One of the things I was most excited about going up to Bar Harbor was taking the boys for a day by myself. I wanted to do all the "little kid" things I researched on the chamber of commerce website, and I wanted to do them at my own jealous pace. So as Dan mentioned we split up on day two of our vacation, and after breakfast the boys and I went off! Our first stop was the town playground.
I have a hard time checking my snobbery when I'm at new playgrounds. True, it's not a great park for toddlers. There's one big structure in the middle with no wide stairs and no small slide. There's nothing a baby can crawl up on and there's no shade. But Harvey and Zion still spent an hour checking out the swings, the giant tire, and the riding toys left by the numerous day care groups there. And since there were about twenty day care kids also vying for the space, there was much excitement to keep the boys interest. I had to practically drag Harvey away when Zion needed a nap. With beautiful mountains in the background to boot. Maybe I should be less snobish next time. But maybe I was just anxious to get to the wading pool.
The Glen Mary wading pool is just around the corner from the playground, and I think it should be at the top of any "Free things to do with kids in Bar Harbor" list. The concrete pool is huge, though never much deeper than my knees. The fenced-in park includes a set of swings, bathrooms, and plenty of shaded grass to spread out all our stuff, sleeping baby included.
There were two families there when we arrived, but the pool and surrounding lawn is so massive that the baby could sleep in the shade and Harvey and I could play in the water undisturbed. For a while we had the place all to ourselves until a lovely hippy family arrived and plunked down right next to us. I had a great conversation with the women who's daughters were named Cora, Lucinda, and Juno (her oldest child Henry proved my personal theory that hippy parents get up to speed slowly and tend to name their first child something normal.)
By the time the kids were ready to dry off we had the place to ourselves again. We certainly couldn't leave without trying out the swings first! They both swung for a while, but Zion turned out to be more interested in the chain-link fence, which he rattled and hung on for some ten minutes.
By this time it was mid-afternoon and I drove the boys back into downtown with the anticipation of meeting Dan at some point before dinner. I offered Harvey the choice of three options: look in stores, throw stones in the ocean, or visit a museum. "MUSEUM! HURRAY!" he shouted, putting his hands in the air.
The whaling museum is no longer, unfortunately — it's been closed to make room for a giant hotel. But the ABBE museum is right in town, celebrating Maine's Native American heritage. Harvey permitted me to look at baskets for approximately thirty seconds before we headed downstairs to the children's section.
The children's section of the ABBE museum is essentially one big circular room with some beanbag chairs in the middle. Along the sides there are puppets, blocks and books that can be dragged into the middle of the room for reading and/or mess making. Harvey and I read several stories while Zion pored some wooden blocks all over the floor. The shape of the room and the fact that we were alone there gave the blocks a beautiful echo when they hit the floor. I joined him in throwing them a little bit myself just because it sounded so pretty.
At $5 for the three of us, the museum was the only thing we spent money on all day, seeing as we packed in lunches and snacks (and thank you Dan for making the sandwiches in the morning). The only problem with the ABBE museum was we had to leave before the children wanted to. When I said it was time to go meet dada they responded by soiling their diapers in unison and then screaming about it. The epic clean up had us spending twenty minutes in the bathroom, at first to change both diapers and then because playing around in public bathrooms is apparently high fun at this age.
The thing about going fun places, we try to explain to Harvey, is you always have to leave them. In order to go to more fun places. It's a hard pill to swallow but made easier by the campground playground.
This playground is full of fan equipment that's banned in every other playground in this great nanny state of ours. A spinning merry-go-round thing, a teatherball, and these mile-high seesaws. All the more fun because they're probably dangerous.
So that was my awesome day with the boys. I wish every day could be filled with so many adventures, but finished with sleeping in a real bed.