This has been an awesome week! Marc had another day of no school and no studying, so we decided to take advantage of it and get away for the day. We tried to look for something to do inside, another heat wave heading our way. We decided to go to Chattanooga...quick ride and lots to do!
We started off with lunch at one of my favorite sub shops in Chattanooga, Ankar's Hoagies. They recently opened one a couple of blocks from the aquarium, so it worked out perfectly! After our quick lunch, we walked back down to pick up our tickets.
We started off with the River Journey building. We went to the seahorse exhibit first and checked out all the beautiful coral.
This guy was attached to the side of the tank. (Patrick!!!)
More colorful coral
Next we went to the Delta Swamp area of the aquarium.
They had lots of interesting and colorful fish.
This little guy was swimming all over the place. He was moving so quickly, most of the pictures I took of him came out blurry.
These alligators were so still that several kids made comments that they must've been plastic. You had to look really closely to see them breathing. I didn't take a picture of it, but there was a sign above them that said not to life children over the side of the case. What makes me thing some idiot tried to do just that?
Turtles, turtles, and more turtles!
After leaving River Journey, we went right over to Ocean Journey. It was starting to sprinkle a little bit, and we didn't want to get wet.
When we went to the stingray petting area, the lady that was leading it gave me a raw shrimp to feed to the stingrays. She showed me how to place it between my fingers and told me to put it pretty deep in the water. While I was waiting for the stingrays to come back around, one of the sharks stopped right in front of my hand and watched pretty hard. I didn't know it was a shark, so I kept my hand in the water. About that time, the lady told me to take my hand out of the water because the shark would bite it. Eeek! I tossed the shrimp back into the water and made my way to the butterfly garden. That was enough for me!
Nice stingray...NOT a shark!
The butterfly garden was pretty boring. We've been before when it was covered with butterflies, but most of them were at the top of the dome this time. We've had better luck with them in the Spring, so maybe it was too hot for them.
Next up was Penguin Rock. Marc loves penguins, and he would've been perfectly happy to stay there all day. They were very cool to watch.
Getting ready to dive into the water!
Posing for the cameras
Then we went over to the jellyfish exhibit.
Upside Down Jellyfish
After the aquarium, we went to the Rib and Loin, our favorite Chattanooga barbeque restaurant. I got a pulled pork plate, and Marc got ribs. It was great, as always!
After our little getaway, we decided it was time to head back home. We were tired, and it was getting close to eviction night on Big Brother! (Priorities!)
Marc (finally!!!) had a day off from school and studying yesterday, so we went to a movie. We saw Bad Teacher. It was hilarious, but I think you'd have to be a teacher or work with kids to get a lot of the humor. We were the only ones in the theater, so we were able to laugh out loud at all of the inappropriate scenes.
After the movie, we decided to try the Mellow Mushroom. It opened a few days ago, and it's been packed ever since. We timed it just right, and we were able to walk right in and grab a table.
We decided to try a few things from the menu. We started off with the butter and salt pretzels because everyone kept telling us how great they were. They were right! They were sooo good! They were crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. Perfect!
We also ordered two different hoagies and a small cheese pizza. The sandwiches were good, but not great. They were supposed to be served hot, but they were barely warm by the time they got to the table. I only tried the crust of the pizza, because I was stuffed. Marc really liked it, though. He said the crust could've been a little thinner. It also had A LOT of cheese on it. Marc didn't mind, but I would definitely have to ordered it with less cheese.
Overall, I didn't see what all the fuss was about. We'll probably give them a few weeks to work out the kinks, and then we'll give it another try.
The weather has been wonderful for the past few days so Marc and I decided to go to Nashville to check out their zoo. We'd heard great things about it from friends. It's kind of set up like the animal trails at Disney's Animal Kingdom, which was neat. We were able to get our AK fix!
It starts off with a jungle-themed area.
Then you move into the historical area of the zoo. The land used for the zoo was once a working farm, and the family donated the land. The original house, outhouse, cemetery, barns, etx. are still on display. There is also a beautiful carousel around the corner.
Marc and the Meerkats
There is also an aviary section called Lorikeet Landing. The lorikeets loved Marc! I have to admit, the area was a little creepy to me, because the birds would fly up to you and land. Eeek! Not having any of that!
The next area is the savannah. They have several elephants and giraffes, as well as zebras and meerkats. (I can't remember the other animals on display, but there were a few more.)
They also have a petting zoo that had donkeys, goats, cows, and a camel to name a few. This little guy (or girl?) was so tiny.
The zoo is on the smallish side, but the animals seemed very happy. I took a lot of pictures, but next time, I'll definitely bring my zoom lens. (Didn't want to schlep it around all day...)
We also went ahead and bought a membership, because they gave a great educators' discount. It pretty much paid for itself, and we can get discounted or free admission to lots of zoos and aquariums in places we often visit.
Okay, so one of the main reasons that Marc wanted to stay at Bay Lake Tower was that we'd be able to see the fireworks from there. You can only access the Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower if you're a DVC member staying there on points. Lucky for us, we met both requirements!
We went to the lounge a little early to have a few drinks and take some pictures. The view was amazing! You could see Magic Kingdom, the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, the Wilderness Lodge, etc. The sky wasn't very clear that night due to brush fires, but we were still impressed with the view.
The Grand Floridian
Cinderella Castle, Astro Orbiter,
and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Ferry boat on its way to Magic Kingdom
Red monorail on its way to the
Bay Lake view from the lounge
The lounge had a lot of little sitting areas. It was early, so we were the only ones inside the lounge at this point.
I got a Pom-Power Mojito. It was the first time I'd ever had a mojito, and it was very (VERY!) strong!
Seeing the fireworks from the lounge was so exciting! They pipe in the music that's played in the park so it was just like we were there. Of course, I cried during Wishes like I always do. Sniff, sniff...
Unfortunately, I didn't get many great pictures of the fireworks. I didn't bring my image stabilization zoom lens with me. (Stupid, stupid, stupid!) Oh well, there's always next time. And there WILL be a next time. We loved our stay at Bay Lake Tower!
When we woke up on the morning we left Beach Club Villas, we went over to Hollywood Studios to get a few more rides on Star Tours. (And maybe a couple more on Toy Story Midway Mania, too!) The park wasn't that crowded, so we were able to ride three times within just a few minutes. We also had FastPasses for Star Tours, but we didn't need them. So, we handed them to a couple that were coming in for the day. They were excited and very thankful to get them!
We went back to Beach Club, packed our stuff in the car, and headed over to Bay Lake Tower. One of the castmembers greeted us by name as we drove up into the valet area, an we went in to check-in. Our room wasn't ready, so we drove over to FuddRucker's to get some burgers. (Yum!) During lunch, we got a text saying that our room was ready. Back to Bay Lake Tower we went!
We drove up to the pick-up/drop-off area and unloaded our stuff. The building was modern and beautiful!
Bay Lake Tower
The Dining Room
The Living Room
The View from Our Patio
The Laundry Room
The Master Bathroom
I want this picture!!!
The Shower (with Dual Shower Heads!)
The Second Bathroom
The Sky Bridge
Contemporary Resort Shop Windows
Mural in the Contemporary Resort
Love this picture!
The Night View from Our Patio
Sunrise Over Bay Lake
We loved staying at Bay Lake Tower! It was very convenient to Magic Kingdom...only a monorail ride away! What's funny is that Marc and I almost bought our DVC points here, but as much as I loved the resort, we're actually still very happy with our Animal Kingdom-Kidani purchase. Bay Lake Tower is still a wonderful place to visit, though. It's just not our Disney "home."