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Washington Island Trip: Part One

This year, we decided to take our big family trip to Washington Island in Door County Wisconsin. We live pretty close-ish to this gem but have somehow never been there. This was the most last minute planning I have ever done in my life! We took our vacation days long in advance and knew we were going somewhere, but didn’t know where. We were going to do our regular trip to Wisconsin Dells, but Kayne broke his pinky and we didn’t think he’d be able to do a lot of the fun stuff in waterpark city. So, I considered Baraboo, I considered way “up north” somewhere, I considered home-sharing in Madison, etc. Hubster was pretty much fine with anything. I finally landed on Washington Island, and it was exactly the trip that we needed! It was full of relaxation and nature, the two things we needed most during this time.

On our way to the ferry, we made a pit stop at a rest area that turned out to be the halfway point to the North Pole!!!

I also decided to start a weaving project on the car ride. You know, just cuz.

So, we started with our first ferry ride across the lake. None of us had ever been on one, so it was interesting do drive up, ride over the water and drive right off again. We made our way to our cabin, which I had reserved, sight unseen, because they didn’t have a website. It was the most adorable, charming thing I’ve seen! There was no TV and no WiFi, so we were forced to go unplugged, which was reeeeeeally nice. The cabin had a nice-sized living area with two bunk beds and a fold-out queen-sized couch. We set up a Pack N Play for Rayna. We had our own kitchen and bathroom with shower for a very reasonable price. It was nice because we could bring the dog and baby and not have to worry about our family’s noises bothering our neighbors or being too confined in close quarters. We also could prepare all of our own meals.

Cutest porch nestled in the trees
Our backyard!!! Even saw deer out here a few times!
Steps up to the house
They had the most beautiful property
and quaint little landscaped areas

Our hosts were so accommodating. They were so friendly and attentive to us. They live in a house on the property and rent out two cabins in their backyard. They invited us to a bonfire the first night. The wife even dug out a whole bunch of games for Kayne and played soccer and golf with him for at least a half hour. How sweet is that? One night, the daughter, who was visiting from Germany, even brought us over a yummy German dessert she had made from scratch that had a hint of a beer flavor. I wish I remembered what it was called.

Across the street from where we were staying, the owners owned a patch of land on the water with a peninsula where the swimming was fiiine. They even had a boat that they told us we could freely use.

Even the poochy took a swim
Look at that view!

We did a little bit of sightseeing the first day, just to get an idea of the layout of the island, and we went grocery shopping for the first few days’ worth of meals. That evening, we took a long walk down the road we were staying on. Saw a huge disgusting millipede! And all the mailboxes seemed to have these quirky little displays.

 I’m sure at one time this looked cute, but in its current condition, a bit creepy.
I was super surprised that the island wasn’t overly tourist-y. Sure, there were just a few requisite cute little shops, but for the most part, the island is all about experiencing nature, history and community. One of the shops was a lavender shop, but even that was based on local traditions and had a lavender farm attached to it. The town seemed to be populated more with locals than anything, so the experience was more authentic than “painted on,” if you know what I mean.
So, this was the beautiful introduction to the island that we had. Tomorrow, I’ll be back with Part Two of our trip with a few more details about the places we visited.

Wisconsin Dells Vacation (Part Two)

Read about the first half of our Wisconsin Dells family trip in Part One.

We saved Tuesday of our family trip for Noah’s Ark. It was pretty quiet when we got there, which was perfect. Peanut started out with being reluctant to ride any of the big rides, but after being coerced a little, tackled them like a boss. Of course, like every other child in history, he said, “let’s do it again!” He even did this Stingray ride that would’ve even freaked me out:

I couldn’t do many of the rides due to the current state of sharing my body with another human, but I just loved finding a shady spot to read while Peanut and his Da spent some quality fun time together. I plowed my way through #Girlboss, btw. Anyone else read it? It’s such an easy, amazing read.

On Wednesday, we decided to hit up Timbavati Wildlife Park. This brought back some interesting memories. As a child, my family and I made a yearly trek to a waterpark called Waterworld. As we were entering Timbavati, I saw the old, eerie overgrown Waterworld sign and the mystery of where that waterpark disappeared to was revealed. It is now Timbavati.

There were a lot of baby animals to feed, pet and coo at.

And a few big cats to watch. I felt a little bad though, cuz these pretty beasts only had a small sandy cage to spend their time in. (I always have these ethical conundrums at zoos).
We watched some comical pig races. 

