Fun outings over winter break

As you probably read in our previous blog post, we had a wonderful Christmas (in our pajamas!) – and the rest of Noah’s winter break was just as fun too.

One afternoon we drove to Baltimore to visit the National Aquarium. We had been to the aquarium a few times before, and Noah loved it – and so he was really excited to visit again.

Our first stop at the aquarium was the Dolphin Discovery exhibit. We got to see a colony of seven Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. The exhibit staff (all marine mammal experts) talked about how the dolphins learn, play, and interact with each other, and they also discussed how they care for and teach the dolphins.

This was Noah’s first time seeing the dolphin show – it was really cool! The female dolphins are named Jade, Spirit, Maya, Bayley, and Chesapeake. The male dolphins are named Beau and Foster. Check it out!

Our next stop was the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit. We saw blacktip reef sharks, whiptail rays, angelfish, puffer fish and more.

Then we walked through the maze of massive aquariums in the “Atlantic Coral Reef” and “Shark Alley” exhibits. As always, the sharks were Noah’s favorite part!

We also spent a lot of time at the underwater viewing area of the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit. We got a great view of Calypso (the giant green sea turtle) and the blacktip reef sharks.

Yep, Noah had a great time at the aquarium – he always does! And the fun didn’t end there…

On New Year’s Eve day, we went to a women’s basketball game at George Mason University in nearby Fairfax, VA. The Patriots were playing the Davidson Wildcats from North Carolina. Here are a few photos from the game.

And of course, no sports event is complete without a giant tub of popcorn…

The Patriots won 74 to 61. The basketball game was a fun way to spend the afternoon.

That night we headed to Old Town Alexandria. Our church participated in First Night Alexandria, which is the city’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration featuring music performances and kid-friendly activities. We decorated sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles…made noisemakers with paper plates, dry noodles, and string…and posed for a few pictures in the photo booth. “Cheers!”

Yeah, we had a lot of fun during Noah’s winter break. January was full of fun outings too (some of Noah’s favorites!), so stay tuned to read more.

Categories: Aquariums, Fun outings, Holidays, Maryland, Our neighborhood, Sports | 1 Comment

So much fun in Florida: Part 4

As you read in our previous blog posts, we vacationed in Florida over spring break. We spent the first few days at Disney World and had an awesome time. We also made an overnight trip to Cocoa Beach, which is an hour east of Orlando.

We arrived in Cocoa Beach around lunchtime. We checked in at our hotel and then drove down the road to the Shark Pit Grill restaurant. Noah enjoyed watching the fish and the baby sharks in the giant aquariums while we waited for our food…

After lunch we headed back to the hotel and got ready for the beach! Our hotel was just a few blocks from the shore – you can’t beat that.

Noah had a blast playing in the sand. We used our popcorn bucket from Disney World to build sand castles. It did the trick – whew! Ha.

It was a little too chilly to go swimming (at least for us!), but we had a great time running along the beach and wading in the water. Check it out!

Here is a short video of our beach fun too. (As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.)

And here are a few family pictures that a fellow beachgoer took for us. Yeah, we had a wonderful afternoon!

We had a busy few days, so that night we just relaxed at the hotel. Here is a picture of Noah eating popcorn and watching “Sing” on the iPad…

The next morning we packed up for the trek home. Here are a few photos that we took from our hotel room before we checked out. Yeah, we had a great view!

We drove back to the Orlando airport and hopped on a plane back to Washington, DC. We had a wonderful spring break vacation at Disney World and Cocoa Beach! And in case you’re wondering, the one good thing about being so behind on vacation posts is that writing them is a great reminder of how much fun we had. We can’t wait to go back!

Categories: Aquariums, Beach, Florida, Ocean, Spring break, Swimming, Vacations | 2 Comments

A fun trip to the National Aquarium

Two weekends ago, we drove to Baltimore to take Noah and his friend to the National Aquarium. We visited this aquarium over Thanksgiving and Noah loved it…and so he wanted to visit again as part of his birthday fun.

Our first stop at the aquarium was the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit. We saw blacktip reef sharks, whiptail rays, angelfish, puffer fish and more.

We learned about shark teeth and what sharks eat too…

But our favorite part of this exhibit was the giant green sea turtle named Calypso. In 2000 this sea turtle was rescued when she was stranded in Long Island Sound. She weighed six pounds at the time and had a bad infection in one of her front flippers. They had to amputate her flipper because of the infection. She could not be returned to the wild, and so she was donated to the National Aquarium. It’s estimated that Calypso is about 20 years old and weighs 500 pounds. Yeah, that’s a big turtle!

We didn’t see Calypso on our last trip to the aquarium, so she must not have been out and about – she’d be hard to miss! Ha.

Next we headed to the “Living Seashore” hands-on exhibit. The boys got to see clearnose skates up close – so cool!

