What To See In Galveston- Galveston Railroad Museum

Traveling with children is one of the best experiences.  It can also be one of the most challenging.  Galveston is an incredible destination for families.  One of the attractions that make Galveston awesome is the Galveston Railroad Museum.

With 5 acres and over 40 pieces of rolling stock, there is plenty of room for little legs to run.  Many of the cars are open and you can walk though different kinds of cars ranging from dining cars to postal cars.  The different types of engines are on display and open to be toured.

Not only are the cars open, but they are staged with era-specific models wearing clothes or eating a snack from the era in which the train car was in operation.  Its really interesting to see what was considered “luxury” travel at that time.  You can also sit on the benches or take a picture in a berth and imagine what it felt like to travel through the night with the clickity-clack of the train tracks and the sway of the railcars as they rocked you to sleep.

A caboose makes a run down a mile of track most weekends. There is also a Polar Express during the holidays. You can access the website here.

There is also a museum exhibit open that details the history of the railroad in Texas and Galveston as well as how the museum came to be.  The museum is open daily with admission for adults being $10.00 and children ages 3 and older being $5.00.  There are various discounts listed on the website.

So, whether you are looking for an interesting stop on vacation or an interesting field trip while you homeschool, the Galveston Railroad Museum is a great stop.  For more on what to see and do in Galveston, click here.

What is your favorite activity with children?

Galveston Island State Park & Huntsville State Park- Great Places To Enjoy His Creation

Galveston Island State Park

It was not our plan, but camping at Huntsville State Park was just what the Ross Family needed.  When we set out on Saturday, August 4th we had every intention of camping on the beach at Galveston Island State Park.  Savannah had spent the week at Sea Camp, Texas A&M Galveston.  It made sense then to take the opportunity to spend some time by the sea.

Well, I don’t know if you have been to Galveston since they have recovered from hurricane Ike, but they have not only bounced back but have done so with some gusto.  There was not an open spot to be had at the state park, or any hotel room from League City to Kemah to the coast.  So, it looked like our few days of sunshine and sea were not going to be.  We were disappointed, but so happy for the people of the Island who dug in and rebuilt their homes and businesses.  So, we decided to have one heck of a day and see what came next.

Me & Sierra- hard to believe she is 13!
Tony and Jonathan- he has been eating at Casey’s since he was a baby
The Ross Bunch- lovers of nature and good food.

We certainly had a great day.  After picking up Savannah, we headed to Casey’s for some lunch.  As always, the food was great and we cleaned our plates.  I highly recommend this as a place to hit when in Galveston.  It is a family owned place that has been around for a long time.  This family was instrumental in feeding the workers, crews, and residents that were involved in the clean up after Ike.  We ate there for the first time when Jonathan was 3 weeks old (he is eleven now) and ate there every summer that Sunny lived in Conroe.  I had my first shrimp poorboy there and have been smitten ever since.  This summer I had a poorboy and shrimp gumbo- oh so good.  Fried zucchini is on the menu as an appetizer and it is perfect every time!  Sierra had calamari and a shrimp platter was shared by the big girls.  Jonathan and Tony shared the poorboy and then said that although it was very good, mine was better.  Now, that is a compliment.

My sea creature- Bana

After the yummy lunch it was time for the beach.  We had a blast playing in the water, digging up hermit crabs & clams, and eating watermelon on the sands.  For the first time ever, Sierra and Jonathan got sunburned.  It seems that while Tony and I were sorting out plan B since our stay on the beach wasn’t going to happen, the kids ran off to the beach without putting on sunscreen.  Now, if I had done this I would have been burned to the point of being ill, but given their Turkish genes, they only had a light burn.  Of course, to them who had never been burned, they whined pitifully.  I told them to suck it up, they did not even know what a real burn felt like.  I, on the other hand being a white girl, have had plenty of experience.  I put on sunscreen and still got a bit of a burn, but nothing too bad.  God bless the Aloe Vera plant, it made it all better.

Sierra loves watermelon
You can’t see it, but we caught a tiny little fiddler crab
Cheyenne has the sun in her eyes!

Once we had our fill of the sun and the sea- which was many hours later- we decided to clean up and head to Kemah.  The last time we were at this state park was 2 weeks before Ike blew through.  At that time, there were no outside showers, only a water faucet.  Now there is a great deck with several showers and really large bathrooms to change into your dry clothes.  I cannot say enough how happy I am with the way the state park and the city have come back.  The state park is a great place to visit, you will be glad that you did.

What a lucky man!

