by Jillian Ocken
Who’s ready for vacation? It’s almost time to pack up the family, hop in the car, and head out in search of adventure!
If you haven’t picked a destination yet, be sure to check out Ames Public Library’s Adventure Passes. There are a lot of great places to visit nearby, and even some in Ames! Adventure Passes are like tickets to local attractions that you can borrow from the Library for free. Choose from places like Blank Park Zoo, Reiman Gardens, The Science Center of Iowa, the African American Museum of Iowa, and more! Be sure to reserve your Adventure Pass early. They book up quickly, especially in the summer!
If you’re looking to go a bit further, check out the Library’s travel books for ideas and tips. You might find the perfect vacation in “100 Drives, 5,000 Ideas” by Joseph R. Yogerst or “Fodors Best Road Trips in the USA.” If you’re a visual person, you may be better off flipping through some travel magazines (in the Library or online in Libby).
Road trips can be a ton of fun, but they can also turn into a waking nightmare of bored kids, fights over control of the radio, and the dread of being trapped in a car for hours on end. Preparation can make all the difference!
Before you go, plan some activities for the ride. If you’re travelling with kids, you can go classic with car games and singalongs from books like “Fun on the Run” by Joanna Cole and educational options from “Carschooling” by Diane Flynn Keith. You can also go with a more high-tech solution, like Launchpad tablets. Launchpads are kid-friendly tablets pre-loaded with educational games and videos for different age groups that can be checked out for free from Ames Public Library. They don’t use an internet connection, so they’re perfect for the car, airplane, or hotel.
No matter what age travelers are in your car, it’s helpful to have something to listen to. Audiobooks are great at keeping your brain engaged so time flies. It also feels less like wasting time when you’re reading a book. Just make sure everyone agrees on a book, or bring headphones! (You can also read a paper book, but only if it doesn’t make you car sick!)
Another option is to check out music CDs from the Library. That way, you’re not at the mercy of whatever radio stations are nearby. Plus you don’t have to pre-download music or use up your internet plan, and you won’t have to drain battery power on a phone or device!
It can be helpful to have some short stops planned out along the way. Breaking up the drive gives you a chance to stretch your legs, use the restroom, and see something interesting before you get back into the car. Check out books like Jerome Pohlen’s “Oddball Iowa” or Mike Whye’s “Detour Iowa: Historic Destinations” for some possible side stops.
Now before you pack everyone into the car, it’s probably a good idea to make sure the vehicle can get you there and back again. A trip to your favorite mechanic should do the trick for most, but some people prefer to do their own car maintenance. If you’re digging into the more obscure systems of your car or if you’re dealing with a less familiar vehicle, Ames Public Library has you covered. You can use Chilton Library online for free with your Ames Public Library card or check out a print manual from the Library.
So are you ready? Do you have everything you need? Did you use the restroom? Then let’s hit the road!