Going on Vacation with 5 Kids
🎶 Going to Kansas City…Kansas City here I come. I’m going to Kansas City… 🎶
Sorry, just got stuck in my head.
So, guess where vacation was?!?!
If you said Kansas City…
DING DING DING!!! 🔔🔔🔔
And We’re Off…
We took a 300 mile, 4 1/2 hour trip in a vehicle with 7 people…2 moody teenagers, 2 little ones in diapers, 1 who thinks she’s constantly dying of starvation, my husband the speed demon who likes to use his breaks sparingly, and me, a very anxious, stressed, and panicky mom whose hair turned much more gray while on this vacation.
Yes, we took a vacation. A family vacation. To a hotel with a water park on the inside (and outside).
When you’re a mom taking a family vacation isn’t really a vacation for you. It’s more of a fun trip for the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun, we all did. But, I was still doing all the mom duties plus being stressed from spending all that money, trying to figure out sleeping arrangements and where to go for meals that everyone would be happy, and trying to wrangle 5 kids in huge crowds.
Kansas City was awesome. There was so much to do (including free stuff) and so many places to eat.
We stayed at Great Wolf Lodge which I would highly recommend to anyone with older kids, it wasn’t so much for my 2 little ones, the baby didn’t quite like swimming and my 4-year-old got wore out majorly. Our room was more like staying in a small rental apartment minus a kitchen. It had a living area; small kitchen-ish area with sink, mini fridge, and microwave; a nice full bathroom and a half bathroom; one bedroom with 2 queen beds downstairs and a bedroom with 1 queen bed upstairs; a fireplace; and a small balcony. It was nice but definitely costly. The best part was all of the water park was included with our stay.
Vacation started the day my 3 oldest kids finished school. They actually skipped school that day because they were doing nothing so it honestly wasn’t a big deal. By 9:30 we were on the road but of course nobody had eaten so the first stop was 30 minutes from home at Bob Evans for some breakfast.
Figuring Out Food
One of my biggest concerns on this “vacation” was my food options. If you remember I had become vegan back in April, I think. So I’m still doing the vegan thing and it’s really hard doing at home let alone trying to figure out what to eat while you’re away or eating out besides salads. I won’t lie and say I stayed completely on my vegan diet for the entire vacation because I didn’t, how could I?! I cheated some, but I paid for it and went right back to being all vegan quickly. (The burger the first night was UH-MAZE-ING though. Enormous and so juicy. But after just a few hours I was feeling it big time.)
The drive to KC went a lot faster than it should have. Mostly because my husband is a total and complete speed demon, like 90 mph almost the entire way there, and partly because it was a Wednesday and there really wasn’t a ton of traffic. Kids slept, played on their tablets, and had a few snacks and drinks on the way. All in all the drive was not that bad other than dealing with my husband’s insane driving and nearly having several panic attacks.
Great Wolf Lodge
When we got to GWL we went to our room with our 7 million bags of crap and as soon as I opened the door there was a horrible, disgusting smell. I don’t know what it was but I knew I was not staying in that room. The staff there are amazing people. They immediately changed our room and apologized for the unsatisfactory conditions. We settled in a bit and the kids just had to start swimming. So to the water park we went. It was pretty big and had plenty to do for everyone.
We absolutely had a ton of fun. Water park every day for hours, arcade open 24 hours a day, restaurants and little shops in the lodge. We saw the clock tower show, went to a story-time, and met some of the lodge characters. Of course we couldn’t just stay in the lodge the entire time although they had everything we needed so it would absolutely be doable. But we ventured out. Legoland, Sea Life Aquarium, Kemper Contemporary Art Museum, Jazz Museum, and Wonderscope. We also visited a few restaurants and even the jerky outlet.
Legoland was really cool and everyone loved it, even the adults. There were Lego sculptures to look at, building stations, tons of different exhibits, a 3D movie, rides, tons of interactive stuff, and even a huge play place. It was definitely hard getting the kids out of there. Though the cost was a little high for 7 of us, after being in there a little over 2 hours I’d have to say it was well worth it.
Sea Life Aquarium
Sea Life Aquarium was awesome! We had never been to an aquarium because we don’t have any close to where we live, so it was a new experience for all of us. My 4-year-old especially loved it because she had recently discovered that ‘Finding Dory’ was her favorite movie. So in every exhibit we continuously heard, “Where’s Dory?”. FINALLY we found Dory, and Nemo. Lots and lots of Dorys and Nemos. She squealed and yelled because she was so excited.
There were tons of different sea creatures to see in a lot of different exhibits, and there was even a touch pool where the kids could interact with things like starfish and cleaner shrimp. Very cool. There were arches to walk under and see the creatures swim above your head and even one exhibit that you could put your head into a globe in the middle of the tank. My 4-year-old loved that one.
Art and Jazz Museums
My oldest daughter is 15 and very into art. She’s actually am amazing artist and her dad and I both hope that she follows it as a career when she gets older. She was a little bored with the water park and all the “kiddie” things so she asked if we could visit the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. It was free so I definitely didn’t mind taking her and it gave use some alone time to spend together too.
Her other passion is music, specifically jazz. She’s played the flute for 3 years and the saxophone for 1 year; and is in marching band, concert band, symphonic band, and jazz band. She really loves music. So while we were out together we also visited the American Jazz Museum which I’m pretty sure was her absolute favorite thing of the entire vacation.
Wonderscope is an interactive children’s museum and it was awesome. I took my 4 and 9-year-old girls for a few hours out with me and Wonderscope is where we ended up. Since we live in such a small, rural area we don’t have things like this, so my girls found it to be tons of fun. The various different rooms all had different themes with lots of interactive things to do. There was a farm/garden, farmer’s market/store, doctor/vet office, building areas, water play, a gym, and so much more. It was cheap and totally worth it. My girls absolutely loved playing there and I had fun watching them. I wish we had something like that close to home.
Restaurants are bountiful in KC. There’s every type of cuisine and price range that you could imagine. But with 5 kids and picky eaters it was a task to find places that they would all eat and be happy with. And with me being a vegan that added even more thought into where we would have our meals. Luckily we had planned ahead and taken plenty of snacks and drinks for in between meals in our room and even took things for quick breakfasts (like donuts and coffee cake) to save a little on costs.
Vacation, Finally Over and Making It Home
Vacation lasted 4 days and by the time we got home everyone was exhausted, we had tons of things to put away, and I had a million loads of laundry to do. Luckily we got home late on a Saturday so I have the next day to work on everything before my husband went back to work and my 2 oldest kids started summer school (and then I was left at home all day with the 3 youngest).
After vacation was over I realized that I need a real vacation, that “vacation” wasn’t any different from normal life except we were somewhere else. After being home for a week I was still exhausted, trying to recover, and working on laundry. Such is the life of a SAHM of 5.
Missed part 1 and 2? Check them out here: