The kids and I had such a fun day uptown yesterday. If I were to make a list of my favorite toddler-friendly activities uptown, it would include everything we did yesterday. For our weekly adventure, I wanted to let the kids explore Christmas sights and sounds uptown. The plan was to park at ImaginOn, play at the new park across the street, then walk to Bank of America to listen to the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra. The ImaginOn parking deck was full and I refuse to pay more than $5 for parking or stress over parking meters. I drove to the reliable Discovery Place Museum so we could have guaranteed $5 parking for the whole day. The museum wasn't on my itinerary, but we couldn't very well park there and not go inside. The kids played happily in the kid's science area for a half hour before I shepherded them along.
Jackson held my hand while I pulled the trio in the wagon. We didn't exactly blend in amid the sea of professionally dressed businessmen and women. When we approached the bank, the door greeter smiled and said, "Here to see the bears?" then pointed us in the right direction. The animatronic bears sing carols and play instruments. I assumed Maddie would love the music, but the bears frightened her. Jackson and Amelia were great audience members. James found an outlet and tried to climb the gate to reach the cords. We made it through several songs before leaving.
We wandered the streets of Charlotte, stopping to admire iconic sculptures and holiday decor. The weather was unseasonably warm (mid-60's) though a bit windy. I texted my brother, who works uptown, to see if he wanted to visit us during our lunch. I sat the kids at a table outside his building, then began to unload our generously packed lunch. We never get a chance to see my brother outside of family gatherings anymore, so it was fun to have a quick visit.
Jackson and I stumbled upon the reindeer (pictured below) last Christmas. They were just as amusing this year. I love this photo so much! The girls also sat on the bench, but I was trying to wrangle James away from the nearby escalator at that point.
We were all in good moods, even more so after eating lunch. We walked several blocks to the library, since that was the original plan and the only thing Jackson had requested. It was nice to be inside, sit down, and have some down time. The kids apparently needed the break since they played or read quietly the whole time. (Why can't they have quiet time at home?!)
There is a new park across from ImaginOn that had just opened the day before. Jackson was initially disappointed that there was no playground, but the kids had a blast climbing the wall of stairs. I would have had to take a panoramic view to show how long the wall of steps was. James was especially excited when he realized he could see the train coming in while standing on a taller step. The park will be even more enjoyable this summer when the kids can run through the many fountains.
My phone died from taking pictures for several hours. We walked the perimeter of the park before Jackson suddenly blurted out, "Where's Clifford?" Thankfully we only had to walk across the street and were able to quickly retrieve Clifford from the library.
We walked a few more blocks back to the museum. It was easiest to walk through the museum to take the elevator to the parking deck. Once inside, we ended up staying even longer to view the aquariums and interactive globe. Since my phone was dead, I had no concept of what time it was. I was completely shocked when I got in the van and discovered it was nearly 4 pm. We spent six hours uptown, immersing ourselves in music, literature, science, art, and physical play--and we only spent $5 the whole day. Charlotte is such a great city to raise a family!