*Warning...this is a long post :) *
We got back Sunday night from our last vacation of the summer. We left on July 5, early in the morning (not as early as I had planned, but still early) to head to Philadelphia and Sesame Place.
Let me just start by saying that the trip didn't quite start on the best foot. We were planning on leaving by 4am so that the kiddos would sleep for a few hours of the trip before we stopped for breakfast. Well, we didn't get on the road until 4:45am and when we were loading the kiddos into the car and doing last minute checking of our luggage, some Japanese beetles got into the car. I noticed one of them when we were still in the driveway and was able to get it out just after we started driving. I THOUGHT I had gotten all of them since I didn't hear or see anymore. I was wrong!
We're driving down the highway and the girls start screaming and crying that the beetles are getting them. I kept telling them that I got it and they are fine but they kept screaming. Dan turned on the light and I see a beetle flying around the car. I am able to get that one and kill it but Jessi keeps yelling that there is one on her car seat. I can't see anything so I finagle my way from the front seat to her car seat and sure enough there is another one climbing on her seat. Smash! I got that one too. Problem solved. No more beetles. Time for the girls to go to sleep for a few hours.
YEAH RIGHT! The girls were in a slight panic at this point. They wanted the light left on and they swore every time they closed their eyes that there was another beetle crawling on them. Jacob got them out their beach towels and they covered up with them to protect them from the beetles if there were anymore, and after another 30 minutes of crying / sleeping / calmness, they finally fell asleep at almost 6am.
The rest of the drive to Philadelphia was uneventful for the most part. We decided at the last minute to stop at Valley Forge National Park and do the driving tour. The kiddos liked seeing the cabins and the cannons, Dan and I enjoyed the scenery. Jenni skinned her knee bad while running on a trail and there were mass hysterics from her since it was bleeding so much and Jessi started but I nipped that quickly in the butt. I didn't want a re-run of Erie :)
Off to Philadelphia where we ARE NOT city drivers. The streets are narrow, no one uses a blinker, people stop for what seems like no reason and they pull out and change lanes without thinking twice. Now, I'm not knocking on their driving but we are not used to driving like that. Throw in the fact that we didn't know exactly where we were going and there is your scenario. We got beeped at a few times and I'm sure cussed at a few more times :)
Dan and I are fans of the Food Network. Him more than me. We are also fans of philly cheese steaks. Last year we saw a show about Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks. Pat's is the original home of the philly cheese steak and Geno's opened a year or so afterwards, right across the street. Dan and I decided that we were going to hit both places. Why not when they are across the street from each other? Parking is parallel parking, another thing we are not used too. Thank God that Dan was driving because I really stink at parallel parking. He is good at it. We got lucky and found a spot right next to Geno's. Dan headed to Pat's and got two cheese steaks- one for him and I to share and one for Jacob. Then I headed to Geno's and got one for him and I to share. Jacob even went to Geno's and ordered fries for him and the girls.
(Notice the cars lining both sides of the street and very narrow roads)
After our yummy lunch, it was off to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. We didn't tour Independence Hall because frankly, the kiddos didn't care and Dan and I were too tired already to wait in line again. We did see the Liberty Bell though.
While we were there, a minor catastrophe almost happened. It would have been pure embarrassment on Dan's and my part but we were able to avoid the next situation. Jenni was in her stroller for awhile and wanted to get out. I was a little leery of letting her out anyway because the only thing keeping her away from the Liberty Bell is a little rope that surrounds that thing. Any little kiddo could slip right under it and she is lightning fast! Dan let her out of the stroller with her promises of holding Dan's hand. She was really good at doing that. She held his hand like a big girl, just as she squatted and announced that she needed to go tinkle. AHHHH! She was getting ready to go right on the floor. I actually yelled "Pick her up", look around to see the guard that is standing so quietly and straight face glance over and make a wincing face like "OH CRAP! NOT ON MY SHIFT!". We are rushing out of there and I walked by and said "We almost had a puddle" and the guard tried not to smile, so Dan says "That was close" to which the nice guard does chuckle. Does this only happen to me?
Quick trip to the bathroom, load up the car and off to the hotel. The hotel was clean and comfy. There are nicer ones like the Sheraton but it served its purpose for us, was affordable and CLEAN! It had a nice swimming pool and playground for the kiddos, a balloon clown in the morning that made balloon characters and did face paintings, and breakfast was decent.
We spent Friday and Saturday at Sesame Place. It just happened to be the HOTTEST days of the year so far when we were there in Philadelphia and Sesame Place. My car temp read 108F when we left Philadelphia on Thursday, 96F on Friday and 104F on Saturday at Sesame Place (the city is always hotter). The heat didn't deter us too much, just made us a little more careful. We drank LOTS of water (which I am not a water drinker, I actually can't stand to drink water AT ALL!) and took breaks into the air conditioned shows or shade.
We got to Sesame Place early so we could get some of the more 'active' things out of the way, like the rope net thing. It is a HUGE jungle of nets and rope tunnels that you can climb through. When I was little, my parents brought me and my little sister to Sesame Place and I remember getting lost in that thing. Luckily, there weren't many people on it and the girls are slow. Jacob and Dan went with them through the tunnels and net.
One time through and the girls said they were done. Okay, fine with me. I don't want to have to worry about them getting lost on that thing too :) Off to ride other rides.
The lines were not very long. We waited about 20 minutes tops for the rides. Jenni, who is my little peanut, could ride every ride just about with an adult. There were only like 3 rides that the girls could not do because they were not tall enough. All three of the kids had a great time riding the rides, even Jacob, even though he was a little old for it.
|There was a red tent over top so the picture came out red too|
|Jacob is on the far right, then Jenni (can you see her?), me and then Jessi|
We also watched a couple shows and parade while we were there. Elmo's World and Elmo Rocks were two shows that we saw and then we watched the parade at 3pm and 9pm. They are the same parade, just different times.
We spent a lot of time in the water section also. I didn't take a lot of pictures in that area because I was really busy watching the kiddos and Dan got really sick and unfortunately, wasn't much help. (It is Tuesday now and he is just starting to feel better). Most of the water is under 2.5 feet deep, which was so nice. The girls didn't need their life jackets to play in the water and they could stand up, run, jump and sit in it with no problem. They had tubes that shot water out, pipes you could play with and wheels you could turn to make the water come on or turn off or shoot out in different areas. They also had water rides like a lazy river and raft slides which we went on also.
The part the girls liked to most I think though was meeting all of the characters from Sesame Street. We got to meet Big Bird, Elmo, Bert, Ernie, Oscar, Abby, Count, Telly and Grover. The characters are at different spots in the park throughout the day and you just line up to meet them and get your picture taken.
If you are thinking about taking your kiddos to Sesame Place, I would highly recommend it. The park is clean and staff is very friendly. The meal prices aren't horrible (around $9.00 for a kid's meal which comes with a collectable plate and cup). They also offer great packages on their official website, just read about your hotel first :)