Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Tacoma Nature Center!

Our last weekday of spring break I wanted to get out and explore. I had plans with a friend to go up to Mount Rainier with the kids, but things changed and they weren't able to make it. I did not want to go up to the mountain by myself with 4 kids so a change of plans was in order. I remembered that I had pinned a website that listed 10 different kid friendly hikes in the Puget Sound so I brought those up and found one that went around Snake Lake in Tacoma. I had never even heard of Snake Lake, but it sounded like it wouldn't be too challenging. I invited the neighbor boys to go with us so we had an almost full van. Me with 6 kids...a few years ago I would have thought a mom would be crazy for taking out 6 kids by herself, but now it seems so easy for me! I know that I will look back and miss the baby phase, but this older kid phase is pretty awesome too! 

To get there I put in Snake Lake on my phone and it told me our destination was on the freeway. I love GPS...said with the utmost sarcasm. So I pulled off the freeway and put in The Tacoma Nature Center and that got us there. 

The trail starts out straight and flat. 

Of course little man had lots of energy to begin with. 

We took a detour off the path a little to see if we could find some turtles. 

The first bridge across the lake. 

Bridges are always fun! 

The lake is more of a pond with lots of lily pads....we weren't looking to go swimming or anything so that didn't bother us. 

The kids wanted to really go on an adventure so instead of taking the shorter more easy path we went up the switch backs. 

If you zoom in on this picture you will see that Zeke is in full out break down mode. He wanted me to carry him most of the way. At one point I was carrying him on my back and he was freaking out and then I put him down and was waiting for his temper tantrum to pass when he finally told me he had to pee. So he peed into a tree and I was hoping that would lighten his mood, but no such luck. I definitely should have brought the pack to carry him in. 

I had the older kids pose like this tree was a scary hand come to get them. 

We finally made it to the second bridge and crossed back over to the flat side. On the way to the van we saw this pretty bird. 

Ella had something stuck in her shoe so at the next bench the kids took a break. I got a cute, happy picture with Zeke. Side note...the coat I'm wearing is the one Ella convinced me to buy at Costco. 

Chillin' out and relaxin' all cool! 

100 points go to the person who can tell me which TV show that line comes from. 

Once we got back to the van we got out our snacks and went across the parking lot to the Discovery Pond playarea to eat and play some more. 

He was so much more happy after getting a little food in his tummy!

This area reminded me a miniature version of the Disney California Adventure Challenge Trail. It was way cool. The kids especially loved this slide. It was a log and was lined with metal sheeting so they flew down it. 

At the top of this waterfall was an old hand pump. 

Here's the top of the water fall. 

The kids kept lining up like a train to go down the that brings back memories! 

So much fun!!!! 

I challenged Jack to climb up this log. 

Zeke decided he'd get to the top as well...he'd just use the stairs though. 

We conquered! Actually a few minutes later Zeke climbed up the log as well. I just didn't get pictures because I was too busy holding onto him! 

Dominic and Donald climbed up the inside of this hollowed out log. 

After a while Zeke disappeared and I looked over and saw him and Donald chilling out snacking some more. I love that the neighbor boys love to include Zeke and don't feel like he's the annoying little brother. 

Here is a panoramic view of the park. It was great fun and I will absolutely be bringing the kids back here this summer. I'll definitely be wearing Zeke in the Kelty though! 

Even though we snacked the kids were still hungry so we stopped at MCD's and got some cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets. Don't worry we were stopped in heavy traffic on HWY 16 when I took this picture. It was a great 4 hour adventure that topped off spring break on a good note! 

I know I might sound crazy, but I absolutely LOVE having my kids home. I'm never in any hurry for winter, spring or summer break to be over. I just want them home and I want to have fun with them. Not saying that they don't drive me bonkers some times, but I just want to enjoy this time while they are little. It's such a precious time!