Monday, August 1, 2011

Eureka Springs Quick Trip

Quick Trip - per the vocab dictionary and utterings of Canyon - any destination requiring a stay over at a place other then home. Canyon LIVES for quick trips. Whether it's at the neighbor's (who aren't our neighbors anymore...:( booo) to somewhere hundreds of miles away. Quick trips are under 4 days away, over 4 and it's a BIG trip.

For our quick trip, we went to Eureka Springs! And this time, we got to bring Jared :) His football, baseball, and Subway all worked with us for this trip and his mom said YES :)

We left Thursday morning, and were off to Mountain Home to explore at the Blanchard Springs Caverns. Currently the only Caverns open to the public nationwide due to an illness spreading through the bat populations.

We are all packed and loaded and on our way.

After what seamed like forever of driving thru the hills and winding roads, we finally made it to Blanchard Springs Caverns.

Inside pictures were really hard because of the lighting
This is a 100 foot column. It is stalactites and stalagmites that met and combined as one.

Next we headed to Rogers to the Hotel. We were planning to stay in Eureka, but room rates there were nearly $30 a night more then 30 minutes away. Plus some of the things we had planed to do were on the opposite side of Rogers so this sort of put us in the middle of all the things and places we needed to get to.

After we checked into the Hampton, we got on the elevator and went to the 2nd floor. We got off and went around the corner and down the hall to our room. I looked back and 2 kids were following. Where is Canyon? Sahara drops her things and goes back around the corner. No Canyon. I unlock the room and Sahara and Jared each take an elevator, one up and one down to search as I toss all our things in the room then join the search. First Sahara reappears, then Jared, then they go off again and Jareds, back. I get on the elevator with him and get off on the first floor, were the pool is and the truck. Not there or there. I get back on and Jared finds him on the 4th floor just waiting with his bags for the doors to open. We took a lot of those reusable wal-mart type sacks with us with snacks, pool stuff, 2 liters...Canyon had set his on the floor of the elevator on the way to the room and when we had gotten off, he was still trying to get all the handles together to pick them up and the doors shut on him after we got out. How sad :( I wonder what goes thru his little mind.

He was on the 4th floor because he is still 'in Florida' where we were on the 4th floor and every time after we had to remind him 2 not 4 to push.

OK. So we are finally in the room. Got every thing put up and unpacked. Then an ear piercing scream from hell sounds. What is that! The fire alarm! I'm am not worried about a real fire and neither is anyone else it seems. People start emerging from their rooms into the hall and I gather the kids and my purse and we head to the stairs. The alarm is soooo loud! We head to a grassy area and wait. Then I realize whether it is a real fire or a kid pulled the alarm, the fire trucks will have to come. Yeah! Free entertainment! I told Canyon and we waited and finally heard the sirens. It seemed to take a lot longer then it should have had this been an actual emergency. I couldn't imagine if it was a panic situation, having to wait so long. 4 fire trucks came, one with a ladder that went to the roof, 1 paramedic and a few police cars. We watched as the firefighters went in and out of the building and eventually told us it was safe to go back. Faulty alarm. The next morning we got a note under the door apologizing for the inconvenience and that our night would be comped if we so desired because it made our stay not so pleasant. Are you kidding?? Highlight!

Police show up to watch as well.

My truck in in front of the ladder truck to the right.

There's my truck parked by the side door.

Back inside. Firefighters still in the building.
(sorry so blurry - taken off my phone)

The next morning after a wonderful continental breakfast, we headed to Eureka to see the big cats at the Turpentine Creek Animal Refuge Center. It was blazin' hot! All the tigers and lions and ligers and tigons and what not were all asleep. They sleep for 18-20 hours a day. We were told to go do something else and come back at 5 for feeding time.

We did take the walking tour around the outer enclosures. Canyon stayed ahead of the group because his goal was to get back to the start to get it over with.

Later that day, we did return to watch the feeding. On the back side of some of the smaller enclosures, Sahara and Jared wait by Chuff, Athena, and Abigail. Abigail REALLY liked Canyon and 'stalked' him thru the bars of her cage. Maybe it was his shirt??

The food arrived. Mostly chicken. They eat 5-10 pounds a day. It sure didn't seam like much for these huge animals, but they said in the wild, if the downed a zebra, they would eat a lot more but then may not eat again for 2 weeks. They are very healthy looking so I guess that's right.

This is Chuff.

Before the feeding, we hit Eureka Springs. Walked the Historic town and mostly window shopped.
Canyon finds a sitting place just about everywhere we go. This outside wall was covered with art.

It is very hilly here. Evey 3-6 stores there is a break and a winding path with stairs taking you either up or down to the next street.

Canyon has a thing for birds and this statue was outside an art museum. The only thing that was allowed to be photographed.

Another sitting place. Nice little nook with trees and rock seats.

Canyon in the same nook but on the other side.

Really cute house built squeezed in between the rock and the store next to it. I don't think it even had windows on either side.

The stage at Baskin Park. They have live free music every night but we didn't stay that late. Canyon was center stage!

One of the wooden carved benches below the stage.

In a different part of Eureka Springs, Jared and Sahara pose on this cute bridge.

Canyon and mom on a bench in front of the bridge.

By the bridge was an old Forrest Service tower. It cost a dollar to go up. Jared and Canyon are getting coins for the gate. Jared made Sahara climb it. I did not dare. Not for height issues....knees :(

Jared and Sahara head up. Canyon is about 2 flights ahead.

