In my travels before babies, Jardin du Luxembourg was a favorite place to stroll and soak up Paris. And even with a baby in tow, we managed to carve out a little smooch time by its lovely Fontaine de Medici. With three kids along for the ride, however, I was thrilled—okay, we all were—to discover that the playground at Jardin du Luxembourg is perhaps one of the best you’ll find in the city.
Know up front, however, there is an entry fee of around a couple of bucks for adults and children. And be forewarned that the Parc de Jeux closes promptly at 4 p.m. on weekdays. Be sure to plan your visit accordingly – especially if you want to spend some of your Jardin du Luxembourg time at the puppet theater right beside this playground (Les Marrionettes du Luxembourg).
That said, there were plenty of things to climb, explore, spin, and twirl upon for ages 1 to 12, including the hands-down favorite for this family: standing zip lines. A mom I met (who happened to be visiting from San Francisco!) said her son had been riding the zip lines for one hour straight, and he was not ready to quit.
The paid playground is fenced and has its own toilettes and covered seating area, and drinks and snacks may be purchased at the entrance as well.
HOT TIP: If you end up there on a very cold day, don’t end up like me with four out of ten fingers going numb as you watch your kids play. Stop first by the booth near the large fountain and pick up a vin chaud to take with you. In Paris, you can be that mom at the playground.
Do you have a favorite playground in Paris? Please share blow! And thanks for helping others find my Paris tips with your shares!
Related posts and pages:
- My recommended Paris airport shuttle with car seats
- Tips for taking the Paris Metro with a stroller (if you must)
- Tips for taking Paris buses with a stroller
- Paris: 5 Best with Kids Under 5
- Paris: 3 Best Autumn Outings for visitors with Little Kids
- Baby gear rental agencies in France
- Paris babysitter agencies for hotels / vacations
- Paris with Kids on Pinterest
Has this happened to you? After a 5+ hour flight from the mainland, we arrived on Maui at only 9:30 a.m. We weren’t guaranteed check-in at our first accommodations until 3 p.m. And we were, to be certain, fully saddled with all of our gear and feeling more than a little punchy.
As I mentioned in a recent post on Kauai’s Kamalani Playground at Lydgate Park, a family sometimes needs a good place to decompress between a long flight and that hour when they can (finally) check in to their accommodations. I knew this trip would be no exception for us and packed prepared for a quick and easy change to beach mode with my sites set on the more elusive of Maui’s “Baby Beaches”–that of the north shore.
If you’ll soon be flying to Maui with a baby, toddler, or young kids (or without for that matter), take note: This sheltered beach, with ocean waves stopped short by a natural shelf, can be reached in under 10 minutes from Maui’s Pinkberry (OGG) airport. If you find it on the first try. There are no signs pointing you to this beach–or even hinting that you’re on the right path to one–which makes it all the more enticing, don’t you think?
My tips for finding Maui’s Baby Beach on the north shore:
- Follow the signs to Highway 36 and the “Hana Highway”
- Watch for the realty office at the corner of Nonohe Place (as in, “No, no,” he said, arguing it had to be the next turn)
- Turn left onto Nonohe Place, then follow to the right, and follow your instincts there
- When the road suddenly turns to red dirt and ends by the ocean, you’re on the west end of the beach
- Park, and don’t advertise you have a full trunk when leaving your car (shuffle everything you can at the airport first). We lucked out and got this front row space where we could see our car from the beach.
- For best results, look at this satellite map to see where you are going (stay right, drive north, and you’ll continue to where the sand begins just above the west end of the golf course).
Hints: If you see the golf course from the highway or the country club, turn around, you’ve gone too far. If you find yourself at Baldwin Park, turn around, but use the pit toilets first if you need to!
Unlike some other beaches tucked in along this stretch as you venture toward the “Road to Hana,” which do have signs pointing you to them, there are no lifeguards here. Also, no showers. And no toilets. Keep the last point in mind before setting out from the airport in your rental car.
Still, this north shore “Baby Beach” is stunning, as you can see. And a great payoff for the whole family after a pre-dawn departure from home and several hours of airplane time. Oh, one more thing: YES, you can expect to see plenty of babies, toddlers, and kids of all ages romping at this beach.
Pack: Sun block, a spare towel from home, full water bottles, snacks.
Previous post: Maui’s Ulua Beach: Today I am a Mom
I’ve often wondered if there’s a term to describe the window of time a traveling family spends between its arrival at a destination and when it is allowed to check in to its accommodations. I haven’t figured it out yet, but when you arrive in Kauai with your three children early in the morning after a 5-hour flight and you can’t check in to your condo or resort until 4 p.m., you might be tempted to call it something rather unpleasant–if you’re not prepared. Here’s what I recommend:
Before leaving the airport in your rental car, make sure your water bottles are topped off, leftover airplane snacks are handy, and throw those swim suits, sunblock, hats, and shorts into the day pack(s). Just a short drive up the road from Lihue airport is not only Lydgate Park–one of Kauai’s most kid-friendly lagoons for swimming and learning the basics of snorkeling–but also the best playground on Kauai.
