Archive for the ‘Vacation’ Category

Washington, DC – Day 4

April 27, 2011

Arlington National Cemetery

Tuesday was our fourth day in the Washington area. Usually, starting out the day going to a cemetery would seem to be a bad thing but not in this case. We started the day by going to Arlington National Cemetery. We visited the graves of the Kennedys; JFK, Jackie, Robert, and Teddy. At The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we got to see the changing of the guard twice and two wreath laying ceremonies. I got some great video of that and I will be posting it on YouTube when we get back.

In the afternoon, we toured the National Archives. We saw the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. I was amazed to see how faded they have all become. I’m sure it didn’t help to have Nicholas Cage drag the Declaration all over Washington, Philadelphia, and New York just to find some dumb treasure… oh that’s right, that was just a movie. My 8th grade social studies teacher would have been proud as I was able to pick out “Article 1, Section 8, the 18 powers of Congress” in the Constitution rather quickly.

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Washington, DC – Day 3

April 26, 2011

Library Of Congress

Yesterday was a spectacular third day in Washington, DC. It was so amazing and so jam-packed that we were exhausted when we got back to the hotel last night. Therefore, I postponed the blog update until tonight. We started out the day with a tour of the Library of Congress. What a beautiful building. The architecture is amazing. I will post some pictures on Flickr when we return. As part of the American copyright law, all books, movies, and other things that request a copyright are required to send two free copies to the Library of Congress. They get 22,000 new items every day. Wow.

Folger Shakespeare Library

After we left the LOC, we walked around the block to the Folger Shakespeare Library. This is another research library just like the Library of Congress. The difference is that this is completely funded by private donations and is totally dedicated to the works of William Shakespeare. The interesting thing about the Folger is that even though the outside follows the American Renaissance architecture like the other Washington landmarks, the inside looks more like a Tudor mansion. They even have a small theatre that puts on three productions a year. We got to watch them put the finishing touches on the Cyrano set that opens this week.

US Capitol

Our final tour on Monday was of the US Capitol. Unfortunately, because we couldn’t bring in any large backpacks, we had to walk down to the National Museum of Natural History to store our backpacks and have lunch. On a day where the temperatures were in the 80s, that was a difficult feat. Luckily, it was well worth it. The tour was excellent and we had an extremely knowledgeable guide. Although I don’t think I would recommend doing all three of these tours in the same day again, I would recommend doing all three of these tours to anyone that comes to Washington. We learned so much and had such a great time.

Washington, DC – Day 2

April 24, 2011

Six Flags

Happy Easter, everyone. I hope your Easter was as fun as ours. On our second day of vacation, we travelled out east of the city to Six Flags – America. When planning for this trip, we had decided to plan a day of mindless fun. Amusement parks are always fun way to spend the day. The only downfall to the day was that because we are using public transportation on this trip, it took almost 3 hours to take the Metro train across the city followed by a transfer to the Metro bus out to the park. Luckily the trip back was much shorter.

Once we got there, we had a fun time. This park isn’t as big as Six Flags – Great America in Gurnee, IL but it was still worth the trip. AJ and I rode the two different wooden roller coasters and enjoyed them both. We all rode rides, played games, and had fun in the sun. Speaking of sun, it was sunny and 80 most of the day. Awesome!! Oh, and Erin beat AJ and I twice at Whack-A-Mole.

On a side note, please don’t forget about my challenge. Please help me to help out the Arts.

Washington, DC – Day 1

April 23, 2011

US Capitol

We have finished our first full day in Washington, DC. The weather started out rainy and the 40s and ended up sunny and in the 70s. We visited the National Museum of American History in the morning. As you can see by the lower picture, the geek in me was in Nerd-vana to see an exhibit on COBOL. We also saw Julia Childs’ kitchen, the exhibit of First Ladies’ dresses, pop culture items like the Kermit the Frog and Archie and Edith’s chairs from “All in the Family” and many other things.

