Family, Travel, When in

Travel Guide: San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo


What do dragons, dinosaurs and lions, tigers and bears have in common….the San Antonio Zoo! San Antonio has lots of family friendly things to do and places to see but our favorite is the zoo. Covering 35 acres, the San Antonio zoo has 3,500 animals and is visited by over a million people annually. There lots of tee and plenty of ways to get around like the Eagle train that travels the entire park. We started our visit with the dinosaurs which have taken over the zoo. You’ll find all types of dinosaurs like the T-rex, triceratops, and raptors all through out the zoo as you visit each exhibit. The best part is they are anima-tronic so you never when know when they will start moving and roaring when you get close.

Africa Live

The African exhibit is our favorite attraction where you can see elephants, giraffes, rhinos and so much more. We happened to catch the elephants during feeding time which our kids loved. They are always amazed at how the elephants can find the small peanuts they get with the lettuce. While you visiting Africa Live you will definitely want to feed the giraffes! This expedition adventure lets you get up close and personal to feed the giraffes. A $5 fee and a mask gets you an experience like no other. I truly under estimated how tall giraffes are until I was up close and personal feeding one. They are truly beautiful!

Lions, Tigers, Bears and Australia

There are even more animals and birds to see at the zoo and you can even go to Australia. The Australia section is tons of fun and features kangaroos and Lory Landing where you can feed the Lory birds inside their habitat. This is not for the faint of heart and these birds love seeds and will sit on your head, shoulder or arm to eat. Its truly up close and personal.

But that’s not ALL the things you can do in at the zoo. Here are some other things we have planned for our next trip:

  • Dragon Forest
  • Dino Boogie Nights
  • Lory Landing
  • Beastly Breakfast: Roo
  • Beastly Breakfast: Hippo

Surviving Chaos

We had a great time at the San Antonio Zoo and although we did a lot, there is definitely more to explore. Here are our surviving chaos trips so your next trip will be awesome!

  • Early Morning: Visit the zoo in the morning – its not as hot and the animals will be awake and ready to eat. Plus, they take naps in the afternoon so you won’t see a lot.
  • Sunscreen: Be sure to put on plenty of sunscreen and wear a pair of sunglasses while your visiting the zoo. Some exhibits have shade and some don’t. The Texas heat can be brutal!
  • Walking Shoes: There is a lot of walking in the at the zoo so where comfortable shoes.
  • Backpack: By the time you tour the zoo, you’ll have quite a few new souvenirs! Keep a backpack handy for all your goodies, snacks and water while you are site seeing- you’ll need something to carry all your stuff!
  • Family 4 pack: Instead of purchasing individual tickets, buy the family 4 pack. The pack includes souvenir cup (see below), dining vouches and park tickets. So instead of spending $140 we spent only $100 for all those things! The dining voucher makes life so much easier when its lunch because you get preset options to choose. Less guess work and more fun.
  • Carousel Cup: This is the souvenir cup that comes with your family pack. You get free refills all day from any restaurant or snack station within the zoo. Plus, when you visit the zoo again in the future, you can use the same cup.
  • Umbrella: Bring an umbrella just in case. It rained the entire afternoon we were at the zoo so you’ll want to be prepared for unexpected weather.

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2020 Christmas Guide

We’re doing things a little differently this year for Christmas. This past year has been a trying time for everyone around the world; we’ve lost loved ones and seen our livelihood turned upside down during the pandemic. We feel it is so important to come together as a community, nation and world to support each other through this difficult time. So instead of providing a list of gift-able items, we have curated a list of organizations to support that need our help now more than ever. Whether you choose to donate time or money, we hope that you support these groups as they help support our community and the world.


Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders is an independent, impartial and neutral global movement providing medical aid where its needed most. They develop and produce per-packaged medical kits that be transported within hours of a disaster. Many doctors work within conflict zones, long epidemics and other long-terms settings. With offices in 21 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. Doctors Without Borders are available at any time. You can support Doctors without Borders by donating here which will go towards programs, medical supplies and logistics.


