Day 3: Jersey Shore Day
Trip Start Jul 15, 2011
15Trip End Jul 25, 2011
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Another bright & sunny day in Philadelphia mixed with humidity making it a muggy day as we caught the Phlash bus for a day trip to New Jersey. A cool thing about our hotel room view is that from our balcony I can see the inbound Phlash shuttle buses as they approach the stop right outside the hotel. Once we were ready to roll I was able to time the next bus from the balcony based on the advertised "every 15 minute" frequency. The trip from the hotel room door to the bus stop was only a few minutes - so this timing saved us from a hot wait at the bus stop (OK, enough of the transit/planner talk – I'm on vacation!).
Our destination on the shuttle bus was Penn’s Landing, a waterfront area on the Delaware River, the river that separates Pennsylvania and New Jersey
A short walk from the ferry deck got us to the Children’s Garden which was lightly attended so Jadin and Aria almost had the run of the place. Once inside we immediately hit the gift shop to buy hats as the (almost) midday sun was beaming and this was an outdoor thing we were doing. Admittedly, the Garden may have been geared for kids younger than Jadin and Aria but they made the most of it. The ran through a small trail called the “Red Oak Run”, then walked through a “Dinosaur Garden” during which Jadin hopped in a cracked dinosaur egg pretending to be hatched. There was a Butterfly house and a giant “Picnic Garden” complete huge ant structures that the kids posed for pictures on. To cool the kids down from the heat we let them kick off their shoes run through this water spouting area.
After the Garden we took a short 10 minute stroll along the New Jersey riverfront towards the Battleship New Jersey
The Battleship NJ is a retired navy ship now turned into a floating museum. We undertook the interactive audio tour of the ship allowing us to go at our own pace. The Battleship was huge and required us to squeeze through tight quarters and go up and down steep stair steps just as the actual crew did. We got to explore almost every level of the ship. Jadin loved this tour. We kept reminding him it was the same procedures and lifestyle his uncle Travis and Jerome went through while they were in tour in the Navy. My favorite part was sitting in the captain’s chair and posing for a picture in the brig (aka the jail). Laneshia seemed to be impressed with the tour and the ship itself, too. As for Aria, she seemed a little nervous going through parts of the ship especially in the tight quarters. She was ready to get off the boat towards the end as she kept saying “let’s go before we miss the ferry.” Nope, this was not an activity geared for Aria, but she’ll have her moment another day
As we returned to the ferry dock for the RiverLink Ferry ride back to Philadelphia we again enjoyed the wonder breeze and views of downtown Philly. That was the fastest 15 minute cruise in the world. I wish it was longer. But it seems it was too long, as we missed the last Phlash shuttle of the day. So taxi, please!
Now, by this time it was near 6pm and we didn’t have lunch as there was no food at the Children’s Garden or on the battleship. And Aria doesn’t do good for long periods without food – so naturally she was getting grumpy (maybe that’s why she was ready to get off the battleship). Luckily, I knew exactly where we were going to eat dinner, a restaurant called Jones, and it was a short ride away.
Jones restaurant immediately brought memories of the Brady Bunch as it had a 70’s type theme but in a classy way. The food was considered “classic Americana”. Our selections were Grilled Cheese sandwiches for the kids with a side of Mac-n-Cheese for Aria, steak for Laneshia and I had meatloaf with corn and mashed potatoes on the side. As hungry as we were arriving to the restaurant, the food had to horrible for it not to taste good
For dessert I offered a trip to an ice cream/soda fountain shop down the street that I looked up on the Internet, but the thought of that was a resounding “no” from everyone (even Aria to my surprise). They didn’t want anything to do with anymore ice cream; so, we settled on dessert from the Jones menu.
We returned to the hotel just after 8p to witness the glorious setting sun shining onto our hotel balcony – a terrific view. I was not through for the day, though. As I mentioned yesterday, I took a jog to the Philadelphia Museum of Art up the steps Rocky made famous. Tonight I wanted to give Jadin the same experience. Although he knew of Rocky, he knew nothing of his run up the steps so I had to explain that it was one of the most memorial moments in movie history and he was going to re-live it. “OK” he said (I think he was just excited to get out of the hotel and go jogging).
So we took off on our 10 minute jog to the museum leaving Laneshia and (an unhappy-to-be-left) Aria back at the hotel. As we got to the bottom of the museum we reached a bronze statue of Rocky with his hands raised and there we stood in line for a picture (yes, other tourists were there in numbers, even at this time of the night on a Sunday)
We then continued our stretch run up the famous steps and upon reaching the top I instructed Jadin: “Now we turn and celebrate like Rocky!” He loved every minute of it. He called mom to tell her we made it and—even though it was impossible to see the details—he waved back to Laneshia while we stood on the top of the steps as she indicted she was looking toward the museum from the hotel balcony. I snapped a picture of Jadin on the phone while he was talking to her and Laneshia indicted she saw the flash (check out the photo).
On our jog back we passed the Logan Square fountain which was filled with kids wading and swimming in it and naturally Jadin wanted to cool off by jumping in. Well, I wasn’t going to let him totally submerge himself but I did reward him for the run by letting him wad in the water. Since there was no swimming pool in the hotel this was the closest he was getting to getting wet. Yes, he enjoyed it.
Back in the hotel the kids spent the evening watching some DVDs they brought from home until they fell asleep. Laneshia spent some time out on the balcony talking to her parents and I joined her for a bit as well. The evening temperature was nice as we relaxed listening to the urban sounds of downtown Philadelphia.