Wednesday, April 17, 2019

FIELD MUSEUM DINOSAURS

dinosaurs
The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois is a great place to discover dinosaurs while exploring the place. It is home to Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the original skeleton of the world's largest and most complete fossilized T-Rex, and Maximo the Titanosaur,  a cast of the biggest dinosaur skeleton ever discovered, which are both on display here. You can find Maximo in the grand hall that serves as the museum's entrance and Sue has her own gallery space on the second floor.

While Maximo is exhibited on the first floor, it is so large the best way to get a good luck at this dinosaur is from the balconies above the grand hall overlooking the Titanosaur. Take a selfie standing besides Maximo's head then go over to see Sue's nearby second floor exhibit. Plus there are more than a dozen other prehistoric creatures to examine situated in the museum's Genius Hall of Dinosaurs that is adjacent to Sue's gallery.

dinosaurs


MAXIMO THE TITANOSAUR

Maximo's skeleton stretches 122 feet across the Stanley Field Hall on the museum's first floor. At the top of its head, the dinosaur reaches a height of 28 feet tall. This skeleton is a model crafted from fossil bones excavated in Argentina. Titanosaur's scientific name is Patagotitan mayorum and this species of dinosaur which weighed about 70 tons while alive was larger than a blue whale currently giving it the title of biggest animal to have lived on our planet. That is the size of 10 full-grown African elephants!

Maximo was put on display at the Field Museum in 2018 replacing Sue the T-Rex being displayed in the grand hall. Sue was then given her own display space on the second floor of the museum in 2019. So now the Field Museum has two of the world's most famous dinosaurs exhibited for people to see. What is nice about Maximo being a cast of the skeleton is that it allows people to get in close proximity to the dinosaur and touch the model. This really allows you to get a grasp of just how huge this dinosaur was when it was alive.

dinosaurs


SUE THE TYRANNOSAURUS REX

Sue is the world's most complete and best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex fossilized skeleton. It was nicknamed after Susan Hendrickson who discovered the fossils on August 12, 1990 at the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Sue has been one of the most popular attractions at the Field Museum since she was put on display in the grand hall near the first floor entrance of the building in 2000.

Sue was taken off exhibit in 2018 so that she could be provided her own display area near the dinosaur gallery on the museum's second floor.  This 5,100 square foot exhibit space includes animated high-definition videos of what Sue would have looked like alive on nine-foot tall panels behind the T-Rex's skeleton. The videos show scenes of Sue drinking from a stream, hunting Edmontosaurus and battling a Triceratops.

Sue the Dinosaur


A laser-light enhanced audio/video presentation takes place periodically throughout the day in the gallery. As details about portions of the dinosaur's skeleton are shared with the audience, specific fossil segments become illuminated. Facts are also projected upon the wall behind Sue's skeleton.

Sue the T-REx


Because Sue's skull is often examined by scientists from around the world, the original is situated in a glass case a few yards away from her skeleton. The rest of the original skeleton though is showcased in the gallery with a cast model of the skull included with the rest of the dinosaur's body. All together the whole original skeleton can be seen within Sue's gallery.

Sue the TRex


It really is an exception experience visiting Sue at Chicago's Field Museum. It is a very impressive presentation which my daughter told me was her favorite thing we saw during our visit to the Field Museum.

Sue the dinosaur


GENIUS HALL OF DINOSAURS

From the carnivorous cousin of the T-Rex, the Daspletosaurus, to the plant-eating Stegosaurus with extruding shields protecting its spine from predators attacks, the Genius Hall of Dinosaurs has one of the United State's best collections of dinosaur fossils. Walk amongst soaring sauropods, duck-billed dinos and horned triceratops while making your way through this exhibit space. Watch out for the velociraptors!



For anyone who is fascinated by dinosaurs, a visit to the Field Museum is a must-do experience. The museum is located 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago Illinois 60605. It is located within the city's cultural district that includes Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Grant Park, and Soldier Field along the Lake Michigan shoreline. For more information about planning a visit, go to fieldmuseum.org.

Monday, April 15, 2019

BUDSIES

Budsies review
Transform a child's drawing into a plush creation at budsies.com. Submit artwork to Budsies and they will create custom stuffed animals and dolls that will be mailed to your doorstep. What kid wouldn't be amazed to have something they dreamed up crafted into a real-life huggable plush toy?!

