Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finally...A Fun Family Day

Yes, this summer that was supposed to be "the best summer ever" has turned into merely disappointing. I am hoping that some changes I am planning to make in the near future will make future summers less depressing, but for now we just have to take joy in a random fun day here and there if they come.

Luckily, this past Sunday was one of those days.

We had planned to take a day trip to Chicago yesterday (Monday) but after yet another bout of number crunching, it was clear that it couldn't happen. But since Hubby had gotten the day off from work, we tried to figure out a fun activity as a family on a smaller scale.

We came up with a trip to our state's capital, Lansing. It is about exactly an hour away and we have only been there once as a family.

We had seen two ideas that I wanted to try with the kids.

Hubby and I had to teach Sunday School Sunday morning so we hit the road shortly after church.

It ended up being a very fun day. Our first stop was a children's garden we had seen advertised on numerous mom websites around Grand Rapids. Yes, we are a Michigan Family (Go Blue!) but could we help it that the fun looking garden was on MSU's campus?

This garden was amazing! For starters, it was free, unlike Meijer Gardens here in GR, which is way out of our Poor Person's price range. The boys got out and started walking toward the gardens and I was afraid that the boyish "this is boring" would start. But it didn't. It was a beautiful sunny day and the boys were quite enthusiastic. There were so many little areas with different themes, including one made of all the plants to make a pizza, a spice garden that I couldn't stop leaning over to smell each and every plant, and even an edible garden, where Noah actually tried some of the leaves (YUCK!). I loved rubbing the leaves of the chocolate mint plants in my hands and smelling them afterward.  There was a huge snakelike topiary that the kids could run through and also a topiary maze. There was a small pond with a ceramic frog that "spit" water at you when you turned a lever and also a fountain. It was just really neat little spot and I definitely want to go back and take a lot more pictures of the flora if I get a chance again this summer.

After about an hour, we started getting sweaty and thirsty. So after a quick snack and drink, we were back into the car for our second adventure of the day. We went to the Impression 5 Science Msueum. Since this is basically a children's museum I wondered if the boys would be too old for it but I figured since it was new we would still have a good time.

Although smaller than we expected, there was a lot to do. Noah's favorites were the trebochet launch and the electricrty exhibits. Aaron loved building blocks. I made a huge tower all around him taller than him and he was actually patient enough as I was building to wait before breaking out. After about an hour or so, an announcement came on that we could pay a small fee to maker slime in the science lab. Oh, yeah, we're there! So the boys each got a bag full of liquid plastic, food coloring, and water and borax and made slime.  Needless to say, the slime has been a most played with toy every day since then. As a family, the four of us also had a blast making silly shadow pictures in the shadow wall.  The last time we had played with one of these was our trip to St. Louis when the boys were really little so it was fun to do it while they were old enough to understand how it worked this time.

After about three hours, the kids were starting to wind down but enjoying themselves and Hubby and I decided that we would rather leave while the boys were still having fun rather than getting bored so we headed out. Originally we had planned to take a short walk over to the capital building but by the time we got to the car, everyone decided that we were too thirsty and ready to head home.

After a quick run through a drive through for beverages and ice cream,we were on the road.  We were home by dinner time and all we could all say was, "What a great day!" Noah declared it the best day of the summer, which is high praise from a ten year old who has become extremely surly lately.

We are not able to provide big experiences (or even medium ones) for the boys this summer and I have had to say NO way more than YES this year, which has brought disappointment to everyone. But I am so happy that we had one fun day away that we can store in our memories of family time this summer.

If you are in the area, I highly recommend these places as fun family inexpensive entertainment.

PS. This is not a sponsored post in any way. I was not paid to explore these places, nor did I receive anything for free. I just wanted to share a fun family day we had.

1 comment:

The Bumbles said...

Impressive feat, creating the best day of the summer for a surly 10 year old boy!