What was to be our 2 year old’s last BIG trip as a single child before becoming an older sister was almost a bust of a weekend because of the sudden NorEastern storm that hit the week of our trip… Everyone was on tippy toes… No one wanted to cancel this long ago planned trip. We were all so excited to take our first parent/kids trip, yep, that’s right, the parents were more excited than the kids. Our sole goal for the trip was to take our wee ones to Dutch Wonderland’s Happy Hauntings. The little gem of an amusement park that many still had not discovered yet. We were so determined to get to Dutch Wonderland or Bust not a single alternative plan was made despite 10 days of foreboding weather predictions. As we drove the 3.5 hour trip in the down pour, no one uttered the possibility that we might not be able to go.
What we didn’t know was that this wasn’t really a town you needed to be prepped with alternatives – Thank God! Despite being rained in we got to:
- eat lunch at Five Guys Burgers
- Shop at one outlet chain after another (Rockvale and Tanger) where the kids ran wild at the Pottery Barn Kids Outlet and watched Yo-Gabba-Gabba at the Gymboree outlet while the parental’s scanned the sales racks
- ate at the road trip favorite, Cracker Barrel for the first time and experienced fried apples and shopping in a “country store”
- finally got our hands on some SONIC! My DH got to indulge in popcorn chicken and a Chicken Club Toaster sandwich on TEXAS TOAST! I finally got my hands on one of their famous Oreo Sonic Blasts. We were in heaven
- gawk at the Amish or Mennonites people shopping at Target and riding buggies outfitted with “electric” turn signals
- going swimming at our hotel’s indoor swimming pool
Since this was a 3-day trip, we still had days to fill and one must DO, must SEE is the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, a mere hour drive away. Having done our share of children’s museums on the road thanks to the generous reciprocal program granted to us through our home museum membership, of all the ones we’ve been to, this one is the BEST! – so far… (ask me again after our next road trip as each seems to surpass the previous ones.) This multi-level museum had an enormous water-play area that made the Brooklyn Children’s Museum version seem… well… small, an amazing child sized grocery store with grocery carts, checkout counters and working UPC scanners, a McDonald’s sponsored play cafe, pretend hospital with nursery, uniforms, and doctor kits, a cobbler shop and an elaborate Alice in Wonderland exhibit amongst many, many, many other exhibits. You’d be hard-pressed to know if the parents or the children were more impressed. Getting the little ones to leave was of course a task unto itself, but Dutch Wonderland, rain abated, was waiting.
Upon arrival at the gates of Dutch Wonderland, kids in costume, we were greeted most auspiciously by a train ride around the grounds. We were able to map out which rides we wanted to tackle, not that we had to since the entire place was practically our personal playground. Not once did we have to wait in line for a ride. If the kids beckoned or ran off towards a ride, they were on it momentarily. I think all that parents were quite thankful for that perk. Imagine having to tell a 2-year-old that they had to wait patiently in line for a ride?! Ride after ride the kids went with moms and dads clicking away capturing all those precious moments. This amusement park was made for the wee ones age set. A few might have been for slightly older ones, but nothing out of reach for our group of rambunctious 2 year olds. While it was a wee bit chilly out, we were comforted by delicious chicken corn soup and hot chocolate with $1 refills in their souvenir cups. It was the most pleasant amusement park experience ever, even for my childhood. Minutes after departing the park, our little ones were fast asleep.
After all the excitement, my daughter could be heard chanting in her sleep later that night, “sooo much fun! sooo much fun!” We’ll definitely be doing this again next year!