Welcome to GSOFamilies!

Welcome to GSOFamilies - the all-inclusive resource for families in the Greensboro, NC area. Any information shared on our website, twitter page, Facebook page, or Facebook group may also be included on our website! Please see a full listing of our social media and community groups here: http://www.gsofamilies.com/p/gsofamilies-social-media-and-community.html
We’re glad you’re here!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Guest Post: Tweetsie Railroad

Tweetsie Railroad

We frequently take our boys to Tweetsie Railroad.  They love the train and all the rides.  It’s a great place for kids of any age.

Tweetsie is just this side of Blowing Rock.  It takes us about two hours to get there so we usually leave fairly early.  You can enter the park after 3 and come back the next day with the same ticket if you’re not an early family.  I can’t remember the exact cost but it’s not that cheap.  The nice thing is that you only have to buy the one ticket.  The train and all the rides are included in the initial ticket cost.

Tweetsie Railroad (photo courtesy visitnc.com)

We usually start with the fair style rides at the middle rides section, Country Fair.  It has the go cart track, a ferris wheel, and lots of other rides.  By the time we ride all those rides, it’s about time for lunch.

We usually bring our lunch just to save a little money.  They’ve never stopped us or said anything about bringing in outside food and drink.  I usually just slip a cooler into my backpack so it’s easier to carry.  There are plenty of picnic tables and food places.  We have bought lunch in the park so we wouldn’t have so much to carry.  The food is good but, as you might image, a little expensive for burger and fries.  There is a great little ice cream shop near the train station too.

The train ride is a lot of fun.  If you’ve never been, the train is an antique steam engine.  It makes various stop along the tracks in the woods and actors perform little skits and shows.  Be aware that the characters do board the train but they just walk down the aisle.  It’s all cowboys and indians theme, of course.  There is a fair bit of adult humor in the shows but it’s over the kids’ heads.  They do shoot at each other but most of the shows end with the characters learning a lesson. Anyone who was “shot” stands up and waves as the train leaves so the kids know they weren’t really hurt. If you’re not crazy about the Wild West gun thing, go on the Day Out With Thomas; there are no guns that day.

We usually end with the Miner’s Mountain at the very top of the mountain.  You take a chair lift to get up there, although I think there is a path for wheel chairs and such.  I’ve seen a van before so they must have some sort of option for handicap visitors.  There is a playground, a deer park/petting zoo, and, my boy’s favorite, the mouse mine mini train ride.

There are also plenty of shows and indoor entertainment if you need a break.  We haven’t been to those in a while so I’m not really sure what they are like these days.  There’s also lots of shops and stores.  Everything is kid friendly.  They have fake horses and carriages in front of some of the stores that kids can climb on.  There’s also a giant teepee and some Native American pieces.

There is definitely enough to entertain the whole family all day.  If you decide to go, I do have a few recommendations.  If you go in the morning or in the fall, take a light jacket.  You will also want to bring sunglasses for the train ride.  Sometimes the coal dust drifts through the open train cars.  It won’t hurt you but it’s uncomfortable to get it in your eyes.  I highly recommend a baby carrier instead of a stroller for little ones.  Tweetsie is literally on the side of a mountain so it’s not the easiest place to maneuver a stroller.  They do have stroller rentals there if you change your mind after arriving.  They also have stroller parking areas by the train and the chair lift.  If you do use a baby carrier, you can front carry a child on the chair lift much easier than trying to hold onto a little one.  I’ve never been concerned about safety with my oldest (he was 3 at his first visit) on the chair lift.  It’s slow and the operator is there to help you get on and off.  I was glad to have the baby carrier on the chair lift when my youngest was still under a year old.

It’s great for entertaining kids of different ages.  There seems to be a little something for everyone.  My oldest is too big to ride the kiddie rides now but there are plenty of other rides he enjoys.  They have a lot of special events and things too.  Just be aware that those days are particularly crowded.  Day Out with Thomas was so slammed you had to pre-book your train ride time and I was very glad we brought our own lunch that day.  All in all, Tweetsie is a great family day trip.

Review submitted by Leslie Wannamaker, a local mom of two. Leslie is a highly qualified, certified instructor offering tutorial to students 8th grade-college in Language Arts, SAT/ACT prep, study skills, and more. Visit her pages at https://plus.google.com/+MrsWannamakersTutorialGreensboro and https://www.facebook.com/wannamakerstutorial

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Guest Post: SkyWild Ropes Course at the Greensboro Science Center

 Ropes Course at the Greensboro Science Center 

We were privileged to be included in the friends and family day at SkyWild before the grand opening on May 2. I’ve never been on a ropes course or zip lining so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. It was amazing!

My husband said it was the closest he could come to being a kid on playground and I have to agree. It was challenging but not necessarily in the way I was expecting. Many of the elements and obstacles were more about problem solving and balance than they were about strength and physical fitness. Sometimes the hardest part was figuring out whether to grab or step first.

SkyWild Ropes Course at Greensboro Science Center

It is on the pricey side at $46, but they offer a lot of discount options. Your ticket covers two hours so just think of it as $20 an hour. I know there are other courses in the area but I love, love, love that this one is the shade! The day we went it began to rain but it wasn’t that bad because of the trees. (They don’t close for rain, just lightning.) You’re climbing right beside all the animal enclosures and you’re under a thick tree canopy almost the entire time. It was really fun to be pulling yourself across on a surfboard while looking down into the tiger enclosure (no, it’s not close enough for you to fall in). 

If you’re wondering if you are in good enough shape to complete the course, don’t worry; there’s always a way to “cheat.” For instance, there is one stretch with monkey bars. I do not have the upper body strength for that distance but there is a second option to walk a tight rope instead. I also saw a few people who felt stuck on some of the most difficult elements and they simply sat down in their harness and pulled themselves across zip line style.

The harness goes around your waist and legs just like a zip line harness but it also comes up over your shoulders. You are clipped into a tether at the front near your waist. The tether is attached to a cable running just above you through the ropes course. If you were to fall, your bottom would stop where your knee or calf had been when you were standing. There are some zip line sections and you simply sit down and slide across (or, my personal favorite, you slide down a short slide off the side of a tall platform at the start of the zip line). At first, the harness is a pain but by the end I was comfortable with it. They say to wear harness appropriate clothing. I highly recommend against wearing jeans! A few guys in our group wore jeans and were not very comfortable. Athletic or yoga pants worked much better. Ladies, you will want to take out your earrings too (or put in a simple stud). The helmet strap comes down right under the ear so anything dangling will be uncomfortable. 

Remember you can’t have anything in your pockets so I strongly recommend leaving everything in your car or at home. They have “lockers” but it’s just a plastic bucket with a lid and lock hanging on a fence. It’s fine for holding your wallet or keys but it’s not going to hold a lot. If it’s raining or a hot day, you probably won’t want to leave your phone in it either.

All in all it was a great day. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The courses were challenging but still fun. With three different difficulty levels and multiple paths per level, it’s easy to pick and choose which elements you want to try and which you want to avoid. We can’t wait to go back!

Visit http://greensboroscience.org for more information on the Greensboro Science Center
Visit http://www.skywild.org for more information on SkyWild

Review submitted by Leslie Wannamaker, a local mom of two. Leslie is a highly qualified, certified instructor offering tutorial to students 8th grade-college in Language Arts, SAT/ACT prep, study skills, and more. Visit her pages at https://plus.google.com/+MrsWannamakersTutorialGreensboro and https://www.facebook.com/wannamakerstutorial

Featured Business

Featured Business
Clean your home faster, with better results & fewer chemicals, for less money!