So for this year, Hubby took the day off on Friday and we started early- about 10 am in an attempt to get through the winding part of TN and down there before dinner time and so we could relax for the evening, instead of with tired cranky kids. The kids all did VERY well and surprised us as we made VERY good time in out trip down, as we at in the car for lunch and made the trip in about 6 hours and 2 stops. A really good time frame for travelling with the kids- especially when recollecting a couple of years ago when the trip home took us about 9 1/2 hrs thanks to a screaming kids that didnt want to be in a car seat anymore.
So we got down there and had planned to eat at the Ryan's steakhouse, but quickly found that it was no longer there anymore- with a sign saying "Coming Soon- Chinese Buffett" that was half falling off the board. So we reluctantly went to the Golden Corral for an experience of loud intercom, so so food, and a blatent reminder of why we hadn't gone there again in the past. So that was a lesson well learned. We came back and hung out watching TV in the room and then headed to bed for the night.
Saturday morning we all got up and ate breakfast down in the lobby, then we all got ready and went to Walmart. We picked up some drinks and stuff to take to the reunion with us, as well as picked up some fresco tacos from Taco Bell for AC to be able to eat at the reunion too. Then we made our way on to the Community Center in Boma where the family was beginning to gather.
There were quite a few kids there this year, which was nice for our kiddos- as they had other kids to play with. And we took our games and such as usual, which was played with hard by all of the kids there. We went out front for a bit too and turned Rei loose out in the fenced in baseball diamond to let her run and play for a bit as kids chased her and threw her Kong. That quickly came to an end though when MD was stung by something- we think a sweat bee, and all the kids headed back inside out of the heat as we took her in to doctor her. Everyone ate well and hung out until the crowds started to disperse about 3pm.
We then went back to the hotel and hubby took the kids down to the pool to swim as Rei and I took a nap. :) It sure did wonders for me! I felt so much better. Hubby then went out and got dinner and brought it back to the room for us to eat there in the room. Then we all hung out watching tv until it was time for bed.
Sunday morning we got up early, so that we could leave early and get on the road to head up to KY and to the Newport Aquarium. We took off going towards Knoxville, a new way for us and we made good time again with one bathroom stop and a second stop in Georgetown, KY- the outskirts of Lexington.
We stopped to visit a college friend of both Hubby and I and her son. We hadn't seen Lisa since a mutual friend's wedding about 4 yrs ago and she *knew* she was pregnant but didn't tell anyone there at the wedding- when sitting at a table with 2 other pregnant women. LOL! (No Lisa- you aren't gonna hear the end of that! LOL!)
Anyway, we met up at a Wendy's and our family got lunch to eat and it was awesome to meet her son and to see Lisa again. It was great to catch up on a few things and of course time was too short. :( But it was good to get to see her, even if for about an hour. We soon gave our goodbyes and hugs and said so long til next time and got back on the road for another hour to Newport, KY.
We made our way to the Best Western Inn, which was literally right across the street from the Newport Aquarium, which was our destination. We checked in and got settled into our rooms and then gathered up the kids and walked over to the Aquarium for a fun afternoon seeing all kinds of sea creatures. :)
The girls and Sue with Grandma R looking at a waters exhibit of wetlands.
Hubby holding AC over the rock wall to the touching area to touch the horseshoe crab that was on display and for touching.
Hubby knelt down at the left side of the picture, explaining to the kids how the wave is created as is shown in the waves crashing on the beach in of an ocean. AC is next to hubby, holding MD's hand, who is holding KT's hand and they are doing thier own wave to go with the waves behind the glass.
We then walked into a theater room that was a wall with a tank behind the screen. Up until the show started we all sat on the benches watching the large sharks swimming around.
Full shot of the screen/tank wall and seeing multiple large sharks swimming around.
