Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Visit to Grandma Martha - The Pool

The hotel we stayed at had a pool that was great for kids like us and our cousins. I took these pictures while we played.


A Visit to Grandma Martha: Stop 7 - Grandma Martha's House

Our last stop was actually at Grandma Martha's house. We had a nice visit and then drove home!

Ainsley, Ben and Cameron

A Visit to Grandma Martha: Stop 6 - Pipestone National Monument

Our 6th stop was at Pipestone National Monument. It's the only place in the US where native Sioux Indians can get the stones that they use to carve pipes.

Ben and Cameron decided to pursue their Junior Ranger badges, so after spending time in the visitor's center, and talking to the three people carving pipes, we headed out of the nature trail. Most of it is a prairie, like this.

There are a lot of beautiful flowers and plants, if you look closely.

There is also a beautiful stream that flows through the park.

Cameron and Daddy worked on this Junior Ranger book together.

If you look closely, you will also find a number of different kinds of animals. For instance, a ranger showed us these baby snapping turtles that were in hatching!

On top of this waterfall, there is a historic marker. It was carved by Joseph Nicollet in 1838. If you've ever visited us in Maple Grove, a LOT of stuff is named Nicollet.

The rest of the trail highlights rocky outcroppings of pipestone. A lot of the pipestone is under several feet of Sioux Quartzite, which you'll recall we saw a lot of earlier on the trip.

Very few rocky areas are complete without a natural formation that looks like something. We give you "The Oracle."

And finally, we made it to an active pipestone quarry. To mine the pipestone, you have to have a permit.

Side note: Both boys are Junior Rangers here, so go ahead and ask us your questions.

Ainsley, Ben and Cameron

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Visit to Grandma Martha: Stop 5 - Falls Park

Why yes, Sioux Falls is named after waterfalls in the Big Sioux River, and Sioux Falls park is home to those falls.

After a while, it became photo shoot time at the falls...

It was a really fun visit to Falls Park.

Ainsley, Ben, and Cameron

A Visit to Grandma Martha: Stop 4 - USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial

Since we arrived at the zoo earlier than our cousins, we went to see the USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial while they finished up at the zoo. The memorial was the idea of crew members of the USS South Dakota, which fought in a lot of battles at the end of World War II.

The outside of the memorial outlines the edge of the ship in a short, cement border, and has many of the original pieces of the ship, which were taken after it was sold for scrap in 1963.

Inside the museum part, there is a model of the ship.

There was also a really nice lady who showed Ben and Cameron a lot of details about the collection. For example, this was the ship's compass and steering wheel.

This was also a neat piece of history. When the Japanese surrendered, there was only one Japanese ship still floating. The USS South Dakota captured it, and took it to harbor, capturing its flag along the way.

They also had other, more general information about life in wartime. This poster talked about the Navy WAVEs. Our Great Grandma Margie was a Navy WAVE.

Ainsley, Ben and Cameron

A Visit to Grandma Martha: Stop 3 - The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History

We went to the zoo in Sioux Falls on Saturday morning. It was pretty neat. The front part had lots of exhibits that are similar to other zoos.

The rhino part was really neat. It was in a part of the zoo designed to mimic Africa. This is the Daddy rhino.

These are the Mama and the baby rhinos.

The next part of Africa was the giraffe and the zebra area. It was really cool.

The funny little bird below had just had babies and would make a loud sound when the giraffes came too close. The giraffes would take off running!

We ran into our cousins around the barnyard area. Ainsley tried to help Maisey and Emmitt milk a cow.

Dad captured two critters hatching out of giant eggs.

After seeing the zoo, we went inside to the Delbridge Museum. Essentially, it was a collection of stuffed and mounted animals from a local area hunter's collection. They also had a cute little play area for Ainsley.

Ainsley, Ben and Cameron