Rhode Island with a Toddler

Old Sep 4th, 2015, 07:06 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,337
Rhode Island with a Toddler

We (my parents, me and my husband, and our almost 3 year-old son) went on a vacation in Rhode Island for 5 days at end of August. RI doesn't get mentioned too much here, so I thought I'd post a TR (very toddler-centric).

I rented a house via Airbnb, that is in the Blackstone neighborhood of Providence. I picked it for its amenities: plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms, but most importantly, a basement playroom full of toys, and a kids room with a crib. Our son still sleeps in a crib at home so this house solves his sleeping arrangement issues (and frees up our trunk from packing loads of toys).

Our sightseeing days are divided in 2 parts, because our son still takes a midday nap and he naps best in the crib. So we would go for an outing in the morning, return to the house for nap, then go out again in the afternoon. As a result, I limit our sightseeing to no more than 30-min drive from Providence. I know this sounds really restrictive to many people, but a well-rested, happy toddler = a happy mom.

Day 1
We spent the morning at Providence's Roger Williams Zoo.
We (me, husband, son) live in Boston and we find RW Zoo far superior than the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, and cheaper too! The entire visit experience is much, much nicer at RW Zoo.

That afternoon, we went to a neighborhood playground, which has TONS of ride-ons, tricycles, playhouses etc. I assume families just left those toys at the playground after their kids had outgrown them? In addition, it has a large sandbox with construction trucks. It is the equivalent of heaven for our son.

We had both lunch and dinner at home today.

Day 2
This morning to drove to Coggeshall Farm Museum in Bristol.
I've never heard of it before but the house owner mentioned it to me. It is a farm museum that demonstrates what a tennant farm in the late 1700s would be like. One of the buildings dated back to that old. It is fairly small and honestly, not too much to see. It has free-roaming animals (chickens, roosters, turkeys), and also sheep and cows. On that day, 2 of the workers were attempting to chop down a locust tree, so that provided entertainment for our son for quite some time.

We drove back to Providence and ate lunch at Red Stripe in Wayland Sq (about 1 mile south from our house). My parents and DH both had a moules frites, I had fish and chips, our son had mac & cheese. Their lunch menu is quite affordable and the food was good.

In the afternoon, we drove to Crescent Park in East Providence to see the Looff Carousel (ca 1895). http://www.eastprovidenceri.net/Carousel
It is still in operation and rides are only 75 cents. But in addition to the carousel, the park is quite pretty, with lots of greens and trees. You can also reach a beach via a steep path. So, we spent some time on the beach, then on the green, and finally the carousel. As the Park faces West, it is a really beautiful spot to watch sunset. We couldn't stay that late but we saw plenty of people bringing food and picnic chairs there for a sunset dinner.

Right next to the Carousel is Blount's Clam Shack, where we had dinner. My parents had lobster roll. I had clam chowder. DH had fried whole belly clams.

Day 3
This AM, we went to a playground called the imPOSSIBLE Dream in Warwick. It is a HUGE playground that is accessible to all children, and it is free. The place is large, with not just your average playground equipment, but also playhouses such as castle, pirate ship, car garage, grocery store etc for pretend play.

That afternoon, we drove to Pawtuxet Village, a small town full of charm. We first spent over an hour at the Village Playground, then went on a walk in the little village. It is very picturesque. We decided to have dinner there and picked an Italian restaurant called Fellini's. Followed by ice cream at Dear Hearts Ice cream

Day 4
Back in Providence, we spent the morning at the Providence Childrens Museum.
I have never been to the Childrens Museum in Boston, so I cannot compare. However the Providence Childrens Museum is a lot of fun. Bonus - it was not crowded at all on a Saturday morning! It has a huge room dedicated to water play, and an area for toy construction trucks. We were there for 2+ hours and could easily stay longer.

We then hurried over to the Saturday morning Hope Street Farmers Market, located about 1 mile north of our rental house
The market is HUGE! I wish we had more time to peruse, but toddler was reaching his limit, so we quickly grabbed some fruits and veggies, and some readymade food to-go, and had lunch at home.

That afternoon, we slowly made our way to downtown Providence for WaterFire that evening. It was a FULL lighting that night. We did not have trouble finding a parking spot on Benefit Street, just a few blocks from RISD. WE walked along the canal for a bit, then returned to Benefit Street for dinner at Den Den Cafe Asiana. I highly recommend it! I found it serendipitously on Yelp while looking for places to eat near WaterFire. It serves a mostly Korean menu and the food is really good (and authentic). And the staff was super nice and the place was child-friendly.

After dinner, we returned to downtown and found some seats at the Water Basin and waited for the WaterFire to begin. DH & I had attended it once, 4 years ago, and enjoyed it. Tonight the weather was super nice and it was just a fun experience. WE couldnt stay long however, as it was past our son's bedtime; we left soon after the fires were lit.

Day 5
We headed farthest on our last day - we drove to Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth.
It is managed by the Newport Mansions, but obviously quite different from *those* mansions.
(In case you're wondering why we didn't go to Newport - we all (except our son) have been to Newport and toured the mansions more than once. We didn't feel the need to return, esp now with a toddler in tow)

The Green Animals Topiary turned out to be a winner. Our son had tons of fun trying to figure out which animal the tree resembles. (I had been there once before, when I was 21, and I thought it was a fun place then.) If you like mansions, there is the original house where you can visit. Upstairs are a number of playrooms with plenty of antique toys and antique dollhouses.

For lunch, we headed east over the bridge to Evelyn's Drive-in in Tiverton. It was written up in the Boston Globe just a few weeks earlier about their famous lobster chow mein. Ugh. I should have known better. The lobster chow mein was quite terrible, mostly because the lobster was rubbery. DH had a crab roll and he wasn't impressed. I think the best dish was mine - a grilled scallop roll. But overall a huge disappointment.

That's all folks. We had a good time and the weather was super nice. WE found plenty of kid-friendly activities to do within a 30-min drive from Providence. There are plenty of places we couldn't get to that is just a tad too far... maybe next time when our son no longer needs his midday nap!

Thanks for reading!
yk is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2015, 07:43 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,046
Thanks for a great trip report. I'm always looking for places to travel to with my son.
williamscb13 is offline  
Old Sep 5th, 2015, 03:45 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
This is a great source of information, well-written and very descriptive!

Thank you very much.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2015, 10:36 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 3,605
Sounds like a really lovely trip and how great for m-yk to spend time with your parents. And, as always, your report is terrific.
mvor is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2015, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Sounds like a great trip! We will be passing through and spending an afternoon in Providence with our 5 year old in a couple of weeks. We are thinking of going to the zoo so I'm glad to hear a good review. Is the playground with the ride ons near the zoo?
Dohlice is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2015, 01:57 PM
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Hi Dohlice, the playground with the ride-ons are in Wayland Sq, so it isn't that close by. Besides, they are more toddler-sized ride-ons so your 5 year-old will be too big for them. You can think about the Childrens Museum - esp if you are going on a Friday - it is open late and free after 5pm.
yk is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2015, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 144
Good job, yk, balancing baby and big people needs.
TDuTwo is offline  
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