There should be a national hug a mom of a toddler day! Seriously, the toddler years are some of the most trying times. It’s a potpourri of independent streaks, tantrums, crying, whining, exhaustion, frustration, etc. I have come to the conclusion that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was inspired by a toddler. They are happy and giving mommy kisses one second and then suddenly laying on a dirty public restroom floor kicking there feet and screaming the next, all because they wanted to pull the paper towel out of the dispenser themselves. How dare you mom, now you must suffer with severe embarrassment as strangers walk in and give you “the look”. And you can forget about ever being on time because toddlers will find a way to sabotage that whole punctuality thing you had going on before you had kids. They will want to put their coats on themselves and it will be the most agonizing 15 minutes of your life. They will put it on upside down, inside out, miss snaps, snap their fingers accidentally, put their hood on, take their hood off, and then, just when they almost have it, will declare that they aren’t wearing a coat. Then they will focus there attention on the invisible bumps in their socks!
Raising a toddler is a lot like trying to raise that obnoxious, drunk, roommate from college. They both can do everything themselves, they are more than happy to cause a scene in public, they both need sippy lids, they refuse to eat the food you give them, they will yell and scream and fight you when you say it’s bedtime, ten minutes later you find them passed out under a piece of furniture, and neither seems to be able to make it to the bathroom in time. Raising a toddler isn’t for the faint of heart that’s for sure. And while it can be embarrassing to take the equivalent of your drunken roommate out in public it is the best thing you can do for yourself and your toddler, promise!
Getting out of the house, for even just an hour or two is the best way to maintain your sanity! Besides, what are you going to do at home? Pick up the same Mega Bloks 18 times while trying to multitask cleaning up spills, doing dishes, and laundry, all to have your husband come home and ask you what you did all day? Call up some friends and get out! Don’t have any mom friends yet? Make them….they will not come knocking on your door, you need to take the initiative, seek out playgroups online, on Facebook, shoot, start your own playgroup on Facebook. You need adult conversation, you need someone to say “I can totally relate”, playgroups are just as much for the moms as they are the toddlers. When you start that playgroup you are going to need to post events. Here is a list of fun, toddler friendly destinations in Toledo to get you started!
Ten Places to Take Your Toddler in Toledo:
Sunrise Gymnastics OPEN Gym
Address: 3640 N Holland Sylvania Rd, Toledo, OH 43615
Phone: (419) 841-2902
When: Saturdays 12pm- 1pm (No registration necessary)
Cost: $10 for the hour
Children can enjoy an hour of jumping on the trampoline, swinging from the rings, trying the balance beam, etc. inside Sunrise’s back gym. Parent participation is required.
Toledo Lucas County Public Library (Currently ALL Virtual) Story Times (FREE)
Address: Main Branch-325 N Michigan St, Toledo, OH 43604
Phone: (419) 259-5200
Each of the library branches offers magnificent events, activities, story times, etc. for toddlers. Click on the link above to be directed to a list of Storytimes. If you’re looking to stop in and grab a bag of books to go I will tell you the Main Library has an awesome Children’s Area! There is an actual car children can sit in, aquarium where they could literally stand for days, Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat character, and more….and there is a café if you were looking to lunch (once things open up more…call before you go 😉 )
Little Leapers at Sky Zone
Address: 1600 Albon Rd, Holland, OH 43528
Phone: (419) 491-1194
When: Saturdays 9am-10am
Cost: $10.99 hr Plus One Adult FREE
Little Leapers is a great shared experience for child and parent. A time for your little ones to discover the joy of being active, bouncing under the supervision of their parents, and without interference from the big kids!
Imagination Station (Temporarily Closed)
Address: 1 Discovery Way, Toledo, OH 43604
Phone: (419) 244-2674
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm, Sunday: Noon – 5pm, Monday: CLOSED*
Cost: Get a Membership! Totally worth it (all five of us got in for FREE at COSI in Columbus thanks to this membership…and it would have cost us more than the membership for admission to COSI for one day. You can also receive 50% off at Michigan Science Center) Adults: $13 Kids: 3-12 $11 Kids 0-2: FREE
Little KIDSPACE is seriously THE BEST place to take a Toddler in Toledo!! I used to just go there for two hours and then go home, it is ah-mazing! It is an enclosed, gated space, so you don’t have to worry about constantly chasing after your toddler and it gives them their much needed freedom/independence. I also like the fact that there is hand sanitizers on the way in and out. And there is so much to touch, see, do, etc. that they won’t get bored.
Little KIDSPACE is specifically designed to help kids kindergarten age and younger learn and explore. Children learn through play. They have an innate interest in the world around them, and the skills and knowledge that children acquire as they play help them to make sense of the world. Young children are active learners who engage in science every day as they observe, wonder, experiment and talk about their findings. Our littlest adventurers can hop aboard a fire truck, shop in the grocery store or climb their favorite tree house while learning about forces, motion, math and life science.
