Monday, November 21, 2016

Tanganyika Wildlife Park

Visiting Tanganyika Wildlife Park has been on my bucket list for a couple of years now. I first read about the park on another blog and then after looking at their website, I became even more obsessed with wanting to go. And unlike a typical zoo, Tanganyika offers a completely interactive experience with the animals. 

Getting There
The park is located just outside of Wichita, Kansas which is about a 5 hour drive for us. I wanted to make sure we had plenty of time at the park and to get some of the drive done while the kids were sleeping. We ended up leaving around 5:30am and I put the kids straight from their beds into the car, pajamas and all. They ended up sleeping until 7:30am and then we stopped around 8:30am for gas and to change their clothes. They're both at the age where they do pretty well in the car and I packed our iPads, snacks, books, and a few toys to keep them entertained. We also stopped at a lookout point for Flint Hills which I highly recommend and it's a nice change of scenery from the flatness of Kansas. 
As we got near the park I honestly thought we were in the wrong place. The park is in the middle of a very residential area and surrounded by houses and neighborhoods. I was sure that I had made a huge mistake, but the park is legit and once inside you forget that you passed a neighborhood on the way in. 

Tanganyika is privately funded and does not receive government subsidies and therefore costs more than a typical zoo. In addition to the admission fee, the interactive exhibits are extra but totally worth it and the main reason we came to this park. You can purchase individual tokens or a wristband in order to interact/feed some of the animals. We ended up buying the VIP wristband and I'm so glad we did. It allowed us to do all of the interactive experiences at least once and gave us unlimited access to the Giraffes, Lorakeets, Kangaroo Walkabout, and the children's area (bunnies, alpacas, turtles, etc). We went on the Sunday before Halloween and it wasn't crowded at all which allowed us to have lots of time to interact with the animals. At one point we were the only ones at the Giraffe lookout and must have feed them 3 heads of lettuce, once piece at a time.

The Animals
I can honestly say I never thought I'd be able to get up close with a kangaroo let alone pet one. And their fur is surprisingly soft. We feed Clara, the Indian Rhino and Pluto & Posie, a pair of Pygmy Hippos. Lemurs ate crasins from our hands, the bunnies gobbled up lettuce, and the giraffes long tongues touched our hands as they grabbed the food. We also took a ride on a camel and watched a monkey cuddle her newborn. Not to mention all the animals we saw but didn't interact with (tiger, penguins, alligator, fox, etc).

I mean, come on. A freaking kangaroo. 

I never once felt unsafe with any of the animals and the staff is not only nice, but well trained. The kids were hesitant with some things (Lorakeets & Lemurs) but the staff was great at making everyone feel comfortable. Each area also has different rules and the staff will inform you of those. For example, in the kangaroo walkabout, you weren't allowed to pet the kangaroo that had a joey in it's pouch. It's important to remember that while this park is interactive, all the animals are still animals so use common sense.

Overall Experience
The kids still talk about this place and love looking at all the pictures and videos. It was truly one of the neatest things we've ever done. We were there about 4 hours and did everything we wanted to do (some things we did more than once). If you go on a day that's more crowded you may need to allow for more time. The only thing I didn't love was the camel ride and I would skip it next time. If you have younger kids I would suggest bringing a stroller, but the park isn't too terribly big and there are plenty of walking paths. The kids feel asleep as soon as we got in the car and we stopped for a late lunch/early dinner in downtown Wichita at River City Brewery. The park does have a concession stand with food and drinks, but I would skip that and head to a more local place. We left Wichita around 4:00 and the kids fell back asleep around 5:30pm and slept until we got home at 8:30pm. Even though it was a bit of a drive, if you live anywhere near this park you have to check it out. They are currently closed for the winter, but may open up on weekends if the weather is nice so make sure to like them on Facebook to get up to date information.

Note: This is not a sponsored post

Linking up for Weekending
Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday, Friday

I'm juusssttt about to fall asleep at the computer so let's get right to it. I'm linking up with KarliChristina, Amanda, and Erika to bring you this week's 5.

Jack had his Thanksgiving feast at school yesterday and all the kids were so excited when their parent's came through the door. I wish my kids acted like that at home :)

Our Target Dollar Spot is constantly getting new holiday items and I just happened to stumble upon these gift tags earlier this week. I love that they're not super cheesy like most other tags I've seen and each pack was only a dollar. I may have bought enough for a couple of years.

Although I posted it on my Instagram, I don't think I ever talked about it here. A few weekends ago we finally went to Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Wichita, KS. You guys. It is life changing. Unlike a zoo, this park gives you an interactive experience with the animals. We got to pet kangaroos, feed hippos and rhinos, play with Lemurs, and feed giraffes. And that's not even all of it. It really was a dream come true. I will do a full post and review of it as soon as I weed through the 100+ pictures I took. Btw, kangaroos are really soft. The one in this picture had some fur that was matted because it's mother didn't take care of her when she was little, but the fur is shedding and will be normal again.

When I saw this Christmas card holder on Pinterest I knew I had to recreate it. I have almost everything I need and just need to find the time. Isn't it so cute?!?


 Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fall Photo Shoot

Today I'm sharing my favorite photos that we had taken of the boys back in October. We plan to do family photos in the Spring, but I always like to do photos of just the boys in the fall. Someone please tell me why my seven year old looks seventeen.

Some of these photos make an appearance on our Christmas card which I'll show you once they go out in the mail. I ordered them last week from Shutterfly and they actually came in the mail last night. They are my favorite ones we've done so far, but I think I say that every year :)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Weekend Recap

This weekend was pretty close to perfect. Saturday took it's time and for once didn't seem to fly by although the same can't be said for Sunday.

The sunset on Friday night was perfection. I'm not sure if it's just the view we have from this house or if they really are better than ever, but the sunsets have been so stunning this last year. 

Jack was up bright and early Saturday morning which meant an early run for bagels and the realization that winter is quickly approaching. 

After breakfast the stairs aligned and I was able to get a few Christmas presents wrapped and the whole house cleaned in record time. Even the kids pitched in and picked up without complaining which hasn't happened in a looonnng time.
Wrapping paper from Hobby Lobby.

We're hiring painters to do our main floor, hallways, and upstairs at the end of December so I picked up some sample wall colors. The colors marked are the current ones the builder picked when they built the house. I got samples of the top two on the left since my husband has absolutely vetoed my favorite Mindful Grey.

Saturday afternoon I took the kids to a show at our local planetarium. 

Ben thought it was pretty cool but once the lights went out so did Jack.

Saturday night J and I snuck away to see Arrival. We both thought it was pretty good, but I also had lots of questions when it ended.

We spent Sunday just hanging out at home spending time as a family and the boys only managed to hurt each other a couple of times so I'd call that a success.

I made this recipe for Chicken and Noodles which was a hit and if you follow me on Instagram you know that I finally made this DIY earring holder. It was seriously the easiest and quickest project I have ever done. 

We wrapped up Sunday with The Walking Dead and an early bedtime.

How was your weekend?

Linking up with Biana for Weekending.