Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Discovering Owensboro

I love vacations...who doesn't?  But sometimes between all the planning, packing, and hours spent traveling, you lose the whole point of it.  Not to mention that life is just expensive these days and vacations aren't any cheaper!  So, this fall break, we've opted for a "staycation" around our house.

When you think about it, how many things are there to do and explore in your own backyard?   Have you ever looked at your hometown, or those nearby counties, with a visitor's eye?  What would you do if you really were vacationing there?  Where might you visit?  Are there businesses or attractions just miles from your home that you've never explored?  That's the attitude we took today, as we set out on a 30 mile journey from the house.  We were Owensboro bound.

I admit it took a little more planning than I anticipated.  Being fall break, I assumed everyone would be open, but apparently many spots are only available on the weekend.  This changed our itinerary a bit (no go-carts, laser tag, art museum, or indoor bounce house) but I was determined to make the most of the trip.  With my smart phone in hand, it was Operation Destination Fun!

Our first stop was the Owensboro Science & History museum.  It's one of those places I've always "meant to go" but never made it.  How much we've missed out on!  Though a section of the museum is still under construction, we found the two levels very interesting.  From the tiny hummingbird nest to the looming mammoth, the first section was full of discovering nature from our past to the present.  A quick ride up to the second floor was a child's playground - something for all ages.  At first glance, I was afraid my 11-12 year olds would scoff but they eagerly jumped into the fun. 

Who knew they'd play in the puppet house and perform a 3 act play for me?  Or that they'd have so much fun in front of the green screen, acting out the weather.  I heard "and back to you" more times than I could count and laughed every time!  More exploring and experimenting led to a trip down history lane, learning about Wendell Ford.  The kids were excited to learn about government and interacted with the sound tubes, dioramas, and even gave their own elected official speeches at the podium.  In all, it was only $9 for over 2 hours of family fun - amazing!

But we didn't stop there.  We walked the city streets.  We drove around and saw some sites, including the world's largest sassafrass tree (who knew? I drive by it nearly every day!).  And then it was off to our next excursion - the mall.  What vacation is complete without a trip to the local shopping complex?  We lingered and browsed, strolled and shopped.  With our appetites worked up from all the tantalizing scents from the food court, we headed to one of our favorite splurge restaurants.  The kids got to order whatever they wanted, the only rule being "you order - you eat it" and that they did!   Bellies stuffed to the brim, we waddled to the movie theatre for a mid-day matinee.  I love snuggling into a dark theatre in the middle of a sunny day.  For the next two hours we were on the edge of our seats with an action packed show (Abduction - highly recommend!).  And, how else would you end a great vacation day without a stop for ice cream?  With a literal topping of the trip with whipped cream, we sat outside soaking up the gorgeous fall afternoon weather by the yummy spoonful. 

It was one great staycation day.  ...The best part?  It was only a 30 minute drive home and no unpacking necessary (other than shopping bags and leftovers)!


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