SEA LIFE + Toddler Tuesday

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SEA LIFE Aquarium, Grapevine Tx

Two mama friends and I visited the aquarium in Grapevine Mills Mall today, it may not look like much on the outside but we all agreed it was one of the best toddler outings yet!

The SEA LIFE Aquarium is a small aquatic establishment nestled inside an outlet mall but it is packed with hundreds of mesmerizing sea animals and interactive opportunities making it perfect for toddlers.

Every Tuesday is toddler day with special pricing at $15 for you and two toddlers (I believe this excludes summer time).

From the moment you walk in and throughout each area this aquarium is decked out with wall to wall “under the sea” sights and sounds.

Although there were many small children it was a very relaxing experience, made in part by the low lighting, calming yet ominous music, running water, and of course the tranquility of beautiful fish swimming all around you.

The aquarium is layed out in a way that makes it very easy to manage toddlers. Each veiwing area is small and the hallways are long and narrow keeping little ones close and less likely to run off.

If you have a small toddler you are no stranger to time restraints and understand the importance of short and sweet outings before the meltdowns ensue. This place is great because of its small size, you can easily get through the entire thing in an hour.

Some of our favorites:

The Sting Ray Habitat- The kids LOVED this one! The huge open topped tank went to the floor and the littles had a blast running through the tunnels, chasing sting rays, eels and sharks.

The Interactive Fish Tanks- You can find stand alone mini aquariums all over the place with glass bubbles you crawl into to get a surrounding effect. The kids all got a big kick out of this.

The Tunnel- Definitely the most popular viewing spot. As you walk through the glass tunnel you are surrounded by 360° of Sea life! We saw huge manta rays, sea turtles, tropical fish, sharks, whale fossils and more!

The Rainforest Room- Another calming spot exuding a floor to ceiling nature ambiance. And I do mean floor to ceiling. The ground was made of faux dirt and bark that was soft and cushy. Above your head were beautiful branches and leaves, and all throughout were peaceful water features and lovely sea creatures.

The Sea Anemone Petting Farm- This was really fun to see all of those beautiful, spikey, loofa like beings you see stuck to the ocean floor. There was was a specialist to educate everyone on each one and even let us pet them. Very sticky but very cool!

Check out our day

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THAT S**T CRAY-ola

THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE

 The Shops at Willow Bend, 6121 W Park Blvd, Plano, TX 75093

Dexter and I were so excited to be invited to a special blogger preview for the brand new Crayola Experience in Plano at The Shops at Willow Bend. It is the fourth location for the brand and it seems to be drumming up a lot of local Buzz.

 

There was lots to see and do as we entered the world of Crayola! The facility is designed for the two 2-12 yr age range according to them, in my opinion the magic age to fully interact and grasp all of the concepts would be age 4 or 5. Dexter is 2 1/2, almost 3 and had a great time and was able to enjoy almost everything.

 

The Crayola Experience is inside the Shops at Willow Bend and very much reminded me of Legoland Dallas which I have also featured on my blog in the past (click here).

 

It is very bright, colorful and open with interactive activities stations all throughout. The staff emphasized the importance of childhood creativity many times and made sure we knew this was a space to breed imagination with each station an opportunity to expand their unique vision.

 

I can go on and on about each interactive stationl but I’ll keep it short and sweet with a brief list of what we played with, and share what our favorite stations were.

 

• Thousands of crayons… Everywhere!!!

 

• Selfie station: We got to create our own coloring sheets featuring….us!

 

• ‎Modeling Magic: We got to mold and create objects using Crayola’s version of Play-Doh which in my opinion is much cleaner and mess free!

 

• ‎Melt and Mold: We got to use machines to melt down crayons and create shapes. We made a car crayon!!

 

*OUR FAV* ‎Spin Art : similar to The Melt and mold this machine melted crayons as you controlled the spinning paper to create a wax art masterpiece.

 

• Interactive Floor: This was one of those High-Res image projection floors, it is interactive and fun and kept Dexter busy for quite a while.

 

*OUR FAV* Designs Come to Life: Coloring stations featuring fashion, automotive, silly faces and action characters. These stations featured machines that took your creation and animated it on a big screen. This was very cool! I liked the design your dress and see it on a fashion runway in Dexter of course like the design a truck and watch it race other trucks!

 

• Paint and Play: painting station where you could stay as long as you like, try out the latest products from Crayola, and quickly dry your art in the picture dryer. Although simple many of the kids seemed to enjoy the station and set in painted for a long time.

