We have been cruising through southwest during this very hot and sticky summer- made more so by my desire to give my toddler ice cream at any opportunity #holdtheparentshamingIgivehimvegetablestoo. In our travels the bear and I have been scouting fun spots to include in our app: UpDown Maps. So we have been to aquariums, zoo’s, children’s museums, and play spots in Texas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado- as they say where I am from- Uff Dah! And you know what, they are fabulous and he’s loving every minute. But there are only so many times this momma can get excited over the touchable fish. So I decided that we needed to diversify. At the same time, choosing new places means taking risks on cleanliness, whether a venue is age appropriate, and the potentially “scary factor.” Turns out Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium was scary for both of us.
All of this is a lead up to our “new to us” find- exploring a city through discounted tickets. In the days before bears, I used to excitedly purchase a Groupon or Living Social massage package, only to not use it, forget about it or decide in the long run it wasn’t worth the hassle of the Sunday through Thursday use requirements. But I have a new found appreciation for these options. Not only can you find things that you never would search for or think of in a new place, but most selections have reviews from other users (and in the future travelers will be able to cross check a spot through UpDown and see if other folks like them really thought it was a good use of their travel time, not just a good deal) and you are getting a discount. Aquariums can be pricey, people. We had one day/night in Dallas and a quick search of Groupon-Thingstodo-narrowed down by “good for kids” took us on a fun visit to the Frontiers of Flight Museum (Dallas outpost of the Smithsonian’s amazing air and space museum) for $12 instead of $20. There were tons of options for all ages too- Trampoline parks, go karts, cooking classes all sorts of options that can be tailored to your plans. Staying with the inlaws for a few days- sign up for a one day robotics adventure. Just passing through? A trip to a museum or the ice skating rink can be exactly what’s needed to clear the travel jitters. Its been a great way to find new places to add to the app, spend time with the bear and keep us both entertained.