We started trying for a baby a few years before we actually had one. And before that, we were thinking about having a baby for a few years (let it not be said that we’re quick decision makers). So often as we would travel, I would think – someday, I want to come back here with my future child. Destinations change depending on who you take with you, and most definitely they change whether you visit with or without kids – some for the better.
Here are places that I imagine would have a whole new twist on them – in a way I’m really looking forward to – if I had Little Monster with me.
Disneyland or Disney World
So this one is way obvious, I know, but still. My first trip to a Disney park was to Disneyland Tokyo in my teens. My focus stayed solidly on packing in as many rides as I could, and the happy times I had when I was young ensured heaping helpings of nostalgia anytime I’ve gone as an adult. Since then, I’ve been to Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California a few times. I still love the rides and it’s a lot of fun to go even as an adult, but the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve felt a little disconnected from the nostalgia. Just in time for that nostalgia wearing off, I now can bring Little Monster with me in another couple of years and see the parks in a whole new way. For her, the magic will be brand new and I’m looking forward to that…and yet, I’m still going on Space Mountain any chance I get.
Where I Grew Up
I grew up at least partially in Fredericksburg, Virginia, which is rich with history, has a super cute downtown and fun parks, and is filled to the brim with my extended family members. I haven’t been back in a long while and I love the idea that the next time I see it, my daughter can experience all the things I remember loving so much as a child. Plus, I think the history factor of Fredericksburg will round out her knowledge of the world in a way Western Washington won’t. History – from Civil War battlefields to remnants of slavery to the homes of presidents – is alive there and only in text books on the West Coast. Perhaps we’ll also add in a jaunt to Colonial Williamsburg.
We have ventured to Seaside several times and it’s our favorite Northwest beach. There’s nothing finer than sitting on an oceanview deck with some Oregon wine and some cheese you picked up from Tillamook earlier that day and watching the sun go down. It is so choice. While Cannon Beach nearby is a bit artsier and has some really amazing monoliths just offshore, we’ve always loved Seaside for its long boardwalk, its shops and restaurants, and that it’s way more affordable to get an oceanview room than in Cannon Beach. But the fact is, Seaside is an amazing family destination and it’s going to be one of the first places we go back to with our daughter. That long boardwalk? Paved and totally perfect for a stroller. Those shops and restaurants? All low key and family friendly. There’s even a carousel in town.
I didn’t spent long in Stockholm so it’s on my list of places to go back to anyway since it was surprisingly awesome. But of all the European cities I’ve spent time in, Stockholm struck me as one of the ones I really want to go back to with a child. For one, it’s not huge. There’s a clean and efficient subway system, but you can also walk a lot of places within a reasonable amount of time. While I’d love to go back to Paris and London and Berlin and Rome, they’re definitely not as easy to cross on foot, especially if those feet are tiny. Stockholm also has the pedestrian-only Gamla Stan, which is pleasantly approachable in size and filled with cute streets, water views, shops and restaurants. The attractions include plenty of places that would be fun to take a kid. The Vasa Museum houses a giant ship that sank on its maiden voyage, spent 300 some years under water before being drudged up and housed in this museum. It is all things awesome. Skansen was closed when I went, but I also think that looks pretty nifty for kids. Stockholm, I’ll be back…and I’ll be bringing a tiny traveler with me.
Silverwood Theme Park
In 2013, I saw a Travel Channel show featuring some of the best roller coasters around the US while I was ellipticalling my evening away at the gym. One of them – Aftershock – looked like nothing I’d ever ridden before and I knew in that moment I needed to ride it. It was in the Northwest. I could make this happen. So I did. We ventured to Silverwood just outside of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The entire way, I made my husband swear that he wouldn’t chicken out and that if I wanted to go on Aftershock twice, he would go with me. Turns out, he was totally lying because he wouldn’t go back on after the first ride. Aside from that, what I discovered was that Silverwood
was far more of a family destination than a place for roller coaster addicts. There are a whole lot of kiddie rides and there’s a waterpark (which I am pretty lukewarm on as an adult, but I remember loving them as a kid so I assume Little Monster will love them). Given that Western Washington is not exactly known for theme parks, we shall be pilgrimaging to this one as soon as Little Monster shows any signs of enjoying rides.
I grew up close to D.C. and spent many summers running around the museums and the Mall before the cold, hard truth crashed down on me – that most of the rest of the world charges admission to their museums. D.C. is amazing that way. A child with any inclination toward exploring space, dinosaurs, gem stones, American history, Holocaust history or any other number of topics can just get down with their nerdy self here. And maybe Little Monster won’t turn out to be a nerd, but if genetics have anything to do with it, likeliness is high! But beyond museums, there is so much more here. I thought the Post Office Pavilion was pretty neato as a kid, and the Metro was my first experience with a subway.