Friday, May 18, 2012

Natural Bridge Caverns!

Oh my, I'm just finally getting around to blogging the Marlatt Family Vacation!  Yes, it gets capitalized.  It's that important.  We had the best time!  This was our first vacation that we actually had fun and weren't simply exhausted! ;)  Those of you who travel with small children know what I'm talking about.  We have made it a priority for our family to take and official family vacation every year, no matter how local and cheap it may be.  It's amazing how simply calling something a vacation to little kids turns into into an amazing trip!  And we're so blessed to have parents that we LOVE being with.  My parents rock for taking their vacation time and hard earned money to fool around with us for a few days. 

We really wanted to do something different, but the kids BEGGED for Great Wolf Lodge again this year.  So we planned a trip that started in San Antonio and ended in Grapevine.  We started the trip by stopping at Natural Bridge Caverns.  I went there quite a few times with my family as a kid and my brother and I loved it.  And boys are, well, boys.  What isn't to like about a cave?  First of all, it was beautiful...

BUT I pretty much hated it.  It was so incredibly hot and slippery!  I was so stressed about the kids and/or my dad falling down I never once relaxed enough to enjoy it.  Wyatt was also a little unsure about being underground in the dark.  I seriously was counting down the minutes till we got out.  I did not remember it being so steep and scary!  And of course we're holding Annie the whole time, while crouching so we don't hit our heads, on steep slippery trails with cliffs falling off into black nothingness.  Good times!  It's amazing how your perception changes as you grow up!

I was THRILLED to see the exit and the long road back to the entrance!  The boys took a minute to pose by the "natural bridge."

And then we went inside where they got to have a soda and pick out a souvenir.  We told the kids they could pick a souvenir at each place we went this year.  Normally we're quite a bit more stingy than that!  I loved it that they each picked out stuff that was only 5 bucks.  And they are still playing with them months later, so they  made some good choices.  Which reminds me that I should explain the ridiculous clothing choices on this trip.  I love to really play up the whole vacation thing and have surprises during the whole trip.  Last year they got new jammies each night that fit the theme of the day.  Well, I couldn't find cave jammies.  So this year I got them some tees that they had been begging for as surprises each morning.  Not exactly what I would pick, but they love it!

Annie got an adorable bracelet from Grandma that was exactly like one she bought as a little kid on a trip with her parents.  How cool is that? 

After the cave we went outside where they have a little mining/panning area where you can buy bags of dirt and rocks and rinse them to see if you found any jewels.  Noah had just been telling me a few weeks earlier how he had always dreamed about doing this.  So I was super excited to see that they had an area for this.  They loved it!!  Do you notice Wyatt's little tongue sticking out while he concentrates?  Love it!!

And what trip to Natural Bridge Caverns would be complete without a photo session on the dinosaurs?  We have pics of my brother and me here when we were kids!

Phew, that seems like a lot!  And that was only the first half of day one!!  After this we went on to have lunch.....

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