Hi y’all! My name is Renae and I’ll be sharing traveling tips with you monthly here at MFTM! This month I am really excited to share tips for visiting Tacoma with kids.
When Kara asked me if I’d be interested in regularly contributing to her blog I was thrilled. Since you probably don’t know me, I’ll tell you I often call myself an un-domesticated goddess because when you look up “domesticated” in the dictionary those adjectives frighten me! But truth be told, I’m a DIY, decor loving, homemaker and recently a stay at home mom – A title that’s sometimes hard for my independent spirit to own. And the ‘home’ part isn’t completely accurate. These days we’re a bit of a traveling circus. I’m the primary caretaker for our 1 1/2 year old son and I “run our household” whether it’s in an actual home or out of a suitcase. My situation is pretty relatable, I had a job I loved at an acting school where I felt creative, inspired, and independent — and then I got pregnant. I thought I’d be able to bring the baby to work with me and when that didn’t work out as planned along with the reality of an hour commute each way and high cost of childcare, things got challenging. Our situation gets a little more unique… my husband is a nationally touring stand-up comedian. INSERT SHAMELESS PLUG HERE He’s hilariously funny with a Netflix special to prove it. I’m actually a producer on this special, and I work for my husband too! (yes, it gets tricky, but that’s a whole other thing!) We quickly learned with him working in a different city every week, we wouldn’t have much time as a family and I would have been single parenting a lot of the time without any family near to help. Something had to give. We decided what made the most sense was for me to quit my job and the baby and I would join Steve on tour as much as possible and #ourtravelingcircus was born.
I don’t know about you mammas, but life after baby was a tough adjustment for me. I knew I had a pretty amazing opportunity to travel and spend this time with my baby and it was a blessing that we were able to do it, but I cried when I quit my job. When I was pregnant I felt like my body was taken over by an alien, and after I had him in the midst of all the hormone fluctuations I struggled to get back to being me. Work was the one place I felt like myself. Sure, an exhausted version of me. But it forced me to get dressed and I got to be creative, joke around with my co-workers, and have stimulating conversations that weren’t all about my new baby and being a mom. And when that was gone, I felt really lost.
But the last 20 months out on tour with Steve, we’ve made some pretty special family memories traveling across the country by plane, RV, & car. We took our first road trip when our son was less than 3 weeks old. -Not ideal for breastfeeding, but you manage.
And we’ve been able to catch up with friends up and down California, all over Texas, New York, Florida, Arizona and Vegas. And over time, I’ve been learning to embrace this time in my life even though its not what I imagined I’d be doing. It’s likely this won’t work for our family forever and he’s already growing so quickly so I’m trying to take every opportunity that allows me to better mom.
I’m really enjoying experiencing these cities through a child’s eyes, But Its challenging to carve out time for yourself when your sharing one room and balancing your husbands weird work hours which is not compatible with a baby’s sleep schedule. So when Kara asked me to contribute to the blog, I thought it was a great chance to take a moment for myself and get back to being creative. I figure it can only help me continue to discover who I am post baby. And I’ve got lots to share about the adventures of traveling with a little rugrat!
When we visit a city and where we stay is often determined by the comedy club. Lucky for me, most comedy clubs are usually located in busy city centers near nice hotels, shopping and restaurants! Tacoma didn’t disappoint.
Travel tip right off the bat here. Tacoma came at the end of a 2 week run for us, so we thought it would be easier not to drag around a car seat. Wrong! Renting one cost us $10 a day. So we ended up paying almost as much for the seat as we did the rental car. If you’ve got a big drawstring bag from your dry cleaner, just toss the seat in it and check it for free with your luggage.
We stayed at Hotel Murano in downtown Tacoma which has lots of cool glass art from the Museum of Glass down the street and the hotel restaurant was great too. Downtown Tacoma offers so much to explore within stroller walking distance. There are some hills, so in it’s worth traveling with a stroller that has some storage as opposed to a little umbrella stroller for this trip. Tacoma is beautiful and green and the cherry blossoms were in bloom when we visited. It didn’t rain, so we were able to go out and explore a lot.
If your little one is an early riser there is a Starbucks close by and the University of Washington has a bookstore attached with a quaint little kids area. We hung out there waiting for the museum to open so I could get my coffee fix and Dad could sneak in a little more sleep.
Our traveling circus has frequented several children’s museums and Tacoma has been one of our son’s favorite. It’s not the biggest, but it’s got plenty to keep kids entertained including a water play area and a really cool plane jungle gym structure to climb all over. We found ourselves strolling there one morning and then back again at the end of the day because he loved it so much.
You’ll have to get in the car and drive, but Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has been one of my favorite places to visit in Tacoma too. It’s one of the prettier zoos I’ve been to with interactive exhibits and a nice big playground. Point Defiance isn’t huge, and a lot of the animals were away sleeping, but we saw peacocks roaming and beautiful lions. I’m a fan of the zoo/aquarium combo. Plenty of grassy spaces too if you wanted to lay out a blanket and pack a lunch.
It’s a beautiful drive over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to Gig Harbor to have a seaside lunch. We spent a relaxing afternoon doing some eating, bird watching and shopping.
And there is still so much more to do in the downtown area! We ran out of time so the Museum of Glass and Tacoma Art Museum are on our list for next time. I loved Tacoma and hope we’re able to go back. It was one of the easier cities to adventure around with a tot and I totally recommend it.
- Check in your carseat and use a large, drawstring laundry bag.
- Stroller with storage room.
- Check out the bookstores, museums, zoos, and parks in the city you’re visiting.
You can follow #ourtravelingcircus on my Instagram! I’ll be back next month with more traveling tips for you!