Posts Tagged ‘travel’

MEGA EPIC tour of PERFECT DAY at COCO CAY! Royal Caribbean’s Private Island in the Bahamas

MEGA EPIC tour of PERFECT DAY at COCO CAY! Royal Caribbean’s Private Island in the Bahamas

Check out this MEGA tour of Royal Caribbean’s beautiful private island, Coco Cay!

John and Amy take you under water for some snorkeling, into the largest swimming pool in the Caribbean, and all around this amazing, stunning island!

Learn about the food options, Thrill Water Park, cabanas and WAY MORE!

You’ll love the iguanas, stingrays, baby chickens and the crazy sea gulls too!

Youtube Thumbnail small

ANTICS and FUN at Whit’s End at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado!

A NEW TPF! Travel video from Colorado Springs is ready!

ANTICS and FUN at Whit's End at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado!

Join John, Amy and Jet as they give you a tour of the AMAZING and FUN Whit's End at Focus on the Family!

You'll enjoy watching Amy and Jet showcase their acting skills and also check out a three story slide!

#focusonthefamily #whitsend #coloradosprings #travel #family #adventure #vlog #trips #vacation

Youtube Thumbnail small

Watch videos about Branson, travel and MORE with the owners of Escape Code!

John and Amy, the owners of Escape Code, invite you to watch videos about Branson and more!

Subscribe to the TPF! Travel Adventures YouTube channel and watch John and Amy bring some travel tips about Branson, Missouri and beyond!

You will love watching the playful banter between John and Amy in each new video. Videos are uploaded several times a week, so be sure to subscribe and turn on alerts!

They recently uploaded a video about Escape Code. Watch as they take you inside each room of one of Branson’s premier attractions!

WATCH this video and subscribe here:


Escape Code has been recognized as a leading escape room in the nation by USA Today, MSNBC and other news sources.

Also, check out Sagas, a one-of-a-kind mystery/escape room mash up with live actors that is like nothing you've ever done.

And then, by all means, watch John and Amy talk about The Axe Game, Branson's first axe throwing experience!

#escaperoom #branson #indoor #travel #family #adventure #vlog #trips #vacation

BRANSON, MO New Attraction! Coming in 2020: Aquarium at the Boardwalk

BRANSON, MO New Attraction! Coming in 2020: Aquarium at the Boardwalk

Branson, Missouri will be home to a remarkable new aquarium in early 2020, The Aquarium At The Boardwalk! Groundbreaking happened TODAY, February 27, 2019 at the site that has been home to The Grand Palace for many years.

John and Amy reveal just what is coming including the cost and size of this exciting project, featured attractions and MORE!

#aquarium #branson #travel #family #adventure #vlog #trips #vacation

TPF! Travel Adventures: Trips, Places and FUN!
John and Amy share tips and ideas on how to add adventure and family fun to your life, on a budget, whether at home or traveling!

TPF! Travel Adventures regularly highlights attractions in Branson, Missouri, Orlando, Florida and many other travel destinations!

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to this channel for THRILLING and exciting TRAVEL videos!


John and Amy share some tips on how to travel efficiently and more often!


Love to travel but short on time and money? We've got some tips for YOU

Hi guys, this is Amy. this is John and we're with TPF! Trips, Places and FUN! Where we share some practical travel tips and visit some exciting destinations.

Today we'd like to discuss some ways to save time and money when you're traveling. So how to be more cost effective and more efficient when you're taking trips. One of the first things that we always go over when we're deciding to take a trip is who is going to go with us. So we are a big family of seven and it costs a lot of money for our whole family to travel somewhere, so we do something that a lot of people might think is a little crazy. Often, actually most of the time, we will only take certain members of the family on our vacations. Sometimes it's just Amy and me sometimes these are business trips and, for example, recently we took a trip to Florida and it was just us and our youngest daughter Eva. Most places are geared towards families of four, maybe five. If you end up traveling with more than five members as a family you end up paying a lot more money. You then have to rent a suite instead of a hotel room or you have to rent two hotel rooms. It's very difficult to get a rental vehicle for seven people, things like that. So sometimes we'll just divide it up. We'll take our youngest kids or we'll take our oldest kids or we'll take just the girls or just the boys or just the two of us. So that may sound terrible to some of you but you know, of course, there's times when we'll all pile in the van and go, all seven of us, but in order to travel a lot and you travel more cost-effectively sometimes we will take trips with just some of the members of the family. And for us it's more fun, it's more exciting, to go ahead and take several trips like that then it would be just to take one giant trip every three or four years. Yes exactly, so that's something to consider if you have a big family.

So one of the places that I usually start is an online travel site. Orbitz is kind of my web site of choice. I found they have great customer service. There was a time when we were on our way to Disney World in our minivan, and it broke down and we weren't able to make our hotel room that night and they actually refunded us to get a new hotel in the place where we were broken down. So there have been other travel sites that we had similar issues and they would not refund, but Orbitz was great that way so I love to give them our business. So I'll start there. I'll even look at places like eBay, VRBO, which stands for vacation rental by owner, Airbnb, all those places. So start there. You can usually get some awesome deals. So I usually use Orbitz for rental cars, I'll use it for hotel rooms, sometimes flights, but lately we've found that you can get great deals on the actual airline site like a Allegiant or Frontier. Some of those budget airlines you won't be able to find on Travelocity or Orbitz or those, but if you go directly for those sites you can get some amazing deals.

