Wednesday, May 8, 2013

First Road Trip With Kids! Birmingham, AL Edition!

This post is going to be a long one...brace yourself :)  We just returned from our first-ever long road trip with kids, and we not only survived, we had a great time!

The first day, we set out for Houston to spend the night with Grandma.  We always want to take advantage of the opportunity to visit Grandma!  The next day we drove from Houston to Mobile, AL, which was our longest day of driving; Google Maps said 7 hours, and with stops, it took us about 9.  I had packed a box full of toys/books/activities for LittleBear and LadyBear to play with and, thankfully, they were content with what I had brought for them (I'll share more about what I packed in a future post).  We had a wonderful motivator waiting for us in Mobile: Our dear friends the Whiteheads, who moved there from Waco the year before.  We got to spend the night at their house and had a wonderful time visiting with them -- we even got to go to a beach!  I am so, so thankful it worked out for us to hang out with this amazing family; we have really missed them! 

Saturday afternoon, we left their home in Mobile for Birmingham and arrived that evening to our hotel. Sunday was a rainy day, so we decided to spend it at the McWane Science Center.  It was a huge science museum, and we all had a blast.  We also got to see an IMAX movie about monarch butterflies, which was really fun considering how much LittleBear loves monarch butterflies.   LittleBear loved the marble run and the IMAX movie the most, and LadyBear loved the bubbles.

Monday was a beautifully sunny day, which begged for us to be outside, so we went to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in the morning.  We saw rose gardens, an iris garden, veggie and herb gardens, a Japanese garden and some neat forests.  I think LittleBear's favorite was the tunnel of pea plants he got to walk through.  LadyBear liked grabbing leaves. 

During the afternoon, we went to Rickwood Field, America's Oldest Baseball Park.  This park hosts the occasional baseball game and is currently being restored to what it looked like in 1910.  You explore it via self-guided tour and are free to walk all around, through the stands and even on the field.  It was pretty neat.  LittleBear and Daddy loved it, and Mommy enjoyed it too.

Tuesday we spent a good part of the day at the Birmingham Zoo.  It was probably the hottest day we were there and LadyBear wasn't thrilled about that, but otherwise we all had a great time.  We saw lots of great animals and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.  LittleBear got to feed giraffes and we all rode a train together.

Wednesday we spent the morning learning about the history of the civil rights movement in Birmingham.  We started at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in downtown Birmingham, then went across the street to the Civil Rights Institute and ended at Kelly Ingram Park across the street from there.  Reading the plaques, seeing the art and thinking about all that went on in these places was really moving.  We rounded out our day with a visit to the Southern Museum of Flight in the afternoon.

Thursday we started back for home, with a stop in Jackson, MS on the way.  What was in Jackson, you ask?  The City of Jackson Fire Museum, of course!  Attached to working Fire Station No. 10, the Jackson Fire Museum is run by Sherri, the curator, and features a pole for kids to slide down, five fire trucks ranging from 1904 to the (I think) late 1970s, including two the kids can climb into, plus a lot of history and great information about fire fighting in Jackson, MS, over the years.  It was super interesting!  We even got to meet the on-duty firefighters and see their fire truck, since they were not out on a call.  It was a really fun break between driving and we all loved it! 

After our visit there, we got back on the road and stopped for the night in Monroe, LA. Friday we just drove and arrived home in the late afternoon/early evening.  LadyBear had her best night's sleep in a long time that night :)  We had a great trip, but it is so nice to be home!!!

If you are interested in reliving parts of our trip through mom's camera, click the image below!
Birmingham Road Trip

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