Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Friday, December 13, 2019

Enchant: The Great Search at Nationals Park

Date of Visit: December 12, 2019

You'd think we'd know to go all the way to the left to enter Nationals Park considering we go to at least one game a year, but they didn't have the normal signage and they didn't send Mik that way until after checking Mik's bag and Dad's stuff and finding that Mik couldn't fit through the metal detector (most standard wheelchairs probably fit, but Mik's is just a bit too wide). In order to not have to check the stuff again, Mom and I stayed inside security and met them over there where there is room to go behind the security table to enter.

When we entered they did tell us where to go for the elevator for access to the maze, but they didn't say anything about VIP access. Good thing Dad had remembered the VIP part included food and I vaguely recalled that it was in the club. I don't know if the lack of direction was because we ended up coming in from the regular entry after Mik didn't fit through the metal detector for the VIP entry or what, but it is kind of odd there was limited signage to point you where to go and the only obvious thing was the maze. I guess if you don't do VIP then it is obvious to do the maze and then the way it exits brings you through the market and by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Mik's favorite part of the evening was definitely the buffet.

I loved the soft pretzels and honey mustard.

The best part was the churros and spiced chocolate fudge for dessert. Mik also enjoyed the cookies.

While we couldn't access the maze from the VIP access route as you have to take the steps down to the field, going out the door was a great place to view the maze as a whole.

Signage in general wasn't great for finding the different parts of the event, but it was clear for the maze including the ADA access, which is via an elevator and a hallway same as is used for access the field level seats.

Once out on the field, the lack of signage again was a problem. The ADA entrance ended up being near what turned out to be the exit. When we asked the guy at the exit if it was the entrance, he said you can enter this way and we had to specifically ask what's the normal way to enter to find out to keep going and it's right around the corner.

Entering from the exit really wouldn't matter as you just wander in the maze as you want, but you do need to go in the main entrance to get the postcard to scratch off the nine reindeer as you find them.

By each of the reindeer, there are tables with coins you can use to scratch off the reindeer. This includes low tables, which were probably designed with kids in mind, but also makes the coins accessible to use.

The main fun was finding the reindeer, but we also enjoyed the different lighted sculptures.

Mom pretended she was wearing this diamond.

There was also an area with a raised platform that we're not entirely sure the purpose was, but maybe it was lighting up to the beat of music. Both ends were ramped, although the one side was rather steep and, of course, that's the side we used...

The lighted tunnel was fun to walk under, but Mik did not like when we used the side exits to go towards some of the reindeer.

The side exits were still plenty tall enough for him to roll under and only Dad had to duck, but Mik felt like it was barely taller than him.

Why, yes, we did find them all!

Mik and Dad liked that the ADA access back to the elevator was very easy to find when you exit the maze.

Mik had been hesitant to go to, especially with the cold weather, but overall it was a very fun family outing to celebrate Christmas early together. It did end up being cold, but he really enjoyed the buffet inside where it was warm and we also warmed up by going in the Team Store before walking home.

Destination Info:
Enchant: The Great Search
Nationals Park
1500 S Capitol St SE
Washington, DC 20003

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

U.S. Botanic Garden: Seasons Greenings 2019 - America's Gardens

Date of Visit: December 4, 2019

In honor of the US Botanic Garden's upcoming 200th anniversary, this year's Season's Greenings theme is America's Gardens. This year turned out to be probably our least favorite we've seen, but we were happy the Christmas tree is back in the West Gallery and impressed with the Biltmore Estate display there.

We found the different buildings representing gardens and conservatories around the country interesting, but for some reason it didn't seem as if there was as much to look at as usual.

The miniature representing the World's Largest Concrete Gnome in the Reime Gardens in Ames, Iowa was one of the more interesting models.

My favorite was the Carillon from Evening Island, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois.

We also liked the Bartholdi Fountain (US Botanic Garden) model.

Mik could go in this year's tunnel. He didn't want to, but I made him and it was one of the coolest displays with a moon landing model.

Another of our favorites was the Singing Tower (Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales, Florida).

After two years of there being no tree, it was nice to see the tree in the West Gallery back.

The Biltmore Estate model in the West Gallery was the highlight this year.

