After eating a home cooked meal with friends (Yay), we got two tired kiddos ready for bed. Our kids had the awesome opportunity to do something they don't get to do in our house: sleep in bunk beds! They knew this before we left for our trip. Kate, of course, had no clue what a bunk bed was, obviously. Luke knew what bunk beds were, and he was pretty excited! (If you can *sort of* see, Kate is on the bottom).
Our kids are pretty good sleepers, and they know to stay in bed. The vacation was no exception, BUT that first morning, Kate woke up earlier than she has in quite awhile...uugghh! This waking up early manifested itself later on in a crying bad mood.
BUT -- it was vacation, and there were things to do and see.
That first morning in the Rapid City area -- we went to the famous Mt. Rushmore....
I love all of the states' flags hanging along the walkway. Luke *had* planned on bringing his state flag book to compare, but he forgot it at home. (#booknerd) But -- Luke did well looking at the various state flags without the book.
Honest Moment of Sarah: Probably because of being woken up by his little sister early, Luke exhibited a *wee* bit of an attitude problem at this point. AND, to top it all off -- this Mama didn't handle it in the most eloquent of manners.
Fortunately, and I have to remind myself of this daily, we serve a God who pours a limitless amount of grace on us; therefore, I must move on and simply not beat myself up on it.
Luke ended up doing quite well and changed his attitude. It ended up being a nice visit to Mt. Rushmore.
This next pic is obviously of our Kate! Her "getting up early" really manifested itself at this point (it ultimately first manifested itself at breakfast that morning). Kate was being stubborn and was crying quite a bit. This was the best pose I got.
After a snack and a brief nap in the car (after Mt. Rushmore), Kate's mood did improve!
I *think* this was my 4th trip to Mt. Rushmore in my almost 40 years of life. I KNOW it was my favorite, despite the bad start to it. I KNOW that is because it's pretty awesome accompanying my husband with our own kids to such an awesome place. There's just something memorable about watching your kids experience new places and things.
I need to remember to be grateful to our awesome God for our little Friesen Family of 4 as well as our awesome trip experiences.
After Mt. Rushmore, we went and ate lunch at a pizza buffet, "Pizza Ranch," which totally and completely impressed Marc and the kids. While I didn't think it was too bad, I didn't and still don't feel like it was a life-changing event (insert your laughter here -- that was meant to be funny).
After "Pizza Ranch," we went to a "zoo" called "Bear Country USA"! This "zoo" is a drive-thru zoo, and at the end, we could park and get out of the car and briefly walk around and see a few more animals.
To say that both if our kiddos enjoyed this place would be an understatement. It ended up being a terrific experience!
An arctic wolf on a rock (took the pic from my car window).....
Luke had his own map of "Bear Country USA". He had a great time following along in the car!
Bighorn sheep (also taken from my car window)....
Finally -- we got to the actual bear section...we saw probably 40-50 bears in a very large enclosed area with which we drove through. Yes -- we followed the simple directions of keeping our doors locked and car windows shut!
There is a bear on the large log in the next pic!
After finishing our drive-thru adventure (around 1 1/2 - 2 miles taking well over an hour), we parked and went through the "walking" part of "Bear Country USA". (The animals in this section were all caged -- like a typical zoo)...
Luke was VERY excited to see a live badger in person (badger underneath the log in this next pic). We visited this badger display, I think, 3 times that day.
We also saw 5-6 bear cubs. They were most certainly cute!
And -- another fun animal the kiddos saw up close was the beaver....
We splurged on ice cream at this point and went through the gift shop where we managed to only purchase one decent item -- a Christmas ornament!
At that point, our day was fairly done. We headed back to our friends' house for yet another home cooked meal -- Yay!
That evening, Luke was brave enough to go to our friends' church for their last night of VBS! Go Luke!
We then spent a bit of time at a park watching some church softball games! It was so nice to be in warm, DRY (non-humid) weather!
Kate worked really hard at pushing her daddy on the swing!
Another fun day in the books....
Stay tuned for more South Dakota fun!