Visiting Family Like a Tourist

I took the boys to Kentucky a couple of weeks ago to visit my family and to give Patrick a break while he started his new job. I wanted this part of our summer to feel like vacation to them too, so we did a lot of touristy activities, and you know what? It’s a really fun place to visit!

  1. The Nashville Zoo. We met up with my aunt Linda at the zoo, because she commented on here a while back that she’s never out grown the zoo! We saw animals we don’t see much of at home, because we don’t have white rhinos or giraffes at the National Zoo. It was so cool. Seamus was interested in the rhinos and how illegal poaching has affected their numbers. Gilbert enjoyed feeding the lorakeets and the tortoises.
    Harlan pets a Kangaroo!

    Porter was a little afraid to go near the animals that were being fed, but he was in awe of the giraffes; I’m not sure he’s ever seen any before. And Harlan fell in love with Ima the Kangaroo. She came up on the path for a pet, and he had to be torn away, pretty much. The keeper said that she is 8 years old and by far the most social of the kangaroos. I was blown away by how soft her fur was. My aunt was a help with the kids, and funny enough, she ended up answering about 100 Seamus-questions. I couldn’t help but laugh, and she said that I’d done a lot of asking myself back in the day. The boys really liked hearing stories about me and my brothers when we were little.

    Fun times!

    We topped off the visit with a trip to the Rainforest Cafe. The kids were super wiggly, but we averted disaster.

  2. The Fork in the Road. I’m not sure how much this would top someone’s list of tourist attractions, but at the corner of Bunch Road and Uhls Road in Simpson County, Kentucky, there is a giant fork in the road. It was created by the welding class last year (incidentally, one of my friends has a son who was in the class that made it),and installed in the county as maybe one of the first pieces of public art ever in my town. We were out sightseeing in the county when my grandmother suggested perhaps we’d like to see it! Sign us up and jump for joy!

    Another turning point…a fork stuck in the road…–Green Day
  3. Adventure Science Center and the Nashville Parthenon. We made another trip to Nashville to visit the science center. They had a fun, interactive rubiks cube exhibit, and we explored that and more.
    Fun in the little kid area!

    We did have to leave because people weren’t behaving, but we got some food in us and then ran around Centennial Park for a while. The best part of this trip was seeing my friend Heather and her son.

    Some Parthenon tag anyone?

    It was so hot we barely wanted to do anything, but the kids enjoyed getting to know each other and playing.

  4. A Hot Rods game. The Bowling Green, Kentucky minor league team is pretty good. It was fun to go to a game on a whim, have great seats, cheap beer, and players with good attitudes. Seamus wanted to see some base stealing, and Gilbert wanted to see some good slides. They both got what they wanted and then some. My dad and I enjoyed the cool weather, pleasant sky, and boys’ enthusiasm. My mom watched the little guys so we could have some fun. Eventually, Seamus and Gilbert were fist-bumping all the players before they batted. Seamus said something early on about how boring it was, but things picked up with some hits (until his pessimistic attitude came back with a batter with a .218 batting average, “Well he’s not going to do anything.” Me: “Anyone can have a good night.”) and runs.
    Time for some baseball tradition!

    They ran the bases after the game, and unlike at Nats stadium, Gilbert snuck in a home plate slide which gave him a nasty ankle burn. Will he learn? It was one of the things the boys say was top fun about our trip, though!

  5. National Corvette Museum. I had wanted to take the older boys to Mammoth Cave, but my brother couldn’t join us during the week, and I couldn’t get tickets for the tour I wanted to do with them, so we’ll save it for another time. Instead, my grandmother told us that the Corvette Museum had a sinkhole we could see where 8 cars fell in. Well, we kind of wanted to see that. The museum itself was interesting, but we’d really come for the sinkhole. Needless to say, Seamus and I were both disappointed that they’d filled it back in and you couldn’t, in fact, look down into it and see all the cars. They’d hauled them out and filled it in! I guess the joke was on us, and I laughed at myself that I’d been picturing it the other way.
    The original logo had a fleur de lis, because the designer thought the Corvette team was French. They were, in fact, Swedish.

    We did have fun though, and the boys liked sitting in a Corvette, watching people do the simulator and generally exploiting their interest in cars.

    How cool are they.
  6. Western Kentucky University. Not really a tourist attraction, but we swung through WKU’s English Department, ran into an old friend, said hi, and trekked across campus (which if you’re familiar with WKU means you go up the hill and down the hill and then back up the hill and down the hill!). The boys were not happy about the walk. It was super hot. So I told them that this really was a good thing to discover. Now they know they don’t want to go to a big state school that might take half an hour to walk across campus. It’s probably better to go to a small school where you can cross campus in less than 10 minutes. I did let the enjoy the WKU fountain tradition, by which I mean running through it on a hot day.

    They did a lot of giggling about that.

  7. Community Park. We did the playground at the park a couple of times, once with friends, and once with my grandmother. Seamus and Gilbert got a kick out of practicing their disc golf skills and Porter and Harlan learned how to move across the unstable platforms.

    He got really good at this after a few tries.
  8. Uncle Bret’s House. We toured my brother’s house, and he even let the boys have a spin on the lawn mower. They really wanted to stay and help him do his work, but we had to move on.

  9. Visiting GiGi. We had a lot of time to visit with my grandmother, which was awesome, because the last few times I’ve been in Kentucky, I’ve only gotten a chance to see her for an hour or so, and there are always a million other people around. I did get all the boys in to see her for a visit, and we even went out a few times, but overall, it was nice to just chat with her. I was excited to see my cousin and aunt one day though! Here are the boys and GiGi getting ready to go exploring.

    Could we be happier? I don’t think so!

Other miscelleny from the trip. Harlan finally learned which cat is nice and playful, and which one might bite you. Seamus swears that he packed his shirts, but he didn’t so he ended wearing Gilbert’s. Porter took many baths without complaint, unlike at home, and Gilbert learned to shoot a BB gun. I don’t have pictures of that. All in all, we had a fun trip–great weather to start, and then hot and humid. But August in Kentucky can be fun!


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