Saturday, July 4, 2015

Day Trippin'- Texas State Aquarium

I cheated a little bit on the day tripping theme for this summer by booking a hotel for ONE night in Corpus Christi.  I wanted to take the kids to the aquarium and the beach, and although it is possible to squeeze those two things into a day trip, I knew the entire experience would be both more relaxed and more memorable if I gave in and paid for a hotel.  And it would give the kids an answer for the “What did you do this summer?” question.  A more succinct answer than, “My mom was too cheap to take us anywhere, so we just did a bunch of random stuff.”

We left early, and I typed the Texas State Aquarium into my GPS.  It gave me an Estimated Time of Arrival of 2 hours and 34 minutes.  I, of course, interpreted this as, “Time to Beat, Including Bathroom Stop.” 

My kids, I must say, are excellent car travelers- no doubt aided by the comfy seats and DVD player.  Back in my day, we had to play I Spy and sit with our feet up on coolers and luggage.  But I digress.

We got to the aquarium with no trouble in exactly 2 hours and 36 minutes, including the aforementioned bathroom break.  Not bad. 

This trip was my first attempt at putting my youngest child on a leash.  Yep.  I have, after years of eschewing leashes for humans, caved.  Austin is a free range child.  He runs away and he doesn’t look back.  He’s unfortunately gotten too big for my beloved Ergo carrier.  He still fits in my very nice backpack, but he can, given a little time, get himself unbuckled and out of that.  (Yes, he can- while he’s on my back.  We don’t call him Houdini for nothing.)  Having to hold hands causes Austin extreme physical pain.  Really.  Just ask him.  It’s clearly debilitating.  So I got him a leash.  A cute one with a giraffe backpack. 

The kid-leashing went pretty well, though I was unsuccessful in teaching Austin to “heel.”  He is small and agile and he can squeeze through areas that Mom can’t.  I ran into more than one half-opened door while attached to him.  BUT, I didn’t LOSE him, and that was the point.

The Texas State Aquarium is really wonderful.  The kids got to touch sting rays and sharks.  (And they didn’t fall in!  Yay!) 

We saw otters and gators and Bald Eagles.  (Austin insisted that those were Peregrine Falcons.  We couldn't convince him otherwise.  I guess he knows about falcons but not eagles.  There was no arguing with him, and he even brought it up again at dinner.)

After exploring the hands-on outdoor exhibits, we headed indoors.  My plan, after feeding them a substantial snack before heading into the aquarium, was to see everything and then have lunch before heading to the beach for the afternoon.  The kids grumped about taking the stairs instead of the elevator, squabbled over who got to the open the door, and then competed for the same twelve-inch space in front of the eight-foot long exhibit.

At this point, I realized that I was getting ready to make Rookie Parenting Mistake #3: Pushing My Own Agenda.  At this season in my parenting career, there really is no excuse for a rookie mistake.  I know that when a parent’s Agenda smacks up against a child’s Mood/Hunger/Tiredness, the parent loses every. single. time.

So I turned around and headed back downstairs to the cafeteria where over-priced food offered redemption for my near-mistake.  The kids ate and relaxed for a bit, and then, I took seven very different children back up the stairs to enjoy the spectacular indoor exhibits. 

We saw sharks and fish- lots of fish- and, my personal favorites, the jellyfish.  Austin kept insisting that the jellyfish were “egg-eaters.”  “Look, Mom, they eat eggs.  I see the eggs in their tummies.”  So funny.

We finished off the day with a visit to the dolphins. 

We spent about 2 ½ or 3 hours there, and that amount of time seemed about right.  I wasn’t sure if the parking situation would make packing a lunch and eating at the car a good option (no outside food allowed in the aquarium).  Turns out that would have worked fine, so if we go again- the kids have their eyes on the new Caribbean exhibit opening in 2017- we’ll definitely skip the cafeteria and tailgate.  Other than that, the aquarium trip was a success, and we left ready to go hang out at the beach!

1 comment:

Debbie M said...

First I'd like to say that I read your blog often and pass them on to others I think will be blessed by them (which is just about ANYONE!) ;) So, even if I don't always leave you a comment, believe me that I'm reading and enjoying tremendously! Second, I can't even imagine being able to handle 7 children at ANY outing! God has truly given you so many gifts!! I love your writing style and your adventures are truly REAL adventures! May God's blessings continue surround your family every day!!