Friday, July 30, 2010

Days 6-8 of 21

When I asked the kidlets what they would like to do, they all said, "NO MUSEUMS". That would be why we spent Day five playing mini golf and swimming in Lake Ramsey. But, I had seen a brochure that talked about Science North and Dynamic Earth and just knew the kids would like it. So I lured them there with phrases like, "animatronic dinosaurs", "free-flying butterfly exhibit", "dinosaur dig", "IMAX movie", "seven story elevator ride down to an underground mine tour."

I hoped it would be worth it.

It was well worth every penny!!!

We started Wednesday with Science North.
The entrance into the science center.
While walking through, I thought, "wow, this looks so realistic!!!" Uh Duh!!! It's because it IS REAL. I think I've been to Disneyland one toooooo many times....

shiver, shiver....... Jessica holding a millipede.

Inside the butterfly exhibit.

I promised animatronic dinosaurs and we saw a whole exhibit of animatronic dinosaurs!!

What's a science center without bottle rockets?

On your mark, get set, go!!! (although it was all said in french...)
After you ran your 30 feet, then a TV would play back your start in slow motion... very cool.

Ewwww.... snakes.... I hate snakes....

Alyssa and Jonathan racing cars they made.

Jessica working with a magnet.

Thursday we went to Dynamic Earth.

In the simulated mine.

Our tour guide had all the kids in the group help set up dynamite for a simulated blast. I LOVE this picture of Alyssa... I don't think she wants to be a miner. What do you think?

Back up in the center, Jessica is trying out the remote-controlled rock breaker. She was actually moving the rock breaker as tours were watching the machine seven stories below.

Jonathan using the caterpillar excavator simulator.

The best part of Dynamic Earth was the three level miniature mine. The kids spent HOURS and HOURS playing here...

Jessica sending up more rock.

Alyssa at the command center.
"we need more rock.... wait, we have to move this rock, we have nowhere to put all this new rock..... okay, send up more rock."

Because I had bought a "Dynamic Duo Passport" for each of us, we could go back to both centers on Friday. And we went back to both. First we went to Dynamic Earth so we could watch "Forces of Nature". This was a film about volcanoes, earthquakes and tornadoes. Because we had just had a tornado in Billings, I thought the kids would get a 'kick' out of the movie.... they did, until we went to Maryland.... more on that later....
Ahem, anyhoo, after we saw the movie and the kids played in the mini mine, again, we went back to science north to finish up seeing everything there.

Dinosaur dig. I love that they had to wear safety goggles... because safety first.

Jessica holding a walking stick. I didn't know they could get that big and blotchy looking....

Alyssa holding a water snake... and yes they can bite!! I swear the kids were just trying to freak me out at this point.

Learning about erosion.
The lady at the center said that my kids made a better dam than some college kids she had there the week before. I'd take credit, but it's all Papa Echo's teaching when it comes to this "sciency stuff".

We'll just finish up the science center with Alyssa petting a skunk. Because, why wouldn't she want to pet a skunk. By the way, she said it was VERY, VERY soft. Not that I would know....

And with that, we were done with our visit to Sudbury. On to Toronto and Niagra Falls.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer Adventure Days 1-5 of 21

Let the trip begin!!!

Papa Echo flew in Thursday night, and we left the next day on our three week vacation. Well, it was three weeks for the kids and I... Papa Echo had to work during the week, but the weekends were with us.
Driving through North Dakota reminded me of Montana.
This was a fun sculpture in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota.

We stayed the night in Fargo, ND, and then traveled on. Bemidji, MN held a fun little surprise and was a good place to stop for lunch.
Paul Bunyan and Babe.

Putting our toes in Lake Bemidji.

There was a waterskiing show at the lake, so we watched that and then continued on. By that evening, we finally made it to Canada.
Crossing the border. My question is, "why didn't they stamp our passports". I asked Papa Echo to go back through the crossing, but he said no.

We drove through a HUGE thunderstorm and then had difficulty finding a place to stay for the night. We finally found a little town with a gas station and a hotel. We bought banana bread and chocolate milk for dinner at the gas station and then got a room at the little hotel.

After a good night sleep we continued on our drive. Day three brought us to Canada's largest Amethyst Mine. We took a tour of the working mine, and then "mined" for amethysts on our own.
Good thing we have a Mine Engineer with us.

We all came home with many amethyst treasures.

On Monday, we continued our drive. At this point we had to get around Lake Superior and get to Sudbury so Papa Echo could work the next day.

Of course we had to make a stop to put our toes in Lake Superior. The water was "veeeeeerrrrry cold".

Tuesday morning, Papa Echo went to work, and I was on my own with the kids. I have to admit I was a little nervous being somewhere new, but the kids are great and very fun. Jessica was my copilot along with my new GPS, known as "Sally". We decided to go play miniature golf and then found our way to Lake Ramsey which is a lake in the very middle of Sudbury.
Go after the ball Alyssa Kay!!

Sudbury is a town with a STRONG nickel mining heritage. This is a HUGE monument to honor that heritage.

Lake Ramsey was beautiful and I watched the kids play while reading my book.

While in Sudbury we were able to stay in an apartment that Papa Echo's company is leasing. So after work, he would come "home" and we'd tell him about our escapades and then go to dinner. It's been awhile since I've been able to ask him about his day face to face. It was nice and felt so normal.

With over 400 pictures taken in three weeks, this vacation will take a few blog posts. (Just think of the scrapbooking I'll have to do...) More to come tomorrow.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

On the Road Again

Papa Echo's new work schedule has taken some time to get used to. He is gone during the week and then home for 1 or 2 days on the weekend. We knew it would be hard, and tried to think of fun/positive reasons for the job. (As adults, $$$ was a great reason. For the kids, not so much.)

So, we told the kids that we would get them passports and go visit Daddy during the summer. They were thrilled to get a passport like Daddy's.

And now the time has come for the trip. I had planned on flying out. Then I checked on the cost of the flight. OUCH!! We quickly decided to drive. And then after looking at a map, decided to visit friends and family on the east coast. It will be a long trip. I will be doing the majority of the trip by myself and the kidlets. Papa Echo will fly to wherever we are on the weekend.

I'm hoping that the kids LOVE this adventure. I'm hoping my brother takes good care of my house while I'm gone. I'm hoping that I can have enough patience during the long car rides. I'm hoping I don't get lost.

Wish me luck and if you live back east, we'll see you soon!