Friday, June 28, 2013

Family Vacation {Day 3}

     Three days is about all this little family can take for a vacation.  Brazos and Sandy hate being cooped up in the car traveling and staying away from home just gets expensive fast.  Our initial plan was to head home with a stop at NASA Space Center on the way, but after seeing an advertisement for the Annual Sandcastle Competition on Galveston Beach, we decided that we weren't quite done with the island after all.

     We packed up our belongings and checked out of the hotel in the morning and drove to NASA Space Center in Clear Lake.  The kids really enjoyed the space center because it has a GIANT play structure inside that is completely safe for little ones to venture all the way up to the top without parents worrying about them falling.  For the little ones like Sandy there is an area on the bottom with balls flying everywhere to keep them occupied while big brothers like Brazos climb up to the top.  Parents can climb in to and I had so much fun climbing to the top and sliding down the two story slide!

     The kids were kind-of-sort-of interested in the space exhibits.  Anything that was hands on was great, but just walking around looking at space suits didn't exactly capture their attention.  We went on one of the two tour bus rides that are available to see a BIG space ship in another building.  The ride itself wasn't very pleasurable because Sandy was screaming at the top of her lungs, but seeing the BIG space ship was worth it.  We could have skipped the other parts of the tour, but you have to stay with the group, which is only reasonable.

     The space center had an exhibit called CHOMP! which all about reptiles.  Every few hours a young girl and her assistant would do a show with different reptiles such as turtles, snakes, alligators, and lizards.  At the end of the show kids can hold a baby alligator and Brazos was so brave and went up there all by himself to hold it!

This isn't the BIG space ship.  The other one is so big and you are standing right next to it that I couldn't even fit it in my camera, so I don't have a picture of it.

     Of course we didn't want to miss the sandcastle competition, so we drove back to Galveston to go check out the local artwork.  We didn't get to see them build the castles.  We only saw the finished products.  The crazy part is that we ran into a high school classmate, Kyle Priesmeyer, while browsing through the crowd and he was on one of the teams that built the castles!  He told us that he had been part of the competition for eight years.  He explained to us how the competition works and how they build the castles.  Here's what I remember:
  • It's some architecture association that puts on the competition, so a lot of the contestants are architects.
  • They don't practice building the castles beforehand.
  • They aren't allowed to use pumps to get water to the sand.  I think it had to all be carried by buckets, no powered machines.
  • They are given themed categories to compete in.
  • Each team has between 4-8 people to help build.
  • They make a drawing of their castle beforehand.
  • They bring U-Haul trailers full of cardboard and wooden forms to help shape their castles.
  • They have four hours to build their castles.
  • They use knives and chisels to carve out their designs.
  • The winners receive Golden Buckets and Silver Shovels.
Here are some of their castles, which are amazing!
A bag of lost marbles
A real sandcastle!
A dragon

A plate with pie and a fork
8th Rubble of the World: The Astrodome with a bat through it!

The Sandlot

Downtown Crabby: It's Sabastian!

Gunshow: Muscels with a Mom Tatoo

The Harlem Shake

Mount Duckmore

Thrift Shop: A fur coat, a keyboard, and sneakers
A cruise ship made out of toilets

The Wicked Sand"Witch"
The was the castle that our classmate built!

I know it has the shark from Finding Nemo,
but it also has the yellow brick road to Oz.

Carnival Shipoopi
     And there were so many more!

     As we headed back to the car, it took forever because we couldn't get the kids to stop playing in the sand.  I was letting them play leisurely, but Matt was getting very tired so he hurried us along.  We stopped at Starbucks to fuel up on caffeine and we were headed home from another great vacation.

I love how she had no shame to strut her stuff even though she was covered in sand.  That's my girl!

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