Yes, 3 States in 24 Hours. Spur of the moment mini vacation - and it went well!
Thursday noon - My husband decides to take off Friday since none of his team will be in the office. We chat about doing something on Friday for the boys. Perhaps The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa!
Thursday 1PM - I decide well, maybe we should go NOW and find a hotel and spend the night. I spend 15 minutes online, find a hotel in Galena, Illinois.
Thursday 1:15PM - Husband calls, they have a room, we book it. I run around the house like a crazy person cleaning, packing, loading the car, trying not to forget anything, printing google maps for everything.
Thursday 2:42 PM - We are packed, loaded, and pull out. We drive through SW Wisconsin towards IL/IA.
Thursday 4:45PM - We arrive at our hotel in Galena, IL.
Thursday 5:15PM - We drive to a local pizzeria in the quaint old downtown Galena. Have dinner. Walk Main Street afterwards and find old-fashioned ice cream shop for something cold and yummy. Walk some more, head back to the car.
Thursday 7PM - Back at hotel, dressed and into the pool. Swim almost an hour. Back to room, boys bathed, snacked, pj'd and into bed. We couldn't get a suite since the hotel was booked but for the one room we got, so we just hung out and played gin rummy on the next bed over!
Friday 10AM - The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. We visit the aquariums - watch the interactive videos about flood plains, dams, agricultural runoff, the dead zone in the gulf - go into the "wet lab" and look at slides of animals and touch mussels and crayfish. Visit the cow-nosed rays, get to touch them. Play outside, and see a few examples of riverboats, barges, steamboats and paddle boats. Very cool stuff.
Friday Noon - Head back to Wisconsin.
Friday 1PM - Stop at Blue Mounds to visit the Cave of the Mounds. Spend a few hours taking a tour underground deep within the caves, without much light, in tight walkways. The boys don't freak out, cry, or scream (we have a few moments, but they are GREAT considering the underground tour was over an hour -eek).
The caves are so interesting, and there is just so much to look at - A got to look UP and see fossils which are so old it is hard to explain it to him. The formations that take 100 years to grow an inch, and yet are MASSIVE. "The Cave was formed within sedimentary rock, a limestone made of compacted seashells. This rock dates back over 400 million years to the Ordovician Period of the earth’s geologic history. Cave of the Mounds itself began to form about a million and a half years ago when the Galena dolomite was still beneath the water table." Very cool stuff. Our guide was a nice and friendly lady full of great history and science facts. I think it was more fun because it was unexpected - A loves aquariums, and knows what he will see (he has visited several, and many of his library books each week are about some sort of sea creature). And he had fun there. BUT, the caves were totally new and he was so apprehensive when we first walked into the dark cavern. But after a few minutes was down on the ground, interested, asking questions, walking in front with the guide, and loving it.
Friday 3:30 - HOME!
What a whirlwind 24 hours. It worked out really well though. We got to visit so many places, the boys were GREAT and seemed to really enjoy the whole trip. A LOVED all of the information - he is a facts kind of kid - and there was just so much to see and learn and think about. Even G was happy and just went with the flow and was happy. Not ONE 2 year old screaming tantrum! I couldn't believe it! What a "day". I cannot believe it is only Friday night!
I have a bunch more pix posted on Flickr.