Friday, July 06, 2007

A Few Travel Notes

Despite packing a large bag of toys, what your kids want to play with most of all when they visit their grandparents' house is the toys their father played with as a child. The Fisher Price schoolhouse, garage, and Sesame Street house, circa 1974, are still in mint condition and entertained the kids for four days.

The Pittsburgh Zoo is amazingly inexpensive (cheap tickets, FREE parking) and fun. Despite its limited scope, the animal habitats are creative and seem relatively humane, for a zoo. Want to root your prone-to-wandering-after-15-seconds kids? Meander by the elephants' paddock while the elephants bathe. We were all transfixed by the baby elephant and its mother as they spun and rolled, splashed, and tackled each other in the deep water.

Fireworks on July 3rd are sparsely attended and lacking in flamboyance. However, they also appear to lack the sonic booms that you had feared would render your daughter a howling, ear-clutching banshee. So, thanks, I'll take the minimalistic approach over ear damage and hysteria.

And this observation, post-travel;

Looking for a rib-tickling reading experience? Try this classic. It's my favorite picture book from my childhood, one I'd pretty much forgotten about till recently. I read it to the kids this morning -- we were all HOWLING with laughter. Allie found it so suspenseful that she covered her head with her blanket on the second-to-last page.

For all the U.S. folks out there reading, hope your Independence Day was similarly fun!