Having hands-on grands close by is such a gift! When my kids were babies, my parents accompanied us on many outings, helping me dig through diaper bags to find the wipes, to give big sister attention while I tended to her baby brother, and just as a support for me, finding my way as a mom. Now that my children are older, my parents still come with us on adventures. And even though I don’t need someone to push the stroller anymore, I am glad to have them, as their presence adds to our entire family’s experience.
Over the years, I’ve discovered that some venues are better than others when it comes to multi-generational outings. When deciding if we should invite “the grands” to come with us to a new place, I consider: how much walking is involved, if there will be lots of crowds/the noise level, and if the site will be fulfilling for all parties.
Here are a few of our favorite places for multi-generational outings:
If the grandparents in your life are history buffs, they will appreciate being on the grounds of the first Thanksgiving, visiting the Taps Monument, and the reconstructed slave quarters. For my children, the wide open space to explore, the views, and water play at the James River, are all reasons to love Berkeley Plantation. For our family, this is absolutely a site of mutual fulfillment!
Consider visiting the grounds this fall for a corn maze and pumpkin patch as well. While there is some walking involved, it is not extensive. And, you can plan on taking a break at the bench by the river.
Unplugged Games Cafe
For nearly 2 years, my dad (Gramps) and my daughter, Eloise have had a standing date at Unplugged Games Cafe once a week. Located in Midlothian, this casual eatery doubles as a game library and play place. There are hundreds of games to choose from – games for preschoolers through adults!
While my dad and daughter learn how to play new games, they also get a chance to chat and connect. If the grandparent or child isn’t familiar with the board games, the staff is quick to explain instructions and make suggestions. Further, they’re incredibly accommodating, making sure to seat my Dad in a quieter area of the cafe, so he can fully hear his granddaughter when she declares, “I win!”
While you play, you may order a full meal or just dessert, as my family often does. Not only is this a fun outing, it is quite affordable, as children 12 and under play games for free with a paying adult.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
As one of the most picturesque venues in all of Richmond, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is an incredible place for all ages. While the adults marvel at the stunning rose garden, children enjoy climbing to the top of the Klaus Family Tree House.
For our family, a holiday tradition is to light up the night with Dominion GardenFest of Lights, and grandparents often come along. A final reason I suggest Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden as an excellent excursion with grandparents: they supply wheelchairs for guests to borrow on a first-come, first-served basis.
Virginia War Memorial
While Virginia War Memorial may not be top of mind when considering where to take your children, I highly recommend visiting, with both kids and grandparents in tow. Of course, what the children glean from the experience will be much different than what the adults do, that does not make it any less meaningful. As my father is a veteran, he appreciates the opportunity to teach my children about the photos, art, and other artifacts they see during their visit. Additionally, Virginia War Memorial hosts events specifically for children and families throughout the year.
As you plan your family’s next day out in RVA, invite the grandparents! These recommendations will make it easy for everyone to have a positive experience.
Now is the right time to investigate the notion of giving fun and experiences for the holidays, instead of more stuff. #GiveFunNotStuff Since Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights kicks off in November, you could wrap up a Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden family membership for “the grands,” and package it with an ornament, decorative tea towel, or other accessory from the gift shop as an early holiday gift. Visit their membership page for more information.