Posted in Travel

Branson Ferris Wheel

Branson Ferris Wheel,

My family loves visiting Branson, MO and we have been doing so for a little over a decade.  We have seen most every show, and stayed in a handful of motels/hotels.   We have been so many times, that we even had the pleasure of watching Branson’s Ferris Wheel being built.  Each time we drove by it, a new sectio
n would be in place.  When it was completed, we were very excited to finally ride it.

My family arrived on the Thursday of our area’s Spring Break Week.  It is usually a very busy time for Branson.  However, the Ferris Wheel wasn’t crowded.  We walked almost immediately up to the ticket window.  After a picture against a green screen, we were led to the waiting queue.  The first thing I noticed is that the wheel doesn’t stop to load or unload passengers.  This is a huge time saver for when the crowds get heavy.

From the ground, the Ferris Wheel, in all it’s visual wonder against Branson’s topography, doesn’t look all that tall.  However, when you reach the pinnacle during the ride up, the view is amazing.  The Branson strip can be nearly viewed in its entirety.  The Ozarks visible in the panoramic distance show just how beautiful this part of the country truly is.

The ride took 7 to 7 1/2 minutes to complete the revolution.  When we were coming down to the loading dock, remember the wheel doesn’t stop unless to accommodate a guest, a stewardess asked if we would like another trip.  We happily said “yes”!  We were able to experience the ride for a second time for the same price as only one trip around.

At night the wheel lights up the Branson strip with over 16,000 LED lights that spin and dance many different colored lights that entertains the masses for free.  The lights of the wheel can be seen from great distances.

After our ride on the wheel, we learned from the website, linked here, that the wheel is only new to Branson, but not a brand new wheel.  The Ferris wheel was originally built in 1995 as part of the renovated Navy Pier.  It served as an attraction for 20 years before being sold.  The Ferris wheel has 40 gondolas that can hold up to 6 people each.  That brings the total number of total riders at its max capacity to 240.

Adults 12 and up pay $12.00 to ride.  Children 11 and under pay 8.00 to ride.  Toddlers 3 and under are free.

If you find yourself in Branson, MO and not sure what to do between shows or one more thing before retiring for the night at a local hotel or one last thing to do before driving home, my family highly recommends that you take a spin on the Branson Ferris wheel.

Posted in Kansas City, MO

Canned Food Donations- Kansas City Mall


Canned Food Display – Kansas City Mall


Last February, we spent the weekend in Kansas City and saw an example of an amazing can food drive.  The mall had an event where businesses created a display out of canned food that represented an object or character.  All food was donated to their local food bank.

But to get even more food donated, a contest occurred with all the displays competing to get votes. In order to win, people voted with… you guessed it can food!

It was an awesome idea.  I’m wondering if our classrooms in school could do something on our next canned food drive.  (On a much smaller scale though)




Posted in Fayetteville, AR, Travel

The Best Cupcakes… found in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Bliss, cupcakes, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Bliss Cupcakes from Fayetteville, Arkansas

While traveling, we came across this little gourmet cupcake cafe in Fayetteville, Arkansas called Bliss.  They were seriously some of the best cupcakes I have ever had in my life.  They were so good, I had to write an article about them!

You can sit inside the cafe or choose to take them on the road.  The small one in the middle is for our dog.  (Yes, they even make cupcakes for the four legged family members!)  Each day, the menu changes so if you ever get a chance to stop by, you may want to check their website located here.

Inside the box are 2 chocolate vegan cupcakes  located in the back (my son has food allergies and he absolutely thought these were amazing and the fact that they even had a cupcake he could eat made him super excited.)

