Sometimes you catch crabs on vacation. Sometimes the crabs catch you.
Last month we went on vacation to Myrtle Beach and stayed at a resort right by the ocean. I grew up in a town not far from MB, but regrettably did not take advantage of my proximity to the beach as often as I should have. The resort is located near a marsh inlet which proved to be an excellent source of wildlife! I will write more about the diverse ecosystem in another post, but for now, I want to talk about Crabs!
When we first got to the inlet, I noticed several large Blue Crabs in the shallow water so in I went. I was not really prepared for this endeavor so I was forced to use my hands. Finally with the aid of some well placed sand, I was able to grab the crab by the back of it’s shell and bring it out of the water.
He was not too happy. My sister was filming and had stopped recording when I spotted another crab with only one pincer. I figured it would be an easy catch, and while holding the first crab, nabbed the second by it’s lone claw. Here was my mistake. I took my eyes off of the first crab, and he knew it. Another family had come over to see what was going on and witnessed what happened next.
My sister began recording again briefly as I tried to figure out how to get the crab to release me. It was not as simple as I had hoped and every time someone moved (like when the woman came closer to take a picture), he would clamp down harder. One thing I learned on vacation…crabs are ornery!!
He held onto my finger for probably 10 or 15 minutes, periodically applying added pressure while I laid in the shallow water contemplating my life decisions. I eventually decided that I wasn’t going to go out like that, took a deep breath and jerked my hand out of the water. The crab gave one last parting pinch and then let go, falling back into the water and scuttled away, I’m sure cursing the silly human who dared challenge his domain.
Once I was finally freed, we called it a day and headed back to our room so that I could lick my wounds (figuratively of course). The next day my mom and sisters brought a net so that we could safely continue exploring. As I said, we found many creatures, but for this post, we will focus on the crabs. Almost immediately upon returning to the inlet, we hauled in a nice sized crustacean and the twins were amazed!
After catching several larger crabs, we began noticing many juvenile crabs scurrying about. There were crabs of all sizes, but even the smaller ones were mean and would grab anything that entered the pinch zone.
Eventually we found some that were small enough to pose no threat so the kids got to be more involved. It was very interesting to see how unique each crab was. They all seemed to be great at posing for pictures.
Once the kids got up the courage to hold the crabs, they were hooked!
Literally every crab we saw they wanted to catch and hold. I had to warn them that some of the smaller ones could still pinch. I am so proud of my brave explorers!
We soon discovered that we needed to be extra cautious when wading through the shallow waters of the inlet. As soon as Evan released one of the baby crabs, it buried itself under the sand and was nearly invisible. Next time I’m thinking water shoes are a must!
These animals are beautiful and amazing, but as I explained to the kids, they are wild animals and are not meant to be kept as pets. As with most of our adventures, we observe and release the critters we catch; that way they will be around for other kids to enjoy for years to come.
Be sure to check out our next post to see what other incredible creatures we discovered, and subscribe to the lilburghers Youtube channel for all of our latest adventures.
*articles may contain affiliate links* I worked with Darien Lake through a blogger partnership with US Family Guide. They sent us tickets for a visit in exchange for this post.
Summer is all about family fun and memories, right? Well, our fall has started and I’m really confused by the weather – it’s still been a bit steamy in Pittsburgh! We took advantage of this nice weather one weekend in September and took the kids and my bestie for a getaway to New York. One part of our visit was to Darien Lake amusement park, a highly suggested quick road trip from the Pittsburgh area!
(Note – if you’d like to visit Darien Lake, you’ll need to wait until 2018. Their Harvest Festival ran September 16 – October 1, extending the summer fun just a ‘lil bit!)
With plenty to do for kids and adults, I really felt this was the best park for our kids’ age range (2 to almost 9). Just like any good park, you enter through a midway of games, shops, and food, but once you get past that the entire park is walkable and not too spread out. The smaller kiddo area (Beaver Brothers Bay) is sort of in the middle of all the excitement, so if parents need to split up the older kids, it is nice and easy.
There really wasn’t anything ride-wise that we didn’t get to do in about 5 hours on a relatively quiet Sunday “fall” afternoon at the amusement park. Like I noted, we visited during the Harvest Festival; however, we never did get a chance to head over to the area with the food trucks and beer. (The kids were having too good of a time!)