So probably my favorite travel strategy by far is TSA PreCheck. So I fly a lot, we fly often together, it is worth every ounce of money and every ounce of time that it takes. You actually register, it's worth it, it's absolutely worth it so you don't have to wait in the long lines, you don't have to take off your coat, don't have to take off your shoes, don't have to take out your laptop, don't have to take out your toiletries, you just cruise right through security. Then it'll save you some of that crazy that we all experience at the airport. Yes, as you go through security it saves you a lot of time and a lot of hassle and I think the whole process costs us around $80 or something for you to get. It’ll last five years and for us we had to go to Springfield, Missouri and there was one specific place, and you go in and it took me maybe an hour and I was done. So definitely worth the time and money to do that if you travel a lot.

Now, I want to encourage you, you know, oftentimes when we think of going on vacation, it's a big gigantic ordeal or planning a long time in advance and, that's great for certain trips. Of course, we love to do that. In fact, that's a lot of fun as you're planning your trip, you're planning your fast passes at Disney and you're doing it way in advance and you're making your dinner reservations, but another way to go about this so you can add some travel in between the big trips is to take short trips, just quick trips. Get everybody in the van or in the car and cruise a couple hours away. There's some place close to you and do it on the cheap. Go camping if you want to do that or just hang out at the lake if there's a lake there, go hiking or just what can you do there just to get away from the crazy hustle bustle of life and just enjoy an overnight stay with the family, just to get away. So you can do that, there's a lot of free things, a lot of cheap things, that you can do pretty much anywhere that you travel. In fact, I'd encourage you to check out our, I'll put a card right up here, “Disney World free and cheap strategies.” There's a way that you can enjoy Disney magic for free or cheap. When we took our trip to Orlando recently we actually got to experience a lot of the Disney magic for not much money at all, so definitely check out that video.

So one thing that we do to cut down on our costs is we share a suitcase. So with some of the budget airlines now, Allegiant and Frontier and a lot of those, you are paying for your carry-ons. That used to not be that way but that's how it is nowadays. So in order to cut back on the cost we share a suitcase, and we don't like to check our bags, that's another tip that we didn't consider. Don't check your bags. Carry on. Yes we like to carry on, that does save time and it can also save the hassle if you ever, you know, lose a bag. You know, what a pain that is, but anyway we like to carry on one bag and we share our bag. So anyway, we wanted to share some tips on how to do that. Often, if we know we're gonna be gone a week or two or three weeks we will make sure that the hotel that we get or the resort that we stay at does have a place for us to wash our clothes. So we'll check into that sometimes. Also we have a few kind of bag tips to share with you. John is going to talk to you about how to use packing cubes. I love packing cubes. These are containers that you can buy at Amazon. They're very inexpensive and they're zippered, the ones that I have you open this bag and you roll your clothes very, very tightly. So you're gonna roll your shirts you're gonna roll your pants very tightly you're gonna stuff them into the bag you're gonna zip it up and so all your shirts go into one bag all of your pants go another bag. You know, everything has its own bag, and then you put these bags into your suitcase and boy does it save a lot of space. In addition to your carry-on most airlines are going to allow you to bring a free personal item. A lot of times that'll be a laptop bag. That's usually what John carries on. I usually bring a backpack. So this is my backpack. Inside of my backpack I usually put a small, my small purse. So this is my Vera Bradley hipster. But this is what I put inside my backpack. That doesn't take up very much space, so that I leave the rest of my backpack for souvenirs or my toiletries or whatever I need to stick in there, but this hipster is great for, I can carry this on a lot of the slower Disney rides or things like that just because it stays nice and secure. Or I have a fanny pack which John always makes fun of me for that. I don't ever make fun, sometimes or all the time. The fanny pack I have, it's actually a really cute one and I get compliments on this thing everywhere I go. This will also fit nicely in that backpack and this is something I can actually take on a lot of rides. Now people want to know where you got that. I just got this on Amazon. I will tell you the name. Lackhays. Spell it. LACKHAYS. So and Lackies? I don't know how to pronounce it but this one is super cute. Seriously every time I wear it out I, just so many people ask me about it, after you, where I got it and then she looks at me and then I just roll my eyes. And I'm like, see there are cool fanny packs.

So, something that we tried fairly recently for the first time was using Uber and Lyft when we went to Orlando. Now that only works if you don't plan on traveling long distances. So for example, the Sanford Airport in Orlando, we’ll fly into there sometimes. That's quite a distance and it gets expensive if you're going to take an Uber from there all the way into Orlando or all the way to Disney World, but the main Orlando Airport, use Uber, use Lyft and boy it's actually a lot of fun. I thought, you just punch it into the app, within a matter a minute or five minutes there, they are, they're there to pick you up and take you where you want to go. And you meet a lot of cool people and very, very cost-effective. You're going to save the parking at the Disney resorts, I don't know if y'all know, but the Disney resorts are charging you to park now, so you'll save that parking or if you are not staying in a resort but you're driving into the theme park it will save you the parking at the theme park. So actually Uber can actually save you a lot more money over a rental car if you consider some of those things, but again you have to figure out how close you're going to be staying, you know, to the airport, to the theme parks and see whether it'll make sense for you, but it's also extremely convenient because when you're done with a theme park for the day all you do is you get your Uber and they pick you up right there at the gate. No, no taking a tram out to the parking lot and all that, so that can be extremely convenient – as well as cost-effective. Definitely and be sure to tip your driver very well. Yes.

One other little tip that we have, especially for at the theme parks at Disney or whatever, we will only eat two meals a day. Really you don't need more. They feed you so much food. Usually, you know, we'll keep snacks and stuff on us, but will usually eat a late breakfast or an early lunch and then, you know, a later dinner. So that's really all you need is those two meals a day and some snacks. That'll save you versus doing all three meals a day. Now I remember there was a time when I was a little, little kid and my mom, we all were flying to Orlando to go to Disney, and my mom packed an entire suitcase full of canned goods, a huge heavy suitcase which would not save you money. These days, since you're paying to check your bags and stuff like that there's a better way, and by the way, just a little bit of a side note, don't worry too much about forgetting things when you travel. You can buy almost anything that you might forget when you're there. Those times I've had to buy socks or I ruined a shirt and I needed a shirt and I would buy a shirt or toiletries or whatever. And so don't stress out about packing too much. You can always get something.

