University of Michigan’s Museum of Natural History

University of Michigan’s Museum of Natural History is officially in its new home & OPEN! We have been dying to see it! We finally did! Check it….

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This prehistoric power couple features two unusually complete mastodon skeletons — a male and a female, both discovered and excavated with help from U-M scientists, within a few hours’ drive from Ann Arbor!

Only place in the world where you can see a male and female mastodon skeleton side-by-side

 

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What’s more, the On the Trail of Mastodons exhibit is the only place in the world where you can see a male and female mastodon skeleton side-by-side and see a mastodon skeleton paired with a mastodon trackway. These footprints were cast from a trail left by a mastodon near Saline, Michigan. This is the only mastodon trackway ever found!

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What’s more, you can step into a cast of a separate mastodon footprint and touch a cast-replica of an eight-foot mastodon tusk. You can also learn how U-M paleontologist Daniel Fisher and his team use tusks to learn how these amazing creatures lived and what factors may have led to their extinction.

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How cool is this? You can not only get a glimpse into the awesome process of preparing fossils but you can actually interact with the professionally-trained preparators in the lab.

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Evolution, Life Through Time was a bit out there….but, you need to visit &judge for yourself!

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At 25 feet long with a 35-foot wingspan, the pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus northropi rivals a small airplane in size and is one of the largest winged animals to ever have lived.

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Reconstructed from fossil bones discovered in Texas, the life-sized model demonstrates what it would have been like seeing these enormous flying reptiles swoop and dive overheard. Step onto the bridge over the West Atrium for a closer look directly into its eye…if you’re feeling brave!

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Planetarium & Dome Theater….we learned about the night sky! Tickets are $8 available in the Museum Store.

And there’s Food!….just through the doors to the left

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And shopping!!

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University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

Address: Biological Sciences Building, 1105 North University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1085

Phone: 734-764-0478

Website: https://lsa.umich.edu/ummnh

Museum Hours: Monday-Sunday 9AM-5PM

Admission: Free (suggestion donation of $6)

Parking: Good luck, lol! Just kidding…there is a parking garage on Forest Ave. Cost us $6

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Spangler Factory Tour (Dum-Dums)

Cabbage Patch Dolls, Rainbow Brite, the original My Little Pony & Strawberry Shortcake were all the rage with little girls, Cyndi Lauper, Prince (before the symbol), Madonna, & Michael Jackson cassettes filled Walkmans, and Razzles, Zotz Sours, Airheads, and the Watermelon flavored Dum-Dum made its grand appearance on the candy scene. It was 1980 something! That was my childhood, before responsibilities and obligations; bills, laundry, work, etc. were even on my radar. That was before one could even fathom the web, email, social media, tablets, IPhones, texting, instant messaging, etc. Those were simpler, slower, fabulous years! And every summer I so look forward to visiting a glimpse of my childhood on our annual trip to the Spangler Factory!!!

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As you enter the store you are greeted by the sweet aroma of candy and charming Spangler employees who offer samples of Dum Dums and candy canes. spanglerfactory1Then it’s time for a stroll through history in the museum where they have displays of past products, molds, literature, etc.  Did you know that Spangler was founded in 1906 and that they make 10 million Dum Dums each day!? Now that is a lot of suckers!!

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spanglerfactory14We perused the Museum for a few minutes and then it was time for the kiddos’ favorite part!! Sing along if ya know it…spanglerfactory11

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight

shlemiel, schlemazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated

We’re gonna do it

 

Give us any chance, we’ll take it

Read us any rule, we’ll break it

We’re gonna make our dreams come true

Doin’ it our way

 

Nothin’s gonna turn us back now

Straight ahead and on the track now

We’re gonna make our dreams come true

Doin’ it our way

 

After we had our hairnets on we boarded the trolley!!

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While on the factory tour we learned about the seasonal Dum Dum flavors they will have in stores for Autumn/Christmas time. The flavor of the ‘love them or hate them…there is no in-between’ Circus Peanuts, and so much more!

