Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Weekend Getaway: The Twin Cities Pt 2

Our second (and last) day was just as busy and fun filled as the first day (read more about our first day in the Cities here: http://ashlen-kidspert.blogspot.com/2014/09/labor-day-weekend-getaway-twin-cities.html). The second day we slept in (by sleeping in I mean until 8 a.m. which is late for us), made our way into St. Paul, went to two amusement parks, toured the Mall of America, and drove home in hurricane-like weather. Two words for this day: Just awesome.

Relaxing in the bed as we watched planes take off from the airport.

We check out of the hotel before 9:30 a.m. (I'm simply amazed by this!) and made our way to St. Paul's Como Park. Gorgeous park with a small amusement park and zoo--the kids were thrilled! The kids and I enjoyed Como Zoo more than the Minnesota Zoo because all of the animals were front and center, making them easy to see. This zoo was small but was completely free and totally worth a visit if you're in the area.

The minis loved that the "turtles kissed!"
The boys felt polar bear fur and claws.

The minis tried their hardest to spot the wolf and couldn't see him. Matt was able to snap a few photos of the wolf sleeping in it's wolf house.

The best surprise of the day was Como Town's amusement park. It was small (more like a carnival) and decently priced. It's free to get in but you have to buy points to go on the rides. Bonus of Como Town: several of the ride's scanners were broken so we rode several rides for free.

The one ride we did pay for: the Tilt-A-Whirl. The boys and I LOVE this ride and Elizabeth clung to me the whole ride, but there was no screaming from her. If we had had more time, we would have loved to walk around the entire gorgeous park, but it was huge and we didn't have a lot of time. We settled for a quick drive through the park and the neighborhood surrounding the park.

After our busy morning at Como Town and Zoo, we went to the Mall of America, grabbed lunch, went to our second amusement park of the day, and shopped a bit. The Mall was actually my least favorite part of the trip as it was crazy crowded, everywhere had lines, and the biggest disappointment was the mall's lack of family restrooms. Having three young kids all potty trained means we have to make lots of potty breaks and it's much easier to take them all together. We're spoiled by our mall's here in Des Moines, where there's plenty of family restrooms, changing, and feeding areas. It looked as if the mall was going through some renovations inside, so I hope this is something they're thinking of changing.
I got my favorite from Jamba Juice: Mega Mango! It's been too long since I've gotten to enjoy one of these fresh fruit smoothies!
The lines for the elevator were crazy long. Elizabeth killed time by playing peek-a-boo with her borther's.
The Lego store was a favorite, but was one of the busiest stores in the mall....like, we couldn't even walk through the store. At one point I picked a child up and set them out of our way. As I said, the mall was crazy busy and drove me crazy!
The Turtle ride!

Building their Lego mini figurines. All four kids (yes, I'm including the hubs) had a blast building their own mini figs.

After a full day at Como Park and the Mall of America, we headed home in hopes of sleeping children and a quiet ride home. What we got was an adventure. About an hour into our trip home, our cell phones became buzzing with weather alerts, warning us of hurricane force winds and possible tornadoes. We wound up pulling over an hour and a half outside of Des Moines in a gas station parking lot, where we waited for nearly two hours for the storm to pass.
We sure made the most of our detour, with snacks (aka-candy!), stories, and drawing pictures on the foggy windows. There's many things I wish to instill in my children and one of them is "make the most of whatever comes your way."

Getting closer to the storm as we drove straight into it!

Once again, another memorable road trip for the Sheaffer family! After much discussion, our favorite parts of our getaway were all the simplest: walking through the Sculpture Garden, swimming in the hotel pool, making mini figurines at the Lego Store, and telling stories in the van during the storm. I was impressed with how well my minis did on the car rides (these are kids who don't sit still or stay quiet for long) and I love how much they love our family vacations. Much to the hub's dismay, I am already planning our next family road trip....whenever we get the time and money to take one that is!