OK, so here's the breakdown of our lovely vacation. It's long, since I'm putting the whole time into one entry....but I'll try to pare it down to the bare bones.
So, without further ado:
Monday we got up early, had a leisurely breakfast in the room, then hit the beach for an hour or so. We then went back to the room, grabbed the camera, and headed out - our first stop: Pier 21, home of the 1877 Iron Barque Elissa.
The Elissa is unique in that she is not only a fully restored ship, but also a floating museum. The exhibits on her have been set up so that they can stay in place during her annual sea trials. She's a beauty, and it's a must to visit her whenever I'm in town.
She's normally 3-masted, but her mizzen-mast has currently been de-steeped so they can make a replacement. She looked a little...strange with only 2 masts, but she's still lovely, and you can literally *feel* the history and life of her.
The grands were more impressed with her than the kidlets - both kids ran thru her (*wince*) then bopped around on deck. DFIL is former Navy, so he was most impressed with her construction and fitting. DMIL liked all the woodwork.
She's docked at the Texas Seaport Museum, where they have a lot of displays, a movie on her history, and the Galveston Immigration records - the ones that survived the Hurricane of 1900, anyway. Well worth the admission price, and a fun jaunt.
From there, we headed out to the Railroad Museum. This time, the kidlets were in hog heaven. I didn't get many pictures here - I was so tired from the walk that I just plopped down at a picnic table and snapped a couple without moving. They have a model train exhibit (way cool, and it takes up 1/2 of a building!), an exhibit of the china used by the top railways, and, of course, actual trains you can climb on, wander around in, etc.
The dining cars and sleepers are neat - you hear about how luxurious they are........you don't hear how *tiny* the space is. Makes you stop and think!
We went to Guido's for lunch - one of the premier Galveston eateries. Super-fresh seafood, well-trained staff, wonderful atmosphere. Pricey, but well worth it!
We finally made it back to the hotel around 2, crashed for a bit, then hit the pool for an hour of so.
Tuesday: Did what turned out to be our normal morning routine - up early, breakfast in the room, then hit the beach for an hour. I should explain - this meant that I plopped down on my mat, slathered in sunscreen. Himself played in the sand - mostly building roads and castles that the then destroyed. Herself wandered along the shoreline gathering seashells, usually accompained by DFIL. DMIL either sat with me, or wandered with Herself. We also ended each day the same way - an hour or 2 at the pool.
Then....it was off to the most popular of our outings....off to NASA at the Johnson Space Center.
All I can say about it is "WOW". VERY worth the admission price (even at full price - I found a 1/2 price coupon at the hotel, and we got the Senior Discount (I LOVE my ILs!))...lots to see and do and experience.
The first stop was the Martian Matrix, a 5 story tall play place that makes McDonald's playplaces look like my backyard swingset. Whew! 8 (or more - I lost count) entrances/exits, a ball pit, numerous slides....heaven to the young set. A very nice volunteer sat with us and gave us the rundown on the "not misses" and the "do firsts".
We hit the newest exhibit first - for the schoolagers, called "It's so Weird". Everything in it is, well, weird - the Yeti exhibit, the Roswell exhibit, the vertigo chamber, the Jackalope hall.....but cool. Herself loved it; Himself, not so much. It was "scary", according to him.
We then hit the first theater, the "Human Experience" or somesuch. It was a 12 minute film on the history of the space program, and it let out straight into the Spacecraft exhibit. Most of the craft were the *actual* craft, with a few mockups (used as trainers. EVERYTHING here was real, either trainers or actual space-going craft). It's humbling to be in the same room as some of the Apollo modules!
We then hit the tram for a 90 minute tour of the Space Center. *That* was worth the admission price by itself! We got to see the original Mission Control ("Houston, we have a problem!") (I didn't take any pictures here....it felt, wrong somehow. You could *feel* the history, the triumphs, the disasters...it was.........well, awe-inspiring. Really.), the SVMF (where all the trainers are. No astronauts while we were there, but they were obviously preparing for the next Space Shuttle mission. Way cool!), the rocket plaza (with a Saturn V (I think) rocket in the process of restoration)....and lots of other stuff I'm sure I missed. The most poignant moment was at the Remembrance Grove, where there are 14 oak trees planted in 2 rings, to remember the Shuttle crews lost. It was a very moving monument - even the workers who were driving out to lunch would pause their cars there.
Back to the museum part, and lunch. The kids loved the larger-than-live Lego Astronaut. *g* We hit the Spacesuit exhibit, where Himself tried on a couple of space helmets, then over to the space shuttle trainer. It was impressive - all the dials and switches in the cockpit, looking at the storage facilities, the...head...*g* (try explaining *that* to a 5 year old!), the ship suits......neat stuff! Herself got to sit in a trainer and practice "docking" the shuttle with the Space Station and MIR. She did pretty good, too! The Engines (from the Endeavor, IIRC) were cool, and big! The Mars Rover mock-ups cute and smaller than I imagined......it goes on and on and on!
We did some major damage in the Gift Shop......got some Astronaut food (which actually tastes pretty good!) and a bunch of souvenirs.
The Space Center is an all day thing...and we couldn't fit everything in. There were 3 or 4 other movies we missed, a "living in space" interactive we missed, and a few exhibits the kids didn't want to see. Way cool, and I highly recommend it.
Wednesday: I got a break - the kids went out with the ILs to Moody Gardens. The camera was left with me, but all I did was sleep poolside, working on my tan. *g* They saw the Rainforest exhibit and the Aquarium. The Grands parked them with me, then hit the antique malls while we watched cartoons. Hit the pool, where Himself inserted himself into a game of beach ball keep away with a bunch of teens. They thought he was cute, and he enjoyed himself immensely. It was a most relaxing day.
I learned a few useful things while in Galveston, and out of the goodness of my heart I will share them with y'all, free of charge. *g*
First, if you reach a certain age, and are......self-conscious of your legs and thighs, and decide to get a skirted swimsuit...don't. Trust me, there will be someone at the pool/beach/whatever with worse legs than you, and the skirt? While it looks cute, and flirty, it doesn't handle the water well. Seriously - when you try to climb out of the pool, it will cling to your stomach and show off your butt anyway - so don't waste your money. (I'm planning on replacing my suit soon - I'm hitting Ebay next!)
Second, while the kid swimsuits with built in "floaties" are a great peace-of-mind for mom, they are also nightmare inducing. See, the kid *thinks* he can swim, but it's all the floaties, and he will have No Fear. At. All. He can't swim, but hey - 5' water is *fun*. So is jumping up and down in the swim ring (with all the floaties attached to his suit, he wasn't going to drown, but *still*.) I'm not replacing it when he outgrows it.
Third, don't take the kids to Thrallmart when you return from a pool-enhanced hotel. They will see the EZ-up pools ON SALE and will go nuts until you give in. (You, of course, DO have money left, because you let your DMIL handle all the finances. Dayum, but she's good!). *sigh* It's currently filling up with water right now, and the kids are going nuts because they can't swim just yet.
I have pictures, but I won't be posting them until Monday at work - gotta love DSL! I ended up with.....70 or so. If I could have downloaded the camera each evening, I'd have ended up with more!