As the trolley took us from one room to the next I couldn’t help but feel like I was on How it’s Made, remember that show? It was fascinating watching all the conveyor belts filled with Dum Dums and other various products…and to see the orange boxes piled high for Halloween and the numerous candy canes piled ceiling high for Christmas!spanglerfactory6

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When the tour ended we headed for the store where kiddos could finally spend some of that tooth fairy and birthday money that was burning a hole in their pockets. And a bag of Circus Peanuts (FYI, the flavor is banana) for my dad (he loves them) and one for my little scientist who wanted to do candy experiments (book in gift shop).spanglerfactory3

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As I went for the door to leave I hesitated, I didn’t want this visit back to childhood to end. I didn’t want to get in my car with the annoying touch screen, have to check my phone for missed calls, text, instant messages, etc. I just wanted to get back in my mom’s red Plymouth Dodge Caravan and open up that huge paper map in search of a local park to have lunch…and I want a Happy Meal, from the 80s…and while we are at it I want my banana clip too!! Though I couldn’t take my childhood home with me I could take the experience, the memory of enjoying a bit of my childhood with my children to cherish.

And knowing we will be back next summer always softens the blow a bit….see you summer 2018 Spangler Factory! As I looked in the rearview mirror I could practically see 6 year old me in a stripped romper, pigtails, & watermelon Dum Dum in hand.

Plan your visit today!

Details

Address: 400 N Portland St, Bryan, OH 43506

Phone: (419) 636-4221

Website: https://www.spanglercandy.com/

Hours: Summer: Monday thru Friday 10am – 4pm Last Trolley leaves at 3:30pm (Memorial Day – Labor Day)

Fall/Winter/Spring: Wednesday thru Friday 10am – 3pm Last Trolley leaves at 2:30pm (Starting September 4, 2017)

** CLOSED on: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve Day

Admission: Adults $5, Children 6-18 years $3, Children 5 & Under Free with paid Adult, Seniors $4

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Escape to this FREE PlayScape & SprayScape!!!

I picked up the kiddos from school yesterday and totally surprised them with an impromptu road trip to Plymouth Dream PlayScape & SprayScape!! It was a scorcher yesterday & just the thought of a Sprayscape sounded refreshing but you know what was even more refreshing than that? The fact that it’s FREE!!

I packed an after school snack for the drive up and dinner to have later. The trip was so smooth, NO CONSTRUTION!! Woot! Woot! We belted out a few tunes and before we knew it we had arrived at 46640 Ann Arbor Trail, just east of Beck Road, Plymouth Township Dream PlayScape & SprayScape!!

First stop, Dream PlayScape!! And what a PlayScape it is!!

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It is huge! There is so much to do for all ages! There are swings and a play area for the toddlers and preschoolers….

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There are so many towers for all the Princesses & Knights to climb up to….the children could escape the realities of back-to-school and allow their imaginations to run wild in this Dream PlayScape.

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Talk about great exercise, there are so many climbing apparatuses…and the sheer size of the structure barricades any possibility of boredom!

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I even found myself climbing around, why should the kids have all the fun? Lol!

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After all that climbing, swinging, running, jumping, sliding, hopping, etc. around the kids were drenched with sweat….thank goodness for the SprayScape over yonder!

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The Sprayscape is designed to accommodate all ages and is open seven (7) days a week beginning the Saturday of Memorial weekend through Labor Day of each year. Daily operating hours of the Sprayscape are: 10 AM to 7:30 PM.

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The park itself is also gorgeous, parents will enjoy the LandScape! There are picnic areas, a baseball field, stream, shaded areas, hills, clean restrooms, etc.

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So pack a picnic and escape, because sometimes adults need to escape the chaos of life too & unwind, become one with nature, enjoy time with your kids, and return home rejuvenate.

So, if you are looking for the PERFECT ESCAPE this weekend make a trip to Plymouth Township Park’s PlayScape & SprayScape!

While in Plymouth you might want to also checkout…. 3&Up Board Game Lounge ,   My Seg Adventures (for the older crowd), Plymouth Historical Museum 

 

 

 

Wallabies, Buffalo, & Camel Rides, OH MY!

We had quite the adventure today! We had the opportunity to see camels, pet goats, feed Emus, watch alligators & wallabies, be briefly accompanied by a wild/free-range deer, got up close and personal with a buffalo, got to see tortoises & their poop (surprisingly much large than I had anticipated), had the pleasure of petting lots of adorable and cuddly bunnies (I SO badly wanted to put one in my purse…so wrong, but so true! Don’t worry I restrained myself, but it wasn’t easy), and so much more! So right about now you are probably wondering what type of wild & exotic vacation we went on. Australia? Sahara Dessert? Florida Everglades? The answer might surprise you, Lambertville, Michigan. Yep, we were only 10 minutes away from our house at Indian Creek Zoo!!