And one last tip is always check if it's cheaper to buy your tickets online. Usually, you know, the theme parks or different attractions you might want to go to are going to have a discounted online price. Also always do a quick Google search to see if there's a discount available. You'd be surprised. A lot of times I'm about to check out and I'm like, oh let me just see if there's a discount available and I'll save an easy twenty percent or, you know, buy an adult's I can get a child's free or something like that that I never would have known about had I not searched. Or you can give the place a call and just ask them if they have a discount, a valid discount at that time, and a lot of times they'll just give it to you. And definitely make sure that wherever you're going and whatever attraction you want to visit, make sure that is going to be open when you get there. Don't presume it will be. It may not be, for example we're going to Orlando soon and I was all about going back to the swimming with the dolphins, Discovery Cove, and I, we wanted to go. We've been before and it's closed. It's closed when we're going so that's something we had to, of course, take into consideration. Yes, it's a good thing we didn't pre-buy our tickets for that because we wouldn't have been able to go. So right.

So we hope that we've given you some things to think about and some ways to save time and money while you travel. And it would mean a lot to us if you would give us a thumbs up and subscribe and that really does help the development of this channel. So it does mean a lot to Amy and me, and then ring the bell and that will ensure that you are notified every time that we upload a new video which is happening several times a week. Yep. safe travels everyone!




Hi everyone! This is Amy with TPF! Trips, Places and Fun! And today we're going to be talking about some of the fun things you can do on the Branson strip, highway 76. This is the place where all the fun happens. It's also the place where you may run into some traffic, but there is so much fun stuff around you that we're hoping that even in the midst of bumper-to-bumper traffic you will be entertained. So we're going to just start by, if you are coming back from Silver Dollar City, so, Silver Dollar City is in Branson West, if you were coming down all the way towards the Landing. We're just gonna start and pick out some different attractions along the way.


So the first attraction you would encounter as you're heading down from Silver Dollar City is the Butterfly Palace. Head on in there. They have a great place where you can see all sorts of butterflies flying around. The kids can grab an explorer's hat and some magnifying glasses and just check out all the lovely butterflies. It's like something you've never seen. They also have other exhibits, so they have a reptile exhibit they they even have a mirror maze. So there's other places in Branson where you can pay to go through a bear maze, but here it's all included in your ticket and it's a really great maze too. I can't always find my way out, or sometimes I come back out the entrance which isn't what you're supposed to do, but it's a lot of fun.


Alright, so heading on down I'd like to highlight Bigfoot on the Strip. If you just want to be flung into the air or do some death defying drops through things like that you can do that here at Bigfoot on the Strip. I was not brave enough to do them, but my husband and my boys were, so they did it. They had a lot of fun. There's also a movie ride you can do, even participate in the arcade, mini golf, all sorts of fun things like that.


So afterwards you are going to pass White Water. White Water is owned by Silver Dollar City. It is so much fun in the summer, lots of water slides, you know, the lazy river, the wave pool, all those traditional things that you'll encounter at a waterpark. So definitely check out White Water if it's hot and you want to cool off.


Across from White Water, if you decide you're hungry and you want to stop for a bite, there is Cici's Pizza. Now you have Cici's probably all over the place but there is a really great arcade in here so you can stop for some pizza and also have some fun playing some games with the kiddos. Really, you know, the traditional Cici's, but they're right on the strip and very convenient and fun.


Who could pass up Ripley's Believe It or Not? So you'll see this huge robot just standing outside. You'll get in there, you will see all sorts of unique oddities that you can't see anywhere else anywhere, from the world's tallest man, the shrunken heads, it's all in there. So if you want to gain all kinds of knowledge about stuff you never knew you needed to know about, head on in to Ripley's Believe It or Not. 


Across from Ripley's is the Branson Ferris Wheel. Now this was brought in from Chicago and now it’s an icon or a landmark of Branson. You can see it from all over the city, especially at night. It's so gorgeous. It's all lit up. Sometimes they'll do light shows on the Ferris Wheel, so definitely look at it. Check it out even if you're not going to ride it. The Ferris Wheel is owned by The Track, and the track has several locations on the strip. So if you want to play some arcade games, play some laser tag, go go-karting, things like that, definitely check out one of The Track locations.


The next thing I'll highlight on this trip is the Titanic Museum. Now this is a sobering yet exquisitely done tribute to the sinking of the Titanic. You will see all kinds of artifacts, you'll be given all kinds of information. There's an interactive exhibit. It's great for people of all ages, all the way, you know, from kids, all the way up through adults, and there is so much to do and see here. It really is a beautiful museum and it's so immersive sometimes you feel like you're right there on the Titanic in the midst of the action, so it really will pull at your heartstrings. It is, of course, the sobering story of a sinking of the Titanic, but really well done and something I highly recommend.


Next you will see a giant monkey, gorilla, but not monkey, there's a difference. You'll see a giant gorilla crawling up the side of a building. This is of course King Kong, and you are at the Hollywood Wax Museum. You can go in there. The great thing here is that you can take pictures with all these celebrities, who of course, they're in wax form, but that's really fun. Lots of great photo ops. There they also have mini-golf. There they have the Castle of Chaos, which is kind of like a scary interactive movie ride type thing. And they have a mirror maze, so you can check out all that out or just at least hit the wax museum if you just want to do one thing, because it's pretty cool.


