So we started the week with a fun birthday outing. Sarah enjoys the forest, as well as animals, so as a surprise, we spent the day at the World Forestry Center and the Oregon Zoo.
The World Forestry Center and the Oregon Zoo are located in Washington Park which is home to a lot of fun family places to explore in southwest Portland. Washington Park is home to the Oregon Zoo, The World Forestry Center, The Children's Museum, The Japanese Gardens, an arboretum, a rose test garden, Vietnam Memorial, as well as nice walking trails. You could spend many weekends there as a family. I spent a lot of time there in my childhood, and during my teen years worked as a Children's Zoo volunteer giving animal presentations, and lots of Children's Zoo animal pen clean up. Both my sisters also volunteered at the zoo, and when Sarah and Joseph were little, and we still lived in Portland, I would take them to the zoo almost twice a week for a stroll. You can imagine it is one of our favorite places to visit.
We started the day out at The World Forestry Center, we hadn't been to the forestry center in quite some time, so we were pleasantly surprised to see a lot of fun new exhibits.
There were a lot of interactive exhibits, you could sit in this raft and pretend to go through the rapids, a camera takes your picture in front of a river scene which you can buy as a souvenir.
I had heard about the canopy lift ride, and was excited for us all to try it out. You strap in, and even have to put on safety harnesses. Then this chair lift you all the way to the top of the building, giving you a a view of the different levels of a large fir tree display.
Here are Sarah and Joseph ready to go up.
They both really enjoyed the ride.
Here you can see them at the top, with the beautiful sky light ceiling right above.
I decided to give the canopy lift a go as well, once I felt assured that the safety harness would hold in case it fell. Gary and I went up together, it was very fun, but on the way up I was nerve wracked, you could feel the chair swinging a bit and it was unnerving. I knew the ride was short though, and once we got to the top I enjoyed the view, and by the time the ride was on the way down I actually enjoyed it. Fun, educational ride, I would definitely go up again.
We had a good time exploring all the hands-on logging exhibits, these huge slices of tree were neat.
Gary and I are big fans of the history channel show Ax Men, and see them using this machine on the show, so it was fun to sit behind the wheel.
I think Gary would love to work with these big vehicles. We all had fun doing parachute and logging simulations, and learning about Northwest forests.
Upstairs was all about forests of the world. On our way to the second level we stopped to check out a Cacao tree replica, what a cool tree this would be to see in real life. We learned that the Cacao tree flowers are pollinated by little midges rather than bees. So, thank you tiny flies for chocolate!
The forests of the world displays were really fun, there were four different rooms representing different countries and their forests, and you would sit in a fun vehicle to watch the short little movie.
All the movies were really interesting, and shared about different forestry careers as well.
Before we left we got lots of free information packets on careers in the forestry field, since Sarah and Joseph are in high school I thought it would be interesting to read about these different careers, you never know what might be interesting work unless you learn about it. The gift shop was also full of interesting books and fun things to browse. We had a great time at the forestry center, I look forward to going again.
Then we headed across the parking lot to the Zoo, the weather was just right, not to hot, and no rain. We stopped at one of the zoo's restaurants, The Cascade Grill, and had soup and sandwiches, the soup was a delicious corn chowder that we all loved and I hope to try to replicate at some point.
When we were done with lunch we decided to start at the Sea Lions, and one was actively swimming around. I never realized how graceful Sea Lions are when they are swimming.
At one point the sea lion came right up to the glass, it was wonderful to see this huge creature so close!
This is how he looked swimming away, I think it had quite a human like shape to it, this must have played some part in Mermaid legends, if a sailor saw this from a distance I think it would look pretty mermaid like.
We saw polar bears up close, so huge!
We saw part of a bird talk with this gorgeous hawk.
The elephants are always fun to see.
We had to stop for our annual stone sculpture picture, I have pictures of the kids with these stone animals all the way from the time they were little.
We finally saw the Lions, last time they were not out, so it was wonderful to finally get to see them.
We saw lots of other animals, and the cool weather was encouraging a lot of them to be more active.
Sarah loves goats, so we had to stop by the pygmy goats, and Sarah and Joseph had a nice time petting them.
We finished up our zoo trip on the northwest trail exhibit and saw some of the animals that live in Oregon.
And in the patriotic spirit we stopped off at the Bald Eagle display, such powerful looking birds!
On the way home we stopped off at a new yogurt shop called Menchies, and we all enjoyed a special birthday treat. We had a nice evening at home with a homemade cake and some gifts, and watching Sarah's picks of shows. Happy Birthday Sarah!
Yesterday, for the Fourth of July, I got up and got to busy preparing our Fourth of July dinner. The kids and Gary walked to the town parade, afterward they stopped back by to get me, and we went to the local McDonald's to have a quick lunch with friends. There were so many people in town for the parade and rodeo, it was fun to see.
When I got home I attempted to make an apple pie. I got all the apples into the crust, tossed with cinnamon, flour, sugar, and a little lemon juice. But I forgot to add a few pats of butter. Oops.
I was in a rush so my crust had a more "rustic" look to it. I added little apple cutouts to the top to make it look a little nicer. It was at this point I realized I forgot butter, I tried to push small slices of butter through the slits, and made the pie look even more wacky, so I decided to just let it be.
The apple cutouts turned out pretty, and even though the pie wasn't perfect, it was tasty and the apples were delicious, much less sweet than store bought and a lot more apples!
I also attempted a patriotic Jello Mold. In the grocery store a few weeks back, you could get this flag shaped jello mold for free with the purchase of three packs of Jello. So I though it would be fun for the fourth. I was unsure if it would come out of the mold, but it did pretty well. The top layer was Cherry, the middle layer was lemon mixed with Cool Whip, and the bottom layer was blue raspberry. We had our young niece and nephew over for dinner and fireworks and all the kids thought the Jello mold was neat looking. It tasted delicious, especially the fluffy lemon center, this will have to become a yearly part of fourth of July meal.
I also made a big potato salad, and macaroni salad and we had hot dogs with all the fixins. After dinner we all had fun lighting fireworks out front on the street, the rest of the neighborhood was out as well, and it was fun to see all of the families enjoying themselves. I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July!
Today I spent time tidying up from all the fun, as well as taking some much needed time to chill out. Between our vacation last week, and the holiday and birthday celebrating this week, I am quite behind on my fairy tale posts. I was supposed to catch up last week but didn't find time to squeeze in my crafting, so once again I am hoping to catch up this weekend. :)