I Took the Munchkin to Oz.

You guys, Emerald City is in Maryland.

Oz Emerald City

I made up a fun new game called Let’s Find a New Playground.Β Just kidding. It’s not fun or new and I didn’t make it up. But it is a HIT among my target audience of one specific ToddlerMonster.

We might live in the best area on earth for this particular game. I cannot be sure. I have only had a toddler in one other place. The D.C. area beats Jacksonville, Florida quite soundly at this game. Sorry, Jacksonville. It’s not personal. But, um, get more and better parks. (I know; you have the beach. Let’s call it a tie.)

OMG LOOK AT THIS AWESOME PLAYGROUND.

Not only is it pretty because it is FREAKING OZ, it is a really FUN playground. There are so many cool climbing structures and slides and swings and fun for big kids and fun for little kids and we love it. (You saw the Ruby Slipper slides, right? Look. There are totally Ruby Slipper slides right there.)

Babystar and her friend had snacks in Dorothy’s house. So cute. Thanks Auntie Em!

I totally saw one kid dressed as Dorothy and a set of twins dressed as Emerald City munchkins. Because obviously. (I might have to buy a Dorothy costume if I can find one on sale after Halloween. Does anyone have a 3T Dorothy dress? Please forward; thank you.)

This amazing Wizard of Oz playground is at Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. If you get bored of the playground — you won’t, but just in case — you can take a short walk through the woods and visit a nature center. The nature center is pretty cool, and we met birds and turtles and snakes and a hedgehog. But I forgot to take pictures because OZ WAS RIGHT OUTSIDE. It was a lovely break, though. I highly recommend you take the short trek through the woods. If you see the Tin Man, say hello. (He’s not in the woods. He totally should be. Missed opportunity, Maryland.)

There are also cool little spinny toys (poppy flowers) or riding toys (farm animals) and this cool running track/slash/treadmill/slash/toddler hamster wheel. I have been to a lot of playgrounds and I have never seen any playground equipment like this. The toddlers LOVED it. And if I’m being one hundred percent here, the adults loved it too.

Oz spinny toy

This park also has tons of clean restrooms both in the parking lot and right next to Dorothy’s house at the playground. Parking is really easy and you get to FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD to the park. (Ok, technically the Yellow Brick Road starts in the playground at the spiral and goes out to the parking lot which I just realized is a GENIUS way to get your kid to leave if your kid doesn’t want to leave.)

Five stars. Out of four. Seriously — go here.

Oh, and it’s FREE!!

Oz Sign

 

 

I Joined a Museum 100 Miles from Home.

Have any of you ever been to the Children’s Museum of Richmond?!?

It has EVERYTHING. A scarf ballet, a fully stocked art studio, a cow that you can milk (but don’t drink it), a diner with all the (fake) food you can eat, an actual ambulance to play in, an indoor carousel, and a Wegman’s. And that isn’t even half of the cool stuff at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. This place is literally the best children’s museum I have ever seen.

And it is right down the street from my oldest daughter’s college. We bought the $180 yearly membership (plus additional adult) so we have a fun place for Babystar to play on visits. She has never gotten bored here. The single downside is that she never wants to leave when they close at 5pm. We have been a few times now and we haven’t even played with everything. On our most recent visit, Babystar mostly dug in the rubber sand for dinosaur bones and then cooked her sister and I a very hearty meal.

Have you ever had ketchup in your coffee? I highly recommend it.

The visit before, we spent a lot of time in the art studio making masks. Another time, she did water experiments for an hour at the super awesome water table. (I totally brought about five extra shirts last Friday and she didn’t even LOOK at the water table. Of course.)

CMoR water table

There are also locations in Short Pump, Chesterfield, and Fredericksburg. We may check them out sometime as they are included in our membership. But the nice lady that sold us the membership said that those locations are not as big. And I am certain that none of them are five minutes from any of my children’s colleges. If we do go, I will report back.

Regular admission is $9/person. (Babies under one are free.) We only paid the regular admission once, actually. Then we did the math and realized that we should just buy a membership. So far, we have gone to the museum every time we visit Richmond. Since at least three of us (Babystar, the college girl, and whoever is driving) visit each time, the membership will pay for itself shortly.

Like many children’s museums that I have seen, this one has a lot of different areas to play, and each area is sponsored by a local or regional business. The main difference is that THIS museum has SO MANY areas to play.

 

CMoR is awesome and we love it. Go there.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,413.93