Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips

Tips on going to Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers

Tips on going to the Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers

Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips

We recently went to the Texas Renaissance Festival with two toddlers under 4. We had one 2 year old and one 3 year old. We had a great time, and I wanted to share our tips!

Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips

Buy Tickets Online

We bought an adult 4 pack through the Texas Renaissance Festival. It was fast and easy. I waited late to make sure no one got sick or weather wasn’t terrible. Kids are free on Sundays, but kids under 5 are free every day! My son’s grandma ended up coming, and we bought a single adult ticket on Groupon for $22. You don’t have to print out the tickets. You can show them on your phone, but there can be bad service at the Texas Renaissance Festival.

Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips

Bring Cash

This is a big one for us! We often times don’t have a ton of cash on us. Most of the food areas and face painting only take cash!

Parking is Free

You can pay extra for Premium Parking, but they have a nice big parking lot among trees. My Mother-in-law even took a picture of the parking since it is pretty cool how they have it laid out. It might be worth it to pay if you are staying late till fireworks and want to get out faster. Make sure to remember your parking row number though!

Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips

Print out a Map before!

They sell programs and maps, but it looked like they were charging for them. We just wandered around, but I think we may have missed some fun rides. I recommend printing a map before, so you don’t need to buy the programs they are selling.

Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips

Dress Appropriately!

No, I am not talking about costumes. The Texas Renaissance Festival is 90 percent outdoors. Think about muddy ground if it has rained. We came on a beautiful day and I still would recommend sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen especially for the kids. Lots of people are in costume, so you are welcome to do that too. We didn’t see any mosquitoes on the day we went, but it might be worth it to bring spray just in case!

Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips

Bring a Wagon/Stroller

There’s lots of walking, starting from the parking lot. We brought our collapsible red wagon! This works great for pulling waters, diaper bags, all the random stuff we acquire.

Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips

Bring UNOPENED Bottled Water

The rules are that you can bring one unopened bottle of water per person. We brought kids cups and unopened bottled waters. Pro Tip: Buy the big bottles of water. Also, when we went, no one checked our bags for snacks or drinks, so if you wanted to sneak in some kids snacks you could. The kids enjoyed eating Renaissance Festival snacks though.

Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips

Arrive Early

This is difficult to do, because it is a long drive. We started getting ready as soon as the kids woke up and ate some food. We still arrived after Noon, but this is when most people arrive. I wasn’t uncomfortable by the crowds. There was plenty of space to walk, and we stayed almost 4 hours. The kids napped on the drive.

Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips

Check out the Entertainment

The Texas Renaissance Festival is all about performance. There are tons of people around in their roles, as well as lots of live music and performances. Our kids loved watching the live music, and enjoyed dancing around to it.

Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips

Rides!

I am all about the rides, so my son is too. We loved the swings and the pony rides. We didn’t even make it to the maze or petting zoo! But, I would have loved that too!

Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips

FOOD!

We are all about the food options in this family. My favorite items were the fresh squeezed lemonade and turkey leg. The kids loved the french fries. I wasn’t overly impressed by the apple dumplings and corn dog. They have tons of food options from Greek to Asian food and all the typical staples too.

Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips

Trouble walking so much?

If you are traveling with grandparents or having trouble walking, consider hiring the horse drawn carriage to take you where you need to go. That could be an experience in itself!

Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips
Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips
Texas Renaissance Festival with Toddlers - Family Trip - Our Long Life - Top Tips
Going on a family vacation with a toddler to South Beach, Miami

South Beach, Miami with a Toddler

Going on a family vacation with a toddler to South Beach, Miami

My husband went to South Beach, Miami for his Bachelor Party and has been talking about it ever since, so 6 Years later we planned a trip back as a family to celebrate his 33rd Birthday.

Going on a family vacation with a toddler to South Beach, Miami

This post won’t be too much about things to do, but will have a few tips so don’t click off now!

We really wanted a RELAXING vacation for once! Disney, Camping, work-trips are all really fun, but you often come home feeling like you need another vacation! All we wanted to do was eat delicious food and go to the beach/pool, and that’s what we did!

Going on a family vacation with a toddler to South Beach, Miami

WHERE WE STAYED IN SOUTH BEACH, MIAMI

What I wanted in my South Beach Hotel

  • A Pool
  • Beach Access
  • Walking Distance to South Beach Restaurants
  • Square footage – this hotel has a kitchen, living room, and bedroom
  • King Bed – this wasn’t always a given
  • Not to Go Broke

The hotel definitely has costs, like $40 a day Valet, which I wasn’t planning to use, but with it raining and not being able to find another great option we did it. We stayed for 4 nights, which is longer than usual, so I wanted to pick a more budget option.

