We recently drove to Oklahoma to attend my 20-year high school reunion. I can't believe it's been 20 years. When I first moved away, I'd return every few months for a weekend here and there. However, after a few years that became more and more difficult to do and the visits became less and less frequent. It's been 6 years since we've been back. Wow.
Our vacations usually involve a 5 or 6 hour drive to my in-laws for a long weekend. We don't usually do much of anything planned and just relax with family. We try to make an annual winter weekend trip to a major river that freezes so we can see the bald eagles up close and personal. Both types of trips are nice and relaxing, for the most part. However, they are always the same. But going somewhere new and seeing things we haven't seen before and learning about things we don't know doesn't usually happen on these trips. We always see billboards for places we'd like to spend more time one of these days. So, we decided that during this trip, we'd like to do those things.
We already knew that once in Oklahoma, 1 day would be set aside for my reunion and I would be spending 2 days with one or both of my brothers to sort through my mom's belongings that have been in storage for the past 11 years. I like to be emotionally prepared for events and had no idea what to expect for any of these 3 days. So, the rest of the trip had better be fun! I also wanted to be sure that we'd spend some time together as a family because those 3 days would have us going in different directions.
What would be a 10-11 hour drive with mature travelers turns into, well... a much longer drive when you add children to the mix. We planned 3 days to get there so we would have time to enjoy it. And it's a good thing, because Child C had to go to the bathroom about every 45 minutes! The joys of potty-training (and better late than never!)
On our first day, we drove to St. Louis and spent a little over 24 hours there. The zoo is free and parking was reasonable considering no admission cost. We don't usually take a train or tram or trolley, but decided to spend the money to see more of the zoo in the time we had. It was a very nice zoo and I recommend it to those passing through.
This isn't a review of the St. Louis zoo, so I'm going to move right along. We also spent a significant amount of time wandering around the riverfront and the arch.
Across the street from the zoo is Turtle Park. Concrete turtle structures of various sizes, from toddler tackle-able to giant. The kids were tired and hungry after trekking through the zoo, but they still wanted to romp, climb, and be eaten by giant turtles. This would have been a great place to eat a picnic dinner, had we been prepared for that.
We finished the day with a quick bite to eat from some local fast-food joint that we wanted to remember because they had 30-cent ice-cream cones. What was the name of that place? Sorry. I don't remember. Then it was off to our hotel for the night. Tomorrow, we'll see the World's Largest Rocking Chair, which I'll share with you in a few days.