 

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Indian Creek Zoo is a unique place that offers camel rides, up-close viewing of exotic animals such as zebras, camels, emus, wallabies, donkeys, coatimundi, alligators, peacocks and many more! (Also, just an FYI- their animals are available for events, festivals and nativity scenes). And, this is kinda huge, at least for the kids (and us kids at heart), you can feed some of the animals!!!

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When you enter and pay admission you have the option to purchase food to feed the animals, DO IT!! It is only $3 for a huge cup full of food; it was enough for me and all 3 kiddos to enjoy the experience of feeding the animals.

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The admission to the zoo is $8 for adults, $6 for kids, and 2 and under is FREE! The experience is a great one to have as a family. Stop by for a fun filled family weekend visit and add a camel ride to the fun for only $5! (Camel rides only run on Saturday and Sunday between noon and I believe 3pm but call ahead just to make certain).

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The great outdoors is so lovely this time of year, don’t rush through the exhibits, take your time and enjoy ALL that nature has to offer, including toads (which we managed to find two), spiders (the boys loved them, girls may have screamed a little), and the very best part, this oh so sweet tour guide….

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Yep, that is a deer, a free-rang/wild deer who roams around the zoo from time to time. The children will forever remember their up-close encounter with this sweetheart.

 

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The Indian Creek Zoo is a mom & kid approved establishment. In fact, 2 out of 3 kiddos gave it 5 stars….the 3rd thought the spiders were ridiculous and only gave it 4 stars. Lol! They have bathrooms, refreshment, & snacks available for purchase. Added bonus, when you leave you can take a peacock feather home as a souvenir! It is very clean, animals are well kept and looked after, it is an all-around great destination that we plan on frequenting.

 

Indian Creek Petting Zoo

Witnessing your child interact up close with animals you don’t often come in contact results in lots of laughter, fun, and makes for some precious memories which is precisely what you get when you visit Indian Creek Petting Zoo. Indian Creek Petting Zoo is a walk-thru-zoo that offers up close viewing of exotic animals like Zebra, Camels, Emus, Wallabies, Lemurs, Donkeys, Sheep, Alpacas, Peacocks, and more! We thoroughly enjoyed our visit today. I thought it might be fun to share some pics that really highlight our experience, enjoy!

As we enter we are greeted by….

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And the children had fun guessing what was hiding in each cubby. (Look familiar to anyone? This used to be at the Toledo Zoo.)

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We continued on the path and the next stop was the Lemurs. Oh, I almost forgot, you have the option of purchasing a basket of food for the animals for $3, which is so worth it. I am glad we did because we were able to see this little contraption work, totally priceless!  On the pole is a rope, bucket, and pulley. The children place the food in the bucket and the Lemur pulled it back. It was seriously the cutest watching his tinny paws at work and listening to the children giggle.

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We finally pulled ourselves away from the Lemurs and headed to see the…

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The Peacocks were stunning! And then the real fun occurred. We got to feed the CAMELS!

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They were so slobbery, gentle, and cute! They basically licked the food right off the children’s hands. (To all the germaphobes, myself included, do not fear, we used sanitizer afterward).

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Then we thought it might be fun to get pics of each of us with our children near one of the camel….it sounded like a good idea. Haha! She wasn’t in any immediate danger so I took the pic, glad I did. LOL!

 

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Let’s just say there was definitely no shortage of laughter. I think the adults had just as much fun as the kids.

I tried to get a pic of me with the kiddos and the camel but between the camel and the 3 year old indecisiveness the camel won. Haha!

 

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Then we were off to see and feed the….

 

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And then we looked at the Zebra, but dare not touch. Apparently they bite, bummer!

 

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Then we stopped for a photo op…who doesn’t love these!?

 

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On our way back towards the entrance we stopped into the bunny path….isn’t this adorable? I Hop. Haha!

 

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And I have a dozen more pics that I won’t bore you with…bottom line, we had a magnificent time and would totally go back! I can’t think of a better way to spend the day with the kiddos. For more info be sure to checkout the Indian Creek Petting Zoo Facebook page, like, and share!

 

When was the last time you visited a petting zoo? Have you been to one with your children? How did they like it?