Monday, November 19, 2012

Family Style Spelunking

Jason's friends were going to China, Jackson friends were going to the beach.  We wanted to take a trip for fall break but our grad school budget didn't fit either of those categories.  I knew there were still tons of places I wanted to visit in/near TN and there still are but this one I found to be the best and most fun for US!  It also could be a day trip that didn't include the expense of a hotel.  With Jason having several interviews in the days surrounding it, this was our only choice.   
We set out to go spelunking.  I had a pretty strict itinerary for the day and our first stop was The Lost River Cave.  Its an underground river and boat tour.  It was probably the boys favorite, maybe Jason's too.  
We took a little walk by a "blue hole" and heard stories of drownings in the man eating hole.  Of course it fascinated the kids.  I admit it was interesting to hear that there is a current that leads to the cave below and they had someone come out and measure a depth of 410 ft deep.  Later, that was checked and it could only be measured at about 16ft.  The explanation was that the first measurement was the entire length of the cave that the blue hole feeds to.  Nonetheless, the measurement gave this river the title of the shortest, deepest river in the world.
The flat bottom boat ride was really cool.  Our favorite part was having to lean completely down so that you could pass under the mouth of the cave to get it.  It really was pretty slim!

Next up was Dinosaur World.  I had passed by this place several times on the way to Cincinnati to see my friend Renee but we never had time to stop.  It was pretty cool and of course the kids thought it was great.  We had packed a picnic lunch to have there (I have become my mother!).  We ate lunch and started discovering the dinosaurs.  Lincoln was a little skeptical at first.  He's sure a scaredy cat to be one of the meanest kids I know!  ha!  But he quickly got over it and then he was trying to scare us!  It was a self guided tour and it led to the famous giant Dino on the interstate.  You can see one GIGANTIC (or maybe life size) dinosaur from I-65 as an advertisement.  You can't miss it and we just had to have our photos made there.  Please note us at the very bottom sitting on it's feet!  At the end of the tour, the kids were able to dig for fossils.  It was a sand box that was loaded with tiny fossils such as amber and sharks teeth.  You got to take 3 home and that was really fun for my science loving children.

There we are, say HI!

Our next stop was Mammoth Cave National Park.  I had pre-purchased tickets for our tour and we were right on time.  It was a mandatory bathroom stop because the tour was 2 hours and there are no bathrooms along the way!  As we were driving in, this deer was grazing and when we stopped to look at it, it walked right up to our car.  The only snack we had was some cheese-its from lunch and it nearly ate it out of Jason's hand!  You can see 2 tiny spikes on the top of it's head.

Inside the cave I quickly discovered making photos wasn't going to happen.  It was too dark and the flash didn't reach far enough.  Even the cell phones didn't make photos inside well.  The pix would be few and far between but it was something the boys ( or at least Jackson) will never forget.  I made sure our tour included "fat mans squeeze" and tall mans misery.  Those are the things I've always heard about.  It was 2 hours of pretty much constant walking and Lincoln made it to nearly the very end.  And just when you think we've worn them out and seen all there would be to see in Cave City, KY, I had one more plan...

I used trip advisor and it recommended this place.  The kicker was it was FREE for Jason (military/prior) and Lincoln (3&under).  So we figured we could spring for it and it was on the way home from the caves.  It was in the middle on NO where!  You wouldn't have expected to come across a tiny amusment park in the hills of KY but here we are.  The sky lift up the mountain was cool enough for me.  But it was the alpine slide that took the cake with Jason and Jackson.  You ride up the mountain on the sky lift.  At the top, there are "sleds" with wheels and you ride it in a concrete tube down the hill.  It was FAST and pretty steep.  It was a thrill ride and they loved it.  I'll be honest, when it was my turn, it scared me a little.  It felt a little out of control.  No one wants to die on an over-sized skateboard!  

Lincoln and Jason had found the go carts and we quickly joined them.  Our boys LOVE go carts (what boy doesnt?) and locally we ride them but it's a total rip off at like $30 for just 10 minutes.  Well, late in the afternoon, we had this place to ourselves and we raced to our hearts content.  We all laughed and tried to pass, it was FUN!  

We all had a great time on our mini vacation.  It was a check off the Nashville bucket list as we prepare our minds for a midwest move.   As we hit the road for the hour long ride home we had to grab dinner.  We passed a Red Lobster and quickly decided on it.  The boys love shrimp and it just happened to be endless shrimp time which was a total score for Jason and I.  I am almost ashamed to admit that Jason and I consumed 50 shrimp a piece.  Yep.  fifty.  The cheddar biscuits were a hit with everyone as well.  We didn't even make it out of the parking lot before eyes were closed and boys were snoozing. I may have been also. 

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