Sunday, April 08, 2012

Ogden turns out to be the coolest thing since sliced bread

We knew nothing about the town of Ogden.  But it had a Marriott Hotel with an indoor pool, and so for a family with a lot of Marriott points, that was enough for our close getaway where a spring storm was forecast.  We needed indoor activities because of the upcoming snow, and preferably somewhere different with new adventures.  Grandma Paula wanted to come, and that was great because Gavin wasn't sure he could join us with his work schedule.
It turns out that Ogden is only 30 minutes north of Salt Lake, so Grandma had packed like we were taking a road trip to California, but it felt like it was as easy as heading to the Draper Ikea.
Once we got to the hotel, we were excited.  The indoor pool and hot tub looked big and bright, and the hotel was clean and recently renovated.  The town was cute too.  It felt a lot like Provo, with it's historic downtown, and the beautiful mountain range.
After we left the hotel, we headed to the Eccles dinosaur park.  I did not have big expectations, but it turned out to be perfect.  Set right up against the mountains, with big life-like dinosaur statues, Garrett was immediately thrilled.  He stayed with Grandma to check them out while Dalton, Sis and I went to the mining part of the museum.
There we saw a cool display of local gems and minerals.  The museum had a really neat local feel, with the majority of the stuff having been donated by local families.   There were some awesome fossils and rocks as well as great interactive dinosaur exhibits. 
There was an area where the kids could dig for gems.  It was a little cheesy, but the kids liked it.

We thought we'd gotten them all, but the bloodhound Grandma came in, and unearthed an entirely new layer of hidden rocks that the kids had missed.

After that they got to pick out a geode and then have a machine cut it open to see inside.

Very cool.

Outside there was a big playground with tons of life-like dinosaurs.  We walked around and picked our favorites.

Shelby and Garrett dug for some dinosaur bones.
It was a good day.  After the dinosaur park we got a recommendation to eat at Prairie Shooners.  Every table was inside a covered wagon, with an "outdoor area" we could look out on, complete with taxidermied bear and wolf.  After our yummy dinner we went swimming in the hotel pool with other kids who were hotel guests.  The kids were so excited when Gavin showed up, ready to swim.
Grandma's hotel room was just down the hall from ours, and Dalton got to sleep in her room.  The next morning was a big yummy hotel breakfast and then off to do skydiving.  The kids didn't know beforehand, so they were super excited.  Although, in this picture, Garrett doesn't look too thrilled.
Dalton, my adrenaline-seeker, was drooling to get in to that wind tunnel to catch some air.
Once Garrett got his official skydiving jumpsuit on, he was a little more excited.
Shelby was pumped up too.
Once I saw our instructor, I was much more excited.  

Garrett was feeling like a super hero with his uniform complete.

I have to say, and the kids agreed, this was the best activity we've ever done as a family.  Better than surfing, better than Disneyland, better than camping, better than zip lining or swimming with rocked.  It was way better than I had imagined it would be.  Dalton went first, and was a natural.  Shelby acted like she'd done it a million times and had a blast too.  Gavin and Grandma went and did great.  I felt pretty goofy looking, but the cute instructor didn't let on, which was nice of him.  

I was a little worried about Shelby and Garrett.  I didn't want it to scare the baloney out of them.  Thankfully they loved it.  Once they'd done it the first time, they were psyched to go again.  The second round was SO much fun.  I laughed my guts out for a solid minute while the instructor and I zoomed up and down in what felt like Willy Wanka's fizzy lifting drink tank at the speed of sound.  The instructor flew Garrett over to the door to give me a high five, while he was in the air.  After each person successfully made a "flight" we clapped and cheered for them.  Go family!

We celebrated with authentic Thai food for lunch at some hole in the wall in town.  The chicken satay, massaman curry and pad thai were fantastic.  While there, we watched our sky diving video and laughed at all of us attempting to do a flip at the end.  

It was a great spring break adventure in our new favorite not-so-far-away-town of Ogden.  We'll be back soon, and next time it will be for the hot springs in Honeyville, the bike riding and camping, the indoor surfing and rock climbing, and authentic Mexican food.  Staycations rock. 

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