Downtown Charlie Brown
Just a few family friendly things I love about Burlington, Vermont:
ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center
Great downtown location with something for everyone. If you are looking to spend a few hours with your own kids or want to educate out of town guests about our Lake Champlain Basin, ECHO is good indoor day crowd-pleaser. From the water table to the weather station kids love the hands-on activities. Downstairs there is a changing exhibit room that always has something cool, yet educational. Even the cafe teaches kids about being green and how to recycle. Be sure to check the calendar, they always have story times, science crafts and more going on.
Other options for dining, all with in walking distance, are Skinny Pancake, Splash at the Boathouse (seasonal) and Burlington Bay. After that a walk on the bike path and your day is complete!
Flynn Center for Performing Arts
What would Burlington be without the Flynn Theatre? Each year they bring to our community multiple youth and family productions. As well, they provide summer camps and classes throughout the year. The venue itself is so grand with its stylish modernism. The Art Deco MainStage was fully restored in 2000. This has been a great way to introduce our children to the arts from a very young age.
Vermont Lake Monsters
"Take me out to a ballgame!" That is what we often hear from our kids. And if you do as well, then look no further than a Lake Monsters Game. This stadium gives you an almost nostalgic feeling about America's favorite pastime. This is a great family outing that hits it out of the park!
There are ample things to see and do to keep kids of all ages entertained. Inside the park there is the on-field, change of innings entertainment. It can be anything from a Frisbee catching dog act, to a gigantic teddy bear sling shot contest. Promo foam hands/t-shirts are always being tossed into the crowd. Champ is constantly around leading the kids in sing-a-longs. Off the field there is fast pitch, a jumpy house, autograph signing, and more. Check the promo schedule on their web site, there is usually a giveaway or something cool going on at each game.
The food choices are pretty standard with a few exceptions...I did see a Chicken Caesar Salad. And new to the line up this year is Fried Dough! Now although the ticket prices relatively low, unless you can get away with not buying or doing anything once you're inside the ballpark (good luck with that!), don't forget to bring some cash. The souvenirs, pizza ($4), Popcorn ($3), pretzel ($3.25), bottled water ($2.50), Hot Dog ($3) will all add up.
Speaking of the Skinny Pankcake, a few years ago they upgraded from a vending cart on Church St. to a full fledged restaurant caddy corner to ECHO in the Main Street Landing Building. As they open at 8:00 am seven days a week, it is the perfect spot to stop for breakfast before heading out to ECHO, the waterfront or a walk on the bike path. If you are a first timer with a picky eater, try the "pooh-bear" made with VT honey & cinnamon sugar. Great seating options aside from your typical high chairs and booster seats. Try the long bar table right in front of the Crepe Making window. That ought to keep your toddler entertained for a few minutes while they get your food ready. They do have outdoor seating as well (perfect if you have brought your doggie along).
If you are so inclined to make this your lunch or dinner spot, (which I would recommend as well), they serve Beer & Wine...can you "ahhhh"? after a long day of hearing "mommy, mommy, mommy".....Oh, yeah and they do take reservations for parties of 6 or more. So call ahead.
A local favorite for a reason. It is not just another pizza joint. This is all nautral pizza with farm fresh ingredients baked in a wood fired oven. Their pizza is great but that is all they have so if your kids don't like the "pie" then Flatbread isn't going to be a winner for your family. They do take into consideration the little ones with plastic cups that have lids & straws and they have crayons and paper to keep them entertained.
Gotta big party? Try for a long table in the front room. They even keep games on hand (Scrabble, Pictionary and the like). Or maybe bring your own!
Delicious. Fast. Reasonable pricing. Totally friendly staff. Need I say more? It is a take out joint with good food and great princples. With all the variety there is something there for even your pickiest eater. They are serve up "inspired" burritos, bowls, salads and smoothies with a Kids Menu (they call it "snacks"). Take your food outside in the summer months and let the kids climb on the conveniently located rocks adjacent to their seating area on Church Street.
Isabean has found the perfect home in the old Photo Garden space. With hardwood floors and large loft like tin ceilings it makes for the the sweetest little children's boutique. There is a couch in the front window so you can sit on the sidelines and watch your children uncover their treasure trove of unique toys and books. They have the cutest clothing for everyone on your house (unless you have a self professed tom boy like my daughter - ughhh).
It is no wonder they have been voted the best children's boutique in Chittenden County by readers of Seven Days.