charleston. day one.
aquarium, rainbow row, city market.

derek’s parents have like eight billion timeshare points or credits or whatever however it works. and often they get free random extra stuff in the offseason. basically, they can’t possibly use up all the time each year, so they often gift us vacations.

such was the case a few weeks ago, when they gave us a long weekend at the church street inn, in charleston, south carolina. after much research (by derek) we had a jam packed few days on tap.

we kicked the first day off by sort of celebrating isaac, who was a total champ about spending his actual birthday in charleston. he requested waffles (just like eleven in stranger things) and we obliged. then we scored delicious coffee from a cool little shop on the way to the parking garage, and then headed to the south carolina aquarium.

at the aquarium, the admissions folks gave us the under 13 rate for isaac, since technically he wouldn’t be 13 until sometime around noon. (the details are hazy). our first stop was the stingray touch pool to feed some ravenous stingrays. it’s different from other places we’ve been because they actually take them from your hand. and none of the lidkids could work up the nerve to actually follow through with it. and there was a lot of frustration and sadness.

inside, we visited a giant bald eagle. in an indoor cage. sigh.

and then lots of various aquatic creatures.

the jellyfish (and similar type creatures that i forget the name of) are always a fave. they are so cool. the bioluminescence thing helps.

the giant two story aquarium had a scuba diver giving a little talk, which the kids didn’t really care much about. they preferred pressing up against the glass and watching sharks and sea turtles pass by. i mean, can you blame them?

onto the touch pool. unlike previous encounters with stingrays, both girls were all in for this activity. well, the starfish, mostly.

throughout the aquarium there were really cool displays and exhibits, constructed entirely of legos. i spared you endless photos of them, but we thought this one was especially cool, so it made the cut.

just outside the touch pool area, there’s an outdoor exhibit with birds and, well, lots of very large puffer fish.

just before we left, we saw a staff member standing with a bucket, beckoning us to come by, so despite the tears (remember the stingray fears), we decided to see what magical creature she was showcasing. and, omg, no regrets. she had the very cutest ever tiny baby terrapin. we got to touch it and learn a little about it, and it helped all sad parties recover nicely.

after a quick lunch (in the pouring rain) at chipotle, we went back to the hotel. but at that point, the rain had let up, and since our hotel was right next to the city market, we decided to stroll through. (spoiler alert: it’s not as cool as i had hoped. mostly just vendors, hawking stuff to tourists).

we did end up buying some $4 (each) hot chocolates, which took a million years to cool. and when you entrust a six year old to carry a drink around for a very long time, you are increasing your odds of a catastrophic event. in our case, it happened while we were picking out chocolates at a candy store. one minute, all was good, and hazel was slowly sipping the now luke warm chocolate. the next minute, the hot chocolate crashed to the floor, and the mortified mom had to hunt down an already busy employee to come clean it up, while she apologized profusely.

after the mess was cleaned and we had enough sugar for the entire next month of our lives, we decided to take the ten minute walk over to rainbow row. the kids and i had gone there a few years back, literally on one of the very first day of our road trip. but derek had never been, so it seemed like a good, short activity to wrap up our day. the walk itself had a lot of cool things to check out.

and then. behold. rainbow row. it’s basically just a bunch of buildings, all painted in bright colors. not even in rainbow order. what the heck. we wandered around for different photo angles. and then that was it. back to the hotel.

back at the hotel, we made frozen mac and cheese and oven pizza for the birthday boy, with promises to make it up to him. and derek bought him half of a triple chocolate fudege cake, and the celebration was on….

and this concludes charleston, day one.

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