Sunday, May 19, 2013

A mini Minne Vaca

Minneapolis that is.  Oh my gosh it was so much fun!  We had been wanting to plan a trip out there to catch a few baseball games ever since we moved up here.  Didn't happen last year but we did book a trip a few months ago and the time for the journey finally came...and now unfortunately has went.  But we had a great time.  We had been worrying about the weather the whole week before going because it looked like a lot of rain.  We TOTALLY lucked out.  No rained out games. And we got to do everything we had hoped we'd be able to.  Here's a sampling of the pictures we took and a bit of our little travelogue - for anyone who cares :)

Waiting for the Metro to take us to the Mall of America
Tanner thought I looked ridiculous with my camera ready and backpack.  Yep - dead tourist give away.  As mentioned by several workers in different stores we went in.  Oh well.  I was a tourist.  Might as well own it, right?
Tanner loves Lego's.  So we had to hit the Lego store.  They had some sweet Lego sculptures.  I've never seen any up close and it was pretty impressive to see how realistic they were far away and how Lego-y they looked close up.  

These are cool Lego mosaics.

We made our Lego look alikes.  Pretty accurate, eh?

Let's see.  After wandering around the huge-ness that is Mall of America, we went to the Aquarium - which is also in the mall.  We got suckered in to purchasing a behind-the-scenes-tour after we went through the aquarium on our own.  But I do have to say it was absolutely worth it.  It was really cool!

Overall it was probably the coolest aquarium either of us have ever been in.  The touch pools were maybe not as awesome as they could have been but everything else was seriously awesome.  Especially the tunnel area.  Oh my gosh - so huge and long and soooo many cool fish and huge awesome sharks and rays.  And then we got to go on our own tour.  First was the lab.

 The guy up top is rehydrating brine shrimp.  Scoop em out and then let them spin for awhile to get reconstituted.  Then they dump them in another container (in the kitchen-pic in a few) where they continue to grow and then they take a turkey baster full and food the sea horses and jelly fish.  They said when the animals die for whatever reason, they like to save/preserve as much of them as they can.  They had a bunch of random parts - shark fins, jaws (where we saw all the cool layers of teeth that flip up when needed), etc.  Also that table that they are on can be used as animal surgery.  Yep - it's as crazy as it sounds.  They tuck the fish into Styrofoam packing kind of so they can flip them around and then they hook up their gills to water oxygen, give them some anesthetic and get to work.  They had a turtle there that got hit by a boat and it broke his shell so it got air in the layers of the shell and now his butt floats.  They keep gluing on a weight to him to help him swim better.  There's another turtle that has short fins (in the picture above).  Apparently they found him and some other turtles in a disturbed nest so it had some "birth defects".  Basically.  It was just so interesting to hear about all this stuff.
Then she took us on to the deck where they feed the fish and have other fish tanks for quarantine.  We weren't able to take pictures up there.  I tried to sneak a couple.  They didn't really turn out.  But there was a puffer fish she was telling us about that was the cutest thing ever.  She kept poking her head out of a big pvc pipe in the tank.  Apparently she has an anxiety disorder and every time she'd get put in a tank with other fish she'd puff up.  Well, that happened so many times, that she became perma-puffed.  Our tour guide said they tried to "burp" her to get her to go back down but with no success.  So now she just gets her own tank away from her anxiety sources.  So funny.  Little fish and their different "person"alities and temperaments.  They have another pool off of one of their big aquariums where they can keep bigger fish if needed.  It was open when we were there and while we were looking in one tank our tour guide turned and said pretty quickly and energetically to turn around!  (She had at one point mentioned snakes or something).  Tanner instantly thought the worst and he was going to get eaten by a snake so he jumped around/away so fast.  You did have to be there but it was REALLY funny.  She was just really excited because their 350lb sea turtle had swam into the little tank and we got a super up close view of her.  Oh my gosh so cool!  Then we got to walk around and see the aquariums from the tunnel walk from up above.  We got a way better view of the tropical fish and rays and the big sharks.  And we got to feed some turtles and fish from their freshwater aquarium.  This is my one stolen photo that turned out from up above.  I was bummed we couldn't get any of perma puff and the turtle.  Oh well - they're in my brain. 

