Thursday, March 24, 2011

Harpers Ferry

Last weekend friends of ours asked us if we wanted to join them on a day trip to Harpers Ferry.  Suzanne and Matt are our travel friends and we never pass up an opportunity to do something fun with them.  Matt is a big history buff and there is no lack of history in Harpers Ferry. In fact Harpers Ferry is historically famous for a few reasons: something about machinery parts, civil war and civil rights.  To be honest I was too busy enjoying my time outside and chatting with Suzanne to take in the history lesson.

Harpers Ferry is a beautiful little town and it's situated on the Appalachian trail (almost in the middle) and I do think it would be fun to come back and hike a section of it (I'm not up for doing the whole thing).  We did have a great day and I look forward to our upcoming adventures with Matt and Suzanne before they move that is.

 First Flowers of Spring
 Ready to hike
 Only 1013 miles to summer weather or 1165 mile to snow
 Tavish takes an ice cream break with his girlfriend
 I think it's good
A special moment with my youngest son

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

This was my very first out door rock climb and I really do miss climbing. I need to get back into it some day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Patuxent Research Refuge

So a few weekends ago we decided to go visit the oldest wildlife refuge in the country: Patuxent Research Refuge.  They were having an open house and the first trolley rides of the season so we packed up and heading out.

 Feeling the different furs (these animals were not killed for this demonstration but recovered furs)
 Guess what's in the box
 How about a butterfly tattoo?
 Caution! It's a bumpy ride
 Smiles after the trolley ride (it was a bit cold though)
Getting a biology lesson from Dad

We did have an interesting afternoon but that was mainly because of the open house and the extra activities they had (hands on exhibits, reptile show, and lots of interpreters).  The museum was a bit dated even though they say it's state of the art (maybe 10 years ago) and the exhibits in the museum are pretty wordy making them less visually appealing to younger kids.  The trolley ride was okay but we're not really into bird watching.  I'd like to go back when it's a bit warmer to go on the hikes as the park was really quite pretty.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tavish is 3

I can't believe that my little man turned three today.  My little man (okay not so little at 8lbs 6oz) made a very dramatic entrance into this world three years ago and today he is just a dramatic.  While we don't have anything too exciting planned today we did have a small party at his school on Friday and soon he'll have a birthday dinner with Winnie the Pooh and Nana and Papa (that should be a huge hit).

 Blowing out the "candles" at school
 Yummy cupcake
 Happy Birthday treat from Nana and Papa
3 years ago
 3 years old
 Best Big Brother
Our Adventure on his birthday a 5km walk to support Colon Cancer

In Tavish's Three Years he has traveled to:

Canada:
Alberta
Manitoba
Ontario
Quebec

United States:
Vermont
New Hampshire
Maine
Massachusetts
Virginia
District of Columbia
Florida
West Virginia
Maryland
Delaware
Pennsylvania
New Jersey
New York

Bahamas

Friday, March 18, 2011

Going Postal

A few weeks ago when we had a nice rainy Sunday, we decided to head out to the US Postal Museum in Washington.  My husband for some reason has a fascination with mail (we have already been to the Postal Museum in Canada) so we loaded everyone up and headed out.

The postal museum is not a D.C. highlight and unless you are like my husband and have a fascination with mail then I'd only visit if you have the time or live in the area.

 And people these days get mad when the mail does not show up in 2 days
 Go for a carriage ride
 Kyle looks thrilled but Tavish is enjoying the ride
 Hanging out with a new family

 Deliver the mail by truck
 I want a ride
By road or air or sea (no boats here though)

Most of the exhibits were pretty interesting but some of the stamp collecting ones were boring but I'm not a stamp collector.  I'm not sure that we'll go back but it was worth a look if you live in the area. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Adventure Aquarium

Our final stop on our Philadelphia tour was the Adventure Aquarium.  We had a great time until 700 elementary school kids decided to join us.  We figured we were being clever going to a museum on a Monday in February, no school groups visit on a Monday especially in February but boy were we wrong.  We did at least have the Aquarium to ourselves for the first hour and a half.  We made sure that we saw all the touch exhibits and the shark tunnel before the school arrived which was a very smart decision on our part.  There were lots of neat touch exhibits which most aquariums are getting away from.  I understand why from a biological perspective why touch exhibits are bad but they are quite fun.  We touched: sharks, rays, starfish, crabs, lobsters, and jellyfish.  It was my first time touching a jellyfish on purpose (I got stung a few times by small jellyfish when we were in the Bahamas) but this one did not sting.

Jellyfish
Don't loose a finger to the sharks 
Did you see that Ray?
I'd rather play with these Rays

When we had finished all the touch tanks we moved on to the shark tunnel.  In order to get to the shark tunnel you pass by the hippo enclosure and I have never seen such lively hippos (I've see a lot of hippos in my time).  They were moving around like crazy it was amazing. 

