Monday, June 11, 2012

A Fun-Packed Weekend

Saturday afternoon we travelled to Lansing to celebrate the bat mitzvah of the daughter of one of my former coworkers. Many other co-workers were there, including Scott of the Providentia blog and his family and a darn good time was had by all. The coworker cooked all Russian foods, as her daughter is an adoptee from Russia and it was quite the feast. The dancing was fun with the kids having a blast.

I was then put in charge of the chair raising part of the festivities.

Lifting the bar mitzvah girl or boy is a traditional part of the ceremony.

So I and three others snuck up on her, got in the chair and up she went.

Much fun had by all.

Then, in a slight and unexpected break from tradition, the attendee kids also wanted a go.

It's a celebration after all, so how could we say no?

So I was quite sore the next morning and I got quite the workout that night.

Sunday morning we got up early and headed for the wilds of Ohio, The African Safari Wildlife Park to be precise. We met up there with a family we knew from the old neighborhood and spent the rest of the time together. Great people, the kids get along pretty well and are about the same age so it was a great time.

The Park is a wonderful combination of wonders of the animal world, close interactions with animals and corniness, all rolled into one.

First after paying admission we headed off to the NASPIG races. Yes, NASPIG.

We were in the cheering section for Mario Spamdretti, who beat Pig Daddy and Dale Swineheart Jr quite handily. Like I said, corny.

Then on to the animals.

First there were the static displays as in a typical zoo.

Then a free short camel ride for the kids with longer ones costing.

Then a wildlife interaction, including a close encounter with a Burmese Python:

Not only did the kids touch it, but we later took a picture of them holding it. Brave kids, especially when it looked Leah right in the face, sizing her up to be a snack. She kept her composure quite well.

Then onto the vehicular-nutritive-interactive phase, which was the highlight.

For a reasonable fee, you could buy some grain pellets and carrots and drive into the park and feed the animals from the inside of your car.

The Alpacas and Guancano were pretty soft, relaxed, and gentle, and you could give them a pet while feeding them. They would also hum in appreciation when you fed them which was kinda cute.

Then it got interesting as we entered the main animal welfare section:

The deer were pretty insistent, with one of them even taking the entire feed cup out of Abby's hands and taking off with it stuck on his upper jaw until finished off all the contents.

The Buffalo then made an appearance. He knew what he wanted and he got it:

At that moment, with a buffalo's hot breath in my face and teeth and horn just inches away, all debates of 9mm v .45 faded into irrelevance and insignificance. Where the hell was a trusty 45-70 Sharps around here anyways?

Luckily, It turns out that these Buffalo are addicted to carrots, and carrots they darn well received. Once you paid the protection carrots they happily went on to hit up the next vehicle.

A very cool experience and highly recommended.

Buy carrots and expect to need a car wash later as the buffalo tend to get slime on your car.

After spending the day there we drove to Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky and checked in and hit the water park.

Abby decided she was going to be queen of the water slides and we were off and taking the tallest and fastest slides immediately. And again, and again. I got all the stair-climbing exercise I might need carrying the double tube up multiple flights to get to the top and then repeat.

Then a filling and tasty dinner.

After dinner, I took the kids to the arcade where they kept playing games and winning tickets so they could buy the trinkets in the arcade store. Much fun had by all.

Monday we got up at Great Wolf, had a huge all-you-can eat breakfast and headed again into the water park.

After a Pizza lunch and then even more carrying the tube up the stairs on countless more slide rides, we called it a day and headed homeward.

Now we're all sorts of tired, but we sure packed a lot into the past couple days.


Murphy's Law said...

Lucky kids to have such great parents.

Scott said...

That chair lift was some serious upper body work, as the ceiling in the banquet room was so low they couldn't lift to full extension. So it was just lifting dead weight up to about shoulder height to avoid braining the rider!

Aaron, it was great to see your lovely bride and your beautiful girls!

an Donalbane said...

Fair to say the staff at African Safari Wildlife Park would be less than supportive if you removed your bespoke .375 Holland & Holland double from its Legget's ostrich case?

Aaron said...

The Donald:

Yeah, the park ranger at the entrance to the drive through path looked at me kinda funny and didn't quite get what I meant when I asked what the bag limit was on the safari.

"Oh, you can buy all the carrots and pellets you like....."