It is officially summer. School is out, and parents are looking for things to do and ways to keep their children (your grandchildren) from being bored, whining, complaining, or parking themselves in front of the TV for hours. Whether your grandchildren live close by or not, you may be asked to take care of them from time to time and, maybe more so, when school is out.
When I was a child, my family traveled to Texas to visit my grandparents. It was a hot, sticky, two-and-a-half day drive that made my parents need a vacation by the time we got there. My sister and I emerged from the car asking our granddad when he was going to take us and my cousins fishing. It was always a great treat and one of many things we looked forward to doing while we were there. After 10 days, it was back in the car for a day’s drive to my other set of grandparents where more adventures were planned.
My parents always wanted their granddaughters to have fun, memory-making visits – and the girls were never disappointed (except when it came time to return home). I want my grandchildren to have those same feelings when they’re with Gigi and Pabo. It is important to remember that the activities need to take into account their interests, ages and abilities.
One of the best things I did with the grandchildren in mind was purchase a NC Zoo grandparent-plus membership. Located in Asheboro, the zoo is an easy trip from Forsyth County and provides hours of fun and education for everyone. With different ages and appetites, we usually brought lunches and snacks from home, but there are a number of eating options on site. One of the great things about this membership is the discounts or free admissions I get to many other zoos and aquariums. Now living at the coast, it includes admission to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. The first time I used my membership, I added up the admission price to the zoo which included myself, two of my daughters and five grandchildren and found the membership had nearly paid for itself that first visit. It has more than paid for itself with now, not only the zoo, but the many times we have gone to the aquarium.
Living in North Carolina, we are so fortunate to have so many options of wonderful things to do and share with our grandchildren. I recently found a list and was astounded at the number of places to go and fun things to do that were available in this state. It appears that no matter where you are, you are only a short drive away from something that will delight and entertain.
Here are several examples of places I found: butterfly farm; raptor center; animal park and petting zoos; sea life aquariums; nature centers; ropes courses; zip lines; laser tag; white water center; gem mines; railroads; amusement parks; water parks; minor league baseball games; bowling; golf; tennis; ice skating; roller skating; children’s museums; lakes; mountains; parks; planetarium; libraries; escape rooms; movies; and the list goes on. To find anything your grands express interest in doing, all you need to do is search on your computer using a keyword to find what is available and the location.
So, next time I stay with my grandchildren in Charlotte, I will know about places to go that they maybe haven’t been to in a while or may not have ever been. Likewise, when they come for a visit or I am with my grands that live here, I can take them on new adventures that neither might have experienced. Either way, I hope when they grow up and have grandchildren of their own, they will have sweet memories of fun times with Gigi – oh, and Pabo.