๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ Pacific Ocean ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ We couldn't leave Peru without me taking my first ever dip in the Pacific Ocean.

It was bloody cold and the waves were huge so I settled for just a paddle.  But it felt great!

After being a bit grumpy (I was worrying about our tsunami exit route) a dip in the sea proper cheered me up.

Miraflores has some great beaches for surfing and their are surf school right on the beach that will sign you up there and then.

I was tempted but didn't fancy trying to squeeze on a wetsuit with an audience. โค๏ธ #pacificocean #oceansoftheworld #ilovethesea #swimallday #familybloggers #travelblog #photooftheday #kidsthattravel #worldschool
๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ Pucara Bulls ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ You'll find miniature versions of this bull all over Peru.  In a variety of colours too.

Some of the houses in the countryside will have two little bulls on the roof.

They arrived in Peru in the early years of the Spanish colony and were originally crafted as a cup.  They would be filled with chicha, a drink made from corn and mixed with blood.  This would be consumed by the priest in a cattle blessing ceremony.

Now, they are used as a blessing to Apus, the Inca mountain god, to bring health, wealth and unity to the owner. โค๏ธ #pucarabull #exploreperu ##travelwithkids #familytravelblogs #familytravelblogger #travelbloggerfamily #suitcasefamily #backpacker_pics
๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ Hot Chocolate and Churros ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ The food in Peru is soooo good!  We didn't have one bad meal and the snacks are incredible.

Dan made it his personal mission to try everything and he did pretty well.  He did go back for seconds on some though, and that held him back.

Anyway, we had read about a place in Miraflores that did hot chocolate and churros and decided it was an absolute must.

Churros are a big thing in Lima.  People sell them everywhere and they are amazing.  But Manolo's is like the best.

You can get 6 churros and a mug of hot chocolate for S/16, which is less than ยฃ4.  Dan and the kids loved them.  Let's face it that drink looks more like melted chocolate. โค๏ธ #manolo #churros #miraflores #travelwithkids #familytravelblogs #familytravelblogger #travelbloggerfamily #suitcasefamily #backpacker_pics #Flytographer #kidstravelblog #travelblogger #familytravel #travelfamily #familytravelblog #viajefamiliar #travelphotography #beautifuldestinations #kidstravel #adventurehood
๐Ÿœ๏ธ๐Ÿœ๏ธ๐Ÿœ๏ธ The Desert ๐Ÿœ๏ธ๐Ÿœ๏ธ๐Ÿœ๏ธ I hadn't ever been to the desert before.  And if I'm being completely honest, I didn't know that Peru had any desert.  I'm learning, OK?

It is an amazing place!  We set out early in the morning to climb the sand dunes that surround Huacachina. 
Dan carried Alice but Emily walked to the top of a small peak all by herself.  We were super proud as it was hot and hard work.

We then took it in turns to look after the kids while the other climbed right to the top.

I thought I was going to die.  It was a hard climb.  It got steeper and hotter the closer you got to the top too.  But we both did it.  And boy, was it worth it?! โค๏ธ #explorethedesert #seizetheday #topoftheworld #travelfamily #suitcaselife #kidsthattravel #worldschoolers #worldschooling #Flytographer #kidstravelblog #travelblogger #familytravel
๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒด Huacachina ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒด After a night's stop at Paracas, we boarded another bus (only an hour this time) to Ica.

From Ica, we hopped in a taxi that took us to Huacachina.  A desert oasis!

This is a completely incredible place with a funky little vibe going on.  Surrounded by restaurants and hostels, this is a great place to hang out for a couple of nights.

It was here that we got to stay in our first hostel and we loved it.  It had a gorgeous garden with hammocks and a swimming pool.  It actually felt kinda luxurious.

