Saturday, October 26, 2013

Northpark Center and Collin Creek Mall-- all in ONE day!!

NorthPark Center 
and Collin Creek Mall 

Story Time, Ducks and Turtles, and a Soft-Play Area
FREE  (My only cost was the $10 train ticket, less than I would have spent in gas)

Of course I had to hit up 2 places when I took my excursion to Plano.  I do not live close to the area, so I take transit and knock out a couple of the places on my 'Jacob and Mommy Playtime Wishlist'.  I decided one lovely day that I was going to hit up a storytime somewhere new.  I love storytimes and we 'chase' them all over the metroplex.  You always have something to do if you have a library near you, and in the metroplex, you do.  At least one.  I love how each and every story time is so unique, and I use many of the techniques that I have learned going to these storytimes at home. 

Jacob and I rode the TRE out to Dallas and then took the light rail and a quick shuttle over to NorthPark Center.  The Storytime would be held in North Court and was at 10:30, we arrived at 10:15.  That gave me a chance to change Jacob, which I needed some time because there were not any close bathrooms, or at least what I consider close.  When I came back down the LOOOONNNGGGG hallway from the bathroom, I was greeted by children's music, little colorful mats spread out on the floor, and mommies and lil munchkins arriving.  There was a table to get your 'jingle bell' rattles, and scarves which were to be used in a song.  We grabbed ours and picked out a nice spot, I was so excited and Jacob was dancing his little heart out to the music that played.

Story time was magical.  It is right out in the middle of North Court.  Rhymes and stories, scarves as kites and songs to shake those bells to... it was fantastic.  Happy children squealing and singing and stomping, passers-by stopping to look at the adorable children and also the mommies singing and reading with their precious babies, 20 awesome minutes of this.  I loved the song selection, and if it was a new song, it was really easy to learn so that after the first verse, you are just singing right along.  

This Storytime is actually part of the Bookmarks storytime, and Bookmarks is a branch of the Dallas Public Library that is located inside NorthPark Mall.  If you happen to miss the morning storytime in the middle of North Court, you can attend the next one at 12:30 IN the library.  The library is small, but really interesting.  Jacob and I spent some time here after we had snacks in the courtyard.  We had yet another storytime, I read 3 books to him while he played with puzzles (you get them from the front desk).  

At this point I am ready to see some turtles and ducks.  I walk for what seems like forever, past fountains and art sculptures that I don't understand and shops I will never shop at, until finally I reach the "pond" area.  It is inside, with shallow water and some pyramid looking fountains, water cascading down the sides and shrubbery around, kinda nice, I liked it.  A little bridge to walk over and a little rock island for a heat lamp, food, and hanging out right there were 3 little ducks and a turtle.  Well Jacob was happy.  "Du-Duck, Du-Duck", he screamed.  We spent at least 20 minutes there. Du-duck, du-duck.  20 minutes.  Ha ha ha I can still hear him!!

It is past lunchtime and nearing Jacob's nap time, so we skedaddled and made our way to the shuttle.  Jacob and I chow down on some bananas  and he got his milkies on the shuttle as we make our way to the light rail.  Onward from the light rail we hit up a bus from Downtown Plano to Collin Creek Mall where Jacob began his 45 minute nap.  I gotta say that writing this, transit sounds like a lot with the trains and light rails and shuttles and buses, but it really isn't.  I find it much more calm and relaxing than driving anyhow.  And it's easy once you get the hang of it..  

We arrive at Downtown Plano Station, to find that there is a park right there next to the station!!  A park with a pond, no less!!  Well, Jacob was still sleeping in my arms, so maybe we can play on our way back.  Jacob slept on the bus ride also, and woke up right before we arrived at the mall.  Perfect timing!!!

We walked into the mall, and Jacob had to check out Lunar Golf.  The lady inside was really nice and let Jacob just walk around for a while.  I finally peel him away from the neon colors and we head towards the play area.  WOW.  That is what I have to say about his awesome play area.  A jeep stuck in the mud and a waterfall are the two places that the kids really hung out at.  Outside this wonderful play area are some coin operated kiddie rides and around the corner is one of those bounce attractions that Jacob is way too young for.  I highly recommend making a visit to this play area if you can.  One of the best so far.

After all this fun, I am ready to go, as is Jacob.  We make the bus right as we walk out the door, and head back to Downtown Plano for about 15 minutes of park fun before it is time to go. Transit arrives, it is time for us to finally sit.  Then, my dear son passed out immediately.  I just stared at my exhausted baby for most of the way back.  Just watched his little chest go up and down, his sweet breath each time making its way up to tickle my nose.  He slept in my arms on the train as well.  OUT.  Completely out.  
My little booger

Monday, October 7, 2013

Even more fun events around DFW!!!

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Paradise Pond
301 E. Texas Street

Grapevine                                                  $1 per person

Thursdays and Fridays 9am-11am

Paradise Pond is a child's wonderland.  A parent's too.  The second you step foot inside, you feel this childlike glee, you know that you are about to have a ball!  There are rules and a waiver you must sign, then you get your Paradise Pond key chain and off you go to explore the magical world that First Baptist Church of Grapevine has created.

