Sunday, January 20, 2013

On Becoming a Parent in Phoenixville

Until I became a parent 9 weeks ago, I never took notice to things like changing tables in public restrooms, or stairs leading into a business that my stroller cannot navigate, or even places to go with a newborn that wouldn't get me dirty looks from other patrons.  I also never considered all the mega cracks in the sidewalks of Phoenixville that make me pop a wheelie on the Graco travel system, or how I may never use an escalator again.  Although some veteran parents may chuckle at my recent discoveries, it's quite unsettling to a new parent who has absolutely no clue!   Suddenly my old life has been wrapped in a diaper and tossed in the genie (diaper genie, that is).  I needed help and fast!

The problem is that Phoenixville is sorely lacking resources for the itsy bitsy sized and their parents.  It's my quest to find activities for my little one in this town (or close proximity) and share them with the rest of my local novice parents who are seeking the same.  I'll explore Moms groups, the public library, the Y, various family friendly businesses, etc. and post here about the experiences.  Perhaps my readers can even share a tip or two with me if they find something cool to do with a baby in this town.  I'm hoping this blog will both inspire new Phoenixville parents to get out of the house with their babies as well as force me to do the same!  Cheers to the grand experiment of Babies on Bridge!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Little Liberty Thrift Store

Since my in-laws have moved into town, I’ve been hitting the thrift stores with them in order to furnish their wonderful new home.  This is when we stumbled across “Little Liberty” thrift store in Collegeville.  If you need toys, strollers, clothes, high chairs, or anything else baby/toddler related, you need to check this place out! It’s become a bi-monthly outing for us to get “new” toys and unload the ones we don’t use anymore. It’s a place you have to experience for yourself to understand that it is not “too good to be true.”   

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Last Week of Phoenixville Library Kids Programs for Summer

All good things must come to an end as the school year come to a beginning.  This Friday will be the last day of the PHX Library's summer kids program at the high school. Beloved "Miss Bridget" informs me that once the renovations are complete at the library (probably mid-September), the kids programs will resume as always.  For the last remaining days of summer, I will be sorely missing the Learning Explorations and Storytimes! 

Here are some alternative storytimes you can check out in the meantime:

Retold Tales- (Phoenixville's new used bookstore on Bridge St)
    Sundays and Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and Thursdays at 2 p.m

Towne Book Center (Collegeville, in the Wegman's plaza)
     Wednesdays 11am

Barnes and Nobles (Devon)
    Saturday and Tuesdays at 11am, Pajama story time Fridays 7pm

Barnes and Nobles (Exton)
     Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 11am

Chester County Book & Music Company (West Chester)
     Wednesdays at 10:30am

Monday, July 30, 2012

Return to Nature: Reviews of Nature Centers and Sanctuaries

I’ve been attending so many “Parent and Me” toddler groups this month (Gymboree, YMCA, and Phoenixville Library’s kids programs) that I was starting to feel the only way to entertain a toddler would involve a parachute, bubbles, and circle songs.  How can I get away from the daily trap of singing “Wheels on the Bus” to keep my little girl entertained?   
Return to Nature!  What can keep a child entertained more than flowers, butterflies, bunny rabbits, turtles, fish, and an assortment of farm animals? Nothing I can think of!  So we headed to the Upper Schuykill Valley Park on 1600 Black Rock Road in Royersford to check out what they have to offer a toddler.  The first thing checked out was the butterfly house, and while there weren’t any butterflies in it on this visit, there was a nice koi pond with frogs and turtles to enjoy. To get out of the heat, two air conditioned rooms allow for some nice animal viewing.  The rabbit house had some cute little thumpers to enjoy, and while we couldn’t pet them, it was nice to say helIo through the cages.  The barn where the piglets used to be housed has been converted into a wonderful indoor sanctuary for a fish pond, several snakes, frogs, and turtles, as well as a skunk and a minx.  I have to say that while I missed the little piggies, what they’ve done to the space is even more enjoyable!   Around the back of the buildings are areas to view eagles, vultures, owls, pheasants, and other birds.  Then finally enjoy the farm area where goats and foxes reside.  If your toddler isn’t too tired try a short nature walk on the canal trail and end up at the Schuykill Canal Park in Monte Clare. Be warned, this trail is NOT paved and has some rocks to traverse, so don’t take the stroller.   

