30 Nut-Free Snacks For A Long-Haul Flight

30 Nut-Free Snacks For A Long-Haul Flight

This post contains affiliate links. 30 Nut-Free Snacks For A Long-Haul Flight.

Nut-free snacks for a long-haul flight

My family, including our 4-year-old and 8-year-old, is preparing for some intense travel this summer. I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m a planner so even though it’s a few weeks away I’m in full panic list-making mode. My current focus is food and snacks, yes snacks. When you have three long flights, including two lengthy layovers one-way, and a child with a serious allergy, snacks are a major issue. Therefore, I’ve been collecting ideas and possibilities and came up with this list of 30 nut-free snacks for a long-haul flight.

Where are you going that requires over 24 hours of travel time each way?

We’ll be traveling to the beautiful country of Georgia and landing in the capital of Tbilisi. My husband is from a town just a couple hours west of Tbilisi so we’ll be visiting family and acting the tourist as we head to Batumi, a rather fabulous city on the Black Sea. If you’re ready for some amazing food, wine, beaches, culture, and welcoming people, this is the place for you.

Comments from the children about Batumi:

“Mommy, what is a dolphinarium? They have one. I want to go there.”

“So Mommy. Do I have to get in the water? I don’t want to swim in the sea, but I can make a sand castle, right?”

“Do you think we’ll see some jellyfish?”

Yes, traveling with kids is always an adventure and an education. I love being there when they experience new things for the first time and see their eyes widen in excitement before they start bouncing up and down. However, for Mom, safety is always one of my major worries on any trip.  You know, right up there on the top of the list is food safety when traveling abroad, especially when a child has a major food allergy.

Why should I be concerned if my snacks have peanuts in them on the airplane?

First of all, my child does not have a peanut allergy, but she does have another allergy that can be equally as deadly. Personally, I do not understand how anyone can justify bringing peanuts or any nuts on an enclosed airplane. One would hope the airlines and anyone who feels their need for a bag of peanuts on an airplane is no problem has never had close contact with someone with a life-threatening allergy.

It’s sort of like me saying, “Here is some iocane powder I’ve instantly dissolved into our drinking water. It is odorless, tasteless, and one of the more deadly poisons known to man. I’m not affected by it because I’ve ingested it in small amounts and have built up an immunity to it. I like the idea of it. Therefore, it is my right to put it in our water supply. Anyone who is poisoned by it will just have to deal with it or go live in another town.”

Does this make sense in any way, shape, or form? No, of course not, but for some reason, the idea of eating a bunch of nuts on an airplane and breathing them on your neighbor and the rest of the occupants of the plane as the air moves around the cabin does not even cross most minds. It is not as if you can turn a life-threatening allergy on or off with the flip of a switch. Moreover, the insensitivity, ignorance, or insistence of those not affected is simply a dangerous form of discrimination. I could go on and on with this topic, but we’d better stop there and look at some nut-free snack choices.

Have you prepped your home for while you're on vacation?

Read through my homeowner’s travel prep checklist to make sure you’ve covered it all!
Read it here!

30 Nut-Free Snacks For A Long-Haul Flight

This is a good list including many of the options we like to use for snacks. These are nut-free options great for aiplanes, school snacks, or any child with a nut allergy. However, please, please, PLEASE double-check labels before eating if there is an allergy present. Sometimes company do change procedures and they can then produce items on the same equipment or in the same facility as nuts. I hope you try some new ones out. The pink titles and pictures of the items link to Amazon in case you want more information. Enjoy!

 