In the baby nursery, they allowed us to bottle-feed the baby goats and sheep. This is the kind of thing Peanut lives for. He’s got a huge heart for animals.
We even got to hand-feed giraffes and camels.

After the wildlife park, we found another miniature golf place that was mostly in the shade (thank God!) and had some more competitive fun. Hubster and I both like to gloat a bit when we’re in the lead.

On Thursday we indulged in a little bit more mini golf at our campground before packing everything up and heading home, wondering, of course, where the time went.

Peanut’s picture of our camper

My favorite part of the whole trip was when the three of us snuggled into our bed after dark and put a movie in the portable DVD player. Our nights got later and later as we all hunkered down and read and watched movies. Pretty sure we traumatized Peanut with All Dogs Go to Heaven (huge heart for animals, remember? He once cried inconsolably when he saw a squashed seagull in a parking lot and just about died when he witnessed a neighborhood crow pick up a baby bunny for lunch). But it was so much fun to relive Ferngully and a few other Oldie Goodies with him.

Next time we head back to Wisconsin Dells, we will be a family of 4. I wonder where we’ll go/stay next.

Wisconsin Dells Trip (Part One)

A few weeks ago, we planned our last family vacation before baby, while it was still manageable to do so without an infant, while we’re still just a family of three. We decided to head to Wisconsin Dells after finding a great camping deal there and wanting to spend more time in our new little toy. We got 15 total attraction tickets, which amounted to 5 different attractions for the three of us: Noah’s Ark, Timbavati Wildlife Park, Pirate’s Cove Miniature Golf, the Ducks, and the Deer Park. More than enough to keep us busy for an entire week!

We took a Saturday through Thursday trip in order to avoid some of the weekend crowds at these places. In the Dells, many things are cheaper Sunday through Thursday, so it’s helpful to know that. That time span also left the following weekend open for lounging at home. You know, the whole vacation from vacation thing.

Anyhow, we left on Saturday, after Hubster got done with work. It was quite later than expected. After getting settled in, I took Peanut down to the play area that the campground provided, including a giant blow-up jumping pillow. Peanut could hardly be torn away from that contraption. If I wasn’t so preggo, I would’ve been right up there with him:) After dark, we heard a bunch of loud booms. After investigating, we got treated to a fireworks display from a nearby racetrack that was pretty darn good.

On Sunday we got up and took a Duck tour right away. It’s amazing how they make those vehicles to drive on the road and the water. It’s like something out of a movie that’s totally a real thing. Peanut was quite enraptured by the phenomenon.

After the Ducks and a quick bite to eat, we hit up the miniature golf course. Pirate’s Cove has some great golfing, and they take the best care of their grounds than any other I’ve seen. I think this year’s theme for our family is miniature golfing. We’ve done it quite a few times now and can’t seem to get enough. Peanut is getting pretty good at the rules and lining up his ball. And he loves it!

Pirate’s Cove also has a Family Play Center that we indulged in for a little bit. They had a huge playground, giant jumping pillow, giant chess and checkers, a racetrack, and trampoline basketball.
Pedal Go-Karts

 Giant Chess
Giant jumping pillow

On Monday, my parents came to visit for the day and we treated them to the Deer Park, one of our favorite Dells attractions. You get to hang out with deer and feed them out of your hands! We always take our time there and buy lots of animal food because it’s so rare to get to experience that experience with deer. Later on, we took mom and pops to our campground for hot dogs and S’mores and a little pool time. Poor dad had chemo scheduled for the next day, so they couldn’t stay overnight.

After all that fun, the whole family hit the campground pool for a cool off.

It always amazes me that we keep going back to Wisconsin Dells. It’s such a touristy town, but it’s also totally insane. It’s one of those towns that is so unique, you just have to go there. Where else can you drive down the street and see an upside-down White House, miles of snaking waterpark tubes, rides and roller coasters of every kind, piles of neon summer clothing and weird statues of all kinds? And if you only live 2 hours away, you might go there every year cuz your kids are enraptured by it all.

Stay tuned for Part Two of our family vacation to Wisconsin Dells.

Weekend Family Fitness

Our state park system recently offered a free weekend open house where we could partake in their many amenities at will. We chose High Cliff since it was the closest to home. We started with a long trail hike at a pretty slow walking/waddling pace. We actually chose the horse-riding trail for something different, since we’ve frequented the other trails many times before. Plus, we got to meet a few special visitors of the equine variety that way. Horsey kisses? Yes, please. The day was beautiful, bright and bug-less and the trail a healthy 3 miles long. The handsome fellow below was one happy camper, can you tell?

