Saturday, December 23, 2006

Taking a Christmas Time Out

If you've noticed I missed a few days posting, I have a good reason: My family gave ourselves a Christmas time out.

The shopping was more or less done, the stockings were hung, Hubby had a few days off, and my stress level was through the roof. So we decided to leave town. I called and booked the Splash and Discover package - it includes a night at the Holiday Inn North at the Pyramids, passes to Caribbean Cove Water Park - an indoor water park located inside the hotel - and tickets to the Children's Museum in nearby Indianapolis.

The water park was nice - not great, but nice. If we had older children, it would've been great. But the preschool play area was a bit cold for Little One, so we ran back and forth between the play area and the hot tub. We did spend a lot of time drifting in the Lazy River - which was warmer. And Hubby said the slides were fun. But I think we might have been just as happy with an indoor swimming pool.

That said, the hotel was very family friendly. There were several places for families to eat, including a snack area where you could eat while still wearing your bathing suit. My favorite feature was the children's room, which had a TV where they could watch movies and craft area. There was a man in there who obviously isn't used to being around children, though - instead of trying to get the children involved, he just watched TV and would answer questions if asked. The cool part about this is they had all these games and puzzles you could check out and take to your room. We tried Don't Break the Ice, which was a huge hit with Little Bit.

There were also pool tables, foos-ball tables, a mini-golf putting area and a ping-pong table - and all of these tables actually had the paddles, sticks, clubs and balls you needed to play them. Families were busy playing games everywhere. It was nice - more hotels should offer these features.

Plus, kids eat free if the adults purchase a meal. So that was a nice financial break for us.

Of course, Little Bit loved staying in a hotel and being able to watch TV in bed. She loved sleeping with us - and let me say, in a king bed, Hubby and I had what amounted to a very small sleeping-bag worth of space and Little Bit took all the rest of the bed. How can something so tiny need so much space?!?

But the best part of the trip was the Children's Museum. If you're within a day's drive, go visit it. It is simply amazing. Seriously - it's better for children than Disney World, and I'm not the only one who's said so. My friend did, too, so it must be true.

This place is A-MAZ-ING. No matter what your child's age, they'll love this place. Heck, we even saw a few college students on dates here. It is beyond fun.

Little Bit's favorite thing was the Dinosaur exhibit where children could dress as Dinos and sit on Dinosaur eggs - soft, stuffed eggs, but also hard eggs in huge nests on the floor. She took this very seriously. We were there at least 40 minutes, the most of which she spent spread out over the eggs, protecting three football sized soft eggs from a young Raptor boy who kept threatening to steal her eggs. We could only leave when he and his mother packed up and left the area. Then it still took another five minutes for me to convince her that someone else would sit on her eggs.

By the way, the Best Santa Ever also holds court here. He actually got Little Bit to sit on his lap without crying by telling her he wanted to see how much she'd grown since last year. She didn't smile - but for once, she didn't cry.

Did I mention the Carousel?

I'm not even going to try to cover everything that was wonderful about this place. Seriously, better than Disney. It must be the most child-friendly place in the world - and it's huge! They even have a planetarium and a real train engine inside.

But the best part is we're going into Christmas rested, relaxed and happy, with at least one good memory already in place. I'm thinking we might try to do something like this every year. It's nice to take time for just our small family.

What do you do during the holidays to take time for your immediate family? Let me know by emailing me at loraine.lawson at gmail.com or post your comments below.

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