Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hot Springs Arkansas: Adams Family Vacation -Day 4

Saturday morning started off somewhat early at the Garvan Woodland Gardens. They opened at 9 am, so we wanted to get there right away so we would have more time during the day to cram activities in. We didn't factor in the weather to that plan, so when we arrived it started to rain. Not a huge downpour, but enough that we had to sit in the visitor's center for a little while as the rain died down. The gardens actually have nice big umbrellas that they provide to people, so once the rain was soft enough we each grabbed one and headed out.

Each of the kids was given a backpack to use with binoculars and some field guides inside to identify plants and animals. They were also given a bingo card and stickers, which is a fantastic idea. It really kept the kids interested in the gardens because they were trying to fill out their bingo cards. Each kid got a bag of koi fish food so they could feed the koi as well.
We spent several hours wandering around the grounds of the gardens and we didn't even get to see all of it. It's a very large garden! We all loved the fairy garden, which is extremely detailed and so very cute. Kate truly believes that real fairies live there and I'm not going to tell her otherwise. We also enjoyed seeing the peacock that lives on the grounds. He was laying in the grass, soaking up the sun and let me get fairly close to him for some photos.
The last thing we wanted to see on the grounds was the famous Anthony Chapel. The chapel is gorgeous, nestled in the tall trees and I was itching to photograph it. As we approached, my plans were dashed because the chapel was closed for a wedding. I was not pleased and highly annoyed. I didn't grab a single photo of it.

We left Garvan and headed back to the house, just a short drive away, for lunch. We had lots of sandwich stuff to eat and since the gardens were so close, it made sense to eat there. Once lunch was cleaned up, it was time for some redneck fun. We headed into town and went to the Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo.
This place has been a tourist trap since 1902, and I had actually been there once when I was a little kid. Mom and Dad took us on a family vacation to Hot Springs one time, although I don't remember much about it. We paid and got our bread for the petting zoo, although I'm the only one who went into the goat pen to feed anything I think. I walked all the way back to the baby deer and fed one of them, and the back to the emu and donkey pen. The emu bit my finger as he was grabbing bread from me, and when I tried to feed the donkey the emu tried to steal his bread. He was a stingy little thing.
Next we headed into the building where you hold a baby alligator. Well, technically they aren't really babies, but alligators grow extremely slow. The one we held was around 7 years old. Kate wouldn't have anything to do with it, and she was pouting the whole time we were there anyway because she didn't want to go. The rest of us made the most of our time and just let her pout.
We had missed the gator feeding at noon, unfortunately, so the big gators are kind of boring. They just sit there and most of them don't move, which is a bit anti-climatic. It was pretty cool though to be standing just a couple of feet away from a big alligator, only separated by a regular height chain length fence. (Haven't they seen that video on Youtube of a Florida alligator climbing a chain link fence??) Anyway, we didn't have to spend a really long time here because that's all there is to it, but it was still a fun experience for most of us.

From there, Dad really wanted to take the kids to the Mid-America Science Museum, so off we went to what we thought would be a cool indoor activity. We arrived only to find out their a/c was broken, so it actually ended up being hotter in there than outside. But it didn't stop the kids from having a good time. For me, I can live without museums geared towards children because quite frankly, I don't like being around other children I don't know. They are loud and they run around. So I could have easily skipped this outing, but everyone else was excited about it and we had fun. I failed to grab any photos.

Supper that evening was seafood themed - we had baked fish and I made shrimp, along with some regular and sweet potato fries. I threw my shrimp on a bed of spinach leaves. It was a pretty good meal actually. The kids chowed down on mac 'n cheese. We made s'mores again, but this time I had to make them in the oven because it had rained so much and the firewood was way too wet. I used the broiler and they were extremely melty, so it worked out quite well.

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