Thursday, July 09, 2009


Because we couldn't afford a "real" vacation this summer, Rob and I decided we'd like to do a little hotel vacation instead. Something small scale, local, but since it involved a hotel makes it feel like a vacation - to the boys at least. At first we were thinking of just doing it really locally, but then figured, if we're going to get a hotel, we should at least venture somewhere else in state with stuff to do that we wouldn't do otherwise. Thus was born our "staycation" in Colorado Springs, just an hour away from us. Maybe next summer we'll venture further away from home.

So we booked our hotel with the plan to take in some of the local sights (Garden of the Gods, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo...), and mostly just hang out by the pool and go back to the hotel room to sleep.

Sadly, when we went to check out the pool we found it empty. We were sooooo disappointed. A couple of "talks" with management got us nowhere... maintenance had to be done and couldn't be foreseen and lots of people were angry but they were working to fix it as quickly as they could. Blah blah blah. We had narrowed down our hotel choices to three different places, and picked this one partially based on the review of the pool. Awesome.

It all worked out though. We had to change our plans for the afternoons but it ended up being good. We're still bummed about missing the pool time, but we're trying to make up for it now that we're back home.

So about the trip! We left Monday morning, checked into our hotel, discovered the empty pool, then headed over to Garden of the Gods. I hadn't been there in many years... not since college with Kerry. I think we toured around a completely different part of the park this time... not that there's THAT much to see, I just couldn't find the spots I remembered seeing with Kerry. Brayden was grouchy for most of the trip... it was about his normal naptime and I think he was just tired... it was hot, he wanted to be carried... so it wasn't the MOST fun trip. It was pretty though, and I think Jack enjoyed it. My landscape photography needs some serious work, but I tried. ;-) Managed to get a couple of pictures of Brayden looking happy.

We had planned to go back to the room and then swim till dinnertime, but obviously that wasn't going to work out. We had seen a mini-golf place on the drive in and were thinking about doing that, then inspiration hit. Let's take the boys to the movies! Neither of them had ever been before. So we headed to the closest movie theatre (in a ghetto old mall where the movie theatre is across from K-Mart) and got tickets for Up, 3-d glasses, popcorn, and soda. The full movie experience. The boys did great, and very much enjoyed the movie. They weren't thrilled with the 3-d glasses though, and both took them off eventually... which made the movie slightly harder to watch, but they didn't seem to notice. All in all, it was super fun, and I'm glad we did it. After dinner we headed back to the room and tried to settle down for the night, but the boys were super hyper and it was late (for them) before they eventually fell asleep.

Tuesday the plan was the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, which we've always heard great things about, but have never actually gone. We also heard it was quite hilly and were fully expecting trouble from Brayden wanting to be carried the whole time (which isn't that easy anymore... he's getting BIG!). Thankfully he did GREAT! Toward the end of the trip he started asking to be picked up, but even so he still mostly walked around on his own and without argument. The terrain wasn't as treacherous as we were anticipating, and the exhibits were very cool.
While taking a snack break, Rob took this super cute picture of me and the boys. Brayden couldn't be bothered to stop eating... but it's still cute. :) The highlight of the trip was the giraffes. You can get very close-up with them, and feed them crackers. Jack was pretty nervous about getting near their long tongues but eventually warmed up to it... Brayden thought the whole experience of having a giraffe eat out of his hand was completely hilarious. We hit the giraffe exhibit on the way in and out of the zoo. Pretty amazing. We also enjoyed the baby chimpanzee, the playful bears (which scared Brayden), the leopard ("that leopard really likes kids!"), and the chipmunks ("SQUIRREL!).
After the zoo came the afternoon debate again... "what to do in Colorado Springs when the hotel's pool is still closed." We looked online (thankful for free internet in the room) for parks, and found a sprayground park downtown, decided to check that out. The boys had a blast, and we hung out in the park downtown till dinnertime. We also noticed people setting up chairs on the side of the main street, and that the meters were blocked off after 5pm so you couldn't park... so we figured something was going on downtown. Turns out, it was the "Pikes Peak or Bust" parade (a pre-rodeo parade). We had nothing else to do and figured after dinner we'd camp out and see what the parade was all about. We had to wait 20 excruciating minutes after dinner (I can't imagine people who'd camped out for hours!) for it to start, and it wasn't the world's most exciting parade, but the boys LOOOVED it. It was their first parade. So the lack of pool worked out again, and we had a nice night together. Again, headed back to the hotel and went to bed... the boys settled down faster this time... lack of sleep catching up with them!

We had hoped that maybe just maybe by Wednesday morning the pool would be back open but it wasn't... it was nearly full with ice cold water but not ready for swimmers yet. So we checked out early and headed back to Denver. The boys crashed in the car almost immediately. We knew after that they wouldn't nap again that day, so we decided to go home, unpack, and then head to the pool in our neighborhood and continue the vacation. They did great at the pool, testing out their new innertubes and floaties. Brayden is the more brave of the two, but Jack is slowly but surely warming up to swimming. He's so scared of falling underwater that he refuses to even TRY most anything we suggest, even if we're holding him and he's completely safe. He's getting there though. By the end of our trip, he was practicing holding his breath and putting his face in the water. HUGE step for him!After two hours at the pool we were all pretty wiped and headed back to the house for a chill evening at home. Thus ended our "staycation." Rob's off the rest of the week and we hope to get in some more pool time.

I'm going to edit and post a bunch more pictures (from June in general, and our staycation) on facebook in the next few days... so keep an eye out for those!

1 comment:

Rochelle said...

Sounds like such a fun trip! I love staycations and staying in hotels. Brian and I used to do that all the time, because there is something really cool about vacationing in your own neck of the woods. I think Colorado Springs is a ton of fun. Growing up, my mom used to take us up there at least once a week in the summer. It's a fun place :-)