Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Killing Time (Day 3)

I'm torn between wanting to have the kind of vacation where you sit around and do nothing, and not wanting to feel like I'm wasting my time. I'd be perfectly happy sitting on my ass all day but the kids need something to do. But when you give them something to do, they complain about it.

Today is supposed to be a travel day of sorts. So we pack our stuff, say goodbye to the flies and grab some breakfast at some random bagel place in town. The wife and I discuss plans for the day. Heading to Albany comes later. Or should we head there now? Nah, too early. So there's the Cooperstown Fun Park. But bumper boats and mini golf? We can do that anywhere. So I convince everyone to head to the Petrified Creatures Museum. Dinosaurs and some digging for fossils. Guaranteed fun. The condition of the website should have tipped me off.

But first we have to find the place. The GPS hasn't been too friendly this week but it does know where this museum is located. Actually, it knows how to get to the highway on which the museum is located. So we follow the robot and get to the right road. But that's it. It's like wanting to go to Nassau Coliseum but only getting as far as Hempstead Turnpike (trust me, this is a great analogy). The "friendly" woman on the phone said we were about 5 miles away and that the museum is a mile past Route 8. Just head east on Route 20. My sharp navigation skills and constantly failing short-term memory had us heading west on 20, towards Route 8. It wasn't until we were several miles beyond 8 that I realized the difference between east and west. We turned around and backtracked the 20 miles we just traveled and then came upon a house with a huge sign announcing the museum.

The first thing you see is the gift shop, filled with archaeology-themed crap better suited for the treasure box in a dentist's office. And the nice musty smell was a hoot. We were told by the lady to follow the path and push various buttons to learn about the area. Then we could come back in and get some tools to do some digging. The educational stuff had nothing to do with dinosaurs but a little to do with fossilized plants and snails. I wanted to bypass all this but I had a feeling that the woman was going to quiz us before letting us do some digging.

After the prerecorded info about the lake that existed 300 million years ago, the kids got to play on and around some huge dinosaurs which were made many years ago out of chicken wire and papier mache. They were falling apart and there was cheesy, prerecorded information about each dinosaur which, I'm pretty sure, was recorded by the friendly woman and her husband. The T-Rex sounded a bit like Henny Youngman. And the info was set to a rhyme.

After we got our tools, we were guided to a huge rock pile where we could look for fossils and keep whatever we found. AA kept thinking he was finding stuff. At one point, he went into the woman to ask what it was. She said it was definitely a fossil but no one knows what it is. Uh huh. I think that the woman and her husband bought this property and were stuck with a pile of rocks. So instead of cleaning it out, they opened a museum and had idiot tourists come by and haul the rocks away. And pay for the privilege as well!

On the way into Albany, we stopped at a Denny's for lunch. My snob of a spouse was impressed by the choices of side dishes they had for kids (grapes, goldfish crackers, mixed fruit) but was shocked, shocked!, that the pineapple came from a can. At Denny's no less! The waitress invited us to her farm where she paints and the family gives pony rides and stuff. I wonder when they deliver the ransom note.

Dinner was at a pizza place near the hotel. I asked for anchovies on my manicotti and got artichokes. Oh well.

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