Make A Sweet Detour

I’m an avid walker.  By “avid” I mean that I walk my oldest son to school every day with my littlest son in tow (who is four).  We have walked this route for the last three years and I’ve never bothered to clock it.  I’ve just thought,

“Well, if they don’t complain, it’s not that far.”

Over the hills, and through the woods....

I clocked it recently to find that it’s a total of 1.6 miles (there and back).  I have to say … I’m pretty proud of my littlest one who has to do this twice a day.  This is through snow, sleet, sun, rain, wind or hail (and sometimes, being in the Northwest, all combined in one go).

So today we took a little detour after dropping my oldest to school.  We walked down to the closest donut shop (which, okay, is far out of the way, but worth it) and enjoyed what I want to call A Sweet Detour.

Sweets & Treats

Advertisements

Wordless Wednesday: Ecola State Park, Oregon Coast

I know this is snuck in as my “Wordless Wednesday” pick (so it isn’t entirely legitimate), however I have to say two things about this picture:

1) It’s taken from my phone and I was hugely impressed of its capability to capture such beauty and feeling

and

2) If you go to the Oregon Coast, and want to see what it’s all about, avoid the tourist-packed sea-side towns in the likes of Seaside and Cannon Beach (unless you like the chintzy tourism packed with people) and instead opt for a less-crowded, but more eventful and picturesque scene such as the Ecola State Park.  It offers a descent hike down to the beach, privacy (seeing as most people tend to enjoy the concept of “get in your car, drive to the beach, hunker down” approach), and a different and fantastic view of Haystack Rock (Cannon Beach’s claim to fame).  I urge you to check this place out while the salty air’s sea breeze takes your breath away.

Mindport

If you enjoy rainy days, college students, retired and friendly folk and abundant outdoor activity, visit Bellingham, Washington.  A beautiful town, population of 65,000, located on a Bay that never ceases to disappoint, this charming little town is known for its local natives’ motto: You always come back.  It’s perfectly situated in between two major cities, Seattle and Vancouver, and is at the same time an outdoorsman’s haven of continual pleasure.  Whether it’s hiking, biking, skiing, walking, sailing, canoeing, kayaking or simply sitting on a rock atop Western Washington University’s “Big Rock” overlooking the Sound on a rainy day, the spirit of Nature blankets the soul of every green activist.

Bellingham may be a college town and home to the retirees, so it may come as a surprise to many that it’s also, among other things, a perfect place to raise a family.  There are so many things to do with children, one being the über-cool Mindport on W. Holly St.  MindportThis place, to put it mildly, rocks.  Its combination of fine and interactive art encourages youngsters to explore things in a different way.  And, yes, adults get a kick out of it too.

The term “fine art” allows kids to learn things in a more internal way (a painting, a sculpture, or a showcase of an Aquatic Ecosystem) and gives them the chance to think: “What does this painting mean to you?” or “What do you like about this sculpture?” and “ Look inside the tank: do you see the little tadpoles?  What do you think they feed on?”  Kids are hungry for learning new things, and asking them questions, or letting them ramble on about the things they see gives them the opportunity to discover.

Interactive art (which kids love best) is where they get to explore things hands on.  Just as you enter Mindport, to the left of its entrance before admission (which is a low $2 per person), is a hydromechanics exhibit.  Sure, it sounds like a complicated hands-on activity, but it’s not.  It’s a small 8ft down sloped “river” with rocks, and twists around to a small pool of water.  Children take a small handful of different sized/shaped chips of wood and place it on top to see how it moves down.  Seeing the kids’ delight in watching their chips making it all the way to the pools is enough to get every parent the sense of satisfaction for taking them here in the first place.  Sometimes the chips get stuck.  Sometimes they go slow, and sometimes they go fast.  They’re all different, and that’s the study of water, and objects being placed in water.  Children learn this through their experience with it first-hand.

The “Tornado” is also a big hit.  Align the three knobs in their right order, and you see wind and fog create an actual weathering system; a tornado.  Kids love sticking their hands in it and feeling the small sensation of wind, but what’s most impressive is seeing the formation of a tornado being created one foot away from you.

There are so many other creative and mind-stimulating exhibits here.  One could easily spend hours here, playing and learning (and not realizing you’re doing so).  If you have wee ones, keep it short: overstimulation can sometimes lead to a less-than happy child.  In any case, thirty minutes or three hours at Mindport, you’ll leave feeling like a kid again, wearing a bright grin and feeling hungry for more.