The Children's Museum? We have a new love affair with it. The tree house, the ball room, the toddler haven, and, of course, the water exhibit. She splashes and explores and builds and works off SO much energy. Our new yearly pass - some of the best spent money in the past year.
The Newport Aquarium? Eh.
Now, to be honest, I am not a huge fan of aquariums. Lots of fish, some turtles, usually a bit of an odd odor. There isn't any roaring, or rides, and the tanks are always just a bit too scuzzy.
As a kid, I visited the Mystic Aquarium several times - although the most memorable time was when the beluga whale took a poo while my face was pressed up against the glass mesmerized. A big poo. Whale poo is memorable - much to my Aunt Janet's chagrin.
I've wandered through the Shedd Aquarium several times. I've pet the turtles, cheered on the dolphins, penguins and belugas and stealthily avoided the gift shop. I think I mostly loved Shedd for its prime real estate on Lake Michigan and the fact that my Dad took me there when I was a little girl.
The point being, I headed to Newport Aquarium last week. It was an outlaw* date - Addie and I and Uncle Dickie and Rylan. Luckily, it was 'kids are free week' - and damn good thing, being that my ticket was $22 and a child ticket was $15.
For some fish?
And a couple of otters?
And a tank of overly friendly sharks? That could buy a good dinner and decent glass wine.
As limitedly impressed as I was, Addie LOVED it. The jelly fish, the Frog Bog, all the darn fishies. OH MY GOD, she saw DORY (but Nemo was hiding)! She saw penguins and alligators and turtles and SHARKS! She was with her RyRy and Uncle Dickie! FUN!
And then, oh two-an-a-half-year old JOY, the exit made us go through the gift shop - the toys and stuffed animals and ridiculous crap - SO AMAZING.
And SO still on the shelf.
The best part of the very expensive aquarium for me?
The ride home when she passed out.
*Rick and I married into this nutso family. Sometimes we're out of the loop. Sometimes we miss the inside jokes. Sometimes we quietly sit on the sidelines watching the chaos. But that's okay because we've formed our own OUTLAW club (I'm the lady in charge & he's the VP) and darn it, we h ave a GOOD time.