Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Tournament-Plus Trip, Day 2

We didn't really have much of a plan for Philadelphia, which was probably good because we would have screwed it up anyway.  We were all pretty spent and everyone slept in, so by the time we got on the road to Philly we were already way behind schedule.  We got there just after lunch time (if I recall, we ate leftover pizza in the car), but we found a place to park and headed out.  The original plan was to walk around a while, find a Phlash bus, buy all-day passes (as they'd give us a discount on parking anyway) and get a free "tour" of the city with stops wherever we wanted in between.  That didn't exactly work out.

The architecture in the older historical part of the city was wonderful.  Hard to see unless you click on the picture, but the brick work on this building was gorgeous.

We made a brief stop at the Museum of the American Revolution, and attempted to take a nice family picture by the cannons outside.
What you didn't see - Carter's meltdown in the bathroom inside because I locked the door for him (ahem), followed by a meltdown while a stranger (whose family picture I took) tried to take our picture.  Awesome.

We wandered down to Independence Hall, where the day's tickets had unfortunately already been claimed. I think there was still some exploring we could have done, but we never got back around to it.

The line for the Liberty Bell was prohibitively long, so we checked out the unearthed remains of the president's house, basically the first White House.
That line of bricks was part of the kitchen wall.
Across the street we went into the Independence Visitor Center.  Had to pose for a picture with Rocky!

And don't forget the Philly Phanatic...
What you didn't see - a girl that had been monopolizing it prior, and inadvertently caused Carter to fall and bump his chin.
We stopped by Benjamin Franklin's grave...

...then stopped outside the Mint (another long line--security is tight) and wandered into the National Constitution Center.  Note the beginning of the Constitution written on the right side.
What you didn't see - Around the time I took this picture, Carter and Jacob were racing and Carter slugged Jacob in the chest, which led to complaints from Jacob for the rest of the day.  Awesome.
We didn't actually pay to go into any of these places.  We didn't really have the time or the patience for it that day, and most were quite expensive.  We did look in lobbies and gift shops, though.
What you didn't see - Carter's meltdown because he wanted a wooden gun.  He asked the whole trip.

Photo op at the Constitution Center

View of Independence Hall from the other end of the plaza
This was about the point where we wanted to grab the Phlash bus.  We waited through two cycles (they're every 15 minutes and one should have arrived five minutes after we got there) and still no bus.  After about 25 minutes, we gave up and started walking back toward the car, and of course just then a bus finally showed up.  But by then we'd lost our place in line and the bus was nearly full anyway, so we couldn't take it.

We were pretty annoyed and by that point (after a long day with the kids and a little too much heat), I was pretty much ready to leave.  But along the way back was a place I sort of wanted to visit, even if I ran in myself--the National Liberty Museum.  There was a Chihuly there, and it was the cheapest museum on our original list of possibilities.  When we got there we needed some air conditioning anyway, so we wandered into the gift shop.  Well, at that point the kids had to pee and whether or not she was supposed to, the gift shop attendant directed us to the bathrooms in the back...which happened to be right next to this:

Now, I snapped this picture quickly over my shoulder in case we didn't stay, but I felt a little guilty about seeing it without paying.  And this was pretty much our last ditch effort for culture on the day, so in the end we paid admission and wandered through.  It was honestly a glass museum in disguise, with the theme being "Liberty is fragile", but even the kids found some of the stuff cool.

This is a replica of the Liberty Bell, created out of the same cast.  It has a fake crack.  The good news is that because it's a fake crack, this bell can be rung, while the real one cannot.  They rang it for us, and with barely a tap, it was so loud!  With a real ring, it could be heard for five miles!

Pretty colors!
Can't beat some quality time with the Chihuly!  This one had a ceiling chandelier in addition to the tower, so you could get different perspectives from two different floors.
Top floor - chandelier and the top of the tower sticking up through the floor

Looking down from the top floor - the mirrors at the base make it look like it goes on forever!

The room with the Chihuly had a lot of historical references.  Carter is looking at a statue of Nelson Mandela in his jail cell.  There was also an interesting reference to Anne Frank, among many others.  Just outside was a stairwell with a September 11 memorial.


That is one huge piece of glass!  Reminds me of one at Corning that was much smaller and reddish, I think.

This one was interesting.  In the background were hundreds of motion activated butterflies that fluttered as you approached.  The statues were kids made out of what appear to be jelly beans, with their heads on backward.

Ground floor, looking up at the Chihuly.  Mirrors at the top make it look even taller.

Small Chihuly piece

Artsy shot with a marble fireplace in the background
Cooled off and back out on the street, more fun architecture...
Customs Building

Apparently this had something to do with the merchant exchange back in the day.  Absolutely gorgeous building!
We did a lot of wandering around, including looking for the Polish Cultural Center (closed for the day, unfortunately), but we saw a lot of cool stuff.  We didn't do much, but I'm not sure we would have made it through much anyway.  We eventually got back to the van and spent about 20 minutes frustrating ourselves with faulty info from our GPS as we looked for a gas station.  Eventually we gave up and just headed out toward Wilmington, Delaware, where we were staying for Jacob's lacrosse tournament.  By the time we got there, got into our hotel, and got settled, we were starting to run out of time for dinner.  Eventually we decided to go to the mall just across the road and visit their Chick-Fil-A.  We were all pretty spent and we had to dodge a thunderstorm as we ran into the mall, but Jacob seems to have warmed up to their gluten-free chicken option a bit, so that's a good thing to know for when they finally get to Rochester.

We had to be up at the crack of dawn, so back to the hotel we went, and another interesting day awaited...

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