Thursday, September 29, 2011

Swan Boat Rides in Boston

Prior to heading to Boston this summer, I checked out the famous children's book Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey* from our library. I was hoping it would be a simple way to introduce the city and some of the sites to The Arrow before arriving. (If you're not familiar with the story, it's about a family of ducks who settle in the Boston Commons.) Alas, while he is a voracious reader, he never really took to the book and hardly glanced at it in the weeks preceding our trip. Not a total loss, though. I loved it and flipped through it several times before I returned it.

That book, in combination with several blog friends' recommendations, put a swan boat ride in the Boston Public Garden at the top of my list of things I wanted to do while visiting the city. So on our first morning there, we made that our first stop.

We arrived right as it opened at 10 a.m. and only had to stand in line briefly. It gave us a chance to watch the first few boats depart.

Insider Tip: If you find yourself waiting in a long line for the boats, I'd tag-team the parenting. Have someone wait in line until you get close to the boat house, while the other runs around in the park with the kids.

The ride itself was a pleasurable 15 minutes or so. Just long enough to hold a toddler's attention without getting too wiggly.

The Gardens itself are a beautiful spot in the city and you get a pretty good glimpse of them throughout the boat ride. Even if you don't have kids, it's a pleasurable experience. At least, that's what I hope these two travel companions would say. (My poor brother and sister-in-law got dragged on all kinds of toddler adventures while we were in Boston.)

After taking a boat ride, you're only steps away from a carousel, playground and the Boston Common Frog Pond. We walked by these fun attractions, but they weren't open for the day yet. If you time your visit right, you could easily fill a morning or afternoon in this part of the city.

If You Visit:
Swan Boats
The Boston Public Garden is bound by Arlington, Boylston, Charles and Beacon Streets. The Green Line Arlington Station is the closest T stop.
$2.75 for adults, $1.50 for children 2-15.
The 2011 season has concluded. The swan boats will begin running again sometime in April of 2012.
Insider Tip: There's not really a good place to park a stroller. We had a cheap one with us, so we felt comfortable just folding it up and parking it near a bench while we rode the boat. If you're traveling with an expensive stroller, consider bringing a lock of some sort to protect it from theft.

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

Like what you see? Then "like" Arrows Sent Forth on Facebook! You might also enjoy my Boston Trip Report, chronicling our 5 days in the city.

*Links to my Amazon Affiliate account. A small portion of any sales made through these links will come back to support this blog, but this does not in any way increase the cost of purchase for you.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Win Tickets to Max and Ruby Live

One of my favorite memories from last year was taking The Arrow to the Yo Gabba Gabba Live show. I know not everyone allows their kids to watch television (and I say bravo to anyone who manages to avoid it!). But taking The Arrow to a fancy theatre to see his favorite characters come to life was a really unique experience for him that I certainly won't forget. It can be hard to find age appropriate cultural experiences like this for toddlers and preschoolers, and at least these traveling shows provide a mechanism to do that.

The cost of these live shows can be prohibitive though, especially when you're pricing tickets for the whole family. So I'm excited to be giving away a family 4-pack of tickets to the upcoming Max and Ruby Live Show at the Murat Theatre in downtown Indianapolis.

Max and Ruby Live
Saturday, October 8
4 p.m. show (doors open at 3 p.m.)
Balcony seats (valued at $28.50 each)
Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
502 N. New Jersey Street

Giveaway Rules:
Deadline to enter is midnight on Sunday, October 2. On Monday, October 3, I will randomly draw one lucky winner. I will do my best to contact that winner (so make sure you provide some contact info!) You will have 24 hours to respond to me, and if I don't hear from you, then I will move on to another. So on and so forth.

4 Ways to Win:
  • Please leave me a comment telling me your favorite kid-friendly outing.
  • "Like" Arrows Sent Forth on Facebook and leave a comment to tell me you've done so. (If you already do, tell me that!)
  • Follow me on Twitter at @arrowssentforth and leave a comment to tell me you've done so. (If you already do, tell me that!)
  • Share a link to this giveaway through a social media outlet of your choice, and leave me a comment to tell me you've done so.
Good luck!

If you're visiting Arrows Sent Forth for the first time, and are from the Indianapolis-area, you may be interested in reading some of my family's Indiana Adventures. Perhaps it'll inspire your family to try a new destination and go on an Indiana adventure of your own! If so, I'd love to hear about it!

