In our last trip to the US, we had a few days in San Antonio to kill. My husband and I have been there before during a roadtrip through Texas and the American West where we visited the Alamo. With me and Little Man on our own because my husband had work to do, we decided to go exploring in the city.
Museums are great, but what Little Man needs these days is a place to wander around and expend some energy. And a hotel lobby is only so good for that. I decided that wherever we travel, we’ll go explore the zoos, aquariums and children’s museums (any or all of the above). San Antonio had both the zoo and the children’s museum (and the aquarium, somewhat, if you count Seaworld).
We had three days, so it only made sense to explore all three. And boy was it fun! Most cities have a children’s museum where it is a hands on place with lots of rooms that have different activities and focus areas. Since Little Man is still only truly mobile on his hands and knees, unless he’s holding onto a wall or cart or hands, we aim straight for the toddler or soft play area. Some museums have these areas blocked off so it’s only for toddlers and babies less than 36 months, some have just an area but it’s not segregated as much.
The San Antonio Children’s Museum has a small-ish area that is walled off and you must be under 36 months and accompanied by an adult to go in. It’s not monitored, but it is the honour system there – and most of the activities aren’t really exciting for those who are a bit older. Little Man loved the different areas in the little TotSpot in this children’s museum. It has the perfect amount of activities and space for several babies/toddlers to play in and amuse themselves with. There was this jumbo Lite-Brite wall which was the perfect combination of pulling things out to pile them up and then trying to put back. It was this meter-square board with 1-inch diameter holes drilled in it spaced about 3-4 inches apart sitting in front of a light box. Then, there were lots of clear plastic dowels in several colours you could fit into the holes. And presto – a blue dowel that looked ok off the wall all of a sudden lit up when stuck into a hole! And imagine having twenty of these coloured dowels to take out (and mummy putting back in). A Little Man’s delight! There was also a great soft play area – undulating soft ramps and big mats that babies could crawl around and the more mobile ones could play on and not have any worries of banging into anything. They were situated in a corner of the room, against some cool mirrors with a ballet barre right at cruising height. Once Little Man discovered the mirrors, he was sorted.
The other favourite area was a big tube filled with water and some bobbing plastic fish that had continuous bubbles floating up. At the base, the were four buttons, each a different colour that when lite, would colour the column in that colour. Well, bubbles and buttons are some of Little Man’s favourite things too, so he spent lots of time playing with that area too.
The whole museum took up two floors and it must have been situated in an old woolworth’s or something with massive windows along the front but lots of space for kids to run around and be entertained on a rainy (or, as it’s Texas, super hot) day.
Is is situated right across from the Alamo and next to the Riverwalk, so if you are in San Antonio without a car (or don’t want to drive for a while), it’s perfect.
…and lots to catch up on. Coming up, I plan to write up recaps on:
Houston – Gymboree, the zoo, the Children’s Museum and the aquarium
San Antonio – the river walk, the Children’s Museum and the zoo (and Brackenridge Park)
Miami – the Seaquarium and the beach!
Until them, I’m working on getting a very awake one year old to sleep…dealing with jet lag is probably another post in and of itself.
Here’s a pic of Little Man enjoying his first shovel and bucket!
In one week our little boy is going to be one. He’s grown from a tiny little lump into a big, energetic little toddler. We settled him into nursery this past week as my maternity leave ends soon and I head back to work. I look at the videos we made of him laying on the floor looking at the dolls hanging off his little mat gym and wonder how he could have ever just swatted at them when now, he’s grabbing the bars and pulling the dolls off. Interacting with them instead of just watching them swing.
Little Man has seen a lot of the world and he’s not finished. If we can keep travelling with him during his childhood I’ll be an excited mama. My parents showed me the world, and as an adult, I kept going and now I’ve seen even more with my husband. And we haven’t stopped exploring. I want to do the same for Little Man. He’s off to see the world and no one’s going to stop him.
Yesterday, we flew to the US (his fifth transatlantic flight this year!), and are going to Texas and Florida. Texas for my husband’s work, Florida for some well-deserved sun and warmth and sand!
We’re celebrating Little Man’s first birthday in San Antonio and I’m on a quest to get him a birthday cake. It’s proving extremely hard to find a bakery that makes completely sugar free cakes – no sugar, Splenda, molasses, honey, or agave syrup. Nothing. At home, we can make banana cakes sweetened with super ripe bananas and dates and applesauce, but bakeries just don’t do that sort of thing. I almost packed up all the measurements of the dry ingredients – a Ziplock bag of flour, baking soda and cinnamon – and cake tin and then get the bananas and applesauce, but figured the security wouldn’t appreciate an unmarked bag of white powder. By hook or by crook, though, he’s gonna get his own cake to smash and enjoy and get thoroughly messy for his first birthday.
This is my last trip as a full time mum before I go back to work and I’m really excited about it. In Houston and San Antonio, it’ll be me and Little Man exploring – this time we’ll head to the zoo and maybe a museum and probably a Gymboree class and then in Florida (we’re still deciding between Miami and the Keys), it will be the three of us exploring and, more importantly, relaxing as much as Little Man will allow.
I am also looking forward to using Little Man’s shiny, new, bright red lightweight stroller. It’s a Micralite Superlite. This trip, we experimented with taking it straight through to the gate at the airports too (results coming later…). We decided to get him a lightweight, collapsible stroller for the nursery runs when we’re not slinging him and also for travel. I’ve absolutely loved our other two strollers (Bugaboo and Mountain Buggy) this year travelling, but we’re at the stage where I think we needed a lightweight stroller and we’ll have less of a need for his bigger ones. Plus, the compactness and lightness of this new one is amazing (6.5kg/13 lbs). It folds with one hand, has adapters for the Maxi Cosi car seats, it’s got a great mesh seat, has big back wheels (unlike most lightweight umbrella strollers) and just looks cool. Little Man seems to like it too – he can swing his feet until his heart’s content and he sleeps really well in it. Here’s a pic of Little Man enjoying a nap in it on an amazingly sunny and warm day in London last week.
Any suggestions of things to do with a one-year-old in Houston, San Antonio or southern Florida?