A must-see for any dinosaur enthusiast!
Jurassic Quest is such a great day out for the entire family to enjoy! From the realistic looking animatronics to the ride-on dinosaurs to the gift shop to the entertainment pictures and displays. Lincoln and Layla both LOVED it and we barely got through the entire convention center, there was so much to do!
The animatronics were so real looking! Lincoln gasped the second that we walked through the big gate of the exhibits. The first thing he saw was a large raptor that's tail and head were moving around and made a loud roar! I don't know if we were supposed to touch them but we did and they felt really rubbery but not hard plastic, which made them seem even more realistic.
They had little placecards in front of most of the dinosaurs with their name and a plaque that had some random facts. Lincoln loved spouting off each dinosaur's name as we passed them and talking about what he already knew about them.
I really liked that they made it more like a maze so there wasn't a huge line of people at each dinosaur and it was easy to weave in and out to see which dinosaurs you felt like. There wasn't just a single way through, you had plenty of space to walk, stop, and go at your own pace.
THERE WAS SO MUCH TO DO!
We weren't able to make it through the entire place and visit all of the stations. We prioritized what the kids wanted to first and by the time we finished that, it was already 12:30! This is definitely somewhere that you can spend several hours at and still not get to see everything. Which is amazing! A day trip, for sure. If we ever do this excursion again, I'd love to go earlier at like 9 so that we get a full morning visiting.
My favorite was all the moments to take a quick picture! They had dinosaurs that you could sit atop and take a picture. They were super tall! Layla got onto the big carnataurus and got to sit on the back of it, while Lincoln was a little too nervous.
They both hopped onto the back of a brachiosaurus and rode around. These little guys moved in a circle like a ride, very slowly though, but the kids both thought it was super cool. They also loved the dinosaur dig where they used brushes and hammers to find some fossils in the sand.
There were areas we didn't get to try because the lines were long and both kids were melting down for lunch and nap time. There was a craft area with fun activities for the kids to do and make. There was an entire wall of blow up jump houses, slides, and bouncy things that we couldn't wait in the long lines for. They had the cafes and sweet shops open but we ran out of time for those, too.
Overall, a definite win and wonderful day out with the entire family!
I've always recommended these customizable books as gifts because they are unique, thoughtful, and who doesn't mind getting another book. My kids are avid readers and I love to involve them in any way possible. Having books with their names and faces that look like them is so exciting!
Cooperative Board Games
One of the best things to open is something that you can play with your family and enjoy right there. I love giving the kids gifts that they want to open and engage with right then. These are also amazing Christmas Eve gifts because you can open and play together the night before. Anything cooperative and engaging of the mind is a win!
I swear, STEM gifts last forever and can keep us busy time and time again. I really love the build it kit that I pictured below because it changes every time. Learning Resources has some really great open-ended kits for building and coding that are easy to put together but also can change and become harder as your child grows.
Literally one of the best gifts for us because they are super easy to store and I don't really even count them as a "toy". My son has recently gotten super into floor puzzles and is starting to be able to pull them out and do them alone. My daughter loves the 3D puzzles like the one pictured on the left. They last forever, are engaging, and are a "toy" while also stimulating the brain. Love it!
Anyone else tired of toys all around the house?! Yep. Same. I love getting active toys or outside items that I don't have to worry about storing. We have one little box that it all goes in. The gardening kit with the wheelbarrow pictured here is honestly so cute. I love that they have their own set. I think both of my kids are getting scooters this year, because how fun!
I did my first solo-trip with the kids to Cape Cod, which from my area is about a three and a half hour drive. I did a TON of research and asked polls on my Instagram to figure out the must-have items to make travel easier and the dos and don'ts. I took what you all recommended and used most of it and have weeded out what works and doesn’t work (at least for my three and almost two year old).
SPOILER ALERT: the three year old rocked the entire trip and the two year old was a human nightmare. The difference between the two was actually insane from start to finish. She was cranky in the car, hated anything given to her, made a mess, didn’t sleep at the house we rented, refused most meals we ate out, and just struggled overall with the change in routine. He slept, he ate, he was comfortable, and he had no problem with any of the trip! The difference a year can make!
I did a poll on my Instagram story and discovered that to most (19 voted it was easy, and 11 voted it was hard) mothers thought breastfeeding was easy to them. I specifically asked if breastfeeding their firstborn came easy and was natural to them! I have to be honest; this was a little shocking to me and does not represent my experiences with either of my children.
Since I had such a different experience than what appears to be most, I thought I’d share my breastfeeding journey with both of my children. I hope this helps someone who didn’t have it so easy! I get you :)
🐙 Oscar The Octopus by Matthew Van Fleet - This is a touch and feel book with fun, unique vocabulary words and months of the year!
⚠️Three Cheers For Kid McGear by Sherri Duskey Rinker - Part of the Construction Site series and the same illustrations, any truck lover will love the introduction of a girl skid steer to the crew!
🌌Solar System by Jill McDonald - A great introduction book to space and the universe with great excerpts about each planet and traits that make it unique!
🦕 Digging for Dinosaurs by Jaye Garnett - I love how interactive it is. You pull flaps and open little facts. Lincoln's favorite part surprisingly is the excerpt on hominids!!
👧I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont - books that boost confidence and easily talk about our differences are great! The illustrations are vivid, colorful, and silly.
NEWTOWN, CT children's museum @everwondercm was a hidden little interactive museum we discovered through CT Summer Museums🖼️
There is a lot to unpack here, but the highlights for us were the imagination station room, bearded dragon, grocery store, and floor games.
I was a little disappointed with toddler town and was expecting it to have more. The grocery room was great, but with one carriage, one register, and one kitchen spot they couldn't play fully together. The train/transportation room was full of cool tracks and vehicles and the sensory room was fun--but it definitely felt empty, like there could've been just something extra novel and different that wouldn't be elsewhere.
We were lucky to see the bearded dragon Mrs Morris up close and learned a bit about them from a staff member who was great and kind and patient. That was a great experience!
We didn't fully get to use the exhibits because they're geared a bit older. The magnet wall Lincoln loved but was too short to take full advantage of it. They had a tinker room that was cool but again, a little too old for us.
Overall, it was a fun morning and Lincoln left talking about the ramp and three wheeled cars so that's great and he really had fun! For me, I can't justify another trip because while we had fun, there wasn't much that held the kid's attention for more than a minute or two. New animals or an updated toddler geared exhibit would bring us back though!
For the location and ease of getting there, this zoo gets bonus points. Honestly, it's such a cute zoo--the animals look healthy, the habitats are well maintained and clean, the layout is easy to navigate.
There isn't a lot of diversity in animals and since it is smaller, it's a morning trip not a full day trip. We leisurely walked from 10-12 and that was enough for us all. We saw everything and weren't rushing around at all, if anything we were dragging to spend more time there.
The animals that are there are awesome. The wolves were so cool, and the spider monkeys put on a serious show (Lincoln was cracking up as they played on a ropes course). Alligators were a big hit and the Sumatran tiger was beautiful. I personally thought the black leopard was amazing! I loved watching him/her walk across the enclosure.
Some areas were closed due to COVID restrictions. We wanted to ride the carousel and it was closed. The indoor rainforest portion was closed. We had been once before and that inside part was really cool and you could get up close with the lizards and snakes. Loved it! They're opening a farmyard in June and we might go just for that! It looked really cool!
Overall, definitely a fun morning, some beautiful animals we don't get to see normally, and an easy walk with two toddlers. It's a perfect morning trip and at $15/person not a hefty outing. We stopped in the shop on the way out too! Very small, very cute, and a nice morning trip!