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Vagabond Kids: July 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Disney and Legoland and Los Angeles

A few pictures to keep you all entertained while the Vagabondkids are traveling around the PNW.


Disneyland. It is still my favorite park. It is awesome. Couldn't see the World of Color this time, maybe next year. Watching the fireworks while riding Big Thunder Mountain was a great time.

Mission San Juan Capistrano. A whole post is coming on this.
Character Meals at Goofy's Kitchen and the Grand Californian Hotel.
Drives through the Hollywood Hills.
LaBrea Tar Pits

90% of Legoland
LA Traffic
Freezing Cold Temps.
Not Enough Time with our Southern California Family.

We are off today to the Evergreen Air and Space Museum in McMinnville with old friends. Can't wait1

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Legoland California-Review

Legoland-not my cup of tea

Okay, I will admit that I am a Disney fan. I think Disney rocks. But with an 8 year old boy who was just itching to go to Legoland in California, we did a trek down to California’s Legoland. Okay, second confession, the kids did enjoy themselves. It was the adults that pretty much thought Legoland stunk.

First, it was the weather. Now, that is not like Legoland had any control over the freakishly cold weather, but it just didn’t help. Second, 12 bucks to park. Third, admission fees of nearly 400 for a family of 4. That was just to get into the park. Once in the park a number of the activities had “additional” payments required. In my opinion that really sunk the whole experience for me and we had passed purgatory and moved directly into the 7 levels of hell.

My specific pet peeves were, single loading rides. Nearly all of them. This created long lines of up to 60 minutes for a half a minute not really exciting ride. Additional charges for specific activities. The fact that I felt the whole park was just a giant store for Lego, and the to top it off, when you try to use your Lego VIP card… you are told that this is not a Lego store and the cards don’t work.

The kids (and I did too) enjoyed mini-land. But many of the lego structures looked worse for wear, needed “re-touching” and frankly a good old fashion cleaning. Next time, I will skip Legoland and just give the kids 200 bucks in a lego store.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Photo of the Day:Zhujaijiao China

Pulling out an old photo for you all. This was Vagabondboy's first trip to China at the age of 11 months. We traveled to Shanghai and the town of Zhujiajiao (known mostly now for the filming of the Mission Impossible Movie with Tom Cruise) but this was quite a few years before that.
Photo taken July 2002.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Up In The Air: Wednesday Quote

The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And
why shouldn't it be? —it is the same the angels breathe.

— Mark Twain,
"Roughing It"

You can download a copy from Project Guttenberg here

The Vagabondkids are off today flying to LAX on Singapore Airlines. (apologies to NWA your picture was better than SQ's.) We land in LA on the 7th, head to the hotel and will be at Disney on the 8th. I hope to squeeze in a post over the weekend, but in the meantime I have some posts scheduled for you, so do come back.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kids in KL: Petrosains Science Center

One of the greatest kids activities in Kuala Lumpur has to be the Petrosains Discovery Centre. Now one thing to keep in mind, as if it is not obviously noticeable by the first few exhibits, the center is run by the Malaysian oil company Petronas and is largely “oil” friendly. Many of the exhibits feature sciences that are petrochemical in nature, but ignoring the elephant in the room there are lots of fun activities for kids. Compare this with the Singapore Science Center.

Some of the highlights are the Dark Ride, when you first enter the center it is by way of a chair ride through a dark introduction. I am not quite sure why the kids thought it was so cool, but they did. Similar to the Singapore Science Center there are multiple exhibits and galleries with different themes. Again ignoring the bias towards the oil industry, there were exhibits on Geology, Space (a huge cool factor was the Mission Control and Space Center microphones and cameras where the kids could stand on opposite ends of the room and talk to each other) and of course the "speed" Gallery.

Another fun little exhibit was the Earthquake chair. The chair lets you experience what a low, medium and large earthquake would feel like. Frankly, the difference between level two and three was not as great as expected, but it could be they don’t want kids flying off the chair too!

Another fun exhibit was the "Ride the Hurricane". You step into a phone-booth type structure and when you close the doors the wind starts to increase and eventually simulated winds of over 100 Kilometers Per Hour. (see the Beaufort scale here). Okay, so I have a confession here. I can ride the craziest rides. Rollercoasters are nothing, but I didn't like the feeling of being in the winds, I felt I could not catch my breath. The kids (as you can see) loved it and we had to drag them out so others could take their turn!

