Saturday, August 23, 2014

Philadelphia City

After visiting Independence Hall & the Liberty Bell, we just took a walk around the center of Philadelphia.  Thankfully, at this point I was able to hobble without crutches so it made the walk a whole lot more enjoyable.

My kids love walks.  I'm super lucky to have kids that can walk miles upon miles at a time without throwing a fit.  We use our family walk time to talk to each other & be together.  Bladen & Taya have become really really close this summer.  I'm SO excited that Taya will be in 1st grade this year & Bladen will be in Kindergarten.  Bladen had a hard time last year because his best friend was gone to school.  They can finally be together again.  These next couple of pictures shows you how much they adore each other.  I love them so much.

As we were walking downtown, we came across this crazy old weird shaped house.  As it turns out, it's the house that Thomas Jefferson was staying in when he wrote the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence!!!

The kids thought it would be fun to make a train & walk down the street. . . that lasted . . . oh, 1 minute before they were fighting.  ha ha ha.

We ate lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.  We always stop by Hard Rock's when we're in cities so Trek can get a pin for his traveler's walking stick.  (He's a collector.)

After lunch we headed over to the Benjamin Franklin Park.  This was just a huge park with a fountain, a cafe, a carousel, & tons of playground stuff for the kids to run free on.  They were in HEAVEN.

After that, we stopped by the US Mint on our way back to our car.  We could have gone in & seen the inside, but at this point the kids were all vacationed out & ready to go back to the hotel & swim.  We took some pics from the outside & called it a day.

And that was the end of our fabulous family vacation.  We had an absolute blast.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Independence Hall & The Liberty Bell

For the last day of our vacation, we visited historic Philadelphia, PA.  It was a TON of fun & really great for history buffs like our family.

The Visitors Center there is located in the very center of everything:
The Constitution Museum
The US Mint
Liberty Bell
Independence Hall
& other fun things.

We found a crazy old Revolutionary uniform there at the Visitors Center.

And of course we HAD to get our picture taken with Rocky!

Our first stop, Independence Hall.  This was the most exciting thing for me this trip.  I'd been waiting to go here for AGES & couldn't wait to see this part of American History.

Inside we only got to see 2 rooms, but they were very important rooms.  The first was the first supreme court room.  90% of Independence Hall is ORIGINAL so it was really neat to see the colors, the carvings, & the architecture from the 1700's.

This was a beautiful painted Coat of Arms located in the center of the Supreme Courtroom.

But the most exciting room at Independence Hall was this room: The Assembly Hall.  This is the very room that the men gathered together & signed the Declaration of Independence.  George Washington sat at the head of the room & together this room full of men determined what our great country was going to be.

Bladen thought the entire tour was boring & ended up falling asleep on the floor of the Assembly Hall.

This chair is the actual chair that George Washington sat in when he signed the Declaration of Independence.  THE ACTUAL CHAIR.

How cool is that?

And of course, these are the famous stairs leading up to the bell tower where the Liberty Bell one rang loud & proud.

After exiting the tour, we rounded our way to another building that housed one of the original prints of the Declaration of Independence.  Only 25 were printed & this is one of the only ones left in existence.  Pretty cool right?

There was also a printed page from the Constitution as well.

And they had the actual ink well that George Washington & the signers of the Declaration of Independence used to sign it.

After visiting Independence Hall, we played out in the courtyard for a bit to let the kids get their energy out before venturing into the long line at the Liberty Bell.  

Canyon wanted to show off his cool trick & the crowd loved it.  Everyone was taking pictures of them.  We were cracking up.

After playing we made our way to the Liberty Bell which is just to the right of the courtyard area.

It was amazing to see such an important symbol of liberty up close & personal.  I'm SO glad we were able to take the kids there & show them.  It was really a sight to see.

After that we headed back to the visitor's center & found the Philadelphia Phillies mascot & had to get a pic.

Philadelphia is such a beautiful city.  I'm SO glad we chose to end our trip here.  It was a great city & we loved it there.

The Philadelphia Zoo

Thursday was the day the kids had been waiting for for MONTHS.  They LOVE zoos.  It's funny because Craiger & Canyon have never been to a zoo before & Bladen hasn't been to a zoo since he was a baby about Canyon's age.  They were SO excited they couldn't hold still.

It wound up being cheaper to buy a family year pass to the zoo than it was to buy individual tickets for one day so now we have a year pass to the Philly Zoo if we're ever back there again.  It also works at the Norfolk Zoo.  Wahoo for lots of zoo time this year.

Canyon was absolutely hilarious at the zoo.  He had never seen animals MOVE before.  Poor sheltered kid just isn't around animals so he just didn't know.  He was so fascinated.


Bladen waited all day long to see his alligator.  He loves alligators & couldn't wait to see one in person.  He was one happy boy after that.

Taya found a huge snapping turtle that LOVED her.  It was giving her tons of kisses through the glass.

Aaaah!  Snakes!

There was a little petting zoo where the kids could pet all the farm animals.  Canyon was SO excited to pet them. . .

Until he realized they were alive & could move.  Then he was scared out of his mind & cried for the rest of the afternoon.

All the kids were excited to see the big lion.

(See the lion behind him under the tree branches?)

The two leopards were beautiful.

Bladen was hilarious.  He found this snake & couldn't figure out whether it was a real snake or a statue snake in the ground.  He was too scared to touch it to find out for sure.  His big sisters touched it for him & he jumped out of his skin when they pretended it bit them.  ha ha ha.  Just a statue.  What mean sisters.

The kids loved the bald eagles too.

Craiger was completely fascinated with these monkeys.  They looked like skunks so he was confused.  Was it a monkey or a skunk?  MONKEY.  He still thinks they were skunks.

Lorien had fun at the hippo habitat.

And Canyon was beyond amazed at the giraffe & his long long neck.  He kept pointed & shouting at the giraffe.  He wanted to make sure we saw it too.

Next he found a bear & did everything he possibly could to climb inside the cage so he could touch it.  Little imp.  He was NOT happy when we wouldn't let him climb in.

Bear fun.

Lorien's favorite animals are penguins so of course we had to see the penguins there.

We had a blast at the zoo.  The kids loved it & can't wait to see what animals we have at the Norfolk Zoo now that we have a year pass for it.

 Hooray for Animals!