We took Mabel on her first family vacation last week! We decided on a road trip and drove down to Hot Springs, Arkansas for a few days. We spent about 7 1/2 hours in the car on the first day. Mabel did an amazing job. She played.
She helped out in the drivers seat. Mat took her advice graciously.
Our top advice for traveling with a 10-month old? Get a good hotel room. We arrived in Hot Springs with enough time to grab a quick dinner at a nearby Mexican place, and hot-foot it back to the room so Mabel could crash for the night.
We visited Hot Springs National Park and got our National Park Passport book stamped! Yay! Hot Springs is the only “urban” national park in the U.S. It has the city running right through the park. It was definitely a different experience than a regular national park has. But we enjoyed it!
It was a beautiful day.
Bathhouse Row included some amazingly huge and beautiful buildings.
We saw a few of the hot springs that are open and hiked around a bit.
It was really hard to get a family photo! So we didn’t.
We enjoyed lunch at a brewery there.
We took Mabel up to the top of the observation tower and let her run around a little bit. She enjoyed daddy’s shoulders best.
For dinner, we tried Fisherman’s Wharf — an amazing restaurant on the water! It was soooo good. This is usually our view of Mabel during dinnertime:
She likes turning around in the highchair and looking at everyone else in her sight line.
We spent most of this day at Garvan Gardens, a botanical garden area near Hot Springs. It’s gorgeous and very well maintained there! Highly recommend you visit this place if you ever go out there.
One of the first things we saw was their amazing Fairy Village. It’s incredibly built! Here’s just a few pieces of the village:
Next stop was the chapel there, which had a beautiful glass chandelier in it.
We detoured at the Serenity Circle and left Mabel in the center (for about two seconds) to see if she was a time-traveler. (Outlander, anyone??)
It was a little windy that day, but she enjoyed playing with leaves and sticks and whatever else she could get her grubby little hands on.
There’s a children’s adventure area, with lots of waterfalls and rock climbing places.
And streams with rivers and brooks all over.
As we left, Mabel saw her first peacock!
We drove to Saint Louis to stay with Mabel’s boyfriends family. We chatted with Sarah and Vic while Mabel and Ethan got some nice playtime in. For the KU game, we had dinner at a local brewery and watched the game on the big screens. And we took absolutely no pictures while we were there! Oops! But we had a great time and appreciate the Prechtel family for putting us up for the night.
We made the drive home in great time. Mabel was tuckered out from all the fun.