V loves her Grammie. They spent lots of time together this trip, especially in the kitchen. They made sugar cookies, cupcakes, pancakes, muffins, waffles ... I ate them.
One of our big trips was to the Crayola factory and National Canal Museum (they share a building). The men in the family liked the canals best. It was a great space for kids -- they got to take their boats through a series of canals, learn how to make locks, and play on a riverboat.
One of my favorite parts of the museum was a mule -- you could get him fully ready to pull a boat and then undo everything. The whole place was very hands-on, learning through play. Grandpa Bond enjoyed the trains room and V loved the kitchen on the riverboat. M spent a long time making locks.
The Crayola factory had a more frantic feel. They had a mini factory and we watched crayons and markers being made. It was like watching that Mr. Rogers crayon segment in real life. Fun. Then they had tons of art activities. Clear walls that you could color on, fingerpainting, a ball-run area for small tots, sidewalk chalk, a glow-in-the-dark section. It was great fun, especially for V. I found the noise overwhelming after a while, but she could have stayed there all day.
My favorite play area was the magic clay stuff. That's the copyrighted term. At the factory they only had white dough, so you could use markers to make different colors. The dough is very lightweight and easy to mold and hardens after you play without baking. The very best part of the museum was the crayola store. So many items that you can't find elsewhere. Nathan thinks that the company should build "Crayola Experience" centers in major cities, recreating the crayola museum and shop. I think they'd do well :)