We also got to catch up with a friends and have a spot of dinner too.  So sophisticated. โค๏ธ #huacachina #exploreperu #desertoasis  #traveltheworld #familytravel #travelfamily #familytravelblog #viajefamiliar #travelphotography #beautifuldestinations #kidstravel #adventurehood
๐Ÿง๐Ÿง๐Ÿง Paracas ๐Ÿง๐Ÿง๐Ÿง As part of our stay in Peru, we wanted to get out of Lima and at least explore some of the many amazing things that the rest of the country has to offer.

One of the places we really wanted to go to was Paracas, as from here you can take a boat trip to the Ballastas Islands.

Now the Ballastas islands are excellent!  Home to a shed load of loads, some very rare but also a great place to see sea lions and PENGUINS.

The place was full of sea lions lounging about on rocks.  There were baby sea lions too with mummy sea lions that looked like they just wanted some peace and quiet.

Seeing penguins was a big one for us though, as this was on Emily's bucket list. 
We were all so happy to be able to seeing such beautiful animals living in their natural habitat. โค๏ธ #peru #penguins #ballastas #travelblog #travelwithkids #familytravelblogs #familytravelblogger #travelbloggerfamily #suitcasefamily #backpacker_pics #Flytographer #kidstravelblog #travelblogger #familytravel #travelfamily #familytravelblog #viajefamiliar #travelphotography #beautifuldestinations #kidstravel #adventurehood
๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š Travel stories ๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š I'm going to tell you a story now.  I'm writing this and scheduling it to go out later so I'm hoping by the time you read this the story will have an ending.

This is the story about why we bought the kids alpaca wool cardigans.

It starts in the USA, where we managed to gather a small collection of coins.  This included a one cent coin.

Fast forward to our last day in Colombia, where Alice finds this coin on the floor and decides to eat it.  I mean full on swallow it.

This led to major panicking from Mummy and Daddy.  Lots of Googling happened including
โ›ฒโ›ฒโ›ฒ Parque de la Reserva โ›ฒโ›ฒโ›ฒ I had read about this park before heading to Lima and wanted to check it out.

This park contains 13 water fountains, all of them impressive and many of them interactive.  It holds the world record for the largest water fountain complex.

The kids loved this feature.  A 35m long tunnel that you could walk through and stay fairly dry.

Others include the Fuente Magica which has a jet of water that goes up 80m into the air and the Fuente de los Ninos which is a children's fountain that you can play in.

At night they all light up.  Then the Fantasia fountain comes to life with a light projection show, spanning its 120m length.

We had a magical evening walking around the fountains, drinking coffee and eating churros.  Another must-see in Lima! โค๏ธ #parquedelareserva #lightshow #lima #peru #seetheworld #familytravelin #familytravelers #travelblog #travelwithkids #exploretheworld
๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ Huaca Pucllana ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ Turns out there's not an emoji for Incan pyramid ruins, so you ended up with that.

Anyway, that's what this is.  Actually, it pre-dates the Inca period (200AD ish) and was a sacred place or place of worship at the time.

We didn't get to do the full tour unfortunately.  Kids were going a bit loopy in the sun, but we did get a pretty good look anyway.

The entire structure is made from mud and is assembled in a bookshelf formation.  The slabs stand on end with small gaps that allow for movement whilst retaining its strength.

It was here that I learnt that Lima has an average annual rainfall of less than 30mm.  Which is lucky otherwise this would have washed away a long time ago.

A great find in the heart of Miraflores, Lima! โค๏ธ #huacapucllana #miraflores #incaruins #exploreperu #loveperu #familytravels #travelphoto #travelblogger #familytravelblog
๐Ÿ‘’๐Ÿงฃ๐Ÿ‘œ Inka Market ๐Ÿ‘œ๐Ÿงฃ๐Ÿ‘’ Immediately on arrival in Peru, I had a huge urge to spend all my money on brightly coloured clothing and accessories made from alpaca wool.

Therefore, we had to head to Inka Market.  This colourful market is an absolute must see in Miraflores.

Emily loved it!  She borrowed Dan's phone and wandered around snapping pictures of everything she liked.

