Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vacation Day Four: Detroit Science Center and Frankenmuth

So today was the one big "trip" day that we had planned for our five day break. We got up early (well, earlier than normal) and hit the road right around 10:00. We got to the science center at probably around 11:15 or so. It was pretty easy to find. Just a straight shot down I-94 to exit 215c and we were right there. So there wasn't any trouble finding the place at all.

We went in and got our tickets. To our surprise, the tickets were cheaper than we had expected. Tickets to the Star Trek Exhibition were supposed to be $19 and to get into the rest of the museum was another $6. But they had changed it so that the $19 entrance to Star Trek got you into the entire museum. So we opted to spend that extra $6 each on the Star Trek ride that they had there. So we spent $50 bucks and then went on our way.

We went and did the ride thing first. It was one of those 3d motion rides that you sit in and they close the screen so that you can watch a movie that the machine moves around while you're watching. I had never been in one before, and Cathy hadn't either. So it was pretty cool for us to do. The thing actually flipped you upside down completely several times during the ride. Good thing we were strapped in with roller coaster type shoulder harness things. It lasted about 5 minutes, and for $6 each I'd say it was worth it. It was fun and interesting.

We then made our way back to the Star Trek Exhibition. We were greeted by a guy dressed like a character from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The first thing he told us?? Paramount doesn't allow photography of the Exhibition. So, needless to say, I didn't get any pictures of any of the stuff that they had on display. I thought it a bit odd that Paramount would charge people to come see their exhibit but not allow personal photos. What are people going to do, sell the photo that they take of a model of the Enterprise on Ebay?? I guess maybe that's a possibility...but really, come on.

So we spent about an hour wandering around the Exhibition. There was some pretty cool stuff there. They had costumes from each of the series, models of various different vehicles from the series, props like weapons and Tribbles and such, biographies of all of the major characters during the run of each series, along with small biographies of the actors who played the parts, and lots of different information about the show.

Some of the things that I thought were cool were seeing how some of the things that they dreamed up in Star Trek back then are things that we do in fact use to some extent today. They showed an ear piece that was used for communications that looks exactly like most BlueTooth things look today. It had a bit of information about how the original Enterprise was designed and how terms that were used in the show are used in real life today when talking about designs for things like the International Space Station.

One other thing that I thought was really cool was a timeline. They had a timeline that showed where every movie and TV series fit in with the others. It was cool to be able to read a little bit about every series and eveyr movie and see how it all fit in with the other established shows. The only thing off about it was that they had the newest movie listed at the end of the timeline...but it should have been very near the beginning.

All in all, I thought the exhbition was pretty cool. I was a bit let down by the "No Pictures" p0licy, but that didn't take any of the enjoyment out of the whole thing.

So we then headed out to the Science Center itself...and man, what a disaster. It looks like they would have some nice science exhibits there, but almost everything in the place was broken or just not working in some fashion. Things that were supposed to be interactive weren't interactive. Buttons that were supposed to start something didn't work. It's obvious that the place needs a bit of maintenance done to get it back up to par. I can't really say too many bad things about it because it was free, but had we paid the extra money like we thought we had to in order to get into the regular museum, I'd have been pretty unamused. We probably only spent about 20 minutes in the rest of the museum, then we headed out for our trip to Frankenmuth...

Now, Frankenmuth isn't exactly NEAR Detroit. It's about 90 miles or so from Detroit, and Detroit is about 80 miles or so from our house. So the trip was basically a big triangle. So we started heading out towards Frankenmuth up I-75. We found I-75 just like our directions said we would, and about 10 minutes up the was closed. Not just a lane, but the whole thing. And the best part?? It funnelled us off of the highway into a fairly dangerous looking area with NO SIGNS ON WHERE TO GET BACK TO THE HIGHWAY. Of course, we had left the GPS behind because it looked like the directions were pretty straight forward and Cathy had checked the Michigan Department of Transportation Construction Information site and there was nothing listed for I-75. So we drove around for a little while and finally grabbed the map and figured a different way there. We would take I-75 back to I-94, head on 94 west until we got to 23, then take 23 all the way up to where it merges with 75 and we'd be back on track. It took longer, but it worked. We got to Frankenmuth at about 4:00.

I had never been to Frankenmuth, but Cathy had. We were planning on having dinner at the Bavarian Inn and doing some shopping at the boutique style shops that are there. Frankenmuth is a German Style village that has all kinds of small shops and places to eat.

So we parked and headed to the shops. We had to drive across a really cool covered bridge to get to the shops, and we had to walk along the oustide of it to get back to where we needed to be. It was made of wood and was actually pretty nice looking. I got a couple of photos of it.

After crossing back into the village, we started our browsing of the shops. They were all kinds of neat little shops that you wouldn't really find many other places. Stores for things like pewter figures, and Native American goods, and things like that. We spent maybe an hour or so looking in the shops then headed across the street to hit a few other shops before going to dinner. On the way out of the shopping area we saw a nice model of the bridge that we had crossed just a few minutes earlier. It was pretty detailed.

We then went to dinner at The Bavarian Inn. We got the family chicken dinner for two. Holy cow, what a load of food it was. It cost $21 per person and consisted of the following: A bowl of soup for each person and two different types of bread to start. Then a salad (which we actually opted out of). Then the main course came. It was six pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and gravy, sauerkraut, butter noodles, and squash. These all came in pretty large bowls...more than enough for two people. Then after the main course there was ice cream. The dinner was awesome, and left both of us fairly stuffed. So we left the restaurant and headed back to the shops to make a few last purchases before we headed home.

Cathy bought quite a few things. A stuffed monkey, a bunch of candy, some baked goods, and some popcorn. I got a walking stick. After we had made our last purchases we figured it was time to head home.

We made our way back to the car and headed out. We got home a little bit after 10:00 PM. Both of us were pretty tired. It had been a pretty long day. Oh well, at least we have one more day off before we have to go back to work!!!

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