August 12, 2009

Mini Vacay....Part 1....City Museum/Aquarium

Yes....Friday finally arrived & it's time for our mini-vacay to begin!

I'd had a very busy, very stressful week at work, complete with every idiotic question/scenario possible, and I was more than ready to have this week OVER WITH!

My colleagues and I had already planned a Friday night bash at a local Mexican restaurant (complete with mega-margaritas....the BEST in town...maybe in the state!). Dan & the girls joined us for a bit, then Emilee & Kalia headed home to get some rest before our trip (Dan had worked the night before & hadn't gotten much sleep that day...Amanda stayed & "partied" with me). We met at 5:30 and finally left the restaurant around 8:30. Of course we only made it to the parking lot, where we continued talking til around 10:15 or so. We officially called it a night and headed home. I, in typical Brandi-fashion, had left all our packing till the last second, so by the time I got all that together, took a shower & crawled into bed it was around 12:30. I awoke around 4:30, apparently ready to start my day, because I had trouble getting back to sleep. I think I ended up getting around 4 1/2 to 5 hours that night. EEEKKK!

My sister & her family arrived bright & early Saturday morning, ready to start the day. We had plans to visit the St. Louis City Museum & Aquarium first, before heading to our hotel & checking in.

The Museum was AWESOME!!! The kids had an absolute blast climbing on everything & running thru tunnels. Most of the activities were over Kalia's skill level, but we did find a toddler area about halfway thru the day where she was able to play in a ball pit, play with building blocks, etc... The activities were perfect for the other kids though (ages 3-12). They did some arts/crafts (painting & clay art), climbed thru a whale's belly, slid down a conveyor belt, rode a 2 story slide, played in a treehouse....and this was all before lunch! After lunch we headed back upstairs to check out the bank vault, ran on a giant hamster wheel and saw lots of fascinating architecture.

We also visited the aquarium where we played with sting rays, saw lots of sharks, snakes, HUGE turtles & tortoises, watched turtle races (where my niece & nephew actually picked the winning turtle & won certificates to the gift shop) and crawled thru an underwater tunnel with sharks swimming all around you.

To say we were all pooped when we left was a HUGE understatement. But I think every one of us had a huge smile on our faces. What a fun, fun place! We'll definitely be going back!

From there we jumped in our vehicles, grabbed the directions we'd printed off the internet & set out to find our hotel. One funny....apparently Yahoo maps & MapQuest produce totally different directions from one place to another. My sister was convinced we were going to get lost, but we made it safe & sound.

Our hotel was VERY NICE & reasonably priced. Everyone had unlimited soda & popcorn, and each adult got 3 free drinks & snacks for a couple hours. The pool was an indoor/outdoor pool and the girls (and us adults) had fun swimming under the "wall". The breakfast the following morning was DELICIOUS (scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuits & gravy, donuts, name it!) The best part....the a/c in our room wasn't working, and there wasn't another room just like ours available, so we ended up getting BOTH rooms free. Yep....not just ours, but since I had booked Tina's for her, she got hers free as well! We got all this for FREE!!!!

Our mini-vacay was starting out just perfect! Next it's all about Grant's Farm & the Magic House.

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