When Adventure Takes a Wrong Turn is a piece about how even if something goes wrong on your family travel adventure, good can still come from it if you have an open mind.
“Let’s go on an adventure!”
This is what I’ve started to say to my kids on days that we get out of the house. Over the last few weeks, I have made a conscious effort to start exploring the world around us more. Whether it’s spending extra time exploring trails after nature class has ended (we homeschool and attend nature class once a week), finding a new trail to explore when we have a few extra hours and dad is home from work, or driving to Philadelphia to explore a new part of the city we’ve never been too, Andrew and I have been making more attempts at spending more time out of the house.
The adventure begins
We started calling our day trips adventures because the girls would tell us they don’t want to go walk a trail or walk around a city. Rightly so, they are 2.5 and 5 and they want to go play at Chuck E Cheese or the local park. By calling it an adventure we get them to open their minds to what they may find on our trip may be something really fun (and it always is).
Last weekend, Andrew had the day off and we decided that we would drive to Philadelphia and explore the Fairmount Park area between the Philadelphia Zoo and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Since we are members of the Philadelphia Zoo, we parked at their parking garage and then planned to walk the 1.5 miles to the Museum of Art.
Within the first half-hour, we had found butterfly statues, a moving train to watch go by, and a fun park. As we continued, we found a trail to walk through and a fun tree house that appeared to happen naturally. We walked across the street to the Lloyd House near Boathouse Row and from there we found water fountains, saw two brides taking pictures, and explored the Water Works section of Philadelphia. Finally, we reached the Philadelphia Museum of Art outside the famous steps that Rocky climbed. By now, it was after 5pm and we were hungry.
Eating on an Adventure
As we discovered on our plans-free vacation to Colorado, sometimes the best food experiences are found just by looking on an app and going to the first place that sounds fun. We found an awesome pizzeria called Luigi’s Pizza Fresca on 24th St and Fairmount Ave a few blocks away. After we filled our bellies, we decided it was time to make the trek back to our car at the zoo garage.
On our journey back, we went through the Mantua section of Philadelphia and found beautiful murals along much of the city. As we were coming down 34th street, I noticed there weren’t many people out.
The adventure throws you for a loop
I looked at Andrew and said, there’s not many people out. He said there weren’t many people ever on 34th street. As we started walking past the backside of the zoo, I noticed that I didn’t see anyone inside the zoo, no matter where we were. I began to question if the zoo garage closes. Andrew assured me he had went to a haunted house and parked there late before, so we were good.
We were not good.
We arrived to the garage and the side ramp and doors were locked and/or gated. Andrew said, they probably lock that and let’s walk around to the entrance. Again, it was gated. The zoo garage was closed. Our car was inside. We were more than 30 minutes from our home. It was 7pm. We had walked more than 7 miles by the end of that day. We were exhausted. I immediately burst into tears.
When an adventure takes a wrong turn, you get to experience a new fun
Andrew reminded me it wasn’t the end of the world. We would just get to have a new adventure the rest of the evening. We grabbed an Uber and had it take us to the Patco station (a train that runs between New Jersey and Philadelphia). Then, we got on the train and took it back to New Jersey. From there, we took another Uber to our house. It was 9pm when we got home.
My five year looks at me, with a smile upon her face and says, “Well, that sure was an adventure. But, I don’t like that our car is trapped.”
In that moment, I realized it wasn’t about my feelings or thoughts. It’s that despite everything, our kids still felt like we had an adventure. A fun adventure that my daughter said she would love to do again. It was that in this moment, my daughter reminded me that we could focus on this one (very small in comparison to the day) bad moment, or we could focus on how amazing of a day we had exploring, learning, and seeing new thrills in our world around us.
I’m forever grateful for the life lessons that I receive from my kids in these moments.
Have your adventures ever taken a wrong turn? Leave a comment and let me know what happened!
PS – Always double check if the parking garage you park in closes and at what time!
PPS – We got the car back! It was still in the garage the next day.
>> Use this code for a FREE Uber ride up to $20 << * New Users Only