Friday, October 3, 2014

Under the Sea

On Monday, we took a day to just have some fun!  These days our life is full - in a good way, but full nonetheless.  We always have something going on and stay pretty busy whether here at home or away from home.  We wanted a little break from reality so we decided to take Parker to the aquarium for a fun treat.  We wanted to go during the week while kids were in school to avoid the crowd, so John took the day off.   

We have been telling him we were going for a few weeks now.  He has been anxious and excited, but also a little curious as to what the "aquarium" meant - other than lots of fish. We weren't 100% how he would do at the aquarium, but we wanted to give it a shot.  He's been such a trooper with all of his therapy so he deserved a day o' fun!  We lucked out because children under 3 are free and in typical Riley fashion, I had a coupon for mine and John's tickets.  I love a good deal. 

We took lots of good pictures which are a combination of pictures from our phones and our real camera (if you notice the quality differences).

Let's dive in, shall we?
 
Here's the happy and excited little boy complete with his Bubble Guppies shirt - perfect for checking out life under the sea.  

 
The aquarium we went to is in Grapevine, which took us about 45 minutes to an hour to get to.  It is inside the big Grapevine Mills Mall there.
 



Parker started in the little stroller we brought, but once we were in and it got a bit dark he wanted me to hold him.  We were kind of nervous thinking he might be scared, but I think it was just a little overwhelming at first because once he realized all of the neat fish tanks around him he said "get down" and he never wanted to be held or confined to the stroller after that. The stroller was great to push our stuff around in! 

 

We picked a great day because there was hardly any people there and we practically had the place to ourselves.  

Parker had an absolute blast - he enjoyed himself so much.  He actually liked it better than we even thought he would.  It was so neat to see the joy and happiness he was experiencing being there.  John and I had so much fun watching him in that environment and it did our hearts good.  There's nothing like watching the world through a child's eyes.   



 He thought this fish looked like a little fat pig so he wanted to sit "beside" him and get his picture taken.

This is Eddie the sea turtle.  Parker was a little intimidated by him at first, but grew to really like him as he swam around his tank.  He's still talking about "Eddie". 


  
Parker said his favorite thing about the aquarium were these shark teeth.  Even today, a few days after our trip he still says "shark teeth" were his favorite thing. 
 


In the final room, they had a little play area and Parker wanted to go down the slide a few times - he really loves slides these days.  Such a big boy!

We had a little book that we collected stamps/seals in as we went through and at the end you got a little "Sea Life Aquarium" medal for doing it.  Parker was so proud of his. 

I cannot say enough about how much fun Parker had and how much we enjoyed it - that was definitely our first of many visits I am sure.  Parker's already asked to go back many times.  He may want to ask for aquarium tickets for Christmas! 

After we left there, we decided to have lunch in the mall somewhere.  

As we were leaving though, Parker spotted a ride-on toy in the mall that he wanted to take for a spin.  This was HUGE for him because he's never wanted to try anything like this.  It was all his idea and he ended up riding it twice.  He rode the dog and the train.  He would have gone for 50 rides if we would have let him.  




For lunch, we thought we'd try to take Parker to the Rainforest Cafe for the first time.  We wouldn't even have attempted this a few months ago.  It is such a neat restaurant and you feel like you are in the jungle with all sorts of animals.  They even make noise every few minutes.  Again, because the mall wasn't too crowded and Parker's made a lot of progress with some of his sensory issues, we gave it a go.

It was a success and he did so well - he loved it!  We will definitely be back.  
Before leaving, we made one last stop and all rode a little train that went through the mall.  Parker really enjoyed it and again, would have stayed on it all day. 

It was such a fun and special day for our little family - it couldn't have gone any better.  We made lots of memories and we look forward to more outings like this to come. We have some fun ideas for the holidays already. 

Our little fish lover was worn out after his full day and fell asleep not too long after we got back on the road for home.  He fell asleep holding the aquarium brochure - sweet boy.

What a great day under the sea!

Until we meet again...
Riley

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