Monday 09 August 2010

The Big House

Today’s adventure was Biltmore House which Mom had been enjoying yesterday day until she was ripped away in an untimely manner by an overly demanding husband and her two whiny boys. Her ticket was good for a second day and kids with adults are free so we needed only a ticket for Dad. Therefore off we went in the morning.

Mom and I left the kids in the van while we popped in to get a ticket for me. Mom had ordered it online the previous evening so we expected to pop in, get it, and head out. There was a line marked specifically for such orders. However, there was a couple there who decided to spend their morning getting tour guide information from the express check out lady who was unwilling to shift them off to the actual information desk or let someone else take over the express lane. Mom eventually became irritated enough to complain to one of the other staffers that it was somewhat silly to have an express lane that wasn’t express. The reply was that one could pick up pre-ordered tickets in any line. The question of why there was a line specifically marked for that was left unanswered. We managed to get the ticket by shifting to another line and 20 minutes later we left, the obstructing couple still chatting away with the staffer.

Then it was off to the Big House for a tour. No photography is allowed inside the house so no pictures from that. The kids were pretty good for the first part of the tour (just like the Battleship adventure) but were getting whiny by the end. The most interesting part to me was the amount of staff needed then to have what are now common amenities.

After the Big House we toured the gardens, and then some gift shops. Unfortunately for Alice these were adult oriented and had a rather pathetic selection of stuffed animals. Next, at Corwin’s request, we visited the working farm. There was a courtyard type thing with a number of pseudo-authentic workshops such as a blacksmith shop which was Corwin’s favorite. Near that was the actual farm. We didn’t go out to watch the crops grow, although Mom popped out to see the herb garden. The kids and perforce me spent our time in the animal husbandry section which had goats, lambs, horses, and lots of chickens. I am not sure any two chickens were the same breed. Mom was thrilled.

The kids liked the animals. They even had a large tank with chicks in it (I presumed male chicks, as they would be expendable but Mom said I was too cynical). Most of the chickens were skittish but a few were laid back or stoned and could be easily picked up. Corwin made friends with one, which sat by him placidly until interacted with by Alice. Some of the bantam chickens were able to scuttle under the stall door and hang out with the very large horse, which prevented humans from bothering them. We were told that one chicken had taken to nesting in the horse’s hay and even laying eggs there, which lead to the horse eating an egg, which resulted in quite a lot of equine unhappiness.

As we exited the area we dropped by one last gift ship which had a few stuffed animals in it, albeit pricey ones. Alice was finally satisfied with a chipmunk while the boyen purchased cork pop guns, something they were able to use to annoy Mom the entire trip home.

To reward the boys for not melting down in complaints we went back to Fun Depot for another evening of child fun. The only downsides were that it was raining, so no outdoor go-karts, and the attendance was down, so Charles and I had to do the electric go-karts as the only car on the track. Charles seemed to have a very good time at it anyway. To pay for that we made Charles do the wall climbing again and this time he got all the way to the buzzer at the top.

Corwin with his chicken friend, Alice saying hi, Charles building in the dirt

Posted by Dad about Family at 19:59 | Ping URL
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