Upstate New York

A couple of weeks ago, we got to take a trip with Grandma Shelly to Syracuse!  Elise and Avery were really excited to try out their “long car ride” set-up in the Traverse.

They were so, so good in the car, and made me feel much better about our upcoming drive to Hilton Head. We watched just a show or two there and back (10 hours each way), so I was quite impressed with them!

Our first big outing (other than exploring the city, which has 938 hospitals in a few block radius, in case you need one when you’re in the area) was to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.  It was half price (though we expected it to be free, but whatever) with our reciprocal membership program, and you know we love zoos – so it was a no-brainer that we’d visit.  A few people had “warned” us that it wasn’t a great zoo, but we’d later find out the general perception of Syracuse offerings was a bit off, to say the least.  It was definitely small (remind us a lot of the Forest Park zoo in STL), but it was actually quite nice and we had a great visit!

We also visited the Carousel Mall (future site of a much cooler mall, a la Mall of America), experiencing my new favorite mall restaurant and visiting “the Mickey store”.

The next stop on our tour of the town was the Museum of Science and Technology (MOST).  Here is where we learned that the locals were way off on their recommendations.  At least 10 people told us we HAD to try this AWESOME museum that the girls would LOVE.  {Emphasis theirs, and in actuality much bolder.}  We knew better than to expect something like COSI, but thought with their rabid fandom that it would at least rival the Cincinnati family of museums.  And this one, with a reciprocity program, was totally free.  What did we have to lose?!

Holy cow, they were wrong.  The place was (unintentionally) hilarious, but certainly not worth raving about.  Or mentioning, really.  Most exhibits were missing parts, the rest of them were extremely underwhelming.  A prime example of their overstatement?  “The MOST Cafe”, where we had planned to eat lunch:

Why yes, that is 2 dozen vending machines and a few tables.  Enjoy your dining experience.

The girls, however, being three?  They thought it was an awesome morning.  Our experience with the hotel shuttle earlier that morning had been a bit frustrating, so we decided to fuel up at Subway near the museum and make the long trek (0.5 miles ;)) back to the hotel.  For the girls, that was a journey after a busy morning!

My favorite outing of the trip though, and a reason I’d definitely go back to the Finger Lakes region, was our time spent at Oneida Shores Park.  I had spent a few days narrowing down the dozens of fantastic looking state and county parks, and am quite pleased with the one we landed on.  There were plenty of picnic tables to enjoy our Little Caesar’s picnic.

There was a great little playground, that the girls thoroughly enjoyed.

But the best part – even though we weren’t there to swim – was the beach (a “lake beach”, mind you, which is different than an “ocean beach”).  The girls only had a short time to play, but they were fearless running into the lake up to their shorts, and adored playing in the sand.

All in all it was a nice little getaway!

Lots more pictures (especially some great beach/park pictures) in the new August Picasa album!