The Square footage was a big seller for me with a toddler that loves to run around. Most of the rooms I looked at were 200-300 Square feet. The hotel was a little dated, but I felt that it was clean and I am happy with my decision.

Alternative Hotels I Loved

These two were both a little further, and I knew we would be wanting to try a variety of really local foods, so our hotel had tons of quality options within walking distance and lots of square footage.

Going on a family vacation with a toddler to South Beach, Miami

WHAT WE DID IN SOUTH BEACH, MIAMI

We woke-up walked somewhere local to eat lunch/breakfast, let the toddler nap, and got ready to go to the pool, then to the beach, then showered up for dinner, and back to bed.

Going on a family vacation with a toddler to South Beach, Miami

This was a relaxing combination for all of us!

There are tons of family friendly options of things to do, but I really tried hard not to over schedule us. One day we were going to go to Jungle Island, but it was pretty expensive and I wasn’t wanting to spend very long there.

Going on a family vacation with a toddler to South Beach, Miami

WHAT WE ATE IN SOUTH BEACH, MIAMI

My husband definitely came here for the FOOD!

BEST PLACE WE ATE IN SOUTH BEACH: CVI.CHE 105 ( Cheap Paid Parking Nearby if you don’t want to walk)

MORNING LATTE AND PASTRIES: AROMA ESPRESSO BAR (Very close to Hotel) – Plus Guava Croissant

QUICK BITE ANYTIME: LA SANDWICHERIE (The Napoli and you can share it!)

CUBAN FOOD: BELLA CUBA

HAVANA 1957 CUBAN CUISINE

TACOS: HUAHUA’s TAQUERIA (Cheap Parking Lot nearby if Don’t want to Walk) – Elotes and Fried Chicken Taco

COYO TACO (A Drive in Wynwood) – Everything, but loved the Duck Confit

BRUNCH: Le Chick (In Wynwood)

COFFEE IN WYNWOOD: Panther (and go check out Wynwood walls)

PERUVIAN: CHALAN ON THE BEACH

WANT TO TRY NEXT TIME: TAQUIZA , BODEGA TAQUERIA Y TEQUILA, and Everything in Little Havana

PRO TIP: Walgreens right next to hotel where we stocked up on water and a few fresh snacks to keep in room for toddler

MY FEARS OF SOUTH BEACH

I was worried that South Beach, Miami would be a big party city, but I never felt uncomfortable or even saw an intoxicated person. We would stay in the room after dinner and no party music kept us awake. I did have to keep my son in the stroller when we were walking, because of all the cars passing by. Everyone was so sweet to my son at restaurants, and I saw lots of other families there too!

Going on a family vacation with a toddler to South Beach, Miami - Tips on where to stay and what to eat!
Going on a family vacation with a toddler to South Beach, Miami - Tips on where to stay and what to eat!
Going on a family vacation with a toddler to South Beach, Miami
Going on a family vacation with a toddler to South Beach, Miami - Tips on where to stay and what to eat!
Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog

Las Vegas with a Toddler

Top things to do with a Toddler on the Las Vegas Strip!

Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog

I just returned home from a trip to Las Vegas with my two year old son. My husband, son, and my Mom were in Las Vegas for a week for a work trip with my husband. My husband’s company paid for him to attend the Black Hat and DefCon conferences and paid for his flight, hotel, and food, so my Mom and I thought we would tag along for a vacation. My Mom was able to get 4 room nights comped with her MLife points!

I was definitely intimidated about being in Las Vegas for so long with a 2 Year old, but everything turned out great! We were there in August, so it was super hot outside in the Vegas dessert, but we still had a blast!!

Top Activities to Do on the Las Vegas Strip with a Toddler!

Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog

1. Siegfried & Roy Tiger and Dolphin exhibit at mirage

This was my favorite activity of the trip and my son is still talking about the dolphins a week after we’ve returned home!

Pros: The dolphins are the real VIP at this exhibit. It was like being at Seaworld, but with less people and you can get much closer to the dolphins. There’s also maybe a little less fanfare, but I loved it just as much! The dolphins are fun for any animal lover to watch.


