There are times when a family day is really needed. A day away from the house that doesn't require massive shopping or a strict agenda. Yesterday was just such a day.
Just to let you know - I don't have pictures. We snapped a few shots with our phones, but I didn't have the camera. So, this will be word pictures!
The intention was to head to North Little Rock, do a little fun shopping, have some lunch, and just do whatever we felt like doing. What the kids and I didn't realize was that my wonderful hubby had some secret plans in mind! We first got wind of his thoughts when he veered from our usual path through Pine Bluff to Little Rock. He had researched a scenic route.
The first sight on the route was a lock system on the Arkansas River. In school we had just finished reading Paddle to the Sea by Holling Clancy Holling. One of the adventures in the book was traveling through a lock. None of us had ever seen one in person, though, so it was awesome to have that opportunity! When we crossed the bridge, we saw that a barge had just emerged from the lock. For the rest of the day, Steven couldn't wait to get back to the lock and see it one more time!
Next, shortly before we reached North Little Rock, we stopped in at Toltec Mounds. It excited me to no end to hear the kids' excitement when we pulled in to the parking lot. "You mean, we get to go to a museum today?!" We thought the rain was going to prevent us from walking around the mound area, but it stopped while we were looking around inside. So, we headed on outside for an enjoyable walk in the steady spring breeze.
Seeing the existing mounds and the markers for the mounds no longer visible was fun, but a couple of other things were even more exciting. First, a C-130 from LRAFB flew overhead during our walk. Pop Pop (Doug's dad) was a C-130 navigator in the Air Force, so the kids always love it whenever they see one flying overhead. The whole walk came to a screeching halt while we watched the C-130 until it flew out of sight.
Then, about halfway through the trail, we ended up on a walking bridge. In the water below us, we began to notice turtles coming in toward the bridge. There was a little vending container holding food for the turtles, so we all filled our hands and began tossing pellets out toward the two or three turtles. Before we knew it, turtle heads began to pop up all over the place! Before we left, we saw between six and eight different turtles, all swimming in to be fed!
After leaving Toltec Mounds we headed on in to NLR, enjoyed some Whole Hog Cafe bbq for lunch, and then went to shop at Target. The girls are saving their money for their own digital cameras, but they decided they needed to spend a little of what they were saving on wallets for safekeeping of their money. They were so proud to carry their own cash to the registers and pay all on their own. The cashier, however, wasn't too sure about it all - I don't think he knew how to handle two young girls coming to handle everything on their own!
After a couple of necessary stops (we can't go to the Little Rock area without taking care of at least a little bit of business), we made one last treat stop at Starbucks and then headed home. On the way home, we pulled off at a little park on the Arkansas River to get a good look at the lock.
It was a fantastic, relaxing, and wonderful day! Some days, those are exactly what the doctor ordered!