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Crater of Diamonds State Park for history, romance and treasure hunting fun

The minefield at Crater of Diamonds State Partk

With Spring comes the return of song birds, flowers blooming and the budding of the fruit trees. For many, Spring also brings the budding of romance and for those further

The Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu

The Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu

Lake Charles, Louisiana (Calcasieu Parish) is home to one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the state of Louisiana at the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu. They have

Lundi Gras in New Orleans with Proteus, Orpheus, and Nathan Fillion

Lundi Gras in New Orleands

Greek legends rolled the streets of New Orleans this evening. The Krewe of Proteus led the way. Proteus is New Orleans second oldest Mardi Gras Krewe, Founded in 1882, and

The “Join the Parade” game lives and made it to Mardi Gras!

Artwork from the "Join The Parade" game

Last Mardi Gras day (2016) I created a Mardi Gras parade card game – Join The Parade. It took 9 months to get the artwork done and then another couple

Photos are now up for Carnaval Brasileira in Austin, Texas – PG-13

Costumed fun at Carnival Brasileiro!

Last night was Carnaval Brasileira in Austin, Texas and there was music, dancing, drinking and major Mardi Gras party atmosphere at the Palmer Event Center. The costumes ranged from Las

The “Join the Parade” game lives and made it to Mardi Gras!

Artwork from the "Join The Parade" game

Last Mardi Gras day (2016) I created a Mardi Gras parade card game – Join The Parade.

It took 9 months to get the artwork done and then another couple months to get the decks produced.  After all that I only had 2 weeks to get my game I created out before Mardi Gras 2016.

I still managed to get it into Mardi Gras supply stores in Pensacola, Mobile, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Galveston as well as the Mobile Carnival Museum, the Biloxi Mardi Gras Museum, and a few other places.  So it was in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas as well as Amazon.com before Mardi Gras.  It has been well received and we are already working on next years edition.

Crater of Diamonds State Park for history, romance and treasure hunting fun

The minefield at Crater of Diamonds State Partk
The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas

The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas

With Spring comes the return of song birds, flowers blooming and the budding of the fruit trees. For many, Spring also brings the budding of romance and for those further along, the planning of weddings. After hearing about the Crater of Diamonds State Park it seemed worth checking out as a potential place to take your beloved and even to propose. Imagine digging up a diamond and then dropping on your knee and proposing it be used in your engagement ring.

The Diamond Springs Water Park

The Diamond Springs Water Park

The Crater of Diamonds State Park is just outside of Murfreesboro, Arkansas and is run by the Arkansas State Park Service. Visitors can play in the water park, visit the Diamond Discovery Center, mine for diamonds, have lunch at the Kimberlite Cafe, and enjoy the parks free while camping there.

The Entrance to the Crater of Diamonds State Park mine

The Entrance to the Crater of Diamonds State Park mine

For those expecting to delve into the depths along with seven dwarves singing, “Hi Ho!”, you will be sorely disappointed. Diamond mining at the Crater Lakes Diamond Mine is great for those with claustrophobia as it is an open field of dirt. You dig in the dirt, shake it through screens, run it through water, or sift through it however you want as long as you don’t use devices that are battery or motor operated.

Glass "Gemstones" for purchase in the gift shop

Glass “Gemstones” for purchase in the gift shop

While many do find diamonds and other gemstones in the park, the average is less than two diamonds found per day. So after spending a few, fun hours digging, raking, shaking, and squinting in the sunlight looking for diamonds it is important to note that the gift shop also has very pretty, diamond-shaped glass that you can stick in your pocket should the search prove unrewarded with a diamond worthy of your beloved. Perhaps pulling one of them out of your pocket before dropping to your knee? Telling her, “I was hoping to find a real diamond but my love for you is real. You are far more valuable to me than any gem could ever be. Will you marry me?” might just do the trick.

