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For some reason, I am infatuated with abandoned things, especially amusement parks and water parks.  So, I love reading articles and looking at old photos, like this or this.

Waiting for the train...

Waiting for the train…

My mom took the kids and I on a vacation back in 2002.  The kids and I rode the Amtrak train from Texarkana to Fort Worth. Dumb. REALLY dumb!  What is normally a three hour drive in a car became a nine hour ride on the train! It stops for EVERYTHING! While we did see some interesting things along the way, like the horseshoe park in Mineola (that, according to Google Maps, may not exist anymore), and met a few nice people, like this man traveling from Massachusetts to Fort Hood to go to boot camp, who had no idea what an armadillo was, I probably should have rethought the whole train ride experience!

(Not the Amtrak train we rode.  We ran to the train station a couple weeks before to show the kids, though!)

(Not the Amtrak train we rode. We ran to the train station a couple weeks before to show the kids, though!)

We were seen off by a lady who has known me most of my life…love her!

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And to ease the pain of the trip (I knew the train ride would take longer, just not that long!), I packed a bag full of toys and activities I picked up the dollar store for each of the kids.  They were allowed to get one every hour.  They ranged from things like travel sized checkers and Connect Four, to plastic bubbles, which easily was a favorite of not only the kids, but the train passengers as well (thankfully, I thought I was going to offend by the kids throwing those around)!

Sightseeing from the train...

Sightseeing from the train…

Once we made it to Fort Worth, my mom picked us up and we spent the night with her. Then, we proceeded on with our trip.  We headed to San Marcos, Texas!

Anyways…the whole point of this post is to document some photos of our trip, so if any of the places shut down, one can still see what the places looked like, at least at the time of our visit!

Our first stop, was checking in to the hotel in San Marcos. Pretty sure it was the Days Inn (we didn’t spend too much time there, but I distinctly remember the Walmart being just on the other side of the freeway!).  The rest of the day, we spent at Aquarena Springs/Aquarena Center (now owned by Texas State University and known as The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment).  The best part of this trip was my mom asking about the swimming pig show and the lady who worked there telling her that ended in 1976 (I don’t know why I didn’t take any photos of the submarine theater – the submarine was there, appeared abandoned and creepy {more photos after the center had been closed HERE} and has since been removed); I even found this story about a time the submarine theater flipped over!  Photos…

The next day, we went to Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels.  It had changed A LOT since I had last been as a child!  The park had a remote location that you could be bussed to, but we never made it there!  I never did have the nerve to slide down the Downhill Racer off the top of the German looking house, but I do remember getting wedgies from the Der Bahn Speed Slides when I was a kid!!!  There was a great kids play area that wasn’t there before, either – the Polywog Pond Kiddie Park.  Tristan was returned to us by a lifeguard once, saying he “took in” a bit too much water.  Photos…

Our last day out of town, before heading back to Fort Worth, we went to Wonder World Cave and Wildlife Park.  Photos…

We had a little time to kill, so we spent some time watching the jets fly at Carswell AFB/Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth…

Then time to depart, on the train, back HOME!  This time, the kids got to eat dinner, which was interesting, as the train constantly sways back and forth (thus the blurry photo)!  They had macaroni and cheese, carrots and green beans (and I think hot cocoa or maybe chocolate milk).  They were both asleep when we pulled into the Texarkana station – it was late, about 11:30 PM.  I knew we were close when I smelled the sulphur in the air from the paper mills…ha!  Photos…

We had a great time with grandma on vacation!  I hope the kids were old enough to remember the trip (they were 5 and 7 then and are now 17 and 19!)!

 

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