Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Vacation: Zoo and Arch!

 When I last wrote, our vacation was just starting.  We left the ball park around 8:30- handing off cleats, bat, protective equipment and uniform to Grandma in the parking lot.

We had packed that Suburban carefully and there was no extra room.  Every seat was full and the back was crammed.

Our goal was to drive to Iowa- we already had a hotel booked and paid for, which was good incentive to make it as far as we had planned!  There was some initial drama when we realized while enroute that neither one of us had printed our hotel reservation info, neither one of us remembered the name of the hotel and of course neither one of us has a smart phone.  After randomly calling some hotels on our GPS we were still getting nowhere.  Finally, Noah ended up just talking my dad through accessing our email and getting the info. 

4 1/2 hours later, at about 0100 we arrived at our destination.  We hadn't had to make any stops and we had spent the trip listening to "In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson" and some Adventures in Odyssey CDs. 

The girls, a boy or two (and maybe a Mom) napped a little in the car, but even so everyone fell asleep pretty quickly when we got to the hotel.  Our rooms were connected and Karla and the boys took one room and Noah and I and the girls were in the other.

In the morning we got up and ate at the hotel.  Deacon sat at a table far away from the cereal.  An older couple were pleased and amused to watch our family and said that they were well behaved.  And they were.  Score!

We quickly packed everything back up, filled up the tank and headed out. I had packed a "Wed" bag with a new outfit for each of us so we just had to pull that out of the Suburban (and we even put it near the top!) which made it so much quicker to leave in the morning and also left the
 somewhat precarious packing situation intact.

We drove another 4 1/2 hours without stops and arrived at the St. Louis Zoo.  After a somewhat tense few minutes while actually locating the parking lot etc, we finally disembarked. As soon as we got in we gathered maps, visited the concrete seals and ate our lunch.  I had made braided pizza bread and that was really easy to cut up and eat- some of us dipped it in a jar of pizza sauce.  It was nice because it was different than normal traveling food.

The zoo was explored and experienced in a whirlwind fashion.  The boys aren't huge zoo guys, and we only had 3 hours before closing. 

I think that their favorite part of zoos is getting to climb on various benches, sculptures and climbing through logs.  Some lady gave us zoo train passes with one stop left- they were leaving and didn't need them, so that was also fun for the kids.

This zoo was pretty cool though because they actually got to see Hippos swimming (and we could watch them because the display allowed underwater viewing!) and there were elephants, even a cute baby one.  The kids had never seen a real elephant before, so it was a very exciting event. They were especially impressed when one of the elephants pooped.
Family Picture!

Sisters and the Littles!

Best buds for life!


Yeah, he's pretty cute :)

We spent the trip trying to get some pictures of the two of us

Baby Girls in bright dresses

Lincoln being silly.  Rare to capture on camera
Next we left the zoo and drove downtown to get to the arch.  It was another tense couple minutes of navigating as we could see the arch, but due to some construction it was very unclear how to get to the parking lot. After briefly visiting Illinois we successfully parked the Suburban and then obsessed a little over the fact that a warning to check our coolant came on the screen. 

We have found that the Suburban is a little message crazy.  The coolant level was fine, the oil level was fine and although we watched the temp gauge like hawks for the rest of the trip we didn't have any more trouble with annoying screen messages.

Hopefully it stays that way.

Roman was freaking out as we waited for our "Going up into the Arch" time.  We had purchased tickets online, but it wasn't very busy.  We killed some time in the Museum of Westward Expansion which interested some people (Noah, Julie & Karla) more than it interested others (Deacon, Roman, Lincoln, Bre and Ever).  The whole time, though, Roman had this nervous energy just radiating from his little body.  He just wanted to get it over with, he said.

After a lot of waiting we were told to go stand by door 3.
We amused ourselves (Karla, Lincoln, Deacon and I) and distracted others (Noah and Roman) by taking selfies in the little pod on our way up to the top of the arch!  It was a challenge to get us all in one frame!  Poor Roman, only his eye is showing!
It really wasn't too scary and Roman had calmed down a lot by the time we reached the top.
I didn't include any pictures from the top.  It was weird lighting in there, and it was evening so the pictures didn't turn out the greatest.  It was fun though and the kids did seem to like it, especially when they weren't dwelling on the fact that they were looking out of the teeny-tiny windows way up there that they had seen from the outside.  It is kind of a scary thought (for all of us who don't like heights!)

We didn't hang around too long after our tour.  We checked in to our rather odd hotel and fed the kids picnic lunch #2 in the hotel room.  This time it was PB & J or Ham/Roast Beef with of course chips, fruit and Pepsi.

I also remembered the "Thursday" bag, and once again our Suburban packing job remained mostly intact.

Everyone crashed and we were done with the first full day of vacation!

1 comment:

Auntie Kendy said...

an excellent adventure so far!