  1. Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks. My kids love most Annie’s snacks, but not all are nut-free or not made in a facility with other nuts. Be sure to check your labels! 
  2. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. Always a classic and sure to distract kids for a few minutes.
  3. Enjoy Life Not Nuts! Mountain Mambo Seed and Fruit Mix, Gluten, Dairy, Nut & Soy Free. I absolutely love this brand. Not only do the snacks taste good, but they are marketed as gluten, dairy, nut, and soy free. These are perfect nut-free snacks for a long-haul flight, and healthy too! 
  4. Enjoy Life Not Nuts! Beach Bash Nut Free Seed and Fruit Mix, Gluten, Dairy, Nut & Soy Free. Bonus! Another flavor! 
  5. Don’t Go Nuts Nut-Free Organic Snack Bars, Whitewater Chomp. Try the Blueberry Blast and Boogie Board Bash flavors as well! 
  6. Enjoy Life Baked Chewy 1 Ounce Bars, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free & Soy Free. Again, try out the different flavors to find your favorites.
  7. Newtons Fruit Chewy Cookies, Fig. 
  8. Nature’s Bakery Whole Wheat Fig Bar, Raspberry. These are so good! I love to eat these as an afternoon snack. 
  9. Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars. 
  10. Black Forest Organic Gummy Bears Candy. Try the Black Forest Organic Fruit Snacks too
  11. Annie’s Organic Variety Pack, Cheddar Bunnies and Bunny Graham Crackers Snack Packs. 
  12. GoGo squeeZ Applesauce On The Go, Apple Berry, 3.2 Ounce Pouches. These are great because they’re healthy fruit and at 3.2 ounces just under your 3.4-ounce airport limit.
  13. Little Duck Organics Tiny Fruits + Veggie.
  14. Triscuit Crackers, Original. 
  15. Nature Valley Cinnamon Granola Crunch. My husband loves Nature Valley granola bars, but the usually have peanuts and other nuts listed in the allergen information. We recently found this granola crunch with the only warning being for soy and love it. It’s a great snack or fun to put on yogurt for breakfast. 
  16. Trader Joe’s Jumbo Raisin Medley. Raisins are a great snack on the go! I have found some of the major brands producing the individual serving boxes are produced in the same facility or on shared equipment with nuts. So, check your labels carefully! This is why I usually end up buying the store brand of raisins, and as an added bonus they’re cheaper! Now, this jumbo raisin medley is something different and just rather yummy so that’s why it’s made the list.
  17. Brothers-ALL-Natural Fruit Crisps.
  18. Made in Nature Organic and Unsulfured Tree Ripened Dried Apricots. Apricots can be tricky! When you buy a bag be sure they’re not packaged in a facility with peanuts or tree nuts.
  19. Oreo Sandwich Cookies Variety Pack.
  20. Rold Gold Tiny Twists Pretzels.
  21. Enjoy Life Plentils Single-Serve Variety Pack.
  22. MySuperCookies Organic Whole Grain Cookies. 
  23. Plum Kids Organic Fruit Mashups, Mixed Berry.
  24. Mott’s Unsweetened Strawberry Applesauce. 
  25. Skeeter Nut Free Mini Cookies, Variety Pack.
  26. Made Good Granola Minis Chocolate Chip.
  27. Cascadian Farm Organic Granola Bars, Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars.
  28. Stretch Island Fruit Leather.
  29. CLIF KID ZFRUIT – Organic Fruit Snack – Strawberry.
  30. SunRype Apple Blueberry Pomegranate Fruitsource 100% Fruit Bar. 

What can I do with 30 nut-free snacks for a long-haul flight?

Pick out a few of these nut-free snacks for a long-haul flight and pop them in a Ziploc bag with each family member’s name for their carry-on. This will divide the load, and you can decide exactly how much you’ll need. My examples in the pictures may look excessive, but when your travel time is over 24 hours without any certainty of nut-free options, a mom likes to play it safe.

Happy Travels!

I hope your travels lead you to exotic, educational, and enjoyable locales! Take some time away and come back to daily life refreshed and a better person. But above all please don’t forget to be kind! Think about the lives of those around you on the airplane, at the beach, and serving you at the restaurant. Be thoughtful and respectful of the locals of the places you visit and the other people around you, and make no mistake, your kids will take note. They will copy what you do, and the world will be a better place because of it.

Where are you vacationing this summer? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Give me some good places to start imagining future travels!

*Iocane powder is not a real poison. It is a reference from the film ‘The Princess Bride.’

The Ultimate Homeowner’s Travel Prep Checklist

The Ultimate Homeowner’s Travel Prep Checklist

This post contains affiliate links. Homeowner’s Travel Prep Checklist

Homeowner's Travel checklist

So you did it! You booked that big vacation for the entire family to go to Provence, to London, or to Florida for three weeks this summer. Of course, you have your itinerary, ideas about where to eat, what to do, where to stay, and all that jazz. You may even already have your suitcases and carry-ons planned. However, have you thought about your house, your home and all that will go on there while you are away?

