Exploring the Midwest! – US Explorer

Fourth of July was celebrated in style! As we wore red, white and blue we arrive at Cedar Point Amusement Park. James, our camp site manager, joined us for the rides – we were so happy!  Samantha, Tom, Julia, Adam, Jess(M), Maxine, Laurel, Emma (C), and Sam, Jess(F), and James lined up to ride the Millennium coaster with fear! Nearly all of us really challenged ourselves by starting off the day with that adventure! Reid walked away a winner with a Rastafarian banana and Austin won a giant puppy. US Explorer now has a family dog! 

We had an awesome Fourth of July celebration that came to an end with beautiful fireworks. 

July 5th we arrived in Ann Arbor.  Upon arrival we ate lunch and had a chance to buy some souvenirs at the University of Michigan store. The university campus is beautiful! In the evening we played Whirlyball which is a game played in bumper cars with a lacrosse stick to catch the ball and the goal is to shoot it into the basketball net, making the light shine up and putting a goal on the screen. Nadav, Ian, Mathias got the swing of it within minutes. Who knew Whirlyball would be so much fun!

July 6th we canoed and surprisingly, saw a turtle! In the evening Griffen challenged himself and showed us that if you set your mind to something you can do it. We all put on our ice skates and skated in circles. Dan was also testing out his skills on the ice and was a trooper. Any time he fell down he came right back up and pushed to make his skating experience the most memorable. 

July 7th Jacob turned 16!! Happy Birthday Jacob! Coming into Chicago, the view was beautiful. Checking in to the Omni hotel felt like we have arrived in heaven. Fingers crossed that Oprah will pay a visit! At dinner, Jacob’s seat was decorated with balloons and the entire trip signed his birthday card! Afterwards we laughed at the Blue Man group performance. Jared A got a picture with all of the cast!  Back at the hotel Reed, Matt Ber, and some of the other boys played a round of volleyball. It was a great first day in Chicago! 

We’ll be in touch with you soon!

-The Westcoast Blogger

US Explorer- Niagara Falls

3 Blue Men in Chicago – U.S. Explorer

Hello from the US Explorer!

So much has happened since the last time we’ve written.  We left Ohio and went to Sam S.’s home state, Michigan.  We got a taste of college life, staying at the University of Michigan’s dorms and showed our school spirit by visiting the University store.  We also played the highly competitive and extremely involved “sport” called “Whirlyball”.  Combining basketball and lacrosse with bumper cars, even our most adept athletes were brought to laughter by the insanity of this game.  Jacob L. remained undefeated throughout the evening!

The next day we tested our canoeing skills as we ventured down the Huron River.  It was fun watching everyone try to maneuver around one another, trying not to tip their canoes.  Ben, Jared C., and Jordan Fo. paddled the entire three miles down the river and back – the only canoe to make it that far!  That evening we went ice skating!  Many of us including Karen, Robert, David A. had never skated before and were excited to learn.  Others, such as Hailey M. and Michelle were determined to improve their skills.  Jen, Daniel Z. and Marc showed off their skills, helping others who were struggling.  We tried to make a long skating train, laughed, and took lots of pictures.  It was a nice way for us to beat the heat and hang out as a group!

The next morning we journeyed to the windy city – Chicago.  We stayed at the beautiful Omni Hotel; right in the heart of the city.  That day we celebrated Zach G’s birthday at the delicious Soprano’s Italian restaurant and then went to see the magnificent Blue Man Group.  We sat in the first three rows, also known as “the splash zone”.  Both Cobi and Karen got souvenirs from the Blue Men themselves – pictures painted on stage!  Many of us also got to take pictures with them after the show.

The next morning we went to the Willis (Sears) Tower and looked out over the Ledge & Skydeck; 103 stories down.  After spending the beautiful day at the Navy Pier browsing and enjoying a relaxing and informative cruise around the Chicago waterfront, we partook in a typical summer pastime and attended a White Sox baseball game.  Those of us who are well versed in baseball helped those from overseas who had never been to a game before understand the rules and long-standing traditions of this all-American sport including indulging in some yummy ballpark foods and snacks.  We even got to see fireworks after the game!  Jillian M. said, “I had a great time and the fireworks were so pretty!”

We continued our exploration of this vibrant city the next morning. After a wonderful breakfast at The Corner Bakery – one of Haley S.’s favorites – we took some time to check out The Magnificent Mile and headed over to the hands on and very interactive Museum of Science & Industry.  That evening we ate at the Flat Top Grill and celebrated Daniel M.’s birthday!  The whole restaurant boomed with sound as we sang joyously in honor of one of our fellow trip members.  We followed that excitement with some comedy at the Second City Improv Show.  We were highly amused by the jokes, songs, and skits of the performers; so much so, that Jason’s bellowing laughter could be heard across the theatre.  After all of this fun and excitement, we left the big city and headed to our next destination: Minnesota, “dontchuknow.”

Our anticipation held strong and we were so excited when we pulled up to one of the largest indoor water parks.  We rode the slides, relaxed in the lazy river, even laid out on the balcony.  After lunch, we went across the street to the world’s largest mall – the size of 95 football fields – the Mall of America.  We were amazed at its size and it even had an amusement park right in the center of it!  Charlie and Josh S. went to the aquarium that was there!  That evening we went on a safari – at the Rainforest Cafe.  The jungle atmosphere and delicious food was a great way to end our evening!

And now we are getting ready to move on to our next stop of South Dakota. We miss you all and don’t worry, we are having a blast!

Your U.S. Explorers :)

The Westcoast Blogger