Category Archives: Museum

ECHO Lake Aquarium & Science Center

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this blog post, however I did receive discounted admission in exchange for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Burlington, Vermont, Aquarium, Science Center, Children, Lake ChamplainIn the heart of Burlington situated on Lake Champlain lies the ECHO, the lake aquarium and science center. ECHO is a prime destination for visitors looking for an interactive way to learn more about the Lake Champlain Basin. Whether you have children, a family, are a teacher, love the outdoors and environment or are simply visiting the area this is a place where you will receive a view on what makes Lake Champlain so important. There’s something for everyone!

On a recent trip back to Vermont, I took my mom, sister-in-law and two nieces to ECHO for a day of exploration!

Burlington, Vermont, Aquarium, Science Center, Children, Lake Champlain

ECHO holds over 70 species of live fish, amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates. They can be viewed and some you can even touch! The exhibits are really interesting and they’re all unique.
Burlington, Vermont, Aquarium, Science Center, Children, Lake ChamplainFrog World offers 15 different frogs from six continents. Some are pretty cute and others are so “ugly” they’re super cute as my sister-in-law liked to say. It was also great to show to my niece how well they blend into their surroundings to protect themselves and have her try to find them. There was also a frog photo booth where you can blend yourself into a frog. I think my mom and little Jo had a great time playing around with that!
Burlington, Vermont, Aquarium, Science Center, Children, Lake ChamplainThe aquariums have to be my favorite part. Coming in all shapes and forms they encompass every aspect of the lake. Whether it be the a deep dive to see what species survive down under or a graceful visit at the surface, life is blooming.
Burlington, Vermont, Aquarium, Science Center, Children, Lake Champlain Burlington, Vermont, Aquarium, Science Center, Children, Lake ChamplainThere were some pretty large fish in some of these tanks and Jo ate them right up! (Not really, they’re still there.) She loved them!

Hands-On Approach
One of the things that I loved most about ECHO was how they really took a hands on approach with children. Not only is the visual interaction obviously there, the physical interaction is well in place and assists on leaving a lasting impression. In addition to their traveling exhibits we found these two which were great (even for the big kids).

Touch a starfish!
After seeing these creatures in aquariums, wouldn’t you (or your children) like to touch one? They have that opportunity here – stepping stools included.

Burlington, Vermont, Aquarium, Science Center, Children, Lake ChamplainLearn about the basin! The basin, waterways and shores all have an integral part of what is being put into that lake. The 20 foot long tabletop provides a hands on approach including boats, buildings, animals and a waterfall on approach on how susceptible the waterways are in our ecosystem. Step stools and bibs also included to stay dry.

Burlington, Vermont, Aquarium, Science Center, Children, Lake Champlain Burlington, Vermont, Aquarium, Science Center, Children, Lake Champlain

Education & Awareness
Obviously, there’s a huge focus on education and awareness. Throughout the center there’s gentle reminders on how big the ripple can be from one small choice.
Burlington, Vermont, Aquarium, Science Center, Children, Lake Champlain

History is prevalent throughout the exhibit whether it be on the landscape, history of the Burlington Waterfront or even going as far back as a look at the people who have lived here for over the last 11,000 years. A history lesson on Lake Champlain wouldn’t be complete without a view on Champ, the lake monster!

It’s a great reminder to help protect and take care of the things that we love, including the environment which is often times overlooked.

Burlington, Vermont, Aquarium, Science Center, Children, Lake ChamplainThe View
One of the best things about ECHO isn’t inside, but outside. During the course of the day, we were inside learning about Lake Champlain, the animals, the ecosystem and history. The best part is looking out the window or stepping outside to the patio and seeing it for yourself. Although we went on a very rainy day, the view wasn’t diminished. This is one of my favorite parts of Burlington and something that I loved dearly while attending school in the city. It really puts into perspective that we need to take care of the environment to preserve what we love.

Burlington, Vermont, Aquarium, Science Center, Children, Lake Champlain
Have you ever been to ECHO? What did or would you and your family love about this experience?

For More Information:
ECHO / One College Street, Burlington, VT 05401 / (877) 324-6386
Admission: Be sure to review the admission information pricing information as well as discounts and an admission coupon.

Happy Birthday Fredericksburg, TX

Founded on May 8, 1846, Fredericksburg became home to 120 German settlers on 10,000 acres of land. Now home to over 700 historically significant structures, the history in this area is alive and well.