Use this ultimate homeowner’s travel prep checklist to safeguard your home while you are away.

We all love to prepare for a vacation but can often forget about what will go on at home while we’re gone. Make a thorough plan for while you are gone so you can enjoy your vacation with the peace of mind everything’s been taken care of for you back home.

Homeowner checklist preview

Don’t be surprised or caught in the last minute panic. Of course, I will be in a panic about something, but let’s limit it as much as possible, right? Just enter your email below, and the document will be sent to you to download. Then come along with us as we continue to prep for summer travel!

Need a journal for kids to reflect on your travels?

Get your free kids’ travel journal from Explorer Momma.
Read it here!

Here is my ultimate homeowner’s travel prep checklist

Homeowner's travel prep checklist

When you leave town do you take care of your home necessities?

  1. Stop your mail.
  2. Put a hold on any newspapers.
  3. Find a pet sitter or reserve a pet care location.
  4. Find someone to water plants inside and outside the house.
  5. Give your contact info to a trusted neighbor who can keep an eye on things as they come and go or have a friend or relative check on the house every few days.
  6. Find a house-sitter if necessary.
  7. Make sure the sprinkler system is set.
  8. Change your thermostat settings so your heater/air conditioner isn’t constantly running while no one’s home.
  9. Turn off and/or unplug computers, coffee pots, blenders, or other electronics.
  10. Contact your home security company if you have one to let them know when you’ll be gone.
  11. Schedule or reschedule any lawn care and the bug or pest control as needed.
  12. In winter plan for someone to complete necessary snow-removal.
  13. Cancel dairy or food home deliveries while you’re gone.
  14. Pay all bills due while you’re gone or set them to pay at the appropriate time.
  15. Set timers on outdoor and indoor lights used consistently in the evenings.
  16. Straighten the house and make beds, wash dishes, and unload the dishwasher before you leave so you come home to a calming and welcoming space.
  17. Call credit card companies to let them know where and when you’ll be traveling.
  18. Leave copies of passports and other important documents where someone can locate them for you in an emergency.

Click on the pictures to compare outlet timers and wifi smart plug outlets on Amazon:

There is so much to think about when you’re traveling, especially with kids. As a homeowner, we have to think of all the things we’re leaving behind and still have to take care of while we’re away. Make that house a home for your family and make a plan! Use my homeowner’s travel prep checklist, and limit your risk of utter and complete Home Alone panic while you’re on that airplane to Paris.

Enjoy your travels this summer to the fullest!

Also, I’d love to hear where all you’re traveling! Put a comment in below and let’s get excited about those plans to explore!

A Baby Giraffe and 10 Tips for the Perfect Denver Zoo Visit

A Baby Giraffe and 10 Tips for the Perfect Denver Zoo Visit

This post contains affiliate links. A Baby Giraffe at the Denver Zoo.

Denver Zoo pin

Are you planning a trip to the Denver Zoo or any other zoo for that matter? Is your little one begging to see that adorable new baby giraffe? My family loves the Denver Zoo, but it can get extremely crowded or overwhelming if you don’t make a plan. Before you go keep in mind my tips for a perfect zoo visit.

1. Meet Dobby, the baby giraffe!

First of all, oh my cuteness! When you arrive at the Denver Zoo, grab your map and head in the direction of the giraffes. Amid the cries of, “So cute!”, “Awww!”, and “The sweetest ever!” you will see the most adorable baby giraffe named Dobby. Yes, Dobby – isn’t that just the perfect name? I may be gushing a bit, but Dobby was a huge highlight in our recent visit to the zoo. I didn’t have the giant-lensed camera like the gentleman just down a bit from us, but we still got some good pictures of the little guy.

Dobby, the baby giraffe Denver Zoo giraffe family

Dobby was born February 28, 2017, and we saw him April 18. He seemed comfortable in front of our small group and walked around by himself and amongst the other giraffes. Furthermore, I am certain that with a glint in his eye he winked and smiled just as we turned to walk away. Surprisingly, some of my own family do not believe this assertion! Therefore, I strongly suggest you go to the Denver Zoo and see for yourself!

