Sunday, June 28, 2009

Niagara Falls and Hershey

Our vacation was wonderful. We left Tuesday afternoon around 2:30 and made our way to New York. We had a doctor's appointment where we found out we are having a girl, so that made an exciting start to our vacation. Derrick is so excited about it, and is showing off the pictures to everyone. Her name is Natalie, and we are wavering between Alexis or Grace for her middle name. Anyway, the boys did great in the car. I had bought them some new coloring books, a new movie, and a small Transformer for some car entertainment. They loved the Transformers and played with them the ENTIRE six hours to Niagara Falls. We had sandwiches in the car for dinner, and made it to our hotel around 8:30 or so. I had promised them time in the pool, so while Derrick got things settled in our room, I took them down to the pool to burn off some energy.

Wednesday, we had breakfast at the hotel and packed up our cooler to make our way to the park. The really great thing about Niagara is that everything we wanted to do was in the state park. We just had to park the car, get a map, and walk everywhere we wanted to go. We started by just walking around and getting an idea as to what we wanted to do first. We ended up at a trailhead, which took us down to Bridal Veil and American Falls. These were so beautiful!
We watched these smaller falls for a bit, and then followed the trail over to the Maid of the Mist. This is a boat that takes you along the river and right up to Horseshoe Falls. It was a great ride, and the boys were really into it. We had ponchos to wear, but we still got a little wet. After this, we bought an iced lemonade and took a break on a bench. We walked to the aquarium. It was really small, but they had a lot of neat looking fish and other animals. We were there for about half an hour and then worked our way back to the car. We found a shaded table and had a picnic. We were so ready to eat and relax for a little bit. We had lunch and played a few card games. The boys had fun feeding the sea gulls that were around the picnic area, too. We were so hungry and worn out from all the walking we had done that we devoured our lunches. After the rest, we headed to the Cave of the Winds. I think this is the coolest thing we did at the park. We put on special water sandles and ponchos. Then we got into an elevator and went down a gorge about 175 feet. That put us about to the level of the river. Mind you, the falls and water are rushing around us. We made our way up the first tier of steps. Here the water is misting around you and you're getting a little wet. Then, the second tier of steps we climbed the water from Bridal Veil Falls was rushing at our feet and we were getting wetter. The third tier we climbed took us right up to the falls. Like right there, they would knock you over if you were brave enough to get that close. It was called the Hurricane Deck...and it was just like you see on the weather forecasts during hurricane season when the newscaster is being pelted by winds and rushing water. It hurt and stung when it hit us, but we didn't care. We walked right up to them and got soaked. By this time, we had enough Niagara Falls fun for the time being. We went back to the hotel to have some quiet time and let the boys swim a little. Then, we went to dinner at Bob Evans. After dinner, we drove back to the park and walked to the Hard Rock Cafe to get some souvenirs. Afterwards, we walked back to the park and looked at the falls while the boys had their favorite summer treat, Dippin Dots. We waited for dusk to come when they light up the falls. We waited and waited, for about 40 minutes, but they still weren't lighting them, so we gave up and went to the hotel.

Thursday, we pushed to get out kind of early so we could make our way to Hershey, PA. We arrived there around 2:30 or so. After checking into the hotel, we drove over to Chocolate World. We did the simulated factory tour and the 3D chocolate show. They had SO much chocolate everywhere! The factory makes 60 million hershey kisses each day! Of course, at the end of the ride and the 3 D show we got a mini Hersheys bar. The boys also got to be factory workers and package their own kisses. That was very fun and cute for them. We were there for about two hours and then went back to the hotel to swim a bit before dinner. We went to Applebee's for dinner, then back to the Hershey park/Chocolate World area for ice cream.

Friday, we made our way to Strausburg to go to the Toy Train and the Pennsylvania Railroad Museums. This was a quaint, beautiful little Amish town. We were able to see some farmers working with horse plows while we were driving. We went to the toy train museum first. This was walls and cases of toy trains. They also had five train towns set up and different buttons to push to make the accessories light up or the trains go. After this, we drove up the road to the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. This was basically a big garage that had antique, life size trains of different types. Some you could climb in and some you could just look at. They were amazing nonetheless. After a few hours here in Strausburg, we made our way back home. We got back to Marysville around 8:30 or so, picked up a pizza on the way home and relaxed. We had a great time away!