Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Big Kid Club: GA Aquarium

Day 2 of our Big Kid Club adventure kicked off with breakfast at the Ford's. Kelly had to get up and head to work so Casey and I hung out with her husband and all the kids and took our time loading up to leave because we knew we'd hit Atlanta traffic. Plus the kids had SO MUCH FUN together that we hated to cut that short!

On our way I was really pumped that we drove through my hometown. We passed by my elementary and middle schools and I was so excited for the kids to see them. They see all of Zach's childhood everywhere they look...so it was neat to give them a peak into some of mine. SO MUCH has changed in that area and it was sad to see my Eckerd (which got turned into Rite Aid) got shut down. This place was my JAM back in the days of film development ;) 


We got some discount tickets to the aquarium if we promised to show up before 10. We weren't there right at opening, but we were close. I'm SO thankful Casey was able to come with me on this trip! I had debated doing it solo when we weren't sure if it would work out for her to come but man Atltanta traffic would have been scary alone!!! 

Can I just say that the Ga Aquarium needs some kind of cute photo area at the entrance? I know they try to get you to buy the photo they take,but they need to do something for people who aren't going to buy that picture...it'd be so easy to have a cute display or something! Or even a sign just to snap a pic in front of that says "We Are Here!" Ya know?

I also want to go ahead and apologize to the GA Aquarium. I've talked a lot of smack about you over the years. I said you were overpriced for what you offered and that it was a rip off that you charged extra for so many things. Well. I'm here to say that I'm a changed woman! While the tickets weren't cheap by any means, I was SO impressed with the Aquarium this time around. They FINALLY made the tickets all inclusive of all the shows and they added several new things that really made it worth while. What once took us a couple of hours now takes a solid 4-5 hours and could be even longer! 

This was Kye's 2nd visit to the GA Aquarium (you can see his first visit here!) and it was Britt's first visit! When we brought Kye the first time he was not very impressed (I guess he just is like his Mama and loves when something is a good price haha) but this time he REALLY loved it. I knew Britt would like it (and she's honestly the main reason I wanted to go there) but I was surprised by how much Kye enjoyed it. He's at that age where learning facts is fun and he really understands just how big and awesome our world is and how amazing it is that God created so many different animals! I was also surprised by how much Carter loved it. He was adorable at the zoo but man he was SO PRECIOUS at the aquarium! He loved it!!!




I'm sad I didn't get a pic of the seals in the tank that Casey insisted were the baby whales bahaha






This penguin was so fun swimming in the water where the kids could "play" with him!





They have a neat spot where you can crawl in and stand up and be in the penguin exhibit!





My favorites were the seahorses. I just think the way they swim is so unique and awesome!









In the past it's been a very chill, casual visit but now that they have more things on a schedule (shows and such) we had to be a little more strategic. Which personally, being a planner, I enjoy! We headed over to the big tank so we could catch the feeding of the whale sharks. Kye was in AWE. He rode the little path thing over and over just to look at everything. 


At age 2 and age 6 he still has that little tongue poking out :)





Carter was too into it to stop for pics ;)







Watching the feeding was really neat because they had these super small boats and you just kept waiting for the whale shark to flip that junk over!


Britt wanted to ride with Kye. I love how he's so enthralled in the environment and she's all about smiling for the camera ;)



It was a Monday but was still pretty crowded, especially during the feeding. It was pretty funny to hear all the people and what they were talking about. One guy was looking very "gangster" and kept trying to keep up his street cred while still being at a family aquarium bahaha. He'd say stuff like "check out that dope sting ray click" oh yeah man, SO cool! 


They added in an interactive show since we came last, very similar to Crush at Epcot. I mean it wasn't Disney, but it was neat! 




They also took another page from the Disney playbook with some characters to meet!
I believe this guy is a seahorse ;)













Touching stuff is my favorite part! I'm sad the sting ray tank was gone!




The highlight of the day for my crew was the dolphin show. I think it was probably Casey's favorite too b/c Carter was SO sweet during it! I'd never seen the show before and it was super cool. My kids are still talking about it 2 months later! It was pretty hilarious though how serious the singer guy took the whole thing. Like, dude, we are just here for the dolphins ;) They did have a storyline to the show which Kye was very into. After the show ended we walked out and I was so into getting to meet the singer guy that I missed seeing the dolphins swimming in a MASSIVE tank literally right beside us. But, hey, at least my kids got to give high fives to the dolphin show performer right? ;)



Since it was a Monday Zach had to work but Mrs. Charlotte was so sweet to keep my Tessie for me!


Dolphins...and Alligators! What a day :)



I was a little nervous about brining in food because  they say it's not allowed on their website. However when we got out of the car that morning I asked a random mom who was also getting out of her car and she said they never check so we rolled with it and it worked out! 



This "cool guy" face is pretty hilarious


We had to rush lunch in order to make it to the 3d show they had. We didn't want to miss it as we needed to hit the road to get home! Britt is my slow eater so I let her bring her dessert from her Lunchable into the theater. Mighhhht have been a mistake :) 



We felt like we were at Disney! Again, it wasn't as cool as Phillarmagic but we still liked it!



They are clearly doing a LOT of work on the area that used to be the playground. There was the whole long educational pathway thing that we basically raced through but there wasn't a whole lot that was very entertaining there anyway. Hopefully next time they will have more interactive stuff to do! 




To speed things up Casey handled the gift shop for me (ornament, duh) and we went ahead and went outside. I guess the closest you can get to a good photo prop at the outside of the Aquarium is one of the big dolphins?










View of the Coke Factory! Something I'm def waiting on for the kids!


The kids played on some rocks while we waited. And of course Kye ended up getting hurt. They were both super tired (late night the night prior, no naps for two days) and it was nap time at that time too so it was just time to go for sure :)




Even when sleepy he just keeps on smiling! I LOVE this!



We got that Mom Swag for sure!


We stopped on the way home and had some Mommy Lunch while Carter slept and the big kids watched movies! When we got home I told Zach that Casey is truly one of the few people who I NEVER get tired of being around. When we leave each other I'm sad to be away from her and hanging out with her only makes me want to hang out with her more and more and more. We are very alike in our love of experiences and travel and in providing those experiences for our children so I see many, many more Mom Trips in our futures together!


I think Big Papa was sad to see my baby girl go but I was ready to get some of that Tess lovin' for MYSELF!!!


We all had a great trip! It was fun and quick and was a great last hurrah before the summer ended! Because it was at the end of the summer it ended up being one of the favorite memories my kids have from their summer breaks. We truly had a GREAT time and appreciate Mrs. Charlotte for keeping Tess for us Monday and the Ford family for hosting us Friday night! Hopefully we can make this a yearly tradition ;) 


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