Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Melbourne, the Zoo & the Aquarium

Melbourne. WOW what a cool city. It has a great deal off local attractions as well as a few of the beaten path type things to do.

We stayed a the Explores Hotel which was right next door to a 7 Eleven, a bar and a backpackers hostel so you can imagine the people watching that was available. Melbourne is obviously a place for single, adventurous, party animal people in their mid-20's. The bars are open until 4:00am. It almost made me miss my youth.

Our goal destinations, the Melbourne Zoo and the Aquarium, along with a couple of nice dinners and a quiet night out for mom and dad. I think maybe the sarsaparilla has lingering effects! (Either that or our age is catching up with us)

We decided to hit the zoo on Saturday morning after an "in room" breakfast with the kids which mostly ended up on the carpet. I worry about what the hotel thinks of us!

We took the train again and Billy has now developed this REALLY annoying habit of pitching a fit every time a train goes by and we dont get on it. Keep in mind that trains go by about every 5 minutes so he was in a constant "state". AND, since he was in a backpack on my back, I got the full brundt of it. Fun....

After we actually got onto a train Billy finaly calmed down and Kay took over insisting she pay for the train ride. The slot to put the money in is about five feet off the ground and Kay being not "quite" that tall it was another mess. We finally ended up at the Zoo.

The Melbourne Zoo is wonderful. They have a complimentary service where as you can get a guide to walk you around the park on your own private tour. It was incredible. Of course we saw your standard koala's, kangaroo's, etc. Jimmy's favorite was the orange goo tans. Kay loved the Meerkats and Billy was crazy over the peacocks walking around "free". It was like our own personal Discovery Channel at our own pace. We were there ALL day. We finally caught a train back (yes, another BIlly fit) and they all promptly fell alseep. The cutest was Billy. He was in my backpack, holding onto the train rail above his head, sleeping. All the passengers were getting a total kick out of him.

Dinner was at the Waterfront Hotel. A VERY nice British pub (ahh.... Guiness) that had steak and rissotto. They also have techno dance music and disco ball. Billy danced the night away and had all the customers eating out of his hands. They didnt know they were getting dinner and a show. Jimmy was fast friends with the bouncers (pretending they were bad guys and he was a Power Ranger) and Kay charmed everyone by eating one piece of spagetti at a time. It was actually fun. The 1st time I can say that about taking them all out to dinner. Maybe we'll actually morph into a normal family at some point and we can actually go out to eat together!

After another breakfast that landed mostly on the floor in the room, we headed to the Aquarium. It was - as Jimmy said "This is Fabulous"! It is 4 levels right on the river in downtown Melbourne. You can see glow in the dark jelly fish, sharks, crabs, fish... the list goes on and on. The tanks all start at ground level so even the littlest kids (Billy) can walk right up to them and see the fish. Billy was transfixed. They had a whole aquarium that had sea turtles, sharks, fish, manter rays (sp?) etc that you could walk "through". Literally all the fish swam above and around you. We watched divers enter the tank to feed the manter rays and sharks. Kind of scary and cool all at the same time. I think it was the 1st time all trip that the kids actually sat still and were quiet. A HIGHLY recommended stop if you are ever in Melbourne, even if you dont have kids.

We then packed it up and headed to the airport for the 16+ hr ride home. Let's just say ...
Read the 1st blog all over again. We made, it wasnt always easy, but we made it.

As we pulled into our house at 11:00pm that night you could hear the whole car say "We're home". A nice feeling. As much as traveling is fun, exciting, adventurous and heartwarming. Its nice to say "We are home".