Welcome to the second post of fun things to do with your family in Delaware. You can check out the first one here.
*This post has been broken down into 2 separate posts due to the length.
Delaware Children's Museum (Wilmington, DE): The DCM has been a great place to visit - and is considerably closer than the equivalent alternatives like the Please Touch Museum or Franklin Institute. There are no parking meters or fees, lunch is nearby if you are interested, or you can go for a walk afterward. This year they added a touch tank to the already popular water area of the museum. They also recently revamped the auto area, children's boat area and are always changing the large play area to the right when you first walk in. We love using all the giant blue foam blocks and pulling wood veggies from the garden to use in the conveniently located right-next-door kitchen play area. There is definitely something for everyone here! You can check out their calendar and get pricing by clicking here.
Delaware Museum of Natural History (Wilmington, DE): I have to admit that we don't come here as often as I would like, but when we do, Carter really enjoys it. He loves seeing the dinosaurs up close, and checking out the hall of mammals. It is a great learning experience for kids - and I am hoping to take Koala (what I like to call our little one) to one of the movies I hear they show next year. I will let you know how that goes! Maybe "Night at the Museum"? Click here for more details.
Longwood Gardens (Kennett Square, PA): Ah Longwood. Longwood has something special for the adults and the kids. If you have a very active child (like I do), this is a great place any time of year. Our little Koala (almost 2 now!) loved running around in all the open space. This is another location that I hope we see more of in 2015. Updates will follow, but until then, you can see more info here.
Main Street (Newark, DE): Main Street in Downtown Newark is a wonderful place to head out during the summer. When Koala was younger - and completely in a stroller - we really enjoyed grabbing brunch, wandering into the shops and playing in the park until we started getting tired. We would cap off our morning with Ritas and then a leisurely stroll home. It was what I think of when I picture all those perfect families out there that we all know probably don't exist. But it was pretty close for us. There are tons of new restaurants, parades, food and wine events, and family events to enjoy. (We did take Koala to the Newark Food and Wine event one year, and with him in a stroller, he was asleep after our first tasting. It was like a nice date in the afternoon without having to find and pay a sitter.) A calendar of events can be found for the city of Newark here.
Milburn Orchards (Elkton, MD): We just recently went to Millburn to get photos with Santa - and snag some free hot apple cider that was available! We really love going here in the fall. I think that the Koala took a 3 hour nap after jumping in the bouncy house during their fall events. It seems as if they have activities all year long, as do most orchards. One caveat is that while many orchards do not charge to explore some of their activities, you pretty much have to pay to enter the play, animal petting / feeding and food stand area at Millburn. Find out more, including prices here.
Neighborhood parks: We are really fortunate to have not one, but three neighborhood parks where we live. However, I would have not realized they existed until my husband pointed them out to me. You see, we don't drive past any of those parks on our way in or out, and my husband owned our home long before we met. (You think that I would have noticed these walking, but alas, I didn't do much of that before the Koala either.) We have had MeetUps at the park closest to our house, we have taken lunch and snacks there, and have just generally explored. So - the point of all of this is to get out and explore what might literally be in your neighborhood and backyard.
Ole Tapas (Newark, DE): So, being a foodie, I may end up having to do a whole list of great places to eat with kids, including which restaurants have changing tables (some don't have them at all and some have them in the men's room as well). Back to Ole though. Ole is wonderful for many reasons - the staff is very friendly and quick, which is great if your child tends to melt down while waiting. They have a variety of food for all cravings and kid likes and dislikes. Our Koala loves the patatas bravas, which are basically potatoes with sauce, and the duck with the cranberry compote. It is great because he eats more veggies and protein here than anywhere else. The restaurant is welcoming and friendly to people with children in general. I love to eat, and have dined at many restaurants in Delaware. I did notice a definite shift in service, attitude and just the atmosphere overall when we began bringing a baby. It seemed as if many restaurants / servers didn't believe we were worth the time to make an effort. And this was despite the fact that we have a very well behaved little Koala. Ole never once did this to us - and it is well worth the trip. Their specials, menu and hours can be found here.
Stratosphere (Wilmington, DE): We have only visited Stratosphere once, but really enjoyed it here. The only reason we haven't visited more is the proximity of Launch to our home versus Stratosphere. This place is huge - and includes a rock climbing wall, a designated jumping area for little ones, an arcade, a mechanical bull and much more. The trampoline parks are a great place to burn off some calories, play with your kids, and wear them out so they will nap super long. Plus it is just fun. Click here to find out more.
World Cafe Live - Peanut Butter & Jams shows (Wilmington, DE): We've been to quite a few shows at WCL and really enjoyed each. Some bands bring bubbles and a bubble machine, some let the kids come up on stage and play a few instruments, some wear wacky outfits, but they are all fun. This past year we saw Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam band, Steve Pullara and the Cool Beans Band and quite a few more. Pizza, snacks and drinks are available for purchase. (My husband and I even enjoyed a hard cider and a beer during one show after a particularly hectic morning.) I would definitely arrive early to the events. The doors open at 11, and the shows begin at 11:30. There are tables and chairs for the adults and mats on the floor for the kids (and adults if they would like to sit too.) We have also seen a few birthday parties being held here - and the birthday child always receives a few special shout outs. The schedule is ever changing and there is definitely something for everyone. You can find out more here.
So - what did I miss? Is there some place that you all love to go that should be on here? Somewhere I should try out? Other opinions on some of these locations? I would love to here about your experiences as well.
Here is where I will rant about my daily mommy life, give some insight into a brain tumor survivor's musings, and hopefully offer up some fun as well.