We counted butterflies, listened for cricket chirps and scoped out the wildflowers.

After our long hike, we recouped with some water and snacks and headed to the very tall viewing tower the park provides. Someone had to stay behind with the dog, and I allowed that person to be me. I left those ten flights of stairs to my guys and their non-squished lungs. 
Behind the viewing tower is a long railing bordering some steep drop-offs. There’s a secret spot though that a handful of people found behind one of the fence posts. There’s a stone staircase and a series of pathways through neat rock outcroppings and caves. We climbed those fence posts and took the little side trip that happened to also be pretty picturesque.

Find the steps behind the secret railing. Secret hideouts are my favorite!

What you are witnessing are my only prenatal photos so far.
One lone autumn leaf that survived the deep freeze.

Happy boys!
Our day was so perfect. We finished with dinner and more play time. You’d think Peanut would be exhausted, but he never wears out. All day of playing and hiking followed by more heavy play and he probably could’ve kept going. No naps, no time outs. I, on the other hand, feel like napping after simply thinking about this hike again. Haha. I’m still trying to stay as active as my body will allow me to. Sometimes that’s a 6 mile bike ride, a 3 mile hike or a 2 minute stretch session. I’m just letting my body guide me and enjoying my capabilities even in my pregnant state, and I’m enjoying the relaxed nature of it all. No counting reps, no tallying up miles, no tracking calories. I’m hoping to carry some of this relaxed, carefree, exercising-but-not-trying-to, bring-the-whole-family energy into my post-natal fitness approach. I enjoy being hardcore when I’m not pregnant, but there should always be space for serendipity.

Camping Collins Style

Since Hubster doesn’t work on Mondays, we considered Memorial Day weekend the ideal time to take a little mini vacation in our new camper. That way, no one had to miss work or school but we could get out in our new mini home away from home ASAP.

We stayed close to home for various reasons, which turned out to be helpful when Hubster had to run home for a few emergency items, like a cooler since our fridge didn’t work. We booked a reservation at Jellystone Park in Fremont, WI. It’s not the type of camping that’s real secluded and rustic. It’s very open and populated, but also very family-friendly and comfortable. By comfortable, I mean there are showers, a convenience store, and many other amenities that hardcore campers would snicker at. But pregnant ladies and high maintenance husbands need those things, right?
Hey there, Boo Boo
Saturday, we headed out after Hubster got home from work, which was after 4. Peanut and I had gotten everything packed and ready to go and were beginning to run out of patience, ha! We finally got on the road and enjoyed tacos and sunset-gazing before bedtime snuck up on us.
Sunday was full of swimming, hiking, s’more making and exploring. I just love all the mixtures of smells, experiences and sounds when you’re out camping. On Sunday, we also tried out the miniature golf course on-site. We even saw a hummingbird flitting around the bushes. I tried my darnedest to get a picture, but alas, the elusiveness of those birds is what makes them so hard to photograph and also what makes seeing one so special. We visited some cute shops in Weyauwega and went to a diner for dinner and an ice cream shop after. The very best part was lounging, chatting, reading and hanging out with our…um…lap dog?
Monday, we rented a pontoon boat for about an hour. It rained a little bit, but not enough to soak the skin, plus we had the canopy. Then, we rode the hay ride with all three Jellystone bears, Yogi, Boo Boo and Cindy Lou. Peanut thought that was extra special, since the previous days only had one or two of the bears. Then, we packed up and pulled out and made one last stop at one of the on-site playgrounds while Hubster took care of the septic drain.
I have had this insatiable itch to go camping that was finally pacified!!!! And lots of memories made with my three-person, soon-to-be-four-person family. We may not have many more opportunities to head out this summer what with baby coming and all, but we do have at least one long vacay planned for July. I can’t wait to go again! I have such great memories of camping as a kid, always in tents, and it’s so satisfying passing down this favorite pastime to my own son, and eventually my daughter too.
Do you have any favorite memories of camping as a child?

Dollar Store Camping Supplies

My mom usually buys me plants for my backyard garden for my birthday. I am pretty easy to please that way and can never think of anything else that I really want. This year, I’m taking a garden hiatus due to my baby-growing condition. Mom wanted to know what else she could do for my birthday, when it dawned on me. Camper stuff! Since we have a bathroom, kitchen and bedrooms in our camper, we pretty much have to furnish it with things that we’d have in our home, on a much smaller scale. Kitchen utensils, dish soap, sheets, etc.