Across from the wax museum, I just want to highlight one of our favorite shows in Branson, and that's Buckets-N-Boards. Come on out and see Matt and Gareth, they are a hoot. So not only is it percussion, as you might imagine, but there is also improv comedy, singing, even some gymnastics moves, a little bit of everything here. I believe they run probably spring and summer so check out their schedule on Buckets-N-Boards dot-com. That's buckets the letter n boards dot com. You'll have a lot of fun there.


Heading further down Highway 76, you're going to come to the Village Shops. So lots of great little shopping and dining in this area, but we just want to highlight one of our favorite restaurants in Branson, and that's the Sugar Leaf Bakery and Cafe. Great food here, especially if you want to check out some sweets, you cannot find anything better in Branson. So we will talk more later in a subsequent video about our favorite restaurants in Branson, so make sure you press the like button, subscribe and hit that bell so that you can hear more about that when the time comes.


A little bit further down the strip you're going to come to Grand Country. Grand Country has a little bit of everything. They have Splash Country, which is an indoor water park. They also have a variety of shows to choose from. There was an animal show, there's comedy shows, country show, so come check those out. There's a great buffet, so if you're wanting to get some good home cooking, you can find that there. They have the Fun Spot, so some arcade games indoor go-cart, mini golf. It's great for everybody, so come and check it out.


No trip to Branson would be complete without Dolly Parton’s Stampede. Do you agree with me? Let me know your favorite Branson must-see the comments below. Now the Stampede is a dinner theater, so you're gonna get a great meal. You get to eat with your hands, all different courses, you will be so full when you leave here. And you'll be watching a show with, of course, a lot of horsemanship, but also a ton of audience participation, some singing, some comedy, a little bit of everything, Really a great, can't be missed show.


Next door to the Stampede, you will see Fritz's Adventure. It cannot be missed. Head on in here in any kind of weather and you can experience a ropes course, some climbing obstacles, some laser thing that you got to try to get down under, tons of things. You can climb into an airplane that's hanging from the ceiling. This will give you a workout, so if you want to get in there and you want to burn some calories this is the place to do it. Fritz’s also hosts the Aerodium, so if you are the brave type and you want to go flying through the air, check this out. It's pretty incredible. I haven't done it yet, not sure if I'd be brave enough. As you can probably tell by now I'm not the bravest person when it comes to crazy or unusual rides but for those of you who are, this is probably just the thing for you.


Heading a little further down the strip you are going to pass through downtown. So downtown Branson has lots of great shopping and dining. They have Dick’s Five-and-Dime, which is a little general store that's been there forever. Lots of great things to see and do there so definitely make sure to just take a break, walk through downtown, if you get a chance.


Now going through downtown you're going to go pass the Scenic Railway. If you want to take a gorgeous, scenic trip into Arkansas, and that also goes through some scenic areas in Missouri, depending on which way they're going. Definitely make sure to check this out. My husband and I took the dinner train and this was fabulous. We got to eat as we watch that beautiful scenery go by. It's a real treat.


So 76 is gonna dead end into The Landing. Now The Landing is this really cool outdoor shopping mall, lots of places to eat, play and dine there, so you definitely want to check it out. In the middle of it they've got this really cool fountain water, fire thing where you can see shows every hour on the hour. So make sure you stay around for that.

Now I really hope you've enjoyed this scenic trip down the Branson Strip. I just picked out a few of the things that there are to see and do. There was really so much I could never cover it all, but these are some of my favorites. If you have some favorite, comment in the section below and we'll see you next time. Safe travels everyone!

A Look Inside America’s Number One Aquarium: Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield, Missouri


AMY: Hey everyone! This is Amy with TPF! Trips, Places and Fun, and I'm here with John, and today we're going to be talking about the Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri. So we have a little known fact or a fun story for you at the end so just hold off to the very end and hear what we have to say. You're not going to regret it. Now, the Wonders of Wildlife has been voted America's best aquarium and the best new attraction by USA Today, so this is definitely something you want to get out there and see. It's by the creators of Bass Pro Shops, Johnny Morris, and you'll want to know that this is separated into two different areas. So you have the wildlife galleries and you have the aquarium, and you can see one or the other or get a combo ticket to see both.

JOHN: So after you purchase your tickets, if you choose to go to both attractions, you're gonna go to the wildlife gallery first, and I'll tell you, it's absolutely overwhelming. All of the exhibits and the details and and the plaques that you can read and the information; definitely way more than we could ever address here in a short video. So take your time, if you have the time, take the time read all that you can read, look at everything that you can.There's phenomenal, beautifully done scenery and the animals are placed in real life type of scenes and it's themed in a way that I've really never seen anywhere else in my life, and I've been to a lot of different museums and aquariums and things like that. It's amazing. And so you're gonna see a variety of things including a Native American gallery. You're gonna see all sorts of different artwork and sculptures and various types of scenery and things like that. You're gonna look at Roosevelt's cabin, very, very cool. You're gonna walk in and you're gonna see a little fire in the fireplace, and you know, everything that they do here in the museum makes you feel like you're really there, especially the outdoor scenes, which that's really hard to pull off. They did it here. Many of you know the brilliance of Johnny Morris and Bass Pro they know how to do this. They do it so well. You're gonna see bucks and bulls and wolves and so many different types of animals. You're gonna see something called Sheep Mountain. It’s super cool. Amy really loves this, don't you Amy? Why don't you tell them about this.

AMY: This is totally cool. Lighting cycles through a 24-hour day every three minutes, so it's getting lighter, than it, you know, dawn comes. Then it starts to, you know, go throughout the bright day and then dusk comes, and then it gets dark. And so it's really cool to see that cycle as you're going through that, through that exhibit. That lighting is cycling through and it just adds such a cool level of immersion.

JOHN: And correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I heard one of the staff members share today that they actually adjust the temperature as well, is that right?

AMY: That’s what I heard. The lighting is changing throughout the day and the temperature is also changing.