The bag in this picture was a particular favourite early on and she kept talking about it.

The shop owners kept enticing us in by shoving knitted hats on the kids, scarves around my neck and generally waving around toy llamas.

I loved it!  I nearly spent all of my money there and then bought a ticket home.  It was beautiful!

If you are heading there my advice would be to take cash and remember that the prices are VERY flexible.

SPOILER ALERT:  We went back and got Emily the bag the next day! โค๏ธ #inkamarket #perusouvenirs #alpacas #photooftheday #lima #kidsofinstagram #travelfamily #familiesaroundtheworld #worldschoolers
๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽจ Painting in the park ๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽจ After our initial walk down to the sea, we decided to explore the parks closer to our apartment.

Turns out the park is brilliant.  As well as being a place for local artists to sell their work, food stalls to dispense delicious treats and cats to wander freely, there is a play area for kids.

We all sort of lost our minds at finding this play area.  We hadn't visited a proper play area since Central Park in New York.

This park has swings and slides, climbing frames and seesaws and, of course, those wibbly wobbly horse things.

On top of that, it had some added bonuses.  Our favourite was that you could do painting in the park.

A couple of (rather entrepreneurial) women had set up some easels and had a selection of pictures that the children could paint.

For S./5 (a little more than ยฃ1), the kids sat and painted happily for the first time in a long time.

We had such a lovely evening watching our kids just be kids. โค๏ธ #kidsbeingkids #kidsaroundtheworld #familytravel #familytravelbog #advetnuretravel #slowtravel #letkidsbekids #lima #peru #miraflores

Animal Kingdom is the best Walt Disney World Park

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

We decided to visit Magic Kingdom first out of all the Walt Disney World parks in Orlando Florida.ย  I wanted to be gripped by the magic of Disney.

 

However, I found that first day a bit disappointing.ย  Iโ€™ll write about it in a separate post, but I just didnโ€™t feel the โ€œwowโ€ factor that I had heard so much about.

 

Animal Kingdom changed that though.ย  It made me fall in love with the Disney experience.ย  It is truly magical.

animal kingdom tree of life

The Tree of Life

The centrepiece of the entire park is the magnificent Tree of Life.ย  This incredible and real-looking tree has hundreds of animals craved into it.

 

The roots of this tree also sprawl out over the park giving you something to explore as you walk around.

 

We spent a long time just looking at this tree and taking it in turns to point out all the different animals you can see.ย  Every time you look at it more jump out at you.

 

As we were stood looking at it the first time, a group of parrots flew over and my jaw dropped.ย  It was incredible!ย  Turns out they were part of a display, but it was beautiful to see.

animal kingdom di'vine walking tree

Characters roaming the parks

One of the main things that had me instantly hooked on Animal Kingdom was the fact that there were so many characters walking around.

 

I had felt in Magic Kingdom that you had to hunt out the characters more or wait for them to show up in a parade or a show.ย  But at Animal Kingdom, we meet Diโ€™vine straightaway and then saw Kevin from Up! Wandering around.

 

It is also possible to see more of character just walking around, as they are visible in huts and shelters, which gives you more of a taster of what you might get if you queue up.

 

Festival of the Lion King

The first item on our agenda that day was to see the Festival of the Lion King, which is a show all about the film.

 

Given the popularity of the movie, I knew that this show would be great.ย  Plus, the kids love the film and know the characters so it was a must-see.

 

It did not disappoint.ย  With singing, dancing, characters, acrobats, fire, audience participation and more, it truly was a celebration of the show.

 

Emily and Alice were gasping clapping and singing along with everything that was going on.ย  We all thought that it was brilliant.

 

Finding Nemo Musical

Next stop on that first day was to see Finding Nemo: The Musical.ย  I am a huge fan of Finding Nemo and musical so I had high hopes for this too.

 

In true Disney style once again they gave us on outstanding shows.ย  With puppets for the main characters, light effects, bubbles and some catchy new tunes, we were enthralled.

