This week Alex and Anna had a day off school and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get in some Holiday festivities without the crowds. Last year I took Anna and several of her friends to the Cincinnati Zoo's Festival of Lights. Granted is was like 4˚, the zoo was completely empty. We only stayed less than an hour but the girls ran through the park covering well over 1/2 of it.
This year, we continued the tradition and ventured Downtown to try out ice skating on Fountain Square. I was a pretty good roller skater as a kid and tried ice skating once and it was not my thing. I hate pain and being cold which pretty much sums up my ice skating experience. I had no idea how long the girls would last, but to my surprise they loved it! The atmosphere couldn't have been more perfect.
While the girls were skating, I checked out the horsedrawn carriage rides. I was seriously considering giving the girls a surprise. $35 gets you a 20-25 minute trot around the city. I was hoping I could maybe get them down a tad more, but by the time we finished skating, the carriages were gone. Fortunately I hadn't mentioned it to the girls, so no biggie.
I was saddened to learn that the Duke Energy train exhibit moved this year to Union Terminal. It was an extremely tight space and probably not the best for an office building entrance, but it was a fantastic tradition that drew families into Downtown. Now there is one less thing to do. And don't even get me started on Tower Place Mall. What was once a magical Christmas display complete with a Santa photo opportunity is now reduced to a pretty pathetic set of trees.
I so wish they would bring back the Santa's Workshop exhibit. I looked forward to going downtown with my Christmas list each year, going through the line to see my letter move from window display to window display all the way to the mail room. I think my favorite part was Mrs. Claus' kitchen and seeing the elves baking treats (go figure). That is a memory I would love to share with my kids.