The kiddos and I had been studying ocean life in school for two weeks and were able to go to the Georgia Aquarium at the end of our unit.
When I plan adventure with little ones, I have found the best plan of action is to generally expect and plan for the worst so that you can be pleasantly surprised by and prepared for lesser twists and turns on the days plan. As an optimist and planner, this has been a bit of a learning curve for me.
And there was a lot that could go wrong with this trip.
- A drive to downtown Atlanta during rush hour.
- A day full of really great things...and the potential that the boys might just race by them all, more interested in running than observing and talking.
- Crowds upon crowds this place is KNOWN for.
- No napping during the day: no further explanation necessary
- A drive home after a full day.
Guess what guys? This day was: idyllic.
Seriously. I can't even. I mean, there was this one ride in the car to supper that Ella screamed throughout...but other than that? Perfection. Crazy perfection.
They stared at the fish. Just sat and stared. Have you ever met my people? They aren't sitters. They are loud. Fast. Great in any outdoor environment. Inside...it can be a bit much.
So when they sat in their little matching shirts with their 3D glasses, soaking in a movie with overly loud music, 3D animation, shots of air hitting our backs and bubbles coming down out of the ceiling and NO ONE CRIED from fright but instead LAUGHED WITH DELIGHT? It was like a
little, tiny, super, enormous miracle. (Samuel did burst into tears at the very end and said, "That was too loud!" But hey...it was over then. No problem, man. Done! Perfect time to decide you don't like it.)
When they followed instructions on all the educational exhibits and quoted facts we had learned the weeks before to passerby's? Startlingly nice.
When we had the place mostly to ourselves for the morning due to summer being mostly over and it being too early in the school year for field trips? Amazing.
Ella catnapped in the Ergo and the stroller held all of our stuff in the designated and heavily guarded stroller area (not kidding....there were ropes and numbers and IDs and guards...) We wandered into the infamous Dolphin Tales show just in time and still found seats. The boys were so patient and Ella was so laid back.
Sometimes the boys ruin fun things with whining. Sometimes an errant non-napper loses his obedience between the hours of 2 and 3 in the afternoon and never regains sanity until he has had a solid night of sleep. Sometimes bags get lost or things spill or crowds make the trip feel like a nightmare. Sometimes all of that happens.
And sometimes, there are days like the day at the Aquarium. Days of playing and learning that feel like all you hope for.
(They asked to take this picture. What!?!? My kids have stranger danger like none other.)
We went through every exhibit multiple times and stayed almost seven hours.
Our best effort at a group photo...I told the guy who offered to take our picture that the goal was to get all four people in the same frame. He nailed it. :)
Samuel and Carter got to talk to the scuba diver using a special microphone and speaker system.
We got to see everything...and wondered into several feedings, including the whale shark!
After a full day, the littlest two napped in the car while we drove over to meet Uncle Kyle for a fun supper. It was such a great way to end the day, and it helped us beat round 2 of rush hour traffic.
By the time we were on the way home, I pulled out the DVD player and Mary Poppins worked her magic for a no-stop drive home while Ella slept and the boys sang along.
Some days include poop in ears, and others poop in armpits. There are days that involved taking enough deep breaths to hyperventilate and other things that are so hard that you can't find any humor at all.
But there are also days like the day at the Aquarium. And I'm really glad to have them to remember.