COBOL Exhibit

The most awesome thing that we did today was a fabulous tour of the White House. Kristi had contacted our congressman to get an appointment for a tour weeks ago. Last weekend, we found out that we would be able to get a tour. It was amazing. My personal favorites were seeing the portraits of the Presidents in the entrance hall and seeing the State Dining Room.

We did several other fastistic things today but it is late and we have more adventure set up from tomorrow.

Navy Pier

April 12, 2010

I took the day off on Friday so that the whole family could do something fun together during spring break. We discussed many options and settled on taking the train to Chicago and doing some fun things at Navy Pier. Although we could have woke up at the crack of dawn to get on the 8am train, we opted to sleep in and take the 11am train instead. The train ride down to Chicago was fun and uneventful. I sat with Erin and we had a good time talking and taking in the sites along the way. Once there, we took the city bus to Navy Pier which was surprisingly empty on at mid-day on a Friday.

After grabbing a quick lunch in the Navy Pier food court (everyone got exactly what they wanted to eat – I had a Gyro), we headed over to the IMAX theatre where we got to see How To Train Your Dragon in 3D. It was an awesome movie… REALLY AWESOME. And the 3D was amazing. I haven’t seen any of the recent full-length 3D movies; only a couple of the lame ones from the late 80s in which the main characters were pointing or throwing something at the audience every few minutes. The 3D effects of this movie were so immersive. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that we were seeing it on the IMAX screen. Oh… and the storyline was classic Dreamworks. It reminded me of the Shrek movies.

After the movie, we walked down to the Pier amusement park and took a trip on the 150 foot high Ferris Wheel. The included picture shows Kristi, A.J., and Erin at the base of the ride just after we finished. Following the ride, we walked all the way down to the end of the pier and snapped a few more photos. On the way back down the pier, we stopped at a funhouse maze called Amazing Chicago. It was sort of fun to go through once but not worth the $10 per person price.

We got back to Union Station at 7pm with plenty of time to spare for 8pm train ride back to Milwaukee only to find out that the train had hit a pedestrian in Oak Creek earlier in the afternoon and wasn’t available to take us to Milwaukee. That caused a little panic for us for a couple of minutes. Luckily, the nice people at Amtrak hired a fleet of coach buses to take all of the passengers that were waiting to board the train. We were fortunate enough to get on the first express bus back to Milwaukee and only arrived about 15 minutes after scheduled train arrival time.

All in all, it was a very exciting, fun, and unusually interesting day with the family.

Great America

September 10, 2009

Lately, I have been swamped with so many things going on that I haven’t been able to take the time to update the blogosphere. Therefore, I will endeavor to catch up with a few delayed entries.

A couple of weeks ago (two days after the A.C.T. Summer Showcase), I took Monday off and we went down to Six Flags Great America. We are not a “coaster” family but Erin and Kristi don’t mind the tame ones and A.J. and I enjoy all but the most extreme ones.

The whole family rode the Whizzer (roller coaster), the Columbia Carousel, the Sky Trek Tower, and the bumper cars as well as caught the Bloopers show in the Pictorium. A.J. and I also spent time on three more roller coasters: the Demon, the Viper, and the American Eagle. The crowds were minimal because it was a Monday and we had a really good time.

As we were driving home, I realized that the last time I was at Great America was when I was in high school in 1983. I remember that on that trip, I rode the Whizzer, the Demon, the American Eagle, and the Sky Trek Tower and I took in a show at the Pictorium. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

More Food On A Stick

August 17, 2009

On Saturday, we made our annual family pilgrimage to the Wisconsin State Fair. We enjoyed all of our favorite destinations while there. Our first stop is always the animal barns. Every year, we visit a different set of animals. This year, we focused our attention on the horses and the cows. We even stopped in to see the Clydesdales and their world famous beer wagon provided by Anheuser Busch.

After the animals, we made our way to our favorite stops; cream puffs, mini-Journal Sentinel newspapers, Wisconsin Products building, and DNR area. We made a departure from our usual rounds this year. We stopped off to see those fabulous racing pigs. That is not an event that we need to see every year but it is entertaining every once in a while. Along the way, we continued a tradition that we started last year.

