Walt Disney Family Museum

Basic Information:

Address: 104 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94129

Telephone: 415.345.6800

Website: http://waltdisney.org

Fees: Adults ($25), Seniors ($20), Youth ($15), Children 5 and under are free

Parking is free.

Walt Disney Family Museum: 

The Walt Disney Family Museum is located within the Presidio National Park on the tip of San Francisco peninsula.  The Presidio of San Francisco is a former US Army base; since its closure in 1994 it has been transformed into a national park.

While visiting Presidio Park is worth your time, make sure you put aside time to visit The Walt Disney Family Museum.  The museum is not affiliated with Disney Enterprises.  It was established by Diane Disney Miller, in an effort to document the life and accomplishments of her father – Walt Disney.  The museum first exhibited the artifacts of the Disney family beginning in 2012 and officially was renamed to Walt Disney Family Museum in March 2014.

The museum hosts a number of family artifacts, including the Oscars Walt Disney received for his movies (including the one for Snow White).


The site also exhibits some of the props used in the old TV shows and movies.  You can see the saddle used in the TV Show Zorro.  Amongst other artifacts that provided a glimpse into Walt Disney include photos with actors and artists that worked with him. There is a very cool detailed miniature of Disneyland that was shown to potential investors.

Finally, the museum offers a number of exhibits throughout the year.  They include everything from the Walt’s love for trains to young animators movie festival.  Make sure you check out their website for the latest information and exhibits.

The Neon Museum

Basic Information:

Address: 770 Las Vegas Blvd North, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Telephone: 702.387.6366

Website: http://www.neonmuseum.org

Fees: Day Tours $15 to $19 / Night Tours $22 to $26

Parking is free.

Neon Museum Tour: 


Did you ever wonder what happened to the old neon signs of Las Vegas?  Where did they go once they were retired from the strip?  You can now find them here at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. The old (some very) and the newer signs are all stacked around this lot.  The museum restores these signs to full glory.  At night for the tours, they turn on neon lights and remind us all of the magic that used to be Las Vegas.  As you get closer to the museum keep an eye out for the restored signs that they have put back on the streets.  They can be seen in their full glory at night when the lights have been turned on.


The museum opened in 2012, with newly two acres of land to exhibit these now “retired” neon signs. Currently 11 of the signs are fully restored, however there are a number of signs available for your viewing pleasure.


The tours are guided and they provide the history of neon lights in Las Vegas as well as provide some information about the signs that are currently housed and showcased on the lot. Tours will take roughly an hour, but you will have more time to take photos of the signs.

The museum is a great place to get a bit of history of Las Vegas.

Tillamook Factory Tour

Basic Information:

Address: 4175 Highway 101 North, Tillamook, OR 97141

Telephone: 800.542.7290

Website: https://www.tillamook.com/cheese-factory/index.html 

Fees: Free 

Parking is free.


Tillamook Factory Tour: 

Walking through your grocery store’s dairy section, you may have come across the Tillamook Cheeses. Or perhaps you ran into their various flavored ice creams in the ice cream isle.  But either way, if you have tried their products, you should have become a fan of them. You may have even wondered what their story is.

Tillamook is a Co-op business. This means that the farmers that help produce the products are the owners of the company.  The profits from the company are used to help the farmers and provide support for the families that live and work there.  The company got its start in 1894 when the famous cheese maker Peter McIntosh brought his expertise to Tillamook County and started making cheddar cheese. Tillamook still uses the same recipe for their cheddar cheese.

Now on to the good stuff.  When visiting the Tillamook Factory – the tour is a free experience.  It is a self guided factory tour and you can take your time visiting the various locations around the factory.  It is a pretty easy layout and you will have ample time to visit each corner.  Make sure you visit the second story where you get a glimpse of the cheese factory floor.  It is amazing watching these large blocks of cheese come off the line.


After visiting the factory floor and production line, you will need to get in line and sample the various cheese flavors that is produced at the factory.  Then of course you will need to follow that up with one or four scoops of ice cream. There is a restaurant at the factory in which you can grab a meal (Breakfast or lunch).


Currently the visitors center is being rebuilt and should be ready by 2018.  However, the factory floor and tasting stations are still operating and available for visitors.

