Thursday, December 29, 2016

Experience Christmas Gift...UNVEILED!!!

Several months ago, Birch and I decided to primarily give the gift of an experience to our kids.  The kids really don't need a lot of things (of course, they would disagree) and we wanted to make memories not more messes at the house to clean up.  So...Christmas morning we had a wonderful time opening gifts from each other and then we read the kids some riddles to try and figure out what our experience gift was going to be this year (last year we went to a cabin and then did the Seattle City Pass).

See if you can figure it out...

-Ride the bus in the sky
-Brain enlightenment
-Food trucks
-Aloha Big Screen
-Bunches o' planes
-Eat, sleep, stay in the city of roses

On our way to our adventure...the wind mills were peeking out over the clouds.

the answer...

First stop was to ride the Portland Aerial Tram

This is actually a regular public transportation method -- we rode it from the food trucks up to OHSU.  It costs $4.55/round trip.  9,000 each day actually ride this tram.  

Pretty cool views of Portland from the air tram

Looks like something from the Jetsons

Then it was lunch at the Food Trucks.  Sadly, they weren't as big of a hit this time as when we stopped of them this past summer.  We went to a different pod and only a few were open since it was the day after Christmas.  Coop was super excited about his Almond Joy Waffle Sandwich...wasn't so tasty in the end, though.

Tyler had a Philly Cheesesteak Asian sandwich 

Nate went for the daring Volcano Pulled Pork Sandwich - it was SO spicy hot that he couldn't finish it.
Next stop...OMSI!!!  We bought this awesome family membership to a museum (actually in Missoula, MT) that is part of an international museum agreement (ASTC reciprocal agreement) that allows us to get into over 300 museums all over the world.  The pass cost us $70 but can be used at tons of places (including the Pacific Science Center, Thanksgiving Point, etc...).
OMSI had such a variety of exhibits - everything from dinosaurs, live lizards, a gingerbread exhibit, chemical, human development, 3-D design, etc...

Coop and Alysee were thinking about Elder Ditto and the good news that his ear is doing well on his mission.

Although the kids kind of found this exhibit to be alarming it was my favorite.  It is actually the only exhibit that I remember from my childhood being at OMSI.  Families have donated their unborn fetus' to be preserved and then to be used for learning.  

One thing the kids did like was seeing the size that baby Sara looked like when she passed away.  I think it gave them all a better perspective of how little she was.

The Space exhibit was the traveling exhibit at OMSI.  I thought it was pretty boring and not hands-on enough.  

The space toilet was most of our favorite parts of the exhibit.  Pretty tricky going potty in space!

Astronaut Nate

Chloe absolutely LOVED the Chemistry Lab.  She got to perform several experiments.

Chloe testing mystery chemicals.

Goggle faces!
 Next stop...The Homewood Suites Vancouver
We learned several years ago that this is a great hotel chain to stay at when traveling with lots of kids.  Monday-Thursday your stay includes free breakfast and dinner.  It wasn't like the most awesome dinner but it was free and filling!  We were super excited when they surprised us with a free room upgrade - two separate rooms plus a living room and kitchen.
 After dinner....
Grannie gave all the kids movie money so we were excited to go see "Moana."  We all were wishing that our surprise experience gift was a trip to Hawaii bit this was the closest we could come.
The next morning...
We drove to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.  It was awesome that our museum pass got us into this museum as it is $19/person.  My brother Seth brought over his two oldest kids, Cali and Tommy to join us.  That made it all the more special.

The museum is known for housing the famous Spruce Goose.  Coop and Birch were so enthralled with EVERYTHING!  My favorite part was just walking around with my brother and catching up.  I could have skipped the museum altogether but for those that love planes this was pretty cool!

The space museum was way more cool than the OMSI exhibit on Space.  I have to say, though, that the kids favorite part was riding this free airplane ride.  They rode it like four times as there wasn't a line.
I think the experience trip was a success!!!  It was a good balance of being together, experiencing new things, and enjoying some time together (like games in the hotel room and watching cooking shows until WAY too late).

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