This is the song lyric that ran through my head most of the weekend. I really don’t know any other words to this song, but these alone seemed appropriate enough!
We arrived Friday afternoon and went to the Old Courthouse. The kids completed a Junior Ranger booklet, including a scavenger hunt around the courthouse and a chance to be a judge. Then they received their Junior Ranger badges!
After 6 hours in the car and a trip to a museum, the kids were ready to get outside and see the Gateway Arch! We couldn’t ride the elevators up to the top due to some construction, but D thought the construction equipment at the base made it so much cooler!
After checking it out from the viewing platform, we walked over to the Arch so we could touch it. The kids were happy to quote Finding Nemo and said several times, “I touched the butt!” They were also thoroughly confused by the fact that the base of the Arch is a triangle. They had to count the sides multiple times 🙂
After the Arch, we stopped at IKEA (hooray for me!) and then settled in at the hotel. Drury Inn & Suites might be my new favorite hotel to stay at with kids. We had a suite with a separate bedroom. They offered free popcorn every afternoon and “heavy appetizers” that we easily made into dinner. Score! This left us with plenty of time to go swimming!
Saturday morning, the kids were up bright and early and by 7:15 they were already asking when we were leaving to go to the zoo. As a result, we were there within minutes of them opening. It was a little chilly to start the morning – about 35 degrees – but still warmer than it was at home! It warmed up to a beautiful 50-ish by the time we left!!
Due to the cool temps, the zoo was not very busy. We went to the Kansas City Zoo with some friends in December, on a day with similar temps, and it was equally as not-busy. I despise cold weather, we all know that, but I think winter might be my new favorite time to go to the zoo! There were no crowds to fight through and the kids got to spend as much time interacting with the animals as they wanted – no need to let other kids have a look!
The hippos and polar bear were some of the kids’ favorites. They had each taken $10 of their own money on the trip so they could buy a souvenir of their choosing along the way. C picked out a stuffed polar bear that she named Louis (Loo-ee) and D chose a small hippo toy he named Jimmy. Letting them use their own money made it so much easier than saying “no” to the majority of the junk they wanted and they took their time to pick out one thing they really liked.
And did I mention the St. Louis Zoo is free?!? I had no idea until I started researching our trip! There are certain things they charge for, such as the Children’s Zoo, carousel, train ride and sea lion show. But we discovered along the way, that even some of those things are free at certain times of day. The Children’s Zoo is free for the first hour the zoo is open and the carousel is free from 10-11 every day – which we conveniently discovered at 10:02!
After the zoo, Aaron’s sister and her family met up with us at a local pizza joint. We had some delicious St. Louis style pizza and then headed back to the hotel to watch the Iowa State basketball game – it is between the months of November and March, so our schedule on game days is predetermined 🙂 Then we got to go swimming again, with cousins this time! As proof that love for our children runs deep, I not only shaved my legs (in winter!) to put on a swimming suit, but I also fully submerged myself under water so I could swim C under the rubber barrier between the indoor and outdoor pools. I don’t put my head under water voluntarily. And I don’t swim underwater in 50 degree weather. But C wanted to, sooo…
The cousins got to spend the evening hanging out together and the adults got to chat and play cards after the kids fell asleep.
It was a great time hanging out with family and getting away from the day-to-day grind. We enjoyed some warmer weather and time outside the house, before we came home to a blizzard on Monday with wind chills below zero forecasted for the next few days.
A week on a beach might have been my first choice for a vacation, but this weekend away helped cure my wanderlust. For now!