The fun in Richmond seemed never-ending until it ended. After our morning at the Botanical Gardens we headed for the James River. The temperature was 90 and muggy and we needed to get wet. We found ourselves at a section of the James River Park called Pony Pasture which was advertised as being kid-friendly.
Well, the river must have flooded because those kid-friendly play areas could not be found. We managed to find a shallow creek but the volume of poison ivy was causing such high anxiety I felt an eye twitch coming on. We got back in the car and headed for a flatwater area downriver called The Wetlands which was rumored to have a shallow sandy beach. There was no beach. Only mud. And roots. And a long walk from the car. I wore the baby in the Ergo and pulled my daughter along by the hand. It was the kind of thing that should have been fun but nobody seemed to have received the memo.
Still, we changed our focus from swimming to hiking and with the added intrigue of the floating cottonwood puffballs my daughter became rather enchanted. I was not but tried to keep my sneezing to myself for the sake of the group. One day we shall visit these spots again but hopefully during a non-flood period.
The thing about wearing a baby is that they get to smear you with whatever happens to be on their hands and there is nothing you can do. And they know this.
The smell of the honeysuckle in the humidity was delicious.
Wait a minute. Escaping baby!
Intro to trudging.
The next morning was our last in Richmond. I took the kids to Deep Run Park in the nearby town of Short Pump and I was so glad we had saved it for our last day. What a wonderful place. In Southern Maryland where we live there are many nice playgrounds but few of them have any sense of imagination and they are all in full sun. Deep Run Park is apparently where that imagination ended up. There is a CASTLE. A great one. In the shady woods. Behind it there is a smaller play area that features a stagecoach with separate rocking horses. The bathroom is close by and there were no crowds the morning we were there.
Deep Run Park, Short Pump, VA
Thanks Richmond! What a great place to take young kids!
Feeding the giraffes, a new experience.
Day 3 in Richmond…. what to do? Time for the Richmond Metro Zoo!
Let me clear, I am not a zoo person. I find them to be a completely depressing experience and before I ever had kids I wondered if I’d be able to one day bring myself to take them to a zoo. That day is here. I now have kids. I have kids who do not get the opportunity to see many animals in a world where animals are quickly disappearing. I am a parent and I am also a realist who wonders how much time is left to see these animals before they’re gone. And so we found ourselves armed with a cup full of giraffe snacks at 9:15 this morning while waiting in the long line of children doing the pee dance until the zoo opened at 9:30.As far as zoos go the Richmond Metro zoo is small and manageable. There is a playground, a jungle carousel, a ski lift (didn’t see it running though) and a zipline for the adventurous.
On Thursday we made it over to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens and wow, wow, wow! We chose a very hot day for this event and could only stay a couple of hours but it was wonderful. We spent most of our time in the Children’s Garden which has an incredible treehouse, a water play area, a big sandpit in the shade, and a number of small houses the kids can go inside.
Most of the property is quite sunny but there are a few pockets where you can hide in the shade. The Children’s Garden was one but there were also a couple shady ponds. If you’ve got young kids though, the earlier you plan to arrive the better. It’s a busy place for playdates and school trips. The Conservatory was gorgeous and filled with small waterfalls and orchids. There is a butterfly pavillion but as it does not allow strollers (for good reason of course) we weren’t able to visit it this time.
This was a place that felt a little bit like a magical happy land. Everyone walking around had a smile on their face. Of course most of them were elderly and likely retired so what’s not to love? They’re probably that happy wherever they go. We would go back to this place in a second- I had to drag my daughter out of the mini house exhibit.