Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Indianapolis 2012

We arrived in Indiana around midnight Wednesday night (Thursday morning), not quite as early as we would have liked thanks to the time change we were unaware of.  All of the previously sleeping kids were suddenly very alert! Not one of them even wanted to think of bed, so our first night was pretty rough.
 Of course no one slept in Thursday morning either. Nathan left early for GenCon only to return after 30 minutes or so because he had the van keys; which we needed!  Luckily we were able to be ready to go about the me time and followed him into Indianapolis.  While we were driving Bria exclaimed, "Look! We're following Daddy!" Nadia added, "Brilliant! He is leading us out of here!" They are both so easily amused.  Half way there I relized I forgot my good camera at the house, but luckily I had my little one. So I was at least able to get some pictures! Once we found our way to the State Fair we were met with several more obstacles. The first of which was getting from the parking lot into the fair.  Normally this would not be a big deal with the stroller; however, the poor set up here was a problem.  The parking was in the Center of the fairgrounds, and you had to cross under a racetrack through tunnels to get to the actual fairgrounds. The tunnels (at least the one by our van) had no ramps! Only stairs leading into and out of the tunnel. We were quite fortunate that some kind men were heading into the fair at the same time, and they helped carry the stroller. We wandered around for a little while before actually figuring out where we were and where we wanted to be. We wandered through a few exhibits the girls weren't terribly interested in before finding the family fun area.  There were several exhibits geared towards kids there.

Eli loved the chickens!
We answered questions about a garden and got some seeds to plant.

Broccoli Eli!

Then the kids each got to be farmers. They visited stations where they had to follow the instructions to earn some pretend money.  They collected grain, eggs, fruit, and vegetables, fed hogs, rode tractors, milked cows, and sheared sheep. They each got a bracelet and a snack for "selling" their goods.

Then we came upon pony rides! They were terribly over priced, but it was the first time either of them had the chance to ride a pony.  To my surprise they both rode with no fear!

Bria on Oliver.

Nadia on Copper.

Nadia didn't want to leave her pony.

From there we went on to find some lunch and then find some animals. As we were eating we heard them announce a storm coming towards us (guess I should have checked the weather), so we hurried to the coliseum.

Storm headed towards us.

After sitting there for maybe 30 minutes with no rain we headed back out. We saw the draft horses, sheep, rabbits, and poultry, and then headed towards the exhibition hall and 4H hall.  While looking at the 4H projects it started raining.

Bria just wanted to splash in puddles between buildings.

 We made our way back to the coliseum to wait it out and watch some of the draft horse show. This would have worked better if Eli had not been so antsy.

We wondered around the coliseum, then across to the cultural building, then back to the coliseum where we got a snack. They were advising everyone to stay snide because of the lightening, so after a little while of trying to occupy a very tired Eli and 2 girls who wanted to be in the rain, we started making our way through buildings.  The buildings were close together for the most part, so we just had quick jogs through the rain. Back through the horses, then the sheep, then the pigs. Then we had a long jog around the track to the tunnel.  The one with no ramp. Again we were blessed by a couple who carried the stroller down and up again while I carried Eli.  We made it to the van soaked but safe.  The Indiana fair is much smaller then what we are used to, but that ended up being a very good thing.  We still didn't see it all either!

We were up bright and early Friday to head out to the zoo. Others had told me it was pretty small, but it did have some animals we hadn't seen like dolphins and a walrus, and the girls wanted to go. For such a small zoo, it sure is easy to get turned around in! I can't count how many times we had to backtrack to get to where we wanted to be.

We passed the flamingos several times!
We visited the oceans area first and Bria and even Eli got to pet a couple Dog sharks. Nadia was nervous about it, so she decided not to right then.  We ended up going back at the end and trying again. That time they were really into it!

Eli loved all the fish, and if he could have, he would have been in the pool with the sharks! Surprisingly the girls were not very interested in the dolphins. We headed to the desert area after that where the meerkats were a favorite. Eli kept pointing and saying, "ca, ca."

We stopped for some lunch where we d some little birds. It was so funny to see them dive after French fries, but hardly peck at Cheerios until there was nothing else. Guess even birds can like junk food.

Then we headed out to find the giraffes.  On our search we came across several other African animals as well.

We got to spend a lot of time there waiting for the giraffe feeding.  Then each of them took a turn feeding one of the giraffes some sweet potato.

On the way out of Africa we also spotted a baby elephant! I thought she was pretty cute. The girls weren't too impressed, and Eli was mainly interested in the fence.

We stopped for a snack and to ride the carousel after that.  The girls rodeo a dolphin, and Eli rode the seal next to them.

They were in a much perkier mood after that, so we went searching for the bats that Bria saw on the map.  along the way we found tigers and red pandas and real bamboo.

Bria thought it was pretty funny to see all the bats hanging from their toes asleep.

We finished looking at the forest animals and made a quick run back to the sharks.  It seems like we stayed there forever; the girls just never got tired of petting them!

We saw lots of little chipmunks running around the zoo too!

After we left, Bria wanted to try to go to the art museum.  They had never been to one before for fear of how they would act, so this was a first.