Disclosure: I received the family 4-pack of tickets to Max and Ruby Live free of charge from a local PR agency. I received no other compensation nor did I receive tickets to the show beyond this giveaway. This is just a way for me to thank you for reading and hopefully provide some fun family memories!

I'm linking up to Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Flying V at the NCAA Hall of Champions

Football season is in full gear around here. We're cheering on our favorite teams (c'mon Peyton, we NEED you!), I'm cooking up a big pot of chili this weekend, and our city is even preparing to host the biggest of all football celebrations, the Super Bowl!

Not only is Indy home to this enormous sporting event in February 2012, but it's also where you'll find the NCAA Hall of Champions, a museum dedicated to collegiate sports. This statue will greet you as you enter the museum:

If you know anything about football, you might recognize this formation at the Flying V or Flying Wedge. It's because of the Flying V and it's dangerous impact on the sport that the NCAA was formed. It was causing serious injuries, even deaths, and colleges and universities began to organize in order to address the situation. Soon the NCAA was formed. The Flying V has since been banned in nearly all organized sports. (More about the history of the NCAA is here.)

If you're visiting Indianapolis with kids, particularly those interested in sports, the NCAA Hall of Champions would be a great spot to burn off some energy!

If You Visit:
NCAA Hall of Champions
700 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis
Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10-5, and Sunday, 12-5.
Adult admission is $5. Kids 5-18 are $3. 5 and under are free.

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

Like what you see? Then "like" Arrows Sent Forth on Facebook! And speaking of fun attractions in Indianapolis, I've got a great giveaway planned for next week if you live in the area. Be sure to check back and enter!

Disclosure: I was invited to tour the NCAA Hall of Champions as part of a White River State Park press trip, which included my admission. I was under no obligation to write about my time at the museum, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sky City Cafe at the Eiteljorg Museum

I'm typically not a fan of museum cafeterias. I usually find the food to be boring and overpriced. Plus, the atmosphere often reminds me of my own high school cafeteria. (Dark, windowless rooms with little decor and unnatural lighting... sound like your high school?) There's just something about stark tables and feeding people sandwiches en masse that takes away from what's otherwise a fun, cultural experience.

So I'm happy to report that the Sky City Cafe at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis actually enhances a visit to the museum. Nearly all the food is inspired by the American Southwest region or Native American heritage.

The Food at Sky City Cafe

For example, the fruit salad you see above is topped with a prickly pear dressing. It's just sweet enough to heighten the flavors of the ripe fruit. And my Mohave Valley sandwich is a portabello mushroom, typed with queso fresco, and other yummy veggies.

In my pregnant stage, I don't usually order up a salad for lunch because it just isn't filling enough to keep me going all afternoon. But I have to admit I was jealous of this Oregon Trail Salad ordered by the guest sitting next to me (who was kind enough to let me photograph his lunch before he dug in). The chipotle grilled chicken looked so moist and was piled so high I'm sure it would fill up even the hungriest of guests.

A full menu is available here if you're mouth isn't already watering. There's also a kids menu that features some "safe" choices for the picky eaters, but also a few options with southwestern flair for those a little more adventurous.

The Atmosphere at Sky City Cafe

The atmosphere lives up to the delicious bites. On a nice day, my preference would be to sit outside on the terrace, which overlooks downtown Indy's beautiful Canal Walk. But the inside dining area is certainly an upgrade from the typical museum cafeteria, with warm colors and big windows that let in a lot of natural light.

If you're not planning a visit to the Eiteljorg (which you should reconsider!), you can dine at Sky City Cafe without paying admission to the museum. They'll also comp your parking. This makes the cafe a great choice for downtown workers looking for a little variety in their usual lunch options. It appeared many were rolling up their dress shirt sleeves and catching some sun while they dined when I visited in June.

More Information About the Eiteljorg

Earlier this week, I posted a daydream about my time at the Eiteljorg. Last week, I had a guest post at Midwest Guest about the more practical aspects of a visit to the Eiteljorg. You might also enjoy my friend Amy's post about the Sky City Cafe, at her Food Flights blog.

This post is a part of Wanderfood Wednesday at Wanderlust and Lipstick.

Like what you see? Then "like" Arrows Sent Forth on Facebook!

