"Vacation, Got to Getaway!"

In the words of the Go-Go's, we took a mini-vacation this week, just north of the border, to lovely downtown Madison, Wisconsin!

Vacation Bound!
It's important to us to make an effort and get out of town every once in awhile, even if it's just for a
day or 2. And growing up we always went somewhere for a family vacation every year, so that's one tradition I'd like to keep going.

Jay's still little, so we'd prefer not to travel too far yet, so taking a mini-vacation an hour and a half away was a good idea!

After a million and one hold-ups, we finally left town around 530pm on Thursday and arrived at our hotel just after 7pm. We booked with Hotwire.com and got a great deal at the Hilton Madison at Monona Terrace, with a view of the capitol building out our window and Lake Monona just out back. The whole captiol square district was at our doorstep.

So we checked in and hubby went to take a quick shower before we headed off to dinner - turns out, Jay can work a door handle lever now as he got the bathroom door open and walked in on daddy! LOL

We walked the 2 blocks over to The Great Dane Pub and Eatery. I had eaten there during my last visit to Monona Terrace for a Mary Kay conference back in early 2010 and knew I just had to get hubby there as he would love it! He was a little weirded out by all the waitresses dressed like stereotypical "hipsters" but he LOVED sampling all the house brews. It's a very townie/college town atmosphere. The food was good though and Jay got his 1st taste of Wisconsin Mac n Cheese.

His first time eating Wisconsin Mac n Cheese
Hubby enjoying his meal
The view of Lake Monona behind our hotel
Our hotel located in Capitol Square
of downtown Madison, WI
We walked back to the hotel and decided to go check out the hotel swimming pool. It was a small
pool, starting at 3ft deep, only going as deep as 3ft, 6in. Jay was a bit freaked out and literally clung to me the entire time we were in the pool - he even had his legs wrapped around my waist at one point! He did get a little curious though as one of his little hands let go to sneak a few splashes!

By the time we got back upstairs it was almost time for Jay to get ready for bed and we went to bed early too. Jay did sneak in a chance to explore our hotel room, checking out all the drawers - he found one that was big enough for him to walk into and really enjoyed checking out the full-length mirror accent that was propped up against one of the walls!

The next morning we got up and headed downstairs at about 1040am to get some hotel breakfast, as the guest services booklet in our room said breakfast was served til 11am, only for dining room to be completely empty and a bellhop said he thought breakfast was over at 1030am... I told him the guest services book said 11am, however he did recommend a neat little bagel place within walking distance. Since check-out was noon, we gathered up our stuff, checked out, loaded up the car and then walked in the direction of Gotham Bagels. It was a neat little bagel joint!

Watching some big bears with daddy
After we ate, we walked back to the hotel to get the car and headed off to the Henry Vilas Zoo - one of
the few remaining free zoos in the country! Jay had never been to a zoo yet and hubby and I haven't been to this one yet so we thought it would be a lot of fun! Jay really seemed to enjoy watching the orangutans play in their outdoor habitat. He also seemed really interested in the giraffes, reaching his arms up high and he seemed to like watching the tiger walk around the outdoor habitat too. We also got to see a baby seal swimming with its mommy, who was the 1st seal to give birth after spending 10 years in captivity! Jay's eyes got really big when he saw a big brown bear and a polar bear! It's a smaller zoo (we were able to do the whole zoo in an hour and a half), but for a kid Jay's age, it's a perfect size! They're also in the process of expanding to include an arctic area.

We got him a few suveniours too - a stuffed little giraffe (since he has several monkeys and cats already), a "Future Zookeeper" shirt, and a zoo straw bottle. I also bought a magnet for our fridge.

All the funness of Ella's Deli!
Jay checking out the trains inside our table & flipping through a menu

After the zoo, we headed over to the infamous Ella's Deli for lunch and ice cream! Jay seemed to recognize the place when we walked in, as I had took him there when he was 6 months old or so, but he seemed to enjoy it more this time, as he was more interested in all the stuff there is to look at it. We had a great table too - under the glass were model trains to look at! After lunch we got their ice cream - Jay got a dish of his favorite, mint chip, hubby and I got tulip sundaes. Once we were done we paid the bill, I bought a magnet for the fridge and a token for Jay to ride the old fashioned carousel outside!
Hopped up on ice cream!
First Carousel Ride!
And he LOVED the carousel! I sat him on a horse, put his hands on the pole and once it started, going up and down, he got the biggest grin on his face, squealing with delight! When it was time to get off, we walked out the exit, only for Jay to run back towards the entrance - he wanted to go again! LOL

Our loot!
All in all, despite it only being 24 hours or so, I'd say it was a fun trip - lots of 1st for Jay - his first hotel stay, his first trip to the zoo and his first carousel ride!



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  2. I absolutely love the zoo! Sounds like y'all had a fun time!


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