Budsies challenged my son and daughter to come up with some creative ideas to show off their service to our ageekdaddy.com audience.  The kids spent a few days imagining what they wanted to create and drawing artwork for us to submit to budsies.com. When they were finally satisfied with their sketches, I scanned and downloaded them onto the Budsies website.

My children's Budsies just arrived! Time to do an unboxing of their customized plush creations. So without further ado check out our brand new Budsies:



My son is fascinated by dinosaurs so he decided to make his own combining characteristics from some of his favorite creatures. REXY is both fierce and friendly with sharp claws and teeth but also a warm, soft belly to rub. He decided to create REXY because we've blogged about some fun dinosaur themed expeditions and my son thought his Budsies plush creation would be a nice way to keep reminding him of the fun ageekdaddy.com adventures we've had together.

custom plus creations


My daughter loves flowers so she decided to create one that could be snuggled at bedtime. She had a budding sunflower made inspired by the "bud" in Budsies. Her flower has a sunny disposition showing a warm smile and shows its cool personality by wearing shades. This plant also gives out hugs with its leaves that resemble outstretched arms. Unlike the plants in her garden this is a flower that can be cuddled with.

custom plush creations


The kids are delighted with their Budsies! These plush toys brings to life children's creativity and imagination through a personalized experience that provides boys and girls with cherished play companions that are sure to become memorable childhood keepsakes. Budsies has absolutely earned A Geek Daddy nod of approval for the topnotch quality of the products and service they provide. From the ordering process and delivery to the excitement and enjoyment their customized plush toys have brought my children, this company is exceptional.

Dream up your own stuffed animals, dolls and plush toys from budsies.com. They also make Petsies, replica's of family pets, and selfie dolls that look like people. Head over to their website and check out all the wonderful products available at budsies.com.

custom plus creations

A Geek Daddy received the featured products for free to review. Opinions expressed are my own. This is an honest endorsement of Budsies based upon my personal experience with the brand.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

EASTER PICNIC BASKET GIVEAWAY

dad blogger
My wife and I's very first date was on the Fourth of July. We packed up a picnic basket and enjoyed sitting outside on a blanket at a city park watching a holiday fireworks display take place above us. While dating and after we got married but before we had kids, we'd often bring along a picnic basket and blanket to eat dinner during Detroit Symphony Orchestra performances at the Metro Parks or have lunch at a State Park beach.

Now that we have kids, our family still enjoys having a picnic from time to time. Just instead of it being a romantic getaway, these picnics tend to be us relaxing while taking in one of our kids soccer games. My son hauled out our picnic basket and a blanket this weekend so we could all sit together along a soccer field sideline cheering on his sister during her first game of the Spring season.

For our family, Easter marks for us the start of Spring. Having springtime picnics has become a family tradition. Having evolved from a fun date to spending quality family time together, this activity has become very important to us.

Just like celebrating our faith on Easter which involves both attending mass and an annual routine involving another type of basket. The holiday just wouldn't be the same without my kids searching for their Easter Baskets before heading to mass. We'll probably be having Easter Basket hunts in some form or another until they head off for college because the activity put as much a smile on my face as it does theirs.

6 WAYS TO PREP FOR AN EPIC EASTER

What traditions does your family have that make Easter special? Check out these tips from the hosts of CatholicCentral.com on 6 ways to prep for an epic Easter. You can turn to Catholic Central to tune into a collection of videos that entertain, enlighten and inspire people regarding their Catholic faith produced by a team of witty writers and learned theologians.

 photo Easter-_DL_zps2ivif4ms.png

PICNIC BASKET GIVEAWAY

dad blogger

To help a lucky winner create their own family traditions for Easter and throughout the year, Catholic Central has provided ageekdaddy.com with a picnic basket to giveaway. This EASTER PICNIC BASKET GIVEAWAY includes a wicker basket with cutlery, plates, glasses, tableware and a fleece blanket. Complete the rafflecopter entries below before 11:59 pm on April 22, 2019. Must be a United States resident over 18 years old to participate. One lucky winner will be randomly selected from all eligible entries. If someone wins this promotion from multiple outlets he or she will only receive one prize and alternate winners will be selected for the duplicate prizes from the other websites and social media channels. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT CATHOLIC CENTRAL