The first trip she took me on was to the Dollar Store, per my request. Here’s a list of things we furnished our camper with from the Dollar Store.

1. All-purpose cleaner
2. Mini cutting board
3. Scissors
4. Mini colander
5. Hand soap
6. Measuring cup
7. Mini baking sheet

8. Aluminum foil
9. Small wastebasket
10. Plastic containers for leftovers (ever gotten caught without a place for leftovers? Total bummer)
11. Tissue
12. Plastic baggies
13. All-purpose cleaning wipes
14. Fly swatters
15. Hot dog/marshmallow skewers
16. Long tongs

Then, I kept all those Dollar Tree bags and stuffed them inside the garbage can to recycle them as garbage bags. 

We hit up Shopko afterwards and got a pretty sweet deal on some basic pillows, $4.49 each. 
Last week, I found this lovely quilt and sham set at a rummage sale for $4.

My grandma had an extra usable knife set and a salt/pepper shaker set with covers at her house that fit right in the camper drawers. At work, I nabbed three beach towels, so we don’t always have to bring the ones from home. We already have a stash of matches, basic utensils (can opener, spatula), playing cards and a few other things leftover from when we had the pop-up.
Still on the list:
Essentials
Two twin size fitted sheets
Pillowcases
More blankets
Dog bowls (yep, he loves camping just as much as us)
Bath towels and washcloths
Kitchen washcloths and towel
Foam mattress pad (our double fold-down table/bed is pretty scant on padding)
Pots and pans
Wants
New pretty curtains
Curtain rod and privacy curtain over our side of the camper
Thrifty and resourceful, I am happy to be called by those names. I will probably hit up Big Lots next to take care of some of some goodies for a good cost. I’ve been scouring rummage sales for the past two weeks for anything else we might need before I go out spending on brand new items. After we get the absolute essentials, I want to tackle some of the aesthetic elements of the camper. The standard issue upholstery and decorations are a bit….um….tacky for my taste. Maybe someday I’ll actually detail and paint some of the woodwork. I’ll make sure to take before and after pictures to document the overhaul if I do. I’m loving all the vintage camper makeovers I’m finding on Pinterest.

I’m so giddy about camping, I can hardly stand it!

Any other ideas where I can get a deal on these items? What else is absolutely essential for camping?

Introducing Our Camper Heaven on Earth

I’ve been pining and dying and longing for a camper for a few years now. Summer camping is one of my all-time favorite things to do in this world. I even started a Pinterest board dedicated to the “sport.” About 3 years ago, we purchased our first pop-up camper, but we were only able to enjoy it for one summer before my brother-in-law got caught in a bad storm and returned it in non-working condition.

Earlier this year, I started stalking Craigslist in the hopes that we would find something decent, in our price range, and of the hard-sided variety this time. I had a little nest egg stored up that I had been contributing to from extra bonuses and such. I quickly learned that you have to act fast. More than once we found out that a sweet camper we were interested in had been sold the same day it was posted.

Now, let’s be clear. I’m the type of girl that can tent camp with the best of them. But Hubster has some back issues that make tent camping sound like hell on earth. And really, having a hard-sided camper appeals to me for different reasons too. Especially right now in my preggo condition. It’s much more conducive to family camping with small children and a dog too.

Well friends, last weekend we finally found her. We picked up this cute little home on wheels and immediately started packing our virtual bags.

We’ve already had to spend money on new tires, updated propane tanks, registration and a few other things, but now she’s almost ready to roll. We’ve also already made reservations for an upcoming weekend to try her out. We’re not worried about it being too cold yet in Wisconsin (haven’t left the 50s yet), because this baby has heat and air conditioning.

This week, I have been tackling all the camper basics we need like cooking utensils and blankets. What I really can’t wait to do is to start tackling some of the aesthetic aspects of the camper. I’m trying to come up with a rough color scheme, for starters. I will be posting along the way with any updates we make. You’ll see on my Pinterest board the type of look I’m going for. White cabinets and vintage details. Oh, this is going to be fun!

Welcome to our little piece of heaven. The door’s always open:)

Florida Trip Highlights Part Two

Check out Part One of our Florida trip here.

I have never been to Disney. Our family did quite a bit of travelling when we were younger, but generally the trips didn’t reach past the state lines. Peanut had obviously never been there either. So this time, we planned a trip into the Magical Kingdom. Although I couldn’t ride any of the rides in my condition and I’m not big on big touristy amusement parks, I had so much fun being there for the first time.

