Monday, July 25, 2011

Return of Wichita By E.B.: Exploration Place Reviewed

Welcome back to Wichita By E.B.

A lot has changed in the past month and a half since my last blog. I have received many e-mails and questions about what happened to the blog and if it was gone. It was nice to receive the outpouring of support, knowing there are some of you out there crazy enough to waste your time reading a blog from a guy who doesn't proofread his entries. Still working on the site design and considering moving to Wordpress, that will be decided later.

Well I am back and ready to continue bringing you the goodness that is Wichita. The format has changed as will the restaurants. I'll now be blogging all restaurants with a different guest eater each time I go out. I have a nice little lineup of people who will be joining me on my different ventures out into the food world. A few of the letters in the future have been reserved from different friends who will be joining me in "Dining by the Alphabet" which also makes its return this week.

I've taken notes of different blog ideas, stories and ideas to write about over the hiatus. So you can be on the lookout for all sorts of new blogs in the near future.

With that said, I bring you to the review of Exploration Place.

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I had a hot date Sunday night. When I say hot, I am totally referring to the weather and the date was with my two five year old nieces and my three year old nephew. I wanted to take them out to do something fun, make sure they still see me as the coolest person they know, and check out something I haven't been to in some time. It was way too hot outside to go miniature golfing, a park or even the zoo. So Exploration Place was the final decision.

http://www.exploration.org/index.php
300 N. McLean Blvd.
Wichita, Kansas 67203
Phone: 316-660-0600
Fax: 316-660-0670

If you want me to do a food review on where we went beforehand for lunch, I can. They chose McDonald's. Total gut bomb! They wanted McNuggets. So they split a 20 pcs nuggets and more fries than I could imagine. I'm not a fan of McDonald's so I went with two McChickens and some fries. I only finished one McChicken and was going to toss the second away. Of course if you have something wrapped up, kids are going to ask what it is. I told them, "It's a McChicken, I doubt you guys will like it." I was right. After splitting my second McChicken three ways, they ate just the bread. So after one entire cup of water spilled on the ground, ketchup spill on one t-shirt, a creepy old man staring at us from the corner, and four soon to be stomach aches later, we were on our way to (Eddy in the car: "Where we going guys?") EXPLOWATION PWACE!!!!!!

We arrive, lots of cars out on a Sunday afternoon....as expected. Lots of moms and babysitters with their kids. Maybe this wasn't such a bad idea! We go to the guest counter and pay for our tickets. I had one Buy One Get One Free, so the total price for us for ended up being $16.00. Not too bad. On to the exhibits!

(Unfortunately I did not get any exclusive pictures of the exhibits by themselves. They were all with my nieces and nephew in them and just didn't feel like posting their pics on here).

As we walked down the corridor, they have these little CSI: Crime Scene Investigation displays. Each was about the size of a larger shoebox. In many of them, the kids were like "Look Eddy! It’s so small. There's a guy sleeping there too!" Not wanting to break the bad news to them I would reply, "Um.....yeah he sure is sleeping. And what do you know! He has ketchup on his shirt just like you!"

The kids have been to EP more times than I have so they knew what they wanted to see and do. Their first choice "Exploring Flight and Design". It celebrates the world of aviation. They ran right to the flight simulators. We waited in line and they took turns hopping in and pretending to be a pilot. With me as their passenger, my life was doomed the moment I stepped in. We crashed and burned 6 times.

Next up was a little flight simulation on the Wright Brothers first plane. They tried to fly that as well. Result? Just the same, outside of the burn. They crashed and crumbled 6 times.

They had all sorts of brain teasers and mind games you could try out like stacking blocks into a box to make a square, putting these golf balls in a shape to form a pyramid, using sticks to make the Letter T. Our success was the same as the flight simulator.

Next up was a paper airplane exhibit. I'm not sure what happened between 1986 and 2011 but my ability to make a decent flying paper airplane has greatly diminished. Imagine a paper airplane shaped like an octopus. Can't? Neither can I but I somehow managed to build one. The physics of it all would tell you that it won't fly well in the air either. Physics are right for a reason.