You have questions about the Catholic faith and what it means to be Catholic. We have answers! We’ve created shareable, snackable videos that teach the timeless truths and deep history of the Church with humor and heart. Produced in the Family Theater Productions studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CATHOLIC CENTRAL entertains, enlightens and inspires.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

DIY LEGO COSTUMES

THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART will soon be available to add to your home entertainment video library. The movie is being released April 16 on digital and May 7 for 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD. Everything isn't awesome in this sequel to THE LEGO MOVIE which now finds Emmett, Lucy, Batman, Unikitty and their LEGO mini-figure friends under assault from the little sister's DUPLO attack on their world. The citizens of Bricksburg face off against this dangerous new threat from these DUPLO invaders and must battle to restore harmony to the LEGO universe.



In addition to the feature presentation, the home video release of THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART includes the following bonus content:
  • Everything is Awesome Sing-along – Sing-along, trivia, games and more! Commentary – Fun behind the scenes commentary by filmmakers T
  • They Come in Pieces: Assembling The LEGO Movie 2 – Featurette highlighting A-list voice talent including Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett and Tiffany Haddish 
  • Emmet’s Holiday Party: A LEGO Movie Short – Holiday themed animated short 
  • LEGO Sets in Action – Animations of the LEGO product tied to The LEGO Movie 2 
  • LEGO Designers – LEGO toy designers highlight key play sets in TLM2 product line 
  • Outtakes & Deleted Scenes – Never before seen scenes 
  • Super Cool Music Video – Music video by Beck featuring Robyn and The Lonely Island 
  • Promotion Spots – Fun custom spots featured during the theatrical campaign
Time to start thinking up some fun ideas for a family movie night watching LEGO MOVIE 2! Getting into costume is always a fantastic way to see an entertaining mood for a family movie night. My friends over at Wholesale Halloween Costumes sent over some great DIY costume ideas for two of my family's favorite LEGO MOVIE characters → Batman and UniKitty.

DIY LEGO BATMAN COSTUME

Be the hero and follow the steps of this tutorial to make your own LEGO Batman costume! Do you think you have what it takes to save Bricksburg and the LEGO Universe?! Grab your hot glue gun and start crafting!

MATERIALS


  • Boys Black I’m Invisible Skin Suit 
  • Batman/Superman Reversible Cape 
  • Large Batman Batarangs 
  • 6-pieces of black foam core 20” x 30” 
  • 2- large sheets Black Card Stock 
  • Yellow Construction Paper 
  • Elastic Black Duct Tape Masking Tape 
  • Aluminum Foil Bucket/Plastic container approximately the size of the head 
  • Glue Stick 
  • Adhesive Velcro strips 
  • Pencil, Marker 
  • White or gray paint marker 
  • Scissors 
  • Craft Knife 
  • Low-Temperature Hot Glue Gun

BUILDING THE COSTUME


Click here for a full tutorial on crafting your own do it yourself LEGO Batman costume. There you have it … a LEGO mini-figure legs and body with a Batman head that can be constructed together with your kids as a family diy project. What a great way to get into character for some family movie night fun!


DIY UNIKITTY COSTUME


We all get a little moody from time to time, even those sunshiny people that seem to be made of the sweetest stuff on earth can get a little hot under the collar. Unikitty (part unicorn, part cat) is a pink and smiley, princess kitten who is friends with everyone and wants to remove negativity from the entire world. But her pastel pink features belie her mutli-faceted personality. Maybe you know of her alter egos, Biznis Kitty, Astro Kitty and the rumored Ultrakatty.

She may only have one horn but she definitely isn’t a one dimensional personality. Take our advice and don’t come at her spoiling the mood. Because if you make her mad she might transform into a fiery, one-horned, rage-filled Angry Kitty or worse, the next level Super Angry Kitty.

Here’s one way to show off Unikitty’s mood swings, a two sided mask! Spread the positivity, angrily if you must, with this recycled mask you can make at home. You’ll find that everything is awesome when rocking this double sided cardboard head featuring two of Princess Unikitty’s personalities.

