Thursday, September 12, 2013

Summer Travels- Greensboro Sciquarium

This weekend we headed back to Greensboro Science center to check out their brand new SciQuarium.  We purchased a family membership to the Greensboro science center earlier this year, which has allowed us to visit other science centers and zoos for free or half off admission. We've made good use of our pass and have enjoyed planning weekend trips around the different science museums, zoos and aquariums. We purchased our membership before the Sciquarium was open, so we were looking forward to come back and check it out.

The lights in the SciAuarium were very dim, so i didn't get very many pictures.  They have an exhibit of penguins, river otters, and a fishing cat.  

In the very center is a hands on ray exhibit where the children can reach into the water and gently touch the rays and guitar fish. This was my daughter's favorite part. 

My boy was not as excited to get his hands wet. 

The shark tank was really neat. There are a bunch of sea life in the tank, not just sharks.  We just happened to be there during the fish feeding time, and so the tank was really active. It was extremely hard to get pictures because of the lighting, so all of my fish photos turned out super blurry.  There are a lot of really neat fish in the tank including some large southern rays, huge eels, sharks of course and a lot of really beautiful fish. 

This was part of the otter exhibit. The otters would climb all over the dome where the kids were. We were hoping to see the otters play in the water, but they were napping while we were there.

This guy is inside the actual science museum, not part of the sciquarium. The kids call him Frank. The last time we were here he was trying to eat Sage through the glass.  i believe he is a Caiman. 

After wandering around the science museum, we went outside to see the animals.  

We watched the giant tortoises get a bath, and the maned wolves were up and active for the first time. In the past when we have visited they are napping in the long grass. We'll see the top of their ears, and sometimes their backs are too us. So it was neat to see them up and walking around. They were very beautiful unusual looking animals, with long slender legs. 

After leaving the Science center we went out to dinner and then headed home. We did not get very far down the road before Kenan noticed the car was smoking. He immediately took the first exit to get us off the interstate. At this point we knew something as seriously wrong. Smoke was pouring out from under the hood, and the back windshield was getting sprayed with something (we thought it was oil).  We came to the stoplight, and when we tried to go the car wouldn't do anything. Kenan turned it off, back on and we were able to start moving just enough to get through the stoplight and coast into the first driveway which happened to be a Sheetz gas station.

Now we've been having problems with our car for the last 9 months. We replaced our engine which had 240k miles on it, with a used engine that only had 90k miles.  It drove fantastic for a while, and then began overheating. Kenan replaced the thermostat, but it continued to overheat. We took it into the shop where they blew out the coolant hoses. Sometimes air gets trapped in them and it creates a vacuum, so it registers that your coolant is full even though it is low.  That seemed to help for a while, then it began overheating again. We had it back to the shop to have the head gaskets replaced.  We got it back, and 3 days later the radiator blew up.  Sent it back to the shop and had only had it back about 3 days when this happened.  So we were beyond frustrated.

We were stranded over 2 hours from home with no one to call. The local numbers that we should have had were programmed into the cell phone which i only used temporarily and no longer have. Kenan's cell is about 10-15 years old and doesn't have any local contacts in it, and it doesn't have internet access or anything like that.  So we really had no idea what to do. A local man stopped and asked if we needed help. He told us he lived right down the road, and to give a call if we needed any help at all.  We borrowed a phone book from the Sheetz station and began calling local garages and tow services. It was about 7pm on a Saturday, and we could not get a hold of anyone. So we called the good Samaritan that had stopped to help us and asked him if he could look up the number of the garage back home where we'd had our work done. We tried calling their emergency towing number and ended up calling the mechanic at home. 

Kenan explained what had happened, and from his description the mechanic was able to diagnose the problem, it was just a cracked transmission line. So the local man came back and packed us all in his truck and took us to the local auto-parts store so Kenan could get what he needed to fix the line.  The man brought his tool box, extra rags...and hung out until we had the car fixed. He was incredible helpful. So we eventually got it fixed and made our way back to Virginia. The car drove fine all the way home. 

Two days after our NC adventure Kenan took the car to Radford to pick up propane tanks, and again the car died. This time it was the battery and alternator. He was stuck there for several hours, trying to get the parts he needed to fix it.   At this point just about everything in the engine has been replaced, so hopefully that means nothing else will break down. lol.  We will be staying close to home for a while and once we get through this house stuff we really need to think about getting a new car. 

So this is probably my last Summer travels post for the year.Our focus is really just getting into our house and trying to regain a sense of normal. 


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