Yesterday was the first day of summer break! I've been off since Colby Jane was born on March 13, and was actually really dreading school being out. Tuesdays and Thursdays have been bliss because both Holt & Lacey were in school and I was able to spend one on one time with Colby Jane and get a lot done in the house, or nothing at all, what ever I chose! Our pool is not open yet :-( since Ryan has been working overtime a lot this past week, he just hasn't had time to get around to it. We are hoping to get that done within the next week though. So needless to say we needed something to do yesterday instead of staying home and looking at our empty dirty pool.
We picked up Holt's best friend, Tray, and his mom & my good friend, Jana Raye and headed off to Spring Park in Tuscumbia, Al. When we got to Tuscumbia, we ate lunch at City Restaurant. Food was great but we forgot that it is not a state law for restaurants to be non-smoking. All the waitresses were on break when we got there (it was after lunch time) and they all were firing them up one after another. Luckily they were in the back of the restaurant and we were right by the door. As soon as the last bite of food was taken, I took all 4 of the kids out to the car while Jana paid. We were rather irritated they couldn't wait to smoke until the children were out of the establishment. But the food was good and cheap. We all 5 ate for $25, including tip. Jana & I ordered burgers and fries, the kids all 3 ate from 1 adult chicken strip meal.
We left the restaurant and went just down the street to Spring Park. They have a kid's roller coaster (my 3 & 6 year old both rode it & loved it!), a carousel, and a train to ride, and also a great playground and also a splash pad. We got there at 1:45, all the rides closed at 2. Awesome! The kids were disappointed however, they said we could ride everything for free (armbands for rides are $6 for unlimited riding) until they closed, and they actually stayed open until about 2:15. There was a school there having field day, so I think that helped us out. The splash pad was not open, apparently in May it's only open on the weekends until after Memorial Day. So Spring Park was a burnt run. I'm sure when you go early enough and get to spend the whole day it's fun though. Here is a link to their website for more info: http://www.springparkal.com/
We were close to Florence, and I had looked at different parks online the night before. We decided to go on over to the Mariott's River Heritage Park where there is a playground and splash pad. Playground was awesome, splash pad was...you guessed it...CLOSED! It opens this Saturday for the summer and will be open daily from 11:30am to 9:20pm. The good thing about this park is it is FREE! I loved the playground though. It's great for kids and parents. The playground itself features a huge jungle gym apparatus that has lots to do, and plenty of places to hide and explore and climb on. There were no swings but several slides. There is also a smaller train-themed jungle gym for little ones. The "floor" of the playground is cushioned, so if anyone happens to fall, it's not as bad as falling on concrete or even on land. It gives quite a bit when you walk across it. Also, no rocks or dirt for you to constantly be digging out of sandals! Our kids played barefoot for a while. It was great. There is a huge grassy area they can run and play in.
What I loved about it the playground for adults was in addition to lots of picnic tables and convenient trash receptacles, there were porch-style swings, 3 total, around the perimeter of the playground. That was wonderful for Jana, Colby Jane, and I. We could sit and talk and swing the baby in the shade while the older kids played, where we could keep an eye on them the entire time. We also used the bathroom facilities while we were there, and I couldn't have been more impressed! It was clean (the smell of bathroom cleaner was the first thing I noticed when I walked in), smelled good, and well-stocked with toilet paper and paper towels. There was also a changing station for babies.
The splash pad is huge and is just down from the playground. Like I said earlier, when it's open for the summer it has great, long hours. After 4pm it can be "rented" for a private party for $40/hour.
I highly recommend this park!! It was lots of fun for the kids, easy for adults to keep an eye on them, and not crowded. I don't know if this had anything to do with Florence area schools still being in session or not. And if you took a picnic, and didn't do anything else, all you're out is gas money because it's free! We will definitely be back.
After we left River Heritage Park, we went to Bargain Hunt. Oh. my. goodness!! I was in awe. Their baby department is unbelieveable! They had Bugaboo, Joovy, and Britax strollers and carseats for 75% off what you would pay in a more well-known store. All merchandise brand new. It may not have been in a box, but it was not used. They had the Fisher Price Rock & Play Sleeper that Colby Jane sleeps in (I use this instead of a bassinet this time) for $26.99. I paid right under $50 for mine, and that was with free shipping! I also found a larger swaddler for Colby Jane for when she outgrows the one she uses now for $4.99, and a Simple Wishes Handsfree Pumping Bra for $17.99. They are around $30 online. The other huge find was Pampers Swaddlers diapers, 234 count, for $35, with 10% off. Here's the kicker. All their merchandise has a date on the price label. The older the date, the more discount you get off the already low price. So my diapers were dated 4/20/12 and that's how I got 10% off. Anything that had a February date yesterday was as much as 90% off!!! I can't wait to go back!
After all those bargains, we were starving. We took the kids to Cracker Barrell because they all love pancakes, and we love the vegetable plate. Everyone ate a good supper, and the kids fell asleep on the way home. It was a great day with some of our best friends!
Sorry all the pics are at the top of the text. I'm still figuring out technicalities of blogging. I couldn't get my pics of the kids to upload from my iPhone. These are all pics of River Heritage Park off the internet.