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When people think about places to see bison, or buffalo as I called them growing up, they often think about Yellowstone or maybe South Dakota. If you live in the Midwest, you probably know that bison can be found in various locations that don’t require a huge road trip to access them. Don’t get me wrong; you should definitely see Yellowstone or the Black Hills. But sometimes it’s cool to take a day trip to experience these animals. Woolaroc near Bartlesville, Oklahoma, is one such place.  Why is this place called Woolaroc? In 1925, Phillips Petroleum founder Frank Phillips established a ranch in the Osage Hills of Oklahoma. He named the place Woolaroc for the area’s best features–woods, lakes, and rocks. Woolaroc.  Located just outside of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the ranch served as a country home for the Phillips family during Frank’s lifetime. They often hosted parties with diverse attendees. In…

If you’re planning a trip to Southwest Missouri, be sure to include a visit to Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. This Civil War battlefield is located near Springfield and just about a half-hour from Branson. It’s a great experience for history lovers and those who love the great outdoors; it’s a great addition to your trip to the Ozarks. We’ve been a couple of times now, both in the summer, though not this summer. My summer advice is to always go early, if you can, to beat the heat. Begin Your Adventure at the Wilson’s Creek Visitor Center Like most places that are part of the National Park Service, the visitor center is a great place to learn a little background and orient yourself to the park. I love the park vehicles parked out front. You can also pay your visitor fees and purchase any souvenirs. My family always gets a…

My family tends to look for the interesting and quirky when we travel. When we started planning a road trip that included the U. S. Southwest and some national parks, I knew we should try to snag a reservation at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona. We were lucky to get one, and I do recommend a reservation. They don’t have a lot of rooms. So sit back and relax, and I’ll tell you the story of our night in Holbrook. The History of the Wigwam Motel I’d always wanted to stay in one of the Wigwam Motels. At one time, the United States was home to seven Wigwam Motels with the location in Holbrook known as Village 6. Besides the one in Holbrook, only two others remain in operation: Cave City, Kentucky, and San Bernadino, California. Frank Redford built the first one, located in Cave City, in 1933.  He…

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is my favorite resort at Walt Disney World. When we took our first family trip to Walt Disney World, my youngest was two years old. Now, as she approaches eleven, we’ve had four trips to the World and one to Disneyland. We’ve learned a few things since that first trip, and now we can say we truly have a favorite Disney resort. Now keep in mind, several resorts are in the running for second place, and depending on the circumstances surrounding the trip, I may even choose another resort for a trip. Also note, we are split-stayers now. We enjoy a good Epcot area resort to start the trip, and then we like to finish things off with Bay Lake Tower. I’ll explain all of my reasons, and maybe you’ll want to try Bay Lake Tower and see if it’s your favorite Disney…

If you’re road tripping in the Southwest, be sure to make some time for Petrified Forest National Park. This unique park offers amazing views of the Painted Desert, and you won’t believe all the petrified wood you’ll see throughout the park. This national park has two entrances. Since we’d spent the night at Tucumcari, New Mexico, the night before, we planned to begin exploring the park in the afternoon when we arrived. For this first day, we entered from the north at the Painted Desert Visitor’s Center, just off of I-40. You may be wondering, was it really hot in July at about 3:00 p.m.? Yes, yes it was. Still, it was manageable when you weren’t in the direct sun. And the wind was much stronger than I would’ve imagined, so that helped with cooling. We didn’t do any long hiking trails. We stayed close to the beaten path and…

If you’re taking a road trip in the Southwest, and you’re traveling along Route 66 or nearby, why not stay at a historic Route 66 roadside motel, like the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico? For this road trip, we opted for unique and nostalgic lodging, and we couldn’t have had more fun taking in the details and imagining what it used to be like to travel America’s iconic highway just a few decades ago. Blue Swallow Motel: The Property The lobby of the Blue Swallow is like a time capsule. You’ll see all kinds of details from yesteryear, and if you look closely, you’ll see items from other locations along Route 66. I was surprised to see a pop bottle from Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield, Illinois. The fireplace is fun to check out, too. So cozy! The property is intimate and adorable. When the neon comes on in…

We’d like to thank Visit Springfield for sponsoring our trip to Springfield! As always, all opinions are honest and our own. Last summer, we had the opportunity to spend a few days in Springfield, Illinois, to visit the Lincoln attractions and everything else Springfield had to offer families. If you’re looking for an awesome Midwest road trip destination for your family that mixes history, learning, and family fun, then Springfield is the place for you! First Things First: Head to the Springfield Visitors Center Before you do anything else, stop in at the Springfield Visitors Center in downtown Springfield at the corner of 6th and Adams St. They will give you schedules of any events happening, and they may have some great coupons! They will definitely answer any questions you have about the area. Be sure to also check out the display of Lincoln’s law office. The building is the…

A few years ago, we visited Badlands National Park and stayed the night in nearby Wall, South Dakota, on our way to Keystone and Mount Rushmore. The park is gorgeous, and we loved spotting animals along the way. Badlands National Park is a must-do! Arriving at Badlands National Park Since we stayed on the prairie in a wagon on the Ingalls Homestead the night before in De Smet, we entered the park from the east, just off I-90. If you’d like to read about our night in the wagon, click here. We decided to take the Hwy 240 Badlands Loop Road to see the Badlands. We didn’t have to drive far to see some beautiful scenery. Wooden pathways lead to some mighty spectacular views! Sometimes, it looked as though the land went on forever. Ben Reifel Visitor Center at Badlands National Park Along the loop, we ran into Ben Reifel…

No trip to Springfield, Illinois, is complete without a stop at the Lincoln Tomb at the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site.  We’ve been to Springfield twice now, and strangely, this has been the first stop both trips due to timing. It’s not a bad place to start; it’s an attraction you can experience in an hour or less and it does provide some background to get you started. My family loves history and historic sites, and we also love learning about Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. We consider the Lincoln Tomb a must-see on your Springfield trip. Arriving at Oak Ridge Cemetery The road leading up to Oak Ridge Cemetery is lovely in the summer. When you get close, you can’t miss the entrance. Just follow the signing to get to the tomb. Of course, you’ll be able to see it from a distance. It’s rather…

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