Thursday, January 05, 2012

Babymoon, sort of

We had some free hotel nights to use before they expired and some good friends in West Virginia we haven't seen in too long, so we took a quick road trip right after Christmas.  Our first stop was Pittsburgh.  We had just over 24 hours in Pittsburgh and we could easily have stayed for 3 times that long.  There was plenty to do, especially for kids.  Upon arrival we went directly to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and were greeted with a very impressive dinosaur display, including a few skeletons personally acquired by Carnegie himself.
This is just a portion of the dinosaurs on display.
While walking around, we found some very fierce beasts.
 1 of 2 complete T-Rex skeletons.
The museum also has lots of interactive activities for all ages, 
including digging for fossils,
 bug themed puzzles,
dinosaur footprints for climbing into,
 a huge box of odds and ends where kids can make their own collections and put them on display for other kids (Caleb gathered an entire box of plastic frogs and Isaac opted to go digging for shells),
 and a huge gallery dedicated to native peoples of North America where we learned about Eskimos and made flour from corn.
In addition, there was a massive display of minerals and precious metals, a temporary exhibit showcasing all of Madeline Albright's pins (it's huge!), and a gallery dedicated to Egypt.  Your admission ticket also gets you into the Carnegie Museum of Art.  Our guys were pretty worn out by the time we made it there, but we did manage to see that they have at least one work by every major artist of the last 600 years including several modern art installations (not my favorite) and some excellent photography exhibits.
The next day we rode the Monongahela Incline.  Built in 1870 is the oldest continuously operating inclined railway in the United States. 
 Pittsburgh is built on a series of hills and at one point there were 11 of these railways.  Only 2 exist now, but they operate almost non-stop everyday.  
Our boys are lovers of all modes of transportation so despite a very dreary, rainy morning, they were thrilled to take a short ride up and down the hill.
 It's hard to see, but just in front of the football stadium you might be able to make out a circular tract of land jutting out into the water.  
This is "The Point" and marks the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers where they form the Ohio River.
 They're smiling, but it was raining and they were not
exactly pleased to be posing for this photo.
They're reward for being such good sports was a visit to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.  It was a pretty great reward, actually.  We only had a couple of hours, but easily could have stayed all day and gone back again and again.
 This is the gravity room where the floor is at a 25 degree angle, this picture was very difficult to capture as they kept falling forward.
 Museum fun.
This room was fabulous and full of all kinds of physics experiments.
 Not surprisingly, they're favorite part was the rocket launcher area.  First, you had to make your own rocket (with some serious parental assistance) and then you went over to these air launcher things and went crazy.
 Dragging them away was tough.
Our last stop before leaving was to press pennies.  It was a four step process and after exerting some serious brute force, turned your penny into a ridged oval keepsake from your museum visit.
 From Pittsburgh we made the short drive to Morgantown, West Virginia, to see our dear friends Heather and Carlos and their adorable boys.  We were with them for just a few hours, but it was wonderful to catch up.  They are our dearest friends from Peru and we have seen them hardly at all since leaving Lima.  Now, they are permanently back in the US and we are heading to China so this was our last chance for the foreseeable future.  That is one of the difficulties of this lifestyle.  You make friends and then you inevitably head to different continents and crossing paths again, sometimes ever, becomes very challenging.
The morning we left for DC we met them for breakfast at this fabulous diner.  The pancakes were amazing and it was the perfect end to our Babymoon.   
Does it count as a Babymoon if you take your other kids along?  
Probably not, but it was a good trip nevertheless.


robin marie said...

Who knew Pittsburgh was so fun!

Sara said...

you are making me home sick for Pittsburgh! Love that city. (Served my mission there)

Lauren in GA said...

I think a babymoon is an excellent idea.

Glad you got to see your friends in WV.

That Children's Museum looks fantastic.

Adrianne said...

fun pre-baby trip for all. And now when is this baby coming?


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