Historic Fort Snelling

5 Week Workout Challenge: Week 4, Day 2
Historic Fort Snelling

Today we visited Fort Snelling.  My parents, my sisters Shannon and Liz and Liz’s boyfriend Jimmy had a lot of fun!  We’ve been here many times and every time I find something new to enjoy.

Although I’ve always visited Fort Snelling as a tourist, my Dad visited as a child, before it was restored as a historic landmark.  When he was a child, his uncle and cousins lived here!

Fort Snelling has always been one of my sister Liz’s favorite places.  Since she was a child, she’s always loved the cannon blast.  That might be because, when she was little, my Dad used to tell her that they set it off just for her.

After hearing the cannons go off, we went to get root beer and cream soda for the non-allergy people.  Then, we practiced walking on stilts.  My Dad was the best, to everyone’s amazement.

We checked out some of the usual buildings, like the tower and the schoolhouse, but my favorite was the medical rooms.  There were some new displays that I haven’t seen before.  I especially got a kick out of the weather diary.  The climate here was judged “the most excessive among all military posts in The United States.”

Liz, Jimmy and the kids had great fun making star wands in the arts and crafts building.  Liz has always excelled in making a four-sided star.  In usual tradition, she gave her star to the youngest in our family, Princess.  Jimmy was kind enough to give his star to Mr. Awesome.

After we were done for the day, we cooled off inside the gift shop and art gallery area before heading to our cars.  This year’s exhibit was a display of beautiful photography by Paul Kitagaki.  Accompanying the portraits were moving stories of families and people who had lived through the Japanese internment.  There was also a fascinating display of old clocks.

Later that night, we met up with my friend Joleen and her son Drake for fireworks at our local golf course.  It was a lovely evening.  The fireworks were beautiful and seemed to be right on top of us.  It was the perfect finish to a fun day.

Have you been to Fort Snelling?  What is your favorite part?  What historic sites are near your home?  I’d love to hear about it, share a link to your blog post in the comments!

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5 Week Workout Challenge
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Rainy Day At The Como Zoo Conservatory

Rainy Day At The Como Zoo Conservatory
Over the weekend we took a trip to the Como Zoo Conservatory.  I had been wanting to go for awhile, and the fact that it was raining didn’t stop me.  I really wanted to visit the conservatory, and a short trip through the Japanese Gardens could easily be done with some umbrellas.

Princess tried to climb into the fountain.  She LOVES playing in water.  Thankfully we caught her before she jumped in!

There were a lot of prom kids getting portraits taken all over the place.  There was also a bride and a groom in the sunken gardens, so we decided to come back so we wouldn’t be in their way.  
The sunken gardens are very beautiful.  They’re also full of lilies, which I’m allergic to.  I had my face mask so I could walk through without getting a migraine, but the smell seemed to bother Cat too.  Sadly, I think she might have inherited an allergy from me after all.  Thankfully, lilies are one of the easier allergens to avoid.  The worst thing is that she’ll have a rough time at funerals.  Thankfully, many people have red eyes and runny noses there, so she won’t be out of place.

The North Garden is my favorite.  It’s full of edible plants!  Depending on the time of year, you might even be able to spot something familiar growing.  I love peeking carefully through the leaves to see what treasures they hold.  The vanilla seemed to be overtaking the wall by the door.  Nate and I were amazed at how big it was!  We bought two cuttings of it from the gift shop in hopes of growing our own.
Cupcake was not a fan of this room.  She said it smelled like cat pee.  To be honest, it does smell a little when you first walk in, but then you get used to it.

We had a lot of fun at the Como Zoo Conservatory.  It was a lot more fun than being cooped up inside, at home, in the rain.  I kind of wish I had a beautiful indoor garden like the ones at Como, but I bet it takes a very large team and a lot of money to keep it looking as beautiful as it does.  I think I’m happy settling for a visit once a year and a few clippings of vanilla to take home with us.

Have you been to the Como Zoo Conservatory?  What is your favorite part?