They learned about beaches through this fun interactive digital touch table…

And they got to see moon jellies up close too!

Then we walked through the maze of massive aquariums. We saw anemones, cardinalfish, clownfish (Nemo!), tangs (Dory!), sea stars, eels, sea cucumbers, groupers, creole fish, cowfish, seahorses, and porcupine fish, just to name a few. Whew, so many fish!

In the “Amazon River Forest” exhibit, we saw yellow dart frogs. Can you spot them? Yeah, ewwwww…

One of the coolest things we saw was scuba divers feeding some of the bigger fish in the “Atlantic Coral Reef” exhibit. Check it out!

But as cool as that was, their favorite exhibit was definitely still “Shark Alley.” Of course!

As we walked out, we passed through the underwater viewing area of the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit, and we got an even better view of Calypso and the blacktip reef sharks…

Here is a photo of the boys posing outside of the aquarium…

And here is a photo of them on the car ride home. Yep, they were tuckered out. It was a busy afternoon!

Noah had a great time at the aquarium – we all did! Stay tuned to read more about Noah’s birthday fun!

Categories: Animals, Aquariums, Birthdays, Fun outings, Maryland | Leave a comment

A fun weekend getaway in Minnesota with Grandma and Grandpa

Two weekends ago Noah and I flew to Minneapolis to hang out with Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod for a few days. Here’s a photo of Noah waiting for our flight.


We flew in midday Friday, and Grandma and Grandpa picked us up from the airport.


We headed straight to the Mall of America. We had lunch at the Hard Rock Café, and then we went to the Lego Store – shocker, I know!




Next we headed to Nickelodeon Universe in the middle of the mall for rides, rides, rides! Noah and Grandpa Rod went on three of Noah’s favorite rides from our previous trips: the Big Rigs, the Barnyard Hayride roller coaster, and Diego’s Rescue Rider (or as Noah calls it, “the crazy bus”).







Then Noah and Grandma Debbie drove the large remote control trucks.



Our next stop was the Sea Life Aquarium that’s in the mall – Noah was so excited! We started with a special behind-the-scenes tour. We got to visit the laboratory and learn about how they treat and maintain the 1.3 million gallons of water in the aquarium. We also got to visit the kitchen and learn about how they prepare the food and feed the fish. The best part of the tour was going on the deck above the tanks and seeing the sharks and fish swimming below.

After the behind-the-scenes tour, we headed to the Pacific Northwest Rockpool where Noah and Grandma Debbie got to pet sea anemones. Their tentacles feel so slimy! We also saw sea stars and sea cucumbers in this exhibit.



Next we headed to Ray Lagoon to see the stingrays and skate.



After Ray Lagoon we saw exhibits on Jellyfish, seahorses, blue tangs (the Dory fish), clownfish (the Nemo fish) and pufferfish.




Next we headed to the main exhibit – the giant glass tunnel – to walk through the Rainforest Reef, Shark Cove and Sturgeon Lake exhibits. Noah’s favorite part of the tunnel was seeing the sharks! We saw brown-banded bamboo sharks and sandtiger sharks. He really liked the sea turtles too.










After the aquarium we met up with Aunt Jenny and cousin Abby for supper. They happened to be in Minneapolis that weekend too – great timing!


The next day we headed back to the Mall of America for more fun. We started at the small Minnesota Children’s Museum hands-on play area.




Then we headed back to Nickelodeon Universe for more rides. Noah’s first ride of the day was Swiper’s Sweeper with Grandpa Rod. This was another of Noah’s favorite rides from our previous trips.


Then we tried a few new rides – new to us anyway. Noah rode the Rugrats Reptarmobiles (the small bumper cars) on his own and then went on the Crazy Cars (the BIG bumper cars) with Grandpa.







Here’s a short compilation of videos of Noah going on rides with Grandpa Rod. As you can see, Noah had a blast! I think the big kid did too.

As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

And here’s a short video of Noah riding the small bumper cars. Crazy driver!

Don’t worry, I got in on the fun too. Noah and I went on the big Ferris wheel in the middle of the mall. Yeah, we had some great views of all the excitement!



We had a busy few days, so we picked up a pizza on our way out of the mall and we spent the rest of the day just hanging out at the hotel. We weren’t too tired to go swimming though!


We headed back to the airport Sunday morning. Here is a photo of us taking off over Minnesota.


Ryan was tracking our flight on his phone. Here is the screenshot of our flight path from Minneapolis back to Baltimore. It shows that we were going 565 miles per hour at 33,000 feet when we flew over Ohio. Noah thought that this was pretty cool!


It was a quick trip to Minnesota, but we had an AWESOME time with Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod. We’ll see you again soon!


Categories: Airplanes, Aquariums, Cars, Cousins, Fun outings, Grandparents, Legos, Minnesota, Theme Parks, Trucks | 1 Comment

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