rosé mansion

yes! here are the photos from rosé mansion! my friends and I had so much fun checking this place out back on august 31st.

here’s some info on the mansion: it’s an exhibit that’s only in NYC from July 14-october 21. initially, the last day was the 7th but I’m guessing overwhelming popularity allowed them to stay open fo two more weeks.

admission is $45 ($35 on weekdays before 4:30pm). tickets sell out FAST for the weekends so buy them as soon as you can. at last check, the next three Saturdays are sold out and there are only two more Saturdays left after that.

the mansion is located at 445 5th ave, New York, New York 10016.

the experience: you wander through differently, and vibrantly, decorated rooms to sample all kinds of rosé and learn more about each one. of course, these rooms are totally meant for the ig-obsessed people like me to take photos in!

the majority of the patrons are women (I’ll say 95%!) there were a few guys when we went, and the one man that was in our group remarked, “I guess I’m the group photographer!”

just in case it isn’t clear.. you must be 21 and over to attend since alcohol is served. you actually are allowed to bring a child but only if 1) they are 12 months and younger, and 2) you are wearing them. they do check your id at the door so don’t think you can purchase a ticket online and think you can get away with it.

okay, on to the pictures!

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the wall as you go up the stairs to begin the tour

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complimentary wine tumbler, pin, and stickers

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everything is covered with the grapes stickers

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scratch ‘n sniff walls!

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these next three pictures would have been lovelier had it not been for the harsh overhead lighting. one improvement to the rosé mansion experience would be to change the lighting.

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this turquoise room was tiny! and more harsh lighting… boo

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this room reminds me of a glam trailer park in florida 

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this room had plastic bags containing different kinds of “rosé” that you could squish with your feet and hands

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I absolutely loved the grapes tunnel

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one of my favorite backdrops

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I quickly snapped this photo when the employee behind the lab crouched down to get something

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the next section is the sparkling champagne room

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the next five photos are hilarious: an employee snapped photos of struggling in the ball pit, and of us helping her up!

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waiting for the garden bathtub room!

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so many cool walls

 

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I wish we had had more time in here but there was a long wait!

we chose our crowns and acted regal

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sing it with me: iiiiii want to swinggggg from a chandelierrrr, chandelierrrr

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I wish you could view the next five photos like a flip book! the pics are so adorable

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so concludes our tour… major props to genie for hearing about the rosé mansion back in july so we could plan accordingly. it was so hard to find a date that would work with our conflicting schedules but we were so ecstatic when we were able to make one work.

here’s to more fun and unique exhibits in the future!

 

 

 

 

 

 

candytopia

i actually am not a big candy fan. that’s dennis’ thing. i’m more a of a chocolate girl. still, when i scrolled through my facebook newsfeed one day and stumbled upon a candytopia  post, i was intrigued. this interactive candy exhibit looked outrageously fun and it made for good instagram photos – what most of us want these days, amirite?

my friend, genie, and i had already planned a girls’ day in nyc to go check out the rosé museum (future post) so we decided to visit candytopia on the same day. i am so glad we were on top of planning and purchased tickets for both exhibits beforehand because they quickly sold out! weekdays are pretty much available for both but it’s because most people have work or school. the weekends seem to fill up rather quickly. in fact, this coming weekend is sold out at candytopia, and next weekend is nearly sold out as well.

we purchased 11:15am tickets so we could grab lunch afterwards and go shopping before hitting up the rosé museum at 4PM. it was great to have groups go in 15-minute increments to prevent overcrowding. let’s face it, most people attend these exhibits to take photos and candytopia does not disappoint! in fact, we loved how the employees were so engaging and even approached us to ask if we wanted to have our pictures taken. we never felt rushed and everyone was so friendly.

there were children present because it was the long weekend and school hadn’t started for the year yet. it wasn’t chaotic at all; in fact, it was cute to see them so excited for the free candy and the displays. genie and I discussed very briefly how our girls would’ve enjoyed it if they had come but we did not regret coming without them! it was our day of being able to eat uninterrupted and explore at our own pace.

you can check out the site here for dates and tickets. admission is 3 and under are free, ages 4-12 are $24, and 4+ is $34. it seems pricey but it’s a one-of-a-kind experience only available in new york city and san francisco at the moment. plus, the exhibit is temporary and the last day is November 15th. get your tickets as soon as you can!

almost all of the objects were either made of candy or had candy on them. this cab greets you once you pass the ticket area. I believe it’s a replica but there were soft fondant-type banana candy glued onto the exterior.

in almost all of the rooms were open trunks where people were free to take candy such as kit kat bars, candy bracelets, pixie straws, and airheads.

