We decided to tag along last week on Andrew's business trip for Lifetime to Phoenix, AZ. We figured we could get away one last time as just the 3 of us and would probably have no other reason in the future to travel to Arizona. We initially intended on visiting the Grand Canyon but after finding out it would be about 6 hours each way and that there was a heavy snow storm mid-week, we opted for something easier--a trip to Tucson, the Phoenix Zoo, a wildlife center, U of AZ, ASU, and finally hung out by the pool.
A few things I learned on this first BIG family trip:
1) Never take a moment of silence and togetherness with just your spouse for granted while on a family vacation. Sure Andrew and I traveled together with Jack, but I assure you we did not get anytime to unwind and relax at the end of the night
2) Eating out for almost every single meal sucks, and sucks even more with a toddler
3) Just because we looked like A+ parent's for having a content and sleepy toddler on our flight down to AZ did not guarantee us the same results on the way back
4) Maternity swimsuits may or may not be on my list of pregnancy necessities, this week it was not
5) Sharing a king size bed with a toddler who is not accustomed to sleeping in the same direction as his parents leads to late-night head bumps and startling kicks to the face!
Besides the things I learned on this first big family getaway, we really had a great time. Sure we were more tired after a week of vacation than when we left but it was truly all a great experience.
First, we headed to Tucson, AZ. It was about 2 hours away from Phoenix and with two well-rested parents just beginning vacay we decided to attempt the trip. We had fun visiting a great Mexican restaurant called El Charro. They are rumored to be the oldest Mexican restaurant in the entire United States going back to the 1920's and I promise the food was amazing. We then headed to the University of Arizona to walk around, it was a gorgeous campus!
The second day we had what I like to call an 'expedited' trip to the Phoenix Zoo. We were torn on whether or not to go because it was the nicest day in AZ and we really wanted to hang by the pool too. Andrew and I decided Jack probably would really enjoy the giraffe's, elephant's, and rhino's (things we just don't have at the MN Zoo). To be quite honest with you it was so hot and humid I don't think Jack cared one bit about seeing the animals and didn't once ask to get out of his stroller to see them. After about 1 1/2 hours we headed back to the resort for some R&R at the pool.
Our last full day in AZ was filled with a trip to a wildlife center about 40 minutes outside Tempe. It was well worth the drive and money because it was such an interactive place. We went for a chairlift ride above the animals, a train ride through some exhibits, fed the giraffes, petted the wallaby's and even fed giant tortoises cucumbers and zucchini. We really enjoyed our time there and got up close and personal with some animals usually kept at a distance. Later we hit up Mill Ave and ASU to have some lunch. It reminded me a lot of Dinkytown by the U of M but way less ghetto and more family friendly.
For our final night of eating out Andrew and I were desperate for a kid friendly establishment, even if that meant Chucky Cheese. We found one close to our hotel and headed there for some not so great pizza and quite the amusing crowd. Chucky Cheese showed me a whole other side of parenting I hope to never see again and also was the only place I have ever seen Mexican Cola on tap.
Finally, our trip came to an end with a very difficult plane ride home. By the time it was all over, Andrew and I were exhausted and Jack had finally fell asleep at baggage claim. All in all we had a wonderful family trip and will always cherish the memories we made with our sweet Jack.