Sea Life Aquarium- Grapevine

I’m continuing on with our Dallas/Grapevine trip today. One of the other places we went to was the Sea Life Aquarium in Grapevine Mills. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from an aquarium that is inside of a mall but I figured since the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in the mall was fun then the aquarium might be too.

I bought the tickets online and I also purchased guide books for the boys. There was no lines when we got there so we were able to go in right away.

This is the first room you enter.

This is the first room you enter.

You might not be able to tell from my pictures but the aquarium is set up in a really fun way. I really enjoyed the decorations both in and out of the tank. I also really like that they had a quiz trail. The boys each got a paper for the quiz trail. It was numbered and besides each number they had to scratch out the color of the correct answer for that question. Once they turned it in at the gift shop the received medals.

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The boys loved these little bubble windows.

The boys loved these little bubble windows.

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The aquarium also had an area that had a few interactive screens. You can pick a shark to learn more about and then you can rotate it so that you can take a look all around it. There was also a game that went along with it but I have to say that I really don’t remember what it was.

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There was also a playground at the very end.

There was also a playground at the very end.

So that was our trip to the Sea Life Aquarium. The Aquarium isn’t huge but it’s a good size and it’s nicely done. They have a lot of interactive elements that make it both fun and educational.

Grapevine Vintage Railroad & Fort Worth Stockyards

Last month we went on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad in Grapevine Texas. The railroad takes you to the Fort Worth Stockyards and then back again. The ride is about an hour and a half each way and you stay at the Stockyards for about an hour and a half as well.

We got to the depot a little bit before it started boarding, just long enough to take a few pictures.

I took a picture of the Grapevine clock tower from the depot.

I took a picture of the Grapevine clock tower from the depot.

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Once we boarded the train we still had a thirty minute wait before it departed. I bought first class tickets so we sat in one of the air-conditioned cars. There are also touring class tickets and those are for the open air cars.

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A beverage and snack service was started right away once the train departed. They had popcorn, chips, candy, soda, and water available. The website also says that there are hot dogs and nachos available but they did not have those when we went.

On the way to the Stockyards there is a train robbery and robbers stop the train and come on board. They had some stickers or something but they just give them to the person at the end of the car and ask them to pass them around. The website also says that they are happy to pose for pictures however they go through so quickly that you don’t even have time ask. These are the picture I was able to get:

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Once the train robbery was over we moved on we continued on and then stopped when we were almost at the Stockyards because we had wait for another train to pass by.

This is the view when we stopped.  We actually also were stopped here on the way back as well.

This is the view when we stopped. We actually also were stopped here on the way back as well.

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Once we were at the Stockyards we decided to find somewhere to eat since all we had was a snack on the train. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from but they all had too long of wait.

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The boys were tired and did not want to walk.

The boys were tired and did not want to walk.

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We tried several restaurants before we finally found one that had no wait. It was The Star Café. We ordered a grilled cheese, a burger, and some chili. The food was good, I have no complaints. Connor was excited because he got to have a bottle of root beer.

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Once were done eating we looked quickly around some of the shops, watched the cattle drive, and then boarded the train to go back.

This was after we ate; the boys were happier.

This was after we ate; the boys were happier.

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The ride back seemed shorter but it wasn’t. They did have us playing a game though. We had to pretend to blow the train’s whistle every time we went through an intersection.

The train ride was nice. I really enjoyed it and so did JT. Connor liked it but he thought it was a little long. He was happy with his snacks though.

Lil’ Engineer Kit

In June we’ll be going on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. When I purchased the tickets I also got two little engineer kits for the boys and we received them on Friday. I wasn’t actually expecting them to mailed to us, I just assumed we would get them when we got there.

According to the website the conductor will stop for pictures if they see a kid wearing the lil’ engineer kit. I asked the boys if they wanted them before I ordered and JT did but Connor wasn’t sure however they were both excited when we got them and put them on right away.

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The kits are pretty nice and you can order a boy or girl version. The kit has a hat, bandana, whistle and a button. Everything but the bandana has the Grapevine Vintage Railroad logo on it so they make good souvenirs.

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I’m glad I got these for the boys. They had fun with them and now they are all ready for the train in June.

Legoland Discovery Center Grapevine

In June we went to the Legoland Discovery Center at Grapevine Mills Mall and I was really impressed with it. It was a lot better then I expected it to be. The only complaint I have is the time it took us to get in.

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I purchased tickets online and when you get your tickets that way you make a reservation and pick the time you want to arrive. I made the reservation for right when they opened between 10 and 10:30am, you can arrive anytime within your reserved time and you are supposed to be able to get in but if you get there later you aren’t guaranteed entry. When we got there a little before 10 there was a line…actually there were 3 lines…one was for those who made reservations online, the other was for walk-ups, and the other line was a school group. They said that the school group had priority so they had to get all of them in first. They can only take in so many people at a time because there is a limit to how many people can go in the first area. Once they finished getting the school in they started letting the other 2 lines in but they took in a few walk-ins and a few who had made reservations so we didn’t get in until sometime after 10:30. The thing that bothers me about this though is that we would have gotten in faster if we had been in the walk-up line. I think that they should have made sure they got those with reservations in at their time and then done walk-ups because there was really no advantage to making a reservation. Maybe had the school group not been there though it would have been different.