Of course, we had to get the traditional photo of Mik in front of the Capitol in the Conservatory.

While the theme was our least favorite of the six we've seen, we still enjoyed our annual tradition visiting the Season's Greening exhibit. In particular, we found the Conservatory to feel more festive and brighter this year with the way poinsettias and white light trees were used.

Destination Info:
United States Botanic Garden
100 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20001

Friday, December 7, 2018

U.S. Botanic Garden: Seasons Greenings 2018 - All Aboard!

Date of Visit: December 7, 2018

Mik was surprised that it's really been five years that it has been a tradition for us to visit the Seasons Greenings exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Gardens. He loves the tradition, although he doesn't so much enjoy the cold weather on the way to/from. This year we were again sad that there was no Christmas tree exhibit in the West Gallery. In fact, that's where the train exhibit is as it seems they are now working on the area where they normally do the exhibit. Hopefully, that means the tree part will come back once both areas are open at the same time again.

When Dad brought us home this year's brochure after his work preview, I joked with him that is was such an original theme this year with it being called "All Aboard!" Doing it with different train depots certainly does make sense, though, and it was actually better than expected.

Mik's favorite was the Cincinnati Union Terminal.

My favorite was the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.

As usual, there was a tunnel walkthrough part and best of all this year it was back to being tall enough for Mik to roll through!

Also, as usual, the exhibit ends with an area that has two steps and a ramp that is way too steep. Just ask them to let you out the entrance and they'll move the barrier.

Before leaving we got our usual photo of Mik with the Capitol model. We also checked out the Union Station model that was added this year to the Garden Court's models of D.C.

Destination Info:
United States Botanic Garden
100 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20001

Monday, December 3, 2018

2018 National Christmas Tree Lighting

Date of Visit: November 28, 2018

Every year we've lived in the D.C. area, I've tried to get tickets to the National Christmas Tree lighting. This year I forget to enter the lottery, but luckily Dad ended up getting us tickets from a friend.

We ended up with tickets for the green seated section, but instead of going into the green section to the left of the stage, we followed the path to sit in the wheelchair section to the other side. The wheelchair section was good in that it was lined up with the stage and was on the platform so you didn't have to roll in the grass, which was hard to go through. The downside is the stage almost entirely blocks the Christmas tree. In hindsight, we should've just gone to the front of the green section as was available and then we also wouldn't have had our view totally blocked when everyone stood up for the President to light the tree at the beginning.

Overall Mik didn't much care for the tree lighting event, but mainly because it was cold. By the time the tree lighting started, we had been there for several hours with it being in the 40s and both Dad and he bailed after the tree was lit. Probably 75% of the people there did the same and those that stayed were encouraged to move up, which is what I did (also, moved over to better see the tree). I found it worth it and enjoyed the music and would totally do it again if I got the chance, but probably not with Mik.

Destination Info:
National Christmas Tree
President's Park (south of White House)
Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail 2018

Date of Visit: November 13, 2018

Another trip a few years ago we had wanted to check out the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail, but never got around to it. This year Mik wasn't really convinced to check it out, but since we stayed at Saratoga Springs it was an easy walk over to Disney Springs for his favorite of a pretzel dog at Wetzel Pretzels and by promising we would only stop if he wanted to take photos I got him to agree to do the trail on the way back to the resort. In the end, he loved it and even had me take some photos as it was easier for me to get some of the angles he wanted.

Beauty and the Beast Tree

The Little Mermaid Tree

Frozen Tree

Mulan Tree

Villians Tree

Dumbo Tree

Star Wars Trees

Mik with Star Wars Tree - I got in trouble for not getting all the lightsaber trees in the photo, but then he also didn't want to wait for people to get out of the way for me to have done it that way.

Peter Pan Tree

Mary Poppins Tree

Alice in Wonderland Tree

Fantasia Tree

Toy Story Tree

Overall we really enjoyed checking out the different themed trees. The timing of going right as it was getting dark was perfect as there weren't too many people and it was easy to take our time and get photos of what we wanted. It being early in the holiday season might have also contributed to the low crowds, but just, in general, it seems Disney Springs in more enjoyable before dark basically because people are mostly in the parks instead.

Destination Info:
Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail
Lake Buena Vista, FL