Ok, so since school has started, I suppose I should finish up with my Summer Adventures Challenge posts. I'm trying to remember what I've said so far--just the Living Sea Aquarium and Museum of Ancient Life. SO, on to the next ones:
#3: Thanksgiving Point Gardens and Children's Garden
We went to the Thanksgiving Point Gardens many a time. Actually, just twice to the actual gardens, during which I forgot my camera. I'll hunt down some pictures from my sisters. It is quite expansive, and we just chose a few of our favorite gardens to show the kids. They each had a map and had a great time finding their way to the next garden. The Secret Garden was a hit, since you come in through a door hidden in a tunnel, and there was a fountain. But the kids loved it all and were great sports with the long walk. They always do love the big waterfall.
I found some pictures. Here they are:
But the Children's Garden we pretty much did instead of a pool this year because of the great Noah's Ark splash pad. Very fun. But every time we went it seemed we found more to this little garden. There is the hedge maze, and the bear cave, and the pond with fish you can feed, and a lighthouse you can climb up into, and we found on Tuesdays and Thursdays there are even little craft classes my kids loved. They must do little shows on the "bug stage," but never when we're around, so the kids just go up on the stage and have fun.
Those are the obvious parts of the garden. But turns out, there is a whole action area type place that is more of a nature path with lots of fun things. We wound around the whole path with all the cousins and played some natural wood xylophones, built with natural blocks, climbed up and around woodsy areas, and looked at the big gardens from lookout points. It was very fun. Now if only they'd just open the gates between the big gardens and the children's ones, it would be perfect.
So much for the gardens.
#4: Thanksgiving Point Farm Country
NEXT, the other day Jake and I took the kids to the Thanksgiving Point Farm Country. Our mistake was going on a Tuesday night, when it's $2 to get in. Since we have a pass, that didn't matter, but all in all, the farm is never that busy. It was like a little petting zoo, with some other exhibits about milk and farms and shipping produce that the kids loved. It was small enough to not get overwhelmed, but big enough that we felt like it was really worth coming. The kids really liked all the animals, and we even watched a pony try to eat a girl's skirt! (The sign told everyone the pony was a biter!) Everyone also gets a ticket to go on a pony ride, which was when we wished we'd come another day, since we waited a good 25 minutes for our ride. But CRAZY to behold, my scaredy cat Jeffy got on the biggest horse and did a great job riding without supervision. Ethan was ok if I was next to him the whole time, and was even alright when I stepped back to take some pictures. Hoorah! Janey, however, HATED it. She cried the whole time, poor girl. I don't know why Jake didn't just take her off the pony, but there you go.
#5: Seven Peaks Water Park
We've been meaning to go all summer, but the kids aren't SO great at water, and we wanted to go with other people, and no one ever really wanted to. So, today was my bro-in-law's birthday, and I thought I'd call them to see if they had any plans. They didn't so we did a spontaneous trip to the water park in Provo. Jake and I have been a million times since we used to have a pass when we lived in Provo, but the kids have never been. It was only $6 after 6 p.m., and since we were only going to stay a couple hours anyway, it was the right way to go.
Well. It was certainly an adventure. Jefferson really had good intentions of going down some slides. Jake finally got him to go down a biggerish kids slide and he hated it. He doesn't love being splashed. But the really little kids slides he was so wimpy on, we finally gave up on slides with him. I put Janey down a couple, and I'm not sure she loved it either. Ethan refuses to step into water that is not beach entry, so we finally left all the fun kids areas behind and took up residence at the wave pool.
Little did we know they turned off the waves just after we left the first time, so they never DID see any. Lame. However, it may have been better, because Jane is not an easy girl to control in the water. Without the waves, it was just a giant beach-entry pool. We only went to the pool a few times this year because Jane plunges in and screams if you hold her, and it's just too hard to do. But this was PERFECT. I was able to keep pretty good track of both boys and Janey, and even just sat down in the water while I watched Janey go back and forth in the water, jumping up to save her from drowning each time she slipped. She was in total heaven.
Jake did a few slides with Lili and Jeff (big Jeff, not Jeffy), but after a while, it was pretty cold outside (it was past 7), and we were enjoying the warm water. As people leave, they often give you their tubes (that you have to pay for, so we didn't), and someone gave us one and the kids had a BLAST with everything you can do with a tube without actually FLOATING in it. They just pushed it around, got in the holes and pretended it was a boat, etc. Jane and I got in and let the boys push us back and forth for a while too, and that was fun.
And the rest of the time we spent watching the big kids (Jake, Lili, and Jeff) go off the rope swing, and convincing Jefferson to put his head under water at the risk of losing his DS if he didn't. (That was the deal from the beginning of getting his DS for going under water 10 times.) He always forgets that it's pretty easy to do, and I'm wishing we gave him more opportunities to practice this summer.
SO, it was worth it for $6 each. Until the kids are bigger, I wouldn't pay more. But it was a really fun end-of-summer fun pool time. The pizza and brownies (that everyone else had) afterward looked way fun too.
BONUS: American Fork Canyon.
This is sad. We were supposed to go up many times. The kids have been begging. And perhaps there are still hikes and campouts in the future this Fall. However, since a kid was taken from his tent and eaten by a bear last year, people have been more cautious, and we'd all like to be in trailers and whatnot. Also, many a sister is pregnant or just had a child, so maybe that's an adventure for next year.
BUT, we did go. We went to visit my parents on a Sunday, and they told us to just load up and follow them up the canyon. They had parked their T@B up there for the week, and just went up and down the canyon as they pleased and slept up there. So we packed up and went.
I didn't realize how far up their parking spot was--it was probably a 40 minute drive up the windy roads (and Ethan does NOT do well with windy roads), but it was SUCH a lovely drive, and my kids had never actually been in a real live canyon before. This canyon is as much home to me as any other place in the world, and it was really great to see the kids be so excited about all the trees, the cliffs, the river, the lake we passed, and everything great about the mountains of Utah.
When we got to the campground, the kids roasted marshmallows and made s'more-ish type treats with brownies. THAT was a big hit, even though it was pretty tough keeping Janey out of the fire. Mind you, we didn't know we were coming, so Jane and I were in Sunday dresses, and hers got completely filthy. Good times.
Then we took a walk around the hilly roads of the campground and the kids explored their guts out in the woods around the campground. It was a big hit. The kids were mad when we had to go home. I wish we'd spent more time, and I'm sure we'll go up there plenty when the leaves change, but it still counts that we went up there in the summer, so hooray!!
I stole these pics from Matt:
And THAT my friends, is the end of my Summer Adventures. This year was easy, because everything we did was new. Next year we'll actually have to hunt down some new stuff! What will we find?
Also, we are planning to go to Moab sometime soon. Even if it's not summer, perhaps I'll post a link. :)
(I've been working on this post for DAYS and it took me about 1.5 hours to get the pictures for this post. Seriously. Insane.)