Spring seems to be a natural time of year for family and togetherness. Perhaps it's the weather and sunshine that makes getting up and active a little more appealing. Maybe it's the family-centered time set aside for school spring breaks, Passover and Easter. Could it be the vaccine that is allowing us to be together again for the first time in a year? Whatever it is that is bringing about more social life, I'll take it!
Late last month, I spent a wonderful morning at our local zoo with some friends. It was just two other moms and our kids, walking around and checking out the animals, but it was so refreshing! We were able to expand our social circle beyond our immediate households, and the setting made a perfect backdrop!
It was a crisp spring morning, and the animals were very active! The big cats seemed just feet away, jumping on rocks and roaming their habitats. The red panda was cute, and the elephants were frisky (seriously--we had to move quickly to avoid too many questions about their activities)! The zebras were even prancing as they entered their habitat for breakfast.
This atmosphere of surprise and wonder felt like a mini-vacation. It was a trip away from the ordinary and outside our daily routine. And this feeling is exactly why I added these monthly "tourist" activities to my 21 for 21.
Seeing something outside of our norm is one of just a handful of reasons we go on a vacation. We wake up early to go sightseeing and we can't wait to absorb it all. We don't mind being a little uncomfortable or walking a lot, because we know the memories will be worth it.
One of the other reasons we go on vacation is to get away from those daily stresses and worries--the "grind" as they say. And a few weeks ago, on this simple outing to the zoo, I did just that. I put my "out of office" message on, and I was off the grid for a few magical hours. I didn't check email, and I didn't answer phone calls. I really listened to my friends and my kids, and enjoyed my surroundings with full attention.
These monthly tourist outings allow for a break from everyday life without the hassle and cost of a monthly vacation. My family is making more memories and developing a greater appreciation for our city. It doesn't have to be extravagant or elaborate; a few hours can make an impact.
Ways to be a tourist in your hometown:
- catch a professional or semi-pro baseball game
- head to a museum or special exhibit
- hike at a state park
- visit a zoo or aquarium
- picnic and play at the park
- camp in your backyard
- go for a bike ride on a new trail or path, then grab an ice cream or snow cone
- skate at a community ice rink's public session
- attend an outdoor concert
- shop at a farmer's market
- go fruit picking
- visit a special garden or greenhouse
- enjoy some charcuterie at a local winery
- go fishing
One final tourist trick--buy yourself a cup of coffee from a local coffee shop!