Greg and Tom got to experience The Viper which celebrated its 35th “birthday” this summer. Greg says, “It was fun, it was pretty intense and I didn’t stop yelling until we came to a stop!” With several loops and a tunnel, it definitely belongs in Darien Lake’s “Thrill Ride” category!
Missy and I kept things pretty low key, enjoying watching the kids but also laughing lots on Grizzly Run, a wet ride on “rapids”. (I’d really been wanting to ride a rapid ride with Greg, this was our first chance to do this because our local park closes our rapids down for the fall!)
We ended the day with a classic fish pond game, too! Our trip to Darien Lake was definitely full of fun and memories that will last a lifetime.
If you’d like to visit Darien Lake, check out their website for details on the 2018 season!
Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ScrubWithDots #CollectiveBias
Come into my kitchen on any weeknight and you’re sure to find a pile of dishes and see happy bellies around a table. The pans and pots have likely cooked three or four different meals – all for our various palettes.
Confession: I’m not big on doing the dishes because I just hate the time it takes from the family and all the other things that I’ve signed myself up for. All too often, I’m leaving the dishes and messes for Greg to handle when he’s home during the day.
So you’re probably wondering why me, the dish maker not the dishwasher, is excited to share a Dollar General coupon deal with you for Scotch-Brite™ Brand Scrub Dots sponges, right? I’m excited because they help to quickly tackle the mess that my kitchen is so I can get back to the things (and people!) I love…or ease the stress I put my husband through!
Haven’t heard of the Scrub Dots sponges? Here are some details:
Experience the Power of Dots! Scotch-Brite’s new Scrub Dots sponges feature Scrubbing Dots technology that will help you clean away kitchen messes as they scrub fast and rinse clean. The new Scrub Dots sponges will tackle kitchen messes without trapping food.
Heavy-Duty Scrub Dots sponges (green) will help eliminate those baked on messes and the Non-Scratch Scrub Dots sponges (blue) will safely clean all cookware without scratching. Use the right tools for each surface and cleaning your home will be easier and faster!
Visit your local Dollar General and save $1 off any 2 on Scotch-Brite Scrub Dots Sponges!
With that coupon to save on these innovative sponges, I’ll be trying both versions – the blue on my glass stove-top and the green on the eggs that I baked (or burnt, depending on who you ask) into the casserole dishes.
What is your current kitchen hack? Which of these Scrub Dots Sponges do you need most in your life?
This post is brought to you by La Dimora degli Angeli. All opinions are 100% my own. Do you have a travel bucket list? Up until I found out about how easy it is to get gluten free foods in Italy, I thought I didn’t really have a telling reason to add it to mine. Pair that fact with finding out about this adorably peaceful B&B, La Dimora degli Angeli, and Italy is now on my list!
Whether you are traveling for a romantic getaway or a girls’ weekend, I think that a stay in Italy should be on everyone’s bucket list. There is so much to take in, and not just the religion, history, food, and wine. Why not take it in while staying in style by being spoiled at a bed and breakfast? Here’s one I found that intrigued me:
La Dimora degli Angeli
Located in the heart of Florence, Italy with direct views of the Florence Cathedral and Brunelleschi’s dome, La Dimora degli Angeli offers guests comfort and class. As I was browsing their website, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the charm.
There are twelve rooms in this bed and breakfast, each with unique charm and features. Each is intricately yet modernly decorated, paired with comforts of home like private bathrooms, air conditioning, free WiFi, and flat screen television. There are single, double, and triple rooms, all looking like they would best suit 1-2 adults. (One of the single rooms is only 108 square feet – I’ve stayed in a room that size and told my husband I was so glad he wasn’t there with me because I am claustrophobic!) When you stay at La Dimora degli Angeli, you get your room, 24-hour access to a tea room, and an enchanting experience!
Travel Bucket List
If you don’t have a dream to work toward, what are you working for? I’m one who is motivated by working toward goals. Once we pay off our debt and get money put away for the kids’ college, we’ll be living like no one else – checking things off our bucket list! Small rewards for living life with intensity, I say. What is on YOUR travel bucket list?
Earlier this summer we had an unexpected visitor in our backyard. I walked by the back door one morning and glanced out at the frog pond. I noticed a strange shadow in the corner beside the pond and almost dismissed it, until it moved. That was when I realized that the shadow was actually a decent sized snake! The Black Racer blended perfectly into the silhouette of trees cast by the morning sun.
