Sunday, August 18, 2013

Family Vacation: Twin Cities

With the kitchen project well on its way and the first day of school just around the corner, we had scheduled a weekend family vacation to the Twin Cities.  This would mark only the second time the kids have been outside of the state of Iowa (Omaha last year was the first).  We left after lunch on Friday and stopped at the fun rest stop on I35 at the IA/MN border.

After checking into Embassy Suites by the airport, we took the light rail to the Mall of America.  This was a huge highlight for Lincoln.

We ate at the food court and marveled at Legoland.

Then we bought a pack of tickets for the amusement rides.  The kids & I went on the log chute ride.  I was surprised how well Emily did.  She screamed with delight and declared, "That was AWESOME!" when it was over.  Lincoln wasn't quite as thrilled.  He was terrified of the giant animatronic Paul Bunyan and Blue at the end.  His assessment: "That was too scary!"  I forgot there were two drops on the ride and screamed with the best of them on both. :)  I didn't realize I got to ride free with Lincoln, so we had more tickets to use.  Both kids decided to ride the Blues Clues ride.  Lincoln also enjoyed trying to drive the boats.

We went swimming on two different occasions.  Saturday morning was MUCH nicer than Sunday morning where the pool was so crowded you could hardly move and had to hoard towels.

We attempted to go to the Como Zoo on Saturday around lunch time, but after driving around for 45 min. trying to find a parking spot within a mile of the zoo, we gave up and went to Choo-Choo Bob's Train Store instead.  The kids enjoyed looking at and playing with trains.

Next we headed to Centennial Lakes where we enjoyed an absolutely picture-perfect afternoon walking the paths and paddle-boating on the lake.

We rounded out the afternoon with a stop at Cherry Berry frozen yogurt where the kids enjoyed a little bit of yogurt with their toppings. ;o)

We went back to the MOA (or "Mall of Comerica" as Lincoln calls it) to eat at the food court (and endured a second torturous night waiting 20+ min. for a Happy Meal).  Emily gawked at the American Girl store while we gawked at the prices.  Then the kids used the last of the ride tickets on "Big Rigs".

After another big buffet breakfast and a second swim, we checked out on Sunday morning.  I think riding/pushing buttons on the glass elevators was both kids' favorite part of the whole trip!

We tried the Como Zoo again--this time heading straight for the shuttle parking lot, which was actually running that day.  It was okay.  We watched half of the seal/sea lion training.  Emily got mad when we didn't go exactly where SHE wanted to go on the map (see picture by gorilla).  Lincoln was scared of the misters in the Japanese Gardens.  It got hot.  But it was cheap entertainment.

Then we headed home for popcorn night.  It was a fun little whirlwind vacation.  We didn't get to do much shopping, but the kids got to do a lot of different activities.  I must also say PTL for the Apple Maps app that showed road construction and traffic flow.  Because of major construction projects and huge traffic jams, we took a LOT of alternate routes.  More memories made!

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