There is an outdoor summer concert series in my town. It’s a fun place to enjoy the warm weather, mingle with friends and neighbors and picnic while listening to live music. It is also Baby Central. One night I looked around and thought, “Holy moly! There are more kids here than a Duggar family reunion!” No surprise there — it’s the perfect place for new parents. You don’t need a sitter, no one cares how much noise you’re making and it’s socially acceptable to hold a beer in one hand and your infant in the other. I’m pretty sure it would raise some eyebrows if you bellied up to a bar wearing a Baby Bjorn. Not that I’ve tried…
But this got me thinking about other places that are fun for both parents and babies , plus a couple places that are not.
A street fair. If it’s not too hot or too crowded, an afternoon of al-fresco people-watching is a new-parent friendly activity. Especially if you carry your baby in a sling or carrier so you don’t have to worry about running into people’s ankles with a stroller. Of course, there are risks involved with eating street food and using Porta-potties. Tip: bring lots of hand sanitizer.
The zoo. If your baby’s old enough to see more than a foot in front of his face, he may enjoy looking at wildlife, especially animals like elephants and giraffes that are large enough for him to actually see. Or, he may be terrified of the chimpanzees. You won’t know till you try.
The mall. So it’s not exotic or educational. At least they have refreshments and indoor bathrooms. Plus, if there’s an upscale department store there, you may find a clean, comfortable “mother’s room” where you can feed and change your baby without gagging.
Museums. Newborns may be pretty portable and quiet, but older babies are not. When my son was about 5 months old we took him to a history museum where he screeched and yelled the whole time because he liked the way it echoed throughout the silent, marble-floored galleries. Shockingly, no one asked us if we were interested in a museum membership that day.
Heavily trafficked senior locations. I’d suggest avoiding all places that are quiet and frequented by lots of old people. That may be the day your baby gets colic. And note that some places — like the aquarium in our city — ban strollers, so you may have to haul your hefty tot around in your arms all day.
If you really want my opinion, I say stay home. There will come a time soon enough when you’ll be forced to take your child to migraine-inducing birthday parties and Wiggles concerts. Why rush things?
What are your favorite places to go with your baby?