Well after many days of slaving over chickens, cows and gardens we decided to spend the afternoon in Chattanooga. Chattanooga is on the border of my town and it only takes us about 25 minutes to drive to the Tennessee Aquarium.
Willow had a birthday on the 22nd and she asked if we could go to the aquarium, and we obliged. Since we were not able to schedule the cow dry off period with a summer beach vacation we decided to spend the entire afternoon and splurge on a dinner out too.
Believe me, when you have 7 kids you do not eat out often with those 7 kids. This was a real treat!
If you have never been to the Tennessee Aquarium, well it is HUGE! There is actually a river side and an ocean side. The boys really enjoyed the ocean side because you can pet rays, see penguins and watch the sharks!
After spending a few hours walking through both sides, we let the little ones cool off outside the aquarium in the streams and fountains they have outside.
It was a hot and humid summer day so the kids really enjoyed themselves.
After dinner we walked across the Walnut Street Bridge. This bridge goes across the Tennessee River and is really quite nice to walk across. The boys were able to run and expel the rest of their energy while we were able to walk off our huge dinners! There is also a nice little ice cream shop across the bridge. Of course we had to get a cone to eat on our way back across the bridge.
We have a rule that if we do not get at least one compliment on how great the children's behavior is while eating out then we will not take them out again. This challenge, along with the fact that eating out is a rare treat, helps keep the kids all on their best behavior.
Well a couple did stop as they were leaving and complimented us on how well the children were behaved. I guess that means we can take them all out again!
The next day we had a family birthday party for Willow. She had cousins and a few friends come over too to celebrate. I opted to make the party easy on myself and ordered pizza to eat along with cut up fruit. I baked a simple chocolate chip cookie cake for Willow too.
It was a busy but fun couple of days and the cost for the aquarium was reasonable, especially for a large family. We bought a family membership so we can go again throughout the year. It might actually become a date night for me and Devin. We didn't exactly get to slow down and enjoy all the critters so we will plan to go again by ourselves.
It wasn't a beach vacation but it was still fun and much more budget friendly! The kids are already asking to go again!