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Vacation, Louisville Style day 1

>> Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This past week we were in Louisville for a mini-vacation, or "bay-cation" as my boys like to call it.  Louisville is not my destination of choice, but my husband was going there for a conference and we decided it would be nice to tag along.  You see, the kids have never been on a vacation.  The only time they have ever spent the night away from the house is to go to relatives’ houses at the holidays and we have taken 1 or 2 weekends and camped at a state park about 20 minutes from our house.  So, this was their first hotel experience and their first experience “exploring” another city!

We started out the vacation by going in to Steve’s employer’s shop.  Yeah, really exciting, right?  Well, while we were there the kids got to see one of the bucket trucks….pretty cool for a 2 and 4 year old boy!  Then we made a quick pit-stop at my in-laws house to drop off the dog and then headed across the river “Anderson Ferry Style”.  If you’ve ever been on the West Side of Cincinnati, you probably know that getting across the river can be a little more fun than just going across a bridge.  They have a ferry that runs all the time and for $4 your kids can have something to talk about for a long time!  It was pretty cool for the kids to see us drive onto a boat and then go across the river.  Oh, and the GPS was pretty funny, too.  It asked us if we wanted to switch to “pedestrian mode”…guess the ferry isn’t fast enough to register as a moving vehicle J


Then began the fun part of driving the 1.5 hours to Louisville.  Not a far drive at all, but last week our car DVD player went kaput.  So we plugged in the iPod and jammed our way to Louisville.  When we got there we dropped Steve off at the Convention Center so he could do his thing and we went to do ours.  We stopped at Papa John’s for lunch.  Why Papa John’s?  Because it was founded here in Louisville and also because my husband is a die-hard LaRosa’s pizza lover and we never get to have Papa John’s with him!  The store we stopped at was on Bardstown Road, and they had a really cool setup where the kids could watch them make our pizza (including spinning the dough) and watch it go through the oven. 

Our first activity in Louisville was the Louisville Zoo!  We are members of the Cincinnati Zoo and the boys love to go there, so I thought it would be fun for all of us to explore another zoo.  I was a little bummed to find out that even though I had called the week before our trip to find out the reciprocity agreement,  I was giving the wrong information.  For those of you who have Cincinnati Zoo memberships, you get in ½ price at the Louisville Zoo.  The person I spoke with on the phone had said it was free.  I ended up paying, but I complained at the membership department and they gave me a carousel pass for each of the kids as well as a small stuffed polar bear for each of them.

Anyway, the Louisville zoo was a lot of fun.  Because our trip was in October, the entire place was setup for Halloween.  I’ve never been to the Louisville Zoo before, so I’m not sure what all is special and what is typically up, but they had a cool Wizzard of Oz setup (probably there all the time), “Finding Nemo” paintings/backdrops, a palace and Halloween decorations all over the place.  We got some cute photos!

While the zoo was a lot of walking, they had a pretty cool setup.  Some of the animals were the same as the Cincinnati Zoo, but many were different.  Louisville zoo had pelicans (above), Orangutans (below), an albino Alligator, camels, grizzly bears, seals, a baby polar bear, and probably some others that we didn’t get a chance to go see.

My favorite exhibits were the orangutans, penguins and grizzly bears.  The orangutans were cool because we got to get really close to them.  They were behind glass, so unlike the gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati zoo, I didn’t feel like we were going to get things thrown at us!

'I thought the penguins (below) were also cool because their exhibit looked a lot like the one in “Happy Feet”!  They were behind glass as well, but we could hear them “talking” which was pretty cool.


My absolute favorite exhibit was the grizzly bears, seals and polar bear exhibit.  This was one huge complex that looked like it was fairly new.  On one end, the seals had a swimming pool and an arena and stage for shows.  I really wanted to stay for a show, but it would have meant waiting around for about an hour and I just couldn’t do that to the boys.  Then there was a bigger section with grizzly bears.  They were having a lot of fun the day they went and even got into a little (play) fight.  Check out the video I took!

Both the seals and grizzly bear exhibits had above ground viewing and below water viewing.  Both of these viewing options were great on the day we went and we were able to see the animals both ways. 

 By the time we made it to the Artic exhibit, both kids were getting tired, so we quickly viewed the Rhinos, giraffe, Zebras and Camels on our way to the exit.  I wanted to go see the Lions and the gorillas, but the kids both said they wanted to go so I got overruled.  I did tell you that we have a zoo membership because the kids love going, right?!  Secretly, it’s one of my favorite things my mom did with us as kids and I LOVE to go as well!

So, the boys’ favorite thing of the day?  I asked them and they unanimously said, “The merry-go-round”.  Seriously?  Yep, that was their favorite.  The ride was longer than the one in Cincinnati, so that was nice, but the boys were a little disappointed that all of the “cool” animals didn’t go up and down and they could only ride on the horses if they wanted to move.  Molly rode on the carousel as well, but she was asleep in the Baby Bjorn for the ride!

After the zoo, we came back to meet up with Steve, get checked into the hotel (downtown Marriott!) and relax a little before dinner.  The boys loved it when they found out we were going to get to SLEEP here.  Tyler kept saying all day, “I want to do bay-cation all day.”  AKA, he didn’t want vacation to end!  We kept telling him that vacation was going to last a few days, but I have a feeling that now that they know what vacation is, they are going to be asking to go all the time J.

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