If you follow along on my Instagram stories, you'll know we just took a little weekend getaway as a family to Minneapolis! Jason and I both grew up going there with our families because it isn't too far and there is a lot of fun stuff to do at the Mall of America. We decided it was about time we take the girls, and a good way to test out traveling as a family of 5. We had SO much fun and made so many good memories. Traveling with kids is exhausting and a lot of hard work and there were a lot of meltdowns, but it was so worth it!
The car ride was WAY better than I anticipated. The girls did so great, and I think Zara only cried for 10 minutes out of the 16 hours of driving. We really couldn't have asked for a better drive. I made sure to pack a bag full of activities like an etch-a-sketch, stickers, books, ipads, learning books, dress-up games and a sequence frame. Most of the things I got new from the dollar store so that they would be excited about having new things, and a few items I ordered from Amazon (you can find them in my storefront under Kids Items). I'm so glad I had that to keep them busy! I also packed a ton of snacks like Larabars, Fruit Bars, Cheese, Yogurt, Pretzels, Goldfish, Crackers and squeeze Pouches. We stopped for meals, but it was nice to have these when the girls just wanted something to snack on. I also took this into the hotel with us so we had snacks on hand for the weekend too. We stopped every 3ish hours so I could feed Zara, or grab food or gas and the girls could run around and stretch their legs. I think this helped a lot with them not getting too antsy!
HOTEL - RADISSON BLU
We decided to stay at the Radisson Blu that is attached to the mall. We have been Radisson Rewards members for years, so we know the perks of staying at a Radisson hotel, plus it would be so convenient with the kids to be attached to the mall. It totally exceeded our expectations! We got a one bedroom suite, so it had a sitting area with a pull out couch, a dining area and a separate bedroom. The dining area was so nice because we often just brought dinner back to our room. If you have kids you know that trying to eat at a restaurant is basically impossible and isn't relaxing or enjoyable for anyone. Eating in the peace and quiet of our own room was so nice!
We got their camping package, which made our stay extra special for the girls. When we walked in they had a small kids tent set up with a log pillow, canteen mug, journal, card games and a star nightlight inside. The girls played in that tent whenever we were in the room, plus we got to take it home with us! We have it set up in the basement now and it's letting the girls use their imagination and go on camping trips together. It's so cute!
We are Radisson Rewards members, so we got a free breakfast in the rewards member lounge every morning. The spread was incredible and the girls had so much food to choose from. That same lounge serves food and drinks throughout the afternoon and evening as well, which is nice when the girls needed a quick snack while we were back at the hotel or for Jason and I to grab some candy once the kids were in bed :).
They also have a huge pool with so much sunlight coming in that the girls loved swimming in. They never wanted to get out! We spent time hanging out in the lobby as well in these beautiful hanging chairs. Every detail of the hotel was so pretty and practical. The restaurant was also stunning, and breakfast was served there on the weekend.
The highlight for sure was that it was like a 5 minute walk from our hotel room to the mall. I couldn't believe how close it was! You walk right into Legoland and Nickelodeon Universe, which is exactly what we were going to be doing with the girls. The convenience was great when Rosie was napping because Everly and I or Jason and Everly could run over to the mall and go on rides or go to Legoland while Rosie napped.
I would give this hotel a 5/5 for sure and highly recommend staying here if you have a family!
Our first stop with the girls was Sealife. We hadn't taken them to an aquarium in years, and there isn't one in Winnipeg, so we knew we had to check it out. My favorite part was for sure the water tunnel, where you are surrounded by all of the fish and sharks swimming around and above you. The girls also thought this was so cool. They also loved seeing alligators, which they always read about in their books, and the jellyfish which Everly learned about in preschool. Their favorite part though was the stingray tank! It's at the very end and the girls could have watched them swim around for so long.
We saved Nickelodeon Universe for Monday, which was such a smart decision because it was WAY less busy than on the weekend. It was so perfect because there were no lines and it wasn't too loud or busy for the girls. Rosie and Everly both LOVED the rides. They wanted to go on every single one and were so disappointed when they were too short. Everly could almost do all of them, and there were only a handful that Rosie couldn't do. There were even some rides where I could take Zara on my lap, so our whole family could go! They also have little themes throughout the park like Dora the Explorer, Paw Patrol and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Paw Patrol play area is so cool because they basically replicated the little town from the show and all of the kids can run and play around. Rosie loved it in there. We got the wristband for the day so we could do unlimited rides. This made the most sense for us because the girls wanted to go on a lot of rides. It was also nice because we could come and go, take breaks and grab lunch and then come back for more rides later. I think this was for sure the girls favorite part of the whole trip.
This was such a fun part of our trip! Everly loves all things crafting, so the Crayola Experience was so much fun for her. I think there are 24 different stations where you can be creative and use your imagination, and you could honestly spend hours in there and not get bored. We made coloring pages with our faces on them, made personalized crayons, played with modeling clay, painted pictures, melted down crayons to make art, colored on cars and walls and colored little scrubbie pets. They also have two big play structures, one for younger kids and one for older kids, and the girls loved these! Everly did not want to leave and kept asking to go back. They also have a Crayola Cafe right in there if you wanted to grab some food with your kids. You can also get a stamp on your hand if you want to leave and go out into the mall and come back. This is so smart because there's so much to do that it's hard to fit it all in to one visit.
Beyond these three stops, the mall has SO much else to offer. We saw a little girls princess nail salon that we want to take the girls to next time, mini golf, tons of restaurants, candy stores, shopping, escape rooms, a mirror maze, Legoland and so much more. During one of Rosie's naps Everly and I went to play at Legoland and it was so much fun. Basically the mall has something for everyone!
We learned to have grace and patience with our girls on this trip. Everyone was out of their normal routine and a bit tired and cranky at times. We tried to remember to take more breaks and not overwhelm them. Zara also slept awful on our trip, I'm not sure what it was, but she was up almost every 2 hours all three nights. I was SO sleep deprived which didn't help, but somehow got the energy I needed to get through the day. I was honestly worried this would be Zara's new normal, but ever since being home she's back to sleeping 7pm-8am thank goodness! Basically if your'e traveling with kids have zero expectations and be able to go with the flow!
TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH KIDS
Pack new games/activities (from dollarama or Amazon) for the car ride and lots of snacks
Bring white noise machine and/or nightlight for the hotel if your kids are used to them at home
Remember to give your kids a nap or quiet time during the day to recharge
Have a schedule of what you want to do so that you're prepared, but be flexible to change it depending on your kids
Take a stroller if your kids are young
Take a baby carrier if traveling with a baby
Have a pack of wipes and/or hand sanitizer available at all times to keep everyone healthy!
Bring water bottles and snacks wherever you go. Often kids get cranky when they're hungry
Let me know if you have any fun family vacation spots or any tips for traveling with kids below!