But, the high point for the kids has to be the helicopter ride to the oil rig. There are two helicopter simulators set up that “fly” people over to an offshore oil rig (a great chance to tell kids about the devastation of the Gulf Oil spill). The oil platform is a miniature version of the real thing, pumps and levers, drills and pilings, even a crew quarters to see what life on a platform is like. Frankly, in some ways the pumps, gears, and tools are far more interesting to kids than the process of extracting oil so much of the pro-oil rhetoric was lost, at least on my kids.

The rest of the center is filled with standard science center stuff, but frankly it is pretty good. Overall the exhibits seem to be in good repair and the staff is friendly. The kids love it and they learn a bit each time they are there, so it is a win on all counts!

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Sunday, July 4, 2010


I am feeling full of love and joy today. No specific reason, just getting excited about heading back to the USA in 3 days, so I figure it is a good day for a giveaway!

A bane of the frequent traveler is the horrid excuse for shampoo they have in hotels (regardless of the class) and as a girl with fine hair I know how bad cheap shampoo can make your hair look. As a parent of two kids that love to play in the pool, I know how painful trying to comb out tangles can be with poor conditioner. So in preparation for our 5 days in a hotel in California we are packing our own shampoo and conditioner. By way of redundancy and double insurance, for fear of lost luggage and time savings, we are packing them (along with a change of clothes) in our carry on. This of course required an additional bottle or two (a family of 4 could not be expected to use the same stuff horrors of horrors could they?) so I went shopping.

While at my favorite store Daiso I picked up a bunch of 100ml bottles and a clear zippered bag and I thought, why not share the love? So I got an extra set and well here is the deal. Leave a comment between now and July 5th at Midnight (Singapore time) and you could win a travel amenities kit~ All color coordinated and everything and it should even meet almost all of the airport requirements!~

The Giftbag below, child not included!

If you have been reading a while and meant to leave a post but haven't... if you have been reading and haven't been meaning to leave a comment, now is the time. Hey you can even say you think my writing is lacking or my grammar stinks (which it may)... it is all good and it is a fun way to say hi! Oh and if you want to comment on my favorite spokes-model feel free, she would love the attention!

Leave a comment and I will randomly pick a winner the morning before I set off for America and will post the gift ASAP~Giveaway closes July 5th at Midnight Singapore time!


Friday, July 2, 2010

Singapore with Kids: Singapore Science Center

As you may recall, I mentioned that our summer plans had originally been geared towards the US. After nearly 12 years overseas, we planned on taking the kids home to bond with the grandparents and cousins for an extended trip. Well one gallbladder and a bout of severe pneumonia later, we are still in Asia.

We will be heading to the US next week, but we had a lot of bundled up kid energy and extra time so we are doing some "staycation" activities in Singapore and a side trip to Kuala Lumpur. The kids are sleeping away at the hotel now, so I thought I would take a quick minute to post about the Singapore Science Center. Tomorrow I will post about the Malaysian PETRONAS Science Center (Petrosains) in Kuala Lumpur by way of comparison.

The Singapore Science Center is actually the third most visited attraction in Singapore behind the zoo and the night safari. Not surprising really when you figure that the Singaporean focus on education and science. The kids have gone to the center a couple of times and always enjoyed the center and the water park and play area outside. This weekend was the first time I got the opportunity to check it out as well and we went to see the exhibit on Pixar animation.

The center itself is split into separate “galleries” each having multiple interactive displays and exhibits. We spent the bulk of our time in the Maxwell wing, looking at the exhibits on Climate Change and Microbes. After Declan’s stint in the hospital with pneumonia, the virus section was fascinating for him! There are also sections on the human genome, space, nanotechnology and math. The exhibits are designed to match portions of the Singapore educational system so while some exhibits are not interesting to a 7 and 8 year old as the intended audience is more for high school student, you couldn’t get them away from other exhibits (like the kinetic sculptures).

Growing up and getting to OMSI in Oregon as a kid I always enjoyed the hands on activities that were presented as part of the educational experience. It was just never that fun when I got back to school. I like the idea of teaching the cool stuff and funky side of science to get children engaged. The Singapore Science Centre could be a good day of fun. Bring your swimsuits and get in the water at the end, play and learning all wrapped up together and I love seeing the kids play with science and hey if I end up with a scientist or lab geek when these kids grow up… I think that would be alright by me!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Photo of the Day- Sunset in Dallas Texas

Sunset over North Dallas/Addison

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