With a baby and toddler, traveling can be daunting, especially when kid-friendly doesn't turn out to be baby and toddler friendly.

We've realized what a difference that is, so we are here in hopes to share and learn about the best places to go with our babes and tots in tow.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Jaunt to Jacksonville

Our latest trip was to Jacksonville, Florida for my husband's work. What to do, what to do with the kiddos during a humid, summer week-actually week and half? I got resourceful and found some great places that were ideal for babies AND toddler--a parent dream come true.

The Hands on Museum
8580 Beach Blvd
(904) 642-2688
Monday-Saturday 9:30-5:00
Ages 1-3 $4.50 and ages 4 and up including adults $5.50

My son loved this place and so did I. The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. Exhibits included a firetruck and firehouse, veterinarian office, bank, post office, newsroom, fifty's style cafe, grocery store, puppet room and a special babies and toddler's only room for those really little ones. Along with the interactive themed sections, there was also wheelchair basketball, tubes/slides, train tables, ball pit, and my son's all time favorite--the gears wall. We could kill several hours there easily, and we met a lot of fun moms and dads too.

Pump It Up Inflatable Party Zone
11840 Beach Blvd , Suite 10
Jacksonville, FL 32246
(904) 646-1441
Call for open gym hours
$8 per kid, no charge for adult

My greatest fear with these kinds of places is that my son is going to get stuck in the middle or get scared and I will have to climb in after him with baby girl in the Bjorn. Thankfully, during the open gym time, there are so few people there, it was a breeze. It helped too that my son is fearless and I didn't have to go in after him-not once. A great way to show acceptable jumping activities--the beds and sofa's at my husband work apartment were relieved and so was I. He actually took a nap that day-BONUS!

Jacksonville Beaches
Public parking was easily found and close to the beach. Renting umbrella and chairs was amazingly easy too, so you could keep the babes out of the sun and also have a resting place for the toddlers when that Florida sun got just a little too hot. Joe's Crab Shack was right on the beach with a playground. I've never been before, but the venue was loud and friendly, and even when my little baby girl decided she was done with us eating, no one could hear her starting to cry. It really couldn't have been a more friendly place for us to bring the kids. Just have a plan on how to get your kiddo out of that playground.

Museum of History and Science (MOSH)
1025 Museum Circle
Jacksonville, FL
904) 396-6674
Adults $11
Children 3-12 $9
Senior and Military $9.50

There was a special for weekends for $5 a person--what a bargain! This place was awesome and good for kids of any age. I was confused because when I called and asked, I was told it wouldn't be good for toddlers. Maybe the exhibits weren't meant for young, young kids--the dinosaur exhibit was the following week--but there were so many cool hands on exhibits that my little guy could completely appreciate, for example, the flatulent machine--enough said! Plus there was a great toddler room right in front, with a huge tree with Spanish moss and...wait for it--a HUGE water table. It took us about an hour to go through the museum and about three times as long to try and get our son out of the toddler room, but mission accomplished--tired toddler, who was ready for bed at 7:30!

Along with Joe's Crab Shack, other places we found very B & T (Baby and Toddler)friendly were The Loop Pizza and Grill http://looppizzagrill.com/ and Monkey Jungle Funtime Pizza http://www.monkeyjunglefuntimepizza.com/

Other places we just didn't get to this time around:
The Jacksonville Zoo-we hear you can feed the giraffes
Adventures Landing--though I fear that this water park is not so kid friendly

Have you been there or live there? Have more tried and true suggestions? I'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment and let's get some dialogue going!