Many hotels have the free breakfast deal but that usually amounts to some coffee or juice and a muffin selection. This Holiday Inn Express surpasses that, adding in the eggs, French toast and, among other things, a kick ass cinnamon bun. From what little we've seen of the clientele, it looks to be mostly businessmen. There's a fascinating Human Resources seminar going on today so we figured that we'd be all alone down at breakfast by the time we got moving at around 9:00. Nope. There were many other lazy asses to fight with over the spoon for the eggs.
The first stop of the day was the Children's Museum of Science and Technology. Only a few miles east of Albany, this small place actually kept the kids entertained for a couple of hours. It's small so it doesn't feel overwhelming and it's cheap so it adds to the sting of the cost of the crapetorium we went to yesterday. A snake was stroked. A rabbit was pet. A weather forecast was created (see below) and best of all, a gift shop was avoided (but not without a fight).
Then it was off to Albany for the highly-recommended New York State Museum. But first, let's have lunch. The travel gods seemed to be on my side today. After we parked the car, we saw that the lot was now full. We were the last car. That, like, never happens. Albany resident and long lost pal Dave recommended some Mexican place but I didn't get that recommendation until we had already headed underground and the kids saw McDonald's. There was an abnormally-large woman on line who took advantage of the latest nod towards gluttony: the 42 oz. beverage. She, of course, ordered a Diet Coke. Americans are so predictable.
The museum was nice and the kids were more than their usual hyper. I spent awhile at the very impressive 9/11 exhibit. I saw cool stuff like actual parts of the Twin Towers and a fire truck that was damaged down there. I also saw stupid stuff like the EMS jacket then-Governor Pataki wore when he toured the area. And another gift shop was avoided. We did, however, buy the kids some of the freeze-dried Astronaut Ice Cream you see in every museum gift shop in the world. As a quick tangent, let me say that astronauts sacrifice their lives in the name of science. They deserve better than the Styrofoam crap in a Mylar bag that they're given. And making them buy it in museum gift shops? Uncalled for.
As half of the family headed off to the American Idol concert at the Times Union Center, I took my daughter to a seedy pub to meet up with Dave. This is the difference between the dad with one kid and a dad with two. I had some beers with an old friend while my daughter ran around a crowded pub. She did pretty well, even trying some fried ice cream (but making me scrape the fried part off). I also had my very first bad cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee. I don't want to talk about it.
We depart tomorrow but not before a trip to a water park. When did I become a redneck?