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5 Dinosaur Museums of the Western United States

by Timothy Olsen

If you live in or are planning a visit to the Western United States and you and your children are interested in dinosaurs, there are many places on the West Coast where you can take your family to see dinosaur fossils and museum exhibits.

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Pacific Science Center

The Pacific Science Center is located in the Pacific Northwest near the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington. The Pacific Science Center features an exhibit called “Dinosaurs: A Journey Through Time” that includes eight half-size and full-size dinosaur models.

dinosaur museums

In addition to the life size dinosaurs, they also maintain a miniature diorama collection, and children can even touch a real dinosaur bone fossil.

The dinosaur exhibit at the Pacific Science Center is a permanent exhibit, so you can go and see it at any time. For more information see

Burke Museum of Natural History

The Burke Museum of Natural History is also located in Seattle, on the campus of the University of Washington.

The Burke Museum offers a variety of family days throughout the year, including a dinosaur day, so make sure to check out their web site for event dates.

The Life and Times of Washington State exhibit includes a life-sized saber-toothed cat skeleton, in addition to mastodon and stegosaurus skeletons.

For more information see

Museum of Northern Arizona

The Museum of Northern Arizona, located in Flagstaff, Arizona, has more than 600,000 artifacts on display for its visitors. Included is a collection of dinosaur, plant fossils, reptile, and rock specimens that represent a broad range of geologic periods of the Columbia Plateau.

Tours of the museum are held once a month, and children must be 10 or older to tour the museum.

For more information and to see when tours are being held see

California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Science is located at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California.

Included at the center is the Kimball Natural History Museum. This museum has a life size Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil on display. The museum also has a research laboratory where you can watch Academy scientists at work.

For more information see

University of California Museum of Paleontology

The University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) is located in Berkeley, California.

The UCMP boasts that it has the largest paleontological collection of any college university campus in the world.

This collection is unique in that they have a searchable online database that includes more than 190,000 specimen records. You can find that database here: View their fossil gallery online here:

The UCMP is used mainly for research, however, once a year they hold an open house where their collections are open to the public. They do have some dinosaur fossils on display in the Valley Life Sciences Building, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil, that can be viewed any time. Viewing of these fossils is free of charge.

For more information, see

If you and your family are looking for a dinosaur museum to visit, the Western United States has many great museums and science centers you can visit. Many now offer options to visit them both in person and online. Plan your visit today.

Timothy Olsen is a professional blogger that provides information on dinosaur collectibles, dinosaur crafts and dinosaur history. He writes for Dinosaur Corporation, where you can find the best Dinosaur party supplies.

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Where to Take Kids Fishing in Washington State

Fishing is a fun activity for the entire family. Many families enjoy spending time fishing together in the summer, however, in many areas fishing can be enjoyed year round. In Washington State, there are many lakes and streams, both fresh water and salt water, where you can take your family for an enjoyable day of fishing.

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Below is a listing of fishing locations located in both Eastern and Western Washington State. Some of the locations offer fishing for juveniles only, and some offer family fishing, which means that at least one juvenile must be present if an adult is also fishing (adult will need a fishing license, however).

Fishing with Kids in Western Washington

In Okanogan County, Silvernail Lake is open year round (juveniles only). In the Seattle/Auburn area, check out Mill Pond (family fishing). In the Kent area you will find the Old Fishing Hole Pond (family fishing). Wapato Lake in Tacoma has a nice dock for families to fish from.

fishing with kidsIn Longview, make sure to visit Lake Sacajawea Park (family fishing). In Centralia families can fish almost year round at Fort Borst Lake. Wapato Lake is located in Pierce County.

Fishing with Kids in Eastern Washington

In the Spokane area, Bear Lake offers fishing for families year round. In Walla Walla, Jefferson Park Pond and Lyons Park Pond are also open year round (juveniles only). In Grant County, visit Columbia Basin Hatchery Creek for fishing for the entire family.

In Yakima, Sarge Hubbard Park Pond is open year round (juveniles only). Yakima Sportsmen’s Park Ponds in Yakima and Columbia Park Pond in Kennewick are also open year round (juveniles only).

If you are looking for a youth fishing event, there are many locations in both Eastern and Western Washington that feature fishing events for children ages 5 to 14. These events take place between April and July and are a lot of fun for the entire family. For more information on youth fishing events, including locations and dates, see

Many of these fishing areas also feature restrooms and picnic areas.

