September 25, 2011

Doors Open, Milwaukee ... Day Two

If you thought yesterday's post was photo heavy ... just wait! lol

We didn't get to everything on our day two agenda, but we hit a bunch of places. I'd have to say the overall theme was fire based!

First up was Milwaukee Fire Dept Headquarters ... home to Engine and Truck #2. Also a slew of Paramedic Bicycle Responders.

Cheesing by the hose

"where's the fire ... I'll drive"

Feel the Power!

lol, love his expression. He's VERY focused! 

He wants to be a Paramedic when he's older.

The ladders coming down

Next we toured the Bradley Center, home of the Milwaukee Buck (basketball) and Admirals (hockey). They also host concerts and other events. 

Inside the Bucks locker room

Learning the ins and outs of graphic placement on the jumbo-tron
(is that what they're called?) 

Sitting up in the Graphic control press box. 

these two were SUPER interested in the graphics work... hard to drag them away.

"Yea, Go Team" ... they just finished redoing the floor pieces.
It was pretty cool seeing how they put them all together. 

no clue what was so funny? lol

see us in the upper right corner? 

Next we stopped by the Planetarium for a free showing of Earth, Moon, and Sun". It was pretty cool; a huge 6 story dome theater! We first gazed up at the night sky, and learned a few constellations. And then the movie started. We were running late (ahem, the 2 boys whom I couldn't drag away from the graphics machines, thankyouverymuch!) so we walked into the pitch black theater during the constellations presentation. Seriously couldn't see a damn thing, so we sat on the stairs to gaze at the star. The room got a little lighter as the movie started, but we noticed there weren't 5 seats together, so we opted to lie on the ground in the front. Perfect choice - we had a great view of the dome screen! I think we'll definitely be going back there to view some of the other movies they play there (tornados and dinosaurs, to name a couple!)

The planetarium is also a museum. We weren't granted free access to any of the other features other then the one free showing in the dome theater, but this mammoth was in the lobby to greet us. I do believe we'll be back to explore the entire museum soon. 

Next we visited the oldest company in the Milwaukee Fire Department ... home to Engine #1 (founded in 1837) and Truck #1 (founded in 1839). They've been together at the station since 1840. That's a long freakin time! Rylan found his home. His career home that is. He's wanted to be a firefighter since he was 2, and now he knows which company he wants to work for ;-) 

See Ry and L in the reflection? Totally didn't mean to do that. 

Pretty neat piece of history!

Doesn't he totally look the part? Sweet kid. 

I love family mirror photos!
(with strange guys hijacking the frame, lol)

After Firehouse 1, we walked down to the river to tour a Fire Boat. 

It was raining on and off all day

and pretty dang windy, too

ahhh, I love downtown

all aboard

we've toured a lot of fire houses and trucks over the years, but this was our first fire boat.

Fire, Captain. FIRE!

lookit that face?! lol

aiming the water canons
ready ... fire!

Next we stopped by the Safe House. This was the kids absolute favorite, hands down! It was created in 1966 as a spy museum / restaurant. Interesting combination, right? lol. I only got ONE photo in there, because quite honestly, I forgot about my camera. There was SO much going on. Trap doors, secret passage ways, passwords & codes, alibi phones, escape routes ... it was Cuh-Razy! 

We finally figured out how to enter, and were thrown into this creepy stairwell ...
where did it lead?! (I don't remember; I stopped taken photos! :-/ )

Next we toured the Pabst Theater, from the balconies to backstage; from dressing rooms to prop departments. It's the fourth oldest continually operating theater in the country. Impressive, Milwaukee! I wont lie, I was nervous with the kids when we walked up to the upper balconies. Holy freaking high and steep; with the tiniest little rail to keep you from tipping over. Yep, reconfirmed my fear of heights. 

it was really gorgeous inside.

The colors make me happy! And Cudahy, well ...

the Beatles rock!

aren't these chairs awesome?

Next we visited city hall where we were JUST in time to sign up for the last bell tower tour. Up, up, up an old, squeaky, metal, spiral staircase we went. I do mean UP! And we didn't even reach the top. We made it to the actual bell; which was originally supposed to be placed further up, but the bell was so heavy that it was taken much longer then expected. So, at the end of the day, after many many hours, the workers decided to just install it where they were ... lol. 

outside city hall is this ground plaque. 

gotta love harmonic vibrations!

on our way up the stairs. a BUNCH of old, creaky, spiral, metal stairs.
that fear of heights feeling crept back in.

not sure how many stories up we were when there was roof entrance, but the group decided to take a stair break and head out onto the roof; in the rain ... right up my alley!

view from the roof

milwaukee in the rain

Can you see the bell? We'll soon be up there. Can you see the chamber where the bell was supposed to be installed... much MUCH further up? lol

up, up, up

the bell

it's freakin HUGE!

wet city

looking down 

looking up

the back of the clock

this clock was HUGE, too!

these were the old clock hands; stored away now
i love old industrial photos - can ya tell? lol

We were up there at 4 o'clock, when the bell rang. Scared the crap out of me. That sucker is LOUD when you're right next to it, lol. No one is up there manually ringing the bell anymore (though we heard great stories of the man (with his wife & cat) that used to do it). After the 4pm ringing was over, the tour guide asked the boys if they wanted to manually ring the bell. Oooh, they were all over it! The kids enjoyed having their hands on a piece of city history, and were super surprised by the strength needed to get that bell gonging. 
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the boys ringing the bell. pretty awesome. 

ahh, i love these fellas!

the floors of City Hall

And last up was our tour of two Milwaukee River bridges. We saw one of the older bascule bridges, as well as one of the newer platform bridges. I'm super partial to the bascule bridges... I loved watching them open and close when I was younger. 

Owen, sitting in the window of the operators building, watching a bascule bridge open.

Learning how the operators control the bridge functions

running over the (closed) bridge in the rain! ;-)

so beautiful! the milwaukee river!

cheesin' on the bridge

more cheesin'

I absolutely love walking in the rain!

Thank you Doors Open, Milwaukee ... if we're around next year; we'll see you again!