Last week, the hubs and I decided we would take the whole family on a short “staycation” in our city.
We stayed at a hotel near all of the fun activities we had planned for the family. Yes, we’re crazy for deciding to stay at a hotel just 35 minutes from our house, but the proximity to all of the local fun was worth it. Just a short walk to the biggest mall in America! Our first activity was a theme park near our city.
Last Thursday I started my packing list for all of us, which includes snacks, toiletries, clothes, adaptive equipment, and everything else we might need. My husband thinks I’m crazy but I like to be prepared for ANYTHING.
Friday we packed up to go, and it took our whole minivan to get everything in it.
Even though my niece and her fiance were going with us and driving their own car, we still had a loaded down minivan. For just the four of us. Walker, stroller, wheelchair, 4 bags of clothes, snacks bag, etc.
We started on our journey to Valleyfair, which is a theme park about an hour from our house and 30 minutes from where we would actually be spending our 4 nights. Valleyfair has a water park attached to it so everyone was prepared for a super fun day of water play! When we got there, we hit a few rides and lunch before we headed to the water park. BIG MISTAKE! If you plan on going and you’d like a shaded area of the park you should definitely head to the water park first so that you can stake your claim on a shady spot. Or, plan ahead and purchase the cabana online (it’s cheaper to do it online than wait until the day of and risk them being sold out).
Jamie was just going to bake in the sun, so we wheeled it on over to the lazy river and it took 3 of us to get him on an inner tube. Once on, it took two of us to keep him on said inner tube. He kept trying to slip through the donut hole. Jamie has to wear AFOs when standing so you can imagine how hard it is to keep a 120-pound 15-year-old boy on an inner tube when he can’t stand and push off the ground to help.
Handicap accessible isn’t always.
When we were done with the lazy river, Jamie and I got dressed as quickly as we could in the not greatly accessible bathroom. The line to get into the “handicap” restroom was a mile long. I’m not one to judge, but seriously people. If you’re not in need of the handrails please don’t use that bathroom. Wait your turn for a regular sized bathroom. Those of us that do need the larger bathroom and handrails have to wait forever as it is since there’s usually only one large stall per bathroom.
After we were dressed, Jamie and I walked around the park for about two hours while we waited for the rest of the family to be done riding rides. We snacked, we went into all of the stores, checked out some of the rides from the ground (mostly because this park is not at all “accessible”), and then we sat and people watched. And that was truly the best part of the whole day! Jamie and I got to hang out together, which we don’t get to do very often anymore.
Jamie and I checked out some Cinnabon, Auntie Ann’s, bought a couple of Peanuts character cups, a couple of drinks, and some candy. When everyone met up with us, we were all tired and a little bit sunburned. But what a great day it was!
We left the park and headed to our hotel.
We ended up ordering pizza that night because we were all too tired and played out to go out to eat. We knew we needed to rest up because the next two days would be spent at the Mall of America!
To be continued…