Author Topic: Road trip from Chicago-Memphis-New Orleans-St Louis  (Read 380 times)

Offline Divora M

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Road trip from Chicago-Memphis-New Orleans-St Louis
« on: May 02, 2019, 12:38:06 AM »
This is my first trip report so I hope I did it right but we had a great time so I figured it could help people by sharing:
Monday- Drove from Chicago for  4 hours and slept in Salem, IL at Holiday Inn express. We loved the Holiday Inn Express because the rooms are clean with duvet covers, they give us extra cots  and cribs without a problem and my kids really enjoyed their breakfast buffet with tons of kosher options like oatmeal, bagels with cream cheese, lots of cereals, chocolate milk, yogurts and more.
Tuesday- Got started early and drove for 4 hours and made it by the skin of our teeth to Memphis’ famous Peabody Hotel. Every morning at the Peabody Hotel they have the duck walk ceremony where the famous ducks that live in the hotel parade down the red carpet to their fountain in the center of the  very fancy hotel lobby. The walk is complete with a duck master in his royal attire. The lobby is packed with people so it’s hard to unless you have a good spot, kids are allowed to sit on both sides of the red carpet. After we toured the hotel and the roof where the ducks go to sleep at night we moved on. Our next activity was Mud Island which is is an exact replica of the Mississippi River and goes for a half a mile starting from “Minnesota” all the way to the “Gulf of Mexico” with the actual Mississippi River flowing throughout. It was a enjoyable and educational for the whole family. I highly recommend it. After a nice lunch at Mud Island overlooking the Mississippi River we moved on to the great pyramid in the middle of Memphis AKA Bass Pro Shop. When I was doing my research on activities in Memphis I kept on seeing people recommending this Bass Pro Shop, we are not big outdoorsy people so I didn’t have high hopes for this. Boy was I wrong, when you enter the pyramid you are essentially entering another land with trees and bears, alligators and scuba divers, boats and motorcycles. There is just so much to see.I let my kids loose to explore it all. They have a shooting range, bowling alley, hotel and the worlds largest indoor glass elevator that takes you to the top of the pyramid for a view of the whole city. We could’ve stayed much longer but the clock was ticking and we needed to move on to our next activity. We picked up some baked goods at Rikki’s Cookie Corner (which also sells pizza every Tuesday) and drove to the Memphis JCC. It was no easy task getting a guest pass for the JCC but when there’s a will there’s a way. The JCC has a great pool complete with two big water slides, diving board, lazy river and two shallow kids pools with slides and play areas. The best part was they have a DELICIOUS kosher BBQ restaurant in the JCC called Holy Cow which you can eat poolside! After leaving the JCC we did a little drive by of Elvis Presley’s home and airplane and drove two more hours until we got to Jackson, Mississippi where we slept at our favorite hotel the Holiday Inn Express.
Wednesday- After filling up from the breakfast buffet we drove two more hours until we were in Louisiana. We signed up for an Alligator swamp tour called Cajun Encounters. It was over 90 degrees but the boat was shaded so we were okay. Our tour guide was very engaging and informative about the homes and land surrounding the swamp and how they were effected by the Hurricane. He even fed the alligators by holding the food on a stick and the alligator almost jumped into our boat! Definitely something the kids won’t forget. Next we went to Storyland Park in New Orleans which is a very cute park with tons of nursery tale statues to look at and play with. For dinner we unfortunately decided to go to Casablanca which is a Moroccan restaurant and definitely not the place to go with kids. I would suggest going to Kosher Cajun which is around the corner. After dinner we checked into our hotel which was in the French Quarter. After the kids went swimming in the hotels pool they conked out and we had a babysitter watch them while we checked out the nightlife of the city. We walked all over the French quarter and ended up at the uber famous Cafe Du Monde, those beignets were amazing.
Thursday- We drove to Waffles on Maple which my kids and I loved, my husband not so much. We took a little drive by tour of the cemeteries in New Orleans which is interesting because nobody is buried underground due to the flooding so you can see the difference between where the rich people are buried and the poor people. We got back to the French Quarter and had a private tour geared towards kids of the French quarter. Our tour guide was so great and engaging for the kids, she brought games and kosher food all related to the history of New Orleans. I decided to switch our plans a bit since we all enjoyed Memphis so much to drive back and get a quick swim at the JCC and dinner from Holy Cow.
Friday- after staying just outside of Memphis we drove until we got to St. Louis which we were staying for shabbos. I heard great things about the City Museum so we decided to check it out. Well I am not sure how to describe the museum so I would just suggest that everyone with kids between the ages of 3-21 must go there! You can and SHOULD spend the entire day there. If you go in the summer there’s a whole climbing area outside that can’t be done in the winter.
Shabbos- we had a very nice shabbos in St Louis and headed home to Chicago but not before going to Shnucks and getting their .50 cent donuts...

Online ludmila

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Re: Road trip from Chicago-Memphis-New Orleans-St Louis
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2019, 12:51:53 AM »
Nice TR . You mentioned Casablanca is not a place to go with kids, was it having belly dancers or that the kids did not like Moroccan food?
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Offline Divora M

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Re: Road trip from Chicago-Memphis-New Orleans-St Louis
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2019, 12:57:14 AM »
There weren’t  any belly dancers. We didn’t particularly enjoy the food plus I would’ve preferred to try more authentic Cajun cuisine.

Offline Traveler718

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Re: Road trip from Chicago-Memphis-New Orleans-St Louis
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2019, 10:59:13 AM »
Great trip - we love the City Museum and have been there 3 times! We were also pleasantly surprised by the Bass Pro Shop in Memphis.

Who was the kid-friendly tour guide you used for the French Quarter? And how did you find a babysitter in NO?

Offline Divora M

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Re: Road trip from Chicago-Memphis-New Orleans-St Louis
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2019, 11:07:57 AM »
Great trip - we love the City Museum and have been there 3 times! We were also pleasantly surprised by the Bass Pro Shop in Memphis.

Who was the kid-friendly tour guide you used for the French Quarter? And how did you find a babysitter in NO?

The tour was called French Quarter Kids Tours and our tour guide was Peak Mayfield.

. I knew someone in NO who helped us out.

Offline joey89

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Re: Road trip from Chicago-Memphis-New Orleans-St Louis
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2019, 11:14:25 AM »
Nice TR . You mentioned Casablanca is not a place to go with kids, was it having belly dancers or that the kids did not like Moroccan food?
They do not have an official kids menu. It is also a more leisurely meal experience, which kids aren’t always agreeable with. Generally only go with my wife.
Kosher Cajun has a kids menu, quicker meal. They also have kosher versions of multiple Cajun foods

Offline Divora M

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Re: Road trip from Chicago-Memphis-New Orleans-St Louis
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2019, 12:07:48 PM »
They do not have an official kids menu. It is also a more leisurely meal experience, which kids aren’t always agreeable with. Generally only go with my wife.
Kosher Cajun has a kids menu, quicker meal. They also have kosher versions of multiple Cajun foods

Yup, that was my one regret from the trip.