Thursday, October 30, 2014

San Antonio

A little while ago, we made a trip to San Antonio to visit with my grandmother.  The girls are very well behaved in situations like that, but even at their most calm and quiet, three little girls can easily become too much for an older lady who needs rest.  So we'd visit a little bit, then go entertain ourselves. 

The night we arrived, the girls (of course) were only interested in swimming in the hotel pool.  That lead to this conversation:
Secora: When can we swim?
Josh: It might be nice to do some cool stuff we can only do in this town.
Secora: <exaggerated, teenagery, why don't you just cut my arm off, SIGH> Fine.  After we do the cool stuff that is NOT FUN, then can we swim???

We loaded up in the car to head to the riverwalk because that's what you do in San Antonio.  On the way, I suddenly remembered a friend talking about a giant cinnamon roll that had been featured on Man v. Food.  This was really a stroke of good luck because it turned out there was some sort of zombie event going on at the riverwalk.  As we looked for parking, we passed a lot of people with zombie face paint and torn and bloody clothes.  Not quite appropriate for our kids.  We needed a plan B (that could beat swimming) before the kids mutinied.  CINNAMON ROLL!

We headed over to Lulu's Bakery. I forget what it cost, but I want to say $9, for this cinnamon roll bigger than Sierra's head:
Back at the hotel, we went swimming, and then we had a small bedtime snack:

I was surprised at how good it was.  I expect stuff like this to just be a gimmick, but it was actually a really good cinnamon roll.   A really good cinnamon roll that took us three days to finish.

The next morning, we visited the Alamo, which is a standard "must do" for Texans, but the girls hadn't been before.  The Alamo is free to visit and usually you can tour the church and also a museum set-up in the barracks.  No pictures are allowed inside, so we just snapped this one outside before we went in:
In the gardens outside, we can across some pretty purple flowers
And also papaya trees.  I didn't know papayas grew in Texas
We took a quick walk across the street to take a look at the riverwalk too.

Back on the sidewalk near the street,  there are bricks that mark the original boundary of the Alamo.   Secora promptly climbed on top of these and shouted, "I'm Queen of the Alamo!"  Sierra looked like she wanted the ground to swallow her up, and immediately tried to shush Secora.
After some lunch and another visit with my grandmother, we decided it was time to find one more fun thing to do and head towards home.  The big girls begged to go to the McKenna Children's Museum in New Braunfels.  We had gone back in 2011, and in the last three years, they've made this awesome space even better for little explorers.  The prices are still the same too, $5.50 per person during the school year and $7.50 during the summer. 

I ended up watching Secora most of the time, so I have more pictures of her than the big girls.  She kept going back to the banking sections.  She thought it was really cool to play bank teller:
She also liked watching the numbers change when turned this crank
The space section has been completely redone and was one of everyone's favorites.  You can go on a space walk now!  First you put on your space pack:
Then you walk through the "air lock"
And then mom finds out she can't get the settings right to photograph the space walk while keeping up with the kids and not ruining the effect.  It's really cool, you're in the dark with "stars" all around and they use mirrors to make it look/feel like you really are floating.
The space ship is still there, but has different controls inside
I'm not entirely sure if Secora was looking at something or thinking, "geez mom, I don't have time to stop for a picture, I have things to do..."
The outside section was open this time and had lots of cool things.  There's an entire sound section:
And lots of animals to climb on:
And a full set of these imagination playground blocks that I've been eying forever, but could never afford.
Sedona, being Sedona, kept going back to the animals
The large water table has several sections where you can explore different things.  This part had several spouts bubbling up water and pipes you could assemble to funnel the water to a different spot:
Another section let you set up different dams to see how they affected the flow of the water.  There's also an Archimedes screw to move water uphill, magnetic fish to "catch" and other fun things to play.
Back inside, everyone play grocery store for a while
The scanners don't beep anymore, but they've added cash registers
I'm not sure if this exhibit is permanent or temporary, but it was SO cool.  The kids can watch the scene on the screen
On the table, they arrange and connect blocks to program what's happening on the screen. It's very very similar to Scratch, only more kid friendly!
There's an ambulance with real working lights and (quiet) siren now
There nursery is still there, with a few small changes
The New Braunfit, Toddler, House Building and Camping areas were pretty much the same.  The Newspaper office is gone.  There is a small play scape near the ranch house now that includes a small slide and a camera that you can control to look around the museum. 

As we left, we let the girls get a face painting kit in the gift shop.  The next day, they promptly set to work practicing their face painting skills.  Not too bad!

I highly recommend a visit to this museum if you have kids about 11 and under.  It's well worth the money and the kids could easily be entertained for hours there. 

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