This was my first time actually getting up close with a black racer, I’ve only ever seen them slithering off a trail. They are extremely quick and elusive so of course I had to try and catch it.
My adrenaline was pumping because I was so excited to catch a new species of snake so it took me longer than usual to grab it. After getting bitten, I picked it up and showed it to the kids before we relocated it into the woods behind our house.
Please, if you see a snake and aren’t sure what type it is, just leave it alone if possible. They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. Until next time, happy herping ya’ll!
If you have ever raised tadpoles and observed their incredible metamorphosis, then you know just how rewarding it can be. Here is a look at some of the different stages of life from our frog pond this summer.
Our green frogs began to develop quickly and before long, there were many tadpoles with 2 legs and some with 4.
The Wood frogs began to grow legs and climb onto the makeshift lily pads. I had to keep an eye on them and make sure I removed them from the pond once they matured because the are not aquatic and could drown if they were unable to climb out.
We had a mix of green frog, wood frog, and spring peeper tadpoles. The wood frog and spring peeper tadpoles looked very similar so it was always a surprise to see which developed. Spring Peepers are so cool!
The green frog’s transformation seemed more dramatic because of their sheer size. They have very long tails as tadpoles, and once they develop legs, the tail is still as long as the frog’s body.
I didn’t have to worry about the kids getting bored, Evan and Ari would sit and watch them for hours. If I ever lost track of Evan throughout the course of the day, all I had to do was peek out on the back patio. That boy loves frogs as much as I do!
As the frogs grew, they spent more and more time out of the water. Every day when we walked outside, we were greeted by the excited splashes as they dashed for safety under the weeds. Eventually they got used to our comings and goings and we were able to better observe them.
Before long we had full fledged frogs hopping about. When it rained they would jump out in search of a new home. The newts were the first to go. It was bittersweet but I never intended on making them stay in a sandbox. That is why I never covered it, the whole idea is to make a habitat that critters want to live in. Unfortunately, until I can build a legitimate pond with a pump system, I can’t expect them to stick around.
By the end of summer, the pond was overrun by frogs. I actually noticed a considerable decrease in bugs on our patio, which was awesome. The frogs are all gone now, but the memories and education they provided will remain.
Have you ever kept tadpoles? If so, please share your experience with us in the comments! Until next time, happy herping, ya’ll!
Sponsored Post – all opinions are 100% my own. And so it begins. The search for a new car. You buckle yourself in for a long and stressful process, right? You start to visit local dealerships and used car lots. Or maybe you do your browsing online. Whatever way you handle a search for a new (or used) vehicle, I’m guessing research is involved.
Car shopping is definitely worth the time it takes to do your research. I’ve purchased six cars in my life and in the (near-ish) future we’ll be in search of another. Every time, I’ve looked online to be sure I knew as much going into it as I could. Cars.com is a great place to find a vast amount of information to guide your car search.
The Search for a New Car
Here’s what I consider the must-knows when you search for a new car:
Budget: This is first and foremost. Don’t go searching for something out of your range. Be honest with your search and with your car salesman.
Size of Vehicle: If you’re a growing family, that 2-seater is going to have to go!
Make and Model: Do you have something you’re committed to, or a dream car?
MPG (miles per gallon): As someone that commutes, this is key! You don’t want a gas hog.
Vehicle History: If you’re looking at used vehicles, how often was it serviced (you can get a report on this)?
Reviews: What do others who have owned a vehicle like this had to say about it?
When you’ve done your research, it’s time to hit the road and do some test driving. Yes, this means heading over to a dealer. You want to show them that you know something about what you’re there for – be clear and firm with your desires. You might have your heart set on a car you saw online and it could be gone by the time you get to the lot. Be prepared for this, too!
Make it Pay Off
If you have done the research, you’ll find what’s right for you. The process of buying a car doesn’t have to be a negative life event. Enjoy browsing the options, take your time, and find the just right vehicle. In the end, you’ll be happy with a deal that’s the best for you and your family!
We apologize for the hiatus, the lilburghers and dad have been adjusting to a new schedule and haven’t been able to do much exploring lately. Sometimes there are ways to explore and discover critters without actually going out in the wild. One of our favorite ways to observe the wonders of nature is to visit the National Aviary! Last week I took the twincesses for an impromptu trip while we waited to pick mommy up from work. Adorableness ensued.