 

• Jungle Jim: A substantial climbing complex with all the bells and whistles!

 

• Toddler Town: An area for the little ones featuring a smaller jungle gym and a giant Lite-Brite… which was a hit!

 

• Chalk About It- an area where everything is made out of chalk board and you can color on anything you want!

 

• Adventure Lab: This one is definitely for the older kids but is really cool and Dexter enjoyed parts of it. It is an Interactive problem solving experience testing your intelligence and time management.

 

• Design and Wrap: We got to create our own custom crayon wrapper and even wrap it ourselves in a special machine.

 

• Crayola Cafe: No need to pack a lunch, there is food sold on site, you can buy snacks, drinks, salads, chicken fingers, Pizza and more!

 

• Sweet Shop: They hand make fudge in house, you can watch the process and take it with you. Crayola is also partnered with the famous candy store Dylan’s Candy Bar supplying all your sugary desirers!

 

• Crayon Making Live Show: A studio with a live show featuring the actual crayon making process.

 

Whew! Ya still with me?? They have managed to jam-pack all that fun into one facility and it’s cool! If you are looking for something fun to do or perhaps you want to make a mall trip extra fun go check out the Crayola Experience!

 

Tickets are $20/ person, kids under 3 are FREE. $20 sounds a little pricey right? Well an annual pass is only $30…. That sounds like a no-brainer to me! Now it seems like a steal!!!

 

There are birthday party rooms and special event pricing, we all learned about several kid and adult events that have been held they’re in the possibilities are endless!

 

I hope you get a chance to go and let me know what your favorite Crayola Activities are!

 

See you there,
Noelle and Dexter

 

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Pretty FLY for a small guy

THE FRONTIERS OF FLIGHT MUSEUM

 

If you have a little airplane lover like I do you’re going to want to go check this place out, The Frontier’s of Flight Museum just outside of Love Field Airport.

 

It’s exactly what it sounds like an airplane museum, a big building full of as many airplanes as you can imagine, big, small, old, new, they’ve got it all!

 

One of the best things about this museum for toddlers is its size, it’s about as big as a Walmart so you can easily get through this museum in a short amount of time and be back for nap.

 

Another plus in all my past experiences is the lack of crowds, we have been three times in the past two months and each time there has hardly ever been anybody there which makes it ideal for a parent trying to keep up with a toddler, little ones can be very easily spotted and have more freedom to explore.

 

If you happen to be a history lover like my husband you will also enjoy the museum, there are lots of little nooks and setups decked out with memorabilia taking you back to the birthplace of the first airplane, to World War II, space shuttles and the complete timeline of the commercial airline story from beginning to present. I enjoyed this part the most because it displays the evolution of the stewardess uniforms which used to be designed by highly recognized fashion designers, it really is very interesting.

 

There is also an indoor playground so the little ones can climb airplane Towers, drive an airplane and slide down the back and just run freely, this is always a good place to stop get some energy out and then continue on with the museum.

 

It’s not always open but there is an on-site model airplane workshop if you happen to catch them while it’s open and the engineers are inside working they will show you around and let you see how all the model airplanes are built, it is a very intricate process and they are all different. This may be like taking a toddler/ bull into a china shop but it is all windows so they can easily look in and see the workshop just the same.

 

Another cool feature about the museum is that it is directly next to Love Field Airport so you constantly get to see real airplanes flying in and out, this is one of Dexter’s favorite parts.

 

The cost to get in is $12 per adult and children 3 and under are free, there is often Groupons for the Frontiers of Flight Museum so be sure to check there first.

 

There are minimal snacks sold in the gift shop so bring your lunch if you’re planning to eat there, there are tables and chairs to park and eat, but there are many nearby yummy restaurants so we usually take advantage of being in the area and eat somewhere outside of the museum.

 

This is a fun and easy morning activity, when it’s really cold, extra hot or rainy out. See you there,

 

Noelle and Dexter

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“Wood” you like to have some fun?

PARENTS NIGHT OUT at THE WOODSHOPPE ROCKWALL

We love our kids and taking them to do fun activities but what about taking care of our marriages and friendships.

Especially for stay at home moms it’s important to do things away from our children from time to time to reconnect with our spouses and have adult conversations.

If you are looking for a fun date night or girls night out activity and don’t mind a half hour drive East of Dallas you will love the WoodShoppe Rockwall.

Grab your group and bring them out for a fun evening of Woodcraft and wine! What would Jesus do?… Drink wine and be a carpenter! We went last week with a group of adults and teenagers and had a blast!

