Friday, March 21, 2014

Hometown Tourist: A spring break #staycation with the kids

Many parts of the country are still covered in snow, and here in Atlanta we still are facing on-again-off-again temperatures as low as 40 degrees. Mornings are chilly! However, the all-day sunshine is just around the corner and spring break is almost here. It is time to plan how you will make your family memories.

Our spring break is not going to include a big vacation this time around. We will spend just a couple nights away on a mini road trip. Otherwise, we will be at home. Daddy will be working, so I am the activities coordinator for most of the week!

What do you do when you have extra time with the kids? And it's finally not a snow day!?

How to be a Hometown Tourist with children

Have you visited your local family attractions in a while? Pick a couple and be a tourist in your own hometown. Here are some tips for making your hometown the coolest vacation around:

Talk it up. Get the kids excited just like you might do for a vacation. Let them know about the fun days you have planned ahead. If every spring break day is mundane, that's no fun! Give them something they can happily anticipate. Even let them count the days on the calendar until the fun day begins.

Start the day with a fun breakfast, like visiting your local doughnut shop or letting them chow down at McDonald's. This gets the day going with some special fun - and yummy treats. We would probably visit Dunkin Donuts - or if the city is our destination for the day, Sublime Doughnuts in Atlanta is really hard to resist!

Head on over to your favorite museum, aquarium, zoo, or play place. Make a big day of it; children love special outings! We really enjoy the aquarium for our extra-special fun days. Since it is not somewhere we go all the time, it is always an exciting experience. Here in Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium has more than 10 million gallons of water, five unique galleries, a 3D theater, and a live dolphin show! Zoo Atlanta has spring break activities and fun planned as well, as do most of our awesome in-town attractions.

Let the children lead. Perhaps for one day, Mom doesn't have to be 100% in charge. Tell the kids that they get to make their choices for the day. Foe example, let them pick what/where to eat, one place to visit, and a family game to play in the evening before bed. Relaxing the rules and routine can make a day at home seem more like a special vacation. I think Amelia would choose Firehouse Subs followed by Menchie's, a fantastic big attraction in the city, and the Disney Trivia game (or Clue Jr.) at night. I think I will find out in a couple weeks!

Don't worry so much. Worried about schedules, nap times, bedtimes, traffic, crowds?  Let it go. Crowds are lowest right when attractions open, so get up, get that special breakfast, and be at the ticket window a few minutes before opening. We find that crowds generally build around lunchtime - this is true of summer and weekends too. When we arrive at opening time, we have at least a couple hours in lighter crowds. And nap time? Bedtime? Maybe it is okay to stretch the rules for a couple days during staycation week. Every variation from the norm gets children excited and really makes for a special memory.

Do you have spring break plans yet? Where would you visit if you were a Hometown Tourist?

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