Upon arrival, we were informed that they would be bringing a baby flamingo out to the rose garden in just a few minutes. I had not even heard about the flamingo chicks so this was an amazing surprise! The little flamingo was so adorably awkward as he ran right past us. It was incredible to watch the bond between the chick and it’s caretaker. He followed the man everywhere he went and constantly made little squawking noises to make sure his “parent” knew where he was. If you would like to see the baby flamingos, be sure to visit the National Aviary daily at 10:30am and 2:00pm for their free “Flamingo chick talk”. You can also pay to make a reservation and get a more personal, hands-on experience.
As we walked back inside, I had this strange sense that we were being watched. As we rounded the corner into the Main Hall, we were immediately confronted by an enormous raptor! The Eurasian Eagle Owl is said to be the largest owl species in the world, and I can see why. His intense stare, fearsome talons, and impressive 6 and a half foot wingspan give him the rule of the roost.
Our next stop turned out to be the girls’ favorite exhibit; the penguins!
The twins could not hold back their excitement, and one penguin in particular, named Tribby, seemed to take a liking to the them.
Ava and Isla ran back and forth, giggling and screaming, trying to hug and kiss the amazing aquatic birds as they danced through the water. My heart swelled watching the joy overflow from their lil bodies. You can’t help but smile watching them, it is contagious.
Inside is a statue of a penguin, which is a habitual photo op for all of our kids. We spent about 15 minutes with the girls running up to it, hugging it and yelling “cheese”, then running away before I could take a picture. This whole spectacle proved quite amusing to our fellow aviary patrons, but I finally got one.
Next up was the Wetlands, where we watched the baby flamingo’s future flock frolicking (say that five times fast!) in the shallows, some sleepy pelicans, and a Roseate spoonbill nesting high up in the trees. As we traveled through the Wetlands, Isla noticed that we had picked up a tail…Joanie, the resident Wattled Curassow decided to follow us around. She was nice enough to stop and pose for us.
As we bid farewell to Joanie, the grasslands awaited with it’s exciting immersive atmosphere. This may be the smallest area of the aviary, but it is one of my favorites. I’ve found it to be one of the best rooms to photograph the birds, but you have to stay alert because these little aviators love to buzz your tower. One of my favorite birds here is the absolutely stunning Gouldian Finch!
Our final stop was the rainforest. One of the most impressive birds in this exhibit has to be the Malayan Great Argus. If you are lucky enough to witness it’s amazing display, you will understand why. We were not that lucky on this trip but we did get to see the big kids’ favorite bird. The Rhinoceros Hornbill has been a go-to for Ari and Ev since they were little. The male often “talks” to them, and he had a lot to say on this day.
We love getting out to the National Aviary whenever we can. I recommend everyone take a break from their day sometime and check out this peaceful little oasis nestled in the heart of our great city.
If you have been to the National Aviary and have a fun experience to share or suggestions for our next trip, please leave us a comment. Until next time, happy herping, ya’ll!
*articles may contain affiliate links* No matter what line of work you’re in, professional development is key! That’s why I packed up two small bags (more to come on that) and hit the road for New York City last week. It was time for Blogger Bash NYC 2017, a conference for bloggers who focus on baby, kid, and parenting writing.
A Veteran’s View of Blogger Bash NYC
This was my third time embarking on the city for this conference, but my first time without Greg and the kids enjoying the sights while I worked. I road-tripped it from Pittsburgh with another ‘burgh blogger (I think there were five of us there in all) and we talked shop for the six hour ride.
(Pro tip – find yourself an accountability partner, no matter what you do for a living. It’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to have someone hold you to goal setting and meeting!)
I knew going into the trip that the hotel we’d booked (The Jane) was tiny, hence the packing lightly. But one important thing came with me – my Converse. They were incredibly comfortable on my feet after I learned my lessons wearing dress shoes and sandals the last two years. (And they looked just fine with my dresses, don’t you think?)
Once we got registered at the two-day event, it was time to catch up with some of my favorite fellow attendees (and find coffee). But first…we stood in line out on the Chelsea Piers in the heat – good thing I didn’t sweat too bad!
Turn Your Passion Into Adventure
The breakfast was sponsored by Armitron and featured a panel of moms who inspired us to do what we love and make it an adventure.
