Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Marvelous Mainland Vacation Days 5-9

There are less pictures, now since most of our time was spent on the road.
Day 5 looked like this for most of the day.

We arrived at Grandma and Grandpa's hose in the afternoon, and spent the next few days decompressing.

 We took one trip out to Grandpa Jim's work to be paraded around and generally shown off.
 Day number 8 brought us back into the mountains.  I love the mountains when they are not covered in snow!
 Our first stop in town was to go see Big Mike! 
Then we went inside and saw lots of other dinosaurs. I was disappointed that the big displays aren't there anymore, but the upstairs that was once an art gallery had been converted to a kid sized Yellowstone Park.

This was really awesome. If I had known about this I would have made more time in the schedule to play up there... There was an eagles nest and a fire tower, as well as a fishing pond, where Jimmy caught fish...

And Joey took the fish around the corner into the ranger cabin to "cook" it...

 and then "eat" it before he threw it back in the pond.
 The coolest thing (imho) was the wildlife sculptures.  They were all found object art.  Really cool!

There was also a mini- Old Faithful as well! Can't be Yellowstone without that!

After "Yellowstone" we caught a planetarium show, and then headed to Auntie Sarah's house to crash for the night.
 The kids settled in downstairs to watch a train video while Mama and Sarah giggled away upstairs. 
 The kids all got along for the most part, maybe a little too well at times! (can you say blackmail pictures?)

 The next morning before we hit the road again we went to the Cat Eye Cafe. One of our all time favorite places!
 And we never noticed before, since the last time we were there together we were both child-free, but the Cat Eye offers kitty face pancakes! A hit all around!

After breakfast and lots of hugs the boys and I hit the road on our way to Anaconda.

More to come!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Our Marvelous Mainland Trip Days 1-4

Finally The trip pictures!
Our trip will have to be broken down into sections, since it was so darned long and we did so many cool things!

So here goes. The first place to explore was the airport.  We sat closest to the windows so we could see our plane and watch the ground crew doing their thing.  We also happened to sit by an airline employee who was taking our flight, and she was kind and gracious enough to field all of Jimmy's questions about the airline and plane itself.  She then gave them each stickers and when we boarded, took us up to the cock pit to meet the pilot and co-pilot.  It was hard to tell if the boys were not impressed or just stunned by all the instruments up there because they were pretty quiet. Unfortunately, I never did get her name, so where ever you are, Miss Nice Lady, I thank you!

We were greeted in the airport by Grandma Sue and Auntie Jen who escorted us home and tucked us in after dinner (we were all pretty exhausted!)
The next day we all went to Heritage Square amusement park.
 Of course the first thing we did was ride the train!

Joey wanted to ride the carousel next, which he did, several times!

There were plenty of rides in the park just right for my two go fast boys! Thankfully, Auntie Jen and Grandma Sue like the rides, too, so Motion-sick Mama didn't have to ride!

 Jimmy's favorite was the Ferris wheel. Because, he says, it was the biggest one.
 The next day we drove to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. On the way we got a good view of a naked Pike's Peak.  I thought it was neat how clear the tree line was without the snow at the top...
 At the zoo the biggest attraction was to feed the giraffes. There were plenty of giraffes, more than we had ever seen in one place! We each got a turn to feed them crackers that kinda looked like wasa bread...

Jimmy feed a giraffe that thanked him by sneezing on him!  Giraffe snot! Eeeewwww!
 There were many other neat things in the zoo, as well, like hippos, a gorilla mad at the rain, lions, and chipmunks! 
There was also another carousel!

You can see all the way to Kansas!

Day three brought us to The Aquarium.

 Lots of fish, sharks and other sea life there to see, including really big ones like this grouper. 

And for some reason, there were tigers there, as well...

One of the favorite things at the aquarium was the opportunity to feed and touch sting rays. 
 Jimmy says they feel like a cat with no hair that's all wet. That's pretty accurate!

Day 4 brought us to Cheyenne, Wyoming.
We came here just to go to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.  Unfortunately, it was not all that great for kids, although they did like the big mock engines inside...

 The also liked playing with the piston and tie rod display, making the wheels turn.  There was an upstairs meant for kids, but it was for kids older than these two.

Upstairs there was also a viewing gallery where you could watch the trains in the yard. A double-stacked container train was the favorite. The building in the back there is the steam shop, where the 844 and the 3985 are housed.  We were going to get a tour of that later in our trip, but the boys didn't know that...

 Behind this one you can see what is left of the round house.  We were also going to go in there on our way back through, but the boys didn't know that, either (sneaky Mama).
 He could have stayed there all day!
 But we got hungry and went over to the cafe at the end of the depot building, where we were able to enjoy our grilled cheese out on the patio right next to the tracks.

Next we took a trolley tour around Cheyenne.  It was really interesting and fun, one of our stops took us to the western transportation museum ( I think that's what it was called) with all sorts of buggies and coaches inside.

This one was the only one you were allowed to get inside and pretend to drive.

Jimmy didn't want to trade his engineer hat for a cowboy hat!
Needless to say, I was humming "Surrey with a fringe on top" for several hours after this!

Across the street from the museum was an old steam engine named Old Sophie.

We paid her a visit. I will write a whole separate post later about the fence around Old Sophie!

After the tour we went back to the park where the Big Boy lives.

 I knew this engine would be big, but I was unprepared for just how big this engine actually is! 
My little narrow gauge engines at HRS are about as big as this engine's tender...
 It took us five minutes just to walk all the way around this monster!

After such a busy day we tucked into our hotel room and slept well! Ready for the road trip to Montana!