Monday, July 13, 2015

2015 Road Trip, Day 22: Surprise!

Our original plans for Pigeon Forge were to drive from Chattanooga to Pigeon Forge on Friday morning, and visit the Titanic museum that afternoon, and then go into the mountains on Saturday.  Because of opportunity and the weather, we decided to visit the mountains on Friday, and then explored Pigeon Forge on Saturday.  As we checked into our hotel, I saw a wall of brochures, and looked through them, hoping to find some coupons.  One I found was for a place called WonderWorks.  After looking it up, I decided to try to extend our Pigeon Forge stay (and shift our other hotels) because I thought the kids would love it.  When I ran the idea by Neal, I said the only way to describe it was "Imagine (the) Please Touch (museum) and Franklin Institute merged."  (Please Touch is a popular Philadelphia hands-on museum for little children, and the Franklin Institute is a science-based museum for older ones.  I didn't tell the kids why we were staying longer -- just that I had a surprise.  They're all very active, hands-on kinds of kids, so it was perfect for them.

The museum is divided into several sections, based on topic.  When you enter, it's right into the "Natural Disasters" section.  That seems about right for us!  They loved the lightning exhibit.

Yep, reach out and touch the electric.

After that, the rooms seemed to flow into each other.  Our rule was that the little boys needed to buddy up with me or a big kid, but if a big person was alone, he or she could wander but stay in *that* room.  They made beelines for the rock wall.

This girl has no fear.  She climbed both the advanced and the easy walls.  She thought the "easy" one was harder.

Luke scrambled right to the top.  I'm impressed!

Damien came back in hysterics.  "I'm...too...little!!" he sobbed.  The minimum weight requirement is 40 pounds, and all participants are weighed in order to size them for harnesses.  His weight?  39.8 pounds.  (I said if they had switched ride attendants, I could have run him outside and given him another feeding -- that 12 ounces in his belly would tip him over!)  He hung out with Jude and me on the ground.

Next was a space room.  They remembered from our visit in Houston which Apollo landed on the moon -- Apollo 11 -- by looking for the eagle on the mission's insignia. 

There was even a replica capsule.

Many of the activities included scientific information.  It's not the most detailed...but it's a hands-on museum.  It's enough to set the scene, and pique interest for when we're back home.  This sign was next to the Mercury capsule.

One of our favorite areas was the bubble experiment.  It made a mess...of course we'd like it!

Somebody tried to burst her bubble...

One of the highlights was the Space Climb.  Everyone wanted a turn...some decided once they were on the platform that they changed their minds.  Can you guess who?

 Yep, the two little boys made it about halway up the stair case when panic set in.  They had to climb to the first platform to let the others behind us by, and right back down we went.

The brave one for the day is Matthew.  My stomach was flopping just watching.

I think it was sheer willpower that kept his lunch where it belonged.

Everyone enjoyed our bonus day.  Next up: a drive from Tennessee to western Virginia. 

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