Sunday, June 13, 2010

June 12 adventure

This weekend we decided to try and see the synchronous fireflies in Gatlinburg Tennessee. We had previously see an article in the USA parade magazine that comes in the Sunday paper with 10 things to see in the U.S. It turned out that one of them was the synchronous Tennessee. And there is only one other place in the world to see them...South East ASIA!!! So we thought we would do it. They are only during the first two weeks in June and so we thought we had better go and do it. Bryan got off a little early from work and we took off in our little red Malibu "Ruby." We took Bryan's car because the previous day I had gotten a flat tire on the van and of course they told me that due to the heat of Tennessee I need new tires. We will be waiting on those tires due to money for right now, so we did not feel comfortable taking the van for the four hour trip to "ruby" gets better gas mileage anyways..and we only planned on staying one night.

This is Bryan driving to Gatlinburg. He drove the whole way! He is so good at not complaining!

Here is Weston hanging out in the back seat!And Kambria is hanging out...but she did not want me to take her picture. It was later and she was hungry and cold. She did really well in the car for four hours not knowing that was how long it would take to see the fireflies!

This was our turn off from the freeway. I did not realize what we would be driving into...This was the first pictures I took, but it was like we were driving down the strip in Vegas. There were lights and building after building of things to see and do...but it was a lot more centered towards the family than Vegas is. This building is called Wonder Works and it is upside down...more to come on that.

This was a building /museum of the Titanic.

With the ice burg and all...
After driving through town, we checked into the hotel and took off to see the fireflies. We got to the park around is an hour later than Nashville. And low and behold the parking lot was FULL and we could not see the fireflies!!! I was SO MAD!!!! So the park ranger told us to drive down the road to another spot and see if we could see them. We thought we might as well, so off we went. We parked the car and waited to see what we could see. So it got dark about 9:30 and we saw some fireflies, but no synchronization! Again I was SO MAD!!! well more frustrated that we had come all this way to see them and then we were not going to get to see them. Bryan was the good boy he is (calm and collected) and suggested that we just try again the next night and drive home REALLY late. After some talking and trying to figure things out we decided that would be OK...we did not come all this way NOT to see them. So that is what we did!

We finally got to our hotel...the room was like a dorm room! We had booked it on price line, and we thought got a good deal, but it was so small, so Kambria and Weston had to sleep on the same side of the bed together...a little cramped, but they did good! And of course one reason they both slept on the floor was I forgot the pack and play for Weston...we always forget something! But we saved money and they did not care.
So after looking through a lot of brochures and trying to decide what to do in this FUN town without spending a FORTUNE...or much money for that matter, we decided to go to the upside down building! Kambria was really funny. She was quite upset that the building was upside down. She got back into the car and said, "I don't like this building. I have not seen one like this before and I don't like it!' We had to coax her through it, "It's OK. We will be fine. It won't hurt us." She thought a big monster had come and turned it upside down and that it was going to fall or something. It was really funny.

Once you get inside the lobby, this is what you see up at the ceiling. Very clever. The floor is the can see the doors and the people standing and taking pictures of the ceiling too.
It is kind of like an interactive science museum. They had this really neat tunnel when you first come in that the walls are spinning so you can not even walk straight. Kambria and Weston had to be held through it. Then there was a simulator of a 6.5 earthquake. It really was quite scary when you think of the power that comes from an earthquake of that size!
This is a picture of a simulator of a hurricane. The wind was blowing at 310 mph!

If you look closely you can see Kambria's glasses falling off her face and her eyes shut!

The next part was a rock climbing wall. You had to be 40 lbs to do it, so Kambria walked right up and got on the scale. She was 40 lbs EXACTLY! So they put a harness and helmet on her and away she went.

This is Kambria going up the wall. She got pretty high and as soon as Bryan went to take the picture she let go and came back down. She was such a good little climber. I always tell her she is like Rachael...she likes that!

This exhibit was all about movement. But you had to be a certain height so Bryan just did this by himself. You have to pedal when you are going up and not pedal when you are coming back down. Watch the video below and it makes more sense.

This is the space part of the museum...Kambria in a NASA suit...


And Eliza...

Kambria and Weston on a huge Piano. You can step on the keys and it plays like a piano. Way fun! This exhibit was probably my favorite. BUBBLES!!! I could play with them for hours. There were these huge hula-hoop size bubble makers.

you could put them over yourself. I had a blast. And I think Kambria and Bryan did too!

This part was a big "glass" sheet you could blow bubbles into. If you look closely, you can see Kambria blowing the bubble...I am helping, you just can't see my face.

OOOOOHHHH....the "BED OF NAILS!" They actually were real nails that you could feel the point. But when you laid on it they didn't "hurt" just felt a little prickly. It was fun to try it.

Both Bryan and I did it to say that we did. Kambria wanted to try but we were afraid that she would move halfway through and really hurt herself.

The last part of the museum was all about art. These next two pictures were the favorites.

This one was made out of metal and when the light was shown on it, it created the Mona Lisa. It was very interesting!

So after the museum, we went and ate a CiCi's pizza place. Cheap food! Then we went and got stuff to take on the mountain for firefly stuff for dinner to take with us too and tried to avoid the HUGE downpour of rain. I got a little wet getting some new pj's for Weston at the store, but we just were hoping it would let up. Thank goodness that it did.
We got to the national park around 4:30...and the parking lot was full by 5! talk about getting there early! The only reason we knew we had to be there that early was someone had told us about it the night before, otherwise we would have missed it again!!!! It was a little ridiculous that you have to be there at 4:30 to see fireflies at 9:30! 5 hours of wait time!!! but Kambria and Weston did really well for what we put them through! I know I complain a lot that Kambria is active, but when she is occupied, she really does very well!
This was the trolley's that cam to pick us up to take us to the viewing spot. The night before they had to take about 400 people up the mountain.
Here is our cute family!

So once we got up the mountain we sat and waited...Bryan got bit by some odd horse fly he thought so we moved spots... and finally waited some more.
It got dark enough to see the fireflies...but there are two varieties. The first ones are your regular ones that we can see in our back yard... They are yellowish in color. Then they go out. We thought that was it and I was becoming upset and disappointed again....but we waited about 15 minutes longer and then the blueish white fireflies came out. They take a while to get synchronized. But they were beautiful. We are so glad we waited and cam back! We tried to get some pictures, but since you can't use a flash and it is by chance only...there is not much you can get. This was the best picture we got...a couple of little spots of light. So I found this video online of what we basically saw. A very interesting phenomenon! Glad to say we did it...and being only one of two places in the world (and when are we going to be in southeast Asia?) and only the first two weeks in June, it was worth it!


Kristy said...

Those are some cool fireflies. What a fun trip.

ashley said...

I'm glad you were able to see them! I would be so upset too if it didn't work out. I wonder why the fireflies would synchronize like that - nature is very mysterious sometimes. It looks like you guys had so much fun! We miss you!