You know those days where you just shake your head and wonder how in the heck it could have gone so wrong? Day three of this trip was pretty much that. Sometimes we set our expectations too high and everything comes crashing down all at once. Maybe I should have taken my own advice and we should have gotten ice cream. I suppose hindsight is always 20/20. Anyhow, here’s how our day played out…
We visited the Ohlbrich Botanical Gardens in the morning. We toured the Bolz Conservatory first and the kids really enjoyed it. There were tons of beautiful trees, flowers, and plants to look at. There were some canaries and quails running around and there were giant koi swimming in the little ponds.
Once we finished checking out the indoor gardens, we headed outside. We didn’t get very far before everybody was whining and complaining about being hot. It was rather warm, but it could have been much worse. But they were tired, so it didn’t matter.
We barely made it to the Thai garden before we all fell apart. Josh and I got in an argument that ended with our car keys in pieces scattered along the walkway. Hey, even happy families fight sometimes, right? I picked up the pieces of the keys, put them back together, and we kept on.
We toured most of the garden and then happened upon the Rose Garden, which had a giant fountain in it. We were melting hot, so we let the kids get their feet wet. That turned into an epic water fight and before we knew it, we were all drenched. But at least we were cooled off and happy!
Sadly, the happy didn’t last long. We finished our tour of the gardens and headed out to the car to make our way to lunch. But the key didn’t work. We manually unlocked the car, but the anti-theft system kept shutting off the engine.
We realized we were missing a piece of the key and went back to look for it. I finally found it underneath some leaves on the edge of the garden path and we crossed our fingers that they key would work. And it didn’t. And it was SO hot and humid and way past lunchtime. That’s not a good combination!
Thanks to the internet, we googled how to turn off the anti-theft and after about 20 minutes of trying all kinds of random things, we got the car to work. For a minute there, I really thought we were going to be stuck in Madison until we could get the car towed to a dealer. Crisis averted…
After the morning’s drama, we knew we needed a good meal before heading to our next thing. Josh’s favorite place to eat is anywhere that serves breakfast all day. So we found a tiny café called Fair Oaks Diner. We had a great meal and the cook even came out to do a magic trick for the kids.
After lunch, we decided to tour the Wisconsin state capitol building. We had a really good time touring the capitol. It was nice and cool inside and the architecture was just beautiful! We made it up to the 4th floor observation deck and you could see all around the city. The kids were very stoked on the observation deck because there was a bicycle race going on below and they had an incredible view.
By the time we were done at the capitol building, it was late afternoon and we knew we had done ourselves in. We had to drive from Madison to Minneapolis that day. It was a very long drive with grumpy kids. We made the most of it though and I busted out some glow bracelets when it started getting dark.
The glow bracelets kept the kids entertained for awhile and we finally made it to our friends’ house around 9:15 pm. Their kids were eagerly awaiting our arrival and our kids were a little crazy from riding in the car so long. Add in some slap happiness and there five kids going crazy in the playroom. We finally dragged them all off to bed just before 10 pm.
family trip to ohlbrich gardenskids touring ohlbrich gardensthai garden at ohlbrich madison wisconsinkids visiting the rose gardenkids playing in the rose garden fountain at ohlbrich gardensplaces to go with kids in madison wisconsinkids eating at fair oaks diner madisonthings to do in madison wisconsin visit the state capitolfamily touring wisconsin state capitol buildingfamily summer vacation to madison state capitolkeeping kids entertained on a road trip with glow sticks


  • Broken car keys..been there, thrown that, it happens to us all, right? As long as the day ends on a good note 😉

  • (1) Pretty sure that every couple on every vacation experiences the ‘vacation argument’ I have witnessed plenty (and have had plenty of them myself), it’s refreshing to see someone acknowledge that; (2) you are being too kind about the weather, it was sweltering; and (3) love all those photos of Madison.  🙂   I always love your travel posts!  Can’t wait to see what you did in MPLS!

    • ekemmeter MPLS was fun off and on, the best parts of our trip came from Fargo on…we’ll be sharing soon. And, we all know the fighting happens from time to time, I’m tired of hiding all that stuff. It’s real life, and it’s hard. But we make the most of what we can, right?

  • Oh there’s always at least one bad day on vacations, right? Ours was our first day in Washington DC! It happens but at least you had some fun moments in between 🙂

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