MATERIALS


  • Recycled cardboard box 
  • Red, white, orange and pink felt/fabric 
  • Foam shapes: cones, circle disc, square 
  • Acrylic paint- dark red, red, white, teal, yellow, orange, pink 
  • Window screening 
  • Hot Glue Gun 
  • Serrated knife or saw 
  • Box cutter 
  • Fabric Scissors 
  • Carpet Tape 
  • Packing Tape or Duct Tape 
  • Unikitty printable template 

BUILDING THE COSTUME 


Click here for a full tutorial on crafting your own DIY UniKitty costume. Plus if Emmet and Lucy are more your wyldstyle here are some outfits you can get from Wholesale Halloween Costumes: Emmet Costume - Lucy/Wyldstyle Costume.



Have yourself an AWESOME family movie night watching THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART! Hope you enjoy these movie costume ideas courtesy of Wholesale Halloween Costumes!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

SWIMMING TIPS FOR FAMILY TRIPS

family trip water safety tips
Playing in and around water is often a big part of many family vacations. While swimming is a really fun activity it can also be very dangerous. Did you know drowning is a leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States?! To get some tips to help ensure you return home from vacation with memorable moments rather than a tragedy, I chatted with Chris McCuiston, co-founder of Goldfish Swim Schools where my own kids are enrolled in swimming lessons, about water safety tips for family trips.

McCuiston is passionate about water safety not just because he is in the business of providing swimming lessons to children, but also because he himself is the father of four young boys. He believes it is important before you even leave on a family trip for parents to review for themselves safety tips and have a conversation with their little swimmers about dos and don’ts before going into the water at a hotel pool or ocean beach. Once at a location, look for posted rules and warnings to help avoid getting into troublesome situations.

Here are some water safety tips for a variety of places that are often visited when families are traveling:

Staying Safe at Hotel Pools

We all know a pool can be a huge difference maker when it comes to choosing a hotel you’ll be staying at. Swimming in a hotel pool could even be the highlight of a trip for some kids. It is important for parents to keep in mind that a hotel pool can be a bit different than swimming at local community pool when there are tons of other kids and families in the pool — and lifeguards on duty.

goldfish swim school

No worries, though…staying safe at an indoor pool just means following a few tips. Since hotel pools generally don’t have lifeguards, it’s important kids always swim with a buddy and have an adult present. If your little one needs a lifejacket, be sure to ask the hotel concierge before you travel to see if the hotel has any for guests to use. If not be sure to bring your own.

Swimming in the Ocean

Even if lifeguards are present on the beach, the ocean can be tricky, even for seasoned swimmers. Never swim alone (this goes for adults too!) and make sure little ones understand to stick close to an adult when near the water.

Oceans will have a rip current from time to time. Talk to a certified lifeguard at the beach to understand how to swim out of a rip current. And remember that drowning doesn’t always look as dramatic as it does in the movies, so learn the signs of drowning and what to do to stay safe.

goldfish swim school


Think Before You Jump in the Lake

Before blindly jumping off a dock or boat into a lake, take some time to scope out your surroundings. A lot of people break their necks, and other body parts, by diving into shallow water or hitting an object hidden under the water. Never take a running leap into the water before checking for depth & debris.

Lakes, ponds and rivers will often times have rocks and plants on the bottom. Make sure you keep your feet and hands away from them to avoid slipping or getting stuck. Sticking to designated swimming areas is always a smart move when it comes to having fun in natural bodies of water.

lake swimming tips

Waterparks, Safety and Fun

If your family trip involves a waterpark, yay! Sounds like a great time! For parents, it’s important to keep a constant eye on the kids at a waterpark. Make sure you designate a meeting place if you get separated, and go over the park rules before letting the kids loose to play. Little kids and kids who are not strong swimmers should wear lifejackets if they are allowed.

water park safety tips


Boats and Cruise Ships

If your getaway involves a boat or a cruise ship, it’s a good idea to talk to your children about boating safety as well before going aboard. On a cruise ship make sure everyone pays attention to the safety instructions during the vessel’s orientation. While it is easy to not pay attention wanting to get the fun of your cruise underway this information is very important to know in case of an emergency. So don’t skip out and make sure the kids pay attention too!

