Philly – Day 1, Part 1

From June 3rd….

The view from our room the next morning.  I could really never, ever get tired of that view.  All the historic museums and library were so pretty to see, and the fountains.  The Philadelphia Museum of Art (aka the Rocky Stairs) are in the far left off in the distance.


When we stay in the city, and especially for a few says, I really do look at the hotel gym to help me pick a place to stay.  This hotel had a nice gym on the bottom floor, with an indoor pool for the girls.  Even though I know we’re going to walk a ton I still like to get up and get in a workout before everyone else is up.


For our first day of the trip we headed over the bridge and into New Jersey to meet Charlie and Laverne at the Adventure Aquarium.  They live nearby and we were so glad they had time to spend the morning with us.  It’s so nice when we can visit places and meet up with old friends all across the country.


Charlie works across the street from the Aquarium so he has a season pass and goes there a lot on his lunch break.  We started off our morning watching the penguins get fed.


They have hippos there and they were just amazing to watch.  They are just so huge and you could really get very close to them (through the glass) here.  They were also feeding them and they’d toss huge heads of Romaine to them and they’d eat it in one bite.


They were so “social”.  They’d swim right next to the glass and you could really appreciate how they swim and their massive bodies.


They’d stop and pause right up next to the glass.


It’s hard even in pictures to really capture their large scale.  The hippos were definitely a highlight of the aquarium.


Of course they had petting ponds – Abbi and Charlie were petting some sting rays here.  They also had star fish, coral and other living sea creatures to pet.


And they had the “shark tunnels” where you can walk through a tunnel as sharks swim all above and around you.


We went to one of the 4D movies – it was a cartoon movie that wasn’t particularly great but the girls LOVED it.  The chair squirts you, things come down from the ceiling and the whole thing was in 3D with the glasses so it was a lot of fun.


And we did the shark walk – you walk through these ropes while the sharks swim below you.  You’re completely sealed off in these ropes, so it wasn’t scary but it was fun to do and pretend you could actually fall into a pool of sharks.


And of course we had to play around in the gift shop at the end.  The girls love being around Laverne – she was so sweet and let them basically eat her entire bag of popcorn and they’re so entertained by her Jersey accent.  She’s the head librarian at their local library so of course our bookworm Lilli loves that.


Afterwards we had lunch at a little deli right next door that was so good.  It wasn’t particularly busy and the owner baked a batch of fresh cookies for us.  We had a great time catching up with them – both in Nashville when they came in May for a conference and when we saw them in NJ on this trip.  Laverne is hopefully going to get to come to Nashville in 2020 for another conference so maybe it won’t be too long before we see them again.

Just the girls.


Us with Charlie – on a side note – the storms that had come through the night before made it COLD and EXTREMELY windy which is why my hair looks like a lioness and the girls look like they’re about to freeze to death.  In the South the calendar said Summer – in the Mid Atlantic it felt like March and we did not pack accordingly.


Just our cold family with Philly in the background.


And the elusive and fantastic six person selfie! Such a blast, I can’t wait until our paths cross with the Manns again.


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