Did you know the MTA has tons of getaways listed on their website? Not only is it a great way to get inspired for a day trip or weekend jaunt, but they are actually quite good deals!! By getting a package, you save on rail and activities. Destinations include things such as zoos and aquariums, ski resorts, beaches, and museums, and let you take advantage of the subway/buses, LIRR, and Metro North.
Recently I got the urge to “get outta town” on a Friday afternoon, and in less than an hour I had picked out our MTA Getaway package which was listed as a day trip - but I jumped onto Expedia and booked a hotel, turning it into a relaxing three-day weekend!
The Destination? Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. The Maritime getaway package includes a round trip off-peak Metro North ticket between Grand Central and South Norwalk Station (takes about 65 minutes), a ticket to the aquarium, and a ticket to the IMAX show. It costs $39 (cheaper for kids and free for under 3 years), but without the package it would run you about $50!
Luckily I have a stand-by "what to pack" list so packing wasn't much of an issue, and we were on our way Saturday morning! First stop, Grand Central Station (an hour into our journey already, thanks to living all the way down in Bay Ridge Brooklyn!!) to buy our Metro North rail and aquarium package tickets. I love Grand Central, it's my favorite spot in the City!! So beautiful...
The trains run ever 30-60 minutes, and we were lucky on timing and jumped on the next train leaving in just 5 minutes!! You can see they have nice and new ones with digital "next stop" signs, as well as really old-school trains... I guess it's just luck of the draw which one you get!
Just as I mentioned before about the LIRR, some stations require you to be in certain cars to be able to exit, and the aisles are not big enough for your stroller, so pay attention to the announcement when you get on the train or ask the conductor which car you need to be in, to save yourself some last minute drama!! Also, if you can find a wheelchair car, they are much more stroller-friendly!
After just over an hour on the train, we arrived at South Norwalk station and called the Hilton Garden Inn to come pick us up - they have a free shuttle anywhere in the area, which we used, several times! Awesome!! Unfortunately we didn't bring a car seat, and of course they didn't have one, so yes, another nomination for Mother of the Year goes to yours truly... >_<
I wanted to get out and start having some fun, but my boys had other plans...
While my guys napped, I enjoyed a new guilty pleasure of mine that I started on our last vacation, which is catching up with the Kardashians!! We don't have cable at home, not that I have a single free second for TV, so it is so fun to just sit back and let my mind turn to jelly seeing what those crazy sisters have been up to! Enjoying my "hotel hobby" with my baby napping on my chest, life is freaking GOOD!!!
After they woke up, we went down to the pool and had a blast!! The water was a bit cool but not too bad, and the jacuzzi was sooooooooo nice!!! We went down to the pool once each of the three days, and met 3 families who were there on a staycation!! So funny!
That night, despite the snowstorm bringing 6", we had the hotel shuttle take us a mile down the road to, wait for it, OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE! hahahaha!! I haven't been there in probably 15 years!! I resisted my urge to get the Bloomin' Onion, though I kind of regret it! Hubby's never had one and who am I to deny him of such an important cultural experience?! Damn. We'll just have to go back with a bigger group so it's not just him and me eating the whole thing!
Kenzo has become an incredible flirt and spent the entire dinner waving at every single person walking by. It's hilarious!! And makes me sooooooo happy!! Everybody loves a friendly baby!! He wasn't so much into coloring with the crayons, he much preferred throwing them on the floor repeatedly and making mommy hunt them down under the table. Then he managed to crush his styrofoam baby cup and it looked like he had the world's biggest pee-your-pants accident!! Whoopsie!!
We ran next door to Mrs. Green's Natural Market to grab some organic yogurt for Kenzo's breakfast (we're too cheap for the $12.95 buffet). One really cool thing about the Hilton is their lobby area is HUGE! They have a dining area, a main lobby with tons of huge comfy chairs, and off to the side is this big dining room with a flat screen TV and lounge chairs. We never saw anyone else in there, so we made ourselves at home for breakfast and dinner the second night!
Alrighty, that concludes part 1 of our Getaway to Norwalk. Part 2 will be coming shortly - all about the amazing Maritime Aquarium!! Stay Tuned!!
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!