Disclosure: I was invited to tour the Eiteljorg Museum as part of a White River State Park press trip, which included my admission and lunch at Sky City Cafe. I was under no obligation to write about my time at the museum, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Eiteljorg Museum: Inspiring Travels Westward

Last week, Dominique at Midwest Guest (one of my favorite Midwestern travel blogs) offered me the opportunity to guest post. I wrote about my time at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis. The Eiteljorg Museum, devoted to Western and Native American art, may seem a little misplaced situated in the center of the Hoosier state. But I loved the way it transported me to an entirely different region of the country.

My post at Midwest Guest provides an overall synopsis of a visitor's experience. And while I would have never guessed it, the Eiteljorg is also very kid-friendly. I hope to take The Arrow to the museum's Western Family Experience and Jingle Rails exhibits in November before Baby Arrow comes.

But what lingers for me, weeks after my afternoon at the Eiteljorg, is a strong pull to visit New Mexico and other regions of the American Southwest. My time in this area of the country is limited--aside from a couple of trips to Phoenix that mostly involved laying around the pool (not that there's anything wrong with that!)

It would be a chance to introduce to The Arrow to scenery so foreign to him. Like the red hills that Georgia O'Keeffe so beautifully depicts here:

Or the pueblo she paints here:

In fact, I love Georgia O'Keeffe's work so much that I really want to plan a trip to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Sante Fe.

And I'd love to get back to Sedona and see images like this by Arturo Antonio Chavez:

What about a night camping in a tipi or wigwam?

It may be quite some time before I make a trip like this out West. For now, at least the Eiteljorg and its spectacular collection of art can take me there in my imagination and introduce even more of our country's unique landscapes and cultures to The Arrow when he visits.

If You Visit:
Eiteljorg Museum
500 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis
Open Monday-Saturday, 10-5 and Sunday 12-5
Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for kids 5-17, under 4 are free.
Insider Tip: You can park for free in the White River State Park garage just west of the museum.

This post is a part of Mondays are for Dreaming at The Mother of All Trips. On Wednesday, I'll be posting about the great southwestern food you'll find at the Eiteljorg's Sky City Cafe.

Like what you see? Then "like" Arrows Sent Forth on Facebook!

Disclosure: I was invited to tour the Eiteljorg Museum as part of a White River State Park press trip, which included my admission. I was under no obligation to write about my time at the museum, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

The Arrow continues to be pretty fascinated by animals of all kinds, so zoos are a favorite family outing for us. When I heard that the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo in northern Indiana was rated as one of the best zoos for kids in the country, I figured it was worthy of a road trip. And we were not disappointed.

My favorite aspect of any good zoo is the chance to get up close and personal with the animals. Why hello, Baby Giraffe! (Doesn't The Arrow look so calm?) Be sure to visit the giraffe feeding station, it was outstanding.

See ya later alligator!

And while we were really impressed with the variety of animals (particularly for a small city like Fort Wayne), The Arrow also enjoyed the man-made entertainment, like a ride on the Sky Safari.

It made me a little nervous to be up so high with him (much like our skylift ride at Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky), but the view of the Africa exhibit was worth it.

I'll be posting more photos from our time at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo all weekend at the Arrows Sent Forth Facebook page, so be sure to "like" us!

If You Visit:
Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
3411 Sherman Boulevard, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Adults admission: $13  Children 2-14: $8.50 (Parking is free, rides are extra)
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The zoo closes for the season on October 9 and will re-open in April.
Insider Tip: I offered a few ways to save money when visiting the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo in my post for Visit Indiana a few weeks ago.

Disclosure: My family's admission to the zoo was provided by Visit Fort Wayne. We paid for rides and other expenses. I was under no obligation to write about our time there, and all opinions are my own.

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

Whew... it's been a busy summer! I'm still unpacking from our last trip but thought I better write a post about traveling while pregnant while it's all still fresh in my mind. Because if there's one symptom of pregnancy that I suffer from thoroughly, it's forgetfulness!

1.) Timing. The bulk of our travels during this pregnancy have occurred during the blissful second trimester. When my energy was at its peak and sickness and discomfort were at a minimum. This means I haven't done a darn thing to get ready for Baby Arrow to arrive, but at least I have lots of fun memories!

2.) Snacks. I didn't experience this nearly as much with my first pregnancy, but this time around, I feel really lousy if I haven't had something to eat just about every two hours. Since that doesn't always correspond with a meal time, I have tried to plan accordingly by always carrying a small snack with me. A few of my favorites are Clif Bar Energy Bars,Emerald Breakfast On The Go snack packs,* or just some crackers, an apple or banana. I even keep a few granola bars in my car for unexpected hunger attacks or traffic delays.

