The Garsides took a small vacation this week, travelling to Niagra Falls to visit Marineland and check out the majesty of one of the 7 hidden wonders of the world. Of course travelling with a little person presents a whole series of challenges that we've never dealt with before, and have made us reconsider a big trip to Florida this year.

We went to Marineland in Niagra Falls on Thursday. It's $40.00 per person, and not really worth it. The signage is spectacularly poor, the “shows” are pathetic at best, and the place is so stuck in 1978 that it's not funny. This is the perfect example of a place that doesn't know what it wants to be, has all kinds of extra space, and doesn't know what to do with it.

Marineland is spread out over what seems like 100 acres, and you go literally 5 minutes at a time without knowing if you're going in the right direction to what you want to see, and then when you get there you're usually underwhelmed with the sparseness of the exhibit. The deer are in this huge enclosure with just a few trees off to the sides. The Killer Whale and Beluga exhibits have no shaded area to relax in, other than going to the underground area.

With that said, the Belugas were cool, and we were really close to them. Kaylin went and petted a couple of deer, and we got really close to Killer Whales, which were really neat.

Of course the “best” part of the afternoon came when we went to get lunch. They had this great looking 1/4 roast chicken breast special for $10.00 (1/4 chicken and fries), I got one of those and a chicken fingers deal for Char, figuring Kaylin would eat some of my chicken breast (and probably a few fries as well). We went outside because the restaraunt was unbearably hot. I put my tray down, and a seagull swooped in and knocked my chicken breast to the ground where 20 seagulls swarmed immediately devouring the breast. It took all of my willpower not to kick the moving mass with all my might…but I managed not to do it (which likely would have got me thrown in jail for cruelty to dumb-assed birds). Instead I had a piece of pizza and the fries. Those bitter, bitter fries which tasted like losing.

Kaylin fell asleep before we could get back to our hotel, and was out like a light before 6pm. We had to order take-out, and ate in our room while our poor exhausted mouse slept.

Friday we went down to Clifton Hill with the intent of going to the Aviary, but again the mouse had other things to say. We took her to the falls, but the majesty was lost on her. She really enjoyed the secret garden, and ran around climbing stairs chattering the whole time. We corralled her and went up Clifton Hill where she saw the Marvel Super-Hero place, and checked out a shark and snake at the Rainforest Cafe. By 11 she was exhausted, and was pretty much out of it by 11:30, she was out of it. We got her into the car by noon and started the drive back home.

She really was great the whole time, she was in a good mood the whole time, and didn't complain about anything other than not wanting to sleep yesterday for nap. She was even good in our hotel room, and wasn't too badly disoriented when she awoke in a strange room in the middle of the night.

She's definately too little to enjoy a place like Marineland, I think she probably gets as much fun out of Storybook Gardens as she did from Marineland, and Florida would be lost on her at this age. Juggling her schedule is pretty tough at this point as the 2 hour mid-morning/afternoon nap really bisects your day.