Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dinosaur Park

Alex and I woke up on this last weekend in July to beautiful blue skies and a moderate temperature. Back in the states, we might've debated going to the beach or maybe even the zoo, but ten to one we would've found something much more boring to do.

Clean out the garage?

Make a Target run?

Sweep the driveway?

Sure, why not.

But now we're in Germany.


The possibilities are endless.

Well, let me rephrase....our choices reach as far as a 3 year old's capabilities and tolerance will allow.

I got up, got the kids situated, then perused some of my blogs while I ate breakfast, trying to figure out what we should do with the day. I was looking for something fairly inexpensive (end of the pay period and we'd just bought both kids new shoes, ouch) and something not too far from us.

I wanted to get out and do something, but wanted it to be a little less grandeous than a castle tour or a landmark visit.
Some museums looked appealing, but then I realized I should probably save the indoor activities for the winter time when the weather is poor. Besides, I wanted to soak up the sun. A non-rainy day here in Germany is something to take advantage of!

I came down to two choices:
A barefoot park or a dinosaur park.

Both are things I want to experience while over here, and either one would have been good with Alex. In the end, we picked the dinos because it was closer.

Convenience won out today.

We went to this particular park: 

Located out in the middle of nowhere and just like all our explorations, contained terrifying roads, it also had stunning views along the way.

Entrance to the exhibits were free for kids under 4 years old while 4-17 was 7.50 Euro. 
Adults cost 9.50 Euro a head, but if you showed a ticket (or, in our case, a season pass) from Eifel Park you got a dollar off admission. 

That was a neat surprise. 

The park is set up in a giant circle through the woods, and you follow a path that takes you through the different dinosaur eras, ending with what they believe the Earth will resemble 100 million years from now. 

There were a couple "boneyards" available where kids could practice their archeological skills and unbury some skeletons.

The dinosaurs were set up off to the sides of the trails, built in such a way to resemble their approximate size and their features.

Overall, it was a genius idea. 

What better way for kids to learn about the creatures than to actually see one? 

I wish they had something like that around where I grew up. 

Each dinosaur exhibit had an informational placard with information written in both German and English, and the park also offered a nifty little feature where you could download an app on your smartphone and listen in (I believe) three different languages to a short audio discussion on the animals. 

We didn't download the app, so I'm not positive on how you'd know which exhibits had an audio bit to go along with it, but I did notice in our map that their were headphone symbols on certain areas, so I'm sure that was one way to use it. 

What a cool feature, especially if the park were really busy and you didn't want to wait in line to read the signs. 

There wasn't much in the way of exploratory activities for the kids aside from the two boneyard places and a sand pit. You could buy a "rock" and hammer through it to find a fossil for approximately 10 Euros, but that was above Landon's interest and skill level. So, while he liked the walking and was mildly interested in the dinosaurs at first, I wouldn't say he had a great time.

Probably something we'll hold off doing again for a few years. 

However, for something simple and entertaining to do for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon it was perfect. Got us out of the house, got us around people, and gave us the chance to see more of beautiful Germany. 

I made the comment to Alex as we were walking to the entrance: "I can't believe it's almost the beginning of August. Back in Florida, you couldn't pay us to be outside at 2 o'clock in the afternoon."

But without the humidity, with the sun hidden behind the trees, and with the mountain air bringing chilly breezes, this particular German summer has been blissful.

Maybe if the sunshine holds we'll brave our first ever German swimming pool...

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