JOHN: So it's going it's getting warmer during the day, cooler at night, and so it's just one of those touches that just it's kind of mind-boggling that they, you know, added the detail like that. And so that's something that's, it's really pretty amazing, you know. Additionally, you're going to see something that they call Africa at night. And that's a, it's a really cool scene there. One thing to take note of, you are going to walk into a polar area that has penguins, and this is the only the only scene in the wildlife gallery that actually has live animals, is that right?

AMY: Yes, as far as I know this is the only place where you are going to see live animals. Most of the live animals are over on the aquarium side.

JOHN: So it might make sense that, you know, if you are only going to go to the aquarium and, something in the back of your head tells you that you want to see the penguins, you're not gonna see the penguins in the aquarium. The penguins are in the in the wildlife gallery, and so just keep that in mind, but those guys are really cool, those penguins, they're swimming and just doing penguiny kind of things, I guess.

AMY: Right, super cute.

JOHN: And so you're gonna you're gonna see the penguins there. There's tunnels for the kids to crawl through and to pop up and to see a different point of view there as the penguins are swimming around. Additionally, different areas there, and and I'm not going through all of them. I'm just selecting a few that stood out to me. There's a walrus and polar bears. There's a lion's den and so many different, just, just really, really cool things. So again, you take your time, walk slow, enjoy yourself and when you are done with that segment, you are going to emerge overlooking the aquarium and it's it's a stunning transition, coming out of what feels more, or I don't even know how to say it, maybe more natural or older or old into something that's that's suddenly vibrant and blue and fresh and it's really pretty amazing. And so we're going to talk about the aquarium, but before we do that, we need to stop and get something to eat, and I think there's a great place to do that.

AMY: Between the wildlife galleries and the aquarium you will find Fish Tales Cafe. Now this is a great time in between the galleries and the aquarium to kind of take a breather, relax a little bit, and grab a bite to eat at Fish Tales Cafe. They have a lot of great food. You'll find pizza. They even have gluten-free pizza so if you need that, that's there for you. They have some vegetarian options. They have salad, they have sandwiches, so lots of great things to eat. They even serve Andy's Frozen Custard, so if you're in the mood for some dessert you can get that there too. As you're sitting there you can see the penguins swimming up and down, there's a little aquarium there inside the cafe itself, so that's fun to watch as you're eating. And then you can just get refreshed, take a breather and then head on into the aquarium.

As John said earlier, the entrance to the aquarium is stunning. You've got an aquarium that's probably a couple of stories high and there are fish swimming the whole height of it. All around are different exhibits and you just walk kind of into this blue lagoon.Iit's it's hard to describe, but it is amazing once you get into the aquarium. There's so many different things to see and I'm not going to cover all of them because it would just be impossible in this short video, but I'll just highlight some of my favorites. You go through Shipwreck Reef, and this is another thing with it, when you walk through the doors and you see Shipwreck Reef, you're just stunned. It is just so immersive and so cool. Johnny Morris is not disappoint. You will just have to see this for yourself. Then, as you go past Shipwreck Reef, you can go past a theater. There's some different things to do in there. But then you can go into the swamp at night. Now, this takes immersion to a whole new level. Just as John was saying earlier they are able to make you think you're outside when you're inside, and so it's like you're walking through the swamp. You're walking across like this kind of swinging bridge, this rickety bridge, into a treehouse. Just so many things to do and see here, and lots of live animals to interact with. And it's not just fish. It's not just the things you might think that you would see in an aquarium. But you'll also see birds and turtles and alligators and just all different kinds of animals. And so, they also have something in here called the touch experience, so you can touch sea urchins and different things like that. So it's kind of cool to look down and see these little spiky creatures and be able to reach down and touch them. You can even swim with the sharks if you are so inclined and very brave you can gear up and go swim with the sharks. I did not do that but maybe you are brave enough to do it. So another really cool thing to see are the jellyfish. These, I don't know how they make them look like this, but I don't know if they're backlit or something, but they just have this really cool glow effect. And so the jellyfish are something we always want to take a picture of and kind of stare at in different lighting. The shark alley is in here, and you can take your photo inside of a giant shark mouth or jaws of a shark, teeth of a shark, so that's a great photo-op if you decide to do that, There is even a caves exhibit, so it's kind of like you're walking through just caves, underground caves…

JOHN: …as opposed to the above-ground caves…

AMY: …that's true caves are underground, but you're walking through it, again it looks so real. You'll see bats, real live bats and some fake ones, sometimes it's hard to tell which are which so it can be a little creepy. But you'll see bats flying around. They also even have black bears in the aquarium, so definitely something that you wouldn't think you'd see in an aquarium, but they do they have a couple of black bears there. One of the the neatest things to do is the stingray touch. So stingrays are swimming around and you can reach your hand in there and they just come right up. They, they are used to people touching them and they don't seem to mind it. So you can pet some stingrays, and then the very last thing to do there, and we always have a blast doing this, is they have what's called the sketch aquarium, and it's kind of hard to explain. But, you color a picture of a turtle or a fish or something like that and they kind of scan it and then it is in this, it's up on the wall. Your sketch is up on the wall swimming around. So we even did TPF travels so you guys could see it. Anyway, so this aquarium is really, really incredible, you know, the best in the US voted by USA Today. So definitely get out here and see this. You will not regret it.