The increasingly popular “DIY woodsign” workshops are the new trendy thing to do for a date or night out with friends. The WoodShoppe Rockwall could not have been more welcoming and accommodating to our group.

This family/friend owned shop is cute and cozy, it used to be a farmhouse, which allows for a “homey” relaxing atmosphere. We were greeted with wine, light bites and desserts from Bonafide Betties Pie Co.

Everyone was having a great time socializing and choosing our designs, we next decided on stains and paint colors. We were then given a work station, a block of wood, and a set of tools.

Next comes the fun part as we put on our aprons and got to work. We all got out our end-of-the-week aggressions as we distressed our woodblocks by pounding, hammering and beating them with chains. Now it was time to stain, stencil and paint.

After everyone was finished working on their pieces it was time for the final reveal, it was so fun to see everyone’s different take and creativity on how to showcase their personality.

We greatly appreciate the hospitality and welcoming atmosphere from The WoodShoppe.

You should check out all they have to offer, classes, workshops and couples events. Of course you can always set up your own private party as well…. and they will even come to you!

TheWoodShoppe Rockwall is so flexible and open to ideas they will accommodate all of your entertaining needs. Be sure to check them out on Facebook for all of their upcoming events, specials, kids classes for Spring Break and summer.

Regular Pricing:
Circular & Rectangular Signs
$35 · Smaller signs that are created by you as you stain and paint your chosen design in a fun hands on 1.5 hour class!

Start to Finish: Classic Signs
$60 · Start to Finish from natural planks to the finished product in a fun, hands on 2.5 hour class!

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Future Chefs in the Baking.

YOUNG CHEF’S ACADEMY of ROCKWALL

While working on another project I stumbled across the Young Chefs Academy of Rockwall, and I am so glad I did. I was instantly intrigued and called right away to get more information.

I was told about an upcoming Gingerbread Workshop they offered and thought “we have to do that!” and I set up a moms group outing immediately.

The girls of Young Chefs were so sweet and set up a special workshop just for us that would be more appropriate for the 2-4 year old age group. Normally their workshops accommodate a 4-10 year old age range.

This has been one of my favorite group outings so far, we had a full class 15 kids, their moms and a few young siblings.

The kids were so ecstatic when they walked into the bright and colorful chefs kitchens where they were all given tiny aprons and lined up to wash their hands and pick their seat.

I wasn’t sure what this workshop would entail or how the kids would do but surprisingly they all did very well, there were some minor “two-year-old moments” here and there but overall it was great.

The instructors started off by showing all the kids the baking basics in which they all got to try out the techniques for themselves, pass, and try another.

We learned the fundamentals of how to properly measure flour, separate an egg, sift, and get the perfect half inch width for our gingerbread dough. Most of the moms actually learned a thing or two themselves.

The kids then got to do the fun stuff and play with the dough, create their gingerbread shapes, and put the little guys into the oven…safely of course.

The way everything was set up was perfect for kids, all of the gingerbread men were pre-baked and ready so the children did not actually have to wait through each process, they were simply just learning and practicing.

Next came the best part, decorating! Each kid got several cookies and a variety of icing, sprinkles, and toppings to dress their cookies however they pleased, I saw several very creative little hands at work.

The best part about this workshop was the close interactive bonding time between the moms and the littles. We rarely do activities where the kids aren’t running around and playing, this was a much calmer situation and really was a team effort between parent and child.

The Young Chefs Academy also has a location in Frisco and they offer unique workshops like this every month, they also do birthday parties and regular cooking classes for kids.

If you are looking for something different and unique to do with your family I highly recommend checking this out, we had a great time and can’t wait for our next get together here.

Photos by LEXIE GRABEN

Altitude Trampoline Park

110 W Campbell Rd, Richardson, TX 75080
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It’s new, it’s clean, and the staff is amazing! Oh, and the music is on point (double score)!!! We have visited several trampoline parks in the Dallas and surrounding areas, in fact I did a post on them, but this one located in Richardson is new and by far my favorite.

It was huge and had lots of things for the kids to do, and places for them to jump and play. Like most trampoline parks Altitude has a “toddler time” which is perfect for us stay-at-home moms who are looking for fun, high energy level activities for their little ones.

It was not overcrowded and there was plenty of room for everyone and it felt calm enough for moms of toddlers and little babies to be able to take both kids.

Toddler Time ( for ages 6 and under) is each weekday from 10:00am – 1:00pm at a discounted rate of $6.95! Parents can also jump for only $2.00 extra! Be sure to bring socks with grippers on the bottom they are a requirement to wear before jumping. If you don’t have any they have some there for purchase, I believe they were $2 per pair.

