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Playing Tourist at Home

We lived in Corpus Christi for 7 years, our kids don’t know what it is to be far away from the water.  Whether it was lazy afternoons with friends, spur of the moment trips that had the kids swimming in their clothes, or camping for birthdays; living by the water is something we didn’t quite take for granted, but we’re definitely missing now.

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We can no longer drop everything and be at the beach in 20 minutes, there won’t be any more spur of the moment trips to the beach, and while that saddens me there are so many wonderful places around Houston to discover and make new memories around.

We’ve decided to play tourist in our new city.  Playing tourist is a great way to learn more about where you live, as well as discover new places to play, eat, learn, and more.

We had lots of fun doing it in Corpus Christi by visiting places like The Selena Memorial – visiting the Selena Memorial gave us a chance to expose our kids to Tejano music, the story of an amazing young lady who followed her dreams, as well as talk about the sadness of her death and how much her life and death both had tremendous impact on a community.

We started playing tourist in Houston this past weekend by taking the kids to The Houston Zoo – I got online and researched coupons, printed one out and off we went.

We did the ultra tourist thing by visiting the gift shop where we all got hats to protect our faces from the Texas sun.

Princess and I got matching hats, and being the ultimate tourists – we took a picture and put it on Instagram.

matching hats at the zoo

After getting our hats, we walked around looking at the animals and listening to the zoo volunteers tell about their habitats and stories (it was pretty fascinating).

When we reached the elephants Princess informed us without looking at any signs that the elephants were Asian elephants, the zoo volunteer raised an eyebrow at her and asked her how she knew:  Princess replied “Their ears are smaller than African elephants ears”

What followed was a 5 minute discussion between the zoo volunteer and Princess about the differences between the elephant breeds -  how to tell males and females from each other, as well as how to tell which elephants are older.  Nathan and I were completely blown away by her knowledge and her confidence.  We looked at each other, the same thought going through both of our heads:  “how does she know this, and if we hadn’t come to the zoo today, would we have ever known she knew it?”

I realize how quickly they’re both growing up, how much influence the teachers at their school, and peers are having on them.  It struck me again how quickly childhood is passing us all by, and how much we need to take and savor each moment, make each moment count.

After we left the elephants and meandered around the zoo a bit longer we saw a sign that said “Feed The Giraffes”

We were there in a heartbeat.

Feeding Giraffes at the Houston Zoo

The awe in their eyes, the smiles on their faces – I am so grateful that we took the time to go to the zoo.  I am so thankful that we decided to play tourist in our new city.

We’ve decided that we need to pick at least one weekend day every month to play tourist.

Some of the things on our list to do are:

The kids, Nathan, and I are all excited to play tourist and learn more about our new surroundings, and possibly create new annual traditions for ourselves, and learn about great places to take our friends when they come visit, too!

Do y’all ever play tourist in your own city?  If you don’t, you should try it, just google things to do with families in (insert city here)

I’d love to hear about your adventures, and any tips or tricks y’all have!

 

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