2. Get a membership

Going to the zoo, the natural history museum, the aquarium, and others can be costly for a family. We absolutely love the zoo so even though we don’t live in Denver I purchased a zoo membership. I ended up getting the individual and guest membership, but there are family memberships as well as several other different kinds. Compare the membership options here: Denver Zoo Memberships. 

What do I like about a membership? For one, it saves me money. If we go to the zoo more than 2 times this year it pays for itself, and anything after that is a bonus. I have the satisfaction of suggesting going to Denver and visiting the zoo at little cost other than gas. Most memberships include 1 or more additional free guest passes, tickets to ride the train and carousel, and a discount on food and other purchases. Be sure to include to tally these in your comparisons if you’re considering it.

Another thing I like is that this is an outdoor, educational activity for kids. If you’ve read much from me you’ll know my son absolutely loves animals, and he is fascinated by their different ways of survival. The Denver Zoo is a huge place, and there is always a new animal for him to discover and learn some amazing fact about. He loves to tell me and other family members all about what he’s learned. Of course, as a mom, this is a huge win for me too!

Eagles

3. Visit the zoo on a weekday

This may be a no-brainer to some parents out there, but when should you visit the Denver Zoo? Well, before we went last week I double-checked their website to be sure it was not a free day or a special event day. For example, there were added advertised activities and shows for kids during Spring break. Did we go at that time? Accidentally, yes, but then we changed our plans and did something else because the crowds were so overwhelming.

If your family doesn’t mind crowds definitely attend some of the special events, but my 4-year old gets stressed with a lot of people around and immediately wants to leave. He loudly lets us know of his unease, and it’s not fun for anyone.

Conclusion? Visit the zoo on a weekday, maybe a Tuesday or Wednesday when there are no special holidays or events happening.

Denver Zoo camel

4. Pick the main things you want to see and plan out your route

The Denver Zoo is a huge place, and you will wear yourself out running back and forth to see the specific animals requested by the kids. “Mommy, I want to see the alligator, and the gorillas, then the elephants!”

These animals are far apart at the zoo so take a moment to look over your map and plan your basic route around. If the kids are worried about certain animals make a point to show them on the map and let them know when you’ll see them. Your feet will thank you.

Monkey hanging

5. Plan out the shows you want to see beforehand

This goes along with planning your route. If you want to see any of the shows take a look at the sign as you enter for the daily show times. It’s located just after the ticket taker or you can ask in the visitor center.

I highly recommend the sea lion show as it’s one of our favorites!

In summer there are more show times than other seasons so don’t assume times from past experience. If you don’t want a screaming kid who’s devastated they missed the elephant show, it’s always good to double-check. Planning is good.

Are you looking for more educational experiences in Denver for kids?

Read all about our awesome trip to the Denver Downtown Aquarium!
Read it here!

6. Denver Zoo activities

What can you do to make your visit more educational? My daughter especially likes to use a scavenger hunt page to find specific animals. Then it becomes a game to her and almost a race to find the animal with its new fun fact.

Another fun thing to do for older kids is to give them their own naturalist journal. Depending on your child you can give instructions or not. I tell my daughter to sketch and label the animals she sees and write one to three sentences describing interesting things about it. Possibilities include physical description, what the animal eats and how it gets it in the wild, how it moves around, how it protects itself, etc.

You can order a fun naturalist journal like one of these from Amazon. Click on the journal to take you to the Amazon site:

7. Make a search for new animals

Go see some of the lesser known animals. Tell your kids to imagine they are going to discover new animals and introduce that animal to the world! Next, you or one of the older kids can introduce the new-found animal to the group and give some facts about them.

For example, on our last trip I fell in love with the fossa. The fossa is a predator that lives in Madagascar, has the longest tail for grabbing onto trees, and a surprisingly small head. I was fascinated watching it walk around its habitat.

8. Take a stroller or wagon and bring your lunch

Even though my son doesn’t use his stroller much anymore I still brought it to the zoo. As I’ve stated, it’s a large place! If your child gets tired of walking they can ride in the stroller, and you have the added perk of a place to stow all your gear.

