3,500,000 Gallons.

This is the world’s largest pool that comes from a natural spring. This means there are larger pools in the world but this one is natural. This pool was built around the natural spring in the 1930s. It was a project so people would have jobs at that time. I learned that no chlorine is needed to keep germs out because 15 million gallons of fresh water come up into the pool every day. The pool is 3 feet I. The shallow part and 25 feet deep in the deepest part. The water is always between 72 degrees and 76 degrees. 

Jean Lafitte.

I learned about Jean Lafitte. He and his brother were French pirates— they smuggled and pirated. Later on Jean helped the Americans win the War of 1812, the Battle of New Orleans. His death is a mystery and no one really knows what happened at the end of his life exactly. I visited his area and earned a Junior Ranger badge in the French Quarter and then again at the Chalmette Battlefield. 

Preservation Hall.

I sat in the front row, on the floor, of a small music hall to hear live music. This place is very well known. We had to wait an hour in line and the music was 3/4 of an hour, which is 45 minutes!  Mama, Daddy, and my sister stood in the back but I was offered a spot in front and I was so close, I almost had to duck when the trombone player played his trombone!! Afterward, the musicians talked to us in the hallway. They were very nice and said I was like a princess and my sister too. I usually wear my headphones at concerts but I didn’t wear them tonight but I did okay. 

Mardi Gras World.

I visited a huge warehouse where many of the Mardi Gras floats are made for the parades each year. The business has been handed down in a family and they make a lot of floats. But even with so many in this warehouse, I learned that they only make 1/3 of the floats for the parades. That means 2/3 are made other places. But the 2/3 isn’t made in one place, so this one still makes a lot. They make heavier pieces but for the floats, they carve styrofoam, which is very light and then, since that is not nice to paint since the paint won’t really be colorful, papier-mâché is added and then that gets painted. The floats are pulled by tractors but the tractor wheels aren’t filled with air, they are solid rubber so they don’t pop on a parade route!!!  Mardi Gras parades go on for many days and are very popular here in this city. 

Fractions + Treadmill.

With Mama, I exercised a total of 7 miles in one night while Daddy settled down my sister and got her to sleep. I noticed that one lap on the treadmill was 1/4 mile and I knew that this meant I needed to do four laps to equal one whole mile. 1/4 + 1/4 is 2/4 or 1/2. Then another 1/4 is 3/4 and another after that is 4/4, which is one whole.

Cemetery Tour.

I went on a tour of a well known cemetery that first was used in the year 1789. That was 230 years ago. I learned that people
were buried in tombs above ground instead of underground and a lot of people say that this is because the ground is too wet here and coffins would just pop up out of the soft ground. This could happen and probably did, but mostly these tombs are there because the cultures of Spain and France did this type of burial, and many people from Spain & France moved to this area. I also learned that in one tomb, maybe 80 people could be buried. The person who died was placed inside. Because the inside of the tomb is warm, the flesh decomposes and goes away quickly, in about one year. Then the bones are swept down to the bottom of the tomb and the space is ready for the next person. My sister sat in the mud and dug in the dirt there for a little bit and when we got back to our room, Mama had to cut her fingernails to get the cemetery dirt out. 


I went to a café with a famous pastry called Beignets. They are pretty much small, square pieces of fried dough, not too different than donuts.  They are piled so very high with powdered sugar! I saw waitpeople with powdered sugar all over their shoes. It was funny to see that. This café has been open since the year 1862! That is 157 years. I learned that the café is only closed on Christmas Day. It might also close if there is a hurricane also, but it pretty much never closes. It is open all day and all night long, which is called 24/7. That means 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. I love beignets. 

Wildlife Center.

I toured a wildlife center. My parents took turns driving around an area where you can open your car windows and feed wildlife.
You’re not allowed to feed the bison in one area though. The animals were mostly very curious and knew that cars meant snacks. I fed aoudads, zebras, zebus, watusis, camels, mules, water buffalo, bison, llamas, and goats. I stood on a platform next to giraffes and fed them lettuce. Their tongues are blue/black and so very long. I noticed that fallow deer, red lechwe, and sika deer were shy. They got close but wouldn’t stick their heads in my car. I went into a special room with baby and small animals. I saw armadillos chasing each other around. They were not the type of slow, sort of lazy armadillos from this area. These ones were jogging! As soon as I went into the baby room, an animal jumped on my Mama’s head! It was a lemur! Lemurs jumped on me too. They were so gentle and their hands were soft. You can’t legally have a pet lemur but I think one would be so nice to live with. All of these animals require really special and specific care.
This is a nice place to see them up so close. I always worry at these places though, if the animals are treated well and if they have happiness. 