 

The show covers the original story and the puppets are brilliantly brought to life by the performance artists which are as much a part of the show.

 

Wilderness Explorers

One of my favourite parts of the Animal Kingdom experience is the Wilderness Explorers trail.ย  Based on the Scout-esque group from the film Up, this is an educational way for children (and adults) learn more about animals and the world.

 

You are given a book by the first Wilderness Explorer that you meet and you go to the locations on the map to meet other Wilderness Explorers.ย  They will then show you something cool, ask you to do a task then youโ€™ll earn a sticker to put in your book.

 

We did the whole thing over the two days that we visited and graduated to Senior Wilderness Explorers.ย  We got extra special badges for this.

 

On our journey to graduation though, we saw scorpions glow, spoke to people from Africa and Asia about their cultures, hunted for animals in the trees, pieced together dinosaur bones and learnt why flamingos stand on one leg.

 

Emily and I were totally hooked on getting the next badge, completing the challenges and earning our lofty status.ย  It is a simple yet rewarding activity.ย  We loved it!

animal kingdom safari giraffe

Visiting the animals

I canโ€™t talk about how great Animal Kingdom is without talking about the animals.ย  They are part of the magic of the place.

 

There are so many animals to see here and some animals that I had not seen before.ย  The majority of the animals are kept to the extremes of the park where it is quieter, but still easily accessible.

 

We walked the Gorilla Falls trek and saw, well, gorillas, exotic birds and my favourites hippos.ย  I was mesmerised watching them swim in the water.ย  They were so elegant for such big creatures.

 

On our second visit, we walked the Maharajah Jungle Trek to see tigers, monkeys, bats and a Komodo dragon.ย  What I thought was the tail of the Komodo dragon turned out to be its head.ย  We had a giggle.

 

We also booked ourselves on to the Kilimanjaro day safari.ย  It was A-MA-ZING!ย  I have never seen those animals so close before.

 

Our truck drove past giraffes, antelope, elephants, lions and we even had to stop for awhile because there was a rhino right next to us.ย  Iโ€™m talking about a meter away.

 

There arenโ€™t many places in the world where you can get that close to those animals so it was a real privilege.

animal kingdom pandora

Pandora

When we went back to Animal Kingdom for our second visit, we wanted to explore more of Pandora.ย  This section of the park is based on the world from the movie Avatar.

 

Disney has created a world that truly feels like you are on an alien planet.ย  There are waterfalls and large rocks suspended in the air.ย  At night, there are plants that light up and glowing footprints.

 

To get the most out of this area, we booked a trip on the Naโ€™vi River Journey ride.ย  This little boat ride takes you along a waterway where you get to see the flora and fauna from Pandora come to life.

 

Both our kids were wide-eyed as we travelled along.ย  The pointed out the animals walking around in the shadows and the plants that came to life.

 

Rivers of Light

We concluded our visits to Animal Kingdom by staying to watch the Rivers of Light evening show.ย  It was a real treat, as it was the latest we had stayed at a park until that point.

 

Using huge jets of water, projectors and pyrotechnics, Animal Kingdom put on a true spectacle showcasing our relationship to the world around us, with a few of our favourite animal characters thrown in.

 

The kids were fidgeting as we waited for the show to start, but as soon as the lights dimmed and the music started they were hooked.

 

It is a stunning show and I recommend that anyone visiting Animal Kingdom stays to watch it.ย  You will be pleased that you did.

The perfect mix

What I love most about Animal Kingdom is that it is the perfect mix of entertainment and education.ย  You feel leave feeling satisfied.ย  It is the perfect place for young kids.

Animal Kingdom is our favourite Walt Disney World park. It has everything you want for a family day out. Find out why.

Disclaimer:ย  Remember the information you read here does not represent advice.ย  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.ย  Read the full disclaimerย here.

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Welcome to Our Adventurehood; we’re the Jessops!

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