Thursday 08 July 2010

Road trip!

Mom got the idea (over the weekend I think) of taking a road trip down to the City Museum with the whole family. That’s what we did yesterday. Her plan was to get us on the road by 6 AM. We came close, pulling out of the driveway at 6:30.

We had an almost pleasant trip. It got better once the kids were zoned out watching Castle in the Sky on the DVD player. Alice had insisted on watching it and naturally had misplaced the DVD the night before (because she wanted to watch it then) and was whiny and frantic in the morning when she couldn’t find it. Charles eventually came through, finding it in the music room (we decided to not inquire too long in why it would have been there).

We arrived at the City Museum a little before 10 and got started.

Our first destination

We went to the outside section first before the day got really warm. Nevertheless we all sweated quite profusely, especially the kids.

The boys immediately started enjoying the architecture. Alice was a little more hesitant but Mom and I worked with her until she started trying some of the climbing places. Soon enough she was little monkey girl, more adventurous than the boys. In the end the boys were willing to follow where Alice had pioneered.

Alice leads the way

The tube through which Alice is climbing is about 5 stories in the air with a good 2 or 3 stories of open air under it. You can just see it in the first picture going over to the middle airplane.

After a while of that we headed up to the roof which had some slides, a school bus, and a ferris wheel. It had some interesting climbing areas as well. Charles was the adventurous one there, doing the big slide climb and also the dome climb. There was a long rope from the top of a dome for swinging. I tried to get Corwin to try it but he wouldn’t until one of the staffers came by and fired him up. Haha. Alice, of course, was happy to try it out on “medium” and then on “big” push.

Charles at the top of the dome while some one models on the swing.

Note climbing path on the right — you can get to the top area through two different access points above, or via that climb. All of the kids climbed down it at some point.

Mom enjoyed the ferris wheel the most. She was able to get Alice and Charles to ride on it with her.

We explored the inside of the building next. The museum itself only occupies a few floors. The others are, if occupied, businesses and apartments. The museum parts contain quite a lot of climbing places,

Some out in the open spaces

And some behind walls and up in the roof.

There was also a slide from the third floor down to the first which the kids enjoyed. We let Corwin, then Alice, then Charles go down but were a bit disconcerted to only get back Corwin and Charles. We didn’t see how Alice had gotten left behind, being in the middle of the sequence. Mom went off to search while I held the base camp. Eventually I spotted Alice back in line for the slide. How she got past us I wasn’t clear on but she was totally unconcerned.

Still, the primary goal of our exploration was to find the world’s largest pencil which I think might have been the real reason Mom set up the trip. While we were sitting, pondering where to look and waiting while Charles and Alice explored some climbing near some train tracks, Corwin found some hidden passages and popped out under the bench. It turned out that the giant pencil was in that room as well, along with a number of ramps and other surfaces that the kids enjoyed for quite a long time.

We had lunch after that, which was a bit pricey, and then we enjoyed the roof again for a while, and also the outside. We also explored the “caves” under the building.

These required kids under 16 to be accompanied by an adult. There are a lot of crawl spaces with numerous ramps and spaces scattered about and it’s rather dimly light. Alice didn’t seem overly bothered by it though.

While we were up on the roof, Mom discovered a back alley to a large vertical shaft with some structures in it. We discovered that the bottom was attached to the caves and one of the structures was a 10 story slide. On the other side of the space was a set of interlocking spiral and standard staircases. Corwin decided that he wanted to explore to the top so off he and I went. It was interesting trying to figure out the architecture but we did reach the top. Corwin tried to wimp out twice on the way, once most of the way up and the second two steps from the top platform. I made him finish and then he wimped out on going down the slide. So we walked back down, Corwin making record time. I savored the experience and took a few pictures, savoring especially the massive air cooling unit on the fifth floor that blew out gales of deliciously cold air. Oh yeah…

Later, outside, Corwin and Charles went to the ball pit. It was actually primary for bigger kids — the entrance required one to go up a higher level, cross over, and then descend down a spiral staircase. Corwin and Charles had quite a lot of fun in there. There was a basketball hoop and a little platform about 10 feet up in the pit. Corwin enjoyed hanging out there and firing balls down at kids below.

There was a staffer in the pit who kept a bit of order and threw balls at the kids to keep things moving. I was able to walk up behind Corwin (outside the cage) and point vigorously at him, causing the staffer to nail him with a ball. That almost justified the entire trip right there.

Alice decided that she needed to hang out with her brothers in the ball pit. We let her go but told her that if she cried or whined, we would pull her out because it was a place for the bigger kids. Alice did well and didn’t cause any problems, although her brothers left soon after she arrived. We did get worried now and then when Alice would disappear under the balls for minutes at a time but the staffer was able to discourage jumping in to the pit (presumably to avoid that kind of problem).

Eventually the children became tired, both literally and figuratively, and we left.

But not before visiting the gift shop! Alice had already asked several times about it during the day and Mom finally gave in. I tried to get Corwin to ask for a “Ball Pit!” shirt but he wouldn’t do it, even though he had been complaining that he didn’t have enough T-shirts just the day before.

Corwin escapes the Museum over the Watery Pit of Death

Being in the town, Mom insisted that we couldn’t leave without visiting the Gateway Arch. We dropped by, intending to get tickets for the trip to the top and return when it was time but it was not as crowded as last time Mom was there and we were sent directly in to the waiting line. We gawked for a bit and then moved on. I was surprised at how tiny the windows were, since they were easily visible from the ground (you can spot them if you look closely at the picture on the left, but they were a lot more visible to the naked eye). We gawked for a bit and then headed down. We were all so tired by then the kids didn’t whine much when Mom refused to let them go to the gift store.

Alice, who had been fine until the moment we left the parking garage for the Arch, suddenly complained that her head hurt, was hot, she probably had a fever, and needed cold compresses on her forehead right now. I was a little brusque in pointing out that such whining was pointless as the air conditioning was already maxed out and making the van cool and we had no cold compresses. That helped a little bit.

Mom thought we could drop by the local river boat casino for a buffet. It turned out to be $110 just to get started, not counting any tips or extra beverages. It was, naturally, much cheaper if you gambled a lot. It would also have been reasonable had it been just adults, but over $20 a pop for the kids was just too much. Mom did get a nice coffee so it wasn’t a total loss.

We ended up a Bob Evans restaurant. There Alice ordered some food and then was ill and threw up on Mom. Fortunately she hadn’t eaten much so Mom was able to mostly clean up and the staff didn’t boot us out of the place. I tipped big after the meal, though.

Then it was the long trip back. The kids watched a bit of DVD and then crashed out. I slept a bit while Mom trucked on through the night. Sadly, the Starbucks Mom likes to stop at on the way closed at 10 and we got there at 10:13. Mom was crushed but, plucky prairie mother that she is, she pressed with driving the wagon train van. We got home around 11:30 so it was, in fact, a day trip.

I am sure I forgot a number of things (like the tunnel in the floor). It was a very full day.

You all come back now, you hear?

Click here for all the pictures

Posted by Dad about Family at 20:07 | Ping URL

WOW, you packed a lot into one day. Looks like tons of fun!

Posted by: Aunt Matilda on 10 July 2010 at 09:45
Post a comment