Tag Archives: exploring

Our Next Destination

The Great Egret Among Cypress Trees

Our next National Parks edition monopoly board property has been chosen and planned – Everglades National Park!     

We are planning on spending only two days there which is going to be enough time to start to experience all that this park has to offer.  Our intentions on these trips are only to get an introduction to these parks and experience many different areas of the United States.  Once Lysa and Kristy are older, they can return to whichever locations they may want to explore further and do the activities that interest them.  For now, our family will explore some parts of the Everglades to get a general idea of the intricacies of that park.    

Some interesting information about Everglades National Park:    

  • It is the 3rd largest national park in the lower 48 states with 1.5 million acres
  • Created in 1947 when President Harry S. Truman dedicated the original 460,000 acres
  • This is a sub-tropical environment with a distinct dry season (December – April) and wet season (May – November)
  • Wildlife include the American Alligator, American crocodile, indigo snake, Florida panther, West Indian manatee, many different birds depending on the season, freshwater and saltwater fish, along with many different amphibians
  • Known as the “river of grass” and has the largest continuous stand of sawgrass prairie in North America

    Sawgrass

 Exploring the everglades    

There are a number of different ways in which to explore this vast area.  Driving, hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing, or boating all are options that can give different experiences and perspectives to the diversity of life in Everglades National Park.  For the diehard adventurist there is the option to camp overnight.  We have chosen to enjoy the comforts of environmental controls typically associated with a hotel.  Hiking, driving, canoeing, and boating are the modes of transportation that we are researching currently.     

Once arriving at Everglades National Park we will find out what ranger programs are available and begin to plan our two days according to which programs are of interest to us.  I always enjoy these ranger programs and gain some great information.  Being able to identify some of the flora and fauna or knowing some of the planning and history can really increase the enjoyment while we are out exploring the park on our own.     

There appears to be other tours available such as tram trips, boat tours, bird watching trips, canoe trips, and fishing trips.  These all would give different aspects to the wilderness of the everglades but due to our limited time we can only participate in a few activities.  How do we determine which actives will provide the best experiences for us?  We have to prioritize what we want to do and see the most.

Florida Bay

 

Once we get a list of the ranger programs we can determine which of those we want to attend and we know that Lysa and Kristy want to get their Junior Ranger badges.  Visiting the Everglades without riding on an airboat doesn’t seem like a complete visit so that is something we want to schedule in.  We will take some time to drive through as much of the park as we can to see how the scenery changes as Everglades change from the saltwater of the ocean to the freshwater rivers and streams that flow through the park.  While driving around we will likely stop in a number of locations to enjoy some hiking at a number of different trails.  If there is time, canoeing would be a great addition to the experience for a couple of reasons.  First, Lysa and Kristy have never really been in a canoe before. Secondly, much of Everglades National Park is based around water so seeing the park from this perspective can enhance our adventure.    

We have much more planned with our trip to southern Florida which I will write about in a later post.  For now, we are excited and looking forward to exploring Everglades National Park and including this location on our monopoly board!    

The Concept

The concept of being a Monopoly Traveler is to travel to each of the destinations on a particular version of Monopoly. These destinations come from the properties on that Monopoly board.      

The National Parks Board that began our adventures as Monopoly Travelers

First, decide which board(s) you want to travel. Next, choose how you want to get to each location, and finally determine what you want to do once you get to your destination.  It’s that simple!  There are over 1,800 versions of Monopoly with more being created every year.  Many of these boards are full of destinations that allow you to become a Monopoly Traveler.    

 Why become a Monopoly Traveler:     

The purpose of being a Monopoly Traveler is to experience new destinations. Some of these destinations you may be familiar with while others will be places you have never experienced before.  Using a specific Monopoly Board to determine your destinations increases the chance that you will experience a place you never knew existed and would not have planned on exploring if it weren’t for becoming a Monopoly Traveler.      

Each edition of Monopoly has locations that were chosen by somebody else for a specific reason.  Chances are that each location has significance and is worth experiencing.  Determining your travel destinations in this way helps eliminate your biases and become more of a pure explorer, open learning about places which will positively surprise you.  These locations will likely be of interest because they’re are on a board that you have chosen which means there where places of interest to you already on the Monopoly board.      

Surprise yourself and make the commitment!     

The Monopoly Traveler Concept is born:     

My wife (MT Karen) and I were traveling to Hawaii for a beautiful beach wedding.  There were many excursions such as snorkeling, fishing, and a Luau we wanted to experience while in Hawaii since we had never been there. One of these excursions was visiting the USS Arizona Memorial.  During our visit to the USS Arizona Memorial we entered a gift shop to look at souvenirs.  While browsing I came across a Monopoly Board of the National Parks.  I loved playing Monopoly while I was younger so this edition caught my attention.  While looking over the National Parks Monopoly box, I saw several destinations that I had heard about while growing up but never visited and would like to see ‘some day’.  You can imagine how often some day comes around.  As I was putting the box back I mentioned to MT Karen “Wouldn’t it be fun to visit all of the properties on this board?”  She smiled and said “uh huh”.  That was the end of the conversation for many years.     

Since that time our family was growing and our children were getting older.  That were a number of conversations about where we wanted to take the kids and what our wishes were for them to explore while growing up.  We firmly believe the things they learn in school have a larger impact if they get to experience teachings first hand.  A few years ago I looked at MT Karen one morning and told her I thought it was time to travel the National Parks Monopoly board.  We wanted the children to get a taste of many of the different areas of the United States so that they could experience so many new places that were both similar and different to their home.  Well, both MT Karen and I would get to do the same.  The Monopoly board provides more of a random collection of destinations than we would have chosen which accomplishes our goal of exploring different destinations across America.     

The Monopoly Travelers entering Grand Canyon National Park

Being Monopoly Travelers:    

We feel very fortunate to be able to live one of the goals we set out many years ago and have become National Park nerds.  While traveling to the parks that are on the board, we will often visit other parks that are somewhere nearby.  Being a Monopoly Traveler does require commitment in order to complete a board.  There are around 28 destinations on each board.  Some have more and others have less.  There are destinations that you will enjoy more than others but there is guarantee – you will have experiences that last a lifetime.  These experiences will provide bonds with those you choose to participate with and create memories that will bring a smile to your face.  It is these memories and bonds that make being a Monopoly Traveler gratifying.   

 

Welcome to Monopoly Traveler!    

We will share our experiences and what we learn over the course of our travels and invite you to share yours with us.  Let us know which Monopoly board you would like to travel!