Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Few snaps from SeaWorld and Legoland

We've had a people-packed start to our San Diego trip. This week between the two holidays, especially since both fell on a weekend, and considering the rain that's kept everybody indoors for the past couple of weeks, as well as the Holiday Bowl game that's in town on Thursday, has meant wall to wall people at the tourist hot spots. We had a great day at SeaWorld and then again at Legoland, but altered our usual activities around the crowds. Knowing that next week, we'll be able to do the parks again and have them entirely to ourselves.

Although the park was packed, people didn't seem to stumble upon the bat rays. It was quiet here and we were able to spend a long time feeding and petting their silky bodies. I love these guys.

SeaWorld is still dressed for Christmas this week.

Kellan refused to have his photo taken with the penguin and Shamu -- so mom and I did instead!

Didn't really get any photos at Legoland, but we had to snap a few by the tree. It was pretty all lit up at night. The sun was in exactly the wrong position when I took these (setting very brightly in the background), so apologies for the washed out effect.

Me (and my backpack) by the tree.

Kel in a rare still moment at one of the play areas. It was crowded, but we had a great day. And can't wait to get back next week to actually ride the rides!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Thanksgiving in Branson

Nothing starts off the holiday season like a long weekend in Branson. That place is like Christmas on steroids.

Thanksgiving evening was COLD (around 18 degrees by the time that we ventured out to Silver Dollar City), but nothing was going to stop Kellan from having our traditional Thanksgiving night at the theme park. Its what we do every year. And usually, we freeze. Here are the boys on the bus from the parking lot, bundled up and ready to spend the next five hours outdoors. In the dark. On the coldest night of the year so far.

This one is priceless. Kel's face when he caught his first glimpse of the always amazing Silver Dollar City light display. This is why we have season passes.

Just a few of the trees that line the bus entry area. Hard to tell in this photo, but quite a few of the displays were actually out because they'd had a big ice storm through that day (we had a lovely drive down, by the way). Everything was fixed by the next night. And the park was empty for us on Thanksgiving. Ice and arctic temperatures scare some people away, apparently.

Me with the snowmen outside of the Frosty show. We got front row seats. Without even waiting! Nobody wanted to be sitting outside to watch a show, but we needed our Frosty fix. And Silver Dollar City has magical hot chocolate that warms you from the inside out. Works every time. Except for Kel -- who insisted upon having a Sprite. I kid you not. 18 degrees outside and the kid wants a Sprite.

During the Frosty show, the kids all get to go up and sit on stage. They sing songs and participate. You can spot Kel's yellow and black striped hat.

This is the best part. The kids have to close their eyes and chant this little Christmas verse a couple of times. Then when they're told to open their eyes again, its "snowing"! They all stand up and go a bit crazy. Its cute.

Kel's absolute favourite part of Silver Dollar City -- the playhouse! Full of balls and slides and things to push and drive and vacuum. Also the noisiest place in the park. Except on this particular night, when Kel had the place almost completely to himself! Which actually isn't quite so much fun as being there with other kids. But he had many more hours there over the weekend when it was full of his happy little cohorts.

Time warp. Day Two and we're back at Silver Dollar City. Its kind of what we do in Branson. We also catch a show or two and tour around a bit, but most of this trip's photos are from the park. This frog ride is so much fun. Kel will go on it over and over again. He finally coaxed me on (it looked kind of -- small) later this night and, oh my gosh, its a wild ride! I was screaming and laughing. We went on about 10 times in a row that evening, until my stomach could take no more.

Kel met lots of new buddies over the course of the weekend. Here are Carter and his big brother, Tanner, in the back. The boys had a great time going from ride to ride in the fairgrounds area.

Kel took this photo of me at one of the nativities.

He also took this washed out photo by some poinsettias.

Now we're on Day Three! Notice the change of clothes. It was much warmer this day. We even left our jackets in the car. And, by "we", I mean everybody except for Nic, who can't be without a jacket even in the middle of summer. He has an entire closet full of, you guessed it, jackets!

This is a photo of us down in Marvel Cave. Of course, on the nicest day of our trip, the boys insisted that we do a cave tour. Seriously? It was sunny and 50 degrees outside!

Eventually, we made it back into the sunshine, and headed off into the park again of course! At night, this tree lights up and does a "show". A lights and music extravaganza. During the day, its just a tree.

A Kel's eye view. We're so tall! (ok, yes, we were standing up on a bench too)

Kel contemplating the tree.

One final photo. This was taken with my phone, so the quality's not great (though, I have to admit, surprisingly good for a phone photo!). This is Kel with his fancy light-up glasses waiting in the lobby of the Clay Cooper show. You should see these glasses in action. The photo doesn't do them justice. The show was excellent. A bit of something for everybody. And, of course, being Branson, a whole lot of God, family, and country music. Yee haw!