In our city, we have a few places that offer educational and fun outings for kids, including toddlers. While the park is great on pretty days, those are also the days my son can play in our own backyard. It’s the rainy days and the days when we need to be indoors that presents the need for a toddler outing.
When narrowing down my options for a toddler outing with my son, I end up with just a few choices. One is Chuck E. Cheese, which he loves, but it can be costly if we go there too often. Each activity takes one token, which is basically a quarter. That’s not bad unless you’ve been there for hours and your child isn’t ready to leave.
Being a single mom with a very limited budget, I save Chuck E. Cheese for the toddler outings that include my son’s grandparents, who generously buy him plenty of tokens. That leaves even less options for outings with just me and my son.
One of my favorite outings for my son is a trip to the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile, Alabama. It is a large center that features several exhibits, all of which are free to members. Since they offer an annual membership which lets us go an unlimited number of times during the year, I don’t have to worry about paying for these outings every time we go.
The Exploreum has an area designed for toddlers and younger children called the Wharf of Wonder. It is a very large childproof playroom with many fun and educational things for children to explore. The main area of the wharf is a shrimp boat sitting against a ball pit “ocean” of blue plastic balls to resemble water.
On the “dock” next to the boat is a fish market that has several kinds of plastic fish and nets. The kids can release the fish into the water, catch them or just play with them. They can also sort the different kinds of fish out into bins and weigh them on the fish market scales.
There are other areas featuring toddler tables and chairs, books, magnets and a magnet board, a slide, puzzles and toys. All of these areas are designed for children under 5 years of age and offer a safe and fun way to learn. The children are encouraged to build, play and interact. They are given many tools to be creative. It is a great place for a toddler outing.
My son is fortunate that we live close enough for him to go Center at least once a week. This is great since he only gets to go to Chuck E. Cheese once a month.
What are some of your favorite places to take toddlers?