So remember when you were a kid at the airport and you had to wait for an hour or so? Back then, you’d amuse yourself by looking out the window at the airplanes.
These days, the older kids all probably keep themselves entertained via technology, but the younger children now get to play on the indoor playgrounds. Most large airports now have them at each terminal. They can even look at the airplanes from these indoor playlands.
Surprise! You probably thought this was going to be a blog about how much better off we were back then, because we had to think of ways to entertain ourselves. I agree with that, to a degree, but this blog is actually celebrating the fact that, around 1990 or so, our society finally came to the realization that young children exist.
I think for a long time, there was this attitude that a well-behaved young child was just supposed to act like a smallish adult. If a young child didn’t act like a small adult, we (society) gave his or her parents dirty looks.
At some point, around 1990 or so, we came to the realization that young children actually have different needs and physical characteristics than adults. So now we throw our smaller citizens a bone and then by adding a children’s play area to the airport so they can run around a bit. Go us.
Children’s museums, which didn’t even really exist in 1983, have continued to develop into the point where they are now vastly more awesome than any adult museum. Modern children’s museums − Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Lubbock all have one − are truly a wonder to behold. You get to do stuff at children’s museums instead of just looking at stuff. Those of us who are childish and hyper are especially appreciative of the fact that we live in a world increasingly devoted to its kids.
It’s possible to take things too far. Our kids may well realize that our society is focused increasingly on them and use it to their advantage. But if being too compassionate toward our nation’s youngest members is ultimately our downfall, I suppose it is nice to know that we went out with a heart.
I know that many of the advantages of living in an increasingly child-centered society don’t make it to small towns. We don’t have giant children’s museums or trampoline world areas. But we do have some good options for people with kids.
- The Balloons-A-Poppin jumpy-house place sometimes has an open house (where anyone can play to participate). Give them a call.
- There are events throughout the year aimed at young children. The fall festival several local churches put together really stands out.
- The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens is a wonderful place for kids.
- Everybody already knows about the great playgrounds on both sides of the river.
- Visit the Carlsbad Mall. Buy some popcorn and a drink at the snack shack and then allow your child to ride a few of the rides at the back end of the mall. Play hide and go seek together in the department stores until you start getting dirty looks.
- Visit the natatorium on weekends. It costs $2.50 per person. It isn’t overcrowded, but every now and then an 8-year-old kid with no sense of spacial awareness will jump on your head.
- Visit Rattlesnake Springs and go exploring. There are a couple neat little nooks and crannies over there and it isn’t really very far away.
- Visit the children’s library. The only challenge here is that your child will want to play games on the computer, while you will want your child to focus on the books.
- Visit Carlsbad’s museum. It isn’t a children’s museum, per se, but kids are usually pretty good at making do.
- Explore New Mexico State University-Carlsbad. For a curious 2 or 3-year-old, NMSU-C is a pretty neat place to go on an adventure. It even has an elevator!
- Find a local and take your child to one of a number of cool swimming holes along the Pecos River.
Young kids are pretty good at seeing the wonder in everyday things. Just follow their lead.