In the middle to the right is a S’mores cupcake (a graham cracker cake with a marshmallow filling, chocolate frosting, a mini marshmallow, and a piece of chocolate on top.)  The one next to it is a gluten free Butterfinger cupcake (butterfinger cake infused with caramel and topped with a peanut butter frosting and chocolate drizzle plus more Butterfinger pieces on top)

On the bottom row,  a Caramel Fudge Brownie Cupcake (brownie topped with caramel cream cheese frosting, caramel drizzle, chocolate drizzle, and chopped pecans)  and a Cookie Dough Cupcake (vanilla Cake with cookie dough baked right in topped with vanilla frosting and a chocolate chip cookie)

Once back on the road, we began looking for other locations.  Apparently they have two locations in Fayetteville, one in Rogers AR, and one in Jonesboro AR but franchises available.  Hmmm……

Posted in Las Vegas, NV

Hershey’s Chocolate World- New York, New York in Las Vegas

On our last vacation, we found ourselves touring the sites of Las Vegas.  As we were walking, we discovered an amazing store called Hershey’s Chocolate World.  Their official site is located here. 

We  had no idea what to expect when we walked into this two story store.  It was floor to ceiling of sweetness and smelled of delicious chocolate!  One of my favorite parts was a Statue of Liberty that was made out of almost 800 pounds of chocolate.

Twizzlers, Hershey's Chocolate World, Las Vegas
Twizzlers had their own department!

Certain different candies had a whole department all by themselves.

Jolly Rancher, Hershey's Chocolate World, Las Vegas
Jolly Rancher area!









There are even whole walls devoted to Jolly Ranchers and Hershey Kisses!!! (An M&M Wall is located down the street at M&M World!)  You can buy all the flavors you like and pay for them by the bag or pound.  Other types of candy like Reese’s and Hershey Bars received whole rooms to themselves. (Be sure to check out the 5 pound chocolate bars!)   You can see better pictures of the Reese’s room and Hershey Kisses wall on their official site.

If you find yourself in Las Vegas or on a road trip, then I highly recommend this stop. It is definitely worth driving into town if you are nearby.   My only regret, and my children’s,  is that I didn’t have enough room in my suitcase to bring more candy home!


Posted in Las Vegas, NV, Travel

CSI: The Experience at MGM Grand in Las Vegas

This past June, my husband and I spent our 20th wedding anniversary in Las Vegas.  We had a great time and spent lots of hours touring attractions and visiting several shows.  One of the attractions that we toured was the CSI Experience in the MGM Grand.


This attraction, located on the second floor by the monorail,  was part of a deal that came from MGM Resorts international in which the buyer can get 3 attractions in Las Vegas for only $57.  (3 for $57 Link)  With normal prices being anywhere from $25-$40 a person, it was a great deal for us.

In the CSI Experience (unfortunately you can’t take pictures once inside), visitors are taken to a registration desk and allowed to don official CSI gear.  My husband and I chose the jackets that the actors were always wearing in the movies. It made us feel like we were really going onto the set!  Once attired in correct uniform, visitors are then assigned one of three cases and handed a clipboard with a worksheet and pen.  After a small wait (about 5 min or so), we were escorted into the viewing room where we met Gil Grissom and received our assignment for the night.

A wall separates each of the crime scenes, and once we had our case and scene, we were escorted to our new location. Our scene had a car crash through the house and we had to write down everything we noticed liked blood drops, pictures on the wall, and any clues that we thought were suspicious.  After about 5-10 min observing, we were then shown to the lab.

The lab was divided into stations like the show.  Stations like the fingerprint lab, DNA, trace, and even autopsy with Doc Robbins were a few that we encountered.  Each station was numbered to match our clipboard and we then began to get reports, run fingerprint analysis, study records, and draw conclusions to solve the case.  It was pretty awesome for the science geeks like us!  It took us about an hour or so to get through all the stations.

At the end, there are computers in which you can type up your findings.  If your report to Grissom is correct, then you are emailed a graduation certificate and offered to take photos.  (The certificate is free however the photos are not.)  At the end, there is a gift shop that sells magnets, show memorabilia and other fun science stuff.

I would highly recommend this attraction and if you find yourself in Las Vegas, you should check it out.  I know that we will definitely do it again with a different case the next time we are there.    Their official site is located here.  CSI: The Experience