Friday, September 23, 2016

Discovering Salt Lake: Part II

The weather has turned rainy and gray--the perfect excuse to finally get all caught up on this blog.  For my upcoming birthday, I requested a few extra dollars to print a blog book.  Wouldn't it be great to be up to date before then?

Continuing on with my last post, here are a couple more gems we've dug up in the Utah area, courtesy of our reciprocal science museum membership.

Natural History Museum:

D is for dinosaur.  If I had my wish, I would take all of my little preschoolers to see the museum's amazing dinosaur display next week when we study the letter D.  It's pretty incredible!

Talia and I worked hard to reconstruct this dinosaur skull puzzle.  We got everything into place except for one last rubbery piece...

...which bounced and rolled right into the middle of the display.  Whoops!

Annika seems fascinated by all the bones.  Utah would be a great place to be a paleontologist.

Feeling kind of grateful that today's alligators are nowhere near as large as their ancestors.

On a smaller scale, here's Brooklyn studying a black widow.  After living in St. George, I can assure you that the population is current and thriving.

The building itself was remarkable as well, nestled into Red Butte canyon and covered with solar panels.

Now all we need is to return with our architect Daddy before our pass expires.

Museum of Natural Curiosity
Of course, amazing as the Natural History Museum is, if the kids had their way, they would take their Dad to the Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point instead.  Hard to blame them--it's like a children's museum on steroids.

We visited the museum with our amazing friend Eliza and three of her children.  (Child number four was exploring Bryce Canyon with some cousins.)   We'd certainly love to hang out more often, but Eliza and her crew were visiting all the way from Buffalo.
Wait a sec...  In counting heads, we're missing four children.  Eliza's got 66% of hers, but I'm only scoring 25%

 If you look straight up, you can see Eliza's eldest Jane on the high ropes course.

And here she is again, bravely crossing some stairs.

While the museum certainly featured much more, I was too busy trying to keep tabs on my wandering children to take many photos.  Either way, it was delightful catching up with Eliza again and seeing her amazing family after many years apart.

Hogle Zoo
While our Henry Doorly Zoo membership provides a 50% discount to the Hogle zoo, Annika and I scored an even better deal by going with a friendly neighbor who got us in for free.  Annika sure loved the elephants, both live and statuesque.

Hey, this zoo has a carousel too!

Check out the polar bear.  Sometimes I have to remind my children that we come to the zoo to see the live animals too.

The zoo had plenty of adorable babies, including lion cubs and this young giraffe.

Of course, Annika was equally impressed by the lighthouse slide in the splash zone...

...and the giant tree house slide on dry land.  Papa Kay, you can guess what they are going to want next.  :)

My favorite part of the zoo was probably the bird show.  The bald eagle finale was quite patriotic.  I look forward to coming back with our older kids too.
Overall, the zoo was fun and enjoyable.  While it certainly is much smaller than Omaha's zoo, its more modest size allows you to tour the entire zoo without getting too exhausted.

City Creek Center:
During the summer, one of the kids' favorite things to do was park at Dad's work and then take Trax through the free zone to City Creek Center.  I don't think we've been inside more than two of the shops, but window shopping almost as fun.  Here's Talia playing in the main fountain.

The water features are fantastic.  Jason and I had dinner one evening close by here at the Blue Lemon.

And here's Annika dousing herself while still in her jammies.  Some mornings we just roll with it.  Once she was soaked, I was kind of glad her actual clothes were still tucked away safe and dry in my purse.

City Creek:
Not far from City Creek Center is the actual City Creek. Closed to vehicular traffic, it is open to pedestrians only on even days and to both pedestrians and bicycles on odd days.  (Or maybe it's the other way around; I can never remember.)

I headed out one morning for a short morning jog with Annika.

Until this happened.  With Annika sound asleep, the canyon seemed alive with possibilities.  How about one more mile, just to see what is around the bend? 

Despite some intense climbs that left me huffing even as I slowed to a walk, before I knew it I had gone five miles and discovered this Rotary park.  It made me kind of sad to see these lovely picnic areas that are so remote as to be mostly unused and largely forgotten.  I will forever be grateful to Rotary for sponsoring my exchanges to both Austria and Peru.  Even though those years are pretty far back now, I hope the experiences will never be forgotten.

With five miles already behind me and Annika still sleeping, it made sense to keep going for one more mile to see the end of the road.  We made it!

No choice but to also make the six miles back to the mouth of the canyon, which were mercifully downhill.  Even so, next time I embark on such an adventure, it would be wise to bring more water.

Big Cottonwood Canyon
While City Creek is the closest canyon to our house, we've also spent some lovely time exploring Big Cottonwood Canyon.  During my first trip up, I only drove about a mile because the transmission on the van sounded so sketchy that I was worried about breaking down.  (More on that later.)  Fortunately, beauty was right there where I needed it.

 Annika and I had a lovely picnic.  Can you tell she likes her applesauce?

For our next trip, we ventured to Donut Falls.  Assuming you can find parking at this popular trailhead, it's a pretty short hike to a scenic waterfall.  As you can see, Annika often weasels her way into being carried.

Talia blazes the way.

Our three musketeers.

Almost there!  Don't get your feet wet.

Victory!  Definitely a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

While I still have many more stories to tell, this seems like plenty for one post.  Happy weekend!

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