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{March 3, 2013}   Weekend Project: Family Fun in Greenwood, LA

Friday night I decided not to have a to-do list this weekend.  I also decided I wanted to do something outside the house, as a family.  Now, the House of Cheaptitude is a varied bunch of individual personalities, so doing something we all enjoy happens next to never.  But I’m the one who never wants to leave the house, so I decided I would take charge of “Family Fun Day.”

At 7:30 yesterday morning, I was up making coffee and breakfast for my bunch.  Motivated!  And then I started doing something around the house….

I think we finally left home around 10:30 yesterday morning, westbound on I-20.  The nice thing about northwest Louisiana is nothing is too far away.

First stop:  The Greenwood Flea Market

Greenwood Flea Market

Greenwood Flea Market (Photo credit: Shreveport-Bossier: Louisiana’s Other Side)

When I was Monkey #1’s age, I loved going to the flea market on Sundays with my family.  While the Greenwood Flea Market has changed some over the past twenty years, I figured each of us would find some dusty treasure or another appealing.  There are indoor and outdoor vendors, a “cafe”, relatively clean restrooms, and ample parking.  The 40ish degrees with 15mph winds sent us to the indoor vendors pretty quickly!

Yesterday I was on a mission to find a lamp for my bedroom.  Monkey #1 was searching for comic books and Monkey #2 was looking for toys.

We were all kind of disappointed.  Many of the booths were cluttered and disorganized, without much space to even walk around and look.  Grizzly noted that everything was overpriced (who wants to spend $5 for a worn out t-shirt when you can buy a brand new one for the same price down the street at Wal-Mart??)  I did find two dining chairs that had interesting bones, but they were over $20 each.  I probably would have put another $20 into repurposing them.  Besides, we were (purposely?) in the blue lemon yesterday and couldn’t haul anything big.

Granny-at-the-Farm pointed out to me that sometimes you have to go several weekends in order to find that treasure.  I think I’m good for now.  Our trip reminded me why we don’t go often anymore.  But every once in a while, it’s a fun little trip and a good way to spend a few hours.  There is no admission or parking fee, so the flea market is cheap entertainment.

Second Stop:  The Iron Skillet

I am a huge sucker for truck stop food.   It may go back to traveling with my grandparents as a little kid.  I rarely feel I didn’t get my money’s worth when I have a meal at a truck stop.  So close to the state line and right on the interstate, there are several to choose from in the Greenwood area.  Generally, I have always liked the Flying J off Exit 3, and Kelly’s Truck Stop seems to have undergone some major changes since we’ve been last, but yesterday we stuck to Exit 7’s offer of the Iron Skillet.

The Iron Skillet near Greenwood offers 3 main dining areas with a separate “Truckers Only” section.  They have an extensive “All You Can Eat Bar,” which contained dinner-type food by the time we arrived yesterday.

The monkeys ordered banana nut pancakes.  They did not order the meals, having had a good breakfast early in the morning, but the portions were so large, they probably should have split an order.  Monkey 2 brought home a to-go box.

Grizzly took advantage of the BBQ bar.  After 3 trips, his only complaint was that there were no bowls for the clam chowder.

I ordered a heart attack on a biscuit, basically.  But I’m all about breakfast food.  My skillet had a cut open biscuit topped with bacon, hashbrowns, white gravy, and cheese.  It’s supposed to have eggs but I took those on the side.  I didn’t care for the gravy so much and the biscuits weren’t all that, but it was filling.

The pricing was fair, about what we spend on a sit-down meal for four any place these days.

Stop #3:  Gators and Friends

Since we were already out and about, and almost to Texas, Grizzly suggested we take the monkeys to Gators and Friends, past the Crooked Hollow Golf Course in Greenwood.  I googled it quickly (thank you, DROID) and found the admission prices aren’t bad at all – 7.95/adult, 5.95/kid.

When we got to the park, there was a banner out front welcoming the Shriners.  Surprise to us, Saturday was a charity event for the local Shriners’ Hospital.  Admission was by donation, as were the pony rides.  We gave $20, bought a few cups of feed for the other animals, and went on our way.

We did not get to see a feeding show.  Apparently, alligators do not eat year-round so the feeding shows only go from April until October.  Monkey #2 did have the chance to hold a baby alligator, though!

Gators & Friends 3/2/13A monkey and an alligatorAud & the gatorMonkey #2 and Grizzly cheesing with a baby alligator.

Monkey #2 and Grizzly cheesing with a baby alligator.
Llama (Lama glama) at Gator & Friends in Green...

Llama (Lama glama) at Gator & Friends in Greenwood, LA (Photo credit: Dallas Krentzel)

Gators & Friends is not just an alligator park.  They have all kinds of farm and exotic animals.  There were several pens that were empty when we went, but the monkeys fed goats, llamas, Scottish Highland cows, and I can’t recall what else.  They saw several types of deer, an ostrich, zebras, donkeys, and emu.  Monkey #1 had his cup of feed swiped by a llama, but Monkey #2 hand-fed the critters their kibbles.  Hand sanitizer, anybody?

After almost an hour of looking around and feeding animals, Monkey #2 was dying to ride a “horse.”  We donated $5 and she was able to ride a little pony around a small track.  Monkey #1 isn’t as horse crazy as Monkey #2, but Grizzly was disappointed in the 100 pound weight limit!  Monkey #1, having taken my cup of feed, almost ran to stay ahead of the pony.  Slow-moving and almost sleepy with the toddler before, this pony was now wide awake and craving kibbles, apparently!

Anything with 4 legs makes Monkey happy happy happy!

Anything with 4 legs makes Monkey happy happy happy!

Would I have enjoyed the trip more without the wind and cold (and with socks and sneakers instead of cute shoes?)  I’m sure!  Would I have traded our mid-day of fun in Greenwood for an ever-growing to-do list at my house?  Not a chance.

So if you’re ever looking for something to do on a Saturday, take a ride over to Greenwood.  There’s plenty to see and do, on a budget, and it’s family friendly.

What is your favorite way to spend a family fun day?

~ Katie

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Gail Canty says:

Very cute report. Everyone looks very happy, too! Always a plus.



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