Kamalani Playground is located by the same parking area used for the Lydgate State Park swimming area, with restrooms, showers, and picnicking areas. As you stroll over toward the playground, you’ll find an area to the right just for the littlest keiki, which includes baby swings and seating for parents (including some shady areas good for breastfeeding or parking a snoozing baby-in-stroller).
The rest of the playground sprawls in wooden splendor, with hidden pint-size passageways, steps up and down, overhead bridges, slides, balance beams, and for the bravest kids… a two-story slide inside a “volcano.”
If you’re tired of plastic stamped-out playgrounds with interchangeable parts, you’ll especially enjoy the imagination shining through this playground’s design and the finishing touches of mosaics and carvings throughout.
Of course, in a swealter, you’ve also got the kid-friendly Lydgate State Park beach and swimming lagoon just a stroll away. All in all, there’s plenty to keep kids happy and cool until check-in time rolls around.
As you exit Lihue Airport, head north on Hwy 51, which will shortly become Hwy 56. In about 10 minutes, you’ll see the sign to turn right for Lydgate State Park. Click here to see on a Google map with directions.
Good to know:
There is also a second large wooden playground near the south end of the parking along Lydgate State Park, but it is better suited to older kids and feels a bit abandoned (code word: creepy). If you happen upon this playground first, just keep driving toward the swimming and picnicking parking lot and look for the sign for “Kamalani Playground.”
Related posts and pages:
- Review of Castle Kaha Lani condos (a short walk from this playground)
- Kauai fun with little kids – the Looky Board
- Kauai’s best beach for baby or toddler
- Shelly’s Pinterest Board – Kauai with Kids
As I’ve warned many parents in the past, you can’t always expect regular milk to be available on flights–even on those with breakfast service, the only “milk” product offered may be a powder to lighten the color of your coffee. Fruit juice, however, is almost always available on flights and is, unfortunately, almost always the first thing flight attendants offer young children.
Let’s face facts: A mere 6 ounces of regular apple juice (no sugar added) dishes out the equivalent of five teaspoons of sugar. That’s the same sugar content as 6 ounces of Coca-Cola.
Would you knowingly feed five teaspoons of sugar to a toddler on a flight? Or six ounces of Coca-Cola?
Here’s a better option:
Ask your flight attendant for a cup of fruit tea, or peppermint if your child prefers, and a second cup with only ice for your child. Let the tea (with zero grams of sugar) steep on your tray before pouring part of it over the ice. Some of the ice will melt quickly, cooling the tea.
I add half a packet of sugar each time I fix the “fruit tea cocktail” for one of my kids, and I like to make sure they see me do this–they think it’s such a special treat to get straight sugar added to their drinks(!).
Little do they know…
For more tips on safer, saner air travel with a baby, toddler, or young child, visit the online flying tips index here.
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Five ways airlines can make happier travelers of us all
Today’s guest post comes from Jeffrey Merola, author of three Disney World guidebooks, including his newest: The Busy Family’s Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2013, available in paperback and Kindle ebook editions.
It seems nearly every parent wants to take their child to the family vacation capital of the world, but the question that many ponder over is, “At what age do I take my child to Walt Disney World?” My daughter visited for her first magical experience at sixteen months and my son’s rite of passage was at the ripe age of eight months. So, when do you take your child to Walt Disney World for the first time? I believe you can bring a baby or a toddler to visit the “Mouse” at any age! My tips for bringing a child under the age of five will offer you a helping hand.
1) Don’t underestimate the importance of a stroller.
The Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are large and can be overwhelming for little ones. Their small legs will only be able to handle walking for a short time. You can rent a single or a double stroller at a Walt Disney World theme park for $15 or $31 for the day. You do have the option of bringing a stroller from home and that will save you up to $105 (which would be the cost of renting a single stroller for seven days). My wife and I brought our personal stroller year after year. It may have been a hassle at times, folding it up to get on the Disney bus, but it was with us everywhere, whether it was in the theme parks or the resort when the kids were exhausted. They had a place to crash! My kids even took naps in the stroller while in the theme parks.
2) Take advantage of the Baby Care Center in the theme park you are visiting.
The Baby Care Centers will accommodate all of your needs if you have a baby. The centers are quaint and have highchairs, rocking chairs, microwaves, televisions, bathrooms, washcloths, and a private area for breastfeeding. My wife enjoyed the privacy of the one in the Magic Kingdom that is next to Crystal Palace. A tip to go along with the baby topic is to pack your diaper bag for the next day before you go to sleep. Make sure to include enough diapers, wipes, baby food, formula, breast milk, an extra outfit (just in case of any accidents), and an ice bag. The wife and I would pack 7 to 10 diapers for the day.
