Having raised eight children, my wife and I had to search high and low for some affordable yet awesome nearby vacation spots. If you're considering a spring break getaway, the locations you are about to peruse were my favorites.

Spring break always happens in March around here, and weather can be questionable, especially here in Texas. I can remember a time when we had a snowstorm on Easter weekend and had to improvise on the Easter egg hunt at Casa Fernandez that Sunday.

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This first place is my fave of all faves. The six-hour drive time allows us to colonize as a family in a vehicle and talk about the beautiful white sandy beaches in our near future. I was also able to learn what each one of our children are looking forward to in life.

#1 Moody Gardens & Galveston

The first hot-spot of the Fearless Fave Five is Moody Gardens, for a host of reasons. Moody Gardens has indoor pools and saunas. If the weather is excellent, their white sandy beach is awesome. If the wind is too high and the ocean waves are unbearable, their outdoor pool attraction is incredible (and comes complete with an in-pool bar, in the event you need a glass of sweet tea). Plus the Theme Park.

LOOK: Welcome to Moody Gardens On Galveston Island

#2 The Fort Worth Zoo

Fort Worth is just over two hours away from Abilene. The Fort Worth Zoo is entertaining, informative, affordable, and a lot of fun. The Forest Park Miniature Railroad is just across the parking lot, and there are several places to shop, dine, and stroll nearby.

LOOK: Welcome to the Forth Zoo

#3 Sharkarosa Zoo

Okay, so you're getting the idea that I am an animal lover. I am, big time! The Sharkarosa Zoo (aka the Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch) is neatly tucked away just northeast of Denton. The Sharkarosa is self-guided with information signs. The staff can help you along the way. There are also educational presentations every 20 minutes throughout the zoo/ranch.

LOOK: Welcome to the Sharkarosa Zoo

#4 Six Flags Over Texas

I've been to Six Flags Over Texas at least 20 times in my life. This theme park has about 45 different rides and lots of shops that sell souvenirs and food. Six Flags Over Texas is the Metroplex’s largest theme park. I believe this is the #1 spring break destination in Texas. If your family is looking for something to do in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Six Flags is the right place.

LOOK: Welcome to Six Flags Over Texas

#5 The Witte Museum, the Alamo, and the Historic Riverwalk

Spending spring break in San Antonio is a lot of fun with the Riverwalk, the Alamo, and the Witte Museum. I know this from experience as we've done it a few times in the last 15 years. The Witte Museum is where science, culture, and nature all combine. Need I say anything more about the Alamo or the Riverwalk?

Whichever way you choose to travel, if you pick any of the Fearless Fave Five, you're destined for a fun time and an excellent learning experience. My only advice is to plan, make reservations, and don't rush. Enjoy it!

LOOK: The Abilene Zoo From A to Z

Here's a close-up look at the animals that call the Abilene Zoo home.

Gallery Credit: Rudy Fernandez

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From grazing Tibetan antelope to migrating monarch butterflies, these 50 photos of wildlife around the world capture the staggering grace of the animal kingdom. The forthcoming gallery runs sequentially from air to land to water, and focuses on birds, land mammals, aquatic life, and insects as they work in pairs or groups, or sometimes all on their own.

Gallery Credit: Nicole Caldwell