We went off to Huntsville, Al this weekend (breaking a long-standing vow of touchstone
's to never set foot in the state) with the goal of seeing caves and rockets. Except for some minor stress of the Bit being too excited to listen to mom and dad, it was a blast.
After the Bit's dance class on Saturday morning, we threw ourselves into the car and headed to Catherdral Caverns
state park -- featuring FOUR WORLD RECORDS for a commercially operated cave and tour guides with the thickest Alabama accent that I've ever heard. We were in a bit of a rush until we remembered that Alabama was in the Central timezone, so we made it to the caves with tons of time to spare. The Bit and Kit got to spend time running around the courtyard and playing in the fountain before the guided tour got underway.
The caves were huge -- massive, even -- and had some really beautiful rock formations. I highly recommend stopping if you ever find yourself in the area. the Bit had tons of fun, going so far as to declare that "When I grow up, I want to be a cave lady!" like our tour guide.
On Sunday, we went to the US Space and Rockets Center. There, the Bit was bitterly disappointed that she was going to be able to get into a real rocket and go to the moon. When we told her that if she studied really hard in school, and became an astronaut that she might go to the moon, she gave us this Look and said, "But I don't want to go to the moon when I'm grown up. I want to go when I'm THREE!" Mom and Dad were understanding, but unrelenting.
She did get to ride on a "simulated moon-jump" ride for little kids. It took her up about 15 or 20 feet and then bounced down to the ground. The first time she tried it, there was this look in her eyes that said, "Should I be scared? Is this fun?" She looked at us, and we were smiling which seemed to be the indication that all was well. At that point, she broke into cackles of glee and insisted (along with the Kit) in riding some seven or eight more times. It was much fun.
Me, I was just amazed. Every time I look at a rocket or space ship, I get goose bumps to think "People did that." Humans -- people just like me (okay, smarter than me, but still) -- put together this thing. We designed it, built it, found people to strap themselves into it, and we shoved our way our into a place where we totally do not belong, and that is just the coolest thing ever. I am thrilled by the idea that men and women can get together and build a spaceship that lets us go into outer-space. It's awe-inspiring to me.