Monday, July 19, 2010

Family Roadtrip Continues - Day 2

by Janis Brett Elspas

Spent another awesome day on the road today with the kids along I-40 and Route 66.  So far we've logged about 700 miles total for this roadrip and have driven in three states: California, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Our first stop Monday was Bearizona, a one-of-a-kind drive-thru wildlife park near Williams, Arizona (south of the Grand Canyon) right off Route 66.  They're not listed in the major travel guides yet, because they are brand new, currently having a "soft opening" this summer. This is a great time to try out the park, too, as Bearizona has discounted admission fees by 50% for their preview season this summer.  I'm told that they expect to have the official grand opening for the 2011 season..

Wait till you hear about Bearizona's most unusual format -- you drive your own car through some beautiful terrain that has been refashioned as enclosures that mimic the wild habitats of the park's residents, which currently include wild burros, Big Horn Sheep, North American Black Bears, Bison, Wolves and other exotic animals. They even have a pair of darling bear cubs named Kona and Coco as well as some wolf pups Little Thunder, Geronimo and Victorio that you can see really close-up once you are out of your car right next to the giftshop on your way out of the park. 

According to one Bearizona employee that my kids asked, all the adult animals in the drive-thru section were all raised in captivity so they are not aggressive.  We also learned none of the juvenilles was born here -- all the little ones are rescues from shelters for exotic animals.

Here you see my family and I at the beautifully landscaped visitor's center at the end of our drive through Bearizona. 

All I have to do is get my 14 year-old son who doubles as this blog's IT Director to show me how to use this new PC laptop and help me edit and post the pictures and video footage we got at this great family stop and I'll be adding some more pictures to this post.  My four teens can't stop talking about how much fun this stop was. 

It's only day two and already we've chalked up more stories to tell you about Route 66 than I'll have time to write about while traveling. So be sure to stay tuned as I talk about these fun experiences in future posts.  For sure, this historical highway has been fascinating both for me (a baby boomer) and my kids, who really enjoy old-fashioned things like black and white movies and vintage motels (and of course they love road trips, too, because it's in their genes). 

As for dear old mom, our stop earlier today in Winslow, Arizona was particularly thrilling for me as I was a college student in the 70s when The Eagles hit song "Standing On The Corner" was first released.  Pictured is how that landmark corner looks today, where Eagles music plays over the loud speaker at one of the town's shops, creating an atmosphere that is truly authentic. 

My kids did well getting into character for these shots, didn't they?

Till Tomorrow, Happy Trails from Gallup, New Mexico

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  1. I would love to travel on Route 66! Maybe one day. It is a little far from us but I know my son would love it. He would be looking for the cars from the movie "Cars" the entire time:) lol Looks like a lot of fun!

  2. Yes, my kids love the Cars association too! Actually you can pick and choose which segment(s) of Route 66 you travel on. Our family has driven various parts of the Mother Road before, but this is the most miles we have ever driven on it in a single summer. There are lots of great books you can borrow from the library and pretend to travel with you son, if you're not able to make the actual trip some day.

  3. That is a great idea!!! Thank you! My son always has us listen to the Cars soundtrack when we get on the highway and drive to my parents house. They live 2 hrs away and we love the drive. I could drive forever. So relaxing. Thanks for sharing!