So we might not have normally picked Oklahoma City as a vacation destination, but Aaron had a convention to attend there. Since his mileage to OKC and his hotel room would be covered whether we were there or not, we decided that the kids and I would tag along and call it a vacation.
On Wednesday we drove straight through from Denver to OKC. It was a bit over 12 hours. For such a long trip with 3 little kids, it all went quite smoothly. Except for the part where the wind slammed the car door on my hand. Look how it smashed my ring! My finger is still sore.
We were all a bit worn out from traveling, but still able to be awed by the fancy hotel. The kids loved the waterfall and lazy river full of koi in the lobby. I was quite in love with the cushy, comfy beds.
On Thursday, the kids and I explored the city a little while Aaron was in meetings. It was a gorgeous day, so we went to a park and played for a good long time. They made some good friends and were sorry to say goodbye when it was time to leave. Isn't it wonderful how kids can become fast friends just by running around the park together for a few minutes?
When Aaron was done with meetings for the day, we went out for dinner. Aaron and I are fans of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on Food Network. So whenever we go to a new city, we like to go to a restaurant featured on the show. This time it was Cattlemen's Restaurant. It was a steakhouse, but not a fancy one. They didn't bat an eye when we went in with three little kids (not even when Preston managed to spill water all over the place). The place was just crowded and noisy enough to keep us from feeling self-conscious about the noise our family was making, but not so much we couldn't enjoy dinner. It was a really nice time for a decent price. I can't say it was the best steak I've ever had, but the experience was fun!
On Friday we had planned to go to the zoo. Unfortunately, the beautiful weather from the day before had turned to cool and cloudy. But we went anyway. We got a bit soggy at times (mostly me, since the kids were under a canopy) but we had fun. At least it was nice and cool and a lot of animals were out to be seen! And I got a workout. I had piled all three kids into a double stroller rented from the zoo, so it was a bit heavy. And then the zoo turned out to be very hilly. Lots of ups and downs. I definitely worked off the steak dinner from the night before!
For dinner we found a Greek restaurant. We were surprised when as we were eating, they suddenly started putting together a dance floor right by our table. We ended up with live entertainment! The kids were fascinated watching the dancers.
We headed for home on Saturday morning. We stopped in Hutchinson, Kansas to go to the Underground Salt Museum. But it turned out to be a long tour and VERY expensive. Then we were going to go to the Cosmosphere. But it was closed for a member's only event. So we gave up on Hutchinson and went on to Hays for the night.
The next morning we took our time checking out of the hotel. We had breakfast and went swimming. Then took the kids to the playground for a while. After lunch we took them to the Sternberg museum. We stopped there by impulse several years ago on a drive home from Iowa and took Haley to see the dinosaurs. At the time (she was a little under 2 years old I think), she thought the dinosaurs were pretty scary and didn't like that part of the museum. Though, since she is her father's daughter, I do have some pictures from that trip showing her fascinated by the rocks and minerals displays.
So we went to the museum so that Haley would have another chance to see it and Preston and Brekken could check it out, since they all like dinosaurs. When we got there... it turned out they were hosting a memorial service for a long-time employee. We had such luck with that sort of thing! But at least the museum wasn't actually closed... we just had to tiptoe through the middle of this memorial service to go buy our tickets and go to the exhibits. Awkward!
The kids liked the museum a lot. At least until we got to the T-rex in the dinosaur exhibit. Turns out (I had forgotten about this) that as you walk past the T-rex it triggers a motion sensor. And the T-rex turns his head to look at you and roars! No wonder Haley was scared before. She was pretty startled this time around, too, but then decided it was cool and went back to watch it several more times. Brekken liked it too. Preston did NOT like it. When Haley and Brekken went back (with Aaron) to see the T-rex again, Preston and I wandered back to other parts of the museum. But with that exception we really enjoyed the museum.
The rest of the day was spent driving home. We did stop for a while at yet another playground. Playgrounds are a large part of any road trip for our family! We made it home safe and sound and with happy vacation memories.