Friday, July 29, 2016

Lake Stockton 2016

At the end of June, we packed up and took off for our annual lake trip. We went down on a Friday evening and got to stay an entire week and headed back on a Saturday afternoon.

It was such a fun trip! Nobody got their elbow dislocated or stuck their finger in an electrical socket, so I'm counting this our most successful summer vacation ever!

We had a wonderful week with lots of family time!

We played with leaves as big as our heads....

Ate plates of food as big as our heads........

Found funny masks at antique stores........

We spent countless hours on the boat, soaking up the sun and playing in the water!

We ate ice cream almost every night.....

 There was lots and lots and lots of fishing (the guys even got to go on a guided tour one day)....

And while the guys did their guided tour, us girls had our own fun.......

But eventually, Tessa caught the biggest fish of the trip!!

We chose one day to go do our own thing as a family and had the BEST time. Every time we go to Missouri, we see all of the signs for the Fantastic Caverns. We've always thought about it, but never gone until this year. It was so much fun!

 The insides of the cave were really neat.
 We especially liked the story of how the cave was discovered. A man was hunting one day with his dog and his dog chased a fox into a hole and didn't come back out. The man shimmied his way through the hole (which the guide said was probably only about 2-3 feet in diameter) and when he came out about 15 feet later, he was in the cave! It was in the mid 1800's. He kept the cave a secret until 5 years later. Then he put an ad in the newspaper asking for explorers and a group of TWELVE WOMEN volunteered to do the exploring! Isn't that awesome? I mean, think about it. No flash lights. No emergency crew with equipment standing by in case something goes wrong. NO clue of what was inside.

And the cave was HUGE. We only got to tour about one mile into it, but you could see that it went on and on and on. I love the idea that there are probably thousands of undiscovered caves in the world.

Those 12 women put their names on this rock.....

 We had such a good time in the caverns!

After that tour was over, we were debating going to the Wild Animal Safari. We looked online and it was expensive and a little ways away, but we decided to go ahead and do it. And we were SO. GLAD.

It's mostly a drive through park and you can either drive in your own vehicle (but then you can't feed the animals) or you can go on a bus with opened windows and you ARE able to feed animals.We decided to wait for the bus tour. While we were waiting, there was a little section right around the building that you could walk around and feed some of the animals.

We saw a pretty peacock that Tommy was determined to touch....
And these monkeys were SO cute! There were pipes connected to each pen and you could put food through them and the animals would catch it when it fell out. This monkey was hilarious--Tommy started just throwing fruit loops through the cage and the monkey would catch it mid air! Too cute.
And then we walked around the corner and I about lost my mind.
The giraffe was so accessible, I could literally hug it. AMAZING!! It was SO CLOSE. It's teeth and tongue were a little intimidating. As you can see, Tessa was a little leery........
After we fed the giraffe, it was time for the bus tour.

Our tour guide was hilarious and made it so much fun. It was only our family and one other couple that was there, so we had pretty much the whole bus to ourselves. There were no windows on it and she drove with the door open, so we got up close and personal with a lot of the animals! It was amazing!

That's Klepto the camel pictured below. She warned us that he likes to steal full bags of food and she was right.....he tried!
This guys horns were HUGE.

She had this bear trained to stand up when she told him to!

I don't have anything positive to say about this ostrich. I mean........the picture speaks for itself.

These animals were BEAUTIFUL. It felt like a movie watching them come up out of the ravine to the bus. Their antlers were amazing--they were so perfect, they looked plastic.

And then I flipped out again because I got to pet a zebra. What?!?

Super attractive.

All I could think of when I saw this guy was, "Home, home on the range........"

Look how velvety those antlers look!

 We had the BEST time on the safari. I'm so glad we decided to take the bus tour so we could feed the animals and spend so much time petting them. The kids LOVED it and we'll probably do it again next year. It was expensive, but worth every penny!
Overall, our trip this year was amazing! We got to spend a lot of time together with minimal drama and maximal relaxation. So it was a win.

I'll just end with this view here..........perfection.

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