Saturday, August 17, 2013

Wisconsin Dells

I've had another major setback with my feet, have been off work for more than 2 weeks and still don't know exactly what's going on.  I know I have tendonitis in several different tendons in my left foot and I'm in a lot of pain that's not improving much with rest and time.  I have an MRI scheduled Monday that will hopefully help figure out if something else is going on.  I've had cortisone shots, wraps, different meds and am back in the boot cast.  I'm making some tough decisions about work while getting a dose of reality about the current job market.  I'm having a rough month and haven't felt like writing about it.  I still don't.

The kids finished their final week of Camp Zone and I was surprised at how fine both were with summer being basically over.  They both loved camp, but are ready to go back to school.  They enjoyed their final week out of school by mostly staying inside.  Logan played video games with the neighbor boys and Kaylin hung out with Kira.  I couldn't get Columbus Day off work for our annual trip to Tanner's Orchard and the small town of Bradford, so we went ahead and did it this week.  We added the nearby town of Wyoming to our trip and the kids enjoyed the town's park so much we will probably have to go back.  On Columbus Day, the playground at Tanner's costs $10 to enter.  My kids are too big for the pony and barrel train rides so we haven't been to the playground for a couple of years.  Tuesday it was free and they actually had a good, nostalgic time playing on the old tractor tires and hay bales.  They were too big for most of the play structures and felt awkward trying to dodge the little kids, but it was fun.  I also got a photo of them on the same teeter-totter as when they were 1 and 3.  I will have to scan the old photo so I can do a side-by-side 10 years apart.  It's pretty cute.

We're currently in Wisconsin Dells.  We have stayed at Great Wolf Lodge many times over the years and decided to try Kalahari this time.  We stayed here once before when the kids were really little, but it has expanded a LOT in that time.  Kaylin doesn't like the crazy, scary water slides Kalahari is famous for and both kids prefer Great Wolf's huge wave pool.  Kalahari has an indoor theme park with go karts, mini golf, a ropes course, climbing wall, multiple rides and tons of other stuff including a huge arcade.  Great Wolf has a huge arcade.  However, there is an even bigger indoor theme park practically in their parking lot called Knuckleheads.  Everyone prefers Knuckleheads.  Kalahari has a more fun atmosphere with themed shops and restaurants, fountains and better looking décor.  Great Wolf is dated and worn-looking.  Kalahari has photo ops with baby tigers and coatis.  Well, that's sort of a deal breaker for me!  I can't tell you how much I hate this practice because these baby animals- no matter how endangered- are poorly bred FOR the photo ops, taken from their mother to be bottle fed- again for the photo ops, and then sent to spend the rest of their lives either breeding more babies for photo ops, stuck in a rescue facility or in questionable traveling shows that do ridiculous and reprehensible things such as breeding ligers.  It's a bad, bad practice I can't support.  I was sure everyone would be crazy for Kalahari and we'd come back over and over, but we probably won't.  We all want to try out the Wilderness Resort next time.  Kalahari is fun, but we can do better.

Thursday, we went to the International Crane Foundation for the first time as a family.  I absolutely love the place and have been there many times, but usually go alone.  Gene and Kaylin weren't too excited about the visit, but they ended up loving it.  How can you not love a zoo that is nothing but cranes?  Friday, we checked out the Timbavati Wildlife Park for the first time.  It took over an old Dells park (I think it was called Storybook Land) and is responsible for breeding the photo op tiger cubs.  The place is a giant craphole and I hope it fails.  I could write pages about how horrible this place is, but I'll stick to what I hated the most.  Number One would be the bird exhibits.  There was no barrier between the birds and humans other than the wire mesh covering the cages.  The cages weren't small, but they weren't very tall and birds that would normally be perched were on the ground without adequate cover for hiding.  There was a crow that completely enjoyed all the human interaction, but there were two eagles and a falcon that were obviously stressed.  The falcon was on the ground panting, but it was only 65F and it was in covered shade.  HORRIBLE!  The second thing I hated was the zebra/ostrich exhibit.  They had a huge yard, but were fed along the public fence line.  I was petting the zebras who were so used to it they didn't react and I even touched an ostrich.  This is just stupid and begging for a lawsuit when someone's kid gets bitten.  I then discovered that other than the big cat area and the primate/small carnivore area, most of the animals had no extra barriers to prevent the humans from touching them through the fence.  This can lead to transmission of disease both ways, unwanted bites, I could go on and on about why this whole zoo is a bad idea...  I will give them one praise- Their giraffe/camel feeding area was amazing and super fun.  You could buy a large Dixie cup full of carrot sticks for $4 and the 3 giraffes and 3 camels (separate yards, same feeding platform) were right there eating like piggies.  Even having worked with and having regularly hand-fed both giraffes and camels, I have to admit that was really fun.

I forgot to mention that the Timbavati tickets were included with our stay at Kalahari.  Also included were tickets to the Tommy Bartlett waterski show.  This show is something I would NEVER have considered doing without free tickets.  The general admission tickets for our family would have cost around $90.  And a waterski show sounds kind of stupid!  I have to admit that we all really liked it.  They did some amazing things and it was fun to watch.  Then, the second half of the show was jugglers and circus-type performers and was equally enjoyable.  I don't think I'd pay full price to go back, but if we got free tickets I'd probably go again.

This morning we're planning on swimming at the water park one last time, maybe hitting the indoor theme park again and then the kids REALLY want to go to the Deer Park.  I'm not normally much of a hot tub lover, but the heat and jets have helped my foot more than anything else I've tried, so I'm going back for more!  I don't know if we'll really go to the Deer Park, but it is something we all love.

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