After dinner at a great steakhouse called T-Bone Tom’s (see the next post) we had fun on the Kemah Boardwalk.  Savannah, Sierra, Jonathan and I road the roller coaster.  I have determined that these are just not as fun as they once were.  I think that ride will be my last of the intense variety.  The boardwalk is really neat with all the lights and music.  I would not want to make a whole trip of the boardwalk, but it definitely worth seeing.  I then searched again in vain for a local hotel room and when none were found, we headed north.  There were several state parks on the way home and we thought we might give them a try.

It’s not a trip with out a pool!

It was about 1:30 in the morning when we made Huntsville.  They, not being the tourist magnet that Galveston is, had plenty of rooms.  Sierra, Jonathan, and I had a great morning swim in a great pool (the room was not so great but we were so tired we did not care).  Huntsville State Park was just up the highway a bit, so we went there thinking we would spend the day.  Well, we spent two nights and three days.  What a pleasant surprise this state park turned out to be.

Jonathan is mixing meat for burgers

You see, I am not a big fan of lake swimming unless I have a boat and get out to the deep where I never have to touch any vegetation or the mucky bottom of the lake.  However, the lake in this state park is really clear, the swim area was clean, no muck and no weeds.  Couple this with the beautiful views from very pretty campsites and you have one the best state parks we have stayed at- and we have been to many.  Being only two and a half hours away, this would make a good place for a day trip as well.

Never too old to roast marshmallows…

After morning walks with Tony, hours spent hanging out with my kids, playing cards, reading books and eating simply good food, I was completely unwound.  We all relaxed and enjoyed our time away.  We came home refreshed and tanned.  As it is so often with God, we knew what we wanted, but He knew what we needed.  We wanted to stay at the beach, but what we needed was quiet time with Him in His creation.  While the ocean is His creation, Galveston is not a quiet place.  We could not have planned a better trip.  Memories were made and a family was bonded stronger than before.

So, check out the great state parks of our state, God is alive and well there and He will meet with you.  When you study and observe the work of an artist, you will learn something of the artist, it is the same with God and his Creation-his work of art.  We never come away with less when we unplug and take time to spend time with Him.  My children will look back on their childhood and these will be the things they remember.  When I look back on their childhoods, these are the things I remember.

Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park

Savannah showing the kids a horseshoe crab

If you are looking for a fun and educational outing for the family, I highly recommend the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park.  In the recent years it has undergone some major renovations and the change has been great.

The touch tanks are full of sea life that you would not normally be able to see much less touch.  Horseshoe crabs, slipper lobsters, and sea anemoneas to name a few of the creatures that call the touch tank home.  There are volunteers there everyday to explain details to the kids and the adults a like.  Savannah is there on Wednesdays from noon till 4 pm.  She loves the work there and has learned a lot for herself.

The touch tank in the foyer has lots of small animals to touch and feel.  The second tank is located in the back with many cownose rays for touching, now those are something.  Shrimp or small fish can be purchased to feed the rays.  These little fellas love to eat and if you put your hand in the water, on most days,  the rays will swarm around and run under your hand.  This past Wednesday there had been a lot of school groups and the “snack” bar was sold out by 3:00.  This is unusual and when I got back there and wanted to pet them, they wouldn’t give me the time of day.  It seems they were taking a nap at the bottom of the tank, picture the family after the Thanksgiving meal and you will get the idea.

Jonathan & I are sitting in front of the shark tank

Also in the back, but not a touch tank, is the shark tank.  There are several varieties of shark out there and a couple of Southern Rays.  The guys get fed every Wednesdays at 2:30.  This is fun to watch and the keepers always have a presentation for all that are watching.  There is a very tall window on the second level that makes it easy to watch the sharks swimming.  Because of all the passes the animals make in front of the window, you can see all sides of the sharks and rays, it is very cool.  Savannah really wants to swim with the sharks, but that is not allowed.

Savannah and Albert the Alligator

All the tanks and displays have been done really well.  My favorite tank indoors is the jellyfish.  It is just mesmerizing to watch them swim under that black light.  Those are just so cool- unless you encounter them while swimming in their natural habitat!  Another fun attraction is Albert the Alligator, Savannah really likes getting him out and showing him to the kids.  He is a little guy, only 18 months old, but he will bite if he can, but the handlers don’t let that happen.  So, check out the Aquarium and the rest of the museums at Fair Park, parking is free and the Park itself is very nice with lots for the kiddos to see.

Jellyfish are so cool.
All the characters from “Finding Nemo”
One of two Seahorse tanks.