Monday, June 13, 2011

A Primer to Killing Time in Kentucky

So - who missed me?

I mentioned there were kittens, right?
No, well, there was also kitten playing and kitten cuddling
and kitten napping which is the second best napping.
I had planned on blogging all through my little vacay, but a few technical difficulties, the inability to remove myself from my pajamas and my kitchen (seriously, you should see my kitchen) kept me completely and totally Internet free for nine whole days. (Okay, I got on my email for fifteen minutes at my mother-in-law's house, but really, compared to my normal 6 hour a day habit, that's pretty amazing.)

So, what did I do with myself all week? Well, I'm glad you asked (especially since recapping the staycation extravaganza is about all my vacation returning brain can handle today). Below, please find a list of fun things to do around here (and hopefully some nice ideas of things to do around wherever you are). (Also, I'm sorry about all the parentheticals. I understand that I'm overusing them. It's just that whole vacation-addled brain thing. I hope you still love me.)

No family event is complete without
face painting.
Sunday - The Drive-In. We went to Bourbon Drive In in Paris, Kentucky. Despite Brynna searching in vain for the Eiffel Tower on the way there, we truly had a great time. X-Men First Class and Pirates of the Caribbean was playing, but here's the great thing about the Drive-In. Even if a movie isn't right up your kids' alley, the drive in is still cool. You know, appropriate movies are always good, you probably shouldn't take a six year old to The Hangover, but even though superhero movies aren't the first choice of either of my kids, the combination of watching a movie outside, climbing in and out of our car, running around a little and wearing their pajamas in public was enough to make it fun for them. My hope was that they would fall asleep and we could watch Pirates, but at 11:45, they were both going strong and requesting to go home, so home we went before Pirates started. Still, well worth the fun and we took a family of four to a new movie for less than $20, so you know, totally worth it. (If you are interested in going to the drive in and aren't sure if there's one near you, click here for a site that chronicles all the drive ins in the nation.)

Monday - Ran errands with my grandparents. Bonding time and driving all around the countryside. Unfortunately, only fun for me.

Tuesday - The library. Okay, so we go to the library all the time and it seems like this shouldn't be all that big of a deal, but it was. Let me tell you why. First of all, we very, very very seldom go all four of us. It's just a thing: The Husband's working or whatever and I end up going with Brynna or both girls by myself. This means that I spend most of my time making sure no one's being kidnapped. Brynna's pretty good on her own in the library and can find books while I check out something as long as I tell her exactly where I'll be. Maren, on the other hand, wants to play on the computers more than she wants oxygen. So, I spend most of my time when she's there, peeling her out of a chair, where her frustrated little bottom is beating the mouse against the tabletop. Going with two adults meant that The Husband got to find books while I calmly worked puzzles, helped find books and played peek-a-boo around the giant fake tree. (What? Doesn't your library have one?) Then, I got to calmly wander to my heart's content and find a selection of things I actually want to read rather than just choosing whatever horror or sci-fi is in the new release section. We also got a week's worth of DVD's, including The NeverEnding Story. Which we watched about 3/4 of before the kids began collapsing. We're trying it again tonight.

Checking out the black bear enclosure at Salato.
Wednesday - Salato Nature Center - When I was a kid, this was called the game farm and it housed live specimens (zoo-like) of native game species to Kentucky. Now, it's expanded to include non-game species, interactive exhibits, hiking trails and a living waterfall. Oh, and it's pretty freakin' cool. We saw a black bear, a bald eagle and learned the difference between buffalo and bison. It was the hottest day ever, so the kids were pretty cranky by the time we left, but a few ice cream cones later, we were good to go. Home and lay on the couch. But, still. Salato rocks. And if you aren't from this part of the country, you should check out your state's Department of Fish and Wildlife. I bet they have something fun to do too.

Thursday - Suffoletta Family Aquatic Center - More and more, I'm seeing these local water parks spring up and I think it's just fabulous. Tons more fun than a regular pool and more family friendly, this park has a zero entry pool, tons of fountains, a giant water slide and a lazy river. Maren had a great time and Brynna tore the place up. I had so much fun I lost track of time and gave myself and Maren a failure-to-reapply-sunscreen induced burn. Also, there is no tired like a post playing in the water tired and no sleep as sweet as a post playing in the water nap.

Friday - I seriously did not remove my pajamas all day. I did, however, make strawberry shortcake. Mmm...

Fish and drums? You can't beat that. Or you can. 
Saturday - Newport Aquarium - We always try to make an annual trek to the zoo and one to the aquarium. For one thing, it's wicked fun and for another, vaguely educational. As usual, we had a blast. Maren was afraid of everything at first, until she saw divers feeding sharks and then I believe she found her calling in life. She watched those divers interact with the monsters of the deep with rabid fascination. (I also learned that when they carry big sticks it's to ward off the sea turtles who think it's big fun to pull off the oxygen tanks rather than sharks.) I really love aquariums and go every chance I get. And for my money, Newport is pretty darn spiffy. It's not the biggest or the fullest, but it has a good array of animals, plenty of interactive opportunity and lots of good educational information for anyone interested. That and the Jellyfish Gallery, which is just gorgeous.

So, there you have it, my week of staycation. Here is my biggest advice if you are planning a staycation: schedule carefully but be flexible. For my family, I try to plan an activity a day. It leaves a great deal of downtime, but let's face it: we're here to relax anyway. Friday we were planning on going to the Hubble Planetarium. But frankly, no one felt like it. Since we live close enough to do this any old weekend, that's not a big deal. A day of movies and couch laying, it is!

What do you like to do when we have downtime with the fam?


Anonymous said...

I missed your blog every day, but I was hoping the whole time that you were having an EXCELLENT staycation, and it looks like you were!

I can't figure out if that's you or your mom in the last pic with Bob in the pink shirt and curly wig. ;-)

Thanks for sharing! Very inspiring. :-) I want to go to the game farm with my niece and nephew! (I'm going to keep calling it that.)

(and with my perantse, and my husband's perantse. That's my word verification.)


Suze said...

We went to Newport once with my parents when Daniel was little and Anya was just a babe. It was pretty awesome!
I'm with you on the aquatic center thing. There is a splash pad not far from us here in Madison. It's in a public park, so it's free and therefore always crowded, but a nice place to go on a hot day. My in-laws live in central KS and a splash pad was just built a few blocks away from their house last year. It makes summer visits a lot more fun, trust me.

Anonymous said...

I missed you too but I am glad you took a break, you deserved it:)

Jessi said...

Ann - Awww! Thanks! To tell the truth, I missed blogging, I would have kept up if my computer had cooperated. You should totally take your niece and nephew to the game farm. (I still call it that, too.) So much fun.

Suze - I have to admit to a bit of eye rolling annoyance when the water parks started popping up. I thought it was pretty silly, but not that I've been, I understand how much better they are for little kids and how much fun for families.

DolceMia - Thank you!