Dr. Pepper

I toured a museum where Dr. Pepper and other sodas were invented and made. Some of them are no longer made. I found out that pharmacists used to make the sodas! I enjoyed sampling a Dr. Pepper. I don’t usually drink soda. I know a lot of people call it pop. 

Mammoth Nursery.

I went to a place that used to be a dairy farm. Back in 1978, a couple of boys were out hunting for arrowheads and found bones instead! They told the university that was close by and they helped keep the bones safe for learning and exploring. I got to see where the only mammoth nursery is known to have been found. That means a lot of babies and mamas. The mammoths here were not wooly ones because this area wasn’t cold. The mammoths were about 14 feet tall and weighed 20,000 pounds!!! They lived here thousands of years ago. I learned a lot and became a Junior Ranger again. 


This is a town of cattle ranchers and now, also ART! Some art is small but also some is very big, like an entire small store.

The weather was nice so I ate dinner outside. I saw some neon signs in the distance and used my binoculars to read the signs but they were difficult to read since they were in cursive.

I went out for coffee and met a photographer who was here visiting so he could take his art out of the gallery it had been in and take it back home. I ordered a soy hot cocoa and then I ate a breakfast burrito at a place that is actually a woman’s home. She has decided to make burritos from scratch and sell them there. Everything was so very fresh and tasty. 

Gypsum Sand is Not Sticky.

White Sands National Monument is a huge area made up of gypsum sand. I have already earned my Junior Ranger badge from here.

The sand, or actually, gypsum crystals, does not stick to your body, which is pretty nice. Mama joked about filling up the trunk with it to fill up our sandbox at home. This place, with all the gypsum sand dunes, is the largest one like this on the entire earth. I was there early in the morning and I started to feel very hot. I wore sunblock but it was definitely time to leave and not be there in the middle of the day. Evening is a nice time to be at White Sands but that didn’t work out this time. 

Rattlesnake Museum.

I went to the Rattlesnake Museum. I saw tons of snakes. My favorite one was the one that looked D-E-A-D. I also saw a fake looking tortoise. I thought “well, okay…” but then a small head poked out. I was surprised! 

A difficult thing that happened here was that my sister was walking to the stepping stool– it is there for not-so-tall children to stand on and see the snakes. Well, a man did not think to look back before he took big steps back and he knocked my sister down, flat on her back. This seemed strange to me because there were tortoises wandering around the room and you don’t want to step on those either. Then he stumbled backwards and his feet step stomped all over while he tried to get balanced again and not step on my sister’s body. She was very upset and so was Mama.

She was ok.

Pueblo Lunch.

I ate at a Native restaurant and ordered Kool-Aid fried pickles, blue corn coated onion rings, cinnamon sweet potato fries, salad with pumpkin seeds and green chili dressing and red chili dressing and also two types of Navajo tacos. Everything was delicious. The blue corn coated onion rings were the best type of onion ring I have ever eaten. The pickles were so tart and so salty and my sister loved them. 

Petroglyph Hike.

I read about Petroglyphs in a book Mama got from the library before I went on a short hike to find petroglyphs.

I saw many and used my book to identity the meaning of several of them.

I also read about a plant called Snake Weed that can help with a lot of problems your body might have. Mama and I are going to try to find some Snake Weed tea to make T home

I also became a Jr. Ranger at this National Monument.

Ants and My Breath.

I found a wide pile of tiny rocks and looked at it for a while and found a hole where a few ants were crawling out. I blew mouth air into the hole and hundreds swarmed out!

This is when I remembered (and told my family) that ant colonies can be three feet wide and Fire Ants can work together to kill chickens and even calves (baby cows!) This was definitely a large ant colony. I have been bitten by Fire Ants that got into my leggings when I was little and so I tried to keep my sister away from them.

Hike Storm & Very Sad Experience.

I love to explore a new place.

This place looked like it was another planet. There were big and small rocks and some were very lightweight and some felt like they were maybe petrified wood, which I have touched before.

I saw black clouds headed our way and eventually we had lots of wind and hail!

