This week my husband, Daniel, took the week off to spend some relaxing time as a family. I booked us a mid-week trip to Niagara Falls for two nights, because we could desperately use a family getaway.
In my dreams I would take my family to Disney World and enjoy the warm Floridian winter, or even better, enjoy a tropical cruise. I have so many friends who have gone all over the world on trips, and sometimes it’s hard not to feel a pang of sadness that we haven’t been able to do the same for our own family.
But for us, Niagara Falls, mid-week and off-season is the best that we can do. It’s hard to beat the cheap hotel rates at Niagara Falls, and despite my desire to try something different, our kids always love going to the Falls.
While there we visited the tropical Bird Kingdom, and I loved walking through the faux rainforest with exotic birds flying over us and walking right beside us. For some it may be their worst nightmare, but it was one of my favourite things we did on the trip.
In the evenings we played arcade games, swam at the hotel pool, and ate most of our meals back in our hotel room.
Daniel and I often reminisce when we go to Niagara, both of us visited the Falls as kids with our own families. Most of Clifton Hill looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1998, so it’s not hard to recall our memories as children. The robotic animals at the Rainforest Cafe are the same, cobwebs are growing on some of them, and they look a little less lively now.
The museums are embarrassingly outdated. Our kids took a photo next to Robert Wadlow outside the Guinness World Records Museum, a photo that I’m sure I have of myself somewhere.
It was a very low-key vacation, more than half of the shops at Niagara Falls were closed for the off-season. As much as I longed to be doing something a bit more exciting with my family, it was easy to shake off the feeling when I watched the excitement on my kids’ faces. They loved the Falls, and enjoyed every moment we spent together as a family. Even little Eloise seemed to take it all in, I don’t think I heard her cry once while on the trip.
It’s hard sometimes not to feel jealous of friends or acquaintances who enjoy exciting adventures in other countries. I have one amazing friend who is touring the United States right now in a trailer with her husband and their three young daughters. I see my family in theirs, the only difference is that my kids have never experienced the adventures theirs have.
But then I remember that we all have our own journeys, and our own choices. As exciting as it is to travel all over the world with young kids, it’s also challenging and requires sacrifice. Challenges and sacrifices that I’m clearly not willing to make.
Maybe one day our adventures will take us somewhere new, perhaps a place we’ve never been to or explored before. For now we appreciate the times we get to spend with our family, wherever it may be, making an adventure out of each new day.
What was your favourite family vacation? Share in the comments!