We then moved on into an area that exhibited deep sea animals and coral reefs and such. It was rather dark here and Rei got a work out here as she took me amongst all the people who were busy watching the fish and not where they were going. Time and time again, I'm soooo thankful to have a dog now. :)
A picture fo a long span of tank wall of coral reef and the types of fishes that live in the reefs.
KT and AC looking at the sharks with hubby.
We then moved to another area where they had an mango grove type of exhibit where there was this good sized ray of some sort swimming along the glass with its bottom side against the glass as seen below:
I didn't think much of it, as I snapped my first shot and the picture didnt take well and I went to change the setting on the camera. Next thing I know, Rei lets out this single LOUD and deep bark and does this little hop thing towards the glass as she wasn't thrilled with the Ray coming up out of the water and flapping somewhat towards me.
Me on the other hand, nearly jumped out of my skin as I literally came off the floor in reaction to the bark and while I wasn't able to see very many people, the room was immediately filled with laughter of her comical reaction to the fish behind the glass. Hubby of course cracks a joke that it must have been the dog fish she was barking at and a second round of laughter ensued and we moved on cautiously and I was paying more attention to how she was acting at that point. LOL!
The ray against the glass with it's belly and up at the waters surface.
Rei intently watching the large silver fish behind the glass right at her eye level.
We then went into an amphibian area where there were frogs EVERYWHERE to look at and you could hear them making noises and such. Rei's nose absolutely went nuts here as the smells were intense and she knew they were somewhere and was determined to see where! LOL!
Rei poking her nose out trying to see the critter that was making such an interesting smell!
AC looking at the round tank type thing with a bunch of toads as we see here in the midwest in it.
Grandma holding up MD to look at the different frogs and newts and such to see.
A close up of this REALLY bright orange and FAT, like the size of my hand frog.
AC on the ride on frog there in the kiddy area.
KT playing Frogger in the kids area.
The next area brought us to see some otters and then they had a bird area that where birds were free flying. Rei was too worked up as it was with he animals everywhere and such, so I decided to bypass the bird area and went through the door to do so and wouldnt you know it, Hubby comes out to show me that only he would go to an aquarium to be pooped on by a bird. LOL! A bird had pooped on his shoe, and thankfully not his head.
The pair of otters curled up together and sleeping.
AC pointing at Sweet Pea, the shark Ray and feature of Newport Aquarium.
Hubby holding AC as they look at the sharks swimming in front and overhead them in the glass topped tube with tank all around us.
We then moved into the shark petting area, where Hubby continued to hold AC and he got to touch a shark with a HUGE grin on his face.
AC and Hubby looking over the shark petting pool to see the sharks there.
Rei & AC watching the shark swimming by just in front of thier noses on the other side of the glass.
hubby holding AC over the edge of the pool and his hand out and they touch the shark that the silhouette is seen on the bottom of the pool going by.
After the shark petting area, the last area that you go through is the overhead lookover of the entire shark tanks. For the kids to see down into the tanke, they have periscopes that go down into the water for the kids to see the sharks as well. It's pretty awesome for the kids and they took multiple turns looking through the periscopes before we exited out into the gift shop.
MD overlooking the tank area.
KT looking through a periscope.
MD looking through a periscope and AC waiting his turn.
Once we left the Aquarium we walked out to the riverside and looked up and down the river.
A view down the river and of bridges spanning over the river.
The view in the other direction of the river bank- with a train bridge, the river walk, and a river boat diner.
The entrance to the aquarium.
So after checking out the river bank, we decided to hit the mall area to get some dinner before heading back to the hotel for the night. We wound up at a Johnny Rockets in hopes of finding something dairy free that was ok for AC to eat. We've learned on ths trip that travelling with a dairy allergy is really tough, unless you've done your homework ahead of time and know what things have nad don't, which is hard to be impromtu and not research things well ahead of time and do that.
So we eat a dinner with burgers and all walk back to the hotel and settle in for the night for bead and get a night of sleep before getting up in the morning and headed to the creation museum, which will be showcased in the next post. :)