The dinosaur that greeted us as we entered the woods. The kids thought it was great that they could go inside! I think this guy was the largest of the sculptures. The man who created them made them between 1935 and 1967. There are a few that have been made in the same way more recently. There were at least 25 sculptures along the path.
The kids being silly. :-)
I found this to be quite creative! The dinosaur had a tree fall on it, but the sign says "Freak Meteor Strike".
After going through the whole path, we went out front so the kids could get a picture with the sculpture of Jesus. The man who created the amazing sculptures was a Christian and there were little things that stood out to show his faith. :-)
The trip to Alpena is about 4 hours. We actually stopped at the Dino Gardens just before Alpena, but hadn't eaten the whole drive, nor at the gardens, and were pretty much starving by the time we got through all the sculptures. A quick trip to McDonald's filled us up, then on to the NOAA Great Lakes Heritage Center. We purchased tickets to take The Legends of Thunder Bay Shipwreck Tour through Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. (LOTS of words to say that we bought tickets to ride a glass bottom boat to see shipwrecks while we were at a shipwreck museum-LOL!)
We had a BLAST at the museum! The kids were able to see, hear and feel what it might have been like to be on a sinking ship. That was probably their favorite thing. Here they are steering the sinking ship.
This is them standing in front of the sinking ship :-)
Of course there was a lot more information on the ships that were at the bottom of the bay, plus several artifacts that had been retrieved. Honestly, I think we all enjoyed the museum (that was free) more than the boat tour (that was $30 per adult and $10 per child.) BUT, the boat ride was still neat!
We boarded the boat at 4:00 and were on our way.
We mostly saw a lot of boards/planks from boats, but we were able to see an anchor...hopefully you can make it out in the picture.
And this was some sort of gear, I believe...they told us on the tour, but it's been a month... ;-)
After the tour, we checked out the souvenir shop, where the kids got smashed pennies and my mom got Morgan a snorkel, and went one last round through the museum. We then took a little stroll through Alpena, did some wine tasting, then had dinner before checking into the hotel.
This is what the kids were waiting for! They obviously had a blast the whole day, but there is something about being able to hang out in a pool!
Morgan even got to try out her new snorkel.
The kids spent as much time as we let them in the pool at night and again in the morning. We finished up the trip by stopping at a few wine and pop (for the kids) tasting places on the way home. It was a pretty awesome trip for a little guy's birthday. I'm very thankful to my parents for giving Blake (and Morgan) the experience!
These are the pops the kids tasted at one of the wineries. Rich wasn't able to go with us, so we bought one of each flavor so we can have a 'pop tasting' as a family. I thought it was neat that each of the drinks is named after one of the sunken ships in Thunder Bay and there is a little bit of information about each on the label!
Blake's birthday party came a few weeks later. He wanted a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme, so that's what we did! It was pretty fun coming up with a few things to give him the theme.
The kids and I made he cake decorations with Perler Beads. (It's a chocolate zucchini cake.)
We also had pizza for the meal...had to be pizza if it was going to be a TMNT theme! ;-)
Morgan got him some TMNT gifts, but he also received a sling shot, Legos, Dinosaurs, a rocket and clothes.
Rich and I stuck to the TMNT theme with the wrapping paper and card. Of course we grabbed some TMNT plates and napkins too. (Okay, so I wasn't as creative as I thought...it was mostly the cake toppers-lol!)
I always try to make the kids' actual birthday as special as possible, being that it's 'their' day. It's tricky with Blake because as long as he has his toys, he's happy and doesn't care to do much else-LOL!
I like to decorate the white board for the kid's birthdays. It's pretty much the first thing they see when they come from their room.
Blake's birthday panCAKEs. Of course he chose green icing. (His favorite characters are TMNT and Hulk...plus he LOVES dinosaurs, so it's only natural that green be his favorite color.)
We left home shortly after breakfast and went school supply shopping. Then it was on to Barnes & Noble for Blake's Kid Club Birthday treat, followed by McDonald's to use his gift card he gets for his birthday each year from the bank.
We then went to the south end of town to catch the trolley. We tried to catch it last year, but it took off on us just as we were getting out of the truck and it was the last tour of the day. We went early this time and caught it with 3 minutes to spare!
The look of the trolley is super cool, but the history of the town was even neater! I look forward to taking the trolley tour again next summer. Can't beat the $.10 fare to ride either!
I thought these two might get bored, but they even thought it was cool. Morgan loved that there is a house that has a world record for being the narrowest and Blake couldn't get over the train going to Canada goes through a tunnel under the river. The little guy talked my ear off about it-LOL!
After that we stopped in the Maritime Center to watch some fish in the river. (There is a camera in the water that's connected to a screen inside.) Then took a short walk on the River Walk....
...and did some duck watching. (See his bottom sticking up out of the water?)
And then it was time to go home. We made the new TMNT Mac & Cheese for Blake for dinner. (Plus a Zucchini bake for Rich and I.) Then he opened a few more gifts, including a Bug Catcher, a Boy Craft book and the movie Meet the Robinsons...we hadn't seen it yet and it had a Dino in it! Plus it was free through Disney Movie Rewards, so I couldn't beat the price. ;-)
We then had a movie night with the new movie and enjoyed some popcorn along with it. It was a pretty awesome day! :-)
As much as I don't like seeing Blake grow up, I'm loving the memories we're making along the way. And I think this birthday was pretty memorable! :-)