JOHN: So in the beginning of the video we told you that was there was something fun, interesting, at the end that you definitely needed stay tuned in for, and here it is, I was recently talking with an employee of a sprinkler company who installs commercial sprinklers. He was sharing with me that the gigantic whale that is up there in the ceiling of the aquarium, huge, absolutely massive, he said that they were installing sprinklers actually in the whale. He was, he was going on to tell me about how Johnny Morris is very a particular about hiding different things that are necessary in order to have a business open, like sprinklers, but hiding them, making them blend in with the scenery. And so that's what they were doing. So he was telling me that there's actually sprinklers hidden in the whale and when they got up there to do the installation they noticed that there was a little doll, a little, tiny doll sitting there. Someone had thrown a doll into the whale and it's it's Jonah! And somebody threw Jonah up there in the whale. So when you see that whale up there in the ceiling you can know that, you'll of course you'll never never see it, but there there's a doll named Jonah hanging out inside the whale. And I guess if the story follows what we see in the Bible that after three day he's gonna get out? I don't know he's been in there longer than three days, I think he's kind of stuck.

AMY: Thanks for joining us on another episode of TPS. We hope you'll tune in next time for some other fun activity.

JOHN: And by all means be sure to give us a thumbs up and then subscribe and click the bell so you can be notified the next time a video is uploaded. See you guys next time!

AMY: Safe travels!

How to have fun at Silver Dollar City in the rain


AMY: Hi everyone, this is Amy with TPF, Trips Places and Fun! And I'm here with John and today we would like to talk about Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. Silver Dollar City is an awesome theme park. It is themed after the late 1800s or so. There are staff members who are walking around in period costumes, you can see crafters who are making things from that era, just a really really unique park. It also has a lot of great rides. You can see and ride coasters and water rides. You can see shows, lots of different attractions. We were there recently and it was raining so we thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about things to do at Silver Dollar City when it is raining, when the weather's bad, when a lot of the rides are shut down. So if it's raining and there's no lightning the rides may still be open you may still be able to get to ride the coasters and the train and the water rides. But in the event of lightning, they're going to shut down a lot of things. However this doesn't mean you have to leave the park. There are still a lot of fun things to do, so we're going to get into talking about some of those things.

JOHN: Probably the most obvious attraction to enjoy at Silver Dollar City when it's raining or when it's very hot or very cold is Marvel Cave. Marvel Cave is one of America's largest caves. It's an absolute must see, must do. You're gonna have the time of your life there underneath the ground. The temperature stays, I think it's right around 62 degrees year around, and you're going to experience a lot of twists and turns, a lot of stairs, I think there's around 600 stairs ,so that's something to keep in mind when you're considering whether you want to head out on that venture or not. But if you do, you're going to hear some awesome stories from the cave guides and they're gonna tell you things. For example, one interesting thing is they once flew five hot-air balloons there in the main chamber there in Marvel Cave. And so it's huge, its massive, and one thing to keep in mind also is when it rains a lot the cave will flood and there are times that they will either re-divert the the tours, take you a little bit higher, or sometimes the flooding is so extreme that they actually do have to close the cave until the water leaves the cave system. So you have a couple different options. You have a traditional tour, which is what most people take. It's free by the way. There's no extra cost and that those tours run throughout the day at Silver Dollar City. Or they also have some lantern tours that you can check out. So all in all definitely check out Marvel Cave. Marvel Cave came first and Silver Dollar City was built around it. And it's quite an adventure.

AMY: So another great attraction that you can participate in when the weather's bad is Grandfather's Mansion. Grandfather's Mansion is a quirky, late-1800s fun house. So as you go through the mansion you may see twisted passageways, narrow staircases, you can peer into some secret rooms, see some funhouse mirrors. It just takes a few minutes to go through but sometimes my kids will go through it over and over and over. It really is kind of a traditional classic attraction there at Silver Dollar City, and the bonus is that you can do it in any kind of weather.

JOHN: So when the skies open up and the rain starts coming, one place that people flock to are the shows. I personally love all of the shows there at Silver Dollar City, specifically the Saloon Show. We saw that yesterday and it's a brand-new show this year. It had me just busting up. It's hilarious. It's fast paced, loads of fun, and it's it's it's about 27 minutes long or so, so it's something that doesn't take a huge chunk out of your day. But it's definitely worth it get in line early if you can, and head on over to the saloon. Inside they're gonna serve you, I believe, root beer floats and popcorn. And so you're gonna really have a great time there in the saloon. That's one of my all-time favorites at Silver Dollar City. Then you can head on over to Heritage Hall. They have a variety of different shows there depending on what the season is. Right now they have a cowboy show that's extremely well done, very, very entertaining with horses and and gunfire and tricks and rope tricks and whip tricks and all sorts of different things like that. There's dogs and dog shows and all, this this feels like a, I don't know, maybe a Buffalo Bill type attraction back in the day. There are all sorts of different things that you can see there so I would recommend that if you can get into that show before the season changes. We're getting close to Christmas time so we're gonna have some amazing Christmas shows coming up. In fact, that's the very best time of the year to visit Silver Dollar City, in my opinion. Those shows are phenomenal. One more show that I'll highlight is the Cajun Connection. These guys have been around for a long time and you can head on down to the Dockside Theater and it's right there by the Lost River of the Ozarks. It's an outdoor theater, but it's covered, and so when it's raining just head on in there and listen to some good old Cajun music. So there are a lot of shows depending on the season, the time of the year at Silver Dollar City, and you are going to enjoy all of them.

AMY: Of course something else you can do when it's raining is head inside to one of the many stores at Silver Dollar City and do some shopping. Silver Dollar City is known for the amazing crafters that are there. You can see things like glassblowing, blacksmiths. You can shop in an amazing candy store and get some incredible chocolate. Just all different kinds of crafts, paintings, sculptures, soap making, so many unique things there to see and buy. You can also eat so if you are stuck in the rain and you need to get out of it for a little bit find something to eat in one of the amazing restaurants there. You could have pizza, you could go to a couple of different buffets. You could eat barbecue, salads lots of different things, great treats there, and so a lot of different things there to grab to eat. And you can get out of the rain because it's covered, a lot of its inside, so if you need to take shelter for an hour going shopping and dining are great options.

