I’m sure I’m not the only one who is dearly missing some trips away and going somewhere new. I cancelled a trip to Vegas in May, and more recently I also cancelled a long weekend away in Austin TX as COVID rates had been increasing.
However… I did decide to do something else! I had a look on Google maps and found a few things that are nearby to me and also outdoors that I could enjoy. It’s not quite Vegas, but the point of travelling is to experience something new and different – and there are plenty of things I hadn’t seen near me.
Here are a few of the ‘new’ things I checked out recently:
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
This is like safari in the middle of Texas. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is an endangered species research and conservation center near Glen Rose, Texas. The facility has over 1,000 animals from 50 species.
It was located an hour and a half’s drive from me and I went with a friend who also loves animals. We bought tickets in advance at $25 each and drove through the park to see many deer, zebra, mountain goats, and giraffes. It was a great photography opportunity too.
Interlochen Christmas lights
Interlochen is a local area to me in Arlington Texas famous for its Christmas lights. It’s a 40 year tradition and only open for about a week in December. There was a lot of traffic to drive in and through the neighborhood, but it was a nice and ‘safe’ evening trip from the comfort of the car. We saw a lot of different lights and it was great to enjoy other people’s serious efforts to decorate for the most wonderful time of the year!
Parr Park Painted Rock Trail
This find was definitely thanks to browsing on Google maps. It’s a section of a large forested park that displays hundreds of painted rocks. I was really pleasantly surprised by this – I expected to find a small patch of badly painted rocks, when in fact there were literally hundreds of painted rocks in many different styles. I went with an arty friend who actually enjoys painting rocks, and it was a good outing in fresh air and walking through the forest.
I had read through the reviews on Google and took the tip of parking close to the church with a parking lot, rather than the Google location that took us to someone’s house!
So, I’m not sure why this has four 5* reviews on Google, because I was completely underwhelmed when I found this! I followed the directions into a very residential area, parked the car, and wondered if I was at the right place. My friend stepped towards the little river and said she’d found it!
We spent about a minute laughing about this waterfall, then walked the path and bridge nearby. It was a nice day and a lovely neighborhood, and a good excuse for some exercise.
So there you have it! I am glad I took the opportunity to enjoy some of the attractions at my doorstep – they are easy to overlook. It’s not quite the travels I had in mind for this year, but at the end of the day, I was able to enjoy some new experiences and when I have good company, I always have a great time!
I wholeheartedly encourage you to explore what’s outdoors and close to you – whether it’s a local forest, lake, or tourist attraction. As tempting as it is to stay cooped up indoors, you’ll have more fun going outdoors, getting some exercise, and seeing something new, whether it’s by yourself or with some low-risk friends, family, or people in your household.