Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spring Break, Day 6

I think my kids are so used to our hustle and bustle life that it was very hard for them to stay at the campground all day. There is only so much hiking a 3 and 5 year old can do without being completely exhausted and while they did play outside and use their incredible imaginations, they can only do so much of that as well. Landon was relatively happy and had Zoe or Jaron been there like day's past he'd have been perfectly fine, but with no WiFi and no one his age to hang around, he grew bored after a few days as well. We really did our best to keep everyone happy but three kids and limited resources isn't, we took them on a 2 hour drive to Lost Sea Adventure.

Tunnel leading into the cavern.

Lost Sea Adventure is a cavern located in Sweetwater, Tennessee. It's unique in the way that it has an underground lake that you get to cruise around on in a glass bottom boat. The caverns stay a chilly 58 degrees year round and the water 56 degrees. They brought in some rainbow trout to live in the water but there isn't any food sources for the fish so they have to feed them when they take people out on the tours. Crazy. While we were out in the boat (it does have a very small area that is glass bottomed but the glass was filthy underneath and we couldn't see anything through it at all) the guide told us of a story about one of the fish jumping in the boat during a feeding and Harper was not thrilled about that at all. He was absolutely terrified that a fish was going to jump on him and he worried the rest of the time we were on the water.
Rainbow Fish

Cave Bacon

Cave Flowers

Taken just after the boat ride.

I don't think I'd recommend driving 2 hours for these caverns, but it was a good way to kill time. I'm not a huge cavern fan but I think I'd recommend going to Luray over these. The "lost sea" aspect wasn't nearly as cool as it seems like it should be and for the length of time it took to get there it just didn't seem worth it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring Break, Day 5

Wednesday started slowly for us. It was quite chilly outside so we spent the morning lounging around the camper. It wasn't until after lunch that we got off our butt's and headed outside. Landon and I decided to take Tony and the little kids out to our hiking find from a few days before...

Harper and Dakota were content to run up and down the water throwing rocks in. It was super windy and a bit too chilly to get in but had it been 5 degree's warmer I doubt I could have kept them from getting in. 

At one point Landon decided to walk along a fallen tree to get a better view and photo. Can you see him? He was pretty high up there!

We spent quite a long time out there and then we headed back to camp. It was just about a mile each way so the kiddo's were spent when we got back. After resting a little we took a couple bouncy balls and went to the hill that was nearby. 

Back at camp the little kids made up a game using rocks. sticks, leaves and other found items. They pretended like their nature pieces were different animals and had a great time using their imagination. I loved listening to them talk about what they were doing...they sure kept each themselves entertained.

That pretty much wraps up day 5...

Monday, March 28, 2016

Spring Break, Day 4

By Tuesday we were ready to get out of the camp area for a bit. We ended up driving to Ober Gatlinburg for the day. Before leaving home I'd looked up things to do and I saw that they had an alpine slide, something I thought would be fun for everyone. Ages 3 and up could ride so it worked out perfectly for us. There are lots of things to do there but this was top of the list for us. They also have an alpine coaster, but unfortunately it was closed the day we were there. If we ever go back we'll definitely go do that.

To get to the alpine slide you have to ride up on the chair lift, a slightly scary experience when riding up with little kids. I was so worried about one of them slipping out under the bar that I was quite tense the whole ride up and was happy when we were able to get off.

Harper and I did the ride up the mountain together while Tony, Landon and Dakota rode up. Mom opted out of the first trip.

The line for the alpine slide was a little long, we probably waited about 30 minutes once we got to the top. It wasn't terrible but the kids were really getting anxious so I was glad when it was finally our turn.

We forgot our GoPro and none of us were able to hold a camera and ride down at the same time so there's no footage of our actual trip down the slide, but it was a blast! Harper isn't as adventurous as Dakota when it comes to stuff like this so he and I went down rather slowly. I think we had three other people pass us on the way down. Every time I'd speed up he'd yell for me to slow down, so we took it easy. Poor Landon got behind Harper and I and he was a little upset that he'd had to hit the brakes on the way down. I guess we were holding up our line pretty bad...oops!

At the bottom of the slide they had a couple kiddie rides and a small playground which the little kids enjoyed.

I asked mom if she wanted to ride up the chair lift with us again, this time to the top of the mountain and she agreed. It was quite a long ride up and it was scary looking down, so I focused my attention on keeping Dakota from slipping out while she waved at every single person that passed us on their way down. She'd wave and then give each person a thumbs up, it was pretty cute.

For some reason I felt like the ride back down the mountain wasn't as scary. I think I was the only one who felt that way but I was much more relaxed. Dakota, on the other hand, was more nervous and held onto the bar with both hands for much of the way down...unless she was busy waving at the people going up. :) 

That's my mom and Landon in the picture below...

We did a little shopping once we were on the ground again and got a snack as well.

Then we went to the "wildlife encounter" which was AWFUL! I actually wrote a short review about how bad it was on Trip Advisor and noticed other's felt the same way. The enclosures looked dirty and poorly maintained. There was a single bear with nothing but concrete to walk on and the water in it's exhibit looked dirty. The birds had nowhere to fly or hardly move and the otter exhibit was just sad. I took several pictures but some of them are just sad looking so I'm not going to share those. I'm just going to post some of the okay ones...

We were pretty exhausted after all the walking that day and we had a 1 1/2 hour ride back to our campsite so we headed out after the animal thing. I hope that one day we'll be able to go back to Ober Gatlinburg because there were lots of other things to do that we didn't have time for. I just hope that wildlife thing is gone when I get there. 

Water Balloons

When my kids told me they didn't know what to do with themselves yesterday I suggested they go outside and play with the water balloons....