After having the discussions on our ride to NYC, I was really inspired by Sara Roberts of Elle Magazine who told us “stay in your lane”. It’s very easy to get distracted by what people to the left and right of you are doing (in any business). You need to focus on YOU and what works for your business. That’s big stuff right there!
But we also want to work to “create a real community where people can connect” (Rebecca Dube of the TODAY Parenting Team). Since then, I’ve been really thinking about how to make this site more of that for parents (and maybe moving some of the more personal things to another space). I want to be a source for moms like me – and while I’m sure some of you get that from my thoughts, more of you might be interested in things to do in Pittsburgh with kids or you’re coming here for toy reviews. We’ll see if some changes I’ll be making prove this out! Feel free to take a moment and comment about what you’d like to see less and more of around here!
Everyone on the panel was inspiring – this was a great start to the event!
Even though I don’t have teeny tiny babies anymore (for those of you who were there in 2015, I am the mom who had twins strapped to me – they’re now two and done with being worn), I got a lot out of this event. There are some really awesome things coming for new moms and moms of babies/toddlers/early school aged kids!
As a sneak peek, my favorite things I’ll be using and sharing with my family/friends that new moms had a ‘lil something to do with these photos…
Yes, I’m baby wearing at a Babypalooza, AGAIN! This time the baby wasn’t real but was a prop to shw how Bridge the Bump can solve the common prego-problem of buying a new coat for the 3-4 months that the belly is present…then to turn it into a solution for baby wearing moms (and dads) once baby arrives! I’m really excited to tell you more about this in an upcoming post.
This Austlen stroller is a DOUBLE STROLLER. I know, right? It’s so compact and is like a swiss army knife with all the ways it can be configured. With one of these, our travel with a stroller in tow would be solved (as long as the girls stay under 35 pounds). Hopefully more to come about this beauty!
When cold season hits, I’m going to be armed with Oilogic to make the stuffy noses and tough to sleepies go away!
OK, take all my monies. You guys know me and clean eats. Well, Tickle Water is going to be added to my list of musts – and I’ll have my own private stash that the kids won’t know about!
This was just a SAMPLE of all the amazingness that I saw at Babypalooza! And if you’re my friend on Facebook, you might have noticed that Zulily did a photo shoot and got me a fancy new headshot!
The conference included a private tour of CE Week, a tech show. There were WAY too many booths and too much cool stuff at that event to cover in just two short hours, so I made my way back over there on Thursday after the last official event wrapped up. While I didn’t take too many photos, I did get to see some super cool techie things like home security systems, at home vision screenings, carbon monoxide alarms, laser hair growth stimulation, smart pillows, and adaptive technology. Really cool stuff that will hopefully make it here for Tech Tuesday features!
I almost feel like The Biggest Night of Play needs its own dedicated post. During this four-hour event, I got a sneak peek at all the hottest toys coming this Christmas. I’m going to share my list of things you’ll want to get your hands on in a future post, but here’s an idea of what to be ready for:
Slime, slime, slime!
Science (STEM/STEAM) kits
Throwbacks – Teddy Ruxpin and Cabbage Patch (I AM IN LOVE)
There’s no way I could sum this up with words, so a collage will have to do. Trust me.
And after four hours of play, these ‘lil piggies were exhausted!
Toy Association Breakfast
The last day of Blogger Bash started off with a trip to the Toy Association’s office to talk about toys and toy safety. Because I took three pages of notes and am a rule following mama, I want to give you some tips in another post; however, if you don’t make it back here to read that one – I ask you to – Have Fun and Play Safe!
Stuff for Moms and Dads Expo
The final event (tears!) was the CPE Stuff for Moms and Dads Expo. While there weren’t as many brands here as other events, I took full advantage of getting to know the items that were showcased. I spent three hours learning about things that were going to make my life as a mama better so I could be more for my kids. Interestingly enough, my favorites all had a good fitness/wellness spin to them:
Pea Protein Powder from Growing Naturals could easily become my newest post-workout fuel. (Truth be told, I might have been swayed by the vodka they mixed with it for our “coping cabana” theme; however, this wasn’t “textury” or tough to swallow, so it sat well with me.)
Hero Clean is going to kick my clothes’ butt. Ever since starting YFit, my workout gear reeks like the Chatham College Hockey locker room – ugh!
Laguna Blue – The Smarter Towel – would be a great addition to our summer routine. Greg is taking the kids swimming every weekday, so that’s five towels that maybe don’t get 100% dry before the next swim. Eco-friendly and bacteria resistant = piece of mind!
