Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Kentucky and Ohio

 I didn't blog this trip as we did it, so this is a recap of the fun. 

This was the first trip the kids and I have taken with my Mother-In-Law, without Hubby. It came together because both she and I wanted to go to see these things, and with the recent passing of my Father-In-Law and our homeschooling this year we all had the time to see something new. [Editor's note: The specific timing of the trip coincided with a trip that I had already planned to Toronto. More on that below.]

We started off with Kentucky. The main goal was to see the Ark and explore that attraction. 
If you are at all curious about it, it won't fail to impress. 

Even from a distance, it is huge!

Can't get it all in one picture! 
Walking to the entrance

We were lucky to be there when crowds were light and it was a really nice experience. We thought their interpretation of the Ark and Noah experience was really interesting. They posed some theories we hadn't considered before. All and all, very nicely done and thoughtfully presented. We enjoyed the grounds and even had a buffet lunch there at the Ark. Not all the shopping was open, again we hit it offseason. But we felt we got to see everything we wanted and truth be told none of us are used to the midwest heat. 

Inside: representations of how they might have housed small animals

More examples of what might have been inside

So amazing

Decided a panorama shot was in order to get it all

Day two, we went to the Ark's sister attraction, The Creation Museum. Another very nicely done experience. Lots to see and do, with beautiful gardens surrounding. We thought the combined experience was great and would easily go again if we can. 

Beautiful gardens

Day three we transitioned into Ohio. I have some family history in the state, so we started that day with a late breakfast at the Clifton Mill. I remember being here as a kid with my Dad and Grandma, returning with my kids was so sweet. We had the afternoon free and found a fun model train display to check out at EnterTRAINment Junction in Cincinnati. They have a huge display and some fun activities we even got grandma to do with us. 

Waiting for breakfast at the Mill

Map of EnterTRAINment train layout

Day four we got up early and drove out to The Wilds in Cumberland. Yup, we have been watching Secrets of the Zoo, how did you guess? Well, that and our local zoo has a new resident who was born at The Wild's, so we were really curious to see what this Wild Animal park was like. 

It is HUGE. We enjoyed the bus tour of the park. Between you and me, the driver/guide wasn't quite as knowledgeable as I was hoping, but I am a bit of a nerd with zoo stuff, so I may have just been asking too much ;) 
What a fun day it was. The weather was a bit breezy, which was great. 

I had an interesting experience this night... in the middle of the night I woke up. It took me a while to realize why. Off in the distance, I could hear a repeating horn or siren. Everyone else was asleep... it was maybe 2 am. It took me a few minutes to realize it might be tornado-related. So I called down to the front desk and asked. They calmly reassured me it was in fact tornado-related (I don't know my warnings, from my watches - so I can't tell you which it was). But that they were monitoring it and would for sure let everyone know if something was coming this way. If you didn't guess, that really didn't reassure me. I am a west coast girl... I don't know tornados, other than what Hollywood has shown me. So I took some time at the edge of my bed to contemplate my options. After some reflection and prayer (you know it), I made sure the kids and I all had easy/fast access to our shoes and clothes and eventually fell back asleep. I didn't wake my Mother-In-Law up. 
The next day at breakfast, I told them all what they had slept through. 

Last Day - The Columbus Zoo. If you have followed us much, you know we go to zoos... so this seemed to be a logical choice after our day at The Wild's. There were two things we didn't count on... 1. schools were out and 2. it was SOOOO HOT! 
But we gave it a solid try. One of us got a migraine, one needed a break from the heat and none of us saw the whole zoo, but what we saw, we liked a lot. 

The bears know how to stay cool!

Gotta ride the zoo train! 

It was a fun trip, to new places. My Mother-In-Law and I travel well together and have talked about planning another trip with the kids if we continue to homeschool next year. [Editor's note from the future: The idea of another trip and the world of 2020 didn't align well.]

[Editor's trip report:

While everyone else was in Kentucky and Ohio, I was on a solo trip to Toronto. They left a couple days before I did, and I returned the day after they did, but generally the two trips overlapped.

My primary destination was Canada's Wonderland, to ride roller coasters. So armed with a shiny new season pass and three days worth of "Fastlane Plus" which allowed me to skip most of the lines, that's what I did.

Side note: I was in Toronto for a couple days in 2016 for a conference, and while I was flying in I looked down and saw this huge rollercoaster and said to myself "Why didn't I know about that?" Later research revealed that the coaster that I saw was Leviathan which is the slightly smaller, slightly older sister coaster to Fury 325 at Carowinds which is still my current favorite. 

Anyway, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were all spent at Canada's Wonderland, with a couple of side trips, including a visit to the Toronto Zoo (which is massive, and apparently being a zoo volunteer at our local zoo, and having an excellent ability to read a map put me in a good position to help other visitors find various things there). On Wednesday, I worked from my company's Toronto office.(I actually needed to meet with a couple people in that office anyway, so the timing worked out well), then I flew home that evening.

At Canada's Wonderland, my favorite coaster was Leviathan (unsurprisingly), but interestingly, the most fun I had was on Yukon Striker. Here's why: Yukon Striker had been open for only about a week when I was there. It is also a B&M dive coaster. That means that the seating is arranged in 3 rows of 8 people across. Since I was a single rider each of the dozen or so times I rode it, it meant that I was usually between two different groups of people who were all riding this roller coaster for the first time. That added enough to the experience that even though I still like Leviathan more as a coaster, Yukon Striker was a more fun experience.

Some random photos from the trip:

Breakfast on my first day at Canada's Wonderland.

Leviathan in the distance

Yukon Striker as viewed from Behemoth

Wolf puppies at the Toronto zoo

Red panda at the Toronto zoo

We hope to try to return to Toronto as a family in the summer of 2021. (Assuming, of course, that travel has returned to somewhat normal -- I'm writing this in September of 2020.)]