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What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

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Wall Drug: World’s Largest Drug Store

Sure, you could go see Mount Rushmore on your next trip to South Dakota. It’s BIG, so why not? But if you’re going to “The Coyote State,” you need to visit the Wall Drug, the World’s Largest Drug Store!

And we will. As soon as we get to South Dakota.

In the meantime, I am grateful that Anne at 500 Places With Kids DID go there, and has shared her photos with us! You can read a full report of her family’s visit on her blog.

Wall drug

One of America's top roadside attractions!

At 76,000 square feet, Wall Drug is not only a drug store. The space also contains a gift shop, pharmacy museum, art gallery, chapel, restaurants and other shops.

Wall Drug is an iconic American roadside attraction. I love the history of this place. It opened in 1931, and struggled to stay afloat, until the couple who owned it started advertising “free ice water” on small roadside signs. Now they get up to 20,000 visitors a day in the summer!

Check Anne’s site for a smile-inducing photo of the wall of jackalope heads for sale! Who doesn’t love a jackalope? There’s also this BIG one outside, and of course I had to have a pic on my blog:


World's largest jackalope? Actually, no. That one's in Wyoming.


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PHOTO FRIDAY – World’s Largest Crayon, Easton, PA

I hear you gasp. Yes, the photo quality is…well…not great. But it’s scanned from a 35mm print taken five years ago and unearthed from an old scrapbook, so cut me some slack.


Meet "Big Blue." the world's largest crayon

This week, my baby started middle school, so this “Photo Friday” is about The Boy and our visit to The Crayola Experience™ in 2006 to see the world’s largest crayon.

He was just a sprite back then, and The Girl wasn’t even in our realm of contemplation. (Two kids? Crazy talk!)

Crayola factory

When we were three.

The Crayola Experience in Easton, PA is not the real crayon manufacturing plant. It’s more like a children’s activity and discovery center, with plenty of hands-on activities. The world’s largest crayon is actually in the gift shop.  Fifteen feet long and 16 inches in circumference, “Big Blue” was created in 2003 to reflect America’s favorite color. It weighs 1,500 lbs, and is the equivalent of 123,000 blue crayons.

The gift shop, by the way, is awesome! I remember it the most, mainly because it offered such an extensive range of Crayola products you just can’t find in the stores. “Santa” had a field day stocking up in advance of Christmas that year!

It should be noted that we were in PA last week, and I floated the idea of returning to the Crayola Experience to get an updated photo. The Boy, now 11, wanted none of it. Sigh. He’s actually starting to outgrow certain travel destinations and attractions. I guess Sesame Place is also out!

See Photo Friday posts from other bloggers on DeliciousBaby.com.

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Toys R’ Us: World’s Largest Toy Store

We made it out alive. We went into New York City this week and stopped at the Toys R’ Us store in Times Square; the world’s largest toy store. And while my statement about making it out alive is meant sarcastically, we were in the store at the same time the 5.9 earthquake — which originated in Virginia — was felt in Manhattan.

Many buildings were evacuated after the shock was felt. All we felt were the vibrations of the 20-foot animatronic dinosaur in the Jurassic Park section of the store.


The Girl kinda freaked when he started growling and moving

It was surreal, getting frantic texts from concerned friends and family while standing in the two-story, 4,000-sq ft Barbie dollhouse, waiting for The Girl to make her selection between the fairy Barbie with pet unicorn and the mermaid Barbie with pet dolphin. (She chose the mermaid).


Decisions, decisions


"Does Barbie live here?"


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World’s Largest Wegmans, and other great places to eat on the road!

WegmansSupermarket shopping isn’t high on my list of favorite things to do. But if we’re planning a road trip, I’ll always check to see if there’s a Wegmans on the route. It’s difficult to explain my love for Wegmans, which burns more fervently because there isn’t one anywhere near us. The chain is based in upstate New York, with additional stores in NJ, PA, VA, and — soon — in MD and MA.

I’ve dragged the family to the locations in Bridgewater, NJ, Pittsford, NY, Scranton, PA, and Harrisburg, PA. At first, they wondered why I would veer off a trip itinerary to visit a supermarket. Little did they know that the itineraries were based around these stops! The most recent addition to our Wegmans passport was in Fredericksburg, VA. It’s the largest store in terms of square footage, and therefore, the world’s largest Wegmans!

