Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rainy Day Fun

As if returning from vacation to laundry, refrigerator re-stocking, vacuuming, and cooking wasn't enough--today was a rainy day.  My kids were barely hanging in there as I finished our morning chores, and we needed a fun reward for all our patience and hard work.

Fortunately, I had a rainy day idea saved up.

We went for a TRAIN ride!  Or, as E-Bear would say...."Shoooo SHOOOO!"

Minneapolis is fortunate enough to have a light rail train as part of its public transit.  We drive by it frequently, (SHOO SHOO!  Mommy!  SHoo SHooooo!) but my kids had never ridden on it before today. Oh, the excitement when I said we were going to ride the train!  You would have thought I had promised ice cream, candy and cookies on top of a pile of bubble blowers, toy cars and Disney princesses.  Not that we didn't still have two time-outs and several melt downs between putting on our shoes and getting into the car.....

Riding the light rail train is easily a 1-2 hour slam dunk rainy day activity.  We drove to one of the train stops, parked our car and bought our tickets at the automated kiosk.  It cost us all of $3.25 for 2.5 hours of fun:  $0.75 for each of the kids and 1.25 for me.  So worth it compared to the delight in my kids' eyes as we scooted onto the escalator up to the platform.

We started in the middle of the route, so we got to pick whether to head toward Downtown and the Twins Stadium or the Mall of America.  I knew we would be taking whichever train came first, which meant we headed toward MOA.  I couldn't believe it, but the kids were RIVETED.  Looking out the window was like a new adventure for them.  They loved watching the passing cars, trains, tunnels, bridges and buildings.  G-Bear loved listening to the train chimes and the names of the stations.  If all else failed, there was always great people-watching.

We arrived at Mall of America 25 minutes later, and took the elevator up to the Mall to have a snack that we had packed.  We agreed to walk around the Nickelodeon Amusement park, and goodness if I didn't hit the jackpot, because Dora the Explorer was there.

Now, this wouldn't have been a huge deal 2 weeks ago, but we are just back from visiting cousins E & S in North Carolina, and they are all about Dora.  So of course, G-Bear is also now all about Dora.  G-Bear's eyes lit up like a birthday cake.  And when Dora waved at her, you would have thought she had died and gone to heaven.  Goodness, the kid has only seen about 4 Dora episodes in her life!

When she was invited in to shake Dora's hand, no amount of fear could hold G-Bear back.

She practically melted when Dora gave her a hug:

By the end of our walk around the park, G-Bear was so blissed out that she was hugging plush people all over the place.

This is my cautious child?  What?

And E-Bear?  Well, he had a death grip on my thigh, hiding behind my right leg.

By the time we finally caught our light rail train back to our car the kids were tuckered out.  But we had enjoyed 2 hours of rainy day fun, all for $3.25.  Oh, that all rainy days would be so sweet.  We might have to pull out the old "Shoo Shoo" ticket again sometime soon.  

The moral of the story?  When rainy days head your way, no need to fret, no need to empty your wallet to find something to do.  A little creativity goes a long way, and when all else fails,

A sign at the entrance of Nickelodeon Universe.  It could not have more perfectly captured our day.  And we didn't spend a dime there.
May your rainy days turn out to be sunny.....


Patty said...

I love the picture of your daughter holding hands with Dora! That should be framed somewhere.

We have the DART down here in Dallas. My kids love riding that...totally affordabe fun.

I have a niece who practices at Mayo in Ob/Gyyn.

Luke and Jen said...

Your post made me laugh :) Good work!

Anonymous said...

The scary thing is that I happen to know that the pink plush person is Uniqua, a Backyardigan, otherwise known as Esme's alter-ego! Betsy, you ARE the COOLEST Mom! What a fun day!
Love, Bette