For the first half hour or so they were pretty good although Bria rushed past all the paintings in favor of any sculptures she saw.  Nadia only wanted to know the names. Not the names of the pieces, but the names of the people or animals portrayed. We saw one sculpture entitled the Bronce Buster, and Nadia wanted to know the cows name.  Said I don't know, so she asks, "Is it Bronco or Buster?"

They got a bit restless as we went on, and I actually think we walked through most of it. Walked through, yes, but look at anything, not so much. They were entertained by the fashion and textile area for quite some time, and they also liked the area where they could draw on their own.

Sculpture on the way out.
It just went downhill after that, so we left. Getting back at a normal time did allow us to spend more time with my aunt and uncle, so that was nice at least.  I know the girls were happy to have a captive audience! I think Eli, the little ham he is, was too.

Saturday was spent hanging out at my aunt and uncle's house.  We walked around downtown visiting the little splash park as well as the small park next to it.  Then we walked further to see a sculpture which my uncle had done all the steel work for. Eli got lots of practice going up and down stairs, and the girls played in the rainbows on the stairs, read books, and acted silly. It was pretty much a lazy day with family.

We packed everything up Sunday morning; then we headed to the Children's Museum with my aunt and uncle. We were happy to get to do something with them while we were in town. Bria got so excited when she saw the dinosaurs outside the building.

Once we were inside the dinosaurs were the first thing we went to visit too.  They had several skeletons, and the girls go to find clues to help find the smaller skeletons in the room.

After that they helped work on a fossil dig. It was much more realistic then the ones we have seen before because the substance the fossil was in was actually glued together or something.  They really had to work! The guy in charge of the digs aid it was new that morning and would probably take two months to finish.

I really liked the little dioramas they had set up with what dinosaurs did all day. My favorites were shopping, walking with their baby, and fighting superheroes.

After browsing the rest of the dinosphere we headed up for some lunch.

Eli trying to get to the cotton candy.

We were fortunate that as we were trying to decide where to go next we caught a presentation about this awesome water clock. We got to watch the clock empty to get back to 1:00.

Then it was on to the rest of the museum. Bria was very intrigued by the glass sculpture that went through the center of the museum.

Glass pieces in the ceiling of the basement.
While waiting for a planetarium show the girls played with plastic versions of the glass pieces in the glass sculpture above, and Eli watched the train chug above his head.

I was really amazed at how good they were in the planetarium.  I was especially worried about Eli getting antsy and wanting to roam, but he just laid back and pointed at the screen every time they outlined a constellation.  We headed all the way to the top of the museum after that, so the girls could ride the carousel.  The girls chose their horses based on their tails!

While the girls were on the carousel, Eli played with mirrors and rode another little horse.

We played with the mirrors and in the little playhouses before heading to the science area.  Here they experimented a lot of water; it was definitely a favorite. 

The next level down was the hot wheel exhibit Nathan was wanting to see.  Bria and Eli really enjoyed playing with all the little cars too.

Entryway to the hotwheels exhibit.

Looks so realistic with the princess waving next to them.

Life size hotwheels!

Diamond covered hotwheels.
Finally Eli decided it was time to nap, so we skipped the little play area for toddlers and went on to the dinosaur art station.  The girls really liked the area where you used silly putty to sculpt muscles over a dinosaur skull.

We wandered around a little more after that, but it was about time for the museum to close. We did make it to the gift shop though.  Bria chose a little fairy and unicorn thing, Eli wanted a finger puppet mouse, and Nadia chose a stuffed flu bug. It was so funny to see her loving that flu bug!

I think Nathan's part was the giant Bumblebee in the lobby!

After leaving we met up with my cousin returning from Africa for a quick dinner. She is currently starting a home for orphans called Kwetu Faraja .  It was interesting to hear her talk about how different things are there.  How she could get a nice meal with a drink for $1.25, yet people there cannot afford food.  It is amazing that things can be so cheap to us, but there are people who still cannot afford it.  She also talked about how they are scared of many native animals simply because of myths that have been passed down.  How many of the boys are terrified of chameleons as they are regarded as evil, and it is thought their bite will kill you.  She said she would show one boy that it wouldn't by sticking her finger in a chameleon's mouth; then that boy would be excited and run around showing others. Amazing how freeing truth can be.  I hope and pray she is successful in teaching them God's truth as well.  We decided to head home after dinner as everyone was worn out.  Bria was not happy when she learned we were going to our home; she said she wanted to go back because she was excited there every day. We made it into Illinois and realized we had a tire leaking, so we stayed overnight and had it repaired in the morning.  

After having one tire repaired and one replaced we headed home Monday morning.  The drive home seemed much longer then the drive there; probably because of the frequent stops we had to make for the kids. The girls stayed awake for most of the trip, and Eli only slept about half of it. As soon as we walked in our door, Nadia laid on the couch and went to sleep.

The kids and I did not venture over to Gencon this year, but Nathan did take some pictures on his phone.  The first day Nathan spent promoting his game Biomechanic Dino Battles. He said everyone really seemed to enjoy it. Friday he just played. Here are a few of his pictures.

Playing Nathan's game.
More game playing.

Balloon Dargon in the works.
 The rest are just a few of the random costumes.