Birthday Bonanza Part 2

We were greeted by a car frame suspended in the air, followed by a huge corridor of hands-on activities.

The kids played with air rockets, water rockets, sail boats, magnetic liquid, absorbent polymers, earthquake simulations, toy cranes, lasers, etc. They had a whole room with pneumatic tubes and balls for people to just play/experiment with!

We HAD to ride the clear elevator upstairs and checkout all the kinetic art, too. Alas, we were getting tired, and didn’t stay to play with the 3D printers, dominos, optical illusions, or air tower. I could have easily spent the whole day in that hall alone! Before we could leave, I was going to get a keepsake from the gift shop. However, the kids elected to ride the 3d motion-adventure instead. *Queue the suspenseful music*

IMG_9132_thumbWe embarked in a ‘submarine’ for a trip to the Bermuda triangle to explore a wreck. Suddenly we got sucked into a vortex, discovering all the lost vessels, before riding a vent back to the surface! Keep in mind we’re in a sealed, dark capsule with big-screen TV and surround sound. This thing was rocking, bumping, going up, down, and every other direction. While it was quite the $5 adventure, it made me queasy. IMG_9135

After OMSI, the kids weren’t in the mood for the Train museum next door, but my daughter thought Powell’s sounded worth a visit. Semi nauseated, I headed across the river into the heart of the city. However, after finding the block-sized bookstore, there was no street parking to be found, so I sought refuge in a parking garage. By this time I had a headache, the kids were sick of traffic, and wanting to rest. We ditched the planned Powell’s pit-stop, and checked into our hotel instead.

IMG_9142The kids and I donned our swimming clothes, while I regained my composure. We swam for an hour and a half thereafter, playing, splashing, and getting some lessons. I had an opportunity to point out one of the nifty ‘food pods’ earlier that day, and asked the birthday girl what she thought. She would much prefer a buffet, so I looked online to find one only 10 minutes away!  IMG_9155

On our return, my son had really been wanting to try out the vending machine, so we did. (Sometimes I forget just how sheltered our existence is…) Topping off the day, the kids relaxed to the last half of Superman, while I did some more work. It was around this time I realized my pillow was still in The Dalles, but the beds were really comfy, so sleep came swift.

On our last day, we awoke at a quarter-till “no-way,” which is somewhere before “go away.” Gotta love teenagers, right! Luckily, this Comfort Inn had a fabulous breakfast. ‘Continental’ did not do the eggs, sausage, biscuits n gravy, etc. any justice. We squeezed in another hour and a half of swim-time before our departure, playing marco-polo, surfboard, and other aquatic games. Two more destinations awaited us.

IMG_9179First was Multnomah Falls, that pretty thing we drive by multiple times a year. We hadn’t stopped since the kids were little, so we took this opportunity to hike up to the bridge. This time my son was the buzz-kill as he was bored/tired/full of ‘it’. Regardless, it was refreshing, and we rewarded ourselves with a treat from the snack bar before continuing on our way.

Second was the Bonneville Dam. Again, a great stop along I-84. However on this visit, I was in possession of a firearm and (therefore) unable to travel to the visitors’ center. This was quite a bummer for me, as I hadn’t thought exercising my 2nd amendment would prevent me from my activities. However, I totally understood the security purposes, and offered to stow it in my lock box and leave it with the guard. He stated that I could visit the hatchery, or drive around to the Washington side to park the vehicle, but I could not enter through his gate. I guess the only solution is to hide it under a bush, lie, or never ever visit. What if it was a .22 we took camping? The situation’s inefficiency really bugged me.

So I made the best of it, acted cheery, and headed over to the hatchery. Here we fed the fish, patronized the underwater sturgeon observatory, walked through the hatchery, fed more fish, and generally enjoyed the scenery. I got us each a souvenir at the gift shop and hit the road. We stopped off at the Dalles for my pillow and a leisurely lunch. The remainder of the trip was filled with road-trip games, talk, and naps for both kids. All-in-all, one of our best trips so far, can’t wait for the next one!

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