...after our afternoon at the Zoo, we checked into our hotel, got our swimsuits on and headed to the pool. This was the activity that Brandon was most excited about. "I want to go to the little kid's pool! How many days until the little kid's pool, Mommy?!"
The pool was the perfect size, and the frog slide was a big hit. The only thing that finally got us out of the water after a couple of hours was that we were getting hungry.
For supper, we had a pizza picnic in our room and then let the boys take a late bubble bath before bed. For some reason, bath time is even more fun in a hotel room.
The kids were so good in the hotel room during the down times. They cozied up in bed at night before lights-out watching some cartoons and enjoyed some chocolate chip muffins in the morning while waiting for Mommy to get ready. They discovered a new favorite show (Paw Patrol) and had fun running from our room to Papa and Nana's right next door. And at breakfast in the morning of day two, Brandon ate more than I think he's ever eaten at one meal. He's either going through a growth spurt (we think he is) or those Adventureland Inn pancakes were just that good.
Getting excited to go ride some rides...
We took the trolley from the hotel to the park so that we wouldn't have to pay for parking, and I think the boys were just as excited about this as they were anything else. It's so fun to see kids happy over the smallest of new experiences.
Waiting with anticipation for the gates to open... too many distractions for a good picture. ;)
The first thing Brandon wanted to do was ride the train. He had been waiting for this for a couple of days and luckily it's right at the front of the park. One of the best things about this day - besides the weather - was that we didn't have to wait in line for ANYTHING. I thought we'd be in for a busy crowd with it being Labor Day, but we couldn't have picked a better day to go.
From here, it was one ride after another. Every time we'd get off one ride, Brandon would immediately say, "I want to go to another ride!" Jaden was much more reserved - he had fun, but wasn't as daring as last year. He stayed off some rides that Brandon wanted to go on.
Ever since our visit last year, the boys have been fascinated with the "Space Shot." Daddy decided to play the hero today and go on the ride while the boys watched him. I sat out for this one. ;)
The airplanes are a favorite.
Waiting in line for the Underground - a fast train ride in the dark. This one is Jaden's favorite, but after going on it, Brandon wasn't so sure.
"Did you like that ride, buddy?"
My two little truck drivers leading the way. Jaden understood that they were at the front so he took his steering duties very seriously. It was funny to watch both boys steer the wheel the direction the trucks were going. Brandon would watch what Jaden was doing and copy his every move.
And the Frog Hopper... Brandon's favorite. Jaden wouldn't try it this year, but Brandon went on it more than once and giggled the whole time. He was JUST tall enough to ride it, and it might have ruined the whole trip if they didn't let him on. He has been talking about this ride since last summer when he watched Jaden on it.
We stopped to watch Daddy and Papa on the Tornado. Cody's reaction to this one was so funny. He is NOT a roller coaster fan but once again wanted to be a hero for the boys. ;) Afterwards he wasn't shy to admit that this wasn't his favorite experience. ;)
We stopped for lollipops on the way out of the park as Brandon had spotted them the minute the gates opened. It was a perfect day...
Other memorable moments not caught on film...
...the Panther hats. Out of the blue when we were packing for our trip, both boys wanted to wear their hats. They wore them almost the entire time we were in Des Moines and both looked so cute in them. It made it even better that our football team had just beaten Iowa State the night before. It was fun wearing our Panther Pride in Cyclone Country. ;)
...the treetop swings. I never would have thought that Brandon would want to ride a swing high over the trees across the entire park, but he did and was very impatient to do so. So all of us grabbed swings and flew over Adventureland. I had a view of Cody and Brandon in the swing in front of me, my mom and Jaden in the swing behind me and my dad bringing up the rear two swings back. Somehow in between the Sturgis Falls carnival in June and Adventureland in September, Brandon got brave. :) Jaden did not want to ride these, but since we couldn't leave him behind, we made him. And he ended up liking it.
...all the rides that Brandon went on. He tried so many new things, and I was so proud of him. At the same time, Jaden stayed back for some of them, but he still had fun and was such a trooper while waiting for his brother to do the things he wanted to do.
...the family tube ride. What we thought would be an easy and somewhat relaxing adventure down a big water slide was anything but. We all climbed into a giant raft, forced Jaden on it with us (he was terrified) and thought we'd be taking an easy and leisurely trip. Wrong. Lots of spinning and fast speeds, and by the time we got to the bottom Jaden had tears in his eyes and Brandon was speechless. It turned out to be my favorite ride, but the kids might have been a little young for that one. ;)
...my first roller coaster ride in a very long time. My dad and I used to be roller coaster fanatics when I was growing up, and we would tour different amusement parks, try every roller coaster in site and see how many times we could ride the same one over and over again. In my adulthood, I've grown leery of them, but wanted to attempt an old-time favorite - the Outlaw. I screamed the entire time and had the Iowa State fans in the car behind me laughing at me. They were nice enough however to catch my dad's Panther Football hat as it flew into their seat, though.
It was a fun two days, and I'm so glad we took the time to do this before life gets busy. Thanks for coming with Papa and Nana!