Touchpoints are a cool new technology to help with anxiety and stress. These bands help calm the fight of flight feeling!
The one product I got to take home with me was a pillow from Snuggle-Pedic. I’ve been sleeping on this “Ultra-Luxury Kool-Flow® bamboo shredded memory foam pillow” since getting back to my own big bed (again, more on that later!) and have had some really great nights of sleep!
Do it again?
If I got selected to attend again next year, you’d better believe I’ll find a way to get there! Blogger Bash NYC is my favorite blogging event – and not just because we are super spoiled with things like the swag box that ships to our homes. The coordinators are awesome, the event space is incredible, and the brands are ready and willing to showcase the best of their best. It’s a win-win for everyone.
If you’re on the fence about a blogging conference in 2018, don’t think twice – add BBNYC to your list of musts!
Did you go to Blogger Bash NYC this year? I’ll be linking up, but feel free to share your thoughts with me here, too.
*articles may contain affiliate links* This post is brought to you by THE RIDE.
It’s been a week since I got home from New York City, but I’m stuck in a New York State of Mind. It was refreshing to get some time away by myself – albeit blog work time – and to take in the city for the first time on my own without Greg. We talked about safety and security before I left, and one thing I promised was not to be out roaming around at night. That’s why I was really excited when I found the best way to experience NYC at night – taking a tour with THE RIDE!
You might remember that last year the whole ‘lil Burghers family took THE TOUR – the tamer, more family-friendly daytime option with The Ride. This trip was similar in that it was on the same type of bus (a $1.5 million double-decker bus turned into an entertainment stage) and took us through some of the same sights, but I laughed probably 10x more on THE RIDE (probably due to the more adult-geared humor).
The Ride: The Best Way to Experience NYC at Night
Not saying I was nervous to walk the streets of New York, but I did want to listen to Greg. I was traveling with my friend Rachel (a fellow blogger) and as we’re both moms, we agreed that roaming the streets alone probably wasn’t a grand idea. Instead, we roamed the streets in a comfy seat with air-conditioning blowing on us!
We started our 75-minute journey just outside of Times Square on 42nd street as the sun was setting over the city. After we got introduced to our guides Jackie and Scott, we got to know “The Ride” a little better. (The bus is named THE RIDE.)
From our second-story street view, we got to experience the city above the hustle and bustle that started to take over. As the lights came up, the people came out! (We rode through Times Square twice and the first time it had just started to get crowded – but by the end of the ride it was jam packed!)
One of the skits we got to stop and watch was the ballerina – you’ve probably seen an ad for this experience with a dancer in daylight. But at night? Her skirt is lit up and she twirls around Columbus Circle. It was moving – and I’m not sure if it was the fact I finally was “relaxing”, but I cried!
Seeing Bryant Park, the Chyrsler Building, and the (in the distance) Freedom Tower lit up was pretty incredible, too!
Why Be Like a Tourist?
With over 61.8 million visitors a year (20.6 million of them coming to NYC between Thanksgiving and New Years), there’s definitely more than one reason to visit. Taking on tourist attractions like the highly entertaining THE RIDE can also be educational. (For instance, I found out that M&M’s world is the most visited Times Square shop.)
Because of attractions like The Ride, you get a chance to “see it all” without worrying if you’re walking the right direction or putting our trust in an Uber. Who wants to celebrate New Years in Times Square? (Ok, I do, secretly.) If you’d rather not be all crowded, you can experience that right here on The Ride!
And you never know when you will become part of the show – Rachel and I got a rap shout-out during one of the stops!
Know Before You Go
Here are some logistics to keep in mind:
The Ride is for ages 6+. If you have little ones, take The Tour!
The Ride has daytime and evening options. (The Tour is in the daytime.)
Print your tickets at home or pick them up at a gift-shop about 2 blocks away about 30 minutes before your trip starts (or earlier if you are in the area).
You can’t take food or drink on The Ride (water is okay) and there is no restroom on the bus (or in the area where you get picked up unless you’re eating at a restaurant nearby).
The Ride picks up and drops off at the same location.
If you have motion sickness, be prepared that the bus has you sitting sideways to look out at the street. There are also windows above you and multiple lights/LED screens as “moving parts” of the show. (Or bring yourself some motion sickness meds!)