I told you the other day that our family recently headed to exciting Park City, Utah for a little vacation the first week of June.
We had to stay nearby because:
1. We just don't have the funds for a big trip this year.
2. I had some Dr visits in Salt Lake that week so I needed to be able to yo yo back and forth between vacation and real life.
Anyway, so we loaded up the Suburban with all the odds and ends that make a great trip, then we piled the kids into their chairs and headed off for some fun.
|Six little sprites all ready for adventure in their new,|
happy vacation sun glasses (thank you All-a-Dollar).
I have to admit that a 45 minute drive to our destination was much more pleasant than the 7-12 hour drives of our last couple of trips. Maybe there is something to this stay cation business.
We arrived at our condo at the Sweetwater Lift Lodge near the Park City Mountain Resort. We were pleasantly surprised with the size of the condo and the accommodations. Now, this is no five star place, but for our family it was just what we needed. The four boys were stationed in their own room with two sets of bunk beds. Aubrey and Ellie very happily climbed the spiral staircase to their room which boasted a queen bed for them to share. Josh and I had a room with no children (in the past we've often had Ellie in a playpen in our room) and it was a great set up.
I had a little bit harder time planning things to do than I usually do. Park City just isn't full of cheap or free activities for kids. I even had a hard time locating playgrounds (be careful, there is a Park City strip joint called "The Playground" just so you know).
Still, after a bit of finagling we managed to pull together fun things to do for the week.
Before we left I made up a photo chart of "birds of northern Utah" (with the help of a couple of websites...also, sorry, I can't get it to load in its columns so it spills onto several pages in this link). Saturday morning of our trip we went to the Swaner Nature Preserve.
It wasn't quite what we expected, but we still had a great time. The lady that ran things was amazing. She even lead the kids to a spot where they could see a nest full of baby robins up very close. That was was pretty cool. She outfitted us with binoculars and a couple of field guides and we headed onto the preserve.
We checked birds off of our charts and explored the area. It was a pretty good morning. We also meandered through the Swaner facility and had some fun photo opportunities.
The next day, Sunday, we went to Sacrament meeting at the local ward and then hiked (OK, walked) a nearby path. It was only a couple of miles long, but there was a lot to see and we had fun.
When we were heading back to the condo Logan was sad because we wouldn't let him take a big stick that he had found back with us (it was peeling and gross and really big). When we got back to our room he drew a picture of him and "Sticky" (the name he gave his stick, he gets is creativity from his mother). What a cutie.
Monday we had to go to Salt Lake for my Dr visit. I had to get a bunch of shots and do a TB test (happy day, I turned out to be tuberculosis free). Since we were already in Salt Lake we decided to make a day of it. We went to the zoo to check out the animals and especially the new Rocky Shores exhibit. It was great to see fish and seals and a sea lion and a polar bear.
We have a year pass to the zoo so we have been several times already this year (although this was our first time seeing the new water animals) so to make it more exciting I put together a zoo scavenger hunt. I know there are lots of them out there on the web, but most of them have animals that our zoo doesn't have or are missing animals that are my kids favorites so I just made my own. It actually turned out to be a great for the kids, it really helped them stay focused and gave them something new to do.
After the zoo we took the kids to Litza's Pizza for lunch (eating out is a gigantic treat at our house...paying to feed eight people never comes with a small price tag). They were thrilled to each be able to order their own small pizza. I haven't seen them so excited about food in a long time. I loved that.
|Ellie, Aubrey and Logan dressing up in the kids room.|
When everyone had eaten his/her fill we finished off our day with a stop at the LDS Church History Museum. That was one of my favorite stops of our trip. It was great to see the kids scramble wide eyed from exhibit to exhibit in awe of every thing they saw. We must have heard, "Mom, Dad, come look at this!" thousands of time that day and I smiled at every one of them. Bryce was all grown up and chatted it up with several of the cute missionary ladies that worked there. It was fun to see him share the things he has learned and ask intelligent questions about what he was seeing.
Monday night was our fancy and expensive trip to the ER with Logan. You can read about that here.
Tuesday we shook things up a bit and left Park City in favor of Provo Canyon. We drove to Aspen Grove and then hiked the nearly four miles round trip to Stewart Falls.
There are not many activities that I like to do more than to hike. This path was perfect for a family with small kids. There were some challenging bits (for the kids) but they were very few and far between. The day was cloudy so it wasn't too hot and the scenery was green and gorgeous. There were squirrels and caterpillars everywhere so there was always something to look at.
The waterfall was really beautiful and I can't think of a better thing to have done that day.
|Our family at Stewart Falls (only the falls is hiding behind the boys for the picture).|
|Bryce drinking in the beauty of nature.|
|My girls are amazing!|
Wednesday we decided to take the kids to the Park City History Museum on main street. They got to experience the quaint feel of downtown Park City and learn something about the town we were staying in.
I learned a lot too. Did you know that once upon a time people who lived in Park City were seen as scumbags, low life's and drunks because most of the people from that city worked in the mines? There were so many interesting tidbits to read about.
|"Hey, guys, please hold still for a second so I can take your picture."|
Sadly, I didn't get to read very many of the display plaques because our kids were WILD at this place. To tell you the truth I was pretty embarrassed. My sprites sprinted from display to display without even stopping to breathe and since there are six of them I was constantly clamoring in different directions to keep up with them. They set off the "hey, don't touch that" alarm several times and I seriously felt like shackling them in the basement jail and leaving them there.
OK, not really, but I think you know what I mean.
Once we got to the basement we sat them all in a coal car and scolded them but good. The old Park City jail in the basement was really the jewel of the museum for us so we did get to salvage the trip while we were down there.
The kids got to work the explosive box which set off a loud boom and then thunderous rumbling throughout the "mine." Ellie was terrified of the sound, but everyone else thought it was great. They also had an old drill set up that the kids could use to drill into rock (it was noisy too, but that was fine with us).
One of the favorite things in the basement was this video book. As you turn each page a mini movie plays describing one of the fugitives who spent time in the Park City jail many years ago. Parker was especially thrilled to find someone with his name in there.
Our last full day of vacation was Thursday and I had planned to explore another museum, this time the BYU natural sciences museum in Provo. To be honest I was a little bit nervous about it since we didn't have a great experience the day before. We laid down the law with the kidlets before we left the condo and held a valued prize over their heads. IF they behaved we would take them for lunch and ice-cream at the BYU creamery (if you haven't had their ice-cream you should try it next time you're in Provo).
The museum was great, so many amazing things to see. It is also FREE so that makes it even better. (Unfortunately I think I read that it is closing in July for a year so that they can redo some things or something...but if you need a family activity before July I strongly recommend this place.)
And I have to say that five out of six of the DeMoux crew were absolute angels. Ellie had some trouble, but she is two so we give her a little more leeway than most of the others.
Aubrey making "friends" with the locals.
Aaaah! Parker, don't fall in with the hippo! They are adorable yet vicious creatures!
We did manage to earn a trip to the creamery and the kids had a wonderful day!
All in all I'd say the vacation was a success. We spent lots of our down time in the pool and watching movies and I even brought along a couple of simple crafts to put together to keep everyone occupied. I'm grateful that we could get away as a family and I'm grateful that our kids still enjoy spending time together, I hope that lasts for a very long time.
|One of the projects that I brought for the kiddos. We displayed|
them on the table as a centerpiece while we were there.