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Tag Archives: Roger Williams Park

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

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Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

This Year We finally made it to the Roger Williams Park Zoo Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular; another item knocked out of my Places to Visit in RI list.  I’ve been wanting to attend this event for about 10 years now.  Tried it back in 2004 but the line was soooooooo long that after waiting for about 45 minutes, with two toddlers in tow, and no other adult to help; I quit and turned around when an announcement was made letting everyone know that strollers were not allowed once inside the trail. Strollers ARE allowed nowadays, of course, my kids no longer require them. 

This event is attended by thousands of visitors each year, and it runs throughout the month of October.  On weekend nights the lines are so long that wait time could be up to 2 hours.  This year we went on a Monday night and we were able to purchase our tickets without waiting in line; once inside the zoo there was a bit of a line before getting to the actual Jack-O-Lantern trail, but it wasn’t bad, and they had fun signs with info about the event and trivia questions to keep us entertained. 

The actual display was truly spectacular, displaying about 5,000 carved and lit pumpkins.  This year’s theme was Journey Around the World, and stations included Italy, England, Asia, Mexico, Cuba, India, and the North Pole, among others.  My favorite were India and Asia.  Each station had background music to go along with the theme, such as The Beatles for England. There were carvings of The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Gandhi, Fidel Castro, Mariachis, a Geisha, and even an “In Memory Of” section, which included a carving of Steve Jobs.  I totally recommend this as a fun fall family outing.

Special Date: Brunch and Flowers

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I have come up with a very fun way to help me accomplish goal #4 on my bucket list, by scheduling one-on-one time with each of my kids; when we go out for  fun, talk about them and whatever wonderful things are occupying their minds at the moment.  We call these outings Special Dates.  I document some of those dates here, hoping as time goes by, that the memories will be “officially” preserved.  On this occasion, thanks to a Groupon I snatched a couple of months ago, my daughter and I were delighted to indulge our love for breakfast foods, by visiting The Breakfast Place in nearby Attleboro, MA.  Sunday brunch, that’s gotta be my favorite meal ever; and in such good company it just fills me with joy.  This cute little breakfast joint has a 60s air to it, and they play the oldies, which I believe Karla enjoyed.  Their service is great; it seems to be family operated and they really give you the special touch treatment; making you feel very welcomed.  The little lady and I spoke about the new school year and reuniting with friends, over a veggie omelette, with wheat toast for me, and scrambled eggs with a chocolate chip pancake for her.  We also shared an order of french toasts, which by the way, were the best I’ve had in a long time.  The servings were generous and we could not finish our meals so we took our leftovers to go.  Karla liked it so much she plans to ask her dad to bring her back soon. 

We then headed towards Roger Williams Park in Providence in order to cross off the last spot on my list of places to visit within the park, The Botanical Center.  I must say this is a beautiful and serene garden; I think it will be my new favorite spot to sit and relax while reading a book.  My princess also commented on how pretty and peaceful it was; she also enjoyed snapping pictures of the flowers and mom, among other things.

The Results are In…

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Disclaimer: I am not an alcoholic; not a regular drinker either.  I hardly ever drink alcohol, and when I do, it is usually 1 or 2 drinks the whole night.  Glad we got that out-of-the-way 🙂

Now to My Progress Report

On Cocktails:
Last week I posted a poll asking readers what their favorite cocktail was, and the results are in:
* Piña Colada snatched the first place
* Closely followed by the Martini (in different variations)
* Honorable mention goes to a glass of water (love it!)

For all of you Piña Colada lovers, here’s Paula Dean’s recipe:


  • Ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup pineapple chunks
  • Sliced pineapple, for garnish, optional
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish, optional

Fill blender halfway with ice cubes. Add rum, coconut cream, coconut milk and pineapple chunks. Puree.

Serve, garnished with a slice of pineapple and maraschino cherry, if desired.

