We had a insanely wonderful week off. No work, no blogging, no nothing but family. We needed it. After a full-time semester at school and meshing the new school schedule with his still-new job, Mike was ready for a break. The boys and I were delighted to have him at home and all to ourselves. 🙂
If you have no idea what a staycation is, it’s like a vacation minus travel expenses and hotel costs. We vacationed at home. We live on a tight budget but we live in an incredible area with lots to do . . . so we took advantage of it.
Today and tomorrow I’ll be highlighting two of our favorite staycation activities.
4701 Oakton Street
Skokie, IL 60076
The Skokie Exploratorium is part of the Skokie Park District boasting exploratory play areas designed for kids of all ages. It cost $15 for the four of us as non-residents (Noah was free) and enabled us to stay all day (although the kiddos lasted less than 2 hours). Included in the price of admission is access to a toddler-only play room, water experience, two-story tube-and-slide area, drum and music wall, and dress-up theater. There are also train tables, chalkboards, climbing wall, coloring stations and a book nook.
Elijah LOVED trying everything out. We spent a lot of our time running from activity to activity. The only thing that was a little beyond his capabilities was the climbing wall (although it’s doubtful that is within MY capabilities either!).
One of Elijah’s favorite areas was the water experience. The water experience enables kids to learn hands-on about fountains, waterfalls, channels and currents and gives opportunity to play with fishing nets, bath animals and toy boats.
My favorite feature of the experience are the baby seats in the middle of the shallow pool. Noah was able to splash and play by himself while Elijah played with the “big” boy toys and we didn’t have to worry about anyone’s safety.
Special note: The Exploratorium does provide water proof smocks for the kids to use but they are one-size-fits-all. When we picked Noah up out of the seat we discovered he was soaked from the chest down (even his shoes). Make sure to bring a change of clothes for everyone who plans to play – even Elijah needed a new shirt when we were done.
The two-story tube and slide area was super fun. There is no ball pit which is a huge plus for me – I can’t handle all the germs and potty accidents that happen in those. Another plus – all of the equipment is large enough for mom or dad to accompany little ones through the maze. Elijah is a little timid about small spaces (like me) and would have definitely gotten stuck if I wasn’t right behind him. We were really proud of him for going all the way up and coming down the slide with Mommy (which was surprisingly fast!).
All in all the Exploratorium was a HUGE hit in our house. We will be going back soon! 🙂