What struck me most was the overwhelming awe I have for Walt Disney himself. The dreams, visions and ambitions of one man have manifested in this larger-than-life empire right down to the tiniest detail. I remember reading about a woman who worked on a Disney cruise ship and the type of training and guidance every single Disney employee receives. It’s just beyond impressive how this entire place, not to mention the movies and merchandise and everything else Disney, originated in the mind of one ambitious man.

And ok, I already know these Disney people are brilliant, but putting activities for kids to follow all along the lines for the rides is just pure genius!

I’ve been hearing about the Small World ride for my entire life. I know what it is and everything about it, but I was finally able to experience it for the first time myself. I loved watching how Peanut took it all in and truly enjoyed it. We even used a handful of pennies to send our own wishes out into the world. Peanut wished for us to be able to stay in Florida. I did a little too:)
The only ride Peanut hated was the haunted house ride. He cried and closed his eyes the entire way through. I love how they make the ride very kid-friendly. No ghosts pop out to scare you or anything. However, the music and voices are a bit macabre, just creepy enough to make a Peanut uncomfortable.

Peanut recognized Rapunzel’s castle right away. Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair!

Checking out the fort on the island. We found a little girl who was inconsolable after losing her family. I sat with her until her brothers ran back to find her. I’m not sure if she even spoke English. Later, we spotted another boy who had gotten misplaced. The workers tell us they have family reuniting down to a science.

Peanut was overjoyed that he finally got to drive a go-kart. This kind stayed on a track, so there wasn’t much room for error. 

Haha!

We caught Disney shows at the castle, watched a 3D movie, rode some rides, explored some islands, met some Disney characters and ate all kinds of overpriced food. Peanut even rode a little roller coaster, which I was so proud of him for attempting. Grandma pointed out all the Disney movies that Peanut hasn’t seen yet. When we got home, we immediately rented Planes so at least Peanut knows who is who in the little airplane pack he bought at the souvenir shop.

We stayed until after the nightly parade and fireworks, of course. Tinkerbell stuck her tongue out at Peanut when he got shy and wouldn’t wave back to her. We got a good laugh out of that. I captured most of the castle entertainment on my camcorder, but we weren’t in a great position to see the full effect of the fireworks.

After the shows, we headed to the car, which is quite the process. We took the ferry across the water and Peanut immediately fell asleep on the floor of the vessel. Then, we had to wait for a trolley to make the hike to the car. We had another 2-hour ride after that in which Peanut slept the entire way. We were completely spent, but happy. Thank goodness Thursday was a sleep-in casual day.

What about you? Is there some major place that you haven’t been to yet? What are some of your favorite Disney memories?

Florida Trip Highlights Part One

There’s something magical about the air in Florida that makes a girl forget about her morning sickness. I’m not sure if it was the warm air on dried out Wisconsin bones, the factor of distraction, or something else, but never in the past few weeks have I felt as good as I did in the Sunshine State.

We began our trip with travels late on a Monday afternoon that got us into Orlando at the bewitching hour. We spotted a wild raccoon in some brush under a bush at the airport. Couldn’t get my camera out fast enough though. The warm humid air and light rain that greeted us excited me from the moment we walked out of the airport. We picked out our rental and drove a few hours to our host’s house in Bradenton.

We were immediately greeted by two crazy beautiful German shepherds that invited us in like they’d always known us.

Our hosts were the best hosts ever, fixing a room for all three of us and tending to our needs like family. We hadn’t met them in person, but Hubster had known them for quite a long time. The fact that they invited us into their home so graciously and enthusiastically still makes me smile. 
Tuesday was a day spent playing with those sprightly pups (Peanut’s favorite part of the whole trip) and visiting family in Sun City Center. I found this amazing Goodwill bookstore that I easily could’ve gotten lost in. I had to make it quick though, and all I really wanted a frothy chick novel that was made for tropical vacations. I can’t be expected to always read heavy, academic novels can I? 
Wednesday was dedicated entirely to Disney, but I’ll save that post for “Part Two” since it requires its own story. Thursday was probably my favorite day of the trip. We did a bit of sightseeing that was a bit more wild and natural and a little less tourist-driven.
We started out at Myakka State Park in Sarasota. Originally we planned a trip into Clearwater to do some miniature golf/feeding of alligators. But our hosts pointed us in the direction of a more natural gator habitat less than 30 minutes from their house. Yes! We pulled up to the first little river and spotted two gators right off the bat. Peanut was afraid to approach, but once he saw the gators were pretty distant, he got really into it. He’s a huge Gator Boys fan, so gators are his thing right now.

