Renaissance Festival

Yesterday we went to a Renaissance Festival south of Columbus. The site where it was held was magnificent- several acres of stone and wooden buildings, roadways, games, and human-powered rides.

We started off with games and rides.

The costumes people were wearing were spectacular and many folks stopped and chatted with us and showed off their claws, swords, helmets, etc.

The shops were full of unique finds. The kids settled on wooden swords and shields for mementos.

Here are some of the buildings and a yarn-bombed tree.

The kids ran through a giant maze that ended with a slide and folks shared some funnel cakes.

My son met an early death.

And had a magical reawakening.

J. and I became royalty.

And we exited the castle with plans to return.

COSI

A friend posted a link on Facebook a while back about a Lego Kingdom exhibit At COSI in Columbus. We headed down to check it out with some friends.

While the pre built Lego displays were really cool, the hands on parts were not that exciting for my kids as we own tons of Legos. Lucky for us, the rest of the museum was great and they found lots to explore and do. The 5 kids checked out the “Adventure” puzzle exhibit while us adults had some time to chat. Inside were obstacle courses and codes and helpful volunteers. All of the kids came out jumping and happy and wanting to try it again sometime.

We had beautiful weather to hit the courtyard.

The “Space” section was well done, especially the remote control rovers and mechanical arms. The kids worked together to gather up little balls.

We saw how particle size changed the way iron bits were affected by magnets. The nano particles acted like a liquid, flowing in blobs and jumping from one magnet to another.

The kids were happy to make fun of the things us “old” people grew up with in the section on the past.

We stayed till closing time and then headed out for dinner and then back to the hotel for a swim.

PA Trip Day 3

Today was our final day. We went to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. We spent 4 hours checking it out which is way more time than I expected based on the zoo map. The lemurs were super active which was exciting after passing by the large cats, giraffe, and elephants that might as well have been sleeping. From there, it was all uphill! Exhibits that the kids could climb through were very well done, especially the touch tank for the rays and the tunnel network for the meerkats. The aquarium in general was much better than I expected and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The polar bear and the sea lions were active and we got to see and hear a baby sea otter (ouch my ears).

The kids loved our trip and want to go back!

PA Trip Day 2

Today we got up early for the hotel breakfast and headed off to the Carnegie Natural History Museum and Art Museum. We spent over four hours at the Nat. History Museum and were too tired to check out the Art Museum half. The Museum was really great. The kids both enjoyed checking out the exhibits and we got lots of one on one attention from the staff as the place was nearly empty.

Both kids agreed that this hands-on paleontology pit was the best attraction in the museum. There are replica skeletons of ancient mammals and dinosaurs encased in soft rock that the kids actually got to work on with chisels and brushes. They learned that it isn’t as easy as it looks!

The staff shared lots of specimens with us and we got to look through the boxes that are normally sent out to schools. We got to touch and compare lots of different animal pelts. It was amazing how soft the sea otter fur was. I expected it to be more coarse, like a beaver’s.

We took a break for lunch and then checked out animal exhibits from around the world, the Egyptian display, Native Americans, the Polar regions, and finally the hands-on Discovery Room in the basement.

Heading out through the sculpture garden. My son wanted to be “The Thinker”.

Pics from NC

I didn’t put these up during the week, so here they are in one post.

The weather was stormy for most of the week but we managed to hit the beach a few times. 6 of us went jet skiing and our kids loved it even though it rained on us a bit and 3 of us got dumped into the water! A few of us checked out the outdoor pool and made up some games to play in the pouring rain. Lots of board games and card games were played including Timeline, Dominos, Texas Hold ‘Em, 7 Wonders, Ticket to Ride, Eucher, Boggle, 5 Crowns, Set, and more. The pool table worked for Billiards and as a place to solve jigsaw puzzles. The kids played games, built with Legos, used their iPods, played Minecraft, and in general hung out together and with us. People worked together to cook and clean up and the food was terrific as usual 🙂