Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dinosaur Journey Museum

One of our favorite places to go spend an hour or so is right here in our own backyard. Many people don't realize that Western Colorado has been a major source for dinosaur fossil discoveries. The Dinosaur Journey Museum, right here in Fruita, has many interesting things to see and do for both older and younger visitors. It is of course full of giant dinosaur exhibits with tons of history and facts to read about. I have not yet had the pleasure of meandering through with time to read and really appreciate everything:)

For the younger set, there is a water table with flowing water, rocks and sticks to play with (even our 11 month old gets into this!), dino puzzles, a sand table with dino footprint "stampers", an earthquake simulator (fun!), and one of my son's favorites, a giant sand pit (well, it's actually finely ground walnut shells) where he can uncover fossils. There are fish tanks, a reading area and even a giant dinosaur that spits a stream of water at anyone who dares stand on his bridge. As far as I can tell, most younger kids are totally freaked out by this one:)

There is also a loft area with vending machines and a table to sit and eat lunch at (we bring our own). Like I said, we usually last about an hour here, but you could spend more time as there really is a lot to see and do.

The cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children. We come here often enough that we decided to invest in the yearly membership, which was $40 for our family. The cool thing about this is that it also includes entry into Cross Orchards(been there) and Museum of the West (haven't been there). I plan to do reviews on these places soon.

Dinosaur Journey is a fun, educational, indoor activity for all ages. I heard they do Birthday parties here too! Click here to visit their website.

One of the exhibits

Digging for fossils

The earthquake simulator!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Moon Farm

We had heard of this place a few times, out here in Fruita, as having lots of different miniature buildings and things for kids to play in. The concept sounds good, but being there was a different story. I should have known when I googled it and couldn't even find a website, and the number I called had a terrible sounding connection. I got enough to hear it was open from 10-5.

I talked my friend and her little boy into "trying" out a new place, and if she hadn't been with me, I probably would't have gotten out of the car. We drove out there (about 18 1/2 and M Rd.) and as we pull into the parking lot we see some dinosaur statues, an old bus and merry-go-round, a ton of buildings, both big and small, some in good shape, some in not-so-good shape, and not ONE other soul in sight.  We cautiously decide to get out and see if we can find the "entrance." We came to the main house and saw a little box with a sign on it, something to this effect: "Had to go into town, please put your money in the box." After figuring out we only had to pay for my friend and I ($4 for anyone over 4 yrs.) we lifted the lid and slipped our money in.

To keep a long story short, from then on, we carefully crept from building to building, pretty much rushing the boys along the whole time and saying "don't touch that!!" We were grossed out by spiders and disturbed by all of the old dolls and mannequins inhabiting each place. If you ever manage to end up here DO NOT look in the giant shoe. Just trust me. And, oh, we didn't even dare to open the door to the "clown house".

Now, I do feel completely awful for giving a negative review, but I think it's only fair. So I'll try to point out a few pluses. I started off with a nice picture below because there were a few "nicer" buildings around. Also, we were AMAZED at how many nick-knacks and real artifacts they had in some of the buildings (think fossils, cool Egyptian pieces). This is a place that had tons of heart and soul put into it, and was at one time an amazing place for kids to come learn and use their imagination to it's fullest potential.  I hope the valuable pieces one day find their purpose again.

If you decide to check it out, I think they are closed Sundays. The number I called was 970-858-7176.

Like I said, I started off with a pretty picture, but had to throw in some of the odd images you'll come across at Moon Farm... ;)

Pretty little house.

"Granny's cabin"

Inside the castle

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bananas Fun Park

So, we just may have found the greatest place in the world for our running, jumping, NEVER stopping three year old boy. Seriously, I think it is all of his dreams coming true under one big yellow roof! Let me explain...

There is a place here in town called Bananas Fun Park. It has things like go-karts, a video arcade, bumper boats, laser tag, miniature golf, mostly things for the older kids. But, they also have... wait for it... a Bump-n-Jump Playland! This is not just one bounce house, there are FIVE of them. One is an obstacle course, one has a basket ball hoop, there is a regular one just for jumping, one for those under age 6, and our son's fave... the giant slides.

Now, I know most of you parents out there have stood in the longest line at some festival so your kid could go into one of those crazy bounce houses. Kids just love them! We came across this on accident when we just went to see what this "Bananas" was all about one Friday evening. It costs $8 for a wristband and you can jump as much as you want. Adults are allowed too:) BUT, on Friday mornings, there is a Preschool Special from 9 am to noon and it is only $5 to jump. I think that is a pretty good deal. I thought it would be a busy time with crazy three year olds running all about, but we were the only ones in there when we got there at about 11:00. I think there were about 6 kids total at the busiest time. I just can't believe more people don't take advantage of this!

So, overall a great find. We brought a lunch, but after seeing the signs for "no outside food or drinks", we held off on lunch until we got home. (well, at least until we were in the car on the way home). They do have a Cafe where you can buy lunch/snacks (think pizza, hot dogs, ice cream) and eat there. They also do Birthday parties. Click here to visit their website.