3.) Water. I'm so sick of drinking water, but I try to keep some with me at all times while I'm traveling. If you already have a small child, I definitely recommend investing in a cup holder for your stroller. This makes hydrating on the go much easier. I really like this Munchkin Stroller Insulated Cup Holder* because it fits on all our strollers. (Note: Unsnap it from the stroller before you gate check it if you're flying. Our holder snapped off in transit.)

Flying with a bump and a toddler
4.) Daily rest time. Fortunately (for so many reasons), The Arrow still takes an afternoon nap, even when we travel. While in the past, we've been content to let him do that in the car or stroller, during our travels this summer we made it a point to head back to our rental home or hotel so that I could have some R and R also. This really helped me to enjoy the evenings instead of feeling like I might collapse.

5.) Be active at home, too. I've been trying to either walk or bike daily when we're at home, in addition to my normal caring-for-a-2-year-old activity. It has helped me to keep up with my family on our adventures when we're away from home without my body going into total shock. I've been a lot more active this pregnancy than I was during my first, and I feel so much better for it. If the weather doesn't allow you to get out, then perhaps you can do a pregnancy workout from home. I recommend Prenatal Yoga by Shiva Rea* as a good, relaxing yet strength-building workout.

6.) Avoid the stairs. While ordinarily, I would never waste time seeking out an elevator just to avoid going up a couple of flights of stairs, I have done so lately. (I used The Arrow's stroller as an excuse, but I did this a lot when coming up from the T stations in Boston.) So many places are handicap accessible now, so I just keep an eye out for the wheelchair symbols or elevator signs. I think it saves me some physical exertion and helps me stay energetic for longer periods of time. (Or maybe I'm just lazy!)

7.) Build in a day of rest. It's not always possible, but we've tried to return home a day prior to my husband going back to work. This gives me a chance to rest when we get back, which I have found I really need. When my husband has returned to work the day after we get home, then I try to make sure The Arrow and I don't have much planned so that we can just chill out and rest. I find he needs this too, and we're all happier for it.

8.) Flip flops. This is not normally the footwear I recommend for traveling, especially if you're doing a lot of walking. But my feet tend to expand, swell, and just change rapidly throughout the day when it's hot, and quality flip flops have allowed that to happen in relative comfort. I really like the Teva Women's Olawahu* style.

9.) Invest in a few maternity dresses. Nothing fancy, I'm talking about cotton, summery sundresses (if you're traveling in the summer). I own a few, and they were great to take on trips. They took up less room in the suitcase and were much cooler because it was only one layer to deal with, instead of maternity top, shorts, camisole, etc.

10.) Baby Powder. I don't leave home without my Johnson's Baby Powder* (preferably in a travel size). I don't normally sweat much, but I do when I'm pregnant. My sister suggested baby powder and by applying it each morning in trouble spots before we head out to sightsee, hike, or whatever we have planned, I'm much more comfortable throughout the day. My apologies if this is a bit TMI.

Speaking of TMI, who has a suggestion for avoiding restroom breaks every 45 minutes on road trips? I became quite familiar with far too many exits on I-74 between Indiana and Iowa this weekend.

*Links to my Amazon Affiliate account. A small portion of any sales made through these links will come back to support this blog, but this does not in any way increase the cost of purchase for you.

Like what you see? Then "like" Arrows Sent Forth on Facebook!

This post is a part of Top 10 Tuesday at Oh Amanda.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

They Work Hard for the Money

In honor of the Labor Day holiday weekend, I thought I'd share some fun and interesting photos from unique jobs we've spotted while traveling.

Can you imagine cleaning this tank at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa?

I bet this dinosaur has both delighted and petrified many tiny visitors to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. (The Arrow had trouble deciding which emotion to go with.)

During our trip to Boston, this young man maneuvered our Swan Boat around the pond by pedaling. He claimed it's only a little harder than riding a bike, but with about 20 people on the boat, I'm not so sure I believe him.

And this grist mill operator at Spring Mill State Park knew so much about the fascinating history of the mill. I can't imagine giving a 20 minute speech while operating a 100+ year-old piece of equipment.

While my family is all play and no work during our travels, we sure do appreciate all the hard working folks who make our trips so much fun! Happy Labor Day!

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.