On a smaller boat, make sure children have proper lifejackets and make sure they understand keeping hands and feet inside the boat at all times, as well as no standing when the boat is underway, and no running on the boat ever.

Learning to Swim

No matter if you are at an Atlantic Ocean beach or Universal’s Volcano Bay Waterpark, the best way to be safe in the water is having basic swimming skills. Our instructors at Goldfish Swim School use integrity, compassion and trust to teach families lifesaving swim skills — skills that can be used to stay safe while traveling on a trip. We promote year-round lessons at Goldfish Swim School allowing children to continue practicing new swim skills, work on getting stronger at the skills they’ve already learned, and reinforce how to stay safer in and around the water.

In addition to teaching swimming skills and strokes, we also talk to our students about how to get to safety and how to act in a potential emergency situation. No matter the time of year, with our indoor pools Goldfish Swim School is ALWAYS teaching kids ages 4 months to twelve years old safety skills during each and every swim lesson. For more water safety tips, information about our classes, or to find a location near you, please visit us at goldfishswimschool.com

swimming lessons


A Geek Daddy is a Goldfish Swim School Brand Ambassador. I receive free products and services in exchange for sharing my family's experiences at the swim school. Opinions expresses are honest and my own.

Monday, April 8, 2019

DISNEY WORLD ATTRACTIONS FOR SCI-FI FANS

Disney World Geek
Disney World is known for providing magical childhood experiences where kids can meet fantastic princesses, be wildly spun around in giant tea cups and ride in the air with a flying elephant. That doesn’t mean dads can’t have some fun of their own during a visit, especially if you are a science fiction fan like me. From pretending to be an astronaut during a mock spaceship take-off to eating a meal at a Disney sci fi diner that replicates a drive-in movie theater, there are a lot of Disney sci fi attractions for sci-fi loving dads, and moms, to geek out over.

Here are 7 of my favorite fantastic Disney sci fi themed things to do during a Walt Disney World Resort vacation:

ASTRO ORBITER

Take an elevator ride 60 feet up in the air and enjoy one of the best views of the Magic Kingdom. Soar over Tomorrowland in a rocket that looks like it flew right out of the pages of a classic Buck Rogers comic strip. While the layout of the ride looks similar to Animal Kingdom’s TriceraTop Spin and Magic Kingdom’s Magic Carpets of Aladdin, don’t be fooled, these 2-passenger spaceships have some whiz to them. They revolve around a circular course decorated to seem as if you are navigating through a solar system of planets.

This ride isn’t for the faint of heart as not only is the ride on an elevated platform, but you can make your craft go even higher with a pilot lever that moves it up and down while it flies around. An Astro Orbiter rocket whips around the platform at 11 rotations per minute and it has been calculated each vessel travels the equivalent of 1.2 million miles per year. Kids may be wary of riding Astro Orbiter but I assure you, sci fi loving parents will be thrilled by taking a spin on it.

While Astro Orbiter is fun to ride during the day, it is spectacular at night. It is lit in neon colors and the Magic Kingdom is all aglow under you. Time it right and you may get an amazing view of the evening’s fireworks show. Just be prepared for a wait as there is no FastPass for this ride and the elevator ride and limited capacity on the upper deck holding the ride is limited often causing there to be long lines. If you see a short wait time don’t hesitate getting on the Astro Orbiter. You won’t be disappointed!

Astro Orbiter


SPACE MOUNTAIN

A Disney World landmark, Space Mountain has become an iconic ride within Tomorrowland for the Magic Kingdom. This classic roller coaster that first opened in 1975 enlisted Mercury 9 and Gemini 5 astronaut Gordon Cooper as part of its creative team during construction to advise on giving the ride the feeling of a space flight as it races through a dark indoor track. A job well done as this roller coaster has been thrilling people for more than 40 years.

 As you are waiting to board your Space Mountain cruiser in the ride line queue area, prep your fight skills at videogame-inspired training stations. A variety of 90-second training missions, including blasting asteroids and moving cargo, can be played by people in line. Then pass your mission control room and step on to the launch pad to enter your rocket-shaped roller coaster vehicle.