I am amazed at how organized this place is.  There are little "stations" each one with a different theme.  You can go shopping at the little kid 'market' complete with toy fruits and veggies, a child's play kitchen, little shopping carts to gather your 'groceries', and a little table set up for a tea party if you like.  Around the corner you can play with toy cars and all things 'vrooom', my son likes to sit in here for about an hour.  You may enter the Paradise Pond area, which is an enclosed look-alike pond that has little soft play mats for lily pads and toy dinosaurs scattered throughout.  The main 'attractions' in this wonderland are a bounce house, a wood workshop,  little baby roller coasters, a large tube structure to play in, little bikes that are connected and move in a circle kind of like a merry go round, and an area for dress up.  Yup.  The kids can dress up like a princess or Elmo or Superman or a ballerina and go "shopping" or play with toy cars, just not in the bounce house or play structure.  They want to keep the costumes in good shape.  

For $1, you cannot beat this place.  There is far more to this place than I can even mention.  I loved it, my son loved it, his cousin loved it, all the kids there were having a BLAST, I mean, everyone needs to go here at least once.  

You do need to know the following:
*Paradise Pond is just past the First Baptist Church building on the left if taking Texas St. from Main St.  There will be signs pointing you to the right direction.

*Show up at 9.  Paradise Pond is very popular, and once they reach capacity, a sign is placed outside that reads that their pond is overflowing.  Keep on driving and try to come back another day.

*I can't remember if they allow shoes or not, but a good rule to remember is that you always want to bring socks to any play area, as MOST of them have rules about socks only.

*You can rent it out for birthdays, just know that you need to schedule it at least 6 months in advance.  Popular place, and once you visit, you will know why.

Jacob and his cousin Haley could not make it to all the play areas.  There is just so much to do.  I am certain that I will be visiting Paradise Pond again in the very near future!!  2 hours will seem like nothing when you leave here, as there is so much to keep you and your little ones busy.  Jacob passes out before we can even leave the parking lot, so it's a great nap-maker!!!

Bounce Time at Colleyville Public Library

Bounce Time Friday



for the 'under 3' crowd, perfect for crawlers!!

Colleyville Public Library

110 Main St  Colleyville

Every Friday morning, (always check the website calendar for closings) you can take your lil chillins to Colleyville Public Library to release some wiggles.  It is fantastic!!  They have a nice sized room room set up with a bunch of soft play toys and mats to climb and tumble around on.  You will find little toys to play with, balls to bounce, tunnels to crawl through, and plenty of area to roam. I love that the mothers are very attentive here and everyone is so friendly!  Background music with children's songs and nursery rhymes so my son danced near the CD player for 15 minutes! And how cute to see the little ones get excited about a nursery rhyme they know come on.  

When playtime is nearing it's end, the 'time to clean up' song is played and everyone helps put away the toys.  It is only open for an hour, but afterward you can head right next door to the children's library area, where there are toys for the little kiddos to play with and books to read to them.  You can read to them while they play, or check out some books to read to them later.  

I love public libraries and what they have to offer, I always say you have something to do and somewhere to go if you have one near you.  Get out of the house and snuggle up in a big over sized chair at the library and read a story or two.

The Tubes at Irving Bible Church

2435 Kinwest PKWY

(North Irving - off Beltline and 635)

OPEN EVERY DAY from 9am-9pm.  

*Closed from 8am-10:30am for cleaning on last Wednesday of the month.  


I stopped here on a whim because I was in the area, and I had seen The Tubes mentioned in a number of other blog posts and forums.  We didn't have a ton of time, but we did get to experience the fun that is the Tubes, and I see why it is a favorite!!

The tube structure itself is for ages 3+ I would guess, looks like a ton of fun.  Of course, I have a 13 month old and my sister has an 11 month old, so we really appreciated the toddler area, fish tank, and tiny tot area  inside the enclosed tube structure.

We took the kids to the bug themed play area, which is mostly enclosed and great for crawlers, cruisers and walkers.  Jacob wanted to explore further, so we strolled into The Tubes.

I am rather claustrophobic, so we didn't spend too long in there.  It seems really compact, which I am sure kids don't care about, but I don't have a preschooler, I have a toddler that I need to stay next to in a play area like that.  Straight to the back, there is a little structure for the tinier tots, which the little ones enjoyed.  They climbed and crawled through a tunnel enjoyed their loud echoes inside the glass enclosed area.  

It was almost time to go when we ventured out, and noticed that there was an aquarium and a wall next to it with funny shaped and distorted mirrors.  I will say the aquarium was a big hit.  They pointed and babbled at the fish, until we had to peel them away and make a dash for the car.

The staff here is very friendly and yes, you can have birthday parties here!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Grapevine Community Activity Center

Discontinued until further notice FRIDAYS ONLY 10am-12pm

$1 per child over 12 months, 

Parents FREE

I absolutely love this place.  Jacob loves to walk, and here I don't have to constantly pick him up or redirect him.  It is a gym that has a bouncy house, tumbling mats, giant soft blocks to build obstacle courses with, kiddie cars and bikes to ride, bouncy balls, hula hoops, a kiddie kitchen and workbench, and Whack-A-Mole on the wall.  Unlike some of the other play areas, the CAC can accommodate many children at once.  There is plenty of space for the munchkins to run, bounce, tumble and be rowdy.