Monthly Archives: January 2015

Girls Trip to Florida

We spent last week in the Jacksonville, Florida area visiting Mimi & Papa (as the girls call my parents) and thoroughly enjoyed the sun and warm weather. It was so nice to spend time outdoors after a few really cold weeks in DC.

This was only the second time I’ve taken both girls on flight by myself and the last time little miss Mae was only 6 months. Now, at 18 months she is obviously a much more active and sometimes feisty toddler so I was a little bit more worried. Thankfully it went really well! I made sure to pack a carry-on full of new travel-sized toys, stickers, activities, books, and of course the iPads to keep the girls occupied during the two hour flight.

Airport                                                       Airplane

Here are a few of the kid friendly places we visited while exploring the Jacksonville area:

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

The Catty Shack Ranch is dedicated to the rescue and care of big cats. They provide the sanctuary to cats confiscated by the state for illegal ownership, improper enclosures or maltreatment. Their passion is educating the public on these amazing wild cats.

We went on a 45 minute guided tour of the sanctuary and it was a fun and unique experience, much different than a zoo. The guide was very knowledgeable and it was amazing to see the lions, tigers, and leopards up close. Definitely a must-see in the Jacksonville area.


Historic Fernandina Beach

One beautiful day we spent exploring historic Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island. We started out with lunch at Timoti’s Seafood Shak. This is a great place to take kids since they have a pirate ship playground. Parents can enjoy their meal while the kids play (win-win)!

Timotisplayground Timotissign


After lunch we walked down to the harbor marina and did a little shopping at the cute stores, admiring the Victorian-era architecture. I recommend stopping by the Villa Villekulla Toy Store if you have little ones with you.


Jacksonville Zoo

I love this zoo because it has several interactive exhibits which are a lot of fun for the kids. At the Giraffe Overlook, you can get eye to eye with the giraffes and may even get a chance to feed one. Clara was lucky and got the opportunity to feed this friendly guy.


This zoo also has a Lorikeet aviary where visitors can feed the birds, an Animal Care area where kids can pet the pygmy goats, and a Stingray Bay where guests can pet and feed the stingrays.

Fernandina Beach Day

It reached 70 degrees one day, so we went to the beach to play. It was of course too cold to get in the water but the girls loved collecting sea shells in their buckets, flying a kite, feeding the seagulls, and playing a little beach soccer. I love how peaceful and relaxing the beach is in the winter.





We put in lots of hours at playgrounds. It was evident that my girls have missed their playground time this winter. Floridians have it so good!

One playground that we love is Goffinsville Park in Fernandina Beach. It’s located right next to the Nassau river, where you can sometimes see manatees and dolphins splashing around.


goffinsville2  goffinsville3

This park also has a paved nature trail through the woods, where the mossy oaks dangle above your head.


Another great playground is the Pirate’s Playground in Fernandina Beach. It has some really fun musical, water, and sand features that make it unique.


Museum of Science & History

We decided a visit to the MOSH would be a good indoor activity during a rainy day. This museum is great for kids and specializes in science and local history exhibits. My girls especially liked The Body Within exhibit, the Atlantic Tails exhibit, the Florida Naturalist Center, and the Kidspace.

Moshmouth Moshgirls

So that is what we were up to last week! A lot of memories were made! Getting to play with my girls for a week straight without having to think about any to-do list, organizing, cooking, cleaning, or planning was amazing. Just what I needed after the rush of the holidays. It was also so fun to watch my girls with their grandparents since they only get to see them a few times a year.  I’m already looking forward to going back next January!

National Capital Trolley Museum

National Capital Trolley Museum
1313 Bonifant Road
Colesville, MD 20905

Who knew trolleys could be so much fun? This place is a hidden gem! I had never heard of the National Capital Trolley Museum until a couple months ago when I saw their Holly Trolleyfest advertised. I wanted to take my girls during this event in December but the month was busy and we didn’t make it there. So, I decided to take the girls this past weekend to check it out. It was too cold to do anything outside and they were going stir crazy in the house, so it was the perfect time for a visit to the museum!

After entering the Main Hall, Clara spotted the Rock Creek Railway Co. model trolley exhibit and ran straight over. It has a control that visitors can move to operate the street car from Rock Creek Loop to Chevy Chase Lake. There is also a wheel to crank and other buttons to push on the side of the exhibit to turn on lights in the homes and businesses.



Also in the Main Hall, is the Street Cars Go to the Movies exhibit that includes a small theater.


Large panels in the Main Hall illustrate various communities in the region where street cars were in operation.


Of course, the best part of the museum for my girls was riding the street car.


The 2 mile ride lasts about 20 minutes and takes visitors through the Northwest Branch Park. We saw several deer on our ride and the girls had fun pointing them out. The driver stops halfway through to punch tickets, give a bit of a history lesson about the street car, and answer questions.

TMdriver              TMride







After the trolley ride, we took a tour of Street Car Hall that includes trolleys from all different eras, localities, designs, and purposes.


TMhallWe spent about an hour at the museum and my girls definitely had a good time. I think any child who likes trains would enjoy this museum. It’s small and wasn’t busy the day we were there so that made it a very low key and manageable activity with two little ones.

Good to Know:

•Admission is $7 (ages 18-64), $5 (ages 2-17 & 65+) and includes unlimited rides on the trolley. Admission for the museum only (no rides) is $4 (all ages).
•Open Saturday and Sunday 12-5pm. At select times throughout the year, the museum is also open on Thursdays and Fridays. Check the operating schedule here.
•Trolley rides are offered every 40 minutes. When you arrive, check the schedule located just inside the entrance to find the next departing time.
•The museum offers birthday parties and school field trips.
•There is a gift shop that sells a variety of items for kids and adults including books, toys, t-shirts, and posters.
•Stroller friendly, although the museum is small enough you don’t need one for toddlers.
•The museum offers special events including the Holly Trolleyfest in December, where children can ride the trolley with Santa.