They're at the top now! It makes me dizzy to look up there.

Jared and Sahara's legs are still sore from this. Canyon has not complained.

Next we head back to the Hotel for swim time and food.
I had a pizza run around. Trying to save a few bucks, I decided not to do delivery. I was going to pick it up while the kids were swimming. When I got to the address, no pizza place. I did have the number so I called. Oh, we moved! She gave me the new directions and I headed 7 miles in another direction. No pizza place! Gah!! I was so mad. I went back to the hotel because I was worried about leaving the kids for too long. I had been gone over 40 minutes now and it should have only taken me 5. So I called another pizza place because I didnt want to deal with the other one and decided just to have it delivered. They wanted the address and phone number of the hotel. I'm at the pool!!! I don't have that information! This is a tourist town and we are at a main hotel on their same main road. GAH! No pizza. I went and got Taco Bell instead.

The next morning after another awesome breakfast, we headed to Wild Wilderness Safari. Why is this the first time we have ever done this!?!?! It was way cool!

In the front is a very large petting zoo. We did this between rides thru the safari. We did the amazing safari ride first. Then wandered the petting areas. Then to cool down again and because it was so neat, we did the safari again. It was miles of winding and twisting dirt roads thru hills, trees, pasture land, over creeks and ponds. Very pretty and hundreds of animals! They had everything including a rhino and 2 hippos. We decided all they needed was an elephant and a few giraffes and it would be a complete zoo.

This pig was so ugly he was cute.

This Monkey was very friendly. He was very nice to Canyon, LOVED Jared, but bit me to pieces. I guess because he wanted my straw from my cup and I would not give it up. His teeth were dull, but his jaw grip was crazy strong! At the bottom are monkey videos with this guy :)

Anywhere we could find shade was a good place to pet an animal.

Canyon really liked the little donkeys.

Sahara's favorite were the peacocks. Jared bought her a peacock feather in the gift shop. We figured out later we could just walk around and find them ourselves. I don't know if we were supposed to collect and keep them, but other people were doing the same and no one told us not to. We ended up with about 8 peacock feathers and a dozen other unique and colorful feathers from other birds.

This rhino was just awesome. Hardly caged in as we drove around. But he was happy to sleep next to a monkey cage. We teased Canyon that we would see dinosaurs on the safari, but this is as close as we came.

This miniature horse came up to my truck. It was so short I couldn't see it at all when he passed in front. I think our dog it taller :) The second time around we didn't see the miniature horses, but Sahara said if we did I was to grab it and it could sit on her lap for the ride home!

The cars were pretty spaced out, except when this happened. Which was often. We were not supposed to feed or roll down the windows, but nobody followed the rules.

We got the same interest when we approached. We all petted this guy and many more.

These crazy birds where everywhere! And they wanted in the truck! They were like aliens.
(videos of the camels and this bird at the bottom)

Canyon pets a zebra. All the animals were so friendly.

This is Jewels and Canyon rode her.

We left the Safari and went to Steak'n'Shake. Sahara's new favorite restaurant. She wants me to open one here! Then, naptime!!! Because we head to the drive in next.
We only did a smallish nap just to power up and then went to swim a bit.
Got ready and headed 20 minutes away to the drive in. None of the kids had been before. When we got there it started to rain. We hung out in the truck (note the screen behind us) and waited.
Then the storm passed and the ground wasn't even wet! YEA! We had 3 blankets and 4 chairs, but if we ever go again, pillows were requested. The kids laid on top of the truck, in the truck where you could hear the best, an on the ground on a doubled up blanket.

It was good, but the ancient speakers were half missing and the truck speakers were hard to hear. We saw Fast 5 and then moved to a spot with better speakers for Bridesmaids.
Canyon hit the slide at the little park in front of the screen before it started.

We didn't get back to the hotel until 2 am! Too bad we couldn't sleep in. At 8:30 we were up for our last delicious breakfast and pack and check out.

We headed back to Eureka Springs again to see Natural Bridge and Pivot Rock.
Canyon is above the natural bridge and Sahara and Jared are below it. Much smaller then the one we saw last month.

At Pivot Rock, Canyon poses trying to hold it up.
Jared and Sahara sit under it. Shade, where ever you can find it!
I liked this tree on the path. It was quite comfy.
Canyon had to take a picture of me holding the rock up too.
Our last stop on our Quick Trip was at the Thorncrown Chapel.
It is all windows except for the steal beams holding the windows together. It is very pretty and cool inside.
I would like to see it at night, and in the snow, and in the rain...
Next we headed to lunch and then the 2 1/2 hour drive home. Jared's mom was quick to get him back. She pulled in 5 minutes after we did at the house! I think she missed him :)
And the quick trip is over in a flash! We had a great time. The biggest issue was the 100 degree/100% humidity and everything being outside. It was hot and sweaty. We took our drink cups everywhere. And even tho I have one of those hard plastic straws in my cup, the kind you cant lose, that crazy monkey bit down so hard he crushed it flat. And I had no choice but to drink my water with monkey slobber :)
Video for some things we did at the bottom:)

On Safari with camels, lamas, emus. Also out there are water buffalo, oxen, buffalo, deer- many types, ostriches, elk, African goats, zebra, long horns and other exotic cattle, monkeys, lions, tigers, bear, rhino, hippos and boar.

Jared plays with the monkey. The monkey just likes to jump up on him and then hang out.

Misty and the monkey. Here you can see when he gets a little too wild, clamps on to my palm by my thumb and wont let go. It really hurt!

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