Spring Breaking (Part 1)

From March 23- 24….

On the last day before Spring Break Lilli got her third report card of the year – another round of Straight A’s and high scores!  Considering the amount of tests and work they do, it’s definitely no small feat to achieve grades like this!

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Saturday morning we headed out for our Spring Break trip.  We wanted to do something small since Fall Break had been large (Chicago) and this summer we’re doing another airfare trip (Philly).  We landed on Knoxville because we’ve never actually visited Knoxville – it’s always something we pass through on our way somewhere else.  Lilli really wanted to do Dollywood, too, so instead of staying in the crowded Pigeon Forge area we decided to have Knoxville as our base and spend one day of our time away up at Dollywood.

Since it’s just a three hour drive we got up, loaded up, dropped Olli off and headed East.  We got there right at lunchtime and ate at Chipotle.  The girls LOVE eating at Chipotle and their cute kids meals.

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Our first stop on the rainy afternoon was the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge.  We’d always seen the large smoke stacks at Oak Ridge and heard it was a nuclear plant but didn’t know anything else at all about it or the area.  It just so happened that this Children’s Museum was also the national historic park for the Manhattan Project – the secret nuclear plant that played a huge part in World War 2 and building the atomic bonds.  So we killed two birds with one museum stone.

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Most of the museum was a typical kids museum – this place didn’t look impressive from the outside but on the inside it just kept going and going and going.  It was an old schoolhouse from the World War 2 days, and each room was a different type of play area for the kids.  It covered Tennessee history in spot, and then branched into all kind of various play spaces.  The girls LOVE these grocery/farm/farm stand types of play spaces and really could’ve stayed here ALL day.  Up and down the main corridors there were exhibits telling the history of the Manhattan project and the building of the bomb.

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Brent stopped at the main Manhattan Project desk and talked to them for a while about the nuclear plants and found out about another Museum devoted to the history of the area just up the street that we decided to add to our day.

There were so many neat exhibits all throughout the Museum.  They had a really cool Girl Scout exhibit in one section of a hallway – lots of old Girl Scout uniforms, dolls, artwork – and a big display of old patches.  I sent this photo to several of my mom friends – we loved the “Magic Carpet” patch and also the “Homemaker” patch! Lilli has earned several cool ones this year but nothing like that!

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One room was devoted to space – lots of things to climb, slide, and ride.

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They loved this cute little space “car”.

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One of my favorites was this cute little playhouse.  It was a two story house built just for kids, with everything to their scale.  Due to the size adults weren’t allowed in.  They also had all kinds of toys from past decades, and we saw several things we grew up playing with in the glass case.

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Abbi loved this little house that was just her size.  This is another one they could have easily spent the entire day in.

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There was a water play room sponsored by Ingram – they had water play and also this neat Barge.  Inside the Barge they even had a little sleeping quarters.  Everything at the museum was really well done and if we lived in this area I could see us spending a lot of time there.   We went through the entire thing and let them pick a couple of things to go back to before we headed out for an additional Museum in the area.  More to come!

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