Thursday, October 22, 2009

The USS Lexington

While we didn't have a chance to go tour replicas of Columbus' ships, we did spend a day (or as much of a day as one could expect with an 18 month old) aboard the USS Lexington, a WWII era aircraft carrier which has been converted into a museum.

Zack was extremely excited about seeing the ship. We had really talked it up - partly because we wanted him to enjoy it but partly out of concern that he would freak out about being on a ship. You see, lately he has a lot of fears about things being unsteady. He has never liked any feeling of instability, even as a young toddler - although he would happily climb higher than my head, he would freak out if he was turned upside down. More recently, he's refused to get in a canoe and been afraid his ceiling fan would fall on him. He even asked that we take things downstairs because he thought they were too heavy for upstairs and would cause our house to collapse (not sure what's up with that one). Then, after we read some stories and information about the Titanic, I was just sure it was going to cause our planned Lexington trip to fail. I had this vision of him crying and refusing to go on board (right after we bought the tickets, no doubt) for fear it wasn't "stable". Hence all the talking up of the Lexington. When he talked to his grandmother about the Titanic and the Lexington in the same conversation, I was standing behind him saying, "And wasn't it very safe and very stable on the Lexington, Grandma?" while nodding vigorously out of his view to indicate she should say it was. I guess it worked because he was thrilled with the whole experience.

It's interesting how steep some of the stairs and low some of the ceilings are! But most of the fun was to be had above the hangar deck - the main deck where most of the "museum-y" stuff is - on the flight deck - the top of the ship where planes take off and land. It was a windy day and the winds on the flight deck felt like it might just knock us over. The kids love wind, so they were in heaven running around. They also loved looking around at the planes and trying the simulators - the ship held 200 planes when it was in service! We loved climbing up to the bridge with all its buttons and dials and big wheels, and also seeing the mechanism that catches the planes. The historical information on the ship's namesake and WWII service was spread out through the lower decks and gave a lot of interesting stories about that time, the ship and related vessels. James and I liked the history, but Zack of course breezed by most of it. In every area, he was ready to move on before everyone else, then me (because I'm not as much of a museum-sign-reader as someone else in my family), and then James at the end, craning his neck to read every word before he had to leave one room for the next one. By the time Sammy had enough of everything, we made it through the whole ship. It was a great experience and one we'll want to do again when the kids are older.

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