Our Fourth was Awesome!
It started out like this for me =)
Red, White and Blueberries
At 9 am, we hit the road for the 100 mile drive to Elk City Lake State Park! Boy, was it worth the drive!
Our first patriotic family picture of the day
(Thanks, Mom E for the kid's shirts!)
The lake was Huge! It was hard to believe we were still in Kansas!
We drove on this road across the top of the huge dam
At the beginning of our hike
Check out this elevation!
Just us girls =)
The point where the hike got REAL! =) This is actually the way the path went
It was SUCH a gorgeous trail and the climbing and ups and downs were soo much fun!
Our little mountain goat
Love this one
Caleb chillin' during our snack break
Thanks for the photo, Keenan!
Our little poser
The kids and I in the narrowest part of the trail - wow!
I love this man!
Of course, we had to find a geocache while we were out there
Seriously? Kansas?? This so reminds me of Michigan
(It's only the 15th largest lake in Kansas!)
After our hike, we had lunch and then headed down to the bottom of the dam to see the crazy water flow...
It was actually rather terrifying to watch. 3,000 cubic feet of water was coming out per second!
It was soo crazy down there and huge splashes would come up over this wall!
Next, we drove into the town of Independence (the Perfect place to be on the Fourth of July, no?) to Riverside Park where they had all sorts of cool stuff including a free zoo, a great playground, pretty gardens, a carousel, miniature train, etc..
I didn't take very many pictures at the zoo because it was hard to get good pictures through the cages. They had deer, bison, macaws, several types of monkeys, snakes, a bear, a cougar, a donkey, tortoises, wallabees, emu to name a few...
These guys were on "monkey island" (apparently they don't like water, because it was a very effective enclosure)
Not sure what he is
The raccoons were super cute - Moriah could have watched them all day!
Gorgeous Bald Eagle
They had a totally retro play area with all different animals and nursery rhyme characters...
Riding bear back
Caleb in the web beside Little Miss Muffet
This fountain was pretty awesome
Cutie on a Colt
The kids loved the giant playground...
Riah on the climbing nets
Caleb on one of the super steep, super retro (super dangerous) slides =)
Keenan and Moriah getting ready to race (I think Moriah got a head start)
The carousel was adorable (and cost only a nickel!)
There was also this cool, old steam engine:
Daddy photo bomber!
Thanks again, Keenan!
...and a smooch to wrap up our time in Independence...
The kids and I slept on the way home, and then we stopped at several different fireworks tents to buy some stuff, but ended up at a HUGE one (seriously, it was like a fireworks Mall inside), where I guess we'll go first next year!
Wichita is soo much fun around the fourth (I say "around", because they set off fireworks for a couple days before And after the fourth). We could just sit in our driveway and see several hours worth of (really good!) fireworks, going off all around our house!
Not a bad view across the street from our house
Getting out our stash
Philip did a great job, doing our own little show in the driveway.
The colors here are super weird! =)
Another shot across the street
The fireworks were still going off in our neighborhood at midnight when Philip came to bed... but we were all so tired, it didn't even really bother us.