Our new tradition is that everyone in the family has to eat something on a stick, it has to be different than what anyone else has, and, if possible, it has to be different than what that person had the year before. Erin kicked off the tradition by having a chocolate dipped frozen banana on stick, otherwise known as a Monkey Tail. She really enjoyed it. A.J. quickly followed her by eating two slices of chocolate covered bacon on a stick. This was heaven for him as it combined two of his favorite foods. Kristi had a deep fried Reuben on a stick that she said wasn’t the greatest but the cheese was okay. I finished us off with two different items on a stick. I started out with pork on a stick; which was good but not very unique. As we were preparing to leave, I found chocolate dipped cookie dough on a stick. Wow, that was sweet.

We finished our trip with a trip across the park on the SkyGlider, a glass of Herb Kohl’s 25 cent milk, and one game each at the Midway. The kids came to the conclusion that the Midway is a rip-off and we have removed it as a traditional stop. All-in-all it was a successful trip to state fair again this year.

Bristol Renaissance Faire

August 7, 2009

On Sunday last, the clan Magoon traveled to yon village of Bristol to attend the faire in honor of Her Majesty, the Queen. This was our fifth visit to Bristol Renaissance Faire, our fourth consecutive year, and our third year wearing costumes. This time, we saw a few of our favorite acts from faires past as well as couple of new acts. We plan on going at least once more this year to see only performances of troupes we have not yet seen.

Our fabulous faire experience started out at the front gate. As the gates swung opens and the patrons started to stream in, we were met by a raucous “Well Met, Magoon Family” from everyone’s favorite Elizabethan fool, Jane the Phoole. What a way to boost your ego on bright, sunny Sunday morning. Alas, that would be the last time saw Jane all day as we must have been traveling the grounds in opposing orbits with her the rest of the day. The first event of day was our spontaneous attendance at “Breakfast with the Brass.” We were early for the Moonie show and were treated to a wonderful concert by the Queen’s brass quartet. After that we attended shows by two of our favorite performers. Moonie was first followed by Doktor Kaboom. Both performances were very similar to what we have seen in years past but their interactions with the crowd are so wonderful that you don’t mind seeing it again.

In the middle of the day, we roamed the grounds, did some shopping, and interacted with the Fantastikals. They really do a great job of providing entertainment and interaction with the young kids. They are also wonderful to photograph. We brought along a peach and an orange and Erin presented them to two different faeries throughout the day. Our next attraction was the Barely Balanced acrobatic show. This was a new show for us and we were impressed by the skill and physical prowess of these three individuals. Our last show of the day was Dirk and Guido, The Swordsmen. We have seen their show every year and can probably quote most of it from memory by now. But you can’t go to BRF without seeing them at least once a year.

Normally, we stay until the gates close but everyone was tired as this was the last day of a long week of vacation and traveling. We left the faire around 5pm knowing that we would be back later in the month.

Recent Flickr Additions

August 5, 2009

We took a bunch of pictures on our trip to South Dakota and I also took a few pictures in downtown Milwaukee during the week before our vacation. I have uploaded most of the photos to Flickr. Check out the pictures in these sets:

  • Milwaukee Lakefront
  • Milwaukee Air & Water Show
  • De Smet, SD
  • I-90 in SD
  • The Badlands
  • Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse
  • South Dakota Trip – Day Six

    July 30, 2009

    Today was our last day in South Dakota. We woke up to a sunny day in Sioux Falls, SD, had breakfast, and quickly set off for home. Our only stop for the day was an impulse stop after seeing a sign on the side of I-90 near Blue Earth, MN. The sign advertised a large statue of the Jolly Green Giant. They weren’t kidding, we saw the 55 foot statue of the Giant. In the adjacent gift shop, we just had to purchase a small, plastic statuette of the Little Green Sprout. The rest of the day was spent crossing Minnesota and Wisconsin.

    We are now home again. Ahhhhhh!