Free entertainment: the pet store
Sherry's easy toddler outing:
Perhaps others might not think this idea rocks quite as much as I do, but I have 19 month-old twins and finding fun and reasonably-priced things to do with two curious toddlers is tough. Some places, like Gymboree, frown upon one parent bringing two kids because of liability issues. But, yesterday, my husband and I stumbled upon a fabulous, seemingly unlimited source of free entertainment for our kids...the local pet shop!
We walked them in together, something that's SUCH a treat as they usually are in a shopping cart or stroller, and we saw the fish, birds, cats, dogs and rodents...at one point, my son was doubled over from laughing at a bunch of mice running on a wheel!
We spent about 30 minutes in the store, which luckily wasn't very crowded at the time, and they loved it!
We LOVE pet stores (the local ones, not the sad, mall-based places). If you do some digging, you might find some fascinating specialty animal shops as well. We've got a tropical fish store nearby (with eels, stingrays and a pufferfish named Frances). Back when I lived in Berkeley, we used to visit the East Bay Vivarium -- reptiles of all sorts. We recently visited a "feed and seed" place that was full of baby ducks, chickens, turkeys and geese.