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Jelly Beans, Mammoths, and Snow, Oh My!

It’s spring break here and as much as I’ve wanted to do fun things with my kids, I just don’t have the money to spend on entertainment.  Instead, we’ve gone to the library for movies, we’ve used gift cards to eat out at Sonic, and of course, there have been the family room camp-outs.

But yesterday, we did one of our favorite free things; we took a trip to the Jelly Belly factory in Pleasant Prairie, WI, which is about an hour from Chicago.

The Jelly Belly factory offers a free tour that shows you how Jelly Belly beans, taffy, and other candies are made.  Guests ride on little trains around the warehouse while watching interesting videos about the famous beans.

And the best part?  Everyone gets a sample bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans and a snazzy little hat to wear while on the tour.  (No, there’s no way on earth I’ll share the picture of me in the hat.)

The gang plus Austin's girlfriend

Jelly Belly makes some dis-gust-ing jelly beans!  You know how Jelly Bellies are so true-to-life?  Cherry tastes like cherry, pina colada tastes like pina colada, peach bellini tastes like a bellini.  Well, the same is true with pencil shavings, rotten egg, and canned dog food flavored beans.  These flavors, I’m convinced, were made for teenage boys who like to do stupid things to impress other teenage boys.  Case in point. . .

This is Jackson after popping a Canned Dog Food flavored Jelly Belly in his mouth.

This was Jackson as the flavor hit him.  The next picture was just a blur as he made a beeline for the garbage can.

Yeah, that was fun.

After we sampled a couple thousand candies, we made our way to tropical Kenosha.  Kenosha has a couple free museums right on the lakefront.  The Kenosha Public Museum and the Civil War Museum are small, but fun.  The kids love the Public Museum which houses a Woolly Mammoth fossil and a great hands-on room where kids can explore, do different learning activities, play, and run around like crazy in an attempt to get kicked out (that last one is optional).

“Hey, Mom!  That looks like you in the morning hee hee hoo hoo ha ha ha!”

I looked at my little funnyman, Clay, then turned to Austin.  “Feed him to the prehistoric fish,” I instructed.


So he did.

Savannah was attacked by a dinosaur, Clayton found a Beavecoon, and Brooklyn almost climbed into a Mammoth carcass.  We likely won’t be back there for a while.  It’s probably best to wait until the wanted posters with our pictures have been taken down.

After the museums, we usually like to walk around the lake and take a ride on Kenosha’s street cars which only cost a quarter for kids and fifty cents for adults.  However, since it’s spring break in Chicagoland, we didn’t get to do those fun summer-like activities.  Nope, we got snow instead.  And walking around a lake in thirty degree weather with snow and sleet is not fun, so we loaded up and headed home (after I did my traditional ‘getting lost’ detour, that is).

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun.  Go online and search your area for free activities you can do with your kids.  Then go get yourselves kicked out of some museums have yourselves some fun!

All the cool kids read Because I Said So.

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