Search This Blog

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Kevin Goes to the Atlanta Aquarium

Kevin Visits Atlanta’s Awesome Aquarium

What is this strange looking sea creature? Is it a sea monster? Does it live in the ocean? See the answer below. 

When Miss Janet and I walked into this underwater wonderland, I loved seeing the sea life!  This isn’t just one fish tank but many habitats for many types of sea creatures. 

We saw cold water species including penguins.

We can arrange a birthday party at the aqarium or an overnight stay by reservation. Wouldn’t that be fun? 

We saw fish found in Georgia’s warm coastal waters.

We walked through an underwater tunnel while turtles, sharks and other aquatic creatures swam over us.

We saw wonderful 3D and even 4D movies.

We watched while real divers swam on real coral reefs. 

I don’t know what I liked best, the lovable sea otters and dolphins or the scary sharks. 

If You Go
For more information: (404)581-4000,  See the Kids Corner for computer games and puzzles. For general Atlanta tourism information, (800) ATLANTA, www,
Where to stay: Some Atlanta hotels offer Georgia Aquarium packages.  
Insider tips: A security checkpoint screens for chewing gum, knives, fishing gear and other prohibited items. The Aquarium is wheelchair/stroller accessible. Rental wheelchairs are available.

Answer: Above you see a manatee, a fresh water creature that eats aquatic plants and other vegetable matter. 

See Miss Janet's recipes for healthy, homemade pocket snacks to have on hand for hungry kids when you're on the go.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Kevin Goes to the Mobile (Alabama) Carnival Museum

Kevin Goes to the Carnival Museum

    Kevin loves parades, costumes, parties and the traditions of Mardi Gras. That’s why he couldn’t wait to see  the Mobile Carnival Museum in Mobile, Alabama, the city that has been celebrating Mardi Gras since 1703.

    In fact, Mobile is where America’s Mardi Gras traditions were born.

    As an SATW traveling teddy bear, Kevin goes everywhere with his bearer, travelwriter Janet Groene. When they learned that Mobile has one of the country’s largest and finest collections of Mardi Gras gowns and robes they walked down scenic Government Street to the elegant mansion that is now a showplace of dazzling costumes. 

Would you like to be the king of Mardi Gras?

Kevin especially liked the children's costumes,

    Families in Mobile work all year to create elaborate floats, plan extravagant formal balls and sew millions of sparkling gems and sequins on miles of satin and velvet. When the day arrives, Mardi Gras kings, queens and their courts ride through the city while onlookers reach out for the doubloons and Moonpies thrown down from the floats. At the museum, Kevin saw a film about Mardi Gras, climbed on a float and saw regal robes that took his breath away.

Would you like to be a king or queen and wear a grand train like this one?

Would you like to visit? Learn about the Mobile Carnival Museum at

Monday, February 6, 2017

Kevin Goes to the Grand Canyon

Kevin Rides the Rails to the
Rim of the Grand Canyon

When he goes to the Grand Canyon, Kevin carries his own backback.
Before boarding the train, Kevin saw a Wild West show.
With the shriek of a steam whistle, Kevin and Miss Janet left for the Grand Canyon by train.  We were sent off with a rousing cheer from cowboys and fancy ladies and, on the way back, we pretended to be scared when our car was boarded by train robbers

 Instead of long waits at the Grand Canyon National Park entrance in a camper or car, train passengers are delivered right to the rim of the awesome Grand Canyon.

 The train trip begins in Williams, Arizona, about 125 miles north of Phoenix.  Part of the fun is staying in the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel at the rail depot  in Williams before and after the trip .  We had a big Depot breakfast, then saw a free wild west show before boarding the train.  

 While we enjoyed the passing scenery, we nibbled at complimentary fruit, cheeses, crackers and beverages until the train arrived at the rim just before lunch time.  Within walking distance of the rails are restaurants, scenic overlooks , shopping at the historic Hopi House, a place where Indian artists lived in the old days and place to board the shuttle buses that take people around the park. .

 Shuttle buses make it easy to hop off and on, stopping throughout the park for a short hike,  photo op,  ice cream cone, a program presented by a park ranger.

Kevin Says:
 For more information: Go to, (800) THE-TRAIN.  Many options are available: three classes of rail cars, hotel add-ons in both Williams and in Grand Canyon National Park for one or more days, an RV package (leave the RV in Williams and ride the train) and much more. During winter holidays The Polar Express, based on the timeless movie,  rides these rails.

 Tipping: Have a few dollars ready for the “train robbers,” who are the same actors seen in the pre-train show. They’re cheerful hombres, willing to pose for your camera.

