Friday, August 5, 2011

New Thing #26: Bayfront Park & a Trolley Ride

This morning I woke up and decided that today I was just going to stop "should-ing" all over myself. I was standing in the kitchen, coffee in hand, thinking "I should clean this kitchen floor and then I should go attack the bathrooms" as I watched the LP eat their breakfast. And then this little rebellious voice in my head said, "Ummm....hi. Today is a gorgeous day. See if Auntie K is available and take the kids down to Bayfront Park. The house will stay a mess but the LP will only be little for so long. And soon enough you won't have the freedom to do whatever you want with your day."

Sometimes when I listen to that little rebellious voice in my head I end up in trouble. It gets me to do things that aren't the best ideas. But today I knew this was a good idea. And so I did just what the little voice said and it wasn't long before we had picked up Auntie K and were headed down to the waterfront in Hamilton.

Bayfront Park is a large greenspace, situated right on the bay in Hamilton (see, it wasn't just a clever name). There are walking trails, a boat launch, marinas and sail clubs, a park, restaurants and even boats that cruise the harbour. There are also the usual assortment of ducks, geese, swans and other birds. I knew the LP would enjoy a visit.

We WERE looking at geese, who were just walking along, minding their geese business until a man set his dog loose on them and chased them into the water. The dog next went after the swans. As the mommy and daddy swan were protecting their baby, they weren't as easily intimidated as the geese.

We watched the geese, ducks and swans for awhile. LP2 was giggling and laughing at them. He really digs animals. LP1 wanted to go further down the docks we were standing on but after Auntie K nearly fell into the water, we decided to head for solid land. 

We went for a walk and discovered that part of the park was fenced off for Mardi Gras. Although the signage said the festival was to start today, they clearly weren't ready to begin while we were there. We did see some people making a float and while I salute their efforts, I sincerely hope nobody leans against the side of that float whenever the parade happens, because it looked like the sides would fall off. While this would be hilarious to witness, it would probably not be a happy Mardi Gras for whomever fell off the float.

Have you ever had a picture in your head of the layout of a place only to find you were greatly mistaken once you got there? In my head, the ice cream place and the William's Coffee Pub were much closer to where we had parked. In reality, it was a very long walk with two LP who were starting to get hot and hungry. Auntie K did a masterful job of keeping them distracted until we could get to our destination. 

We found the ice cream place and, after much deliberation, chose our ice cream and retired to the shade to enjoy it. LP2 is very interested in food these days and feels he should be able to try what other people are eating. As he has had a wee bite of ice cream before, I let him have some of mine...but only a bit. We didn't need any upset-stomach-diaper-blowouts today.

Two thumbs up for the ice cream at Scoops! Apparently it is made with local ingredients. I highly recommend the Black Forest Cake.

When the ice cream was gone, we continued on our walk. We stopped to look at some boats and more ducks. We strolled around and headed for the Discovery Centre. Unfortunately, the Discovery Centre is now closed. It looked like it would have been a fun place for the LP. As we were standing at the doors, LP1 turned to me and said, "Mommy, go get the keys so we can go in." I was impressed that she had worked out that we needed a key to get in and sorry to disappoint her that my keys would only open our cars and the people foolish enough to give me a spare key to their house. Somewhere along the way we lost LP2's hat.

We stopped to feed LP2. LP1 and Auntie K examined some murals that are scattered throughout the park as part of an ongoing art grant. LP1 found some puddles to splash in and amused both herself and the rest of us. I love watching how she jumps, two feet at a time, with great enthusiasm and joy, into the puddles. She makes a tremendous splash and usually creates quite a mess. That is one of the joys of childhood.

We were starting to think about leaving. I didn't think the LP would be able to handle the long walk back to the car. Fortunately, the trolley appeared. The trolley goes across the entire Bayfront area and provides interesting facts and information along the way. We had never been on it before. Given that it could get us back to the car faster than walking, we decided to hop on board. Here is a fun fact I bet you didn't know: sometimes when a kind stranger finds a hat clearly belonging to a small child, sometimes they hang it on the back of a bench in plain view. And when the owner of the hat comes past on a trolley, the trolley driver will stop the trolley so Auntie K can make a mad dash to retrieve it. LP2's hat was no longer lost.

The trolley ride was peaceful, informative and enjoyable. We departed at our parking lot and loaded up the car for home. I am so happy I listened to that rebellious little voice in my head today. It was a wonderful day in the sunshine, fresh air and near the water. I know the LP were happy to see Auntie K again, too...and so was I!

This particular trolley did NOT go "clang clang clang". Disappointing. 

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