In Washington State, children ages 14 and under can fish without a fishing license. Also keep in mind that if you are fishing at an area owned by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), you will need to display a Discover Pass in order to park your car. You will receive a Discover Pass free of charge when you purchase your fishing license, and the pass can be used for two different vehicles. For more information about Washington’s Discover Pass, see For more information about fishing licenses and fishing in Washington State, see

When fishing with small children, make sure to keep your kids safe by having them wear a life jacket. Also make sure that your children have fishing poles that are appropriate for their size and age. Fishing is a great way to spend time together as a family. Hundreds of lakes in Washington State are stocked with millions of trout each year. Check out stocking reports and fish counts before you go

Scott Dawson is a professional blogger who enjoys writing for Experience Guide Service, a professional guide service for the best fishing in Washington.

4 Fun Camping Recipes for Kids

by Seth Walters

Every summer millions of families head to the mountains to spend time camping and relaxing with their families. A big part of getting ready to go camping is deciding what foods to bring along. Hot dogs and s’mores are popular options, but here are some fun new recipes that your whole family will enjoy.

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Walking Tacos

If your family enjoys tacos, then they will really enjoy the camping version of this favorite recipe.


1 lb. ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
Grated cheese
Black olives (optional)
Sour cream or ranch salad dressing
Single size servings of Fritos

You can either prepare the taco meat ahead of time or prepare it while you are camping. Brown the ground beef and add the taco seasoning and water according to the directions on the seasoning package. If you have prepared it ahead of time you will just need to heat it up again.

Set out the taco meat, shredded lettuce, grated cheese, black olives, and sour cream or ranch salad dressing.

Give each member of the family a bag of Fritos and have them make their own “walking taco” by adding the ingredients of their choice to their bag. All you need is a fork, and dinner is served!

Note: For an even easier meal, you can substitute warmed up chili for the taco meat.

campfire banana boats

Campfire Nachos

These nachos are a great quick snack for camping trips. One recipe makes enough nachos for 2 to 3 people.


Tortilla chips
Grated cheese
Chili (optional)
Black olives (optional)

To prepare this recipe you will also need aluminum pie pans and aluminum foil.

Arrange the tortilla chips, cheese, chili, and black olives in an aluminum pie pan. Cover with foil. Set the pan on a grill or in the coals of the campfire. Avoid direct heat or chips will burn quickly. You just want to heat them up until the cheese melts.

Banana Boats

These banana boats make a fun camping dessert. Your kids will have a fun time helping make them.


Banana for each person
Mini marshmallows
Butterscotch or chocolate chips

Slit open each banana, leaving about a half inch at each end of the banana. Carefully pull the peel apart, creating a “pocket” to put the goodies in.

Have each person place marshmallows and butterscotch or chocolate chips into their banana.

Wrap each banana in foil. These can be grilled on a barbecue or set in the coals of a campfire. Heat just until marshmallows have melted and enjoy.

Brownie Oranges

This is a fun activity for older children. Younger children will need help from an adult.

To prepare this recipe you will need an orange for each person and one brownie mix.

Prepare the brownie mix according to the directions on the package.

Cut the top 1/3 off each orange, setting the tops aside. Have everyone scoop out the insides of their orange, taking care not to rip the orange peel.

Fill each empty orange 2/3 full with prepared brownie mix. Carefully put the tops back on the oranges and wrap them in foil.

Place the oranges in the campfire coals and cover them completely with the coals to allow them to “bake”. Check oranges after 20 minutes to see if the brownies are completely baked.

Let cool for several minutes before serving.

Camping is a great time to try new recipes. The great outdoors has a way of making you work up an appetite. Get out there and go camping with your family, and try one of these fun, easy recipes today.

Seth Walters is a professional blogger that enjoys writing for about Alabama deer hunting, fishing and camping.

Four Swimming Pool Games for Summer

by Lisa Weathers

Are you planning to have a pool party this summer? Whether for a birthday party, graduation, anniversary, or just a big get together of family and friends, pool parties are a fun way to keep cool and spend time together during the summer. Here are some fun pool games to keep the kids busy and entertained while adults visit during the party.

