Monday, July 27, 2009

Staunton, Virginia

For Hippo's Memorial Day trip, we traveled to West Virginia. He's gotten very good at packing all the essentials for a few days on the road, in the wilderness, and relaxing at hotels.

Speaking of hotels, there aren't many in West Virginia. So we chose the neat old town of Staunton, Virginia as a base camp.

Downtown Staunton still has a functioning train station and lots of neat shops and restaurants nearby.

Staunton was also home to President Woodrow Wilson.

Grumpie Duckie stayed home for the weekend, but Hippo packed their finger puppets so they could continue to play while he was away.

We went for scenic drives in the mountains of West Virginia, although most of the scenery was clouds and rain. Still, we enjoyed hikes through the soggy outdoors to see bogs and waterfalls.

Friday, July 24, 2009

National Radio Astronomy Observatory

When we had a few days free for Memorial Day weekend, I gave Hippo a choice of where to go for our first road trip of the summer. So we looked at a map and tourbook to see what was nearby and found... a GIANT RADIO TELESCOPE!

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is in Green Bank, West Virginia, about four hours from Washington, DC. Scientists use the telescopes to study stars, the sun, and interstellar space. The telescopes are so sensitive to electronic signals that digital cameras are forbidden. We bought an old film camera just for the occassion.

The biggest telescope is two miles from the visitor center (where we learned about radio astronomy and ate a couple space hotdogs). Since it was raining, we traveled by bus rather than walking it. But clouds and rain don't stop the telescopes – the wavelengths of light they study shine right through the clouds, so the telescopes keep working day and night.

The Green Bank Telescope is the largest moving structure on land. It's taller than the Washington Monument. It's studying the formation of galaxies in the early universe, black holes, pulsars (listen), and supernovae.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Old Milwaukee

One Hippo's loss is another hippo's gain. Washington, D.C.'s Happy the Hippo is headed to Milwaukee.

Happy needed to move out since his current building at the National Zoo is being renovated to expand the elephant habitat. But it's not all sad – Happy has several amenities to enjoy at his new home including:

  • Heated floors
  • Swimming pool
  • Shower
  • Two female roomates: Patty and Puddles

Hippo hopes to make a trip to Milwaukee after the move to keep in touch with his Great Uncle (and maybe enjoy his fancy facilities).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cousin Opie


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fourth of July


Hippo likes this holiday.