Soon after, the kids kept talking about seeing the little town. They were referring to the Kansas in Miniature Exhibit which is like a miniature representation of Kansas in the 1950's. All three of them were mesmerized by the train that would come around every couple minutes. They would sit there like zombies; stone-faced........two minutes come by. "THERE IT IS! THERE IT IS!". Then the seconds of excitement would die down while they await the return of the train. Seriously if you're a parent, invest in a train set where the train comes by every hour. This would give you approximately 58 minutes of downtime to do what you wish while your child sits there in anticipation of the train coming. Come back for two minutes to cheer on with your child, "THERE IT IS! THERE IT IS!.....THERE IT GOES! THERE IT GOES!"

After the Miniature exhibit, we came across a little bee display. Walked up to hit, saw no honey and no bees. Walked on the other side, saw one bee. I felt kind of bad for the bee. He or she looked really lonely and lost on what it was doing. It looked really bee-serted!!! (insert silence) Moving on.....

Our next stop was "Kid's Explore". It allows you to travel to the days of knights in shining armor, towering stone castles, and more in a three-story medieval kid’s castle. The most time was easily spent here just riding the fake horses, putting on medieval clothes and running around the castle. Nothing says fun like roaming a castle with thirty kids running frantically, bumping into you left and right. There's this little crawl space you can go into to enter a random hallway. After some "peer pressure", I gave it a try and a seven year old about took my head off when I looked inside. Just going from one end of the hallway to the other was similar to a game of Frogger. Luckily I made it to the other end alive.

Our last stop was "Exploring Our Home". This exhibit explores Kansas, its people, places and environment. There were all sorts of little creatures like snakes, spiders and lizards on display. You could see how a tornado is formed. There was also an exhibit where you could step inside and experience what an EF1 twister felt like (that's about 79 miles per hour). It’s free to step in and there are a lot of kids who love to step inside. Side note: some parents really need to teach their kids some manners and not cut in front or open up the exhibit door when somebody is currently inside. It was somewhat annoying having other kids get in our way. I had no idea so I tried to give them the same look my mom would give me when I got in trouble. The look! The kids would just look at me like some weirdo and go about their business. Lesson learned: I do not have "The Look" perfected yet and probably never will.

About three hours later, I was exhausted. I have to give credit to all parents out there. I spent three hours and was drained. Multiply that times 8 for a full day and I might have died of exhaustion. "Sunday Fun Day" with the kids turned out to "Sunday Birth Control" for me. I love them to death but man that's a lot of energy keeping track of three kids by yourself!

Exploration Place was good times, affordable and the kids seemed to enjoy it. On the car ride home, I looked back and asked, "Did you guys enjoy it?"

The response I received ("zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"). They were all out.

Could this be a place you go to a lot? Probably not. The main portion of EP doesn't change too much. They have other attractions that cost a little extra but I've never tried it. EP is also used for other events. I believe "Death by Chocolate" took place here as do weddings. I was even in a wedding at Exploration Place last summer.

If you haven't been, I suggest its something everybody should go to at least once. If you have kids, they should love this place. There's a little bit of something there or everyone.

So that's Exploration Place for you all.

Be on the look out for the next blog coming up which in all likelihood will be "Dining by the Alphabet: Letter J" followed by an “AppeTuesdays” blog. I have some major catching up to do so I hope you're all ready to read!

Feel free to leave a comment. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

Happy Dining.

2 comments:

Chrstina Bluml said...

E.B: we're glad you enjoyed Exploration Place! We hope you have recovered. Just to let you know the dome theater does not cost extra -- yeah! You can see a dome show for $5 per person and you do not have to pay the regular museum admission (if you don't want to see the exhibits). We hope that you come back and see a show. Also, we have renovated our castle area so be sure and check that out. You may also want to know that planning is in the works for a renovated flight area and for our preschool gallery (Tots' Spot). Come see us over the holidays!! Lots of fun demos going on each day. Thanks for visiting.

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