the best laid plans


Whenever I’m planning a trip for our family, I always imagine it a certain way. First of all, everyone is happy. All of us. All the time. Secondly, we all have such a great time, we’re practically skipping with joy. Hand holding, laughing…it’s  like a scene out of a Disney movie. And at the end of the trip, everyone is so reluctant to go home because of all the zippity-do-dah fun we’re having. Mind you, this is all going on in my head. So when I planned our mini getaway over Memorial Day weekend, the same scenario played out in my mind. I had originally wanted to go to the beach, but becuase of cooler temperatures, opted for something different. I booked us a hotel room at a place with an attached indoor water park-a place that online, looked like the ultimate kid fantasy. It looked so fun, in fact, that I got us tickets for 2 days in a row. ($$$$$$$) Because of all the fun we would have, one day simply would not be enough. I thought how fun it would be to stay in a hotel with the kids. I booked us one room for all of us. How cozy is that? (Don’t say anything.) So we packed up the car and took off for our family fun adventure.

The drive was completely smooth. We put a movie on the ipad and they were captivated and content right up until we pulled up into the hotel parking lot. However, after waiting in line at the front desk for about half an hour, we learned that no rooms were ready due to overbooking, so we ended up here for a bit:


Dunkin Donuts. It was that or Carl’s Jr. Traveling with kids, I have learned that it’s best to go with the flow. Something I am still working on…. An hour or so later (and a carpet of munchkin crumbs left behind), we were able to check in our room. I remember the thrill of a hotel room as a kid-it’s so new and exciting, and I could see this in my kids’ reactions. They were giddy as soon as we walked into our room. It is so fascinating seeing things through the eyes of a child. Everything is such an adventure. I wish I still felt that way about hotels. I can’t get past the awful pillows and hearing unpleasant mystery noises from the room next to you.

We then all got our bathing suits on and headed down to the water park. (Imagine a choir singing ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!)


And that is only a portion of that place. There were multiple levels. Multiple. Like a never-ending torture chamber.


The kids were ecstatic. It was really, really cute. Immediately, Brody ran into the kiddie area, but ran too fast, tripped and fell, and his head went under and he took in a little water. (Ok, a lot) He lost his shit (rightfully so) and wanted no part of anything else. Zoe, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to see the whole park. So I took her walking around and we went by the area in the picture. But every 10 second or so, huge waves of water came down on everyone, and one of them hit us both square in the face. As much as I tried to convince her it was ‘fun’, she was screaming and wanted to get the hell out of there. Walking away, she tripped and scraped her knee, causing further distress. And this was all in the first 10 minutes. Sigh. Go with the flow, mama, go with the flow……

We eventually did have some fun on the lazy river (after I had to scold some hooligans that were shoving us-yes, I’m that mom), and Brody ended up really enjoying himself. But the noise level in that place was making my ears bleed and I think I have some permanent hearing loss. (And some emotional trauma caused by whistles.) Needless to say, we sold our tickets for the following day. The thought of having to do that all over again….well, let’s just say pouring a vat of acid into my eyeballs would have been more enjoyable. Instead, we decided to go to the big aquarium on Camden, NJ the next day. We were in the area and I had been wanting to take the kids there for a long time.

The next morning, everyone was quite tired (awful pillows, mystery noises and a constantly buzzing/vibrating alarm clock) and we started the day off like this:


Go with the flow, go with the flow….

I love aquariums; I find them so fascinating. And I had hoped that my kids’ first trip to one would be truly memorable. And this place was the motherload of aquariums.








(To answer that question, about 5 seconds, which is 5 seconds too long…..)

The aquarium really was pretty amazing. It would have been nice to really see it, not in a “ok move on before the kids get bored and lose it” kinda way. There were a few meltdowns, a code brown (read: diaper situation) and a couple falls, but all in all, not a total bust.

We had a snack:



Took in the view:


And packed up and went home. At the end of every trip like this, my husband and I often ask each other “why do we do this to ourselves?” The trip NEVER goes as I imagined it, but then again, what does? No, no one was so happy they were singing zippity-do-dah out their aholes. There were meltdowns. Many. No one really slept much. We spent way too much money. But we made some memories. Some I’d like to forget, yes, but some things I’d like to remember for the rest of my life. And that is why we keep doing these trips.





I hope you all had a very happy, healthy (and memorable) Memorial Day weekend.


2 thoughts on “the best laid plans

  1. I’m thinking you might have been really close to where Mike n I live cuz we are so clues to the Aquarium in Camden… We’re you guys in Mt Laurel by chance? Too bad… We live 10 min from where I think you guys went… Would have loved to see you! If you guys decide to come to the Philly area again, FaceBooke or shoot me an email:)!

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