For Sidge's birthday, he wanted to go to the GRAY FOSSIL SITE AND MUSEUM in Gray, Tennessee.
According to Wikipedia:
The Gray Site is a Miocene-epoch assemblage of fossils located near the unincorporated town of Gray, Tennessee in Washington County. The Gray Fossil Site was discovered by geologists in May 2000. They were investigating unusual clay deposits turned up during the course of a Tennessee Department of Transportation highway project to widen State Route 75 south of its intersection with Interstate 26.
State Route 75 was realigned to protect the find by order of Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist, and a museum and research center at the dig operated by East Tennessee State University opened in August 2007.
As soon as we walked in the building, Sidge spotted, and identified, this Short-Faced Bear fossil from across the room!
The museum itself is rather modest in size, but it is incredibly modern, clean, and really has a lot of hands-on things for the kids to do. At only $5 a person ($4 with a military discount), it is very appropriately priced for its size.
A digging pit. The kids loved this!
There were quite a few interactive computer activities for kids to do. We also spent quite a bit of time watching employees working inside the building to put together fossils. I thought this was very neat! They made it all glass so you can see what goes into unearthing these fossils.
A picture of us outside in the cold wind. Once you finish inside the museum, you can walk out in the back to see where they are digging. The dig is closed for the winter so visiting in the summer when they are actually digging would be a very cool thing to do.
If you live anywhere close to this site, I suggest you make a day of this. It is incredibly educational and well-done and also, more importantly, well priced.
P.S. I do want to make a small note: JB and I believe the Bible to be 100% accurate; however, we hold a different viewpoint of the length of the creation days then some Christians. (I have been asking JB to do a Blog post on this forever and am hoping he does so soon.) Therefore, we agree with the dates used at this fossil site. I know some Christians hold a more literal viewpoint of creation days and want to say you may take "issue" with some of the dates presented at the museum. I want to make sure that is given as notice on my Blog. I in no way want to upset people on either side of this debate. I believe that the Bible is in the infallible word of God without exception. Okay -- done with that discussion. :)
After we left the GRAY FOSSIL SITE AND MUSEUM we went to Chik-fil-A for lunch. This is a special treat for us as we don't have one very close to us.
We, as usual, traded in the kids meal toys for an ice cream. (If you didn't know about this, make sure you remember! We do it all the time!)
After lunch, we headed to our hotel for the evening which had the major item on our list: a pool! We swam and got thoroughly exhausted before heading out to dinner.
JB and my FAVORITE restaurant around these parts is Sahib in Johnson City, Tennessee. We loved Indian food and try it nearly everywhere we go, and we both admit that this is probably the BEST Indian restaurant we have ever found. It is 45 minutes from our house, but he and I choose it on many date nights. This is the first time we tok the kids with, and all of them enjoyed it. The atmosphere is wonderful, and the owner is constantly around helping with your order and checking to see how you like the food. EVERYTHING we have had is absolutely delicious, and I always eat too much.
After dinner, we headed to Sweet Frogs for dessert. Yes that is ice cream twice in one day. Here are some pictures from our ice cream outing:
And here is a video of our fun times having ice cream:
We headed back to the hotel. We had a free hotel night voucher that we used. It was just for a room with two queen beds, and somehow we talked three kids to mats on the floor so JB got his own bed, and I shared with Abigail. (None of us are good bed sharers, and JB and I definitely cannot sleep in anything less than king together.)
Tomorrow I will share part II of our birthday adventures. Stay tuned!