Also, to save money you can pack your lunch and stow it in the stroller with an ice pack. I like to pack a lunch and then just buy a snack for the kids later in the day as a treat. Or bring your own snacks too and with an already paid for membership you won’t have to spend a thing!

Monkey Island lunch view

9. Ride the train and carousel

Carousel sign

The train and carousel are must-dos for kids at the Denver Zoo. There are always huge smiles all around, and a nice variation in your zoo experience. I like to do these two rides in the later part of our visit when the kids are getting tired and need a change in activity.

Buy tickets or get the tickets from your membership at the little house in between the train and carousel beforehand. If it’s busy and you go directly to the carousel you will waste a lot of time in line and then have to go buy tickets anyway.

Tip: If you’ll be going often save time and money and buy a punch card. With the card you can go directly to the ride and not have to wait in line a the ticket house.

Zoo train

10. Check the weather report before you go

In summer it can get extremely hot so don’t forget hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and water for everyone. Conversely, if it’s going to be cold or rain part of the day you can still have a great zoo experience if you plan the right clothing, umbrellas, and focus on the warm houses such as Tropical Discover (lovingly called the reptile house by my family) and Bird World. Always, just follow the Boy Scout motto and be prepared!

Zoo carousel zebra

Exploring new places is always such fun, and often you don’t have to go far for a great experience. We are so lucky to have the Denver Zoo fairly close by, and whenever we travel with kids we check out the zoos and museums wherever we are. If you have a young, curious zoologist or two in tow you can have a fabulous time with a little preparation.

What are some of your favorite zoos or places to see wildlife? Please put some of your ideas in the comments. I’d love any suggestions for places to take the little ones!

Little Passports World Edition Review

Little Passports World Edition Review

Little Passports review pin

This page contains affiliate links. Explorer Momma was given a free 3-month membership to Little Passports for review. I only recommend things I find value in and would use for my own family.

Even though I’m not currently teaching, as a certified French and Social Studies teacher I am always looking for activities that promote learning. What will inspire, encourage, or motivate my child and others to explore? What can we do to pique their curiosity? I’ve chosen to do a Little Passports review because this is a program that can plant a seed. The seed is the joy in learning about geography, cultural diversity, and the idea of educational travel. With care, this seed will hopefully grow and bloom. 

I’ve been interested in the Little Passports company in the past, and we just recently received the first shipment of the World Edition. I’m writing this review having received a free 3-month subscription from the program as an affiliate. However, I want you to know I only write about ideas and products on my blog I use and enjoy. You will not see a negative review from me because I’m not going to write about something I wouldn’t use for my own family.

Little Passports is a delightful program sure to excite your kids about geography and travel, and from what I’ve seen so far, I highly recommend it.

Do you remember the excitement of getting something in the mail as a child? You might have received Valentine card from Grandma, a postcard from your uncle’s travels, even some stickers advertising a magazine. For me, these were fairly rare occurrences so when they came I treasured them. Now imagine your child getting their own package in the mail with their name on it once a month. Oh, the joy! Anticipation! For my daughter, the excitement of getting something fun in the mail is almost as important as the actual contents.

Need more ideas to get kids excited about learning?

10 Tips to Get Kids Excited About Learning

Read about it here!

What’s included in the first shipment of Little Passports, World Edition

Little Passports close-up

Introductory letter from Sam and Sofia

Sam introduces himself and his good friend Sofia. This first letter sets the stage for their travel and adventures around the world. Of course, he promises future communications as they visit different countries.

Picture postcard showing Sam and Sofia

The postcard shows our friendly duo in Sam’s aunt’s garage. They’re sitting on the magic scooter they found with a GPS that can take them anywhere in the world. Imagine the possibilities!

Activity sheets

My 8-year-old daughter really enjoyed the activity sheets especially the one that teaches kids to say hello in languages from all over the world. We actually had to practice them all out loud and talked about where we might use them. Hopefully, the future pages will be just as educational and entertaining.

Travel suitcase

The suitcase in the first shipment is a fun idea. Who doesn’t love old pictures of suitcases and trunks with travel stickers all over them? The only problem is that now my 4-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter are arguing over who the suitcase belongs to, so we may have to get another one! 

