Sunday, October 3, 2010

Family Friendly Free-bees - Missouri

By PatsyI have decided to add a small
feature t
o this blog. As we travel through the US, I will be on a mission to find family friendly attractions that cost absolutely nothing. I’m fairly certain that I will miss most of these, since we will not be able to make it to every city in the US, but I thought I would still at least let you know about the ones that we do find.
Our first Family Friendly Free-bee is in the great state of Missouri. The Table Rock State Park near Branson has a cool fish hatchery. (Actually, the state park itself is free, but the fish hatchery is something a little more unique.) We took the boys to see the fish and before we even got outside to the hatching tanks, they were thrilled with the huge trout in the indoor aquariums.Outside, there are many large holding tanks for the trout to breed and grow. It seems they start out as tiny fish swimming all together, and then, as they grow, they are separated out to other tanks in order to give them more room to grow. We went from tank to tank trying to decide which tank had the biggest fish. The boys really enjoyed that.
But the most fun was when they realized that these fish were really, really hungry. And, joy of all joys, they got to feed them. OK, so this part isn’t exactly free. You do have to pay a quarter for a handful of fish food, but I am still counting it as a free-bee, because most of my boys scoured the ground along the edges of the tanks and collected more than enough dropped fish pellets to give those fish a good feeding. They would gather as much food as they could and then drop one pellet at a time in the tank watching those fish jump over each other trying to be the first to the food.
The 5 Martin boys have given this attraction 5 thumbs-up. It has also received the Mom and Dad seal of approval. However, be aware that the outdoor holding tanks are at ground level and though most of them are covered with nets to keep out the birds, you may want to hold hands of your more adventurous little explorers.

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