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Elephant Car Wash!

 When I was growing up in Umpqua Valley, my parents frequently took our family to Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. My siblings and I loved seeing all the animals that Wildlife Safari had to offer - from apes to zebras. Now that I am a MOM, it's a no brainer that I want to pass this family tradition onto my boys.

Recently, my boys and I took a day trip to Winston specifically for the purpose of enjoying all that Wildlife Safari had to offer. We packed a picnic lunch, drinks, and snacks for the drive and set out on our adventure! We arrived around 11 am and was greeted by a very informative guide at the information booth. One of the coolest parts of Wildlife Safari is that there is a whole Safari Village with many animals to see and it's FREE! My boys love watching the pink flamingos and even tried to name each of them! In the Village there is also a train to ride (for a small fee), petting zoo, and playground for kids.

Wildlife Safari also has a drive through park where you can pay per person to drive through and look at animals from all over the world - the Americas, Africa, Asia, etc. During our drive through the park, my boys marveled as two brown bears played in muddy water. They watched amazingly as a very tall giraffe came within about 10 feet of our van. My youngest exclaimed, "I think that giraffe is even taller than YOU, Mom!" I laughed because I am only 5'3" and MOST things are taller than me. I was touched that he compared my "tall" hieghth to the giraffe.

The absolute highlight of the trip for my two boys was when we paid to have two elephants wash our van. You read that right...we paid to have elephants wash our car! The boys roared with laughter when, time after time, the elephants dipped their trunks in the water and then squirted it all over our van! Then one of the elepants picked up a sponge and actually wiped our car a couple of times. And, just like any good car-washer...they rinsed the van after washing it!

My boys and I go to Wildlife Safari several times per year and it seems like there is always something new to see or do each time. I encourage all MOM Magazine readers to hop in the car and take their families to this wonderful Oregon destination!

Help me out Comment below with favorite Oregon places to visit on your road trip. And check out our Road trip photo contest, for a chance to win a gas card.

Road trip ready

We're getting ready to take a road trip to Utah. People think I'm crazy when I say I'm looking forward to the 13.5 hour drive, but it's true. Part of preparing for the road trip means getting our travel journals ready. I'm a big journaler & scrapbooker, so this is something I try to do everywhere we go. I LOVE that my daughter shares this passion and is old enough to actually do it...several times today I've heard "mommy, can we work on our journals a little more?" I got her journal in the $1 bin at Michael's...mine was a blank one I had on hand that I decorated with scrapbook stuff.

I printed out a map of our route, and Mia pasted it in the front of her journal. Every time we make a stop, she can put a sticker on our location so she can track our progress. We packed a small stash of craft supplies that we'll take with us, and we'll work on them (hopefully) every night before bed. I usually write down what we did, the weather, funny things that happened, etc. We can paste memorabilia in there and leave space for pictures. Mia can't really write, but she'll tell me what she wants to say and I'll write it, or I'll encourage her to draw pictures of things that she thought was interesting or fun.

Mia has some pre-trip thoughts she's already had me record: "It's going to be a long trip, I hope I can make it. I don't think I'll fall asleep."

Help me out! Comment below with favorite places to stop on your road trip.