Skunk Train

Basic Information:

Boarding Locations: 

Fort Bragg:  100 W Laurel St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Willits:  299 E Commercial St, Willits, CA 95490

Telephone: 707.964.6371

Website: https://www.skunktrain.com 

Fares:  They vary depending on Start/End Location:

Fort Bragg (1 Hour Roundtrip):  Adults $25, Children (2 to 12) $15

Willits  (4 Hours Roundtrip):  Adults $84, Children (2 to 12) $42

Willits (5 Hours Roundtrip – includes BBQ Dinner):  Adults $109, Children (2 – 12) $67

Parking is free.


Skunk Train 

One of the most scenic areas of California are the Redwoods in the Northern part of the state.  There are a number of ways you can enjoy these great outdoors; from camping to visiting national parks.  But there is one unique way, you and your family can really enjoy the Redwoods.

Located in the Mendocino area of Northern California, you can ride the Skunk Train through the beautiful landscape.  The Skunk Train uses the “Redwood Route” that was created in 1885 by Charles R. Johnson and was used as a logging railroad.  Today the historic train will travel through the forest and allows the passengers experience the beauty of the forest through open air car or enclosed cabins.

The Skunk Train can be boarded from two different locations.  Fort Bragg and Willits provide the starting points, but the trips vary.  The trips from Willits tend to run longer and will cost more than Fort Bragg.  However, the longer trips allow for additional activities such as BBQ in the middle of the Redwoods stop.

Currently the Skunk Train runs a few special event trips as well.  They have The Magical Christmas Train (leaving from Willits – 90 Minutes; and Fort Bragg – 60 Minutes).  This experience will take guests through storybook wonderland, with servings of cookies and hot chocolate (with souvenir cup you can keep).  Oh and a visit by Santa Clause! Please check with the site for pricing.

If you enjoy nature and outdoors, then you must try the Skunk Train.  It is an experience that you and your family will remember for a very long time.

Autry Museum of the American West

Basic Information: 

Address: 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462
Located northeast of downtown, across from the Los Angeles Zoo

Telephone: 323.667.2000

Website: https://theautry.org

Admission: $14 (Adults), $10 (Seniors), $6 (Children 3 – 12), Free (Kids under 3).

Parking is free.


Autry Museum of the American West 

Located within Griffith Park; Autry Museum focuses on the history of people of the American West. The Museum was founded in 1988 by Gene Autry and his wife; and in 2002 it merged with the Women of the West a non-profit organization.  The Museum exhibits include art gallery of the West; as well as Native Americans that lived in these regions.

There are a number of exhibits at this museum, one focuses for the fans of the Western Movie genre called the Imagination Gallery.

For kids of all ages, there is a Play exhibit that show cases the evolution of toys throughout the ages.  We found a number of toys that reminded us of our childhood.

The museum also has a large art of the West exhibit.  The paintings and sculptures reflect the Western landscape and its beauty.

In addition, the Journey’s Exhibit shows artifacts from the West.


There are a number of traveling exhibits at the museum, so be sure to check their site for the latest news and events.

The museum is fun for kids of all ages as there is something to explore for everyone.

Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum

Basic Information: 

Address: 9201 Balloon Museum Dr. NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87113

Telephone:  505.768.6020

Link: http://www.balloonmuseum.com

Admission: $4 (Adults), $2 (Seniors), $1 (Children 4 – 12), Free (Kids 3 and under).

Parking is free.


Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum: 

Hot Air Balloons are a serious thing at the Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum.  At first site, one wonders how many exhibits can they possible be hosting at this location?  Well the answer is surprisingly a lot!


A day at the museum will provide you with exposure to the evolution of hot air balloons. There are exhibits that show the science behind the hot air balloons.

There is an exhibit around how hot air balloons were used during times of war; from Civil War to WWII.  The historic arctic exploration and how the explorers utilized hot air balloons also get their own little corner.


There is even an area where kids (and adults) will get hands on experience with hot air balloons.

Excited yet?  There is even more fun ahead.  If you visit the museum early in the day, there are daily balloon rides!

There is even better news if you love hot air balloons.  During the month of October, for one week there is a Hot Air Balloon Festival (in 2017 it happened October 7 – 15).  If you are interested in attending, visit Balloon Fiesta for the 2018 event (October 6 – 14).


Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival should be on list of places to visit with the family.  It is an unforgettable excursion.