JOHN: So when it's lightning, thundering, most of the rides are gonna close there at Silver Dollar City. But there are some that will remain open. We'll talk about a couple of those starting with The Mine Ride. It's The Flooded Mine. It's a classic Silver Dollar City attraction, been there for years and years and years and it's something that I like to do just to get out of the weather, again whether it's hot or cold or raining. You just ride this ride, it's all indoors and you are going to be in a boat floating very slowly through various scenes with prisoners and water everywhere. It’s flooded, and you have guns in your hands and there's targets everywhere so you get to shoot as you float by all of these different scenes with the prisoners with the guards with, you know, the bars and the rocks that's are blowing up with dynamite. And it's all animated and there's explosions and really, really awesome, really cool, and the kids love it. It's great for the whole family, any age. So The Flooded Mine is a definite must do, a classic ride here at Silver Dollar City.

AMY: Whether it is sunny, hot or cold, no matter what, we always want to take time to ride Fire in the Hole. It is one of our favorite rides here at Silver Dollar City. And it is a dark ride, so you are riding through the dark on a little coaster, mini-coaster, and you are going to see scenes of the Baldknobbers and just some Ozark history there, and you'll be riding through and seeing some different things happen. You'll see buildings catch on fire, you'll see a train coming, all sorts of interesting things. And then you will hear someone yell “Fire in the hole,” just like that, as you descend some some little hills. So it is just really, really fun, something that you want to do in any weather, but definitely if it's raining.

JOHN: One of the newer areas of the park at Silver Dollar City is Firemen's Landing. And this is something the kids love. There's several different kids rides there, and you know, of course, if there's no thunder and lightning those rides are gonna be running. But if you do need to retreat indoors or if the rain is just too hard, they do have an indoor area. It is a, what would you call it, I guess, not a ball pit necessarily, but it has ball cannons where you are shooting these these soft balls. There's hundreds and hundreds of them and there's many different levels. And there's little vacuum hoses that you can suck these balls up and they go into something, pop out at the top. and that’s a great way to put it, a ball factory. And so there it is, a ball factory right there in Fireman's Landing, and it's great for kids of all ages. Any time my kids have any sense that they're anywhere near Fireman's Landing they've gotta go and they've got to go play in the, what did you call it again, the ball factory.

Amy: Those are some things that we could think of to do at Silver Dollar City in the rain, but if you have some additional ideas please come comment below and let us know. Now if your only day to go to Silver Dollar City is in the rain, during bad weather, you might want to hold off for a sunny day because there are a lot more things to do when it's nice weather. But one benefit to going on a rainy day is that the park is pretty empty, so if you would rather give up some of the coasters in order to have fewer people on the park then that's just something to consider.

JOHN: Now definitely hit that subscribe button and then click the bell so you can be notified every time a new video is released.

AMY: Safe travels!

How to Experience Disney World Magic for Free or Cheap

Discover just a few of the ways you can experience Disney magic on a budget!

Video Transcript:

AMY: Hi,this is Amy with TPF, Trips Places and FUN! And I'm here today with John and we'd like to discuss how you can experience some of the magic of Disney for free or cheap.

JOHN: So if you think about it, the Disney properties are absolutely massive, and you know, we thought about it, is it possible that there could be some things to do on property where you can experience the magic and the wonder of Disney but save a lot of money? And so we took a trip with our youngest daughter and instead of going to the parks we decided to put this theory to a test and we were blown away. There is so much to do at Walt Disney World there in Florida that doesn't cost a lot of money and a lot of it really is free. Now, our family we love the magic. We love the magic of Disney. Of course everybody likes rides. Everybody likes what you're going to experience in the park, but there's a lot of that you experience in the park, the magic, the theming, that you can experience outside the park, and there's things that you can enjoy outside of the park that you would never enjoy inside of the park. So we're gonna go over a few of these things and maybe your next trip to Orlando you'll be able to save a lot of money, but also have a lot of fun.

AMY: So the Disney resorts are a great place to start. There is so much fun, so many things to do at the resorts. So today we're gonna talk about some of our favorite things to do there that are super inexpensive or even free.

JOHN: Alright, so first let's talk about Fort Wilderness and the Wilderness Lodge. First of all, this is true with any resort. During the day and evening even, most people are in the park, so what that means is it feels like you have the resorts all to yourself. It's a great opportunity to discover just what you can do for fun, entertainment and relaxation there in the resorts. So let's start with Fort Wilderness. There's a lot to do there. For example you can take wagon rides, pony rides, the kids will have a blast. Even just walking around the Tri Circle D Ranch and looking at what there is to see there; the horses and the barn, and there's, it's just a beautiful rustic, western setting, just so much fun. And then we would recommend renting bikes. That's what we did. We had our youngest daughter with us, and she got a bike with training wheels and she was so excited. And so you can ride your bike from Fort Wilderness on over to the Wilderness Lodge, and you ride your bike down a path that goes through the woods and you can stop and take pictures and look at the wildlife, and it's just a very relaxing fun little bike trip that you can take there. Once you get to Wilderness Lodge, that's a beautiful, beautiful resort. There's so much to see and do there. You can walk through the lodge itself. It's absolutely stunning. Spend some time there, kick back on the couch and relax and just enjoy the atmosphere. Of course, there's always food and drink and things that you can experience if you're hungry, if you're thirsty. As well, at at the Wilderness Lodge, there's boat rides. You can ride ride a boat just between different resorts and different properties. And the boat ride itself, that's one of the most fun things that we did as a family. And it was fun just to jump on that boat and maybe not even realize exactly where you're going and then just enjoy the ride. Then, after you returned to Fort Wilderness, one of our favorite things to do, we've done this actually several times, it's absolutely free, is to go to the Chip and Dale Campfire Sing-Alongs. Anybody can go. In fact, if you just want to drive to Fort Wilderness, maybe in the evening, if you're doing other things during the day, you can do that. Park in the parking lot, jump on the bus and they'll drop you off very near where the the campfire sing-along is. And, it's an outdoor setting. There's a movie screen there, and they actually show movies as it gets dark. You can buy s'mores and cook your own s'mores on the campfire. There's a sing-along with cowboy songs. And then Chip and Dale, they make an appearance and you can get your picture with them you can dance with them. It's a great, great, great fun event. I actually felt a little guilty enjoying myself that much and not paying a dime for it. But I didn't feel that guilty. It was a lot of fun.