3) Take advantage of character dining.
You can begin to make reservations in one of the Walt Disney World’s restaurants 180 days in advance of your trip. I recommend booking at one or more of the following: Chef Mickey’s in the Contemporary Resort, Crystal Palace and Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood and Vine in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Donald’s Safari Breakfast at the Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian Resort, and breakfast at Cape May in the Beach Club.
One tip my wife and I learned is that a young child will either love getting close to the characters or try to dive out of their highchair when the characters are around! You know your kids best, so go with what you think will keep everyone sane.
4) Know the best attractions for toddlers and young kids in each theme park before you arrive.
Walt Disney World has incredible attractions throughout every theme park. The following are just a few that your child under 5 will enjoy.
Magic Kingdom’s best attractions for toddlers and preschoolers:
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Fantasyland area
- Storybook Circus area
Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ best attractions for toddlers and preschoolers:
- Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
- Disney Junior – Live on Stage
- Toy Story Midway Mania!
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s best attractions for toddlers and preschoolers:
- Festival of the Lion King
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- TriceraTop Spin
Epcot’s best attractions for toddlers and preschoolers:
- The Living Seas
- Turtle Talk with Crush
5) Enjoy the big rides by using a “child swap pass.”
The concept is a novel one. Let’s say, for example, you are in Disney Hollywood Studios and you want to ride the Tower of Terror. However, you know that your child is too little to go on so what do you do? You will ask a Disney cast member for a child swap pass when you get to the front of the line at the Tower of Terror. One adult will stay with the child that is not riding while everyone else rides the elevator. When they have dropped over and over, the adult who waited with the child can now ride with little wait and take up to 3 family members along.
Jeffrey, thanks so much for sharing your Walt Disney World insider tips with us! Mr. Merola has spent around 165 days on property at Disney World, researching and enjoying the theme park with his wife and young children. For more help planning your busy family’s visit to Walt Disney World, use the The Busy Family’s Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2013.
You might also like:
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Do you have another helpful tip for families heading to Disney World with a baby, toddler or preschooler in tow? Please share a comment below! Know someone else who could use these tips? Please forward or share with the buttons above (or below if you’re reading this in email).
Walt Disney World photos for this post provided by DNPR Sites. Curious about this content? See my editorial content disclosure.
As I mention in the previous post, Tips for taking the Paris metro with a stroller…if you must, getting about town “avec poussette” (with stroller) is much easier by bus. Most often, the entrance to the bus is near-level with the sidewalk, so pushing your stroller right on board is usually a breeze. Plus, easy bus lines breeze between many of the main tourist sites in Paris, such as the 72 line you can hop aboard by the Hotel de Ville, ride along the Seine, and exit at the Louvre, Touileris, Musee d’Orsay, or Tour Eiffel. Naturally, the views along the way are far more interesting for parents and toddlers than what’s to be found underground as well.
- You can view a map of the Paris bus routes here.
- You can pre-plan your jouney by bus here (and choose “by bus” from results).
GET ON THE BUS…
Generally, I’ve found Paris bus passengers are very good about surrendering the front seats of the bus to the elderly and those with a baby or toddler in tow, however, trying to board with your folded stroller and child and get seated with your stroller somehow beside you can be problematic, and you’re likely to bump someone near you (most likely the elderly) with the stroller at some point.
Although tickets are validated at the front of the bus, it is much better to board with your baby or toddler in his stroller at the rear doors of the bus, and park your stroller directly in the space allotted there for wheelchairs (be sure to set your stroller brake). If you can, have your partner take care of any ticket validation on your behalf, or take care of the stamp quickly once your stroller has been secured.
BEFORE BUYING TOURIST PASSES TRAVEL CARDS:
Again, I recommend for most families visiting Paris to purchase the book of 10 metro/bus tickets (carnet dix), which can be used on both metro and bus and can be purchased from agents or vending kiosks in metro stations. Your ticket is valid for transfers up to 90 minutes from the time of validation, so if you need to make a brief stop at the Tuileries playground before continuing on to other sites, it’s no problem. Even using public transportation each day, we found the “carnet dix” / book of 10 tickets saved us significantly over the prices of Paris Visite passes offered for transportation. Remember, each ticket in the book of 10 is valid for a one-way journey, and 2 parents can split the carnet for 5 rides each, and so on.
Paris public transportation fares: Metro, RER within the city, and buses are free for children 3 years and younger, and at a discounted rate for children 4 to 9 years. Currently one carnet 10 costs 12 Euros 70 cents for adults, and a children’s carnet 10 can be purchased at a discounted rate.
By the way, if you like this post and think it would help others, I hope you’ll share it with one of the handy buttons above.