If you’ve been to Wegmans, you know why I love it. There’s a huge selection and a high-quality store brand, pleasing décor, friendly staff, etc. What puts Wegmans over the top is the cold and hot food bars within the store, connected to a dedicated eat-in section. There are always hundreds of selections of prepared dishes, served from themed stations (e.g. Asian, vegetarian, salad) and counters (e.g. pizza, subs). Add these to the more traditional deli counter which also offers pre-packaged entrees and sides, and it’s a smorgasbord.


It’s a good thing I don’t live near a Wegmans. We would be poor and I would never cook again.

Wegmans takes priority on our road trip itineraries because it’s a great place for a family to eat while traveling. It’s inexpensive and casual. Everyone can get what they want, and there are always healthy options. (Meaning, I slip some carrots and grapes from the salad bar into the kids’ boxes when they’re not looking.) The dining section is well-decorated; many steps above a cafeteria. Even better, the stores we have visited have fun tables for kids, and even offer movie nights. In Pittsford, we had dinner on a Friday night. Shrek was playing in the front of the room, and the bar in the back was serving wine to the parents! Everyone was VERY happy.

Some stores like Pittsford also have a separate eatery called The Food Bar. You place an order at the counter for hamburgers, fish fry, etc.  There’s also The Pub in two locations, Malvern and Collegeville, with full table service and menu, and no tipping allowed.


Preparing to write this post made me think about other affordable, non-restaurant alternatives for traveling families. So I put the question out to other family travel bloggers, “Where do you eat on the road instead of restaurants?” The answers mainly fell into three categories: farmer’s markets; specialty supermarkets; and food trucks/street food.


Courtesy of Wandering Educators

Mara at The Mother of All Trips plans ahead to stop at farmer’s markets. “Along the New York State Thruway and the PA Turnpike they even have them at some of the rest stops in the summer. I picked up fresh cherries and blueberry bread at one that we ate for breakfast the next morning.” A great tip — she finds local food sources at LocalHarvest.org.

Heather, the Texas Destination Guroo at Trekaroo.com, likes the Avila Valley Barn in Avila Beach, CA for a tasty baked treat, ice cream, or fruits and veggies, and even a petting zoo. She also recommends the farmer’s market on Thursday nights in San Luis Obispo, CA. “It’s crowded, but there are five blocks of street vendors, farm stands, outside barbecue stands, and other restaurant vendors.”

As for specialty supermarkets, Whole Foods got a mention for its great deli selection. I can attest; I’ve spent my fair share in their prepared foods aisle. Lora at Cascadia Kids likes Trader Joe’s, mainly for picking up healthy treats to-go. “I’m pretty big on the protein-while-traveling, so we focus on the trail mixes, nutrition bars and hard cheeses.”

Keryn at Walkingon Travels loves the food trucks in Seattle, especially the city’s wealth of taco trucks. “El Camion is our favorite. It tends to park near Home Depot locations. My almost 2-year-old son can’t get enough of their carnitas (pork) burritos with black beans. I figure anything he will eat is worth the stop.” Even better, music blasts from the truck, so they can dance a little salsa!


Chicago's Chinatown, courtesy of Wandering Educators

Jessica at Wandering Educators loves ethnic grocery stores, particularly those within Asian communities, where she can pull together a meal of seaweed salad, sushi, dumplings, cold noodle salad, and grilled meat. She never forgets the treats. “We LOVE shrimp crisps, as well as those hello panda biscuits with chocolate inside, and Pocky! Don’t forget the bubble tea, calpis, or any of the amazing flavored beverages in the cooler.”

I appreciate all the input, ladies! So, where do YOU like to eat on the road?

Fredericksburg Things To Do on raveable

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The World’s Largest Premium Outlets, Central Valley, NY

Shopping is one of those beloved hobbies of my past, b.k. And by shopping, I mean thrilling, all-day adventures in search of bargains and perfectly-fitting jeans for ME. Not quick Target run-throughs, throwing any shoes in the cart which may fit the kids’ feet, only to be tried on at home and inevitably returned.

Matt and I do sometimes get out to do grown-up stuff, like when we had a date night at the world’s largest Spanish restaurant, The Columbia, in Tampa. And occasionally, I still get to shop without the kids!

Woodbury Common

Woodbury Common

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

Luckily, it takes little to convince my cousin-in-law Stephanie to join me at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, NY.  She was our intrepid travel companion to Montréal, and is not intimidated in the least by the crowds and lines at this shopper’s paradise.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

Woodbury Common is the world’s largest premium outlet shopping center, which means two things in my favor. The first: there are 220 stores. The second: there are 220 stores all in one place. Which means a lot of walking is involved, but also – literally — one-stop-shopping! A much more efficient way to dispose of my money!

