Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Vacation | Peoria-Springfield, IL & St Louis-Stanton, MO

We have been home for about two weeks, but I finally got semi-organized again.  We just spent a week visiting family and touring Illinois and Missouri. 

Day 1 we ended up in Eureka, IL (which Tegan was so shocked that Eureka was not just a word, but a town too) and headed over to stay at my Aunt's house in Peoria.  We figured this would break up the drive a little for the kids and well, my cousin had 5 week old PUPPIES at her house - so you can imagine what the kids did the whole time we were there.

Day 2 we headed to Springfield, IL where we stopped downtown and saw the capital and Abe Lincoln's neighborhood.  It was a spur of the moment decision to stop in Springfield and when we got there, we ended up running into Tegan's Kindergarten teacher.  400 miles from home and we end up on the same tour!   It's such a small world.  We took the kids on historic route 66 ... which means a lot to them because that's all they talk about in the movie Cars.

The first night we were in St Louis we drove around downtown just so the kids could see the Arch.  We stopped at the Cardinals Stadium and then had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe.  New Kids On The Block were playing a concert next door - so downtown was a little crazy.  (Who knew NKOTB was still popular?!) 

Day 3 we spent at the zoo.  St Louis Zoo is ... HUGE.  We spent about 6 hours there and we probably didn't see it all.  Ironically the only reason we chose St Louis in the first place was because the zoo has 5 owls on display (all 5 which were not on display when we got there).  Thankfully there were other cool animals to keep Tatum's interest.  The baby elephants were a hit ... as was the hippo and the rhino.  But the biggest hit was probably the sting ray section.  You could go into the pool and pet the sting rays, who would also splash you every once and awhile.  Tate wasn't too sure about that - but after some reassuring that if you look around, no one else had lost an arm yet - we got her to touch them.  And then she wouldn't let go.  We rode the train, the carousal, saw Yogi Bear in a 4D movie experience, and of course, there happened to be a Build A Bear right in the middle of the zoo. 

The Arch was next.  The waiting was what almost killed the deal.  The closer we got to getting in the elevator - the more panicked Tate became.  Then we got in the elevator and on the way up started the I'M GOING TO PUKE.  Teag on the other hand was bouncing off the walls and saying - isn't this fun Tate?!  I was surprised Tate looked out the windows!  She walked all the way across and all the way back and said - let's go back down.  Needless to say, I don't think she will be going back BUT she can cross that off her bucket list.

Day 4 we went to the city museum (which if you have children who like to run, crawl, jump, climb, etc - you need to take them there!).  This museum is awesomeness and with a 3 story and a 10 story slide, you can probably imagine why.  We did the 3 story slide - the 10 story slide wasn't quite up to Tate's standards and Teag was afraid he would get lost on the way down (I mean you go in the top and come out the bottom - I suppose it could happen?!)  Now, if you know someone holding their wedding reception at the City Museum ballroom - tell them to give me a yell!  I so want to shoot a wedding there.  It's gorgeous!

Lunch was at Fitz's Brewing Company where they make the world's largest root beer float.  Oh, and they make the root beer that goes with it too.  Ironically - the stuff they make the root beer with comes from Wisconsin.  The food was delish and I would definitely go there again!  After that, we headed a little bit more south and went to Stanton, Mo where Meremac Caverns is.  This is one of the largest cave systems in the US and there was something the guide was saying about certain rocks thy had being only in three places in the world (but I wasn't listening at that point).  The kids really liked the cave and thought the tour was neat.

Days 5 & 6 we spent in Illinois visiting family.  The kids got to see their cousins, I got to see my Aunts and Uncles.  So now that we have taken the kids to the major cities around us - next year we head either out east or out west.  Hmmm ... better start planning.

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