Over Columbus Day weekend we headed west to check out Charlotte. While not the capital of North Carolina, Charlotte is the largest city population-wise and interestingly, it is the second largest banking center in the US (following NYC). We have been living in NC for over two years and never made our way to Charlotte so we figured it was time. Plus, they have an IKEA AND a Jack in the Box!
We left bright and early (really, it was closer to 9) Friday morning and made it to Charlotte in time for lunch. Our first stop of the day was IKEA where we had an AMAZING (and cheap!!) lunch-- we've definitely missed the swedish meatballs!! After lunch we dropped the kids off for some free IKEA childcare and explored the furniture section ALONE!! The hour seemed to go by way too quickly and it was time to pick the kids up and go through the second half of the store. We didn't end up buying anything but it was a great way to spend the afternoon-- we were there for almost FOUR hours!!
We made the scenic drive through Charlotte-- it's a BEAUTIFUL city-- to our hotel and got checked in and unloaded the van. Our hotel was "conveniently" located in the South Park Mall parking lot (ahhhhhhh, a REAL mall!!) so we walked over for some window shopping (and some real shopping at a&f kids) and dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (we don't have one of those in Fayetteville either!!). Then we headed back to the hotel to get a good night's sleep before our busy Saturday.
Saturday (in pictures):
We started our day with an amazing breakfast at Dean and Deluca which quickly became our home away from home. And yes, we knew some of the staff by name by the time we left Charlotte. :)
And then headed downtown to check out Discovery Place- one of the leading hands-on science centers in the country!
We saw "Tornado Alley" in the IMAX dome theatre and Nicholas was ENTHRALLED
Nick thought this microscope that hooked up to the computer was the best thing ever. We had to drag him out of this exhibit (after he inspected his hair and nails-- and all the rocks and shells that went with the microscope)
Scientist Lexie checking out some leaves
The touch tank is always a hit!! Starfish and horseshoe crab.
It's Nemo!! And a seahorse!!
Nick on a bed of nails
We learned about pulleys on the Pulley Chairs
Lexie and Ben had fun dancing-- every time they stepped on a color the music would change
Nicholas was really excited about the circuit board. He wanted to take it home!
Everyone enjoyed the ride on the air chair-- a vacuum creates a pressure differential great enough to life people several feet in the air!!
Ben LOVED the Vortex Cannon that shoots a powerful blast of air.
We constructed floor plans, built buildings, and created cities
Jacob with the tower that he built!
While we were at Discovery Place Lexie got separated from the rest of us. She was intently watching people at the Pulley Chairs and didn't realize that we moved on to the next exhibit so when I realized she was gone about a minute later I went back to find her crying hysterically. I calmed her down and she made sure to hold my hand through the rest of the museum. When we got to the museum store she found this white alligator with HUGE eyes. Alligators are Lexie's favorite animal so of course she wanted to get the alligator. When I told her that we weren't going to get it today her eyes welled up with tears and she said, "but the little alligator is lost and can't find her Momma! Just like me!!" So OBVIOUSLY, we ended up getting the alligator.
St Peter's Episcopal Church-- In 1865 Jefferson Davis and his retreating Confederate Cabinet worshipped at St Peter's following the assassination of President Lincoln
The Bank of America building-- the tallest building in Charlotte
After our fun day at Discovery Place we headed to Cabo Fish Taco-- a Guy Fieri "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" find for an awesome dinner and end to our day!