It is officially March which means it is nearly time for spring break. A time for sand, warmth, and depending on where you live, snow. For many spring break does not have to be a time to stay bored indoors. If parents are able to get time off to spend with their kids on these breaks (or use some vacation hours) then spend it exploring the area and have a staycation at home.
A staycation is a vacation at home. In an article put out by Forbes, it was mentioned that in a summer survey done in 2008 by the American Automobile Association, “the average North American vacation will cost $244 per day for two people for lodging and meals. Add some kids and airfare, and a 10-day vacation could top $10,000.” Vacations do not have to be out of town, and especially do not have to be to Cancun or to Disneyland, but can be right in our own backyard. There are some pretty cool things right in our own backyards too. Heck, pretend to be a tourist and explore the area, you just might find something cool for both parties (your children and you) to actually enjoy.
The Putnam Museum in Davenport, IA is doing something very cool for those kids that enjoy listening to your music then go check out the Beatles exhibit when it comes March 11. This is a great thing for those who like that old time rock and roll sound, or just happen to be absolute Beatles fans. Take your kids and share what the music you listened to growing up was like. They just might enjoy it, and if there is a rainy day during spring break, then this is a fun activity to do. It does cost money though, so be warned. Also check out the regular exhibits at the Putnam and let your kids learn about fun things for the day. Tickets for adults run $8 and tickets for youth run $7.
Another rainy day location to visit is the Family Museum in Bettendorf, IA! This exciting museum has some cool hands on exhibits perfect for young children in elementary school. One of the cool exhibits in this museum is Fox Hollow, an imaginary town where kids can pretend to work and live. Featuring a one of a kind kinetic sculpture that doubles as a clock tower kids can be interactive as they get small metal balls to move and possibly play ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. Kids can play in the shoe store, in the vet office and the post office. They can visit the Harvest Market and go check out the Fox Hollow Fire Department. After working up an appetite, they can visit the Pizza Shop or the Ice Cream store in Fox Hollow. Another great exhibit for kids is George’s Farm where they can learn about where the food in the Harvest Market comes from. It also allows kids to take care of the livestock (I am pretty sure the animals in the exhibit aren’t real), and keeps kids entertained. For kids even younger, as in 4 years old, there is even a Playhouse where they can learn and grow. So go enjoy this other rainy day activity with your young ones. Admission is $4 for the one year old in your life, $8 for kids ages 2 to 59, and free for all kids under the age of one.
For some free activities in the area, one place to go is the John Deere Pavillion in Moline, IL. This one of a kind place showcases the history of some of America’s well known Green Machines. Also not to mention that kids are encouraged to touch, sit in the cabs of the tractors, and even play with the simulators. For younger fans there is even a Discovery Zone that features activities such as how tall is your child compared to a tractor tire. Again, this activity is free so take your kids and go visit. I would recommend this activity for all ages but with slightly older kids it probably works better.
For older kids who enjoy farm machines, take a tour of the place where they are built. The John Deere Factory Tours are something that older kids may enjoy. These must be made a minimum of 48 hours in advance, but are booked on a first-come, first-serve basis so if this is something that your kids may be interested in, book in advance! Kids MUST be a minimum of 13 for this activity. Check out www.deere.com under factory tours for more information and to see the many tours available, or call 800-765-8000.
If it is a nice day, check out Empire Park in East Moline, IL, and go check out the giant wooden jungle gym. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, and check out climb on the giant, wooden jungle gym.
Another thing to check out in Davenport, IA for those outdoorsy families check out the Nahant Marsh. This 265 acre is in southwest Davenport, it seems like it would be a cool place to go explore. The Education Center is open Monday through Fridays from 8:30am to 4:30pm, and Saturdays 9am to 3pm with trails open daily from sunrise to sunset. Again go check out the swamp for some outdoors fun in the area.
Head out to Aresenal Island, and go visit the Mississippi River Visitor Center. This visitor center is overlooking the Upper Mississippi River and gives visitors an inside look on what is going on in this area.
For quieter activities for kids, check out local library activities such as at the Davenport Library there are activities in April (if your spring break falls in April) where kids can do anything. Check out some of the local activities and honestly there are things for young kids to adults. Also libraries give your kids to explore different worlds in books. There are many different libraries though so check your local library for all the activities going on.
Also go to the park with the kids, because sometimes just being outside is what kids need. I know I have heard before dirt does not hurt, and actually being outside is good for kids. So even if it is just for a couple hours, go to a local park and enjoy.
Besides the activities some other ways to have a good staycation with your kids are basic things such as leave the electronics at home. Unless they are strictly being used as a camera/video camera, then they don’t need to be in your bag. For parents, try to leave the work at the office and do not take it on vacation with you if possible. Put up an ‘out of office/on vacation’ reply to your email so people know that you are on vacation. Enjoy your time with your kids at home they are only going to be young for so long. So if possible, leave the electronics at home and even tell the teens to leave their electronics at home.
Another thing is have your kids keep a journal, and write down their days and what they did. Once pictures get developed put them in the journals and label them. This is something that in the future your kids may want to look back over and relive the memories or even in the way future, share them with their own kids.
Staycations are great for those that may not have the best budget for an out of state trip for spring break, or want to stay local. Many people do not realize all the cool things that exist in their own backyards. Even though there is a week in January dedicated to being a tourist in your own backyard, spend spring break as a tourist too. Eat at places that are kid friendly that you normally don’t visit or try something new. Buy some strange useless item as a souvenir for the vacation to keep at home. These are the moments that you will remember for the rest of your life so take some time today to try something new with the kids in your life. After all, these memories do not last forever. Make them count while they are young. With that, good luck and have fun during spring break because you never know when something is going to happen. Enjoy your staycation and enjoy the Quad Cities.