Years ago, my parents suggested visiting Mt. Rushmore for family vacation. But my snotty high-school self, along with my teen and tween-age sisters balked at the idea.
"The Face Place?" we mocked. "Bor-ing!"
I don't know how growing up with this mug stashed in our cupboard didn't get us more excited about visiting the esteemed monument.....butt in the end we never visited Washington and his pals.
But thanks to educational shows like Phineas and Ferb, our kids were very, very eager to visit The Face Place!
And so we piled in the car for a quick jaunt up to the great state of South Dakota for Spring Break last week.
Emma was Map Girl, and tracked every mile of our drive. When Gary announced that we were at a junction in Wyoming, she quizzically said, "It doesn't look junky!"
We arrived at our hotel right at bedtime, so the kids didn't have too long to bounce off the walls before we put them to bed. I won't tell you how many tries it took to keep them all quiet and in their beds, but think double-digits.
The next morning, Addie came bounding into our room (we had a suite) and jumped on our bed, squealing, "Let's go see... THE MAYORS!!!!" We're still laughing about that. Addie does have a soft spot for mayors, you know.
So off to see the mayors we went. Once I saw how impressive Mt. Rushmore is, I regretted mocking my parents' attempts at taking us there when I was younger.
I even texted my mom to say it wasn't so bad.
The kids loved exploring the paths and giving us their best "president faces." Addie informed us that presidents don't smile.
On our way back to the car, Gary and I were
lost in each other's eyes, gazing longingly at one another busy trying to keep track of the littles when we realized that Emma and Addie were goofing around and about to run into some mountain goats. Literally! They were just a few feet away from the wild beasts.
It turns out the wild beasts let us pose for a picture without batting an eye.
Later in the car, trying to take advantage of a nature lesson, I said, "Why do you think the mountain goats were white?"
Emma said, "From all the dust."
Addie said, "Because of the snow."
I said, "Addie's probably closer. They're camouflaged in the snow, right? That way predators like bears and hunters can't get them."
With horror, Emma replied, "They're hunting the presidents?!"
She thought I was asking why the presidents were white. Not the mountain goats. I die laughing when I recall this conversation.
We continued down the road to take a peek at the Crazy Horse Monument. WHOA. I didn't know it was so enormous.
We got to see/hear/feel a blast while we were there. So cool! 1,400 tons of rock were blown away right in front of our eyes.
And for a mere $1, the kids each got to take home their very own rock from Crazy Horse. Brody was clearly impressed by his rock. He held onto it even while he dozed.
Finally, we headed back to our hotel, which was connected to a great indoor water park. Despite seeing a bit of good ol' American history towering above them earlier in the day, I think it was the 3-story water slides that really impressed my kids. They loved it.
It was a quick, whirlwind kind of trip, but totally fun. So what do you say, Mom and Dad? Road trip to Mt. Rushmore?
And if you still have that sweet mug, I call dibs!