 

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even with groups being split into different time increments, it can take a while to take pictures. you just have to be patient.

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there was a line for the hammock, of course.

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one of our favorite photo ops was the “100” emoji!

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he knew what was up

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I had to take this!

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I loved this one as well

the next photos were taken by syncing our phones with the cameras on the ceiling!

so cool!

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I love the optical illusion

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this wheel spun around while an employee sprayed confetti on us

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probably my favorite! this is the marshmallow pit… with fake marshmallows. 

people asked if the marshmallows were real but that would’ve been a huge sticky mess especially since we all take turns jumping in the pit! it was actually quite difficult to get out of the pit because we kept sinking in!

there are also signs warning you about taking your cell phone into the pit because if you lose it in there… it will take about a week to find (their words).. of course, that didn’t deter us from taking them in because photos!

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if you’re going to be in the new york city or san fran area, be sure to check out candytopia! hurry and reserve tickets before it’s too late.

penny’s 3rd birthday

I promised myself I wouldn’t go all out for penny’s 3rd birthday, especially since I had spent so much time, energy, and money on Ezra’s 1st birthday. but, it just isn’t me to not find an excuse to stay up late party planning and making decorations.

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penny doesn’t really love anything else as much as minnie mouse; but since she had already used that theme for her 2nd birthday party, I didn’t want her to reuse it. I settled on the unicorn theme which is really whimsical and quite popular.

to make the backdrop, I purchased a package of diy paper flowers from Michaels. this particular brand is recollections, and I had read bad reviews – difficult to follow illustrations, no written directions, requires a lot of tape/adhesive – but as they were the only kind Michaels sold, I purchased them anyway. they ended up being 60% off (regular price $19.99 for four flowers) maybe because they’re being discontinued? I couldn’t find any other diy paper flowers at Michaels – online or in store.

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the flowers were… time-consuming. I thought I would be able to whip them up but I spent quite a bit of time staring at the illustrations to make sure I had the correct size petals and that I was assembling them properly. in the end, I winged it because I really couldn’t figure out some of the steps! (recently, I also began rewatching random episodes of one of my all-time favorite shows, the office, so that’s a huge reason why I took so long in getting things done!)

I purchased green, black, lavender, and gold glitter card stock to make the leaves, eyelashes, ears, and horn respectively. I just traced them freehand and cut them out. I used a thick gold calligraphy pen to draw in the leaves’ veins to make them look more realistic. for the unicorn’s ears, I had white card stock at home that I used for the inner part of the ears.

the party room’s walls are bright shades of highlighter orange and lime green so I bought two plastic white tablecloths for a white backdrop. unfortunately, the tablecloths weren’t thick enough to hide the colors and designs underneath but, at least, most of it was covered. (I had looked up the party rooms online in advance to see how they looked.)

the party favors were diy unicorn horns made of funmallows (mini flavored marshmallows). I purchased the styrofoam cups and 5 bags of funmallows from target. (I only ended up using 3 bags for 21 unicorn horns.) the cone shaped plastic bags were purchased from Michaels.

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I also purchased the unicorn tablecloth, straws, and napkins from target. good ol’ target – I also found penny’s unicorn t-shirt in the girl’s section (size xs). the unicorn headband along with the unicorn cake topper were purchased as a set from amazon. the pink tutu was a gift and the polka dot pants are from carter’s.

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for those of you that know penny, she LOVES to jump so having her birthday party at jump off trampoline park was a no-brainer. lunch was included in the cost – pizza and pink lemonade – however, I wanted the kids to have other options in case they didn’t want pizza or wanted snacks. the trampoline park has a strict policy regarding outside food besides cake and cupcakes, but an employee informed me that if snacks are included in the goody bags, they can’t say anything. perfect! my husband assembled separate goody bags – this time, in gold and white paper bags – with an applesauce pouch, goldfish crackers, and a sticker packet in each one. thank goodness because penny barely ate the pizza (like we knew she wouldn’t. she only had a few bites of the crust.)