Swimming Hippos

video

The shark tunnel was pretty amazing too but I had a hard time tying to get a good picture with a shark in the background (I need to work on  my photography).  I kinda wish we had come on a Saturday and then I could have swam with the sharks, maybe next time.
 GET ME OUT OF HERE (not a fan)
Oooo, Sharks I like sharks or maybe just my reflection

All in all this was one of the better aquariums that I have been to but unlike the Baltimore and Boston Aquariums this one does not handle 700 screaming kids very well.  We left much sooner than we would have had the elementary school not been there. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Franklyn Institute and Academy of Natural Sciences

Lunch - After we finished the second floor it was time for lunch so we headed for foodworks.  It was okay museum food, I had a pre-made sandwich which was pretty good, well for a pre-made sandwich.  I'm sure that there are better restaurants in the are but this was convenient.

After lunch we moved on to the first floor where the Kid Science, Space Command, and The Train Factory were.  Kid science was a lot of fun.  It's like a children's museum without the ciaos.    The Kids area had a nautical theme and Tavish really liked playing on the boat.


The train area was okay and maybe it would be better if the train had been moving.  There is a real train which people can go on but for some reason it was not working (I'm not sure how the train moves but apparently it does).

To round off the first floor was Space Command.  I must say that this space area was not overly memorable. Tavish and this other boy did have a great time sending marbles into orbit.

To wrap up the Franklyn Institute we headed to the third floor to Sports Challenge.  This exhibit is very similar to the one at the Science Center in Toronto.  Regardless it was a lot of fun.  I had a great time surfing and climbing oh and so did Tavish.

Figure Skating - Spin Spin Spin
Surfs Up
On Belay

Overall the Franklyn Institite is a MUST see in Philly.  I can't wait to go back.  That cannot be said for the Academy of Natural Science, it was BORING.  The dinosaurs were okay but the rest of the museum was lame.  I would not suggest going to this museum unless you buy the City Pass and have time to kill.

4 Months Old and Fixing the Flat

Fixing the Flat - 3 weeks in the band and 3 weeks to go.  7mm growth and looking good.
 4 months 14lbs 3oz and 25.75 inches (aprox we find out the official values on the 22nd)
My boys

In 4 Months Callen has been to:
Virginia
Maryland
District of Columbia
Delaware
Pennsylvania
New Jersey

Monday, March 14, 2011

Franklyn Institute - Amazing, Change and Dinosaurs

There were still a few things to see on the second floor and we had bought tickets to see a dinosaur 3D movie.  After the Air Show we moved on to the Changing Earth.  Changing Earth was the least interesting area of this museum for young kids but it is the most environmentally friendly and educational.

Next we moved on to Amazing Machines - there were a few hands on machines that were really interesting when we got the chance to use them. 
  • Mommy Rant:  Even when a museum is not busy, please make sure your child SHARES the hands on exhibits.  One minute or two tops if some other child wants to play and it's up to the PARENT to tell their child they need to share.
Tavish found the crane to be interesting but he was a bit disappointed because he thought we said this exhibit was about Mighty Machines not Amazing Machines.  I personally found the Henri-Maillardet-Automaton machine the most interesting.  It's crazy how a machine can draw better than I can, okay not that amazing when a 5 year old can draw better but you get my point.  

By the time we finished the second floor it was time to watch the Dinosaur movie.  The nice part about the Dinosaur movie is that it was only 20 minutes long and Tavish loved it.  I personally did not find it the best example of 3D cinematography but really what was I expecting. 








Saturday, March 12, 2011

Franklyn Institute - Electricity and Flying

When my husband finally convinced me to leave the Giant Heart Exhibit we moved on to Electricity.  This exhibit was shocking - literary - beware the electrostatic ball and passing a camera to your husband (I thought the shock it created wrecked our camera thankfully it was just a shock).  Our whole family has enjoyed this exhibit.  I could not get my husband on the disco dance floor but Tavish and I enjoyed it.  Lots of games and other hands on activities.  I just love this museum.

How much electricity does a magnet create?
Callen's electric stare

Next we moved on to the Franklyn Air Show which was really interesting.  This exhibit is best to hit early in the morning as there are lots of fun hands on activities that could get packed up later in the day.  There are a few extra activities here that looked like fun but cost extra and have height requirements (fighter pilot and flight simulators) but non of our kids met the requirement maybe next time.

Air show time
Tavish loved flying the kite plane
Don't crash
Windy wings
Training on the simulator
Now for the real thing (not really)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Franklyn Institute - Heart to Heart

The Franklyn Institute was the highlight of our trip to Philly.  Ever sense I saw the giant heart on an episode of House I knew I had to go here.  How cool is a giant heart which you can walk though (can you tell I'm a bio geek).  Neither the giant heart or the Franklyn Institute disappointed me.

Of course the first thing we had to see was the Giant Heart.  While the walk though Giant Heart is the big attraction there was so much more to see and do at this exhibit.  I think what Tavish enjoyed the most was the Bloodmobile video (we are HUGE They Might Be Giants fans).  The best part of this museum is there is how much there is to play with.  I'm a big kid and I like to explore all the touch stuff (more adult friendly than the Children's Museum).  Loved this exhibit can't wait to go back.

The Giant Heart
Tavish was a bit scared but as long as he was with dad he did okay
Smile (what a terrible picture)
How much blood do you have?
video
Bloodmobile
Get that Cardiovascular system going