Thursday, August 19, 2010

All Aboard!

So we didn't get enough traveling with our trip to Disney so we decided to hit one more place!  Ha!  This little engineer has always loved trains, and Papa had been wanting to take him on the Amtrak for quite some time now.  So a couple weeks after we got back from one trip, we took a mini trip to the Omaha Zoo on the train!
It was so fun.  Andrew was so excited for the train to come.  He kept watching and waiting...
No, Andrew, we're not looking for an airplane!  Ha!  He looks a little confused!
We boarded at a little old fashioned train station, it was so neat.
The train was about 40 minutes late, so luckily we had things to occupy him!  Once in a while another train would come blasting through and we watched it from the doorway, but it was really close and pretty cool!
Finally it was time to head out to the track and see the train come in!  Andrew wanted to carry something like the rest of us so he took his DVD player!  Ha!
I absolutely love this picture of him smiling at the train.  He was beyond excited.  I don't think he could actually believe we were going to get on and ride it!  This was his first train ride ever.
It was so cute how he just walked right in and plopped down in a seat and watched out the window.  Since the train was late, it got dark faster than we wanted it to, but dusk lasted for a little while so we got to see outside for about a half hour.
Enjoying the ride with Papa.  We're so glad he suggested we do this!  We all had so much fun!  Thanks, Papa!
The fun thing about the train is that you can move around and bring anything you want on board (not like flying!  Ha!)  We brought a big cooler full of snacks and walked down to the snack car and sat at a little booth and ate snacks.  Andrew loved walking between the train cars!  I couldn't take a picture because it was way too wobbly!  I had to hold on!  Ha!
Then we checked out the observation car, where the seats all face the windows (you could still see outside a little bit, but it looks really dark here!)
Andrew started to get sleepy so laid down on Papa's knee!
After exploring the train (and the potty on the train, Lol!) we headed back to our seats and Andrew watched a movie.  I seriously do not know what we ever did without this portable DVD player.  We take it everywhere now!  (I am embarrassed to admit we've even taken it out to eat with us a few times so we can get a meal in without being interrupted!!  There's something you don't see every day!  I know, mother and father of the year awards coming our way!  Ha!)
Getting sleepy watching his movie...
He just didn't want to give it up!  He was having so much fun.  The other nice thing about the can sprawl out and recline your seat and put your feet up!  There is lots of room and it is pretty comfy.
So I debated about putting this picture in, but it has too funny of a story not to tell.  You all feel like laughing, right?  Well, do you see the lady behind us?  Yeah, the one covering her eyes??  I seriously laugh out loud every single time I look at it.  We kept snapping pictures, and it was pretty dark in there by this time.  Mom was taking pictures of Craig and I, I took pics of her and Jim, we were all snapping pics of Andrew... Craig was trying to sleep and telling us how annoying it was!  Ha!  I never thought much about it until I saw this picture!  That poor lady behind us... bless her heart!  I wonder how many times the camera flashed in her face!!  I sure hope she doesn't read my blog!  Ha!  I'm still laughing about that...Do you think it's a sign I take too many pictures?  Even Craig laughed about it, and believe me he didn't think it was funny at the time!  Ha!

We made it to the hotel I think around midnight.  My mom and Jim had actually driven to Omaha earlier that day to drop off a car so we'd have one at the train station in Omaha.  Yes, then they actually drove back to Des Moines so they could ride the train with us.  They're cool like that.  When they were there earlier they booked us a hotel room and I think the lady was confused when my mom told them they'd be coming into Omaha that night on the train!  Ha!

In the morning we had a delicious continental breakfast and went for a quick dip in the pool before heading to the zoo.
Now, the Omaha Zoo is one of the neatest zoos in the country (I realize this is my opinion, but I really could argue it and almost win every time!  Ha!)  I have taken my second graders to the Omaha Zoo on a field trip for the past 9 years.  Sure, our school is about 15 minutes from the Blank Park Zoo, but it just doesn't hold a candle to this one.  So we make the extra 2 hour trip for a super fun field trip.

I know this zoo like the back of my hand.  Or so I thought!  They are always adding new things, and I have taken a couple years off and wow I was even more impressed with how much they have added!
We started with my favorite place- the Rainforest.  It is a giant 2 story indoor rainforest with tons of unique animals.  Andrew just loved all the waterfalls, bridges and hiding places.
There are trails where you can walk right by and see all the animals.  It is so fun.  Andrew was very into it.
I had to test out the beauty of my new camera with this shot.  Ahhhh, I love that blurred background!  It just makes me happy!
Of course we had to ride another train!  A smaller one this time!  Ha.  Andrew loved it.  It took us around the whole zoo.  We decided not to get off and ride the whole way around.
Something new they added was the sky coaster.  This was especially neat because we got to see animals that we didn't have a good view of on the ground, like the giraffes and the rhinos because they were hiding.  But we saw them perfectly from up here.  We even saw a baby giraffe.  Adorable.
This is my other favorite part of the zoo.  Watching the penguins swim.  I could stay here for hours and watch them.  Andrew could have, too!  He loved it!  They are so cute how they stand and waddle over to the edge and you know they are going to jump in.  Then they glide so fast through the water and pop back out on the rocks!  
We stayed and watched them for a long time.  Andrew was just fascinated!
I love the aquarium.  The sharks and stingrays swim right over your heads.  It is pretty awesome.

After spending a lot of time in the nice and cool aquarium, we headed over to the funniest part of the zoo!
Gorilla Valley.  I was trying to get a picture of Andrew with the gorillas because they matched his shirt, but he would not stand and look at me and smile.  Would not take his eyes off the gorillas.  He thought they were pretty cool.
He was very interested in these gorilla skeletons.  I wonder if we have a future scientist here!  He could not get over it!
I had to laugh at this picture because Andrew and the gorilla in the background are posing the same way!  Ha!
This was so sweet.  He loves the movie "Tarzan" and the part where the Mama gorilla and Tarzan put their hands together just like this.  During that part he always comes up to me to have me put my hand up to his.  It is so sweet.  He did this right away when he saw this hand.
Wow, he's almost 3 ft tall!
Andrew acting like a monkey!  What a silly boy.  In the background you can see the baby gorilla on its mama's arm.  It was too precious for words.  We sat and watched it for a long time.  Andrew could have watched it all day, even though it was sleeping!  He always feels right at home around monkeys!  Ha!
This was Andrew's souvenir from the trip.  He's been acting like a tiger, walking around the house on all fours, hissing at me!  Ha!  I pretend like I'm scared of him and it just makes him giggle and do it more.  He is so fun, I just love his age and how much more he is playing and interacting with us.  He'll talk our ears off now and is hardly ever quiet!

We had a very fun mini vacation.  Andrew has had a lot of "firsts" this summer, and we've enjoyed watching his excitement.  I love making memories as a family. 

And just because this is my new favorite picture of him... I had to post it again... he was wearing his conductor hat he got at the train station.
"All Aboard!"

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