Plus, I needed new shoes.

Okay, what was so cool about it?

Yes, there are some fantastic brands at Woodbury Common, offering discounts so good the result is usually lines and controlled entrance times:

Coach outlet

Is this the line for the Toy Story Mania ride?

But even at “discount” prices, I’m still not in the market for Jimmy Choos (although they do have a store here). My eyes were on a different prize: Crocs. Go ahead, apply the suburban hausfrau labels to me. I can stand up to any insult…as long as I’m wearing my comfy shoes.

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What-to-Avoid Wednesday / Daffin’s Candy Store

I don’t mean to send my friends out on bad “Go BIG” assignments. It’s just coincidental that our last two gracious volunteer correspondents got stuck with duds. First, Sandra spent a small fortune on the cheesefest that is Santa’s Enchanted Forest, the world’s largest Christmas theme park. Now, Tom has submitted this report from his visit to the world’s largest candy store. This place, you will note, has been awarded the lowest score in “Go BIG” history. Even though I’m a raging chocoholic, I think even I would have scored it low.

daffins candy store

Looks nice enough from the outside...

I appreciate Tom’s relative restraint, and the humor he found in the situation. He presents more humorous slice-of-life tales in his blog, and on his new site, Creature Banter. If you’ve ever laughed at the naïve yet absurd utterances from the children in your life, you’ll appreciate his collection.

His report:

After a post-holiday week-long trip back to my East Coast roots, we were facing a 14-hour drive to our Indiana home. Connecticut to Indiana. Just typing it makes me shutter.

“We” included me, my love Rachel and her 9-year-old daughter, who informed me prior to our excursion that “long car trips aren’t my thing.”

So we were thrilled to hear that our reward for the 300-mile trek through the state of Pennsylvania was a visit to Daffin’s, which calls itself the world’s largest candy store. The store resides in Sharon, PA, a few miles off Interstate 80. The store’s website boasted of Daffin’s Chocolate Kingdom – including chocolate villages and a 400-pound chocolate turtle.  This was not to be missed.

So we were excited to bribe the child with candy, and what would surely be a visit to paradise.

The location was a bit hard to find, as its location was a few miles from the highway, but we were determined to find it, and indulge in some chocolate and candy.

We finally arrived…or did we? Is this the place? Or is this a pharmacy?

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World’s Largest Disney Store, New York, NY


Disney castle

You are now entering...the Princess Zone!

IT’S DISNEY GIVEAWAY DAY! But first, the post…

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

There’s a reason the sale of psuedoephedrine-laced cough medication is regulated. It can make you do crazy things. Case in point: suffering from a sinus infection, and self-medicating with Advil Cold & Sinus, I made the decision to drag everyone into NYC recently to check out the brand new Disney store…in Times Square…one week after it opened. I took leave of my senses, and I’m blaming it on pharmacology.

It’s the world’s largest Disney store, but as I found out from a “Cast Member,” it’s not as big as the “World of Disney” store in Orlando. They are different companies, so the distinction is made.

Bonus: After our expedition, nourishment was in order, so we ended up at Applebee’s. Turns out, the Times Square location is the world’s largest Applebee’s!

WHY did you go there, exactly?

Actually, we were going to the upper west side anyway, because The Girl and I had tickets for Angelina Ballerina, the Musical. The Girl imagines herself to be a dainty ballerina type. Taller, louder, and more in-your-face than all the other three-year olds in Miss Tanya’s “Combo” dance class, she obviously has an active imagination.

The boys went to check out the Quidditch World Cup, then came to pick us up after the show. When I said to Matt, “let’s go down to Times Square,” he acquiesced, knowing I was on medication and fearing the unknown.

We found free, on-street parking on 45th street–a sign that it was meant to be. We entered, squeezed our way through throngs of people, and applied the Death Grip to The Girl’s hand so she wouldn’t get lost.

Disney store

A Jessie doll? Why yes, I would be interested in purchasing that. How did you know?

Okay, what was so cool about it?

Any Disney fan will lose their mind in this place. There are two floors with floor-to-ceiling merchandise; everything from toys to apparel. The displays are so endearing, the décor so magical, the staff so friendly…all the necessary elements to separate you from your money.

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