Family Art Club at Toledo Museum of Art (FREE)
Address: 2445 Monroe St, Toledo, OH 43620
Phone: (419) 255-8000
Hours: The Family Art Club meets every Saturday (with sessions available hourly 11am-4pm by reservations) and is a workshop setting designed for young children and their grown up to complete that week’s project together.
Free, fun, and open to everyone! Looking for something fun to do with your littles? Something safe, close to home, and creative? Look no further than our amazing Toledo Museum of Art! They know precisely what us parents want, a space outside the home to take children that is safe, and what littles need, tactile projects that stimulate cognitive development, and their Family Art Club provides both.
Chuck E Cheese
Address: 5077 Monroe St, Toledo, OH 43623
Phone: (419) 841-9714
Address: 5455 Airport Hwy Ste 9-I, Toledo, OH 43615
Phone: (419) 382-0220
Hours: Sunday – Friday 11AM-9PM, Saturday 10AM-10PM
“Where a kid can be a kid” That infamous tag line is precisely what kiddos are longing for these days. After months of navigating everything online from field trips, tours, classroom learning, specials classes, after-school activities, Storytime, etc. and dealing with the glitches, frustrations, & at times, the loneliness of the screen kiddos need a place where they can just be a kid, a place where they can escape the adult issues of today’s world, they deserve a space where they can just be a kid!
Barnes and Noble Fallen Timbers Storytime & Craft (Currently Virtual)
Address: The Shops at Fallen Timbers, 3100 Main St #1400, Maumee, OH 43537
Phone: (419) 878-0652
Website: Virtual Storytime and Craft
When: Currently Virtual
I so looked forward to Thursday mornings, I would keep the baby in the stroller, grab a coffee from the Starbucks in the store then stroll over to the story time in the children’s area. This is probably one of the best story times in the area…kiddos listen to a story, move, do a craft, and most importantly everyone is understanding of the fact that littles don’t always sit still! Story time was probably when my love affair with Barnes & Noble started…I crave those bargain books, lol! So be sure to pack some extra willpower when you go! 😉
Wildwood Preserve Toddler Trails
Address: 5100 W Central Ave, Toledo, OH 43615
Phone: (419) 407-9700
When: Varies- Click on the website for upcoming Toddler Trail events (usually 10am-11am)
Cost: Varies but usually $2-$5 Registration is required
This outdoor, multi-sensory nature play and exploration introduces your toddlers up to three years of age to the natural world and promotes preservation. Parents accompany and assist in their child’s experience at the program. Register toddlers only. (They always have fun themes and hand-on activities)
Toledo Zoo & Aquarium and Nature’s Neighborhood! (Indoor attractions are closed for the winter)
Address: 2700 Broadway St, Toledo, OH 43609
Phone: (419) 385-5721
Hours: Currently Vary
Cost: Adults $21, Children (2-11) $18, Under 2 Years FREE
I always let the kiddos pick one animal to see and then we lived in Nature’s Neighborhood for the rest of the time. Thanks to the membership I never felt obligated to see EVERYTHING, we could always go back later in the week. My personal favorite part about the zoo in the winter time is the fact that no one is there, it is the best! I am not a huge fan of the zoo in the summer, it is WAY too crowded. So soak up the secluded retreat while it last. Go see an animal then park the stroller at Natures Neighborhood. (We would even pack lunch and eat it there in the kitchen area). For more info click link, https://www.toledozoo.org/natures-neighborhood/
Indian Creek Zoo Giraffe Encounter
Address: 2744 Consear Rd, Lambertville, MI 48144
Hours: (Zoo is closed, only encounters are open now-March) Giraffe Encounters are available daily at 1 and 1:30pm and Sloth Encounters at 11am daily by reservation ONLY
Cost: $25 per person for the Giraffe Encounter (perfect for younger kids)
Get up-close and personal with Puzzles the Giraffe. Feed a giraffe and pet Puzzles during your encounter. It’s an experience you won’t forget!
Added Tips for living with Toddlers:
Always pack bubbles-quickest way to get your toddler attention is to blow bubbles, truth!
Leave the house early, around 9:30am so that you can get to places right when they are open, that is when they are the cleanest and since toddlers love touching everything, and sometimes licking things, this is the best time to avoided maximum germ exposure/ germ lollypops.
Always have a change of clothes for yourself in the car…because puke, spills, and bloody noses happen!
Never run out of wine! 😉
Enjoy it! Take LOTS of pics, it goes by WAY too fast!
Do you have a favorite local spot to take your Toddler? Please share. Lets make this a great resource for all toddler parents to reference.