Related posts and pages:
- Tips for using the Paris Metro with a stroller… if you must
- My recommended Paris airport shuttle providing car seats and booster
- 5 Best with Kids Under 5: Paris
- Follow Shelly’s Pinterest board: Paris with Little Kids – more coming!
- >>> See all Paris posts and recommendations in Destinations
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks
If there’s one thing you can learn from Parisian parents about taking strollers on the Metro, it’s this: they don’t. Taking the bus at ground level (my bus tips here) or simply walking is a far more reasonable proposition in many instances, especially if you’re planning to get around the city on your own with your child. Not to mention, traveling above ground you’ll all have a much better view of the city.
But if you plan to use the Paris Metro at all while visiting with your baby or toddler—and your stroller, as some of us crazy visitors do repeatedly, here are some survival tips to help.
- Only take the Paris Metro with a stroller that can be folded compactly enough to carry through a turnstile and you could happily carry for a mile without setting down (if you’re unfortunate enough to enter the Eustache station or some others, you likely will).
- Wear only a purse or backpack you can keep a firm grip on and in your (front) view while carrying said stroller or your child. In my opinion, a shoulder carrying strap for the stroller is essential (see recommendations here).
- Never expect a ticket agent to be present at a turnstile to help buzz you through a special gate or otherwise assist your passage with your child and stroller—as you might in New York or San Francisco systems—because as a general rule they are nowhere near these locations, and handicapped entrances do not exist.
- Never try to force your way into a crowded metro car you can’t be certain everyone in your party will make it into. That may sound obvious, but you might be surprised how little Parisians will budge to help fit travelers with small children—especially those foolish enough to board the metro with their ridiculous strollers.
- Buy a book of ten metro tickets at a time (carnet dix) and keep them handy—the same tickets can also be used on the city buses, which you may decide are a much better way to get around Paris with your toddler after all. Each ticket is valid for a one-way journey for one individual, so you can share the book of ten if you like. A discounted “carnet dix” is available for children 4 – 9 years, and children 3 years and younger ride free on public transportation.
One final word of advice: Please remember to feel a deep appreciation everywhere you do find an elevator to assist in your strollering around Paris because, after all, it is a miracle any exist in some of these grand old buildings. And where they do… you’re likely to get special attention and even skip the queue!
Previous post: The ferry to Koh Phi Phi
Related posts and pages:
- Tips for riding Paris buses with your child and stroller
- See all Paris Travels with Baby Tips in Destinations
- See the Travels with Baby Paris Pinterest board
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks
Planning to use your airline miles to buy bigger seats (you know, the ones at the front of the plane that come with warm cookies) when you take that extra long flight with baby on your lap? There might be more than just frowning business travelers to make you think twice about going first class with baby.
While your lap child may travel free on your lap for US domestic flights, even lap-held babies don’t get a free ride on overseas flights. While the most common international lap child fare of 10% of your adult-priced ticket may not seem like much of an added expense to your coach-priced seats, consider–and calculate–what that 10% would be based on what the airline considers the first class adult fare for that cushy seat you’re upgrading to.
Your upgraded seat, we’ll say it’s valued at $12,831 as one I recently priced from San Francisco to Frankfurt, may be covered by miles. But your baby’s airfare – even riding on your lap – will not be. So before shelling out your airline miles plus an extra $1,283 to still have your baby on your lap from San Francisco to Frankfurt, consider whether you might rather put those miles toward three seats together in coach.
On a long flight, especially with meal service and chances to sleep, you might value an actual seat for your infant more than a shared seat in first class. And if you can get those seats positioned on a bulkhead row where a complimentary airplane bassinet may also be used? Sweet.
One final note here: Remember, when using most airline-specific miles and points, you will still pay the taxes and surcharges for your “free” tickets. When traveling with three or more passengers, that can still feel like a far cry from “free.” For best results, compare taxes and surcharges for similar tickets purchased with your miles using different airlines (a.k.a. codeshare partners) when available.
How about you?
Have you traveled first class with your baby? How did the other passengers receive your bundle of joy? Advice to others considering the upgrade for travels with a lap child? Leave a comment below!
Related posts and pages:
- Ask Shelly: Best way to fly to Paris with baby using American Airline Advantage miles?
- Ask Shelly: Will Southwest Airlines let me use the Baby B’Air vest for my lap child
- Ask Shelly: Tips for long haul / overseas flight with baby?
- Should more airlines ban babies from first class (or business class)?
- >>> See more online tips / advice for flying with babies and toddlers
- "99 of the Best Travel Blogs" from TravelBlogs.com "10 Best Family Travel Blogs" from Blogs.com "Top 10 Family Travel Blogs" from TripBase.com "Top 25 Travel Blogs for Families" and "#2 for Insider Tips and Tricks" from Babble.com
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