  Safety concerns: many edges of the Grand Canyon have no  rails. Maintain close watch on each other. Squirrels in the park can bite. Don’t feed or approach them. Carry plenty of water. Know your limits. Follow rules. Cell phones don’t work in many areas here. Rescue may be slow or unavailable.

Janet Groene develops healthy trail mix recipes to make at home, then package for the pocket or backpack. See Create A Gorp.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Kevin Likes Florida Butterflies

blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To ask about rates to place an ad or sponsor a post email

See more news of family-friendly events at

Kevin Learns About Butterflies
        I see butterflies where I live. Do you see butterflies where you live?

        Around the world there are thousands of colors and sizes of butterflies and many,  many places where you can see them in a shelter called a conservatory. Is there a butterfly conservatory in your state?

We like the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory in Key West, Florida and Butterfly World in in Fort Lauderdale.  I hope you can see them someday. 
In our travels Miss Janet and I learn a lot about butterflies.

    * Butterflies and moths belong to a family called Lepidoptera.  Can you say lep-a-DOP-tra?    
    * A butterfly starts out as an egg.  Eggs are laid on a leaf or stem that the larva can eat when it comes out of the egg.

    * When the egg hatches it is a caterpillar, also called the larva stage. It may be pretty or it may look like a yucky,  fat worm. It may also be very destructive to the garden. It’s a hungry new worm and it needs a lot of food. If it eats weeds, that’s good. If it eats your mother’s garden or your dad’s wool  sweater,  that’s not so good. The larva grows so fast it keeps shedding its skin and growing a new one.  It may get four new skins. 

    * Next the larva forms a hard shell where it will hide until it’s ready to be a butterfly. This is called the chrysalis (CRISS-a-liss)  or the pupa. It may stay inside this shell for weeks, months or even over the entire winter.

    * When the time comes for a butterfly to come out of its pupa, it flies away to find food and then it looks for a mate. During its short life it will find a husband or wife.  They will create more eggs to make more butterflies. 

       * In butterfly conservatories we see butterflies, eggs, larva and pupas.

    Miss Janet and I love butterflies. It is exciting to see them fly free in a conservatory. Love, Kevin

See five best Florida Keys resorts for families with kids at 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Traveling Teddy Bear Tells Kids about Camping North Florida

blog copyright janet groene.

Kevin Camps the Florida Panhandle

Kevin Camps the Florida Panhandle
by Janet Groene

       Campers love the famous Emerald Coast beaches and dunes between Pensacola and Panama City Beach.  Enjoy campfire evenings and breezy days that are ideal for kite flying and other active sports. 

Camping Options
    Commercial campgrounds range from bare-bones trailer parks to destination resorts with golf, shuffleboard, heated swimming pools, planned activities, game rooms and full hook-ups for RV’s. Some have cabins or on-site RV rentals for those  who don’t have their own tents or  campers.  Campsites in commercial campgrounds are usually smaller and costlier than in state parks, but longer stays are permitted.

    Florida state parks in the Panhandle that offer camping (two week limit)  include Big Lagoon, Pensacola; Blackwater River (inland at Holt, Florida); Dr. Julian Bruce/St. George Island; Falling Waters (inland at Chipley FL); Florida Caverns (up-country at Marianna); Rocky Bayou at Niceville; Grayton Beach at Santa Rosa Beach; Henderson Beach State Park, Destin; Perdido Key, Pensacola; St. Andrews, Panama City; .H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Port St. Joe; and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Santa Rosa Beach.


 Panama City Beach is known for nonstop beach fun. Water parks  are closed until late April, but everything else is go-go going full blast.     
    Pensacola is the home of the world’s largest collection of naval warbirds. Kids love the
National Naval Aviation Museum. It’s the ideal place to spend a chilly day, but don’t miss the eye-popping outdoor displays too.  We learned a lot about American history in the city of Pensacola, which was actually settled by the Spanish before St. Augustine. See museums and historic homes.
    Spend long days at the sprawling Gulf Shores National Seashore. See  Fort Pickens and, if time allows. Fort Barrancas. Brick forts built before the Civil War, they have a fascinating history from the Indian Wars era into World War II..  Gulf shores here are a bonanza for bird watchers during fall and early spring migrations.
    For more information: Florida State Parks,

See Janet Groene’s recipes for camping and RV travel at CampAndRVCook. Her recipes for healthy, homemade trail mix and snacks are found at CreateAGorp.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Teddy Bear Visits Tennessee's Davy Crockett Country

top: This is Davy Crockett country
middle: See prehistoric fossils
below: fish, camp, explore

The whole family will love....
Tennessee’s Davy Crockett Country
copyright Janet Groene
    Melting snows flow from cold mountaintops to form the Nolichucky River, where John Crockett built a log cabin soon after the Revolutionary War.  When his son Davy was born here in 1786,  Northeast Tennessee was still a wild frontier, but settlers had been trickling in since 1775 when Daniel Boone blazed the Wilderness Trail from Virginia to central Kentucky.

