A Grand Day Out With Liam

Yesterday was the second of the days this summer I took off to spend with one of our kids. Liam and I, after some deliberation, decided on a visit to San Antonio. (The other contender was to take Amtrak up to Austin and spend the day visiting Barton Springs, Peter Pan Mini Golf, and an Alamo Drafthouse theater, all of which are within walking distance of the station.) We started off at the Witte Museum, a fantastic, hands-on, kid-friendly place to which Liam has been keen to make a return visit. It featured an exhibit on Leonardo da Vinci with functioning models of many of his mechanical innovations which were great fun to pump, crank, and climb on. Those that particularly caught my eye were a bridge that could be assembled without any nails or other fasteners, an elaborate wood cutting apparatus, and an early military tank. We also bumped into and had a nice chat with Becky, my brother’s delightful bride, who has been volunteering there at the museum for a couple of months and enjoying it a great deal. The Science Treehouse portion of the museum is also a great favorite, as there are lots of cool things to fool with there, several of which, like the pneumatic rockets and air cannon, mirrored some of the things Jason Young and I have built together.

After a lunch at IHOP, we buzzed back up the highway a bit to Splashtown, a San Antonio water park that has been around since I was young. We flitted from one thing to another, enjoying the short lines brought on by a combination of an overcast, threatening sky and the fact that it was the middle of the week. Since nearly all the rides require you to climb to the tops of towers to launch yourself headlong down the chutes, I ended up climbing the equivalent of a 35 story building over the course of the day, and Liam did around 60. Unsurprisingly, I was terrifically sore the next day. (And the next. And the one after that.) Though he never worked up to the biggest slide at the park, an orange monstrosity we used to call “The Wedgie”, Liam grew increasingly bold over the course of the afternoon, finally settling in to some fairly significant tube chutes with lots of twists and turns (that dumped him out of his tube as often as not) as his favorite thing of the afternoon.

It was a fine day out and, as always, I was glad to seize some extra time with one of the kiddos.