Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Our Family Vacation - The Crayola Experience

    You may be wondering why I have been MIA for a while. I was on vacation.  I haven't been on vacation this whole time, but I discovered a funny thing about vacations that I already knew.  You go on vacation to take a break from your everyday reality.  Sometimes we take a break because life is just too much to bear and it's take a vacation or a trip to the mental institution.  I don't know about you, but it takes a lot of effort to plan a vacation for us.  I research where we are going, what there is to do there, are there any discounts that I can take advantage of?  Then I begin to organize things for the vacation, little things for the kids to do in the car, window clings to decorate the car, car snacks.... the list goes on forever.  The week before the vacation I do a massive wash and "try" to clean the house.  You will notice that I put "try".  For me cleaning the house is always something I stink at, and then add to it all of the extra things.  There is nothing worse than coming home from an amazing vacation to a disgusting house and playing find that smell... trust me I've done it.  There is the packing that needs to be done, although inevitably I forget someone's something and they whine and we make purchases on our trip.  
    Planning a vacation is a lot of work, at least it is for me.  It takes time.  By taking that extra time in the planning I find that I enjoy the vacation all the more.  I love our family vacations.  They are a mixture of exploration, adventure and soul recharging.  This year's big family vacation was to Virginia Beach, Virginia.  It was an amazing vacation!  Over the next few blogs I will share our vacation adventure.  It was an amazing vacation ... but!  Here's the but... While on vacation the world stands still.  My life outside of the vacation ceases to exist.  The truth is that the outside world continues while I am not there, and everything that I should be doing while I am taking a reality break is still waiting for me at home, building up.  That is what happened on this vacation.  I came back so thoroughly recharged, heart, body and soul.  I came home to a massive pile of things that had piled up while I was away.  That is why there has been such a delay in my blogs, but no more delays... I give you "Our Family Vacation".

    Virginia Beach is about a 14 hour drive.  We debated driving through the night with the kids.  That is my favourite way to travel.  The roads are quiet, the kids are asleep in the back, and Christopher and I can enjoy some much overdue adult conversation, without interruption.  The downside is that we get no sleep and are a bit groggy for the first day of vacation.  Save money and drive through, and be sleepy or spend extra money and start the next day with energy?  This vacation we chose the latter.

    We stopped near Easton, Pennsylvania.  Why Easton you may ask?  Why the Crayola Experience?  It is quite amazing really.  We went back when Gracie was 4 and the twins were just a year.  We vowed to go back.  It is the perfect place to go for creative kids / adults who think they are kids (that would be me).   I staggered a little at the cost, it cost our family of 6 $108.00 to get in.  I quietly thought "This had better be worth it!"  It was.

Adult General Admission
 (Ages 16 - 64)
Adult General Admission: Regular Price-$17.99 Online Price-$15.99 Save-$2 Online
Not Valid for special events, including December 31.

Child General Admission
 (Ages 2 - 15)
Child General Admission: Regular Price-$17.99 Online Price-$15.99 Save-$2 Online
Not Valid for special events, including December 31.

    Part of the price of admission is an empty bag that includes three or four tokens.  The empty plastic bag will quickly become full of amazing art.   The tokens I will talk about later, but they were lots of fun.

    The first thing that hits you when you enter the doors is the smell of crayons.  I forget that crayons have a smell.  It is the smell of creativity, of childhood.  That smell that tells you you are near crayons.
The Crayola Experience is 4 floors of fun.  There are 21 different creative activities.  The first floor is the Crayola Store and the is free coat racks, which make the day so much more enjoyable not having to carry around a coat.  We began our Crayola Experience on the second floor.  We went in to the "Crayola Theatre" and watched how crayons are made.   It was pretty neat.  On our way out of the theatre we were handed a red crayon.

    After we learned how crayon are made, we went to this really neat area.  There were banks of tiny computers, and a white wall.  The kids created art on the computer, and then it magically appeared on the white wall.  The kids (and let's be honest Christopher and I) loved it.  We had to drag the kids away.

    There was a colouring area.  There was this neat area that took a picture of you and turned it into a colouring page.  Really neat.

    We went up to the fourth floor next.  It was pretty neat, because in the centre of the room the play structure from the third floor came up into the fourth floor.  The fourth floor was full of really creative ways to recycle crayons.

    I really loved the spin art.  You insert a crayon in the top, it melts it and then you pull a handle that spins the paper fast or slow.  Really neat!  I seem to be saying "neat" a lot.  Apparently just talking about our day makes me slide back into my child self, all that's missing from my many "neats" is 
"Neat - O".

    Next we went over the molding station.  There was a bank of machines, each with a picture over the top that showed what the crayons would mold into.  They put in broken crayons, the machine melted the broken crayons and it formed into a new crayon.  There were dinosaurs, cars, rings, so many different shapes.

    The last thing that we did on the forth floor was to draw pictures using melted crayons.  Really fun. You may want to go back to one of my earlier blogs to see how we recycled broken crayons

    There were huge containers that contained little pots of melted crayon also.  Again you may want to travel back in time and see how we did it.

    Instead of going over every single thing that we did, let me just say that it was worth every single cent of the $108.00 admission.   The last thing we did was to trade in our tokens that we received with our admission tickets.  There were crayon machines, marker vending machines, so many Crayola vending machines it was hard to decide.  My kids loved it!  Christopher and I loved it!  It's one of those rare places aimed at children that allows parents to take part in the fun too.  I noticed a very interesting thing when we were there.  I have noticed, much to my disgust that more often than not when children are out at events with their parents,  the children are watching themselves.  The parents are deeply involved with their smart phones.  Who could possibly be more important that you have to chat with when you are having this special quality time with your child?  I want to smack the phone out of their hands and give them a shake, tell them to wake up and be a part of their children's childhood!  I did not see a single smart phone at the Crayola Experience.  Every parent / grandparent/ adult was completely engrossed in their child(ren).  Every adult was engaged with their child(ren).  It was so beautiful.

    For your viewing enjoyment, I present to you our vacation photos to music... enjoy.

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