Last Sunday morning, I roused my husband, Jerry, and our three sons, out of bed. I told them to “rise and shine” and get their clothes on because we were going on a surprise adventure.
We started their surprise adventure off right by stopping at the local bakery to get ’em a box of donuts. Next, we pointed the adventure wagon north and headed out of our town of Lander, WY, on Highway 789 and then Highway 20 through the scenic Wind River Canyon.
The boys were excited, but curious. They pounded us with questions in an effort to get clues. They asked if we were going hiking? No. To the cabin? No. Sledding? No. Camping? No. Skiing? No. Biking? No.
Wolf, our oldest, and almost-11-year-old son, admitted he was excited, yet anxious. When I asked what it was like to not know, he said, “Well you say it’s an adventure, and I remember you once telling us that what makes an adventure an adventure is to have some hard work involved and some unknown challenges that come along. Also, the backpack you take on your ‘epic adventures,’ is in the back of our car, and, well, that makes me kind of nervous.” Smart kid. 🙂
Hayden, our middle and 9-year-old son, said he was, “Curious. Just really curious.” To which, Fin, our youngest, and almost-4-year-old son, said, “like Curious George!”
Just creating an adventure that was a surprise for our boys was an adventure for Jerry and I. We enjoyed the heck out of it. For quite a while, it was great to have this surprise to hold over our three young, eager sons. It was a 90-minute road-trip that had a backseat full of anticipation. It was a riot, and I highly recommend other parents do the same if you’re looking to shake things up and create some new fun for the family one of these weekend days.
Our surprise adventure was swimming at the Star Plunge, located in Hot Springs State Park.
Located at the edge of the town of Thermopolis, WY, Hot Springs State Park was built around the world’s largest mineral hot spring. Big Spring pours forth millions of gallons of mineral water every day at a constant temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Wyoming Tourism‘s website, “The perpetual fountain forms a seething caldron from which some of the water is channeled into pools to be cooled and then piped into bathhouses for public use. From another stream, the water flows over enchanting Rainbow Terrace and then spills down into the Big Horn River.”
Star Plunge has two large pools, one indoor and one outdoor hot tub with jets, two outdoor slides and one tube side, steam room and sauna. The indoor pool temperature ranges from 94 to 98 degrees F, and the sides and bottom of the pool are lined with a porcelain-smooth layer of pale pink mineral deposit, the result of decades of contact with the thermal water. The pools and steam room at Star Plunge are supplied with hot water from nearby Big Spring.
The boys loved the slides and the jumping board. They even triple-dog-dared me to jump off the jumping board. It was scary but I did it. Just one time. I especially liked the “Vapor Cave,” and Jerry liked the “Lobster Pot” extra-hot hot tub.