Sunday, April 18, 2010

Woolaroc, revisited

Because it is completely cold and nasty and drizzly and rainy this weekend (which hasn't stopped it from being a TOTALLY AWESOME weekend, but that's another post), I am all for remembering a time when there was sun and warmth. All of a week ago.

Oz and I took the kids to Woolaroc again. We had been there last year, too, but it was so hot that we left before we could do half the stuff that the place has to offer, and I had promised myself I'd take the kids back.

So, when an open weekend presented itself with gorgeous weather, I grabbed it. I informed Oz on Friday afternoon: "I told the kids we're going to Woolaroc tomorrow so we can go hiking on the nature trails, and I was thinking we could take a picnic lunch."

Oz: "Sounds good... but isn't there somewhere closer that we could walk on nature trails and have a picnic?"

Me: "Oh, probably... but M2 wants to see the museum again. So *you* can talk to her about it if you come up with other plans, but I told them we were going to Woolaroc."

Oz: "Ah. OK."

He's very well-trained. It's one of the reasons I keep him.

So on Saturday, we packed a picnic lunch and piled into the van and drove to Woolaroc. When we got there, they had their seasonal Mountain Man Camp open, which is where this blogger got stupid and forgot she had a camera in her pocket and therefore didn't take any pictures, but I'd love to go back and do that. These people actually camp for the entire weekend and live the pioneer life. They had fur hats, leather clothes, moccasins, etc. They had shooting and archery exhibitions/competitions going on, some people had things for sale, and everyone looked like they were having a blast. There was one place that had a huge Dutch oven for sale for $40, and I *had* $40, and I thought really hard about buying it, but the logical person in me wanted to know where I'd store it and when I'd use it, and I couldn't answer her, so I had to let it go. The foodie part of me is still having non-buyer's remorse, and the logical part of me is still trying to smack some sense into the foodie part. I think it's a useless effort.

But anyway... we went through the museum again, and M1 loved the shrunken heads and M2 was completely mesmerized for 10 minutes by a gigantic portrait of the portrayal of Pocahontas saving John Smith, so that was worth it.

And then we ate lunch, and the wind was just strong enough to blow M1's plate right onto me, sloppy homemade cole slaw and all. Nothing like sticky mayonnaise on your shorts.

And THEN... M1 and Oz saw the lookout.

We hadn't been up it last time because we were hot and tired and just honestly didn't notice it was there. So Oz and M1 wanted to go up in it despite M1's horrid fear of heights. M2 didn't want to at first - she wanted to go play in the kids' area - and then she actually SAW what they were talking about and said, "Hey, can we go up THAT?" And Daddy had to tell her that that was, in fact, what they had been talking about the entire time. So up we went.

It's pretty up there.

And *then* we let them play in the kids' area till M1 had a meltdown and had to go have a rest in the car for a bit.

Meanwhile, M2 invaded the petting zoo and got to meet Salt and Pepper, the newborn goats. And she petted them. And got to tell M1 alllllll about what he had missed and rub it in just to the point where I had to give her the Look.

And all was right in her world.

M1 had recovered his composure by the time we got back, so we decided to go ahead and take a look at the hiking trails. We knew one of the trails was fairly short, so Oz and I figured that we'd just do that one and come back and head home.

The children, however, had other plans. M1 saw a sign for a 1-mile - that's ONE MILE - trail and wanted to take it and talked M2 into wanting to go, too. I was skeptical.

"Um, you know that'd be like walking around the ENTIRE zoo, right?"

Both kids chorused, "Yeah."

"You know I'm not going to CARRY your gigantic butts back to the car and Daddy isn't, either."

"Yeah."

"You know I'm not going to listen to WHINING when we're halfway through the trail and your feet get tired, right?"

"Yeah... can we just go???"

I caved. I'm a sucker like that.
It really was a beautiful trail, and there was enough to see and do during the mile-long trail that they never did get bored or whine.

We found a dead, hollow tree. (M1 was disappointed that there were no bees in it.)

We found little tadpoles...

and their larger brethren one pool over. And snails. That black speck to the left of the tadpole is a snail.

And tracks. Deer tracks, mostly, though I also saw raccoon and either wolf or coyote. The kids were impressed with my tracking skills, though I have to say that with hoofprints like this in the dirt, I'm reasonably sure a blind person could have done a pretty good job of finding where the deer had gone.

There were butterflies and flowers, too. M2 collected a few flowers to bring home, but of course they had wilted by the time we made it back. She had wilted, too, and both kids were ready for bed early.

Well worth the trip. :)

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