The Upper Schuykill Valley Park is only a short mile from the Black Rock Sanctuary where there ARE paved trails for a stroller ride.  The toddler crowd will enjoy the giant bird’s nest to walk in and easy access to the pond for splashing and turtle spotting.  There is also a butterfly trail here as well as picnic areas so pack a lunch and enjoy nature a while.  A kid doesn’t need all the singing and dancing and playground equipment parents tend to scope out for entertainment.  Really, watching my daughter throw rocks in the stream at the Great Valley Nature Center for over an hour and a half taught me that much! I’d review the GVNC for you, but we honestly never made it past the creek both times we visited! However, stomping through the creek sure beat a dip in the chlorinated and crowded waters of Baker Pool at the Y on a hot day! Much better for your piece of mind too!

So before you circle up for yet another Parent and Me program of any variety, consider taking a vacation from the routine and return to nature.  You will be glad you did!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

3 Nearby Playgrounds Worth Visiting

Not all playgrounds are created equal.  I’ve been to a fair share of the neighborhood parks to discover this alarming fact.  However, there are a few wonderful gems among the quartz.  If you are looking to capitalize on the cooler weather, get your kids in the car and visit these parks!

Kimberton Park- Located on 2202 Kimberton Road in Phoenixville, this park has the best facilities I’ve found locally.  There are three giant playground equipment centers that are PERFECT for toddlers as well as the bigger kids.  Some playground equipment makes me wince when my toddler is climbing at heights I’m not quite comfortable with….Kimberton avoids this to the relief of parents everywhere with daredevil children.  This park also boasts a giant sandbox and swings! 

Wilson Farm Park-   the website certainly doesn’t do this park justice.  It’s missing pictures of an amazingly huge playground (and one a very nice foam foundation- no woodchips!)  Slides, rock wall, swings, jungle gym, and fantastic bathroom facility right there!  It’s located near the Chesterbrook shopping center by the interchange of 202 and 252.  You want to head to the “family activities” area. Don’t be fooled by the small playground area when you first enter the park.  Travel to the back of the park and you will find the gold! 

Manderach Memorial Playground- located at Limerick Community Park Swamp Pike and Ziegler Road.  This place hosts a giant playground castle for the bigger kids and separate smaller castles for the toddlers to place in too!  It’s truly a marvel of playground science.  Beware though, the place is naturally swarming with kids! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Kutztown Folk Festival this Weekend!

Being as PA Dutch as a person can possibly get, it was essential to visit the Kutztown Folk Festival and reconnect with my roots.  Get all the kraut dogs, funnel cake, homemade ice cream, and corn fritters you can stomach at this festival of the foods and arts.  Besides being able to eat some authentic Dutch food, you can purchase a HUGE variety of handmade amish/mennonite crafts from over 200 craftsmen at the fair.

But what is there to do for the kids? How about a real carousel ride pulled by a mule?  Or puppet shows? Live musical performances?  Hay mazes, petting zoo, pony rides, bounce houses, child size train rides? Yes, the Kutztown Folk Festival has them all!

Some things you need to know...It's going to be hot Friday and Saturday.  Bring water, or you'll be paying $2 a bottle.  If your kids want to bounce in the bounce house, BRING SOCKS!  The heat makes the plastic SUPER hot, so you don't want to burn the toddler's footsies by trying it barefoot. 
Also these particular rides you need to purchase tickets for.  There are plenty of free kids activities, but bring cash (there are ATMs on site). 

Kids under 12 years of age get in free, but adults are $14 (parking is included). Here is a coupon for $3 off of admission (my gift to you!) Have fun, and if you ain't Dutch, you ain't much! Festival ends Sunday, July 8th.

Friday, June 22, 2012

PHX Library Kids Programs are Returning!

On a whim, I decided to check in with the progress of PHX library's renovations and if this summer would be one without toddler storytime... The good news is that PHX library kid's programs are back, but in a temporary new location for July.  Get ready to head to the PHX High School Room E1 and E8 for all the programs you know and love from our local library:

Learning Explorations 1-3 yr olds
Toddler Storytime 1-3 yr olds
Yoga ages 2-5 yr olds and 5-12 yr olds
Thrilling Thursdays with magicians/comedians
Make and Take Mondays 2-12 yr olds
Preschool Storytime 3-5 yr olds
Gaming 5-12 yr olds
Family Movie Matinees (Fridays at 2pm)
Lego Club 5-12 yr olds
Gaming 5-12 yr olds
Pajama Storytime
Teen Gaming
Teen Movie nights

Check out out the calendar for exact dates and times!  See you there!