On # 14 Mastering a Few Signature Dishes:
No new dishes have been mastered as of yet, but have been cooking more often and am close to mastering Steak with Onions, Fried Okra, Yellow Rice with Corn, and Sautéed Pork Chops (Dominican Style)

On # 24 Exploring RI from A to Z:
 I crossed off visiting the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium at Roger Williams Park.  The visit lasted about 2 hours; of which the Planetarium show took about one hour.  The price was right at $3 per person, including the show. 

They have nice Native American Exhibits, a Victorian Era furnishings and artifacts  display, and my favorite, preserved animals that look so much alive. 

I will recommend this for a family outing with kids 4 and up; younger children aren’t allowed in the Planetarium show. 

Special Date: Carousel Village

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For our last special date Karla chose to use her Feinstein Jr. Scholar Card at Roger Williams Park Carousel Village.  This card grants her a free ride on the carousel, free pop-corn, and a free face painting.  As I love Roger Williams Park, I was happy to please her.  We got on the carousel and went round and round giggling away.  Afterwards we stumbled upon a nice gentleman who was showing his parrots and letting people take pictures with the birds.  Karla was cautious about the parrot and did not want a picture with it; but of course, I couldn’t miss this opportunity.  The bird climbed on my arm, and even pecked at my sunglasses, which were resting on top of my head, while my daughter snapped a few shots. 

Karla went on to the bouncy house.  I would have loved to go in as well but the one that supports grownup use was out-of-order that day, so I just watched her have fun.  As she was the only one in the bouncy house at the moment, Karla quickly got tired and wanted to go on to the next station.  A jumping thingamajig; she patiently waited in line until it was her turn.  Then she was strapped, lifted, and given the instruction to start jumping.  She did, and then her giggles got the best of her making her knees weak and unable to jump as hard as she is capable of.  Still she seemed to be enjoying herself.  Lastly, we went for her pop-corn, and got some Del’s Lemonade.  We walked around the Japanese garden a bit before heading off to pickup Aleck.  I am really enjoying these special dates with both of my kids.  Not only will we cherish those moments for years to come, but it also lets them know how special they are to me, which is a great piece of goal #4 on my list.

Special Date: Swan Ride

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This was another one of those “Killing Two Birds with One Stone” outings as it counts toward at least 2 of the goals on my Bucket List. My son Aleck and I had one of our Special Dates where we get to spend quality time just the two of us doing something we both enjoy.  Special Dates with each of my children is one of my ongoing efforts towards goal # 4 on my List “Raising Happy, Healthy, Confident, Cooperative, Responsible, and Faithful Children.”  Since Aleck chose to visit Roger Williams Park and hop on a Swan Ride for our date, it also counts towards goal #24 of my list, “Exploring Rhode Island from A to Z.”

It was a nice warm day and after running a few errands and having lunch at Chelo’s, one of his favorite restaurants, Aleck and I headed to Roger Williams Park for our Swan Ride.  The very nice young boy attendant helped us get suited with life jackets for our mini  adventure. He recommended waiting for one of the boats equipped with an awning  because  being under the sun without it while pedaling the boat could be brutal; we listened to the voice of experience, and I was very thankful for it later.  

As soon as our boat was available we carefully loaded the Swan.  We received quick navigating instructions and off we went.  For $6 per person you get to ride 25 minutes, which let me tell you is more than enough pedaling for me.  As my legs are longer than Aleck’s, I was mainly in charge of the pedals, while he was in charge of the direction shift.  We passed many other joyful riders, admired the lily pad patches, gazed at the geese and ducks in the lake, and most importantly, enjoyed our time together.  I was glad he chose the Swan Ride since that is one of the spots I had chosen to visit within Roger Williams Park, Providence, RI.  This park has been one of my favorite places to visit since I was a teen, but there are a handful of spots/activities I had not experienced yet; The Swan Ride is no longer one of them 🙂

How about you; what is your favorite Park and what do you enjoy doing there?