Adventure Day is a family tradition.
Adventure Day is a long-awaited, highly anticipated family tradition each summer. The excitement builds the week before Adventure Day as the kids try to guess the day’s agenda, only to be shut down as my husband remains tight-lipped. Ten years ago, when we moved to Milwaukee, we knew we wanted to get to know our new state. My husband came up with an idea the summer following our oldest daughter’s kindergarten year, and alas, Adventure Day became a tradition. The last weekend of summer break is reserved for Adventure Day. On that Saturday morning, everyone wakes up to a packing list with a creative illustration, compliments of Dad. No further details are given, and no complaining is allowed.
Our journey begins with a themed playlist, a coffee, and curiosity for what is to come. My husband is the only one who knows our destination, and he says not a word as we approach stop after stop. Our trips in the past usually include off the beaten path food stops, an activity either physical or creative, something unique to our state, ice cream, or candy store and must include somewhere we have never been. Because we travel far from home and take our time, we usually include an overnight hotel stay-bonus if they have a pool.
We have visited a Mustard Museum, painted together, rented jet skis, explored caves, posed next to unique yard art, rode horses, drove mini cars, walked through a quilt gallery, played mini-golf, and played in a book garden. Some are hits, and some are misses, but every stop counts. Our children will tell you Adventure Day is one of their favorite days of the year and family traditions. I will admit that the planner in me gets anxious at times, not knowing what is coming next, but that is the thrill. I trust that my husband will not plan things that force anyone too far out of their comfort zone. For example, indoor skydiving was not my cup of tea, but the rest of my family had a blast while I happily snapped photos.
Finding traditions that suit your family’s vibe is essential. Our family thrives on new experiences. Doing something you thought you might want to try someday or checking something off your bucket list, big or small, is a satisfying feeling at any age. Adventure Day allows you to let go and just experience something.
Learning to let go of the reins is a valuable lesson when teaching our kids that sometimes we cannot control everything, and sometimes you just have to roll with it. Getting out of your bubble and exploring gives you a fresh perspective on the world.
I know that we will talk about Adventure Day for years to come, and we hope our kids continue the tradition. I encourage you to plan your own Adventure Day and start a new tradition for your crew.
A few things to keep in mind when planning:
–Decide who is the planner. The person should only include others in planning stops or activities only if absolutely necessary. It is more fun not knowing what is next!
–Give yourself time to make reservations or arrangements. Do your research. There are plenty of free and low-cost activities for families around the city and state.
–Watch the weather and be flexible. In ten years, we have only rescheduled Adventure Day once, but it is better than having thunderstorms ruin the fun. If you can move it, do it.
–Choose activities that are age-appropriate and inclusive for everyone. (i.e.-indoor skydiving was great for older kids while the little napped in his stroller. Later we visited a Wizard of Oz-themed park and playground for the toddler.)
–Plan ahead for Covid-19 closures and restrictions. Bring and wear masks when needed, and have sanitizer. While these are unusual times, attractions may be closed or may have altered hours. Encourage the use of bathrooms at planned stops and bring along a travel potty for toddlers.
–Make it fun and let your inner child come through! Allowing your kids to see you relaxed and having fun is a crucial part of bonding with your children.
Get out there, make some great new memories, and go on an adventure!!