Palm Springs Air Museum

Basic Information: 

Address: 745 N Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Link: https://palmspringsairmuseum.org

Admission: $17 (Adults), $15 (Seniors), $15 (Children 13 – 17), $10 (Kids 6 – 12).

Note:  Family Plans are available $37 or $47 depending on age of children (Please check on their website)

Parking is free.

Palm Springs Air Museum: 

With Veteran’s Day fast approaching (November 11), it is a good opportunity to expose kids to the sacrifices our veterans have made.  But to educate kids while keeping their interest is the big challenge.

Palm Springs Air Museum will help you reach those goals with ease.  The museum is located by the Palm Springs International Airport.  It occupies, two large hangers and has  the largest collection of flyable planes from WWII.  IMG_3882

The collection of aircraft is not only from WWII, but also includes a number of marvelous planes from Korean conflict and Vietnam.

The museum allows up close interaction of planes, including the ability to go inside a B-17 Bomber (or the flying fortress).

Excited yet?  But wait there is more!  There are a number of model airplanes on display as well!


There are a number of well informed volunteers that can guide and help you navigate the large collection.  Through out the year, there are a number of programs and special programs, so make sure you check their website for the latest events.

We would highly recommend Palm Springs Air Museum for your next visit.


Location:  St. Helens, Oregon

Website:  http://discovercolumbiacounty.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Halloweentown.OR/


With Halloween around the corner, many of you will come across the movie Halloweentown on the Disney Channel.  If you are not familiar with the 1998 Halloweentown movie, then all you need to know is that there is a town of supernatural beings.  Oh and Debbie Reynolds is in it.


But there is good news here!  Halloweentown is an actual city!  St. Helens, Oregon is the location the movie was filmed on.  But it gets better!  During the month of October, the city preps for the festivities with decorations around the town.

If simple trick or treating is not for your family or you want a nice change from the normal activities of Halloween, a visit to St. Helens might be a perfect choice.  The city has weekend festivals which will require purchasing of tickets; however, the cost is about $3 (Adults) and $1 (Kids) are not prohibitive.

St. Helens, Oregon is a fun place to visit during Halloween time, but the place is popular so make sure you book your travel plans in advance.

Explore Las Vegas with Kids

Las Vegas is known for being an entertainment world for adults.  However, there are plenty of places to explore within the city with your kids!

This guide book, provides over 30 destinations in Las Vegas that families can explore with their kids.


Check out museums, national parks, city sites, parks and more!

You can purchase your own copy of this guid on Kindle here.


The story of Dippy the Dinosaur 

In 1898 Andrew Carnegie was reading a newspaper and came across an article about a paleontologist that had discovered the largest dinosaur skeletons of the time.  Carnegie had just built his Natural History Museum in Pittsburg and wanted the bones for his museum.

Carnegie then charged the Director of Museum Dr. Holland to hire Bill Reed (the fossil finder of the dinosaur) and began their trek in Wyoming for additional dinosaurs for the Pittsburg museum. Dr. Holland hired paleontologist named Dr. Jacob Wortman to lead the additional efforts.

The discovery of the fossils happened on July 4, 1899 in Wyoming. The discovery of the fossils was news worthy as it was nearly a complete fossil skeleton of Diplodocus.  It was also the longest dinosaur ever found. A team member Arthur Coggeshall joked that they should call it “Star-Spangled Dinosaur” since it was found on July 4th.  The skeleton was shipped to Carnegie museum in Pittsburg.

Andrew Carnegie’s friends, however, called it “Dippy” when it first debut to the public in 1907.  The name stuck ever since.

Carnegie had a sketch of Dippy hanging at his Skibo Castle in Scotland.  During a trip to the castle, King Edward VII saw the sketch and asked for a copy of the dinosaur to be created for the London Natural History Museum.

The plaster was created and shipped in 36 crates to London and was put on display at the London Natural History Museum in 1905.

In total there were 10 replicas created and gifted to various museums around the world, including National Science Museum in Madrid, Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt and Museum of Natural History Chicago.

This year after 112 years on display “Dippy” will be leaving the London Natural History museum and will go on a farewell tour around UK.  The replacement for Dippy will be a Blue Whale.

In 1999, a fiberglass version of Dippy was created and placed in front of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Additional Reading: 

Dippy’s Farewell tour: 


Carnegie Museum of Natural History – Dippy’s Story:


Dippy the Star-Spangled Dinosaur: