Monday, April 18, 2011

Atlanta Mini Vacation - Part 2

Have you ever stayed in a hotel room with small children? Not fun, huh? Almost bordering on miserable. Early bedtimes mean you opt to read in the hallway just outside the door or else on the edge of the bathtub in the bathroom. Someone wakes up in the night, and everyone else wakes up too. Lots of bodies and lots of suitcases and lots of toys and very little space.

Our family has stayed in one room together enough times to know that by adding a third child, it was definitely time to expand to two rooms. 

And guess what? We all slept wonderfully. We all had enough space. And we had a place to send loud boys that wanted to race cars while watching cartoons in the morning. 

After a good night of rest we were ready and roaring to go for a day of fun at the Georgia Aquarium. Grady suggested we take the train and the boys were, of course, thrilled. You can only imagine the excited (and very loud) conversations we shared on the train. 

"Does this train have coal cars and freight cars, too?" "What if this train crashes with a tanker truck - will it explode?" "Can I say hi to the conductor?" "How come we don't have to wear seat belts?"
Having lived in downtown Chicago for six years, Grady and I have had plenty of public transportation experiences with families that clearly had never rode a train or bus before. We watched them fumble and try to figure things out. We watched kids scream with enthusiasm when we ourselves were wishing we could be anywhere else but in that particular train with those particular screaming kids.

Well, fast forward four years and it was now our turn to be that visiting family with those loud kids. See the guy in the plaid shirt looking down and pretending to read? If he knows Jesus he will have extra jewels added to his heavenly crown because of the enormous amounts of patience he displayed with my overly-excited boys.
We got off the train, took the elevator to the street level, and the boys were captivated by "all the tall buildings that almost touch the clouds!" Our several walk block to the aquarium involved lots of "I see a bus!" and "Why is that man pushing a cart?" and "Look at that taxi!" comments.
At last we arrived at the aquarium. As we entered, one of the first tanks we came to had various stingrays that we could touch. Grady Lee could hardly contain himself, Micah was hesitant at first, and Annalyse chewed her fingers and sat wide-eyed looking at the crowds of people.
We walked from exhibit to exhibit and anytime there was opportunity to touch, Grady Lee had his nose smashed against the tank, stood on his tip toes, and reached inside. He is my animal-lover, for sure.
After a couple hours of walking and looking, we sat down for lunch. We found a corner on a balcony and enjoyed a quiet spot to ourselves for a few minutes.
Annalyse was mesmerized by the overhead lights that changed colors every few seconds. For being in a new place with lots of noises and lots of people, this darling was content to sit in her stroller and even nap for most of the day. What a gem.
Hands-down our favorite exhibit was the moving walkway that took us through a long tunnel filled with sharks and eels and stingrays and other I-have-no-idea-what-they-were-fish. Super cool.
We opted not to pay and see the dolphin show, though I know the boys would have really enjoyed it. Maybe next time. However, if you ask them if they enjoyed the aquarium, they will undoubtedly tell you they liked it and thought the dolphins were very cool. I can't figure it why, but there you have it.
Grady has decided that when he makes his first disposable million he wants to install a larger-than-life aquarium with fish from the tropical reefs. I can think of a whole slew of other things I'd rather do with the cash...
On our way back to the train, we walked through Olympic Park and played in the fountains for a while. Grady tried to teach the boys how the timing of the fountains worked and to know when it was okay to run in and out of the spray. Micah has a different counting and timing method and, of course, was the kid that ended up wet.
This little lady laughed again and again when the water shot up and the boys ran in and out.
On the train ride back to our hotel, Annalyse decided to nap and the boys actually sat quietly. I guess the ride back wasn't nearly as exciting as the ride that morning.
We spent the next couple of hours napping, playing, and watching cartoons in bed. Having two rooms made this enjoyable and relaxing: kids in their room and Grady and I in ours. No whispering and no tip-toeing. I have been spoiled, for sure.
After dinner we returned to the pool for a final swim. I think we all spent more time in the hot tub than we did in the pool. Even Annalyse was happy to kick her toes in the warm water.
Popcorn and a movie in bed and then lights out! A busy day meant early bedtimes. During bedtime prayers, both boys thanked Jesus for "the super fun day" and "the really cool fishes we got to see." Makes me smile to know they had fun and are thankful for the experience.
A few thunderstorms rolled through that night and had us wondering what the weather would be like for our trip to the zoo the next day. So, while I decide what pics to include from our day at the zoo, I'll leave you wondering if we walked through the zoo in rain or not...


  1. so glad you had a fun time! great pics : )

  2. What a wonderful day 2!! I love aquariums & oh how I miss the Shedd, but the one in Atlanta looks really cool, too! Whoo-hooo on the 2 rooms, just the ticket...we have had some nightmare nights in one hotel room with multiple kids, no fun!