Saturday, December 15, 2018

Term Four: Week Nine ~ Excursions, Grand Openings, and Final Wrap Up

We are officially done with school for the term and the year, so this last week we spent going out and about. We FINALLY managed our big excursion to the city that we've only been trying to do for about two MONTHS now.  Enjoy... but with the city trip, and a couple of other events for the week, this is a BIG blog post!!

Our first stop for the day was the Pylon museum. But as we headed across Circular Quay to the Harbour Bridge, we passed an Aboriginal man playing his didgeridoo. We stopped to listen to him play for a few minutes and then he offered to have photographs taken, so the older boys obliged. 

We found these beautiful displays scattered around the city... they were lovely to look at, but were really just a fancy advertisement to encourage people to shop. 

After dropping our big backpack full of lunch off at a storage place in The Rocks, we made our way to the Pylon Lookout and Museum on the Harbour Bridge, paid our entrance fee, and began to climb... 200 steps in total to get to the top. 

Thankfully there were landings along the way to break up the climb. There were also interesting things to look at and read if you needed to stop and catch your breath. 

Even though it was a cloudy and rather gray day, the view did NOT disappoint... you can walk all around the outside of the pylon, giving you an AMAZING 360 degree look at the area... 

For people who want an AMAZING view, but don't want to do the Bridge Climb, I highly recommend the Pylon Lookout.  It is roughly one tenth the cost of the Bridge Climb, the observation deck is such that even Monkey and I were comfortable despite our fear of heights, and the views were AMAZING!! 

SO much fun to find a telephone booth in The Rocks!! 

A view of The Harbour Bridge from the entrance to the Pylon Lookout. 

The 200 steps in the Pylon Lookout were not the only steps of the day... You have to climb these steps just to get UP to the Harbour Bridge. We actually went up the Pylon Lookout TWICE because we left something important in our backpack that we had to go back and get, so we climbed a total of 1196 steps in the course of our day!! 

After the Pylon Lookout we retrieved our lunch bag, and found a nice place UNDER the bridge to eat. It was amazing to sit, look up, and marvel at the engineering of our great bridge. 

After lunch, our next stop was the Botanical Gardens, so back through Circular Quay we walked. There was GREAT excitement when the boys discovered jellyfish in the harbour. 

I LOVE it when I learn something new during a trip to the city. As we were walking through the Quay, Monster suddenly discovered something we had NEVER noticed before. If you look down as you are walking you can see lots of circle plaques as well as square plaques along a different coloured path of bricks. We have noticed them in the past but never bothered to stop and have a close look at them. Well, Monster did this particular day and we were so pleased. The circles (which you can just see in the photo above) depict the shoreline when the First Fleet arrived in 1788. The square plaques along the different patterned path of bricks, is the shoreline in 1844. Then where the boys are standing is the current shoreline!  FASCINATING!! 

After all that excitement we FINALLY made it to the Botanical Gardens and entered the Calyx Greenhouse for their Carnivorous Plants display. Monster has been waiting to see this for two months and he was NOT disappointed.  It was super... I never knew there were so many different carnivorous plants.  I went a little photo crazy... 

The well-known Venus Fly Traps... 

I learned that Venus Fly Traps actually flower... 

This fuzzy hanging plant is actually related to the pineapple. 

 As are these two...

The well-know Sun Dew is MUCH smaller than it looks in all the documentary programs we've watched over the years. 

Another plant in the same family as the pineapple... 

To look at this beautiful plant, with all its pretty little purple flowers, you would never think it was a carnivorous plant. But the leaves are sticky, good for catching little ants - which you can just see in the top photo I took. 

Bladderwort is another plant I had never seen before... 

The carnivorous plants will be on display until September 2019 so I see many more trips to look at them again and again and again. 

Munchkin's highlight in the Botanical Gardens was the wildflower area... he was AMAZED and just wandered around exclaiming about all the beautiful flowers and begging me to take photos of specific photos... Following are some of his favourites. 

Cruise ships are an every day occurance in the Harbour now... but for the first time EVER we witnessed one cruise ship arriving as another was departing! 

 We were ready for dinner, so headed out of Circular Quay to find food. But we stopped for awhile to watch this guy perform some pretty amazing tricks. That is a 12ft unicycle he is riding, while also juggling fire and knives!  I could barely watch, but it was pretty cool.

Wednesday was the Grand Opening of our new library! We've been waiting for this for almost a year (they were supposed to move to the new building over Christmas LAST year) so it was super exciting... in fact 1000 people showed up for the opening ceremony and events. Munchkin is shown here participating in the craft... decorating a reuseable bag with all sorts of cool things. 

There was also a free sausage sizzle, and rides on these tea cups. The only bummer for the boys was that rain meant they couldn't go in the jumping castle/bounce house. 

Finally, Friday was our last homeschool group for the year. We were supposed to go to a park with access to the river for swimming, but a dark, gloomy, and stormy day put an end to that and we rescheduled for Tuesday the next week. But we weren't deterred by the weather and went to our favourite park instead. A few other families braved it as well... 

A couple of fantastic rainstorms arrived and the kids were thrilled. They played in the rain, got soaking wet, and had a GRAND time.  It was quite warm (30sC/80sF) so we parents just let them have fun.   

The other excitement for the day was discovering this Red Back Spider under one of the picnic benches. After those of us who wanted to photograph it had our fill, the only father who attended the get together killed it. There were a couple of children young enough that we couldn't take any chances. But it was still exciting!! 

And finally, last but not least, we decided to take "last day of school" photos! Now I have to go hunt their "first day of school" photos for comparison! 

 A very busy week, so not as many books this week, but we certainly enjoyed this selection!!

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