When alerted that all systems are “Go”, you will begin ascending a 180-foot high tunnel filled with pulsating lights. At the top you are launched off into the dark dipping and careening around a track where everything is black around you. Compared to today’s sleek modern roller coasters, Space Mountain is rather mellow but the push and pull of gravity as you fly through it still gets your adrenaline pumping making for an exciting experience. While kids may be scared of the dark, that just adds to the fun for us dads!

Space Mountain


SONNY ECLIPSE

Drop into Tomorrowland’s Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café to enjoy the interstellar crooning of Sonny Eclipse while getting something to eat. During this lounge singer from another world’s 25-minute sets, he mixes in comedic banter with singing eight songs accompanied by his amazing Astro-Organ. The animatronic alien’s setlist includes original songs such as Bright Little Star, Gravity Blues, Planetary Boogie and Yew Nork, Yew Nork.

A combination of Frank Sinatra and Max Rebo, kids may think Sonny Eclipse is cheesy but most adults should get a kick out of this jazzy nightclub style performance full of tongue and cheek humor. For those of us who grew up watching for some similarities in some of this songs to classic “School House Rock” tunes as well. The Sinatra style Yew Nork, Yew Nork is my favorite Sonny Eclipse melody. Plus, you have to appreciate his dad joke style sense of humor like this zinger: “You know, I recently heard the universe was expanding. Guess it’s time to loosen the asteroid belt!”

Sonny Eclipse


PANDORA — WORLD OF AVATAR

Immerse yourself within the cinematic world of James Cameron’s Avatar movie at an area of Disney World’s Animal Kingdom that mimics the exoplanetary moon Pandora that is the setting for the film. Explore an area filled with floating mountains, exotic plants and alien lifeforms that expand upon the Avatar story. You’ll also see signs of the native Na’vi humanoid population such as totems and other cultural items found throughout the landscape.

Pandora landscape


Learn more about the aliens that inhabit Pandora and the moon’s eco-system with a ride on the Na’vi River Journey. Drift downstream through caves and a rainforest filled with fascinating glowing plants and intriguing creatures. Eventually, you will encounter the Na’vi Shaman of Songs who demonstrates a deep connection to the life force of Pandora through music.

Explore the forest moon on the 3D motion simulator Avatar: Flight of Passage which provides the experience of climbing upon the back of a mountain banshee for a breathtaking flight across the skies of Pandora. Walking through the queue, you participate in a detailed storyline communicated through videos and special effects. It is explained that the avatar program has been reestablished through the Pandora Conservation Initiative to assist with its environmental preservation research to counter the negative effects of the mining corporation from the movie. Through this program you will be able to link with an avatar and participate in the Na’vi’s tribal coming of age rite – riding a banshee.

 Slide onto a bicycle looking seating contraption and next thing you know it feels like you are actually flying on Avatar: Flight of Passage. Whoa! This ride provides an incredible roller coaster sensation complimented with impressive virtual reality imagery. It is like you are really flying through the skies of Pandora!

While walking about Pandora keep an eye out for the techy utility suits that will occasionally be spotted roaming about the area. These 10-foot-tall mechs are piloted by scientists from the Pandora Conservation Initiative to collect plant samples and explore the moon’s terrain. They will often stop to chat with Pandora visitors about their conservation efforts and share details about the moon’s habitat.

Pandora


A visit to Pandora at Walt Disney World Resort’s Animal Kingdom is an incredible opportunity to feel like you’ve stepped into the setting of a sci-fi movie. Real life landscaping and props united with entertaining rides provide a unique opportunity to go on an intergalactic voyage to explore a new extraterrestrial destination. Make sure to take a stroll through Pandora after dark to take in the bioluminescent plants that light up at night to really feel as if you’ve traveled to an out of this world jungle.

MISSION SPACE

Blast off into space in this astronaut training simulation. Choose from one of two missions to embark on, the mild Green: Earth Mission scenario or the more intense Orange: Mission to Mars adventure. If you have ever dreamed of traveling on a real spacecraft, don’t miss out on this experience at EPCOT.

The Mission Space simulation is achieved through a multiple-arm centrifuge that provides the illusion of acceleration by spinning and tilting sealed capsules during four-minute missions. The ride consists of four separate centrifuges that each have 10 capsules which can hold four riders per capsule. Each capsule has an interior replicating the cabin of a futuristic x-2 Deep Space Shuttle. A magnified display in front of each rider provides virtual reality images as if you were looking outside your spacecraft while in flight. There are also mock controls laid out in front of you to interact with during your mission.