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the unicorn cutouts are from Michaels

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the cakes were almost a disaster. I had one cake ordered from big y, a small New England  supermarket chain, because I didn’t want to spend almost $100 on a fancy cake like I did for penny’s second birthday and for Ezra’s first birthday. well, supermarket bakeries have their limitations as we know. I just asked for a simple, 10-inch white cake with lavender, teal, and pink flowers cascading down the back for the unicorn-themed party. the cake wasn’t tall enough in my mind for the unicorn decorations. plus, it was my fault in asking for “happy birthday, Penelope” to be written on the cake. the baker didn’t know where to write that since I had told them I was going to use a cake topper; so it was written on the side where I needed to put on the eyelashes.

after Dennis told them we weren’t pleased with the cake, we just got a smaller (and taller) one from the display and the baker quickly piped on the flowers. the manager told Dennis they normally wouldn’t accept our request because it’s too detailed for them. we ended up getting the other cake for free. it was actually great that we had two cakes because we needed both to feed 18 children and some of the adults!

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although I stayed up until 5am (and laid wide-awake in bed for an hour and a half) finishing up the party decorations, I had a really wonderful time making them. I don’t know if it’s because I was watching the office but I wasn’t feeling stressed or anxious. Dennis did wake up around 4am wondering why I was still up. he ended up coming downstairs to help me finish the details. ❤ Dennis and my mil also were kind enough to watch the kids while I took a nap on the couch for 2.5 hours later that evening.

I received a lot of kind words from the guests that day regarding the decorations and the party itself. the kids really enjoyed jumping on the trampolines and eating cake together. many of the parents thanked me afterwards for inviting them and we all remarked how the kids would have a great nap when they got home. (they did.)

the party’s over and done with, and I’m glad. but I did enjoy putting it together for penny. I hope she remembers how much fun she had that day.

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just to get by, just to get by…

the title of this post is from a talib kweli song, fyi.

anyway, today was a “snow day.” forecasters had predicted up to 10 inches of snow and most schools closed, but all we received was a few inches of snow; the road is still visible. it was just disappointing because one of our favorite playgroups was canceled so i had to come up with ideas to keep penny entertained at home this morning.

since we hadn’t done any art projects at home lately, i quickly cut up striped tissue paper while penny practiced cutting on a different sheet. then, i gathered other art materials such as a canvas, glue, and a pencil. i drew a heart on the canvas using a pencil and penny squeezed glue on it. i helped her spread the glue out since she likes to squeeze out one giant glob.

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we spent the majority of our morning in the playroom which we hadn’t done in quite some time since penny and i partake in a morning activity every weekday. i always get nervous when i have to be with two kids on my own but it usually ends up being okay – unless penny’s sick or has one of her meltdowns.

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in my last post, i wrote about how penny had started going to the potty on her own. well, she’s still doing it! she will announce she has to go, walk into the bathroom on her own, pull down her pants and underwear and sit down. i was about to put away the small pottys because she had been sitting on the toilet but now i’ll leave them out to encourage her to go by herself.

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we have 4 bathrooms: 2 full and 2 half. she rarely uses the toilet in the master bedroom. in the playroom, we have a toilet seat on top of the toilet and in the upstairs bathroom we just place her on the toilet. she has a potty in her bedroom that she barely uses anymore so we might just put that away until it’s time to potty-train ezra. sometimes i’m still in awe that she’s potty trained. it’s such a huge milestone for toddlers – and definitely not an easy one – but i am so proud of penny. i’m hoping for penny to go to preschool once she turns 3 and having her go to the bathroom on her own is a huge step.

all right, it’s time for both kids to be up so i’ll have to get going. i’m just glad i was able to find time to squeeze in a post so soon after my previous one! i recently started working out again to get ready for my cancun trip so i hope to touch upon that in my next post.

dennis built a fort for the kids last weekend and they loved it. look at ezra’s expressions!

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the every-cheerful ezra. his third tooth broke through last week!

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his favorite song is “곰 새마리” (three bears)

i had wanted a picture of both girls because they wore the same shirt, but, of course, penny wanted no part in it.

