Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Georgia One Of A Kind Camping Series - Conestoga Wagon

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Back in January I made a vow that we would go on more camping adventures! As I began the search for camping destinations I learned that Georgia has some very unique, one of a kind, camping experiences to offer. And it was that discovery that led me to this post today which is the first in my series "Georgia One Of A Kind Camping." I hope you will follow us along on our journey as we seek out the unique, one of a kind, uncommon camping experiences in Georgia. Remember you can follow our journeys on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Our hashtag is #2015campingfun!

To kick off our "Georgia One Of A Kind Camping Series" we headed down to Rock, GA to The Rock Ranch to spend the night in a Conestoga Wagon! That's right folks you can experience what 19th century pioneer life was like and make some special family memories while you're at it.

Con • es • to • ga / pronunciation: kon-i-sto -ga  / noun: a large wagon with broad wheels and an arched canvas top; used by the United States pioneers to cross the prairies in the 19th century
< syn: covered wagon, prairie wagon, prairie schooner>

A moms review:
Before we checked in at our Conestoga Wagon we had hours of family fun at The Rock Ranch.

Rock Ranch Fun:
The Rock Ranch is a 1,500 acre cattle ranch that offers visitors an "agritourism" experience. It is owned by the Chick-fil-A family and dedicated to "Growing Healthy Families." The Rock Ranch offers seasonal events, educational fieldtrips, and more! So far we have gotten to experience the Spring Saturdays and Fall Family Fun Days and both have been exceptional. During Spring Saturdays you can pick strawberries (extra fee), fish with a cane pole (Tom and Huck style), take a tour of Tiny Town, visit the petting zoo, jump on a giant pillow, get a workout on the paddle boats, slide through a hill, ride a train and MUCH more! For an extra fee you can even tackle the rock climbing wall, speed down the zip line or go around in circles on the carousel. Be sure to read my previous post about the Fall Family Fun Days.

Before heading to The Rock Ranch office to check into our wagon we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Big Daddy's Vittles. After our yummy dinner we hopped on the shuttle which transports you to the Farmers Market area...this is also where The Rock Ranch office is located along with VIP parking area (which is where our car was parked). We checked in with our guide and hopped in our car to be escorted to the wagon area.

The Conestoga Wagons:
As we approached the fenced in field with the wagons the kids squealed with joy (okay maybe I did too)! There were 7 wagons in a circle to the left of the entrance and 1 lone wagon to the right of the entrance (which was the one we spent the night in). We parked the car under the nearest tree and unloaded our gear while our guide took the other family that was staying the night over to their wagon. After she was done with them she made her way back to us to explain all the details about our accommodations for the evening. The Rock Ranch provides the wagon equipped with bunk beds (8 bunks total) and vinyl covered mattress pads, a fire ring, plenty of firewood, picnic tables, clean port-a-potties (they truly are the cleanest I have ever seen), a hand washing station next to the port-a-potty complete with hand washing water, paper towels and soap, trash cans, a folding table and a wooden love seat swing, The Rock Ranch also provided us with a large plastic tub that contained bug spray, paper towels, a lantern, first aid kit, cups, paper and matches to help start a fire, and the contact information for our guide. She placed the bin on a second folding table that was next to our wagon and pointed out the drinking water that was also available for us.

The wagons are HUGE!!! As I mentioned above there are 8 bunks in total...of course both kids wanted a top bunk. To enter the wagon you go up a few steps and through a small split gate which has a slide latch on it. At the front end of the wagon is a large platform where you can store your gear, plus each bunk has their own shelves which is great for storing personal items (cameras, books, glasses, toys, etc). Both of the open ends of the wagon have vinyl flaps which can be dropped down to help keep out bugs, wind, etc. If you are looking for a great photo opp have your kids sit on the drivers seat!

After we unpacked what we needed to and laid out our pillows, blankets and sleeping bags we got our fun filled evening started. Hubby got the fire roaring while the kids ran around and explored (and gathered marshmallow roasting sticks). While they continued exploring hubby and I sat on the swing and enjoyed a friendly competitive game of mancala (I won). After the kids were done exploring we set up the folding table and played our favorite camping board games together (look for a post on that later this week). Even hubby enjoyed playing the games...even though he will probably never admit it. After we were done playing games we got out our s'more making supplies and enjoyed some tasty (not so healthy) treats. As we ate our s'mores we watched the sun go down and listened to the serenade of crickets, frogs and birds.

When it was time for the kids to hit the hay I helped them get settled in for the night by reading them some books....about Conestoga Wagons of course (Conestoga Wagons, Frontier Home, and Wagons West). After they were all tucked in I headed back out to the fire pit to stargaze with hubby. But of course the kids didn't settle down right away...instead they gave us a little puppet show!

In the morning the kids and I took a walk around the property. First we walked up to the pasture to check out the cows. Then we discovered a nice little path with some beautiful wildflowers and a stream. The path led to a pasture where we spotted a few frolicking deer. When hubby woke up we went exploring a little more and found termites, spiders and other amazing creepy crawlies, Then we made some flower tiaras and bracelets and taught the kids how to make grass whistles.

Oh I totally forgot to mention there is a volley net with a ball and horseshoe pit too!

Extra details:
-Beware of fire ants! And make sure your children know what the mounds look like so they don't step in one.
-Warn children about the bugs that will probably be occupying the wagon...take along a broom to sweep out the wagon and get rid of any lingering bugs.
-Pack snacks, breakfast, beverages.
-If you want to play horseshoes make sure to bring your own.
-Pack games, frisbees, books, and other things to occupy your time.
-If you plan to also visit The Rock Ranch festivals or events make sure you allow yourself enough time to explore everything they offer...at least 5-6 hrs.

5020 Hwy 36
The Rock, GA 30285

When to visit:
Anytime of the year!

$225 per wagon (each wagon sleeps 8 in bunk beds).  Two night options are available for $365 per wagon. During Fall Family Fun Days at The Rock Ranch campers can enjoy the added entertainment and public attractions for a discounted admission price of $10 per person.

Hot dog dinners, storytellers and an astronomer are available for an added fee!

Links to follow:
-The Rock Ranch Facebook
The Rock Ranch Twitter

Educational resources:
If you are looking for a way to enhance your Conestoga Wagon/Pioneer experience and make it even more educational and fun check out these resources.

-Conestoga Wagon craft
-Conestoga Wagon wooden model
-Prairie Pioneers Unit Study
-Westward Ho Activity Book
-Going West Lapbook
-Cowboy Things To Make And Do Book

What is the most unique camping trip you have taken?

*Prices indicated in post are subject to change

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