Sunday, July 20, 2008
Well, here is one great thing about the W--the lighting! Their lobby is full of funky furnishings and is surrounded by windows. When I woke up Sunday morning, I was still livid (and hungry) from the night before. But when we left our hotel room and walked out of the elevators into the lobby, the beautiful natural light took my breath away. So while Dee got directions from the concierge, I took some pictures of Emily.
The concierge recommended Camellia Grill, and we loved it. This was my 3rd trip to New Orleans, so I wasn't too concerned with seeing any specific sights; Dee had never been. This restaurant is away from downtown and the French Quarter, so it gave Dee a chance to see the Garden District, and the kids got to see some street cars. In the Camellia Grill, you sit on stools at a counter, your waiter takes your order, yells to the cooks, and they are cooking right behind the counter, so you get to watch. Think of a Waffle House...only better. The waiters , who are dressed in bow ties, are very friendly and showy, and great with the kids. A high chair can actually be placed over the bar stool, so Ty was totally secure and just enjoyed watching the show. We only waited about 10 minutes for a seat because in New Orleans, people don't go out for breakfast at 9 a.m. on Sunday (they are still sleeping off the effects of the previous night's events).
Dee and I love aquariums. If we are visiting a city with an aquarium, we go there. We have been to aquariums in Dallas, Tampa, Vegas, San Antonio (at Sea World) and Galveston. So, of course, our next stop was the Aquarium of the Americas. It is a fabulous aquarium, but I have to honestly say that I think Moody Gardens in Galveston is just as good. They are actually very similar in their exhibits. So my point is, if you were going to travel to NOLA just for the aquarium, and I don't know anyone who would actually do that, I would just as soon go to Moody Gardens because it's closer.
I totally should have done some reading on taking photos at aquariums. The lighting is super-tricky, and I really had no idea what I was doing.
About this turtle, he started swimming and pooping soon after I took this picture. Emily got a kick out of watching Mr. Turtle relieve himself. In fact, if you ask her what she saw at the aquarium, she will probably tell you that she saw a turtle pooping.
I had to do some major convincing to get Emily to take a look at the alli-gay-lor. She was convinced she was going to get eaten. Now, if an alligator is mentioned, she asks me if it is behind the glass or not. If it is behind the glass, she is fine with it.
I didn't even see this little guy hiding until my 3 y/o pointed it out to me. Hello Mr. eel!
They also have a rain forest area. It's hot and humid in there (kinda like a rain forest would be). You can climb up stairs and walk across some bridges where you are above everything. I took Emily up there, and she really liked it. She actually asked me to take pictures of her, and then she made some strange faces.
As we walked down the stairs, there is a little cave to climb in. And here we are again with the strange facial expressions.
Emily was then granted a turn to pet a snake. She was so not afraid to touch him!
On a side note that has nothing to do with our trip--this picture is a perfect example of a DSLR camera not making the right choices in automatic. I used automatic because I had to take this picture quick and didn't have time to meter or change my settings. The fact that she was half in shade and half in sun threw everything off, especially the white balance. This is the picture straight off of the camera with no photoshop. I will need to fix the coloring in photoshop later. I just wanted to make this comment because I think trckatalk has many readers who are DSLR owners, and it can be extremely frustrating when the camera makes the wrong choices. But it happens to everyone!
The plants in the rain forest were beautiful.
After heading back inside, we found an amazing toddler play area. There was a huge aquarium on the wall, a pirate ship, and turtle and clam sculptures for the kids to play on. I gave Ty a break from the stroller while Dee took Emily to the touch areas. She got to touch a sting ray and a shark. Aside from the pooping turtle, this was her favorite part.
I do not like one child over the other. It's just that Emily is at the age that she will sit still for a photo, and Ty just wiggles and climbs all over. So therefore, you will now see Emily in a shark's mouth and Emily on a turtle (don't worry--neither are real).
Look how happy Ty is...
...to have a big sister who loves him so much!
As we left, Dee let the kids pick out a stuffed animal at the gift shop. Em chose a pink (of course) sea horse who she named Baby Aurora but later re-named Starwishes, and Ty chose a blue turtle who he dropped when we were walking through the Riverwalk to find a place to eat lunch. Fortunately, some nice people found it and tracked us down to tell us where it was. After lunch, it was back to the hotel for naps, and after naps, it was swimming in our hotel pool which is located on the roof of the parking garage. Ty impressed everyone with his skills. He can swim under water from me to Dee.
By this time, most of my family had arrived, so we met up for dinner. We ate at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and enjoyed a meal together. While we were waiting for a table, my mom took Emily into the little gift shops next door. It was a little princess' paradise with the feather boas, beads, and masks.
The funny thing is that NO ONE brought their camera! We walked to the restaurant from our hotel, so we didn't want to bring the camera. I thought surely my mom or my sisters would bring their cameras. They thought the same thing about me. So no pics of this meal.
After dinner, we took a walk down by the river. Then, it was time to head back to our hotels to get plenty of rest for the big day on Monday. Dee used a duvet to rig up a canopy around Ty's crib, so that we could stay up organizing what needed to go on the boat and what didn't. The funny thing is it actually worked, and he stayed fast asleep. Ty definitely had some strange sleeping situations on this trip.