Yesterday was another big day! after our late night, we got up and left at 9:30 to drive up to Hershey, PA to meet up with friends. My best friend Amy (in the blue shirt) and her family were camping there with Julie and her family. Julie is another old friend who went to Dayton Christian and also to Cedarville with us. It was so fun to see Amy and Julie and spend the day with them!
We went to Hershey's Chocolate World, which was very, very crowded and loud. We ate lunch first, and then we went on this cute ride through a simulated chocolate factory to learn about how chocolate is made. It was very interesting, and just as I was saying to Amy and Julie, "They ought to pump the smell in here to make it realistic", then sure enough! It started smelling like chocolate! YUM! I could have ridden around smelling that for quite a while longer! At the end of the ride, everyone got free samples of Kissables, those little candy-coated kisses. Bob mentioned to the lady that Caleb and Zachary couldn't have chocolate, and so she gave them Twizzlers instead! That was nice. The best part was that this all was free! Nothing else was, that's for sure, LOL. It was a very commercialized place.
After the tour, the kids went though the "Factory Works" line, which we thought would be something sort of hands-on and educational, but in actuality was a commercialized gimic to get you to buy expensive small boxes of Kisses that your children had packaged and otherwise bonded with ($5.00 a box!). We had to pass on that. Then the others went in to see a 3-D animated show that was $5.95 for adults and $3.95 for kids 3-12. We decided that was just to steep for a 30 minute show for our big family, so we went outside and found the Hershey Museum, a little walk away, over by the entrance to HersheyPark.
The musuem also was not free ($7.00 for adults and $3.50 for kids 3-12) but Bob got in free, being active-duty military, and we could stay as long as we wanted! Plus, it was very quiet in there, and after the noise and crowds of the Chocolate World, I was really ready for something quiet. The museum was very interesting, and ironically, it was much more hands-on than the Chocolate World. We got to see and handle equipment from the old factory, read what workers from long ago said about the factory (for example, it was really hot because they could never open any windows--they had to keep bugs out of the chocolate), and learn about how Kisses got their names (it could be from smooching sound that the depositor machine made when a glob of chocolate was dropped out into the Kiss shape). There was an old-fashioned candy shop set up, with display cases that Mr. Hershey used in his shop. There was an exhibit about HersheyPark and its history, with a nice video to watch while sitting in a roller coaster car. There were items from Mr. Hershey's house, and an exhibit on the school he and his wife set up for orphan boys once they realized they would never be able to have children of their own. Mr. Hershey seemed like a wonderful man. There was also a discovery hands-on room for kids where they could try on clothes from the Victorian era, play in a pretend general store, cook in a Victorian kitchen, etc.
Mr. Hershey also had an extensive collection of Indian artifacts, including some relaly nice headresses and outfits. There were items from tribes in all different parts of the U.S., and there was a hand-son station there too, where kids could feel wolf pelts, use a pump drill to make holes in wood, try on snowshoes, and also try on Indian leather clothes.
So we really enjoyed the museum. The kids did a scavenger hunt that they were handed when we went in, and so they got little dollar store rings and coins. They were thrilled with them, of course. We did stay about half an hour longer than we needed to because while we were in there, a torrential downpour began. I wondered if we would ever be able to get back to our car! Fortunately it did eventually stop, so we were able to meet up again with the others, who had been souvenier shopping after their show.
We were very happy to find out that we didn't have to pay for parking (free for 2 hours, then $8.00 for 2-4 hours, and then $11.00 for a day--yow)! We think it was because of all the rain, since the parking is also for HersheyPark, which had to close the rides because of the thunder and lightning. We drove just down the road to the campground where Amy and Julie were camping. Although it was sprinkling, we decided to make it work there for dinner. Julie's camper has a little stove, so she boiled hotdogs for the kids and cooked steaks for the grownups. By the time everything was ready, it had stopped raining, so we had a lovely dinner. The kids ate first, then they ran around and played while the adults ate. Grace took a nice nap on the bed in Julie and Tim's camper. Anna wandered around getting watermelon juice all over her outift, which was already soaked from her falling down on the wet ground. It was so much fun to be able to catch up with Amy and Julie.
Unfortunately, it was 8:00 all too quickly, and I nursed Grace before we headed home. Grace and Anna were pretty much shot from 2 days out of their normal routine, and so they cried . . . well, just about the entire way home. Did I say "cried"? I actually meant to say "screamed", because that's a more accurate description, LOL. We had been listening to Johnny Tremain, a very fitting book on tape for around the Fourth of July, wouldn't you say, but we had to turn it off because we could not hear it at all. We made it home a little before 11:00 and got everyone down before collapsing into bed ourselves.
We've been taking it easy today. Nathan and Luke rediscovered a book on making paper airplanes that my mom and dad gave them awhile back, so that was what they spent the morning doing. I slept in until 10:00. Ahhhh. Anna took an early nap. Now the boys are outside. Unfortunately I have just discovered that the garage door where the van is parked is mysteriously not working, so tomorrow might not be so relaxing, LOL. I guess we are not supposed to go anywhere else for a few days!