For some added fun, grab some historical or steampunk garb and gear and have a photoshoot! The park is open throughout the year with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years day but check their site as the hours vary by the season.

The Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu

The Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu
The Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu

The Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu

Lake Charles, Louisiana (Calcasieu Parish) is home to one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the state of Louisiana at the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu. They have a Mardi Gras Museum at the Historic Central School Arts & Humanities Center on 809 Kirby Street in Lake Charles.

The museum may not have the grandeur of some, but what it lacks in architectural beauty it more than tops in Mardi Gras costumes. It boasts the largest collection of Mardi Gras costumes of any Mardi Gras museum in the south. It has animated characters to guide you in your tour and is a must see for any fan of Mardi Gras balls, krewes, and regalia.

Check it out in person as well as our photo album from our stop at the museum!

Lundi Gras in New Orleans with Proteus, Orpheus, and Nathan Fillion

Lundi Gras in New Orleands
King Proteus at Mardi Gras 2016

King Proteus at Mardi Gras 2016

Greek legends rolled the streets of New Orleans this evening. The Krewe of Proteus led the way. Proteus is New Orleans second oldest Mardi Gras Krewe, Founded in 1882, and it takes its name from the son of Poseidon and is a god of the sea.

Oddly enough, the Krewe of Proteus took an entirely different direction from the Greek Sea gods for their theme and the theme was The Hindu Heavens. Their floats celebrated Brahma, Vishnu, Ganesha, and others.

Guggen Kamikaze Mothey

Guggen Kamikaze Mothey

Included in the Proteus lineup was a New Orleans favorite band from Switzerland, Guggen Kamikaze Monthey!

Harry Connick Jr. in the Orpheus 2016 parade

Harry Connick Jr. in the Orpheus 2016 parade

The Krewe of Orpheus, named after the Greek god of music, rolled on the streets following Proteus. Orpheus was founded in 1993 by Harry Connick Jr., his father, and Sonny Borey. It has a major focus on music and celebrities. This years theme was The Wizard’s Bestiary and Nathan Fillion road as the Monarch of Orpheus.

New Orleans City employees looking out for the Orpheus Krewe

New Orleans City employees looking out for the Orpheus Krewe

The parade was rolling smooth until it was discovered there was a fire beneath one of the grates on Canal street. Mr. Filli0n’s float was rolled to the side to allow for a fire truck and another city vehicle to roll in. The city police, fire department and others in the city’s service took care of the fire and determined it was safe before the parade could continue on.

Nathan Fillion throwing beads to the crowd on Canal Street

Nathan Fillion throwing beads to the crowd on Canal Street

This left Mr. Fillion and his riders time to play with the lucky folks who happened to have him pause his ride with them. Amidst shouts of “Nathan!”, “Richard!”, and “Castle!” he and he kept the crowd happy by throwing loads of beads their way. He would point to a specific person and then throw to them.

It was mildly disconcerting when that finger pointed directly at the camera. His aim was true and this writer found himself the recipient of a solid ringer in the game of ring toss. Those beads will be kept with fond memories of this Lundi Gras in New Orleans. With the new “X-Files” now out, perhaps they would make good prayer beads to use in supplications for a continuation of the “Firefly” series?

For more about National Tourism Examiner and creator of the Join The Parade card game, John N. Collins, find him on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook.

Photos are now up for Carnaval Brasileira in Austin, Texas – PG-13

Costumed fun at Carnival Brasileiro!
Costumed fun at Carnival Brasileiro!

Costumed fun at Carnival Brasileiro!

Last night was Carnaval Brasileira in Austin, Texas and there was music, dancing, drinking and major Mardi Gras party atmosphere at the Palmer Event Center.

The costumes ranged from Las Vegas showgirl style to body paint and the music kept the patrons moving.

Check out our photo album from Carnaval Brasileira, but be forewarned as it contains images of folks enjoying themselves in various Brazilian Carnival style attire, including body paint!