Feeding America

The Feeding America network is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, working to connect people with food and end hunger. Donors, staff, and volunteers all play an important role in our efforts to end hunger in the United States. They work with manufacturers, distributors, retailers, food service companies and farmers to gather food before it goes to waste. Our communities need a healthy variety of foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Each year, Feeding America does more to secure these foods for our nationwide network of food banks. You help Feeding America in a number of ways, check out the opportunities they have available here.


Texas Baptist Children’s Home

Texas Baptist Children’s Home (TBCH) embraces children and families in need in order to empower and equip them for a promising future. Children and single mothers who come to TBCH are often lost, hurting, and hopeless, without a place to turn for help during their time of greatest need. Their residential program provides a safe home and a stable family environment where they can learn, grow, and ultimately experience a happy, healthy future. There are many ways to support TBCH; check out all the opportunities here.


Red Cross

The Red Cross provide provide compassionate, through volunteers, to care for those in need. The Red Cross network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world. We roll up our sleeves and donate time, money and blood. We learn or teach life-saving skills so our communities can be better prepared when the need arises. We do this every day because the Red Cross is needed – every day. The Red Cross provides a number of services from disaster relief to blood drives; you can find more ways to volunteer and support the Red Cross here.

Family, Travel, When in

How to Travel with Pets

With the holidays fast approaching, you may be visiting relatives that live near by. Your getting yourself organized and ready to go….you’ve made a list of road trip essentials (check out our list here) or your preparing to take a short flight. But what about your pets??? Pets need a vacation too and make great companions when your traveling. Whether your traveling by car, train or air, I’ve put together a travel guide to help navigate the “getting there” part of you trip with your pet in tow.

Before You Em-bark!

  1. Fit for Travel: Make sure your pet is fit for travel; your veterinarian can help with this! Talk to them about your destination and how your getting there so they can advise if your pet is ready.
  2. Pet Identification: Make sure your pet has an ID tag for their collar with a phone number where you can reached. Also, microchipping is another great option for identification.
  3. Travel Accessories: A pet crate or carrier is a must when traveling; make sure it is well ventilated and big enough for them to sit, turn around or lie down. Introduce your pet to a new carrier at home before your trip. You don’t want them freaking out when its time to leave.

Travelling By Car

  1. Buckle Up or Carrier: Pets should wear their seat belt – yes, pet seat belts do exist. If your not comfortable with that, put them in their carrier. Also, don’t let pets sit in your lap while driving. Major distraction!
  2. Paws In: Make sure you pet keeps their heads and paws inside a moving vehicle. You can crack a window for them to feel the breeze; just make sure they can’t get their full head out.
  3. Light Meals: Give you pet a light meal at least 4 hours before your trip and don’t feed them in the car. The last thing you want is a motion sick pet…..
  4. Pit Stops: Don’t forget to stop every 2-3 hours for bathroom breaks and exercise (for both you!).

Travelling by Air

  1. In Cabin: Currently not allowed due to COVID-19 but if your pet is an emotional support animal they are allowed. Pets must be small and less than 20 lbs to accompany you in the cabin. NOTE: Check with your airline first!
  2. Arrive Early: Get to the airport early to allow you pet a little exercise before your flight.
  3. Light Meals: Give you pet a light meal at least 4 hours before your trip. Pets can be prone to air sickness so keep things on the light side.
  4. No Sedation: Don’t sedate your pet during air travel because sedation medication can increase heart rate and aggravate respiratory issues. Additionally, sedatives interfere with their balance and equilibrium!

Travelling by Train

  1. Small pets: Amtrak, the nations largest passenger train carrier, allows pets 20 lbs and under to travel by train on trips up to 7 hours. NOTE: Be sure to check their policies before you book your trip.
  2. Carry on Luggage: A pet in their carrier is counted as 1 carry-on luggage so pack wisely.
  3. Food & Drink: Bring collapsible food and drink bowls to feed your pet on the train. Remember, a light meal a couple of hours before your journey.
  4. Utilize Scheduled Stops: Take advantage of scheduled stop(s) by taking a brisk walk on the platform and a quick potty break. Your pet will thank you!