Each month, you can store the items you receive from Sam and Sofia in your suitcase. In addition, they’ve promised to send more stickers and luggage tags to put on the outside. There’s  a place on the inside for the child’s name and a working clasp to open and close it.

World map

A world map is a great part of the package, and my son immediately declared he needed to put it up in his room. Moreover, the map is not just anywhere, but on the wall by his bed so he can plan his adventures. Most of these expeditions center around Australia, Tasmania, and Antarctica lately. I admit I’m a proud momma because at 4 it’s amazing to me how many places he can point out and actually knows what they are.

Also, stickers have been promised in future mailings to put on your map to track where Sam and Sofia have been.

Personal passport

The world traveler passport is a fun addition to the package. In it, kids can attach their photo on the page with their name and address just like a real passport. There are places for country stamps, of course. Also included are fun questions to encourage discussion about travel with parents. By the same token, kids even have a place to plan their future travels and think about why they want to go to each country.

Stickers of Sam and Sofia

As I mentioned, there are stickers to go on your suitcase, and we are told of more for the passport and suitcase from each country.

Boarding pass to attach to your suitcase with passwords to on-line games and activities

We haven’t gotten around to trying out the on-line games and activities yet, but they are included as a part of the package. On the boarding pass you attach to the suitcase there’s a website and codes to get in.

Parent guide

The parent guide lists out the items in the first shipment and describes some of what to expect in the future packages.

What do I think?

I think this is a fabulous program with the right amount of mystery to keep kids wanting more. My daughter cannot wait for the Brazil package to come and has been asking about it every couple of days since her suitcase arrived. This is something you can get out of it what you put in. It takes some time and attention to complete the activities and read through everything.

I also like the fact it encourages parents to get involved and talk to their kids about their travel experiences. You will need to interact with your kids and help them with certain aspects of the program, but they are free to imagine all the fun places they want to visit in the future.

A membership to Little Passports makes a wonderful gift

If you are looking for a gift for a child I highly recommend Little Passports. You can order the World or U.S. versions, and there’s even a science program. The child receiving the gift will get their initial program package and then monthly thereafter get another installment. The World program will evidently be mailings from the different places Sam and Sofia visit.

This program includes some of my favorite things. It gets kids excited about learning, inspires them to study geography, and cultivates an interest in travel and cultural diversity. Consequently,  one would hope it also sparks a curiosity that will develop into an appreciation and understanding of their part in the world, it’s people, and our beautiful differences.

Denver Things to Do with Kids: Downtown Aquarium

Denver Things to Do with Kids: Downtown Aquarium

Denver things to do with kids: Downtown Aquarium

Searching for Denver things to do with kids? You really can’t go wrong with a zoo or aquarium in my experience, and when one has an ocean-life obsessed 4-year-old, the Downtown Aquarium is the obvious choice.

Spring Break Activities: Denver with kids

Spring Break this year was two different weeks for my two kids (preschool and elementary) so we weren’t able to go on any far off adventures. We decided to content ourselves with a staycation and do some short day trips from home. Furthermore, the trip to the zoo was a no-brainer easy quick day trip, and the kids were super-excited.

We had our day all planned out and were set to spend at the Denver Zoo. We drove into the city and noticed a lot of traffic as we got closer and closer to the zoo. Then we discovered all the cars were actually turning into the zoo parking, the parking garage was already full, and the neighboring museum and park lots were full of zoo patrons as well. As we drove farther and farther looking for a parking spot, I watched the masses head toward our destination. Because of my perceived lack of air due to the sheer crazy number of people, my mind began screaming, “Get out of here! Now, while you still can!”

There’s not a lot I find more miserable than inching around in giant crowds, and so I suggested we forego the zoo and try the Downtown Aquarium. Needless to say, I expected some squawking, but the rest of the family immediately agreed (amazing), and we were on our way leaving the throngs behind. Phew!

