When Vacations = Family Visits

Oh how I dream of the time when my husband and I were able to take real vacations, you know, the kind to other countries or to different parts of the continent. However we’ve discovered that when you have kids, and family doesn’t live in the same state, then vacations turn in to trips to see the grandparents.

This year I was determined to turn these family meccas into interesting trips for us (& the kids).  We always have the problem of staying put once we arrive at our destination.  So when routing our trip to see the grandparents in Alabama, my husband and I started brain storming on what we could do in Cajun country. Our planning resulted in a stop outside Slidell, LA at Cajun Encounters.

We called ahead and made reservations for a swamp tour that lasted approximately an hour and a half.  Assured that they could take babies and toddlers on the boat, we felt safe zooming around the swamp for an hour and a half. There was wildlife (alligators, blue herons, baby alligators, swamp canary, etc.) up close, and felt grateful that we didn’t have to suffer through such boggy humidity back home in San Antonio.  The tour was absolutely fascinating and educational, and was a great detour during our 12 hour road trip.

Once in Alabama we scheduled outings with the grandparents that included a day trip to Gulf Shores, a visit to the jump house Kangarooz, trips to the local beach in Fairhope to feed the birds and fly a kite, and took a little train ride at a local RV park.

On the drive back to Texas we meandered down Highway 90, along the Gulf shoreline to New Orleans and spent the night. Though we meant to visit New Orleans’ fabulous Audubon Zoo, we had to cut that from our agenda since the one-year old wasn’t feeling well. However we did make it to Cafe du Monde and took a nice Trolley ride on the Red Line — as an effort to satisfy the curiosity of the three-year-old.

During the week we were teaching the three-year old what the word “adventure” meant; and what I learned from this adventure is that family vacations are as much fun as you put into it. With a little planning and effort, we were able to turn an obligated duty into a grand adventure that the whole family could enjoy.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Oh boy do I know how those “vacations” to see family go. You have a great idea though. I kind of tried something similar this summer. My in-laws live in the middle of no where PA, so I did a little research. I found some goofy things to get the entire family out to see and do. My in-laws had done it all before, but they still had a blast because it was the first time they did it with their grandson. My next mission is to get my family organized and out the door when we visit my family in Philly. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful adventure!

    • 2

      Bloom Maternity said,

      So many possibilities in Philly! That’s one place I’d like to visit once the boys are in middle school. I loved that city when I was there — so different from the midwest and Texas.

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