Friday, October 21, 2016

2016 Summer Vacation - Colorado (Day 3)

Since we rented a house, we had breakfast at the house and then headed out for some fun and touristy activities.  First, we headed to the Garden of the Gods.  They have a really neat, interactive visitor's center.
Different rocks in the area...

Miranda sporting her Peppa Pig hat!

Dinosaurs and bears oh my!

The girls liked this part too.  Seeing how your hand fits in with different animal paw prints.

And then of course, matching the animal to its print.

The weirdest part of the exhibit was guessing what skat belonged to what animal.  AKA, what animal poops like this? ;)  It was both gross and funny.

Mackenzie, being the informational sponge that she is, loved learning about the animals and other exhibits.

Just before we went to the viewing deck, there was a model of the "rocks".  They lit up when you pushed their name.

I made this panorama of the formations and surrounding mountains.  Cheyenne Mountain is on the far left and Pike's Peak is in the middle - tallest one!

This is what is considered the Garden of the Gods

And then...the close ups. At the top left of this formations is a part that's called the "kissing camels."

A little blurry, but they're in front of real mountains! ;)

All 3 smiling!

Next we went across the highway into the actual "Garden".  Since I'm so used to flat land everywhere, these were really amazing!

And so beautiful among all of the green foliage.

God's creation...

This is a close up for the "kissing camels".

After Garden of the Gods, we drove to the Cave of the Winds.  I've been to a cave here in Texas so I assumed we be going "down" into a cave, but in Colorado, you go "up" a mountain and then walk straight into the cave!  We were about 7000 feet above sea level.  The visitor's center had a beautiful viewing deck of the surrounding mountains!

The girls in front of God's beauty!

We had to wait a little bit before our tour, so we had times for snacks, pictures and goofing off!

The cave itself was pretty cool.  The first picture is the original hole the first explorers used to enter the cave.

I don't have very many descriptions for the following pictures, but the cave was very pretty.

There were a couple of tight places to walk in Mackenzie barely fit through without ducking.  The girls did pretty well with the 45 minute cave tour.  Meredith had a few issues because she "needed" to hold my hand most of the time.  While that's not typically an issue, Miranda also wanted me to hold her.  So holding an almost 3 year old while walking through a cave and holding an almost 5 year old's hand constantly isn't too easy.
Cave bacon...

An original entrance into the cave...via ladder.  I sure am glad they built the visitors center with a direct walk in entry. ;)

This was the only part of the cave we could touch...which is why it's so smooth.

A stalactite and stalagmite were once joined but I guess with shifting ground it broke apart.

We climbed up and down a lot of stairs - I think they said 205.  So not only was I out of breath from the stairs, but we were also 7000 feet about sea level so my body was working harder to bring in general.  I was pretty tired when we were finished!

A connected stalactite and stalagmite!

Again, these are the original entrances into the cave.  I'm pretty sure I would never do a cave tour if I had to crawl on my belly to get into a cave!

Since we don't have any full family photos and the cave to our photo for us, we actually purchased the pictures from the cave!  We are all smiling (almost for Miranda).

After the cave tour we went back to our house to rest for a few hours.  The big girls had fun playing down in the basement, Miranda napped and Brandon and I just rested in the living room.  We went back to the Garden of the God's to do more exploring that evening.  We went to a huge gift shop that had a cafe where we were going to eat dinner.  Unfortunately, they closed about 5 minutes before we decided to order food.  Which is crazy because we walked around for about 10 minutes before going to get food. :(  The cafe may have been closed, but the ice cream shop was open, so we had an ice cream dinner!

The girls became fascinated with a squirrel outside.  ;)

After "dinner", we headed to the balancing rocks.  Thankfully we hit a lull in the tourists and were able to take pictures without standing in line! The big girls had fun pretending they were holding up the rock!

A little blurry, but Miranda wanted to pretend she was holding up the rock too!

Great picture of Brandon and the girls!

And me and the girls!

Just the girls!

This picture doesn't do it any justice, but it was pretty cool driving through the rocks.

Wit that our day was complete and we went back to our rent house and went to bed!  Next up....Pikes Peak!

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