The picnic tables and eating area in the front felt very clean and organized which I have found otherwise at previous trampoline parks. There were a lot of Staff members supervising the area and I found them to be very helpful with the kids and with me when I needed an extra hand.

Dexter’s favorite new activity was the trapeze into the foam pit, I thought he would be scared but he ended up doing this over and over again. He also loved the basketball goal, this was more of a workout for mommy as I had to lift him every time he wanted to make a goal, but I’ll take it if that means I get sculpted arms.

You can pack a lunch if you like and eat at their picnic table area where they play episodes of Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies and other toddler favorites.

I took Dexter there by myself and it was very easy and the perfect activity when you don’t have anything planned or it is perhaps too cold, too hot, or too rainy to go outside. Go with friends, or go by yourself, just go check it out!

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Summer Bucket List 2018

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Summer is a here and we need stuff to do!!!!  Here is a list of links to my favorite Uptown Mom posts to plan for a fun summer in Dallas!

Sit Back and Play

THE PLAYDATE CO.

Per the usual I am constantly scouting out new fun places and activities for the kiddos. Although we love allowing our kids to exercise their abilities to run and explore that usually requires us as parents to be on our toes as well.

But what if there was a place where your little ones could roam free, let their imaginations run wild while you could sit back and relax and watch them play?! I have just the place, The Playdate Co. This sweet little spot is exactly what the name says… a company for playdates! The Richardson based center is perfectly located and easy to get to for anyone in the Dallas area.

This bright and beautiful center is furnished with several adorable playhouses each embracing a different theme to accommodate any child’s fancy. Each house is fully decked out with every imaginable prop or toy incorporating it’s motif.

They had everything; an ice-cream shop, schoolhouse, book nook, general store, tool shed and garage, home center, creative coloring, and gardening… but the big hit amongst all the tots was the merry-go-round style bikes in the middle.

There is even an area for the littlest ones who are not yet crawling so for those with a toddler and a newborn this is a perfect place for you!

Upon entering the gated play space you can store all your things in the provided cubbies, and when all that play time has worked up an appetite you are welcome to bring your own snacks and drinks too, just be sure to keep them in the designated snacking area.

Ok, so what about the moms?  There is seating and complimentary coffee for us mamas to sit, take a breather, enjoy a cup of “pick me up” juice and some adult conversation.

There is free WiFi as well so you can get caught up on your articles and emails. Relax at ease as everything is visible and open for keeping eyes on our little movers at all times.

The pricing structure for play packages are as follows:

  • $10.50 per child, age 1 and up.
  • $8.50 for siblings, age 1 and up.
  • $5.50 for children under age 1 not accompanied by an older sibling.
  • Free for siblings under age 1 with a full price child’s admission.

For any additional info check them out HERE .

See more pics below from our day

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Jump Up, Jump Up and Get Down!

DFW TRAMPOLINE PARKS

Oh January, the Christmas merriment is over, it’s still cold out, and you need to get out of the house.

Try taking the kids to a trampoline park, they’re not just for birthday parties. If you’ve never been to one it’s exactly what it sounds like, a a huge space full of trampolines and mats! Most have special hours and pricing just for toddlers. It’s the perfect indoor activity that’s easy, inexpensive and will guarantee nice long nap!

The two main players in the DFW area are Urban Air and Jump Street . We have been to both below are some FYI’s of each.

URBAN AIR:

  • 6 locations all around the DFW area
  • OUR FAV FEATURE: Large facilities (some locations have additional rigs such as  padded jungle gyms, zip lines and foam pits)
  • Toddler hours are Wednesdays and Fridays from 10-12
  • Cost is $5
  • Must fill out waver upon entry. Waver is valid for 1 year. You can fill it out online before you go to avoid waiting.
  • Bring socks
  • Snacks for purchase but mostly candy

 

JUMP STREET

  • 4 locations (one being centrally located on 75 and Walnut Hill)
  • Less trampoline space than Urban Air. Toddlers are limited to the toddler area, but it has a bounce house and foam pit for kids 4+.
  • OUR FAV FEATURE: Toddler hours are ALL DAY, EVERYDAY
  • Cost is $5
  • Must fill out waver upon entry. Waver is valid for 1 year. You can fill it out online HERE  before you go to avoid waiting.
  • Bring socks

Happy jumping and we’ll see you out there,

Noelle and Dexter!

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