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summer daze

although fall doesn’t officially begin until september 22nd, it feels like summer is slowly coming to an end with the start of the school year around the corner. i certainly am relishing the long days and soaking up the last rays of the summer sun. as much as i like snow, i dread being stuck indoors and the sun setting at 4pm. i spent this summer planning activities and trying to coordinate them with my kids’ schedules. we didn’t travel anywhere exotic – even with the kids sleeping well, i wouldn’t quite consider traveling far with a toddler and an infant a “vacation” – nor do anything out of the ordinary, but we shared many laughs and created lasting memories.

one place that i’ve been dying to bring penny to is the dinosaur place in oakdale, ct. it is a 60-acre outdoor adventure park that includes new england’s largest splash pad, a jurassic-themed moon bounce, a maze, and a huge playground. there is also a 1.5 mile trail complete with 40 life-sized dinosaurs! the main reason we waited so long to bring her is the distance: it is nearly an hour away. since the dinosaur place opens at 10am, we would not be able to go in the morning and have enough time for penny to eat lunch, drive back, and take a nap. naturally, we planned for the afternoon. we pushed penny’s nap up so she would wake up earlier in the afternoon. (she still woke up around 2:30pm.)

there is so much to do, and you can easily spend the entire day there in order to properly experience everything. this is why admission is so expensive. i was surprised to learn admission for 2 and up is $24 during the peak season! there is no “kid’s price”: they pay the same as adults! for that reason alone, i really wouldn’t bring children unless they’re older.. maybe, at least 5 years old, to make the price worthwhile.

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we took a family photo before we explored the park

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penny enjoyed the splash pad the most!

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dad is regretting not bringing a change of clothes although he did wear swim trunks

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ezra did not like the jet spray of cold water

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can’t expect a toddler to look at the camera in the midst of water play

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this thing was awesome – half the time, kids were waiting for the huge bucket of water to fill up so it could tip over and come down the slide

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splash!

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waiting…

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walking the dinosaur trail

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dinosaur vertebrae

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ezra always has something in his mouth these days

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dinosaur maze

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our annual stop at dave’s place in oakdale, ct… it’s so good and always busy!

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my go-to: fried clam strips

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new england clam chowder and a cheeseburger

the day before, on saturday, august 12th, my mil and i took the kids to the tolland 4-h fair that was held across the street from where we live. we had taken penny there before when she was an infant but going on saturday made me realize just how small it is. i believe it was $3 for a walk-in fee.. not each person so that was fine.

there were a few vendors and food stands but the only thing that was of interest were the animals.  we looked at the llamas, cows, sheep, goats, chickens & roosters, and the rabbits (although the latter were closed off so we had to view from a distance). penny also liked looking at the row of tractors, old and new. she wanted to go on them but we told her they were only for looking.

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i don’t want to knock a fair, but it was just okay. i wouldn’t go back though, honestly. it was just something to do and all we had to do was walk over from our neighborhood.

dennis and i are really looking forward to taking the kids to farm day at the fish family farm in bolton. it’s on sept 2nd this year and it’s from 9am-5pm. we took penny last year but since she was so small she couldn’t participate in the children’s activities like the obstacle course. she did enjoy eating ice cream though (and it’s all-you-can-eat!) my friend, karen, and i found out from a vendor that there is a spin art station so i’ll be sure to look for that. hopefully this year we can make a tie-dye shirt too because we didn’t get a chance to last year.

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always smiling

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blooms & custard

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did you know there are farms that allow you to pick your own flowers? i sure didn’t. i’m constantly looking for new and fun activities to do with penny and i found out about a flower picking farm in south windsor, ct from a mom’s group in my town. recently, i joined a mom’s group; i discovered this group through our town library and, not long ago, i saw the group on my instagram newsfeed. for an annual fee of $25/year, moms and their children participate in weekly activities, organized and spontaneous playgroups, monthly moms’ night out, and participate in board meetings.

it’s always great to meet other moms and provide our children more opportunities to socialize with other kids. the first activity i attended via the mom’s group was a music & dance playgroup at a local nursing & rehabilitation center. the children participate in organized activities during the hour-long playgroup and can interact with the residents if they choose. penny was shy at first because of all the people but she loosened up when she saw that the children were playing with big balloons. i thought that was a wonderful way to keep the kids preoccupied while waiting for the program to begin. some of the residents asked penny to hit the balloon to them so they could hit it back to her. it was really sweet to see how much joy the children brought to these people.