Mission Space

Green Mission involves liftoff into outer space, an orbiting tour of the planet, and a descent back to Earth. As you are descending to the ground your shuttle encounters a thunderstorm which leads to each rider manually taking over control of the ship using a joystick to make a runway landing. The Green Mission’s capsules have light movement but don’t spin. If you are more interested in the imagery of space travel rather than participating in a realistic simulation of It then this is the mission for you.

Thrill seekers will want to jump onboard the Orange Mission. This includes liftoff from a launch pad, a slingshot around the moon for a gravity-assisted speed boost, and a descent on the Red Planet as you venture though space to Mars. Your capsule is spun and tilted around by the centrifuge it is attached to exposing riders to forces up to 2.5G, more than twice the force of gravity at the Earth’s surface, to recreate the sensation of hurtled into outer space as well as leaving the void to enter a planet’s atmosphere. Just in case of an emergency while the centrifuge is hurling you around each capsule comes equipped with a hurl bag to handle occurrences of motion sickness.

Mission Space

So, do you have the right stuff to take on Mission Space? If you’ve ever imagined being an astronaut here is your chance to try out the job through participating in a realistic simulation. Unfortunately, there is no weightless floating involved but other than that this about is as close as you can get to taking off into space. Come on you have to try this out because what sci-fi fan hasn’t dreamed of piloting a spaceship!

SCI-FI DINE-IN THEATER RESTAURANT

Themed after a 1950’s era drive-in movie theater this restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort’s Hollywood Studios theme park allows guests to sit in booths that replicate convertible cars from that time period. Watch classic black & white sci-fi and monster movies such as Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster and Space Invasion of the Saucer Men while eating from a menu that includes sloppy joes, St. Louis style BBQ ribs, milk shakes and hot fudge sundaes.

This indoor restaurant is even set in a dark room because you can’t watch a drive-in movie during the daytime, illuminated by the tail lights of the automo-booths and twinkling stars that decorate the ceiling along with the glow from the movie screen projection. Science Fiction fanatics will be delighted by the vibe of this place. Make reservations though as it is practically impossible to get placed in a car without one and it just isn’t the same to sit at the picnic tables set aside for walk ins at the back of the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant.

Sci Fi Diner


STAR WARS

Hollywood Studios is sure to be all a buzz when the brand-new Star Wars themed area that is opening in 2019. Visitors will be transported to a galaxy far, far away and have the opportunity to engage in their own Star Wars adventures through character encounters, amusement rides, and interactive elements incorporated into this fantasy setting. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will let people fly in the Millennium Falcon, join in on an epic battle aboard a Star Destroyer, and explore the planet of Batuu where rogue traders, adventurers and smugglers dwell. Die hard fans may be disappointed that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be set in a time of the First Order and Resistance versus the Empire and Rebels but nothingless this is a place where sci-fi lovers won’t want to miss exploring.

While waiting for this highly anticipated new addition to Walt Disney World Resort’s Hollywood Studios there are still some great Star Wars related things to do. Get a picture taken with some of your favorite Star Wars characters. Ride Star Tours, a digital 3D flight simulator that takes you on an adventure traveling to various locations from the Star Wars movies in a spaceship piloted by R2-D2 and C-3PO. This is one of the best rides at the Disney World theme parks in my opinion … I could ride it over and over again all day! Star Tours concludes the ride now by showing passengers a digital scene of them arriving at Black Spire Station, the setting on Batuu for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. There are also stormtrooper parades and an evening Star Wars themed laser light show to enjoy at Hollywood Studios.

Black Spire Station

Sunday, April 7, 2019

DADDY DAUGHTER CHICAGO ROAD TRIP

geek daddy
For some spring break fun and parental bonding time, I went on a daddy-daughter road trip to the Windy City.  We had a fantastic time exploring Chicago's Magnificent Mile, participating in a sleepover at Shedd Aquarium, and checking out the new Tyrannosaurs Rex exhibit space at the Field Museum. Our daddy-daughter outing was full of entertaining and educational activities, but it also was great family time spent together.