Aquarium escalator

The Downtown Aquarium is a great educational place for kids

Starfish eating

The Downtown Aquarium has a ton to offer and impressively looks out over downtown Denver. First of all, the escalator as you enter looks like a giant metal fish sort of in the style of Captain Nemo’s submarine from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. You get swallowed by the fish and head up to the main floor to begin your tour. There are some remarkable displays, and then the tanks begin. Big tanks, little tanks, wall tanks, table tanks, you name it, and you can see some sort of marine life in all of these. My son loved them all but was especially transfixed at the massive shark tanks. He stared at them awhile before he recovered himself and began to lecture on the different kinds of sharks.

Aquarium shark tank

If you get tired of marine life, there are also areas with snakes, tarantulas, macaws, and even a tiger! Moreover, if you’re not expecting to see the tiger you can actually get quite a surprise after going through the glass tunnel tank. You’re still marveling at the manta rays and eels and bam! You walk straight toward a glass wall, and you’re face to face with a tiger! Now, he has a pretty large area and is often up on top of a bunch of rocks where he’s hard to see. Still, it is possible for him to walk right up next to you.

 Aquarium fish

Looking for more fun travels with kids?

Try Carlsbad Caverns With Kids: 10 MUSTS For An Amazing Visit

Read it here!

Hands-on activities for kids

In addition to the displays, there are some cool hands-on areas. Kids can carefully feel stingrays, starfish, horseshoe crabs, and even some small sharks. My daughter was fascinated by the thought of actually touching a shark, and it was the favorite thing she did her entire visit. Also, a close second was when she got to see “actual, real-life mermaids” to quote her. Be sure to look for the mermaid dive times when they swim in the tank with the fish. Later she actually got to talk to one of them, wow!

Aquarium fossil

My son, on the other hand, did not feel the need to touch the sharks and all the rest. He stated his favorite part was seeing the Giant Pacific Octopus, better known as Jackie. Jackie was active when we came by and was all over the tank with her eight legs whirling. “We could go to the Pacific Ocean and see a bigger one, but Jackie is nice,” the small one determined.

Giant Pacific Octopus

Denver things to do with kids: the Downtown Aquarium Restaurant

If you’re wanting to eat at the Aquarium, the restaurant is definitely an experience. The seating area is surrounded by large fish tanks of fish and “mermaids” swimming about. You can make reservations at the restaurant and request to sit near the tanks, and I would recommend this particularly if you’re visiting on the weekend or special day. The gift shop is just next to the restaurant so be ready for the kids! They’ll want marine life t-shirts, stuffed animals, hats, trucks, and all sorts of other trinkets emblazoned with  “Downtown Aquarium”.

How to cut down on cost

The one downside, in my own opinion, is the cost of the visit. It can add up quickly with Aquarium tickets, a carousel ride outside, food at the restaurant, a souvenir, and the $7 parking. If this is a concern for your family plan it all out beforehand using the current prices on the Downtown Aquarium website.  Then decide what you will or will not do beforehand. For example, you can bring your own picnic lunch and eat outside at tables on a large balcony area on the second floor. Also, you can completely bypass the gift shop if you don’t plan to purchase souvenirs.

Tip: A few days before you go subscribe to the Aquarium’s mailing list. The first email I received from them contained a half-off adult admission coupon so definitely worth subscribing. You can always unsubscribe after your visit if you wish!

Denver aquarium squid

More fun!

If you’re looking for different Denver things to do with kids, do visit the Downtown Aquarium. There are so many fish and animals for the kids to learn about, it’s well worth the time. Likewise, we were incredibly grateful to have another option when our zoo plans fell through, and everyone had a fabulous time.

What is your favorite fish or animal to see at an aquarium? What are some of the other aquariums you’ve visited or would recommend?

April Fool’s Day Pranks: A Fishy Tradition

April Fool’s Day Pranks: A Fishy Tradition

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This April Fool’s Day pranks post contains affiliate links.

Oh, the memories of April Fool’s Day pranks! As a kid I usually didn’t try anything too terrible. However, I do remember one year when I put a rubber band around the water sprayer on the sink. Then, whenever you turned on the water it would spray you. Let’s just say my mother was not thrilled with this, and much screaming ensued. In fact, I remember thinking how ingenious I was to come up with something like that and just could not understand why she was so upset!