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this playgroup consisted of a sing-along, interactive reading, musical instruments, bubbles, parachute, and a snack. penny was engaged the entire time and was excited to move on to the next activity. although she really enjoyed everything, i could tell penny was particularly pleased with the cup of juice at snack time. we rarely let penny drink juice so it was a real treat for her especially since she was thirsty from all of the activity. overall, i was really pleased with the whole event and can’t wait to go back next week.

tuesday morning, the mom’s group went to petersen farm in south windsor to pick our own flowers. visitors can park right on the grass. the farm provides cutting tools, buckets, and water although it’s recommended you bring your own bucket to safely transport the flowers back home. flowers are $8/lb (which is an excellent deal) and i initially scoffed at the price thinking, “who gets a pound of flowers?” well, i ended up getting two. the flowers are all so gorgeous that you can’t help but want each one. i might have gotten a little scissor-happy.

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the only downside is that it was misting when we went so the grass was wet, soaking our sneakers. i had been thinking about purchasing rain boots for penny and now i have more of a reason to do that. fall is around the corner and they’ll be useful then, too.

we both enjoyed ourselves and i look forward to going back. fresh flowers certainly brighten up a room (and a mood!) and also smell divine.

tuesday was also “national custard day” so rita’s was having a .99 special for a kid’s size custard. i intended to meet some moms from the group around 3:30 but we didn’t end up arriving until after 4pm. i had to wake penny up from her nap because she was sleeping so much. ezra’s naps were off today because he’s been rolling over. since he was awake, we all went to rita’s.

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as for upcoming events and activities, there is a tolland 4-h fair this weekend so i’m thinking of bringing both kids to that.

new england air museum

if you haven’t yet visited the new england air museum, it’s definitely worth checking out. i’m constantly on the look-out for new places to bring penny and the neam has always been in the back of my mind. i first heard about it through my town library. many libraries offer discounts to museums and parks by requesting a pass in advance. admission for adults is normally $12.50 but with a library pass it was half off. kids 3 and under are free. i wasn’t sure how penny would like the museum even though she absolutely loves airplanes because, well, it’s a museum. however, i read so many rave reviews from people that had brought their toddlers and children so i decided to give it a shot.

the museum is located in windsor locks, ct so it was a half hour drive from our home. the hours are 10am-5pm every day but starting in september they will be closed on mondays. initially we had planned on going after penny’s nap but with possible t-storms and rush hour traffic, we decided to go right when it opened. it ended up working out because ezra woke up for the day a little before 8am so we kept him up and he snoozed a little on the way to the museum.

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we ended up arriving ten minutes early so we walked around the nearly empty parking lot and checked out the airplanes that were on display behind a fenced area. the museum is near bradley international airport so we were able to see a southwest airplane take off.

once inside, you are greeted with a display of model airplanes hanging on the ceiling. there is also a gift shop next to the ticket counter so we checked out the items while we waited for karen and parker. of course, we bought penny a few items: a southwest airplane set, a model airplane that moves and makes noises, a glider, and a museum magnet for myself.

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walking around and checking out the cool airplanes and helicopters is one thing, but several of them allow people to climb aboard and sit in the cockpit. this was definitely a hit with the kiddos. i even enjoyed sitting in the pilot seat and playing with the buttons.

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the museum has quite a collection of planes and copters and the exhibits are always changing. they are also in the midst of renovating some of the space. in addition, there’s a kidsport where you can learn how to make different kinds of paper airplanes, watch interactive videos on planes, and dress up in pilot gear.

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the fenced in area that we had seen from the parking lot is also accessible through one of the exhibit rooms. we did go outside to look at a few planes but it was so humid that we retreated back into the air-conditioned museum.

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even though ezra didn’t nap at all he was in great spirits, smiling and babbling away. he did get really cranky near the end so my mil took him out of the car seat to walk around with him. penny started getting a little tired and hangry as well but snacking on grapes helped her calm down near the end of the visit. we stayed for about an hour and 15 minutes. it was a wonderful way to spend the morning, and i’m really glad that the trip was a success.

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thunder has been rolling before i even started writing this blog post so a big storm seems imminent. both kids fell asleep for their nap at the same time so i have a bit of quiet time here which is why i’m updating my blog. if i don’t do it now, it’ll probably not get published for another week, at least.

planetoys

the next event we are looking forward to is going up to massachusetts this weekend to celebrate my sister’s birthday. i can’t believe it’s already august!