The Bump-n-Jump Playland at Banana's.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Story Time

Another good activity for little ones around town is a "story time". We particularly like the ones at Barnes and Noble, they do a craft and in the past have even had a coupon for your child to get a milk and cookie from their cafe. The ones at the Library are also good. There are always lots of them going on during the week, but depending on the location, age of your child, and the time of year, the times vary and are hard to keep up with.

Rather than trying to cover all of them, I will just post a link for the Mesa County Public Library website here (click on "kids" then "event calendar") and the Barnes and Noble website here (click on "stores and events" then enter your zip code, click on the Grand Junction store and a list of events should come up). Be sure to check out their calendars for other fun events too.

Home Depot

One of our favorite free activities around here is the Kids Workshop at Home Depot. They do them on the first Saturday of the month, from 9 am to noon. The projects are always so cute, and usually functional:) Our son has made everything from a fire station piggy bank, to a mini soap box derby ramp, complete with tiny cars, and even a butterfly house. We are always so impressed with how clever they are. Not to mention, they get the cutest little orange Home Depot apron to wear and a pin to put on it each time they complete a project.  My husband takes C to these to have some quality father-son time. You've got to check it out!

Here they are with the fire station piggy bank last October.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Relating back to my earlier post on Kidzplex, I wanted to highlight another one of the programs offered there. We started Kindermusik the summer we first moved here, and C was only about 17 months old. I was just looking for something fun for he and I to do together. I immediately fell in love with the program and the teacher, Ms. Susan. She is truly great at what she does and is so good with the kids.

The following is a little excerpt from my other blog, written back in November of 2008. Look how little C is!

"C and I go to a little "music" class on Mondays called
Kindermusik. It started a little rocky because he just
wanted to run around and do his own thing, but we stuck
with it and he is getting better at listening and following
directions with each class. He loves to go and it's fun for me

Here he is before class started.

Waiting to see what was in the box.

"Scrubbing" the mirror.

This was the first time he was really exposed to having to follow directions in a group setting. As I said, it was hard at first, but he improved so much over time and the classes are so fun. We stuck with it through last summer, then I had baby girl and couldn't imagine bringing two kids there at once, although lots of Mom's do (yay for super moms!!) We miss it and Ms. Susan and I am now planning to sign baby girl up this fall while the boy goes to school. So excited!

Kindermusik is for kids from birth to age 5 1/2 (the website says age 7). Click here to see class descriptions and pricing. It is a little expensive, but really, I think worth every penny.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Movie Under the Stars

The Glade Park Fire Department puts on a "Movie Under the Stars" every Friday night during the summer. We have gone twice and really enjoyed it. They have it really well organized and there is so much to do while you wait for it to get dark. There is a little spot for kids to play ring toss and a few other games, music to dance to, raffle ticket giveaways, a hayride, and a GREAT concession stand. They have everything from a plain hot dog, to what they call the "Miller Burger" which consists of two burger patties with a sliced sausage between them, and according to my husband is "magical". The three of us ate for a little over $10.00. That included chips and a pop with the meals.

Glade Park is up on the Colorado National Monument, so the weather can vary a little from down here in the valley. The first time we went, it poured rain on the way up and was chilly the rest of the night. The second time it was super hot and the bugs were bad. So I would suggest layers, even a rain coat, and bug spray for sure. Also chairs and blankets to sit on are a must. It is set up in a field, so it is dirty and dusty.
The boy (3) loved the whole experience.  Baby girl (10 mo.) on the other hand, was antsy to get down and crawl around in the dirt and I had a hard time getting her to sleep up there. We brought the stroller so she would have a place to hang out, but it was just a pain to push through the parking lot and field. So I would have to say it isn't as enjoyable as it could be with a baby in tow.

The other thing to note is that they don't start the movie until it gets dark. That's at least 9pm around here. So it is a LATE night.

Overall, a great activity for families, especially with older kids. Also, you don't have to pay the entrance fee to the Colorado National Monument if you tell them you are heading to Movie Under the Stars. It took about 30 minutes to drive up from the entrance of the Monument.

Click here for their 2010 movie schedule and other important info.

Here we are on the hayride.

Getting in movie watching position.

Testing out an old fire engine.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Most of us local Mamas know about Kidzplex, but I just wanted to put it on here since it can be such a great place to go... and cheap! Only $2-$5 per kid depending on age and time of day. I'd say the main attraction here is their indoor playground. It's like McDonald's, only supersized (pun intended!). A GIANT padded jungle gym, complete with a zip line, slides, ball pit and more. You do kind of have to get past the whole germ thing here, but at least socks ARE required... so don't forget them! (adults are allowed to play too, so bring some for yourself). Socks are available for purchase ($2 or $3 I think?) if you do forget or do an impromtu stop.

They also have a baby area with a mini ball pit and playhouse for the littler guys. You can bring your own lunch, they have tables and chairs to sit at. You can rent out a room here to do a Birthday party too.

I'd say it is best for kids 3 and up because hopefully by then you won't have to manuever your way to the top to rescue your scared or stuck child... so not fun! It can get really crowded too and a little one might not fare so well. But overall a fun place for all ages, indoors and in a confined space.

