Day 43: Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul.
The campground is starting to fill up a bit as today is Friday and we are no longer the only people in our loop. The weather here has been great although it can change at the drop of a hat. We are here for another couple more days and we still need to try to squeeze lots of visits in before we leave. Today, we have some housekeeping to do as well as some sightseeing so we got to it bright and early. At our pace, that is around 11am.
First thing we did in the morning is to take care of the excessive wear issue on those front shoulders of the tires that got rotated yesterday at Costco. The recommendation was to have the alignment checked and also the suspension components checked to make sure everything was safe and tight. As tourists, we often rely on a lot of the national chains to get predictable service. This time I called up Midas for an appointment to do the work.
I dropped off the van at Midas in Burnsville, MN and we walked across the street to have lunch while we waited for them to troubleshoot the problem. In under an hour, we had our diagnosis. Everything in the suspension is good and tight which is great news. That would have cost a lot of money if we started replacing parts in there. The alignment is a slow drift to the left but since we are towing, it is difficult to figure out how to adjust the steering so it will work properly under load. They tried switching the 2 front tires and it seemed to have partially alleviated the drift. Their suggestion was to drive it for couple of hundred miles while towing and see how the steering felt and how the tires are wearing. If it needs more work, take it to the shop at our next city to get the work down.
I thought it was a prudent plan and to my surprise, they declined my offer to pay them for the half hour of labor that was put into the van. This would have never happen in southern California where customer service is dead and everyone is only looking to rip someone else off.
Our main item on the agenda for the day is to visit the Minnesota Children’s Museum in Saint Paul. We have heard lots of good things about it and since the girls haven’t been to one since we were in Denver, they were really excited too.
We caught the final week of the Curious George exhibit at the museum that has been running for the summer. This children’s museum is huge. It has 5 floors of exhibits although some areas are for museum members only.
Not only are the exhibits fun for the kids, they were educational for adults as well. There are various historical Curious George artifacts there explaining the origin of the monkey and the man in the yellow hat.
The story was created by a Jewish German couple named Hans and Margret Rey while living in Paris in the 1930s. Hans’ illustrations had impressed a Parisian publisher and he was asked to write a children’s book that features monkeys. One of the monkeys eventually became Curious George. His wife Margret is credited for the writing and Hans was credited for the illustrations.
In 1940, as Nazi Germany invaded France, Hans and Margret were granted life-saving visas to flee Paris and they did carrying the manuscript of the original Curious George book on bicycles. Within hours of the Reys leaving Paris, it fell into the hands of the Germans.
Ava and Mila are thrilled to be hanging at a children’s museum. Most of all, they are thrilled to be playing with their new friend Cleo again.
When Mila was just 1, the Curious George movie was her absolute favorite movie to watch. She must have seen it over 100 times. You’d think she would be burnt out of this little monkey but there is just something about him that keeps her coming back.
While we were there, they participated in a little children’s ho-down complete with hats and horses.
Learned how to make paper from recycled newspaper.
Even learned how to operate a crane at this mini construction site.
Let’s see Ava, maybe you have the chops to become a longshore woman in San Pedro when you grow up.
True to form, this longshoring gig even comes with union mandated cigarette breaks.
Like the one in Denver, this one also has a wildlife themed exhibit for the kids to play in.
Up on the 5th floor, you can control the storm clouds that hover over the wildlife area and create a little thunderstorm over the lake if that is your thing.
Hide in your shell, Turtle Ava! The storm in coming!!!
On the other end of the 4th floor, there is even an outdoor area with this really cool playhouse made of drift wood. I don’t think this place would be very suitable for living during the harsh winters of Saint Paul.
Our day at the children’s museum sure built up quite the appetite for our girls and they were ready for some Thai noodles.
over and out,
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