Two weeks ago, Ryan and I took a week long "stay-cation" and it was marvelous! As a mom who works full-time, I don’t get to do a lot of the fun things stay-at-home moms get to do with their kids in the summer. So, it was my plan to become tourists of our own city and jam pack the week with fun things we could do as a family!
Local Wading Pool:
The week started off warm so we decided to kick things off with a trip to the local wading pool! This particular zero depth pool is a popular hangout for toddlers in our city and just so happened to be the perfect spot for Rowen to practice her most recent obsession, swimming like a mermaid...so funny! We arrived right as the pool opened, let Rowen swim for a bit then took a break and had a picnic lunch. Such a fun way to spend a warm summer day!
Next up on the list was the Science Center! The City of Des Moines has some great educational opportunities for kids, and the Science Center is definitely one of them. I was a bit worried that Rowen was too young to get the full experience, but I was wrong. There was a designated area for kids her age, which she loved, and we even got to hang out with Elmo and the rest of the Sesame Street gang in the planetarium! For me, the best part of the entire visit was watching her figure out how each "science station" worked and seeing her interact with the other kids that were there!
Backyard Pool Day:
One of the gifts we gave Rowen for her birthday was a large, inflatable pool. Rowen will take any chance she can get to swim, but sometimes it’s inconvenient to pack everyone up and head to the local pool. Instead, we made our own fun in the backyard!
Jester Park's Natural Playscape was the top "must see" item on my list for the week. I'd heard a lot of good things about this park and decided I just had to see it! The playscape is located inside Jester Park, a large state park, not too far from our house.
Before I go into detail, I will warn you that the park is a bit tricky to find as it's sort of hidden at the back end of the park. If you go, be sure to follow the signs as they direct you though the windy roads within the park and give yourself plenty of extra time!
The information I had read about the playscape said it was designed for kids five years and older, but I would disagree. Rowen is only two and had an absolute blast. There are tons of things to keep a child younger than five entertained.
- Archaeological Dig – A large sand pit filled with natural toys to dig with.
- Tree Tunnels – Gravel paths take you through the park and along the way you'll find hollowed out trees to crawl through
- Water play - The park has a pool of water at the center, with a few small water features. If you come to the park, be prepared for your child to get wet! I would recommend bringing a change of clothes and water shoes. The water was freezing, but Rowen loved it!
- Log Stairs - Small logs line a hill to create a climbing feature. Going up was easy, going down was a bit more challenging - so neat!
- Bison Bluff - One of the best things about this playscape was the company it keeps. There are Bison roaming the area right next to the park! Who knew!