Sunday, March 24, 2013

Early summer 2012 and St. Louis

Today I'm going to attempt to get caught up with the rest of last year.  First off is summer.  Last summer was really busy, we had all sorts of local trips, a trip to St. Louis, and a trip to Southern California.

The girls always like to go to the annual Joint Forces Air Show at Andrews Air Force Base.  I don't need much prodding to go see fast jets do cool tricks.  This year we stayed long enough to watch the Blue Angels perform.
We also took a day trip to Skyline Caverns.  Turns out that Skyline Caverns are much colder than Luray Caverns, so bringing the girls without coats and in dresses wasn't the best of ideas.  They did enjoy the mirror maze.
Sometimes in the summer the girls have some time one weekends without direct supervision.  Here they were busted having pulled everything out in their room at once.

Now starts the St. Louis pictures.  Sarah had work to do during the days we were there, so I had kid duty.  First up was the Children's Museum in St. Louis.  The girls got to climb to the top of a beanstalk that was three stories high.

Almost to the top.
Here they are at the very top.  I was too big to follow them, so I had to take the boring adult staircase right nearby.
Here's President Vanessa taking part in a teleconference.  They museum had a version of the oval office, a court room, and and a legislative assembly.  Sarah posted this picture on Facebook with some people thinking it was the real thing.  I can't blame them since we do live in DC.  Either way, it was a nice mockup.

Next up was some construction work.

Vanessa was hard at work doing some demolition.

Nothing like doing some bulldozing.

Elizabeth wanted in on the action as well.

What's more fun than pretend demolition?  Dumping gravel on your sister.

On the roof of the museum was a garden area with a play house.
Back inside they had a Magic Tree House exhibit.  The girls love Jack and Annie, so they dug right into finding some clams.

They decided they needed some more period appropriate garb.

After harvesting, it was time to start cooking.

Elizabeth gets the presentation in order.

Vanessa decided she could carry potatoes and carrots in her dress.

They had four different stories on exhibit, but I think the girls spent most of their time in the Thanksgiving on Thursday exhibit.
After all the cooking was done, it was time to eat.

The next day is was off to the St. Louis Arch.

To get to the top you had to ride in this Austin Powers style egg shaped elevator.

Here they are at the top peaking out the viewports.

Elizabeth actually looked at the camera for once.  Now if we can only work on that smile.

The view was great.  Here you can see Busch stadium and part of downtown.

Afterwards, we went to get some lunch.  They got some "free" balloon animals.  Gratuities appreciated of course.

The next day we went to the coolest craziest most insane museum I've ever visited, the City Museum.  They had no maps, they just said to explore and get yourself lost.  Here is the giant ball pit as you enter.

Vanessa and Elizabeth had a lot of fun, although Vanessa was able to navigate it easier.

Here comes the giant 5 story outdoor playground.  Really, I'm not sure how legally they stay in business, because this place seems like you could break all sorts of things while sliding down repurposed industrial equipment.

On the way to the next level.

I met them on the other side, not the easiest fit for an adult.

Nana might have survived being up two stories in the air, but she would have had to throw in the towel about now.

The girls climb up one of the crawl towers.  I wisely used the adult stairs across from it.

Yes, that's an airplane hull hollowed out and 4-5 stories above the ground.
Climbing through that metal mesh wire is an interesting experience for an old man.  The whole thing vibrates a little bit.  And although we're only 30 minutes into the museum, my quads and knees are killing me.  I am glad I read enough to wear pants and make the girls at least wear their tennis shoes.

Flying the plane.

Copilot reporting for duty.

If you're a normal person like me, you walk on a catwalk between towers.  If you're a kid, you go underneath and crawl on hands and knees where you see 4 stories below on either side of the mesh.  You can't fall, but not for a person with a fear of tight spaces or heights.

Vanessa made it all the way across.  Elizabeth on the other hand, gave it the college try, but tapped out after about 10 feet of crawling.  I couldn't blame her.  Once we got the other side, Vanessa wanted to go down one of the slides.  I told her to wait, but she was already sliding down.  It was a 3-4 story slide.  I had to yell down to her to wait for me as I grabbed Elizabeth and tried to run down three flights of steps as fast as I could.  Luckily, they had a staff member waiting at the bottom of the slide for that exact reason.

Inside the museum they also had an aquarium.  Here the girls feel some snake skin.

Nice little plesiosaurus skeleton above the shark tank.  Yes, I said shark tank and dinosaur skeleton inside a museum that is a giant chutes and ladder board.  Did I mention this was the craziest museum I've ever visited?

The kids enjoyed the crawl tube view of the sea turtles.
Hello, Mr. Turtle.

But wait, there's more.  On the roof of this 11 story building is another play area.  With a Ferris Wheel that gives you a great view of St. Louis.  And really hauls as it spins around.

Of course, what crazy museum wouldn't want a school bus that has driven halfway off the 11th story roof?

Here Elizabeth stands in the front of the bus 11 stories above ground.  Did I mention that this place might be Nana's worst nightmare?

Silly face time!

Oh, so that's why it drove off the edge.

Vanessa demonstrates on the roof how she can step across stepping stones without getting wet.  Of course then Elizabeth wanted to do it.  Very challenging to walk on these stones while holding the hands of a person not quite tall enough to step on them by herself while trying to corral an older kid who wants to take off for the next adventure. 

Here was Vanessa's next adventure.  She climbs a three story ladder and then slides back down in the chute underneath it.

Elizabeth wasn't quite brave enough for the three story slide, so we went to the arch bridge on the roof.

A normal person could go between floors on the steps.  A cool person can climb a solid slinky between floors.

Did I mention this museum is crazy?  Inside we take a break to watch a magic show.

Oh, and ride a train.
Now this is the coolest part of the coolest museum I've been in.  The skateless skating park.  They basically built an indoor skate park with half pipes and ramps that kids climb up and slide down.

Elizabeth checks out the smaller ramps.

My daredevil on the other hand headed straight for the big girl area.

And then she channels her inner Tarzan.
Another hall of mirrors.

Hamster wheel.  Daddy tried to help them get it going.
And just when you thought it couldn't get any crazier, there are 11 floors of indoor cave exploring.  I couldn't fit in this opening if I tried.

Vanessa wanted to go to the top to ride the 11 story spiral slide.  Yes, I said 11 story spiral slide.  I told her this would have to wait for a time that Mommy was with us.

More spiral climbing.  At this point Elizabeth was almost completely spent.

But not too tired for a silly pose.  Needless to say, when we met up with mommy that evening, the girls were wiped out.

The next (and last day) we were in St. Louis, we visited the Science Museum.

The girls love digging for dinosaur bones.

My favorite part of science museums are either the planetariums or the tornado machines.
The girls got to build their own structures with Velcro attached building blocks.  I did encourage them to use the cross brace straps after a few initial collapses.

Part of the museum has a catwalk over the highway.  Vanessa gets ready to write some tickets using her radar gun.

Elizabeth checks out the viewport as the cars speed by underneath her.

Finally, Vanessa shows the older kid to her right how you actually do the Tower of Hanoi problem.

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