Lifebook 8 | Cosmos, Caverns, Lasers and Karts, Oh My!


#ruckology #lifebook Time spent inside the Earth after time spent studying above and beyond it.

So last weekend was a kind of a mini-family vacation with less mileage than the previous two summers when we went to stay in Wisconsin (last year) and Tennessee (2014). This year we kept the travel around three hours of one-way drive time, staying in our native Indiana and and barely crossing the liquid border of the Ohio River into the northern tip of Kentucky.

Friday, July 22nd – Charles W. Brown Planetarium, Ball State University, Muncie, IN

BlackholesWormholesPoster_SP2016We kicked off with rest and relaxation at home. Kids slept in until noonish. The entire region, if not the whole continental U.S. was under the scourge of a heatwave. If you’ve ever been in the MidWest in the dead of summer, then I don’t have to tell you about the severe humidity. So the braniac idea of going to a planetarium hit me during my activity search for some free, air-conditioned fun. Plus, it’s educational (gotta educate the kids, right?). The feature was called Black Holes, Wormholes and the Movies, pitting scientific fact against how those things are portrayed in Hollywood.

Afterward we dined at Mo’s Irish Pub, which had a rock band playing, which inspired my youngest daughter to demand to hear my music (my band’s and my solo stuff) and insist that she and I start a daddy-daughter band with her singing (she’ll be learning cello this year at school). She’s a bit of a diva, so surely this project will turn out disastrous.

Saturday, Part 1 – Indiana Caverns, Corydon, IN

IMG_0695The next day we trekked to southern Indiana to embark on some subterranean adventures. First stop was a tour of Indiana’s longest natural cavern which is part of the Binkley Caves System. Per the IC’s company website: The Binkley Cave System became the 11th longest in the nation and the longest in Indiana. Their combined length totaled 35.89 miles with more passageways awaiting discovery. The impact of this discovery was huge. A public entrance to Binkley Cave could now be created to allow visitors into the cave system. Previously all entrances were located on private property with restricted access. As of July 2014 the cave is over 40 miles long. On the tour, which begins with a very steep walk down its entrance and then down several flights of stairs to more than 100 feet underground, features a look at Ice Age animal bones, stalagmites and stalactites Part of the tour includes a 25-minute or so boat ride upon the cave’s. Our tour guide was very informative and had a bit of a wry sense of humor.

Saturday, Part 2 – Louisville Mega Cavern, Louisville, KY

Our next underground stop was a short trek away to Louisville, an ancestral place for me as my paternal grandfather lived there. We arrived at the Mega Cavern with the intent to embark on the Mega Tram ride. As their website says, “The Historic Tram Tour will take you on an underground adventure rich in history, geology, mining, recycling, green building technology, and just simply HUGE in scale!

The man-made cavern spans under a number of roadways above and is part of 17 miles of corridors located beneath the city of Louisville, Kentucky. It’s a great tour for all ages—whether you want to learn about science and history or simply want to see what a giant man-made cavern of this magnitude looks like!

nav-tram-activeYou’ll hop on an SUV-pulled tram and be joined by a MEGA Cavern expert who will guide you on your underground adventure. It’s a 60-70 minute tour, strategically lit to enjoy highlights such as:

Some Early Cavern Formations

A Historic Replica of the Cuban Missile Fallout Bunker

A Worm Recycling/Tasting Room

Sights and Facts of the Early Mining Operation

Hear About our Storm Dog and Pigeon Eating Hawk

And More Surprises Wait Around Every Corner!”

It was a little chilly at about 58 degrees when the tram was moving, but not unbearable so long as you have your family to snuggle with. Our tour guide, Lindsay was very entertaining. She had a sense of humor that was similar to Amy Schumer’s but without the raunchiness obviously. It was amazing to see the sheer scale of this cavern while also trying to reconcile all the historical details about it in your mind as you listened to the stories. It was a really fun experience that the four of us truly enjoyed.

You could say everything was about scale in a way – the biggest planetarium and the longest cave in Indiana, and the hugest limestone cavern in Kentucky.

Saturday, Part 3 – Renaissance Fun Park, Louiseville, KY

Renaissance Fun ParkOur final fun stop was arguably the most fun. Go-Kart Racing and Laser Tag. Our teenager grumbled about the go-karts beforehand, but she probably had the most fun since she was the one saying let’s do it again. My second kart wasn’t as fast as my first one. And Laser Tag was quite competitive and rewarding, though I can’t remember who won, I just know that I finished near the top in scoring on my team.

So, not quite the kind of vacation we’ve taken the previous two years (bonus points for sleeping in our own beds without the potential of bedbugs), but all in all it was a fun weekend.

On the #ruckology menu this week: Thinkbook (Sunday), Workbook (Monday), The Evening Muse and some new stuff. See ya then.

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