Pool Noodle Joust

Give two children each a blow up air mattress and a pool noodle. Place the two children in the center of the pool and let them use the pool noodles to “joust” each other until they fall off their air mattress. Whoever stays on their air mattress longest wins. Whoever wins the first match gets to play a new player in the next match.

Hidden Treasure

Scatter pennies all over the bottom of the swimming pool and let the kids dive for them and see who uncovers the most hidden treasure. If this is too easy for older children, then have them bring each coin to the side of the pool before they dive down for the next coin. You can also set a time limit and whoever gets the most coins during the designated time wins.

swimming pool games


Have one child stand in the center of the swimming pool and have all the other children stand against one end of the pool.

The object of the game is for the children to swim across the pool without the “octopus” tagging them. If a child is tagged, then they have to hold hands with the octopus, becoming one of the octupus’ arms, and help tag other children.

The octopus grows bigger and bigger until one child remains untagged. That child wins the game.

Have the child who wins the first game be the octopus for the next game.

Water Freeze Tag

Designate one child to be “it”. The child who is it swims around and tries to tag other children. If a child is tagged they become frozen and cannot move until another child unfreezes them.

A person can be unfrozen if another player swims beneath the frozen person’s legs.

The object of the game is for the person who is it to tag all the other players before they can be unfrozen. After everyone is frozen, the game is over and the game can be played again with a new person chosen to be “it”.

Beach Ball Relay

Divide the children into two teams and give each team a beach ball. The object of the game is for the first player of each team to push their beach ball across the swimming pool and back using only their foreheads. Then it is the next person in line’s turn to swim across the pool and back.

Whichever team sends all their players across the pool and back first wins the game.

Pool games are great fun and a great addition to any summer party. Just keep in mind that with lots of kids in the pool at one time accidents can and will happen. Children of any age should be supervised at all times while swimming. Make sure swimming safety rules are posted and observed by party guests to ensure a fun time for all.

4 Fun Pool Noodle Activities for Kids

For years, pool noodles have provided hours of fun for kids. Not only are they inexpensive, people have come up with many ingenious ways to have fun with pool noodles, both in and out of the swimming pool.

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You can find pool noodles anywhere that sells pool supplies. You can even find them at a lot of Dollar Stores. You can also often get a really good deal on them at end-of-summer clearance sales.

Pool Noodle Limbo

For kids’ birthday parties, pool noodles make great limbo poles. Have a child stand at each end of the pool noodle and hold it as the other children take turns trying to bend backwards and walk under the pool noodle without touching it or falling down. For an even better time, play some fun music while the children are playing the game.

Pool Noodle Hockey

If you have access to a large paved area where your children can roller skate, have them strap on their skates and play hockey with a pool noodle for the hockey stick and a wiffle ball for the ball. This could provide hours of fun for your kids, and it is also great exercise. Don’t forget to have them wear a helmet too. This game can also be played indoors or on grass without roller skates.

Pool Noodle Croquet

Who doesn’t love croquet? This a toddler version of the old family favorite outdoor game.

For this game you will need at least three pool noodles. Use a sharp knife to cut each pool noodle in half lengthwise. You will then have six pool noodle halves to work with.

Bend each pool noodle in half and use garden stakes to anchor both ends of each pool noodle into the ground. Each pool noodle should now resemble the shape of a very large croquet wicket. Arrange the pool noodles in the general pattern that you would arrange the wickets for a game of croquet.

Give your children a small beach ball to kick through the pool noodles. They will have a blast trying to kick the ball through them. This is toddler summer fun at its best.

Pool Noodle Balloon Game

This would also be a fun game for children’s birthday parties. Cut all the pool noodles in half so that you have mini-pool noodles to use to bat around balloons.

Blow up a bunch of balloons and give each child a pool noodle half. Place a laundry basket on each end of the playing field.

Divide the children into two teams have all the children stand in the middle between the two laundry baskets. The playing area should also have balloons scattered all around.

For a determined amount of time let each team see how many balloons they can get into their laundry basket using only their pool noodle to get the balloons in the baskets. Whoever gets the most balloons in their laundry basket wins the game.

If you are looking for good inexpensive fun for your kids this summer, then pick up some inexpensive pool noodles. In addition to the games listed here, your kids will also very likely come up with a lot of creative uses for them on their own.