enjoy yourself. And in the warm months there is also a large fountain in the middle of the pond which will shoot out water over an person pushed under it. Bumper boats are great for every member of the family.

If you are into playing miniture golf then this is the place for you . Swing Around Fun Town has three professionally designed courses in which you can challenge your self on. There is never a wait to golf because of having three golf courses.

Now if you like to swing away in batting cages then they also have them for you as well. The batting cages have both baseballs and softballs so boys and girls can practice. The ball speeds range from 35-80 mph, you pick your setting and just swing away and have fun. The batting cages are located outside and in order for them to be in operation it must reach 50 degrees outside.

Now inside they also have lots of fun things to do as well. You can enjoy yourself with the brand new addition of Bowlingo bowling lanes. And for little children they have a soft playground tunnels and slides fun and safe for children even during the cold winter months. And then you could enjoy yourself by playing jump shot basketball. A whole new way to play basketball with a trampoline and totally safe and lots of fun. And then they have a large arcade area with 80 games for you to enjoy. Swing Around Fun Town is a great place to enjoy yourself and have lots of fun.