Then to the kitchen for a look at the massive quantities of frozen fish and other stuff they feed all the watery wonders...
Brine shrimp bins

This is just the defrosting fridge.  They have a huge deep freezer where they can buy all their fish in bulk and keep frozen for as long as needed.  

Pretty wild stuff!  After that we got our sushi/asian fix in the mall.  Probably one of our most expensive lunch meals ever - and in a mall at that.  It was delish though and our server was sweet and gave us a free appetizer.  I like food pics.  Sorry...

Okay - Mall of America complete.  Whew.  Now off to the Marriott downtown.

View from our room and also half of the gym they had.  Definitely the biggest nicest hotel gym I've ever had the luxury of using.  So sweet.  After unloading and relaxing for a bit we made our way to Target Field, about a 5 minute walk from our hotel.  Like I said - the rain had all but stopped by game time which was awesome.  Still a tiny bit chilly and windy throughout the game but I was just happy we didn't get rained out - or on!

They played the Red Sox (both nights) and Red Sox won both nights.  Both were really good games actually.  Tanner was rooting for Red Sox so it worked out.  I have to admit I didn't really care.  It was just fun. 

My first ever college roommate lives in Minneapolis with her husband and little almost 2 year old.  I hadn't seen her forever and was excited for a perfect opportunity.  It was pouring in the morning and lightly raining as we made our way to Minnehaha Park and by the time we got there and met up with them the sun was starting to peek out and it turned out to be a PERFECT day.  And my heart was so happy seeing her and spending time outside in TREES!  It was awesome and we finished it off with an amazing lunch at a sweet spot called Birchwood Cafe. 
(Oh - and I forgot to mention when we were on the train to the park, there was a black guy and his wife/girlfriend going to missionary town on this other guy.  Inviting him to church and telling him how blessed they've been because of God.  After he got off the train they both started talking about how God is working through them and there was a reason they got on the train and how they were "Angels, baby...white shirt, white pants.  Angels."  I don't mean to sound mocketory (It's a word - ask my friend Anne or Brooke) because I probably could learn a lot about their willingness and boldness in talking about God's awesomeness.  He really is, btw.  But it was funny how they were doing it and saying they were angels and then singing gospel songs on the train.  We liked it anyway).

 Okay - now for the real pics of our afternoon with Patty and Eric and little Henry...

The graffiti up there says "Fajita".  I'm sure it means more to whoever wrote it than what it means to me.  But I still thought it was funny. 

Then Patty was kind enough to drop us off closer to downtown at the outdoor sculpture garden where we wandered around briefly before walking back to our hotel to get ready for game two.

Art perplexes us.

Our seats for game two were great outfield seats.  But the bleachers weren't as kind to the bum and they kind of sardined you in a little more.  And there were obnoxious fans yelling at the visiting team outfielders.  And it was a tiny bit harder to stay in the game being farther away.  Saw some good outfield action thought and it was still a baseball game.  You really can't complain.  So I wasn't - just sayin.  The weather was awesome, by the way. 

And there you have it.  Minus our final food shot of Cap's Diner on our way to the airport this morning.  Tanner's first experience with a steak and egg breakfast and my go-to blueberry pancakes.  A great end to an even greater weekend.  We might have to do this again...soon!


  1. Ok so your mini you's Lego's were cool, but I didn't notice Tanner in orange pants in any of your pictures and I was curious when you dyed your hair? Secondly, How could you eat fish after seeing them all swimming around enjoying life... people shouldn't eat sushi. Other fish eat sushi. Thirdly, I must agree, art perplexes me too. I think I would be a grat artist because of the totally random things that come into my head... who would have thought you could get paid for that stuff. Lastly, sounds like a fun time!

  2. So fun!!! I love to read travelogues, I am just usually jealous I wasn't there too!!! It's true again......AWESOME.

    The boys liked the Lego pics and want to know if you have any more? ;)

  3. Carissa. you are so cute! It looks like you guys had so much fun. And the food looks amazing!