We ended our hike because Daddy said lightning was possible and we were taller points on such a flat area. It is not good to be out when there is lightning because it is bad for your body or could kill you if it strikes your body.

When we were driving away we found some dogs that we think were maybe dumped because someone didn’t want them anymore. They were very hungry and cold and small and cute. They seemed like they had been outside for a long time, either in this area or maybe they only lived outside when they lived with people. Mama tried to get them. She gave them food so they would trust her and they sniffed her hands and one licked her. But when she tried to get them to jump into the car for food they would NOT go. So she tried to grab them but they did NOT like that and it seemed like they would bite. She cleared out a spot in the back and put on her water proof jacket because she thought if they bit her, the jacket would protect her arms and she put her hands into the jacket too. They wouldn’t let her pick them up. She worked on this for an hour or so and finally she contacted the animal control when we were where the phone would work again. We left them a lot of food to eat (we had quinoa and lentils and beans and this sort of looked like wet dog food). The pictures Mama took went online on a local ‘Lost and Found Pets’ website and a lot of people said they would go try and get the dogs themselves. Some said that they would never have left like we did, but it just wasn’t possible to get them into our car.

This felt very, very, very sad. We all would have liked to keep them.

Fry Bread.

I ordered fry bread with cinnamon sugar and also a no meat, no dairy Navajo taco.
Both were so very tasty to me.

I learned that fry bread has been around for a long time but it is NOT an original, Native food that is centuries old. I understand that Natives started to make fry bread when they were given the ingredients by the US government about 175 years ago. A whole group of Natives were being forced to move and were given sugar, flour, and lard (this is fat from animals’ bodies).

So, the taste is good but the story is also very sad. 

Four Places at Once.

You can’t be two places at once! We were! I was happy in Utah and Arizona & my sister was crying in New Mexico and Colorado.

I learned that people have been coming to this spot for over one hundred years to take photos of themselves in four states at once.

I also learned that this area is where two Nations— Navajo and Ute border each other. There were Native men and women selling jewelry and t shirts here along the sides of the monument. 

Wind Erosion + Life Cycle.

I have been to this National Park before but I didn’t earn my Junior Ranger badge. This time, I did!

There are rock formations called arches. Arches form when erosion leads to a tall, thin rock wall. Over time, the wind makes a hole in the rock wall and this eventually becomes an arch! It takes a long time. Arches are like people and have a life cycle. They can reach old, old age before they end, but they also might have an inside crack or weakness and that can end the life cycle earlier.

Mama and I took a hike that was just a few miles and then we took a very short family hike and played in the cool, red sand. We found one interesting bug.

Daddy and I did 100 trust falls in a row and at the end I asked him to throw me. 

Sand and Wind.

These land formations were caused by wind erosion. This is a very windy place. It is very fun to hike here and leap from high points.

My sister enjoyed touching the sand but she kept wanting to toss handfuls away from her. The problem was that she could not understand that when she threw it, the wind caused it to fly back into her mouth and the rest of her face. When this would happen, she complained about it in a long sentence that ended with a question mark but none of us knew quite what she was saying.

I worked on a learning booklet and earned my Junior Ranger badge here also.

Dinosaur Bones.

An archeologist or a paleontologist might use little brushes to dust away sand and dirt to expose what she is looking for.

I got to try using some brushes to look for dinosaur bones. The bones were not real, but that was fine because I still really enjoyed this activity for a very, very long time.  

This was interesting to me because I have learned a lot about the esophagus and trachea parts in humans and this is definitely different than how human systems are set up!

A Few Firsts.

One: I bought my first box of Tic Tacs. They were “Fruit Adventure” and I immediately devoured them because I have not ever had my own box of Tic Tacs. Delicious! I bought them with my own money. The clerk made a really big deal about my coat asked if she could touch my coat and if she could touch my purse. I told her she could. Then she wanted to know if I earned money doing chores and I felt like that was complicated to answer because I don’t get money for my chores. But I do get some money to learn how to handle it the right way. And today the right way was… TIC TACS!
Second: I held tumbleweed. I have seen a lot of tumbleweed fly around and we even crashed into some before and it was stuck to the front of our car. But today I picked some up. It is sharp. 
Third: I went to the Bonneville Salt Flats. That part was not a first. I have been there a few times. But this was the first time I saw it covered in water. It is more fun when there is not water covering the salt because it is so fun to run far on the salt. I found some big hunks of salt and I threw them into the water.