Day 2: St. Louis Vacation – Science and Beer

We were up early to take advantage of the hotel’s breakfast. While I knew there would be hot food on the buffet, I was thinking it was just going to be biscuits and gravy, but there were eggs and sausage too. There was also fruit, bagels, juice, cereal, and danishes. I made sure to eat a full breakfast since I knew we were going to be doing a lot of walking.

We made it to the St. Louis Science Center shortly after they opened and walked around for a couple hours. There were some great displays, including an energy contraption that stretched along the whole ceiling of the entrance lobby. Colored balls followed the loops from one side to the other.

100_2181 100_2201 100_2202

As cool as this was, my favorite was the animatronic dinosaurs.

100_2184

There were a lot of kids there and a lot of cool things geared towards kids, but we still had fun walking through the museum and looking at things. We wandered over the planetarium to look around as well, but we didn’t do any of the shows. It was a good visit though, and gave us another chance to use our ASTC membership that we got through the Flint Hills Discovery Center.

Our second stop of the day was at the Anheuser-Busch Tour Center for a tour of the St. Louis brewery.

100_2218

The tour was a lot of fun. It was a seven block walking tour, all down hill, though we did have to navigate down three flights of stairs. This gave me a little anxiety since my knees do better with going up stairs than they do down, but I managed with hardly any problems. We got to see the areas where they brew, age, and package the beer. We also got to see some of the Budweiser clydesdales.

100_2225 100_2236 100_2242 100_2243

 

At the end of the tour, we took trolleys back up the hill to the hospitality room where we were given two free samples. I tried the Black Crown beer and the Straw-ber-ita flavored drink (is that even considered a beer?). Both were good, though the fruity drink was more pleasing to my taste buds. The drinks made me a little giggly, so we hung out for awhile, just to make sure I could drive safely.

We came back to the hotel and made a pit stop at the Hardee’s down the street for a late lunch. Their credit card system wasn’t working, but instead of turning us away, they gave us a free meal. It was tasty too. Our last couple Hardee’s experiences weren’t great, so it was nice to finally have a good charbroil flavored burger.

Though we talked about doing something else this afternoon and evening, we ended up just relaxing in the hotel room and ordering in. We have a lot of walking planned for the next couple of days and wanted to pace ourselves so as not to burn out all in the first day. It was good to just chill.

Tomorrow is zoo day! I hope the weather doesn’t freeze us out from visiting the animals.

A.

Flint Hills Discovery Center

Our original plan when visiting the Flint Hills Discovery Center was to check out the place where they’d be holding a lecture later that week. The problem with public lectures is often seating and comfort, so we wanted to check beforehand to make sure this was going to work for us.
Flint Hills Discovery Center
Flint Hills Discovery Center
After arriving there, we decided to go ahead and by a day pass to explore the museum. We started by seeing their film, which includes features such as blowing air and smoke to “immerse” the audience in the narration of the film. Then we explored the areas and looked at the exhibits about the Flint Hills and Kansas in general.
IMG_20130330_141612 IMG_20130330_142825 IMG_20130330_143410  PANO_20130330_143728
It was a fun place to visit, and it would be fun to take my nephews or niece there if they were to come this way for a visit. It gave me a new perspective on Kansas, and the exhibits were interesting. There are certain areas that are free to the public, including the lobby, which has a kiosk that lets visitors plan an itinerary of other places to see in Kansas, and a third floor terrace which overlooks part of Manhattan and gives a distant view of the Hills.
At the time I originally wrote this blog, there were a few things I was kind of bummed about. One was the fact that the art gallery portion wasn’t open, but in order to visit it again, we’d have to pay the admission fee or purchase a membership. Because it didn’t strike us as the kind of place we’d visit multiple times, both options seemed a little iffy. I was also a little disappointed when they said they used “youth chairs” for their lectures. I can’t imagine anyone being comfortable in what I perceived as kid chairs, even smaller people than J and I.
However, in a weird twist of events, my point of view has changed a bit. Part of that was the fact that we did attend a lecture there and it turned out to be really comfortable. Kudos to the DC for having really good, sturdy chairs for their visitors.
The other part was that as part of one of his classes, J. ended up getting a membership, and we found out that the FHDC is part of a large network of museums, so this membership will allow us to visit other museums all over the country. And the privileges mean that I can attend other museums with him at no charge because it gives family benefits too.
However, after thinking about it, I’ve decided to go ahead and get a membership as well. It works out to less than a couple dollars a month, and it will allow us to see all the exhibits (the family benefits only kick in at museums that are over 90 miles a way from where we live). Plus, the charitable part of me wants to be able to say I contributed to something cool, and we can incorporate the Discovery Center as another place to take walks.
I’ll be signing up for a membership in a couple days, when the FHDC has its Discovery Day to celebrate being open a year. Admission is free, so even though signing up for the membership won’t really allow us to take advantage of that, we’re going to see some of the cool things they’re doing (plus we’ve planned for this to be our museum day in Manhattan. I’m currently nursing a bum foot, but praying it’ll be better in the next day or so, so I can go exploring).
Also, the terrace is amazingly calm. I plan to utilize this space for “down time” in the future.
IMG_20130330_145718

Field Trip Friday – Texas Vacation Day 3

To continue with our trend of culture and fun, we visited the Forth Worth Museum of Science and History on field trip Friday. We didn’t realize it was going to be field trip day until we got there and the parking lot was filled with school buses and lines of elementary kids waiting to get in.
Normally, I would have driven the other way, but I really wanted to see the museum, so we found a parking space and braved the super loud museum and the groups of children. As someone who doesn’t consider myself a “kid person,” I actually thought it was cool how excited they all were about the exhibits.
IMG_20130322_101748 IMG_20130322_102942 IMG_20130322_104454 IMG_20130322_111453
There were some cool things to see and a lot of hands on things we probably would have done if not for all the kids. We avoided the Titanic exhibit due to cost, but we did stop in the Cattle Raisers’ Museum (a museum inside of the Science and History museum…very inceptionesque).
IMG_20130322_111730 IMG_20130322_111903 IMG_20130322_111941 IMG_20130322_112058

Our next stop was the National Cowgirl Museum. I was bummed that we couldn’t take pictures except for in the lobby. It was still a great experience. The special exhibit was Maverick quilts. Upstairs we took goofy digital photos and watched a short video on cowgirls.

Cowgirl1 Cowgirl2

Our final stop was the Amon Carter American Art Museum. At this point, we were pretty exhausted. Remember me saying I wasn’t great at walking? Well I pushed it. We parked in a parking garage that was halfway between the Amon and the science, and that added so many steps. So by the time we got to this last one, I was hurting.

So as much as I hate to admit it, we kind of copped out of the Amon. But we did get through most of it and got some good pictures.

IMG_20130322_125825 IMG_20130322_130219 IMG_20130322_130703 IMG_20130322_133708

We decided it was okay to miss part of the permanent collection, and we did get to see the special exhibit there, a series of enlarged photos. Next time we’re there, we’ll make Amon Carter our first stop.

By the time we were done,  Grandma L and Cousin S had already scoped out a lunch spot for us, and we met them at a place called Fireside Pies,  a trendy looking place that makes gourmet pizzas.

FiresidePies1 FiresidePies2 FiresidePies3

Delicious.

We ended the day by relaxing at the house with some TV, reading and knitting for awhile before the cousins came back over with chicken dinner. We ate and chatted for a few hours before finally calling it a night.