Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dinosaurs and More!!

Once again, we started out strong at 10AM (seriously, what happened to the American in us if we can’t get out the door before 10AM on a given day unless it’s school or work related?).  Our goal this morning, the Natural History Museum.  Our handyman had suggested it to us as there is a huge display of dinosaur bones being shown there that the boys would like.
Yes, Liam is wearing the royal robe again... 

I think every child that was at Hamleys the other day, was at the Natural History Museum today and they brought their friends.  Holy shit!  It was packed!  And that was when we got there.  The line was well out the door and down the sidewalk when we left (glad we went “early”). 

On our way inside the Natural History Museum

Aidan spent the first 5 minutes sulking.  But then something caught his eye and he was hooked on learning.  We did a little bit of geology and how some of that geology related to the ancient Greek gods.  Then we went over to learn about birds both current and extinct.  The birds creeped me out a bit as they were all dead and stuffed – there were even displays with just their heads or legs.  Aidan was like, “why did they cut those birds legs off?”… um, I have no idea and I just can’t bear to look any more!!  And my favorite (insert sarcasm here) room – insects.  The exhibits were all great for kids and totally interactive in all of the rooms (except the birds). 

Geology area

It's an ancestor to an elephant but those that discovered it originally thought it could be a cyclops!

Stuffed birds...ewww!!!

Bird parts... ewwww again!

We made our way towards the dinosaur exhibit and right before it was a room of full of fossilized sea creatures – the predecessors of dolphins and crocodiles to name a few.  These fossils were upwards of 200 million years old.  That’s old!!!  I found it fascinating how much detail they showed, some even having food that was in their stomachs fossilized! 

This is actually the skeleton of a giant sloth!

200 million year old crocodiles

Hmmm, that's pretty big compared to Liam... wouldn't want to run into him in the water!

A cute moment with Josh and Aidan

Checking out the bugs

Eventually we made it over to where the dinosaurs were and there was a huge line.  We thought this was to pay for this exhibit (the museum was free) but it turns out that was just the line to walk through the exhibit.  One of the things I learned that I had absolutely no idea about was that dinosaurs were only discovered by humans about 150 years ago – really, that’s not very long in the scheme of mankind!  So in the late 1800s?  And to think about all we know about them we’ve only learned in that timeframe. 

There were some pretty cool fossils that we checked out!  But the disappointment for us all, no T-Rex.  It was an animatron.  The goal for the kids though was to make it to the dinosaur gift shop.  Of course….

In line to go to the dinosaur exhibit

Just so you know, beyond stegosaurus and triceratops, I do not know the names of any of the fossils we saw nor did I write them down... 

We had to walk along a suspended bridge to see the dinosaurs - it was actually kind of cool that they were suspended as well and probably keeps everyone from touching, therefore destroying, them.  Smart move... 

This one reminded me of the guy from Ice Age

This was T-Rex... I was rather disappointed that it was an animatron and not as least a fossil.  What a disappointment at the end of a great exhibit.

We grabbed lunch at a local pub and then it was off to Buckingham Palace to have a snack with the Queen.  Yeah ok!  Aidan and I have been having a lot of chats about what it must be like to the a part of the royal family.  He thought it would be great because you could have pretty much anything you want in the world.  Then I explained to him that it comes at a price of having your entire life constantly on display for others and that it must be really hard to trust people for fear that they may sell a piece of your life to the tabloids.  I think he understood it a little better when we got to the Palace and there were tons of people standing outside the gates taking pictures.  Of course, we did the same.  He asked me if we saw the Queen in a car go by, would we take a picture.  I wanted to tell him, no I wouldn’t… but really, if the Queen went by, let’s be realistic, that would have been a pretty cool picture!!

Aidan having ribs for lunch... he's a happy kid!

Outside the palace... I don't know what all the hype is about, I wasn't all that impressed, but maybe we were on the wrong side??

Statue outside Buckingham Palace

But there are all these people which makes me think it's the right side??

I mean the gates are pretty but there isn't much else

A few guards

King Liam outside his palace

We spent maybe 10 minutes in front of the Palace, watching the guards.  None of them were standing right outside the gate though, maybe we need to be at Kensington for those ones?  Or maybe they got tired of being harassed by tourists?  The only ones we saw were right along the palace, easily several hundred yards away from where the gates were. 

The next changing of the guard isn’t til Tuesday at 11:30 so we may or not be there for that, but I really don’t think the kids care one way or another about it.  We left the Palace and headed towards the park across the way aptly named Green Park.  Liam was once again wearing his cape as we walked through the park.  They wanted to play in the grass but it wasn’t til we were almost through the park that I saw any kids even playing on the grass and so I had told them no.  Of course, they didn’t listen anyways.  And it got a little energy out of them.

At the top of the park laid Piccadilly so we started to walk along there until Regents and then head up to Oxford Circus.  Yeah, we didn’t make it that far.  We found a bookstore (finally) and the kids got some books, including the Geronimo Stilton that Aidan wanted.  By now we were pretty damn cold and it was almost 4 anyways so we decide once we got to the Piccadilly Circus Underground Station we would head back to the apartment to chill out for a bit.

We spent maybe an hour at the apartment before heading out again.  This time just around our neighborhood.  The woman from NY had told me about a mall with a GAP in it that was down the street.  I’m in!!!  We figured there might be some restaurants nearby as well.

Ok, the mall was crappy.  But it did have a Gap and a Gap Kids.  Oh and a Toys R Us that Liam freaked out in because we told him he couldn’t buy any more toys.  The nerve of us!!!!  I will admit to spending maybe 15 mins on a hunt for jeans that went semi-ok.  It could have gone better.  My weight is up compared to last summer and it doesn’t really motivate my shopping jean but I needed jeans!!  I finally found a pair along with a few shirts and moved along.  So much for my shopping frenzy in London... I think I'll have to save that for a girls trip!

We ended up at Côte again for dinner as we weren’t in the mood for anything heavy and had burgers for lunch so this place had the most varied menu.  A late night again, but home by 8:15 so not as bad as the previous night.  Up for tomorrow???  No real clue but thinking it will include a trip on the London Eye and then we’ll see from there!


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