The park was just beautiful. As we passed the campground, we thought about how much Florida camping is different than Wisconsin camping. In Wisconsin, your biggest fears might be about bears in the northern part of the state and ticks. In Florida, you are likely to come across snakes and potentially gators. Geckos are everywhere in Florida. Mosquitoes are everywhere up here. In Wisconsin, state parks are filled with pines, oaks, and maples. And in FL, the forest looks a bit different peppered with palm trees. In Wisconsin, you can freely swim in most waterways without fear of any kind of big creature biting off a limb. In Florida, not so much.

Taking the same highway we got to Myakka on, we passed to the opposite side of the freeway to visit Siesta Key Beaches, the #1 rated beaches in the US. White sand stretched as far as we could see. This was the part of the trip I couldn’t wait for! Although between getting there and leaving, it felt like we were only there for about 15 minutes. I certainly could’ve used more time there. It was therapeutic. 
Peanut was karate-chopping all the waves.
We had him taste the saltwater on his hand
too, because we so rarely experience saltwater.

Last time we came to Florida, Peanut was only a year old and he was terrified of the sand. It took awhile for Hubster and I to get him away from the comfort of his towel. After some crying and apprehension, he finally took his first few steps in the sand and eventually ventured out. It just brought back so many memories seeing Peanut playing in the sand four years and many inches later.

Notice “Snapper,” Peanut’s new gator friend
from the Myakka souvenir shop.
For us northern birds, no Florida trip is complete without a gecko hunting excursion or five. We never get to see any kind of lizards outside of commercial pet stores up here. The fact that they’re as common as cats in WI is completely novel to us.

Our trip was way to short, as trips to the southern region often are for those who suffer through relentless winters. I seriously considered checking our itinerary to see how much it would cost to transfer our tickets from Friday to Monday, but I relented. I know we won’t get around to those parts for another few years, but I’m taking my sunburn and memories back to Wisconsin to try and pretend like summer isn’t that far away.

Check back for Part Two of our Florida expedition, the Disney files, later this week. I’m finally starting to actually feel better as I move deeper into the second trimester. I am hoping for the stamina and wherewithal to continue with a regular posting schedule.

Visit to the Oshkosh EAA Museum

Our town has absolutely nothing for a small child to do in the winter, indoors, unless you are a YMCA member. Even our McDonald’s Playland went away during the last round of renovations and a close-by kid-friendly cafe disappeared. We run out of ideas for keeping Peanut entertained in the cooler months sometimes. That is, until we stumbled upon the children’s museum inside the EAA museum in Oshkosh.

You see, Oshkosh hosts the biggest aircraft convention in the world every year and so the aircraft museum is a signature part of our city. Since we live here though, we are all too used to that one week in July where our city is completely descended upon and consumed for the love of airplanes. Many of us try to get out of the city and rent our homes out to avoid the hubub of tourism.

Sure, we’d been to the museum before, but not in a long time. One day Hubster decided to take Peanut there for a visit just for something to do. Then, we happened upon the kid’s section of the airport. And we discovered that the interactive play area beats out the Mickey D’s Playland any day of the week! We immediately purchased a family membership and now enjoy the place as often as we’d like.

Since I’ve been off of work for about a week and a half with Peanut this Christmas vacation, mostly cooped up in the house with all our new Christmas paraphernalia, we decided to take a day out to the museum to burn off some accumulating steam.

Check this place out.

Test how many pounds of thrust you can generate on this mother of all exercise bikes.

Use this robotic arm to build and move around blocks.

Watch flight simulators

Sit inside a real cockpit with tons of controls and buttons and pretend you’re a pilot.

Tilt and lean to maneuver a hang glider, and just across the way, a hot air balloon.

Sit in one of the rows of flight simulators and actually give your flying skills a try.

Then, sit in the viewing tower and see if you can see any action with the provided binoculars.

This place is awesome. It’s like science and physical education and math all got together and made this awesome place. An interactive learning experience and boredom buster all in one.

All you adults out there, the regular museum is definitely worth the admission. There are several hangars’ worth of aircraft to see and learn about, even for the person who isn’t entranced by planes. Hubster and I like to peruse the exhibits once in awhile too and always learn something. If you’re ever in Oshkosh, WI, you need to check this place out. And if you live here, especially if you have children, you’ll be doing everyone a favor by purchasing a membership and enjoying the exhibits.