Wednesday, August 29, 2007

PA trip, part 3:

Franklin Institute: This is a great science museum, with the Walk-Through Heart (pictured above) a highlight. Lots of great interactive exhibits on physics, space, health, flight and a variety of other topics. Named after you-know-who (no, not Voldemort), there is a giant statue of Ben in the lobby.

Adventure Aquarium: Our original plan was to go to the Philadelphia Zoo, but the rain we had for most of our stay in Philly canceled that idea. Instead, we decided to go the the Adventure Aquarium across the Delaware River in Camden, NJ. Camden has been named the "most dangerous city in America" several times, but they have done a nice job revitalizing their waterfront, with a naval museum highlighted by the battleship USS New Jersey and a minor league ballpark, along with the aquarium.

The aquarium was fine, and had a very cool shark tank, with a tunnel that you could walk through and be "surrounded" by the sharks. However, the aquarium was just too darn small. We got through it in about 2 and 1/2 hours, including the Spongebob "4-D" movie we saw. It just wasn't worth the money we paid for the four of us. And the Spongebob movie was surprisingly lame.

Our Hotel: We stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Cherry Hill, NJ, about 10 miles from Center City Philadelphia. I have been staying at Marriott hotels for years, including the Hunt Valley Marriott, home of Shore Leave and one of my all-time favorite hotels.

The service at this Marriott was really poor, however. We made a couple of simple requests of the front desk (burned out light bulbs that needed replacing, clearing a backed up toilet) and it took several requests to get anything done. The light bulbs never were replaced. Then, on our last day at the hotel, housekeeping simply never showed up to clean our room.

We ended up complaining to both Marriott and AAA about our stay. I have to admit, the hotel did their best to make it up to us. They refunded us one of our three nights stay, which I thought was pretty reasonable. However, we decided to stay elsewhere our last night on vacation, which was the night of the Phillies game.

After we left the Aquarium on Tuesday, we made our way west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to visit Pennsylvania Dutch Country. I'll explore this part of our vacation in the next entry.


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