My favorite thing about being a stay at home mom has been the ability to pack the kids up and take a day trip anytime I choose. Jesse's last day of school was on a Wednesday. After school he and his colleagues were going out and he didn't plan to return til late evening. It was the perfect excuse to sneak in one final day trip.
I chose to return to the Greensboro Science Center since it is free with Discovery Place membership and an easy 90 minute drive. The kids and I spent the morning there a few months back, but we rushed through so we could meet another friend in Durham. This visit was much more relaxed with no time frame or schedule.
Our first stop was the aquarium, where I was pleasantly surprised to run into my childhood neighbors and their extended family. After a brief chat, we admired the penguin habitat.
The octopus was one of the highlights from our previous visit, though it was hiding this time. We continued on to the other aquariums.
The sting ray touch tank was closed. It made no difference to us since none of the kids are tall enough to bend over and reach the sting rays.
We continued to the dinosaur hall, which is always impressive to see in person.
The rest of the museum has plenty of interesting things to see, but it is no children's museum. We spent a considerable amount of time playing in the kids area, which provided lots of age appropriate play and silly photo opportunities.
We never even made it downstairs last time. We found a secluded table where we could eat our picnic lunch, in the company of taxidermied lions and zebras.
The downstairs exhibits were mostly of reptiles and amphibians. This little guy pictured below was motionless...
until James approached the glass. He totally charged towards the glass, which was highly amusing for James.
There were unique turtles, such as this alligator snapping turtle and a small two-headed turtle.
The kids interest was fading, so I led them outside. The wagon had been an unnecessary nuisance inside the museum, though I was grateful to have it in the outdoor zoo exhibits. By far the highlight of the zoo was the tiger exhibit. There were several enclosures with glass walls where you could get face to face with tigers. I could have easily stayed there for an hour.
Another highlight was watching the active gibbons. There was an especially adorable baby gibbon following its parent.
We stopped for another snack and drink and played for a few more minutes before driving to our next location.
There was a very cool, free splashpad near the science center. I changed the kids into swim suits and let them play. Of course, Jackson and James took off immediately.
I tried to walk the girls through the splash pad. This was their reaction.
They spent the remainder of the time sitting with adults in the shade.
Jackson was having fun until a group of obnoxious older boys kept bothering him. They continuously filled a baseball cap with water, then dumped it on other kids' heads. It was one of those awkward moments where I didn't know how long I should wait to see if the other parents would comment, or how Jackson would handle the situation. Jackson stopped playing and I eventually told the boys they needed to ask the other kids if they wanted to play like that. Of course, James thought their game was hilarious, but he also puts his head directly into the fountains.
We dried off and changed clothes, then played on the playgrounds on the other side of the park. Our final adventure was literally around the corner from the splashpad, at Gateway Gardens. One of the moms at the park suggested it to me. The children's garden had an alphabet scavenger hunt where metal letters could be found throughout the gardens.
There was interactive sculptures of various produce that the kids loved!
It was getting late and I knew the kids were getting hungry and tired. I had planned to stop at K&W for dinner. As we were walking back towards the parking lot, Jackson did this to Amelia:
We have never had issues with the toddlers biting, and certainly not from a five year old. To say I was livid was an understatement. I comforted and kissed Amelia and completely ignored Jackson. I knew I could not possibly say anything calm or rational at that time. As I buckled the toddlers in the van, Jackson sobbed, yelling over and over, "I'm going to jail. I'm a bad guy. I'm going to jail." Once we were on the interstate and things had settled, I told Jackson that he was not a bad guy and he wouldn't be going to jail, though he did make a bad choice and I was very disappointed in him. I just didn't have any energy left to give to wrangle four tired children through a restaurant, so that was his consequence. I ended up going through a drive-thru closer to home and we ate dinner at home.
Our Greensboro day trip may not have ended well, but it did not negate the great time we had the rest of the day. I will greatly miss our trips together, biting and all.