Friday, November 27, 2015

A short week in Kansas City, KS

We made our way from Branson to Kansas City, KS in order to visit with Mandie's great aunt Fran and cousin Donna. As I mentioned before, this trip isn't just about us and this was one of those moments: Mandie hadn't seen her aunt in quite a few years, so it was a wonderful reunion.

Logan climbed up and hugged Aunt Fran
The area around where they lived was fairly slim pickings for campgrounds. The ones that are there didn't get the greatest of reviews. We ended up at the Kansas City Jellystone. For being in the offseason, it was a little pricey ($43/night with a Good Sam discount). The pool was closed down and they didn't do some of their planned activities (which wasn't a big deal since we weren't at the campground a whole lot). The layout of the pull-thrus is that the campers alternate directions so that your back is back to another camper (which is fine) BUT your front yard is facing another camper's front yard (which SUCKS unless you're traveling together). Anyway, the campground did have a jumping pillow which we enjoyed. I think overall, I might go back but I'm not sure about the shared yards and cost.

Our site + shared yard
This was one of their biggest "yards", some were VERY cozy
The kids and I jumping
He'd get some MAD air
Continuing our theme of Roadside Attractions, I found that next door to the campground was a 50’ tall concrete teepee. We had to walk down a fairly busy street and it was kind of rundown but hey- it was fun to see none the less. It seems like someone is actually living there; not sure as we didn’t peek in the windows or anything.

We had to walk across a litter-filled parking lot
50' Concrete Teepee
My wonderful family
Second building, supposedly used for banquets and whatnot
As you can tell by the vine growing up the sign, it has seen better days
Driving the campground found a really neat older unit. The staff that we interacted with was all very friendly.

I'd love to know more about this thing
The other side, it looks like there are doors on both sides
It's a gooseneck... say what?
Staff member letting the kids feed the fish
The real prize was family visits. Our first get together, we had a nice dinner out at Famous Dave's. It had been a while since I was at a Famous Dave's. The food was good.

The next night we hung out at the house, where Mandie and Paige treated everyone to dinner. Mandie said it was a treat to cook in a full-sized kitchen! After dinner, the ladies all got together to play games; unfortunately, I crashed out on a chair. I had been working 70 hour weeks for quite a while and it caught up to me. I guess it was time to pay the piper. As it goes with family visits, I rarely take pictures. This is a good and bad thing at the same time- clearly I’m focused on enjoying each other, but bad because I’d like to have some pictures for later! Logan loving up on Fran and Donna will be a memory that I cherish for many years.

Some more Logan Lovin'
The first signs of her evil genius
Over the weekend, we decided to check out the Lego Discovery Center. It was a small-ish place, but we had a good time. The tour starts with a demonstration of how Legos are made... well, sort of. It's a very cartoon-ish representation of it. After that, you go to different areas where they have various Lego displays (from Kansas City to Star Wars to the Wizard of Oz), a couple of rides, and various play areas and a much overpriced and pretty crappy café (worse yet- they don't allow outside food & drink). The café aside, we did enjoy it there and would likely visit a Lego Discovery center again. I didn’t think that we were going to be able to get the kids out of the gift shop at the end!

How Legos are made
Star Wars Something or Other
Posing with CP30
The Arch
Kansas City
Legoland - how meta
We were off to see the wizard
My Lego Artwork - a Gold Ribbon
Paige's Lego Artwork
Riding a ride
HUGE foam blocks
Mandie and some dirty hippy in the racing Lego area
Leaving Legoland, Mandie remembered the Hallmark Visitors Center and we were right near it, so we went to check it out. It was cool seeing back in time at a lot of their older stuff. There was a machine that made bows that Logan was enthralled with. We all came away with bows.

Waiting for the folding machine
Our bows
The steps were the shortest path
Because everyone walks down steps like this
Once we left the Hallmark Visitors Center, it was dinner time. Using TripAdvisor, we found a place called the Beer Kitchen. (Nothing like taking 2 kids into a place with “Beer” in the name- but don’t worry, I didn’t let them drink much!)

Their beer menu
A beer from my sampler
Overall, the food was good - a little fancy for us, but good none the less. The pretzel appetizer was AWESOME. However, the "award winning" truffle-something fries were pretty disappointing.

Burger with BBQ and fries
Chicken and Waffles
We had a good time in Kansas City, but it was time to make our way across the state on our way to Colorado Springs. I normally wouldn’t dedicated a blog post to it, but we made a stop to a really cool area and I’d like to write about that. So, until next time!

As is usual, this is just a smattering of pictures from my Flickr album. There are more of the campground, the Legoland, a couple of random downtown Kansas City pics, and more pics of us! Check Flickr for many, many more photos.

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