No matter how you travel, your pet can be a welcome companion on your journey. They enjoy getting out as much as you do and probably love all the sights, sounds and smells they encounter. Just be sure you have everything you need to make your trip successful and stress-free.

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Twin Lakes Park, Texas

Twin Lakes Park, Cedar Park, TX

Twin Lakes is a 50-acre tract of land that features hike and bike trails and beautiful native Texas flora and fauna. There is plenty of space to social distancing and the perfect outing for families who love to be out in nature. The park offers plenty of additional amenities such as pavilions, a swimming pool/water playscape, multi-purpose sports fields, an archery range, a beach/swimming area, and so much more! This is another great way to tour your own city; not sure how to do that? Check our my post here for some creative ideas to get you started.

On our trip, our kids loved stopping and reading all the nature facts and plant identification signs throughout the trail. They made sure they didn’t miss any so we ended up being at the park for longer than expected. The best part was seeing the GIANT red headed centipede crossing one of the trails to get to the creek on the other side. And of course my son started with his “Did you know…” facts for the rest of our trip and all the way home.

The Texas landscape was beautiful and you can’t beat that water fall! We saw so many natural creeks within the park and even a moss covered waterfall. Of course our kids said it reminded them of the smurfs…go figure! On our way out, we stopped by the lake and visited the ducks who were very friendly. I’m sure they were looking for food but alas, we didn’t have any. Mental note for next time. Also, don’t forget your camera as there are lots of photo opportunities within the park.

Surviving Chaos

In order to make the most of you time at the park and prevent kid meltdowns, I’ve provided some surviving chaos tips. Have fun exploring at the park!

  • Sunblock: Be sure to put on lots of sunblock to prevent sunburn. This is the first rule of thumb for any outdoor activity.
  • Early Morning: Best time to visit the park is early morning. It’s cooler, less crowded and your kids will have energy to burn. A fun filled morning at the park makes for a well rested and relaxed afternoon (I hope)
  • Backpack: This is the perfect place to keep water, first aid kits, sunblock, snacks, portable potty seat, etc. What ever creature comforts you need. Remember to keep it light weight since you’ll be doing a lot of walking and/or biking.
  • Snacks: Don’t forget the snacks! Apple slices, carrot and celery sticks, granola/protein bars, goldfish or whatever your kids like. You don’t want food meltdowns and HAN-gry kids in the middle of your hiking journey

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Äppelpaj: Swedish Apple Pie

Swedish Apple Pie

Äppel means apple and paj means pie and when you put them together you get a scrumptious Swedish dessert. The Skåne region, in the south of Sweden, is famous for growing yummy apples so this recipe is a must! This pie is so good and so simple, you don’t even need to make a crust. It can be eaten warm or cold and don’t forget to top it off with ice cream or whipped cream.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 1/4 cup (250 g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (5 g) cinnamon
  • dash of cardamom (optional)
    • Fun Fact: Cardamom is popular in Sweden where its called kardemumma.
  • 3/4 cup (170 g) butter
  • 1 cup (128 g) flour
  • 1 egg

Let’s Make It!

  1. Preheat the over to 350o (175oC). Put the apple slices in the pie dish.
  2. Combine 1/4 cup (50 g) of the sugar, along with the cinnamon and cardamom (if using), and sprinkle it over the apples.
  3. Gently toss the apples to coat them evenly in sugar and spice.
  4. Put the butter in a medium-sized bowl and have a grownup help melt it in the microwave.
  5. Take the melted butter out of the microwave and add the remaining cup of sugar and the flour. Stir to combine and then mix in the egg.
  6. Pout the mixture into the pie pan. Use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture over the apples.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes. That’s it….easy as pie!!
The Traveller's Wife Signature

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