American Girl Place

My daughter has been asking for awhile now to visit this toy store and doll salon located in the Water Tower Mall situated along Michigan Avenue within Chicago's Magnificent Mile shopping district. So we made sure to stop by during our daddy daughter road trip to the Windy City. In addition to this store being full of American Girl items it also contains a salon that provides doll makeovers and a full service café.

We perused through aisles of doll displays. Both my daughter and I geeked out over the astronaut accessories and outfits available for American Girl dolls. With this gear a doll will be ready for a space adventure to Mars. It is nice to see a STEM focus with these toys!

American Girl Dolls


While at American Girl Place, I treated my daughter's favorite doll to a makeover. My mother-in-law had purchased this doll which she brought out whenever babysitting my kids to play with my daughter. My daughter inherited Nellie when her grandmother passed away last year and the doll received a new home moving in with us. With her grandma being the person who primarily watched my kids during their preschool years while my wife and I were at work, there are a lot of happy memories associated with this doll for my daughter.  She has a real connection with Nellie and it was nice we were able to incorporate her doll into our daddy-daughter outing to Chicago.

Doll Salon


At the American Girl Place Chicago salon, Nellie had some braids and ribbons added providing the doll with a brand new hairdo. My daughter also asked for some pig tails to be added too. The hair stylist not only did a nice job with the doll's hair but was also very friendly and conversational with my daughter during the makeover session. The doll also received a soft scrub to clean up and refresh its skin plus had some removable decals added to make it look like she had painted finger nails. You can also have the ears pierced but we declined doing that as to avoid damaging the doll's original appearance.

My daughter had a big smile on her face over Nellie's new appearance. She obviously loved the new hairdo! Nellie is a fine looking doll isn't she?

Doll makeovers


Asleep with the Fishes

After spending some time exploring the Magnificent Mile visiting American Girl Place along with the Art of Dr. Seuss Gallery, the LEGO and Disney stores, and Garrett Popcorn Shop, we headed down to the Chicago museum campus for a slumber party sleepover at Shedd Aquarium. Asleep with the Fishes lets families spend the night in the aquarium providing an exceptional viewing opportunity of the displays and fun activities. It is a great chance to have a wonderful experience at the aquarium without any crowds.

sleepover


Wow! We had some close up encounters with beluga whales, dolphins, sea lions and starfish. We also watched 4D movies in the aquarium's theater, searched through the various habitat galleries in a scavenger hunt, did some arts and crafts projects, and played around with virtual reality goggles. Plus there was a special late night dolphin show in the oceanarium just for attendees. My daughter had a delightful time at Asleep with the Fishes at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.

asleep with the fishes
sleep overnight

I have to say it was a rather nice experience falling asleep to the glow of the aquarium tanks watching exotic fish swimming around you. It would have been even nicer if the group sleeping next to us didn't snore. Alas that is the risk of participating in group events like this. Overall my daughter was thrilled by the experience and it made for a great father-daughter night out.

Asleep with the Fishes


Sue the T-Rex

Calling Chicago's Field Museum home, Sue is the nickname of the world's most complete and best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex fossilized body. It was named after Susan Hendrickson who discovered the fossils on August 12, 1990 at the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Sue has been one of the most popular attractions at the Field Museum since she was put on display near the first floor entrance of the building in 2000.

Chicago Field Museum


Sue was taken off exhibit in 2018 so that she could be provided her own display area near the dinosaur gallery on the museum's second floor. Sue has made a comeback in 2019! Her new 5,100 square foot display space includes animated high-definition videos of what Sue would have looked like alive on nine-foot tall panels behind the T-Rex's skeleton. The videos show scenes of Sue drinking from a stream, hunting Edmontosaurus and battling a Triceratops.

A laser-light enhanced audio/video presentation takes place periodically throughout the day in the gallery.  As details about portions of the dinosaur's skeleton are shared with the audience, specific fossil segments become illuminated. Facts are also projected upon the wall behind Sue's skeleton. It is a very impressive presentation which my daughter told me was her favorite thing we saw during our visit to the Field Museum.

Field Museum


So after a weekend of dinosaurs, dolphins and dolls it was time to head home. There is so much to see and do in Chicago we only scratched the surface of good times to be had there. Still it was a great trip and we made some wonderful memories during our excursion to Chicago.