AMY: For some more free fun, head on over to the Polynesian. The Polynesian is a great resort. It's got a laid-back island theme. You may be given a lei as you walk through the front doors, but this is one of our favorite resorts just to hang out at. They have a gorgeous beach that you can go and look at the Seven Seas Lagoon. One thing you can do is ride the monorail. So you can get on the monorail there at the Polynesian and travel all around the circle and you can see the front gates of the Magic Kingdom. You can go past the Grand Floridian. You can go past the Contemporary. So that's super fun, just to ride the monorail and to get some great pictures of the Magic Kingdom and that sort of thing. You can also take boat rides to and from, so you could take boat rides to the Magic Kingdom and back and and all this is totally free. The Polynesian also has some fun things to do for the kids. So sometimes they'll hold little events. I remember our daughter got to do the limbo and played with a bunch of kids there at the Polynesian they also have movies that they have out on the lawn at night. So if you want to grab a Dole Whip, that is one place where you can get a Dole Whip float. It's one of my favorite things to get at Disneyworld. So you can grab a Dole Whip, you can go out to the beach on the Polynesian, you can hang out there you can watch that movie on the lawn or, and this is our favorite place to watch the fireworks. You can watch the fireworks at night from the Polynesian without all the crowds while you eat your Dole Whip. And you can also see that electrical water pageant. You can watch that go by so it is really a fun thing to do. If you're not gonna hang out at the parks, and you want that Disney Magic, go to the Polynesian. Hang out on the beach and watch that the electrical pageant and watch the fireworks.

JOHN: So that brings us to Disney's Boardwalk. I'll never forget the first time that I saw the boardwalk. And actually it was very recently. We were on a previous trip. We were at Epcot, and we thought that we would go ahead and leave the park and we got in the boat and it took us to the Boardwalk. I had no idea that there was such an amazing, really amazing, resort right there so close to Epcot. And so that's something that I would encourage all of you to do. Just visit the Boardwalk. You could take a ride on a Surrey bike. That's a covered bike with two to four people and you ride around the entire perimeter of the property, around the lake, drive by shops and restaurants and just just so fun and beautiful. Now I'll tell you this that you need to work your leg muscles out just a little bit before you get on that thing. We had no idea, we were enjoying our nice little adventure around the circle, and then all of a sudden there was a hill and, wow, was that thing hard to get up! And so we got all the way around and I'm like, wow, okay, I'm tired, and I'm done. And Amy said, let's do it again! And so off we go again and we huffed and we puffed and had a great, great time. So that was really, really a lot of fun. From there you can take the boat, as I said, and you can gaze into Epcot. I don't know about you all, but sometimes for us, we just like to see things and see the magic. And you can do that. You can see the Eiffel Tower and the different things there at Epcot without actually paying to get in. Additionally I'd encourage you to go over to the Swan and Dolphin resorts. We had a milkshake there at a cafe. Really, really good employees. The service was great. They took such great care of us. And it's a beautiful, beautiful property there. And then we walked around and walked by the swimming pools and there was a playground. And our daughter loved to play on the playground and had a great time there, at the Swan and Dolphin Resort. In fact, also right in that area and on the boardwalk you’re gonna see street entertainers. You can just kick back and enjoy music and the different things that are happening there on the street. And, speaking of street entertainers, head on over to Disney Springs. We have her daughter, she was involved in this hula-hoop thing where all the kids were out there and Disney cast members were kind of conducting the event and she was hula-hooping, and it was a little party atmosphere there. And we'd walk around and we'd see magicians and mimes and bands. A lot of fun and, of course, peek in the stores and go shopping and just have a great, great time just immersing yourself in that Disney environment. It can be absolutely free or definitely cheap.

AMY: One more thing we decided to do on our “Disney on a budget trip” was to visit Chef Mickey's. Now Chef Mickey's is a buffet. It's character dining at the Contemporary Resort. I will say that it is not cheap, and it is definitely not free, but it is sure a heck of a lot cheaper than getting into the parks and paying for all the food there and going to meet all the characters in that way. So what we did is, we made in a reservation at Chef Mickey's. We got there, the food is really good. It's a buffet. And so we got to eat pancakes and, I'm gluten free, and so I got to eat some gluten-free Mickey waffles which were awesome. A lot of breakfast foods, but really the treat here is getting to meet all the characters, and the staff is very, very good and making sure you get time with every single character that's there. So our daughter was so excited to meet Mickey and Goofy and Donald and Minnie and she just had her special time there with them. And that is something that you can do if you decide you want to be able to meet all the characters and you want a little bit extra of that Disney magic but you don't mind shelling out a little bit of money for that, or actually maybe more than a little bit.

AMY: I hope we've given you some ideas on ways to experience the magic of Disney on a budget.

JOHN: And stay tuned for future videos. I'm sure on future trips we're going to discover a lot more that we can do cheap, on a budget, free and so we're gonna share that with you. In order to be notified of future videos, definitely click that subscribe button and then click the bell so you can receive that notification every time we upload a new video. So thanks for watching and we will see you again next time.

AMY: Safe travels everyone!