My Beamish Brood

My Beamish Brood

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sky High

Our last official unit of the school year was Buildings and Architecture. We learned about all kinds of buildings: pyramids, castles, houses. But mostly we learned about skyscrapers! We read books about how skyscrapers were built, we built our own skyscrapers out of everything we could find, and we learned about the skyscrapers right in our own neighborhood. When my grandma (Max's great-grandma) heard what we were studying, she had a genius idea. Why not take a tour of the tall buildings right in her neighborhood? She and my grandpa live in a 16-story condo in downtown Minneapolis, so we had the perfect starting place. We met my mom there on Friday morning and we set out to see the city from up high!

First we took the elevator to the top floor of my Grandma's building, then up a few steps to a door leading onto the roof. It was windy and cold but Max ran from end to end oblivious of the chill, pointing out the tiny trees below and claiming to see the Statue of Liberty off in the distance!

Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa's tall building
Since the weather threatened rain any moment, we took the skyway route to our next stop, Macy's 12th floor. The skyway trip was an equally exciting part of the day; Max stopped to sip from every drinking fountain and examine each piece of artwork he passed. He had an endless stream of questions for Great Grandma and she fielded them like a pro... I was sure glad to pass the buck for a day! Instead of answering incessant questions I just got to push a stroller and enjoy the walk.

The top floor of Macy's houses a cafeteria-style restaurant called the Sky Room. Its walls were painted blue with clouds, and it had huge windows on three sides for a great view of the city. We ate lunch while we checked out the sights. (though I think for most of the workers on lunch break, my kids were the sights during that hour)

Macy's Department Store
On our way to lunch, my mom had called my uncle who works on the 42nd floor of the IDS Tower in downtown to see if he was around. Sadly he wasn't in that day, but he gave us the name of his secretary and told us to go on up and she would show us around. So after lunch we got to walk right past the sign saying "Private offices- no viewing beyond this point" and hop into an elevator bound for the floor Forty Two!

Ho--lee--cow. Forty-two floors is really, really, really high!! I felt a little woozy the whole time we were up there, but Max wasn't fazed. To give you some perspective, in the photo below you can see the Foshay Tower, 607 ft tall and formerly the tallest building in Minneapolis. Doesn't it look kinda shrimpy? 

Max and Great Grandma looking down on the Foshay Tower
We even got to see the St. Paul Cathedral far off, and we pointed to the general area of our neighborhood, although Max didn't quite understand why we couldn't actually see our house. When we had gotten our fill of dizzying heights, we squeezed back into the elevator (pretty sure they didn't build it with a double stroller in mind) and onto firm ground again. Since the rain had never come, we took the outdoor route back to Great Grandma's condo, taking a pit stop at some cool big rocks outside one of the buildings on Nicollet Mall. I mean, what kid can pass up the chance to climb onto a big rock?

We took a snack break at Great Grandma's before heading out. As soon as we were all in the car, the downpour started! The timing couldn't have been better. It rained pretty much the rest of the day, but we had gotten clear views and a nice walk outside before the storm. What an adventure, and what a perfect day. What other kid gets to take a tour of Minneapolis with his Great Grandma?? Thanks for showing us around Grandma; Max will not soon forget it.

Max and the IDS building 
View of the IDS from the sidewalk

Max and his Great Grandma

Brothers on an adventure!

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