Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Quick Trip to Charlotte NC

Before Christmas, Daddy made a quick work trip to Charlotte to speak to Discovery Place about a collaborative effort to install a permanent sustainable forestry exhibit with his nonprofit organization and Tree Charlotte to educate a more urban population about the benefits of sustainable forestry and urban forestry.  As a former forester for the state who worked that county, Eddie knows that there is a great need to reach people in large urban areas who don't understand the importance of forestry.  Eddie was able to plant more trees in the most urban area of our state than almost any other county in the state except for a few very rural areas in the eastern part of the state that have very large forest industry owned tracts of land like in Bertie County.  Forest industry is one of the major owners and managers of forested lands in the state with the biggest probably being Weyerhauser.  Anyway, Eddie hopes that he has opened the door for this important exhibit to come to fruition even though he will not be here to finish the job.  He has budgeted the funds to start the process, and the museum is excited to begin working on it.  They are already building a big new outdoor nature center at Freedom Park and want to immediately create something over there while working towards a more permanent exhibit at the main facility.  While Daddy was in this meeting, the boys and I got to explore Discovery Place again.  We have visited this educational museum several times over the years and saw several special exhibits there.  When Evan was a baby, we saw the cute Norman Rockwell exhibit.  A few years later, we went to see the awesome mummy exhibit with mummies from around the world.  This time, they were exhibiting a special Genghis Khan collection.  It was really fascinating.  I love when history comes to life at museums like this.

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The boys head off to explore the rainforest while Mattox gets to touch an alligator (or crocodile?) head. 

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We spotted Mr. Tank the tortoise in his home. 

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The boys loved the fish. 

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I think jellyfish always look so pretty in their tanks.  I got surprised by this turtle that was walking freely in the museum.  Glad I didn't step on him!  

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Brody enjoys the interactive globe while Grayson just watches it all.

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These sculptures were amazing.  They had a ton of these little wood building blocks you could use to build your own creation too.  Someone had built the big tower on the right. 

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Brody and Evan got a little too much enjoyment out of torturing one another on the bed of nails.  Haha! 

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Off to meet Genghis Khan and see the largest empire in the history of the world. 

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We loved learning about this fascinating character.  

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We saw a traditional nomadic dwelling that the Mongolian people would have lived in.  Brody traveled back in time to 1206 Mongolia. 

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The Mongols developed some pretty interesting weapons, including swords and even guns. 

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Evan loved that huge crossbow. 

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I loved the prettier artifacts like ancient Mongolian jewelry, pottery, and musical instruments. 

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These ancient memorial stones to some of the Khan family. 

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Ancient Mongolian clothes for men and women were still ornate much like their Chinese predecessors.  They even made ancient folding chairs look beautiful. 
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These sculptures of some of the Khan family were unique.  Khan's empire was divided by his four sons who continued to fight one another for control over the whole empire and eventually leading to the dissolution of the whole empire. 

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The boys and I all enjoyed a little trip to ancient Mongolia. 

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Very ornate sculptures representing family and deity of the Mongol people. 

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Of course, trade with the area became a very important part of world history as everyone wanted the beautiful and rich products of this region.  The pottery was definitely gorgeous, and we all still love our "china" today.  

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These festival masks were amazingly detailed and colorful. 

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Mattox and I enjoyed using the lift, and the boys wanted to take a final walk across this rope bridge. If I had one of those rope pulley lifts at home, I think I could really get into shape.  It was pretty hard work lifting myself at the moment.  Ha!

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After exploring Discovery Place, we all decided to hang out at our old favorite mall at Southpark before heading home.  The boys loved all the Christmas decor at this very upscale mall.  While very upscale with a Neiman Marcus and other expensive stores, this mall is fun and does have something for everyone.  Brody enjoyed the kissing booth from The Secret Life of Pets too.

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One of the things I was a little upset about is that sometime after we moved away, the mall added an awesome outdoor play space here.  They had never had a kids' play area at this mall, and we would have loved that.  It was too cold to use it that night.
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On the way home, we decided to stop and see the awesome Christmas lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord.  I am not a big racing fan so this is likely the only way I will visit the racetrack.  

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The display included some race car themed lights and some other random and fun ones like the whales.

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There was also a crab, Santa in a dune buggy with someone parasailing behind it, and Santa doing the limbo with hula girls. 

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Santa also went diving and rowing in a boat.

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But it was also nice to see the real reason for the season displayed.

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