Sunday, March 12, 2006

Cincinnati - Day 3 - Museum Musings

Today's focus was the Cinicinnati museum Centre at Union Terminal. The museum Centre consists of four different attractions located within the renovated Union Terminal train station (built in 1933 and declared a National Historic Landmark). Arriving at the facility, you have two large parking lots to choose from and then walk up to the main entrance and the 10-story, arched, limestone and glassed facade of the train station. Corbin was excited and was taking some crazy pictures of strangers with his camera.Getting past the original doors, you enter the huge Rotunda, a vast open concourse covered by a half dome structure. The architecture is striking and you get a feel of large the building really is. You can choose from four attractions: Omnimax Theater, Cincinnati History Museum, Cinergy's Children's Museum and the Museum of Natural History & Science. You can visit one, or all four. The more you visit, the cheaper it is. Infants under one year are admitted for free. Children aged 1 and 2 are charged a single admission price of $4.25 to all attractions including the Omnimax if they sit on a caregiver's lap. Remaining admission prices are listed on the website. Just one thing: some of the driving directions refer to Exit 1H, however there is no exit signed 1H. The sign we saw refered to Exit 1G - Ezzard Charles Dr and Liberty St - keep that in mind. Update: Museum staff have confirmed that some of the directions are incorrect. Before heading out, you may want to call the Museum and confirm driving directions.

We decided on the Museum of Natural History & Science and the Children's Museum for a total cost of US$ 32 (two adults, one child, one toddler) - an amazing deal. We toured the Natural History & Science museum first. Exhibits include minerals found in the surrounding area, the Cavern - a multi-level cave with running water, narrow passages and places only kids can go, and single level pathway for people in wheelchairs or people with strollers, a trip back into time, and so on. Corbin loved the Cavern. Jeremy also showed some interest.

Finished with this museum, we had some lunch in the Rotunda. Standard food fare such as hamburgers, hotdogs, french fries and a select menu from Pizza Hut. We filled up on energyand headed to the second attraction: the Children's Museum. This place is all hands-on. There is a water area where children can play with toys, and do crazy things with water, a forest area where kids climb up and across and slide down, a ball area, a special area for toddlers and so on.

About 4 hours later, we were done. Exhausted we stopped by the gift shop to give Corbin the opportunity to buy something, including a wallet to carry all those flattened pennies he is collecting. Instead of driving directly back to the hotel, Adam decided to take a little drive on the I-475 loop. About 30 or 40 minutes later, we stopped by the Shell gas station to stock on some supplies (more beer and chocolate) before heading to the hotel. Changed into our bathing suits and relaxed in the pool. Afterwards, Tina headed to a local Subway and got us all some food. Yup, Tina drove in the States.

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