April Fool’s Day Pranks, the Fishy Way

The past few years we’ve celebrated April Fool’s Day the French way, with paper fish. I love France and celebrating cultural holiday traditions, and quite awhile ago I took some classes in France then taught high school French. Therefore, it was natural I should introduce my own kids to Poisson d’Avril (or April Fish). Kids absolutely LOVE this tradition, and of course, the French claim to have started April Fool’s Day. So here we go, let’s learn about French culture so you too can celebrate April Fool’s Day with your kids as Poisson d’Avril.

Les Poissons

What is Poisson d’Avril?

Poisson d’Avril is what the French call April first, or April Fool’s Day. In fact, they celebrate by playing jokes on others just like American April Fool’s Day pranks. However, the day is called Poisson d’Avril, so kids and adults alike make paper fish. Then, throughout the day they try to stick them to other people’s backs without them knowing. I know it sounds fairly basic, but kids find it hilarious and don’t tire of it throughout the day (sometimes the entire week)!

History

The French often claim all things started in France, and April Fool’s Day is no exception. Supposedly, it all goes back to 1564 when King Charles XIV moved the calendar around and made the beginning of the year January instead of late March. Well, people resist mandated changes and some continued to celebrate the New Year in the last week of March. Those who continued to celebrate the old New Year had pranks played on them, and for some reason people started to stick paper fish on their backs. Consequently, these victims were called the April Fish (Poisson d’Avril). Why fish? Did it start with fishermen? Who knows, but the tradition stuck, and hey, why not go with it?

Sandbox fish

Create your own Poisson d’Avril paper fish

Here’s how to begin this super-fun, incroyable, tradition at your house. First, sign in below to download your free printable fish paper. While the fish are in color, I like to print it out in black and white so the kids can color the fish themselves. Second, give each child a page to color and cut out. Third, provide the tape and encourage fish sticking on friends’ and family members’ backs. Then let the shenanigans unfold!

April Fool's Day fish printable

Do you need some more activities for kids to get you through to summer?

Try a few of the 7 Awesome Activities to Beat the Winter Blues.

Read it here!

My own experience with Poisson d’Avril

Everyone loves April Fool’s Day pranks, and I love most anything that keeps my kids busy and makes them laugh and enjoy themselves. Oddly enough, I get lots of hugs on April Fool’s Day as the children try to sweetly stick fish on my back. Then, they go away snickering behind their hands until they can hold it in no longer and scream, “Mommy! You have a fish on your back! Hahahaha!”. Queue hysterical laughter.

Similarly, high schoolers can really get into this holiday. I think of when I taught high school French, and I liked to celebrate as many French fêtes as possible. Poisson d’Avril was always a hit. Inevitably, if you give a 16-year-old boy crayons, scissors, and a fish outline on a piece of paper he will become an excited little boy again. No matter how cool and disinterested he is in your class he will take the bait! As a result, you can get all sorts of participation in your French speaking activities about fish. AND as an added bonus everyone leaves laughing and with a paper fish stuck to their back. It’s a ton of fun to watch the hilarity spread around the school.

April Fool’s Day pranks at French bakeries

Okay, so maybe it’s not really a prank, but it’s a lot of fun! If you are lucky enough to live near a French bakery, on April first they generally have French pastries and chocolates all in the shape of, you guessed it, fish. Unfortunately, I don’t live by a French bakery (long sigh), so generally after watching pastry week on The Great British Bake-Off or some such, I over-confidently attempt an elaborate fish pie or little pasties. I’ve managed to make them taste pretty good, but usually they look more like a blob than a fish. Moral of the story – find yourself a glorious French bakery and get yourself some fish pastries!

Lumpy Fish pies

Fish cookies

Cookie cutter

Chocolate fish

Yes, please!

Toy fish

Let’s play!

Fish journal

I love this

Why? Do we really need a reason? Well, because it’s hilarious! Kids will love Poisson d’Avril and some new April Fool’s Day pranks.  Also, as a bonus, everyone’s learning to appreciate the French culture while having fun. Please share your pictures and stories of your fish on Dad’s back or any other successes you have with the activity. I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments section below! Have fun and bonne chance!

What other pranks do you play for kids on April Fool’s Day?

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