2012 Road Trip – Philadelphia (Part 1)

We started tossing around the idea of going on a little vacation in 2012. We thought about going to the beach, because – who doesn’t love the beach? But, then we remembered that there was an entire theme park devoted to Sesame Street and we recalled that we had a certain Elmo-crazed preschooler was residing under our roof. The more we thought about it, the more it made sense. It was decided that we were going to make the trek to Philadelphia and see the furry, red guy for ourselves.

It was our first official road trip as a family of four. It wasn’t like we were testing the waters – we were doing a cannonball in the deep end of the road trip pool. The entire trip was going to be about 1,950 miles (or about 33 hours) of driving. But, who’s counting? We loaded up everything we could possibly squeeze in our car and then topped it off with DVD’s and every snack you could dream of. Oh, and lots of extra panties for Anna. She decided a week before our trip that she wanted to start wearing big girl panties. Perfect timing…

(Pretty sweet video right here…)

Elmo or bust, baby!

We left on a Wednesday because Sesame Place was only open on the weekend at that point of the year. The first day we drove about 8 hours (430 miles) to Columbus, Ohio. The kids actually did really well. A blend of napping, snacking, and DVD watching made the time pass by for them. However, by the end of the day the kids were getting stir crazy and were ready to get out of the car. We grabbed some dinner once we got to Columbus and then let the kids swim at the hotel pool.

(Another video that you can’t miss)

We were back at it early the next morning. It took about 9 hours (with stops) to drive the 500 miles to Philadelphia. We ended up staying at a hotel that was north of the city. We needed a hotel that had enough space for us – two rooms or a suite with a sink to wash bottles. We also needed somewhere with an indoor pool so the kids could swim and on-site laundry to wash our clothes mid-trip. Those kid of options weren’t feasible in downtown Philadelphia. Well, at least not a place that we were willing to afford. What we weren’t banking on was all the toll roads in the area. We paid a small fortune to drive around the entire time. We don’t have toll roads in St. Louis, and that is more than fine with me.

Hello, Philadelphia!

The first night, I attempted to get the room a little organized while the kids tried their best to kill each other in the living room. Alex grabbed a pizza for us and we tucked in early. A few hours later, I was awake dealing with the effects of a stomach bug. The hotel room toilet and I became very well acquainted that evening.

The next morning, I was still feeling pretty rough but I didn’t want to slow down our trip. Over my dead body was I going to miss anything! I grabbed a Sprite and we headed to the Please Touch Museum. I was sure to keep an eye out for the nearest bathroom at all times.

Alex was patiently waiting his turn.

Can’t image where I would have picked up a stomach bug…

After grabbing lunch at the museum, and playing a bit more, we sadly left the Please Touch Museum. We could have easily gone back to that place and still have not seen everything. We loaded everyone in the car and headed back toward the hotel. The kids were fast asleep by the time we got back. After a successful transfer to the beds in the hotel, we all took a nap. We ventured out for dinner at an Italian place that the front desk told us was very kid friendly. Turns out, it wasn’t. At all. I’m talking white table clothes and men in sport coats. Nightmare.

Alex took a bit of a turn with the ol’ stomach bug that evening, but was managing the next morning. Our puke and rally days of college were serving us well. We were terrified that one of the kids was going to come down with it. We held our breaths and pointed our car toward Sesame Place. I was giddy with excitement. I knew Anna would be over the moon.


Don’t touch my hot dog, Cookie Monster!

Anna’s mind = blown.

After Anna’s world was sufficiently rocked, we loaded back into the car to let the kids nap. They both quickly crashed, dreaming sweet Sesame Street dreams. Alex and I heard about an outlet mall that was somewhat near, so we decided to scope it out. It was about an hour and a half drive, so the kids clocked in a pretty decent nap while we paid for more toll roads and drove. Turns out the outlet mall is right next to a nuclear power plant. Neither of us have ever seen one in person before. Have to admit, it’s a bit eerie.

We were in the middle of a Le Creuset store when Anna announced that she needed to poop. We were thrilled! She had been pooping her pants once a day since announcing that she wanted to wear panties shortly before our trip started. If she was telling us that she needed to poop – we were going to jump on it! Alex rushed her off to the potty while I stuck around the store with Luke. Several minutes later, Anna proudly marched back in the store and very loudly announced, ‘MOMMY! I POOPED IN THE POTTY!!!’ People were looking. I didn’t care that we were in the middle of the Le Creuset store. I scooped her up and made a HUGE deal about it. It was the first time – it was a big deal! Surely our fellow shoppers could relate on some level. Right? We ended up buying a few items for the kids at different stores (isn’t that always the case) and grabbing dinner before heading back to the hotel for the evening.

— To Be Continued —


2012 Road Trip – Please Touch Museum

When I was researching things to do in the Philadelphia area for our trip, the Please Touch Museum kept popping up.  It seemed pretty interesting, so I started looking into it.  Their website made it seem pretty cool, so I jotted it down as an activity for us during the trip.  We ended up planning to visit the museum the day after we arrived in Philadelphia.

The night that we arrived to our hotel in Philadelphia, I came down with a stomach bug.  I spent the entire evening hugging the toilet, hoping I wouldn’t wake the rest of the crew in the room, and praying that no one else got sick.  I didn’t want to slow down our trip or miss any activities.  We were on a fairly tight schedule.  The next morning, I felt queasy but manageable.  I sipped Sprite and shook off the hot flashes.  We made it the Please Touch Museum right after they opened.

To put it mildly, the place was outstanding.  The museum is located in Memorial Hall, which was built in historic Fairmount Park for the Centennial celebration in May of 1876.  The building alone is outstanding, but add to it that there was 156,000 square feet of interactive children’s activities – our minds were blown!  It was amazing! I also have to add that the restroom facilities were outstanding…

Let them loose!

I think if Alex could have fit on that, he would have taken a turn.

Learning about wildlife…

Check out these frogs!!

What a stud!

That has to be sanitary, right?

Having tea in the Alice and Wonderland section. Actually pretty neat – there was a hedge maze and a treehouse. We almost couldn’t get Anna to leave.

Don’t mind me, I’m just sailing this boat in the storybook area.

We saw a puppet show and then were off to milk a cow. Busy, busy.

Obviously, we were only able to explore a small fraction of the museum.  We quickly ate lunch at the museum (the food is surprisingly good with a huge amount of options) in between activities.  Nap time dictates our lives and our kids were running on ‘E’ by the time we rolled back to the car.  I wish we could have gone back to play some more.  Heck, I really wish the Please Touch Museum was located down the street from us!  It’s a definite must-see for all ages!

The Details:

Please Touch Museum

Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park

4231 Avenue of the Republic

Philadelphia, PA 19131

Phone: 215.581.3181


*Open M-Sa 9a – 5p, and Su 11a – 5p

– Admission is $16 for children over the age of 1 and adults, Parking is $8, food available for purchase