Baron Otfried Hans von Meusebach (later changed his name to John O. Meusebach) is the founding father of this area. The survival of the area did not come easy as Comanche Indians were notable in the area. In 1847, Meusebach signed one of the most credited and successful treaty (within Texas) with the tribes. The tribes agreed not to interfere with the settlers in the area in exchange for $3,000 worth of gifts.
1848 brought added security and economic assistance with the establishment of Fort Martin Scott. This fort was one of the first military outposts in Texas and is still one of the few restored museums / sites depicting the new Texas independence.
Frederickburg CVB / Credit Gillespie County: 1896 Early Parade
The Civil War did not go unnoticed this far south in Texas either. The majority of residents favored the Union, however not all. In 1862, a Confederate colonel and his soldiers came into town. This led to the death of 76 Germans who had plans to join the Union army. This event became known as the 1862 Massacre at Nueces.
Fredericksburg CVB / Credit Gillespie County: July 4 Parade
Other unique Fredericksburg history:
  • Schoolmaster and inventor Jacob Brodbeck – Successfully flew his own self powered flying machine. This was almost 40 years prior to the Wright Brothers flight.
  • Sunday House – Per European custom, farmers lived in town and traveled to their farms daily, each settler received a small lot for a home and 10 acres in the country for farming. Soon, these settlers adapted to the “American” custom of living on their properties in the country. The lot in town did not go unused as these farmers built small homes for the purpose of having a place to stay on the weekends, to attend church and gather with others.
  • Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm at Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site.
  • Pioneer Museum
  • Gillespie Country Country Schools Trail – 16 sites dating back to the 1880’s, including Lyndon B. Johnson’s first schoolhouse.
  • Vereins Kirche ( SocietyChurch) – one of the first buildings to be built in town.
  • Kaffeemuehle (Coffee Mill) – octagonal building served as various congregations, a school, community hall and a fort. The actual building was destroyed but a replica was built in 1935 and has been relocated to the Marktplatz.
  • National Museum of the Pacific War – Dedicated to everyone who served in WWII under Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Admiral Nimitz was a five star admiral hailing from Fredericksburg. The museum now hosts the AdmiralNimitzMuseum, the George H.W. Bush Gallery, the Garden of Peach, the Pacific Combat Zone, the Memorial Wall and the Plaza of Presidents.
If you are interested in learning more and visiting some of these areas, please visit the FredericksburgVisitorsInformationCenter. They will be able to provide a map of the Walking Tour of the Historic District which will bring you to 30 historical sites within Fredericksburg.

To plan a trip to Fredericksburg, located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, call (830) 997-6523 or  1-888-997-3600 (toll-free in the U.S.) to request a free visitor information kit or go to for a complete list of accommodations in Fredericksburg and Gillespie County.

Related Posts:
Fredericksburg, TX – An Introduction
The Enchanted Rock

Historical Information from the CVB of Fredericksburg.

Most Historic Small Town in Texas

Bastrop is situated right outside of Austin however one shouldn’t let the appeal of a small Texas town deceive you as being “just a small town”. Bastrop holds a huge part of Texas history, history that the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa displays proudly.

Walking the halls of the Hyatt, what you will find on the walls documents the history of Bastrop in the state of Texas. It even led me to do a little research and find out a little bit more…
Back around 1804, a fort / colony was established alongsidethe Colorado River and was named after Felipe EnriqueNeri Baron de Bastrop. (He was actually a wanted man from the Netherlandsnamed Philip Hendrik Nering Bogel who was embezzler.) In Texas,he became a land commissioner for Moses and Stephen F. Austin. Around 1827,Stephen F. Austin moved about 100 hundred families into an area and named thetown after Baron de Bastrop, who had passed a short time earlier. Consideringthe town was located next to (or what was at the time) the Mexican boundaries,the name was later changed to Mina however on December 18, 1837, the town became officially known, forgood, as Bastrop.
In 1839, Bastrop applied to be the capital of Texas.It was later decided that the name “Austin”would be used as the state capital name, no matter where it happened to be established. Theory says, Austin was established right outside of Bastrop because it was not established. In doing so, they prompted growth in the area,bringing business, jobs and creating a community in an undeveloped area.Although Bastrop was defeated that they could not claim the title of being the capital of Texas,they knew that this would bring great benefits to their area.
Bastrop also has some famous citizens that held their place throughout history:
  • Three Bastropians signed the Texas Declaration of Independence
  • Several gave their lives at the Alamo
  • 60 Men fought in the battle of San Jacinto
A huge importance of this area was the Lost Pine Forest which sat around the center of town. This was some of the only lumber available in the area which was supplied to Austin and San Antonio and later even sent off to Mexico.Later on, a pecan-shelling plant, cedar chest factory, cedar oil factory and coal production would bring even more business to the area.
1862 brought destruction to Bastrop.A fire destroyed most of the downtown area, including the county courthouse and many commercial buildings. The majority of buildings in the “old downtown” area are dated post Civil War due to the fire. 1869 brought even more disaster with the highest flood in the towns history, forcing everyone to evacuate.Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there with the most destructive fire in Texas history in 2011. Over 36,000 acres and 1,700 homes were lost in the fire,however the historic downtown remained untouched.
Bastrop joined the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 which added 131 buildings tothe site list. This helped to earn Bastrop the title of “ Most Historic Small Town in Texas”. In 2010, it was named one of America’s Most Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Now, this is a really quick hit on the information that I found on Bastrop. Walking the halls of the resort, you will see pictures and information on the history of this historic town (as shown above). About 10-15 minutes down the road, you can also drive into historic Bastrop and view some of the historic buildings in the area (below).

(Above) This house stopped me dead in my tracks. It was gorgeous, on a quiet street with large trees out front. I’m pretty sure I would be sitting on this front porch with a cool drink and a good book year round. Some of the historical homes in this area were beautiful!

Views of some of the downtown shops.

How small is the world. I happened to venture into one of the downtown shops. Here sat a butter churn made in Bellows Falls, Vermont.
A little piece of Vermont found in Texas by this Vermonter = one proud Vermonter.

Bastrop is super cute. If you happen to be at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort (or going thru the area), I highly recommend taking a little detour and enjoying some of this historic town.

Related Posts:
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa
Exploring Nature at the Hyatt Lost Pines
Comfort & Beauty – Room Overview
Firewheel Cafe at the Hyatt Lost Pines
Activities at the Hyatt Lost Pines

Texas Tuesday link up with Amanda from Princess of the Panhandle and Crystal from Masons Mama. This is a chance for any blogger to participate in a post on the greatness of Texas! There’s so much to explore!

Historical Information: Visit Bastrop TX, Bastrop Texas Network, Wikipedia

Disclaimer: I was not compensated but did receive one night’s stay at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa in return for this post. All photos and opinions are 100% my own.