Cons: It’s outdoors! It’s hot but they have lots of shade.  The tigers were mostly sleeping, so that was similar to what we could see in a zoo.

Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog


Tip: They don’t allow any straws or bottle caps so bring your own water, but be prepared to hold it with no cap or bring a reusable bottle.

Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog


2. Flamingo Habitat at Flamingo Hotel

Pros: It’s Free! We saw flamingos, turtles, ducks, fish, swan, parrots, McCaw, cockatoo, and a few more whose names I forgot. This isn’t as nice as the other paid exhibits we saw, but it was perfectly entertaining for a 2 year old.
Cons: It’s not a huge space so it doesn’t take long, and it’s outdoors and hot.

Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog


3. Mandalay Bay Shark Reef


Pros: Amazing exhibit with lots of big sea creatures I don’t see often. The little ones can Touch the baby stingrays. I love the huge beautiful tanks and seeing these awesome creatures. Now, Leo knows what a shark really looks like, and it’s not all “Baby Shark, do do do do do”


Cons: My son was so scared of the sharks and most of the creatures in the exhibit. I heard him say “I’m scared” probably 100 times in 30 minutes, and in the beautiful tunnel surrounded by all the sea creatures and sharks swimming he almost started crying.

Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog _ Dellas at Mandalay Bay


Protip: Arrive at 10am when they open, it gets crowded quickly.
Lunch after: Della’s at Mandalay Bay

Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog


4. Titanic Exhibit at The Luxor


Pros: Amazing exhibit with really impressive displays. I have wanted to see this exhibit for a long time, and we finally went!


Cons: My toddler was again really scared of the old photos and dark rooms , so I was only able to see read about 1/3 of the text. I still enjoyed it, but it’s definitely a balance.

Protip: This is a more expensive exhibit. Make sure to show your MLife card for a cheaper rate or buy an exhibit pass (More about that below).

Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog

5. Pool

My son loves the pool! When in doubt, I go to the pool. Pick a hotel with a good one! We stayed at MGM Grand which has a decent pool, but I wouldn’t mind trying other hotels too!


Pro: My son loves any and all pools. MGM Grand and many of the Vegas pools are really nice. MGM Grand has a slow moving Lazy River. I thought we would have been there every day, but we only went once! Time went by fast!
Con: It’s hot! Make sure to wear flip flops as much as possible even walking to the pool and maybe have some for your child if you don’t want to carry them. The ground will burn your feet. There’s not a lot of shade and there are a lot of people, and not as much of a kid environment.


This is still a favorite and free! You will want water and a snack after! We shared a Blizz fruit smoothie from the food court after.

Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog


6. Ride the “train”


My son loves trains so riding the monorail or tram was an activity in itself. The Monorail leaves close to the MGM Grand Food Court, and the Tram leaves from the Excalibur. The Tram is Free. We took that to Mandalay Bay and the Luxor. The Monorail goes a lot further in the other direction, all the way near Circus Circus. We took that one down to Flamingo, Bally’s, etc. Maybe, plan your days so you do all your Monorail rides in a row, so you can buy the 2-day pass or 3-day pass and don’t go a day without using it.


Pro: Some are free and helps get you somewhere. It’s much cooler than walking even though some of the stops still take a walk to get to the front of the hotel. We took taxis when we needed to, but taking a toddler in a taxi without a car seat always makes me nervous (even though it is legal in Vegas). We try to limit it as much as possible.


Con: The monorails are not too thrilling for adults, but it is a nice break from walking.

Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog

7. High Roller at the LINQ

Pro: Great view of Las Vegas!

Con: My child was not scared for this one, but it does involve heights and lasts 30 minutes, so I knew there was a risk of having a scared child for 30 minutes. We went in the daytime, but I think the views would be amazing at night, but might also bring more drunk crowds too.

ProTip: We received a $10 off coupon from the monorail ticket window to use on the LINQ high roller, so try to grab one of those if you can!

Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog

Attraction Money Saving Tip: I bought the 7 attraction Go Pass Las Vegas on Groupon. 7 Attractions was too many and I didn’t use them all. With bigger kids you probably could use them all. I probably should have bought the 3 or 5 attraction option. See if one is best for you. They have different options for this type of thing, so research what works best for you!

All the paid attractions cost around $20 per adult. My son was always free, but Vegas is definitely not cheap!

Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog _ Boyz II Men

Last Tip: Fit it things you want to do to! The trip might not always be what you expect, but eat food you like, do attractions you like, because you deserve to have fun too. We were lucky enough to have my Mom watch our son two of the nights, and we went to see Boyz II Men and another night went to Sara’s restaurant and ate an amazing dinner.

Las Vegas Family Vacation with a Toddler - Things to Do - Our Long Life Blog _ Boyz II Men

Best things to do Oakland, CA with a toddler

Things to do in Oakland, CA with a Toddler

Visiting Oakland, CA California with a Toddler - Tilden Farm, Fairyland, Lake Merritt, San Francisco Ferry

Lake Merritt

Visiting Oakland, CA California with a Toddler - Tilden Farm, Fairyland, Lake Merritt, San Francisco Ferry

Lake Merritt in Oakland,CA is a great place for a toddler to run around and have enough room between the street and the Lake where you don’t feel too stressed.

My son loved seeing the geese and all the dogs walking. On the weekends, there’s also tons of stuff happening. We also walk over to Oaktown Spice to pick-up on some high quality spices before heading home.

After Lake Merritt fun, we left our car parked near Oaktown Spice shop and walked to Fairyland with our stroller, stopping for high quality coffee at Perch Coffee house. Bonus: Bonsai Garden is another great park to run around in.

Fairyland

Visiting Oakland, CA California with a Toddler - Tilden Farm, Fairyland, Lake Merritt, San Francisco Ferry

We had a great time visiting Fairyland, the inspiration for Walt Disney creating Disney World. This place was really made for little kids. They have some rides that only older kids could ride, but my almost two-year-old enjoyed going down slides, seeing animals, seeing real animals. There is a train, but we skipped it since the line was so long. We went on the Steam train at Tilden Farm the following day! Way better!

Tilden Farm & Steam Train

Visiting Oakland, CA California with a Toddler - Tilden Farm, Fairyland, Lake Merritt, San Francisco Ferry

Tilden farm was the highlight of the activities for my son. He loves train, so he loved the Steam train. We rode it twice! The views were beautiful for the adults too. After the train rides, we drove to the farm to feed the cows.

Pro-tip: Bring your own lettuce or celery when visiting Tilden Farm

Visiting Oakland, CA California with a Toddler - Tilden Farm, Fairyland, Lake Merritt, San Francisco Ferry

Leo loved feeding the cows! He still talks about it months later. We are from Texas, but this was his first time seeing a cow close up and feeding the cow. The farm was FREE and the steam train was super affordable. With it being California, I was surprised! We ran out of time to ride the carousel, but I heard we really missed out because it is so beautiful. We will have to ride it next time.

San Francisco Ferry

Visiting Oakland, CA California with a Toddler - Tilden Farm, Fairyland, Lake Merritt, San Francisco Ferry

We rode the San Francisco Ferry from Jack London Square to San Francisco Ferry Building. There was a garage for free parking if you ride the Ferry. You walk over to the Ferry landing and wait for your Ferry. Then pay for a round trip (or one way) ticket on the boat. Bring a jacket for you and the little one as it is chilly and I wanted to be outside!

We enjoyed dinner reservations on the Bay and my toddler loved our view from the restaurant. We had 5PM Reservations at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana celebrating seeing our wonderful friends in the area. We walked through the Ferry Building right next to the Pier 1. That would be a great place to eat too even though it is busy, the food looked high quality.

Our view on the Ferry back was pretty magical and my toddler loved it too!

Jack London Square

Another great place we ate was Farmhouse Thai in Jack London Square. It was pricey but sooo amazing if you like Thai food. Jack London square has a lot to do too. If we had more time, I wanted to visit the USS Potomac since my little boy likes all things boats, trucks, planes. I also would love to stay at the Waterfront hotel near there.

Oakland Zoo, Fenton’s Ice Cream.

These are a few great options that we weren’t able to do. This is a great long list of all the options from another awesome Mom travel blog!

Hotel: Hyatt Place Emeryville/San Francisco – We stayed here because we had some credit card points and the Waterfront was unavailable. They had a great breakfast with lots of healthy options and the staff was super friendly. There’s a mall walking distance as well as a lot of places around if you need to run to the store. My husband always runs to get us bottled water when we are on vacation. There was a fridge in the room as well.

Walt Disney World with a Toddler Family Photo Locations for Great Family Photos at Magic Kingdom

Take Great Family Photos at Disney World!

Take Photos in the Morning!