By the way, a great place for Dad's to take the kids for a rough and tumble time:) My husband does just fine with both kids here on his own.

Click here for hours, pricing, and to find out about the other stuff Kizplex has to offer.

Our kids in the mini ball pit.

Check This Out...

This is an awesome little trick to get an address/phone # from
your cell phone.  I had to pass it on because I just think it's the greatest thing!!
It's called "Google Text" and all you do is send a text message
with the name of the place you are looking for, and the city and
state it is in to "googl" (46645) and within seconds, it sends
back the address and phone number. The best thing is that
it is free (besides regular text fee); much cheaper and faster than
dialing 411. Try it!! You'll be addicted and have to save it in your
"contacts" like me:)

Free Food!

It has gotten so expensive for us to eat out now that The Boy gets his own meal (which he usually doesn't even finish). I can only imagine feeding your family if you have 3 or 4 children along. We need to get better about picking places with free or discount kid's meals. I haven't tried all of these, but plan to. IHOP is always fun with the "Funny Face" Pancakes, and the Rib City meal is a turkey leg plus one side and a drink, you don't get to pick anything else there, but C still liked it. I got this list from my MOPS summer news letter. Leave a comment if you know of any others!!

Applebee's- $.99 Kids Night Wed. from 3p.m. to close, under 12 yrs.

Chic-fil-a- Family night every Tues. Kids eat 1/2 price w/purchase of regular price meal

Denny's- Kids 10 and under eat FREE w/purchase of adult entree, Tues. and Sat. 10-4

Famous Dave's- Kids 10 and under eat FREE all day Tues.

Garden of Eaten- Kids eat FREE after 4pm, Mon.-Thurs. w/purchase of adult meal

IHOP- FREE kid's meal w/purchase of adult entree Tues. after 4pm

Old Chicago- Kids eat FREE w/purchase of adult entree Tues. after 4pm

Rib City- Kids under 4 eat FREE w/purchase of adult entree

Bowling at GJ Scores

We took C bowling for the first time at GJ Scores last week. He absolutely loved it and we can't wait to take him again. GJ Scores is a very nice, newer facility, not the dark, smoky bowling alley's we have all come to despise.

We went on a Friday night and it was not crowded at all. We paid $19.00 for shoes (by the way, bowling shoes for a 3 year old...cutest thing ever!) and an hour of bowling for three people. We fit in two games and that was just long enough for us. I loved how their bumper system worked was all automatic, so the bumpers would only rise up when C's name came up. Then back down for Husband and I. They also put in names and get your turns all set up at the front desk, so you don't have the headache of dealing with those silly computers by the lanes.

GJ Scores also has video games, pool tables, and a wide variety of food and drinks for purchase. There are even wait-people standing by to take orders and bring your food! I know they do Birthday parties too. You can get more specifics from their website by clicking here.

With the ramp...

without the ramp!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Here We Go!

As a stay at home Mom, I feel like I have the very best job in the whole world. I love that I get to be with my kids every minute of every day. I love that I get to be there for all of the firsts, the ups and downs (literally) and that each day is wide open to make of it what we want. Sometimes that means staying home in our jammies all day to get the house in order, and sometimes we manage to get up and out the door by 9 a.m. (ok, 10 a.m.) to meet with friends or run errands.

Okay, so not all days are great and filled with that Mommy-hood bliss. Some days, and I won't lie, I feel like poking my eyes out, or screaming, or curling up in a ball on my bed, in the dark, or all of the above. Some days are just hard. Some days you just need to get OUT! (of the house that is). Every one's a little stir-crazy. And the amazing thing is, I can usually tell if it is going to be a day like that with the very first interaction of Mom to kid and/or kid to kid. I just know. It's those days especially, I feel like we are all happiest when we do get out and about.

But here is where the problem lies... we live in a fairly small town and sometimes I am just at a loss of what to do. I feel like we have so few options and we do them over and over. The park, the mall (and if you've been to our mall... well, I'll just say, it's nothing to get excited about. Not even a little), Walmart, and maybe a few little museums. So, you get the picture.

Now, I grew up outside of Denver, and recently lived in Phoenix for six years. Those are BIG cities. They have TONS to do. And sometimes I find myself moping around, wishing we lived in one or the other. We would never be bored! My kids would be happy and entertained all of the time! How wonderful! But we don't live there, so what's a Mom to do?

Well, I went and complained to MY Mom! That's right, I went up the totem pole looking for a little sympathy. And you know what she said? She said "Lindsay, you need to get out there and find any and every little thing to do with those kids." And she was totally right. I have never taken the time to dig around and see what this "Grand Valley" really has to offer for it's tiniest residents. I know there is more out there than the much anticipated weekly trip to Walmart.

So this blog begins my quest, my challenge, to get out there and find any and every little thing to do with my kids. I hope it will encourage other Grand Valley Moms to do the same, and allow those just passing through to experience the best of what this area has to offer for their littlest busy bodies.