    Come explore rugged  hills and introduce your family to unspoiled natural sites,  historic treasures, country music shrines,  fly fishing, NASCAR races and one of the nation’s most exciting archeological digs.

    This pie-shaped wedge east of Knoxville is bounded to the south by the Appalachian Mountains and to the north by the Virginia border. Interstate 81 is faster but the back roads bring you to the best sites.  Stay in a cabin or campsite in one of the state parks, an historic  inn, or an economical chain motel. 

    Here’s a sampling of sightseeing highlights in the hills where Crocket was “king of the wild frontier” and where, much earlier, Daniel Boone carved on a tree that he “kilt a bar on this site.” It’s still here. See if you can find it. 

     The Appalachian Trail traverses this part of Tennessee. Hike local sections  or start here for a major hike north to Maine or South to Georgia.
    Bristol. The Virginia-Tennessee state line runs down the middle of State Street. Walk the historic shopping district to see a farmer’s market where concerts are held often, the restored 1930s movie palace,  monuments galore and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.
    Bristol Motor Speedway is open every day. Visit the museum and gift shop. Walk the race course or catch a ride in a pace car . Bristol Dragway is next door.
    Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park, Limestone, has a museum and a replica of the cabin where Crockett was born. Fish for bass, crappie, bluegill, redeye and catfish.
    Exchange Place, Kingsport it was a stagecoach stop on the Wilderness Road in the
1850s.  See real homesteads, the original general store and post office, and the schoolhouse.     Fly fishing, Johnson City area. Fish the Holston and Nolichucky rivers, Watauga Lake, and countless tail waters and little-known streams.
    Gray Fossil Site. South of Kingsport, see an amazing find of prehistoric bones. Discovered in 2001, the ancient sinkhole has already yielded a complete rhino family, tapirs, camels, a three-toed horse, an elephant and much more.
    Greenville. Stroll the historic downtown with its quaint shops and old homes. A cannonball from one Civil War skirmish can  be seen in the church near the Inn.
    Sycamore Shoals State Park, Elizabethton. Bring a picnic and come here for a history lesson. Under the British, colonists were forbidden to settle west of the Appalachians but defiant Over Mountain Men not only homesteaded here, they beat the British at the Battle of King’s Mountain in South Carolina.
 If You Go
    For more information: Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, (www.)  Order a Tennessee guidebook here.

See Janet Groene's easy recipes for camping, boating, RV travel at

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sleeping Solutions for Traveling Tots

10 Sleep Tips for Travel with Tots
    Can’t get your little one to sleep when you’re away from home? Here are tips for your own toddlers and teddy bears from Dr. Rebecca Kempton, M.D. a certified infant and toddler sleep consultant. 
    1. Travel during sleep time but try to be at your destination by the usual bedtime.
    2. Think ahead about sleeping conditions. Many hotel suites have a pull-out sofa or crib.
“Extra sleeping space makes for a more relaxed time for everyone,” says Dr. Kempton.
    3. Buy, rent or reserve the beds you’ll need or ask family members to borrow a crib for you. Call a hotel in advance. Portable options for car travel include travel beds or sleeping bags.
    4. Do practice runs. If you take your own travel bed, allow the child to sleep in it a few nights before you leave home, to get used to it.
    5. Take along sleep accessories. Dr. Kempton suggests a white noise app, favorite stuffed animal and/or familiar sheets.
    6. Re-create bedtime routines such as the regular bath, books or songs.
    7. Squeeze in naps as much as possible. Take advantage of a midday siesta yourself too.
    8. Anticipate time differences. Move schedules into the new time zone as soon as possible or, if you’re traveling for just a few days, it’s sometimes easier to stay on your home time, the doctor observes.
    9. Break some rules and have fun. Don’t stress out about sleep habits on vacation.
    10. Get back on track as soon as you get home. Don’t bring home bad habits such as staying up late to eat popcorn at Grandma’s. “It might take a few days and a few tears,” Dr. Kempton warns.

See Janet Groene's easy recipes for healthful, homemade travel snacks, gorp and trail mix at Create A Gorp.