Once we got in we had to wait to be let into The Factory.

In case you can't tell, the boy is made of legos.

In case you can’t tell, the boy is made of legos.

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Once the doors to The Factory opened we were welcomed by Dr. Brick-A-Brack to the Lego Factory Tour. He needed some help making some legos so he picked some people from the audience and Connor was one of them. He got to spin one of the wheels.

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After that we were all given a little yellow lego to take home. I had also purchased activity kits for the boys and there are 2 pages where you put a stamp next to everything you did so the stamp was right by where we exited. After leaving The Factory you go right to the Kingdom Quest ride. This was fun, it was one of those rides where you get a laser gun and you shoot the targets. I couldn’t take any pictures though and just a tip don’t shoot the dragon.

Once you exit the Kingdom Quest ride you can do everything else in whatever order you’d like. The first thing the boys did was the earthquake thing, you try to build a tower and then turn on the earthquake and see if it survives.

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After that we went into Miniland. Miniland has a different Dallas/Ft. Worth area attractions/buildings (Cowboys Stadium, Southfork, the Texas Star Ferris Wheel, the Ft. Worth Stockyards, etc) made out of legos and there is also a scavenger hunt.

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Right outside of Miniland they have this little Star Wars display.

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After we were done in Miniland the boys wanted to play in the Lego City Fire Academy.

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Once they were done playing in the Fire Academy we went to watch Legends of Chima in 4D. I have to say that this was great, it was the best 3D I’ve ever seen. I’ve always enjoyed 4D stuff at like Disney World and stuff but the quality of the 3D has never been great. I haven’t seen anything in 3D at the movie theaters but I loved this so maybe the movies at the theater are the same now too but I probably still wouldn’t go watch them because the 4D part is what makes it fun and I don’t think I want to wear glasses for that long of a time.

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Next we moved on to the Forest Ranger Pursuit. This is a ride but it’s just for kids. You have to be under a certain height to ride and there were a couple of kids trying to get on the ride but they were too tall. One girl actually managed to get on because she was not standing up straight. They have the kids line up against a wall that has a big line on it and if they are over the line they can’t ride. The girl was kind of leaning back to wear she was just at the line, I noticed this but I guess they didn’t. Another little boy in the group that was too tall was upset because he wasn’t able to ride but they let the girl ride and he said she was taller than him. Anyways, the kids each get in their own vehicle and drive around. The story is that there are some burglars that they are supposed to be capturing.

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JT loved this ride. He was the smallest one and he kept getting stuck but he was so happy and smiley the whole time.

At this point I think that we went to the cafe and got a snack and then after that we went on Merlin’s Apprentice. Merlin’s Apprentice is one of those rides that just goes around but then you can make it go higher or stay low…like the Dumbo ride…in this case though the faster you pedal the higher you go.

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The last thing we did was the Lego Racers Build & Test. You build your car out of Legos and then race them down then slope.

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There is also a Princess thing for girls and a little Lego Duplo Playground for little kids and the boys just got their stamps from these two and then we of course had to go to the gift shop.

We had a lot of fun at the Legoland Discovery Center and like I said at the beginning I was impressed. I wasn’t expecting much because it is inside a mall but there is actually a lot of stuff to do. We really enjoyed it.

MagiQuest

I’m finally getting back to finishing up my posts on Grapevine/Dallas. After eating lunch at the Rainforest Cafe in Grapevine Mills Mall we went to the Great Wolf Lodge for MagiQuest. I had been wanting to do MagiQuest for a few years since I first found out about it and this time we were finally able to do it.

There are two types of realms for MagiQuest. There are the Kingdom Realms and then the locations within the Great Wolf Lodge which are Forest Realms. The first time you play you have to purchase a wand which will save all of your information so that you can use the wand over and over and continue your game. You also purchase play time. We got a package that came with a wand, play time (4 days), and a MagiBelt to hold the wand. The boys also got toppers for their wands but I don’t remember if those were included in the package or they bought them separately. Both boys picked Dragon Wands and Connor picked a Dragon topper and JT picked a Unicorn horn topper.

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You also receive a Book of Wisdom which tells you everything you need to know to complete your quests. To start the game you take your wand to one of the trees…I know the tree has a name but I can’t think of it. You wave your wand at the tree and then choose which quest you want to do, some quests will require that you complete others first or have a certain amount of gold or some other requirement.

Sorry, not a good picture.

Sorry, not a good picture.

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Once you go to the tree to start your quest you read what it says in your Book of Wisdom and follow the clues. I wish I had it in front of me right now so that I could give a better example but it will say things like take the Hidden Stairs up 3 flights to the Icicle Frost or in the Whispering Woods dwells the wise one (except it actually rhymes). Once you figure out where you need to go the item that you need to find can be hidden in a picture or it can be an actual physical item like a treasure chest or a statue. You can also just point your wand at various things like the treasure chests and lights to earn gold.

Some things like the statue will also talk to you and tell you what to do next.

Some things like the statue will also talk to you and tell you what to do next.

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We had a lot of fun at MagiQuest. The boys can’t wait to go back.