Walt Disney World with a Toddler Family Photo Locations for Great Family Photos at Magic Kingdom

Arrive at the parks early when lighting is good and there are fewer people.

This is also when the family is fresh and not too sweaty and tired!

Maybe Bribe the kids and let them know you want to spend 10-15 minutes on this then they get to do XYZ- AKA enjoy everything about Disney World!

Walt Disney World with a Toddler Family Photo Locations for Great Family Photos at Magic Kingdom

Best locations for family photos in the Magic Kingdom

– grassy area in Magic Kingdom next to Crystal Palace

-side of the castle as you are walking to Tomorrowland (near the Cinderella wishing well)

-use colorful wall backgrounds where the sun is not blinding you

Walt Disney World with a Toddler Family Photo Locations for Great Family Photos at Magic Kingdom

The back of the train station has amazing views of the castle!

Photos in the Candystores are so fun and colorful and will for sure produce a real smile!

Check out my pinterest board to see more creative ideas other people have done!

Book a Morning Tour

Disney offers tours before the park opens. You can enjoy the park and take advantage of family photos without people everywhere!

Really want AMAZING Family Photos? Hire a Professional!

Walt Disney World with a Toddler Family Photo Locations for Great Family Photos at Magic Kingdom
Tips on how to take the best Family Photos at Walt Disney World!

Hire a professional photographer – I recommend Rya Photos

Things to do one a Big Bend Family Vacation with a Toddler in Spring Summer - May 2019

Things to do on a Family Trip to Big Bend with a Toddler

We just returned home from a family vacation to Big Bend with our almost two-year-old. I was concerned about what we would do and if the little one would be safe, but we had a blast with no injuries reported.

Big Bend Family Vacation with a Toddler in Spring Summer - May 2019

Short Hikes

My best hike recommendations when hiking with a toddler are:

  1. Santa Elena Canyon – Full disclosure: This hike was closed due to unexpected wildfires, but I was really looking forward to it. You do have to hold onto your toddler during portions of this hike though. It involves low water in the Basin and some steep drop offs with no side.
  2. Chiso Mountain Basin Hike to see the Window – This is where the above family photo was taken
  3. The Rio Grande Village Nature Trail – We saw wild horses drinking out of the river on this hike, and we saw over the border to Mexico.
Big Bend Family Vacation with a Toddler in Spring Summer - May 2019

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

This is a great long drive down to the Santa Elena Canyon. We loved to see the variety of Terrain, and there are also some hikes from here, as well as Scenic Overlooks.

Things to do one a Big Bend Family Vacation with a Toddler in Spring Summer - May 2019

Fossil Exhibit

I was not expecting much from this, but I was looking for something to do, and I loved this exhibit. It was really well done, and my toddler loved playing inside the dinosaur mouths. Yes, I am that Mom.

Go to Mexico!

If you have your passport, go over to Boquillas, and let your Toddler ride on a burro for a little! Full disclosure- We weren’t able to do this, because my Dad didn’t have his passport. We talked to Border Patrol, and they said it is extremely safe and give you tips on what you can bring back through. There is supposed to be an awesome family owned Mexican restaurant there as well. In the summer, you probably want to pay for someone to drive you into town, but I think the little one would love to see/ride the Burro as well.

Star gazing - Things to do one a Big Bend Family Vacation with a Toddler in Spring Summer - May 2019

Star Gazing

My Toddler was a little scared outside at night, but was able to say “Star” and “Moon”, so it was fun to be able to show him so many!

Things to do one a Big Bend Family Vacation with a Toddler in Spring Summer - May 2019

OTHER TIPS

We stayed at the Chisos Mountain Lodge for 3 Nights in Cottage 101. I enjoyed this little cottage. There is another Cottage, I think 100 that has a slightly bigger yard. My Mom reserved our Cottage on New Years Day 2018 for our stay May 2019 and had to wait through other called

Wear hats and sunscreen. It was super hot, and there was not a lot of shade!

Food Options are challenging. The Lodge is not great, and has a pretty bad smell inside. You can’t make a bonfire, and I didn’t see any Grills around. There aren’t a lot of stores around, so hit the nearest HEB or Wal Mart before you come, and fill up with Gas when you get a chance.

There is a lot of driving, so we had a new block toy from our stop at Wal Mart, Crayons, A New Sticker Book, and some dessert toy animals that Grandparents gave him on the trip to play with in the car.

Things to do one a Big Bend Family Vacation with a Toddler in Spring Summer - May 2019