Some things are better with kids

Zoos. Aquariums. Sledding hills. Swimming pools.

Those places are all fun no matter who you are. But after  years of going to the zoo, the pool, etc. with only adult companions, I have to admit, they’re even more fun when you’re sharing the experience with a child.

Also like that? The Wisconsin State Fair.

I love the fair in and of itself. There are farm animals, ridiculous products being sold, cheesy entertainers and every kind of fried food you can think of (on a stick, of course). Last year I was pregnant during our trip to the fair, and as we wandered through the crowds, getting jostled by strollers and cut off by little kids, all I could think about were our future trips there with baby in tow. Today those images came to life and Corban had his first taste of fair fun (on a stick).

He is still too young to really appreciate it, and probably would have been just as entertained hanging out in our backyard, but today Peter and I had a great time showing the little guy what the fair is all about.

Oh! And before I go on, I should mention that the fair  has nursing baby areas, and they are nice. There is one in the expo center, one in the Journal Communications building (represent!) and one in a trailer by Herb Kohl’s milk stand. We hit up the latter one, a private, air-conditioned room with four nice, new recliners (thank you, Steinhafel’s). Even just for a diaper change, it sure beat the bathrooms.

Going on a weekday morning was key. In the past, we’ve gone on the weekends, and it’s just packed and hot and exhausting, so I can’t imagine doing that with a baby. With the much cooler temps today (70s?!) it was stroller central, and Peter and I enjoyed scoping out some double stroller varieties for future reference. We also vowed not to be those parents who struggle to push a huge stroller carrying a kid who is way too big to need one.

We started the day with a trio of beer sorbet. Yep. Beer sorbet. At 10 a.m.

Orange-dipped witty, lemon-dipped hefe weisen and chocolate-dipped Bavarian brown. I really liked them all, especially the hefe weisen. The sweet coating offset the slightly bitter sorbet nicely.

Then, of course, we couldn’t pass on Herb Kohl’s 25-cent flavored milk. Root beer, strawberry and unpictured chocolate.

The next two hours were spent walking around in the hopes that Corban would nap in the stroller. The goal: keep moving. This is actually a really good goal to have when you plan on enjoying some fried food later in the day. He fought it for a good hour and a half, but eventually, the little man gave in. For about 30 minutes, at which point a blaring pan-flute band woke him up.

That was OK though, (well, not really, he needed sleep, but…) I was eager to show him some baby animals.

He mildly enjoyed watching 3-day-old piglets (!!!), a baby lamb, goats and fuzzy chicks (one of which gave his finger a tiny peck when he grabbed the cage).

Lunch was had in the Wisconsin Products Pavilion, which is where you should go for real food at the fair. I had a sliced lamb leg sandwich with a cucumber sauce and it was perfect. I love that you can bring food and non-alcoholic drink into the fair, so we also split a banana I had brought in case we felt like feeding Corban solids here (not worth the effort).

Dessert was something I had been eyeing for the past couple years.

As with most deep-fried foods, it was good, but didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I guess when you anticipate something for two years, it’s likely that it won’t.

We finished off the afternoon in the small animal palace, where Corban made some bunny and bird friends.

Navigating a stroller in that joint was a mess, so we took turns taking C around to see everything.

He showed no emotion when a rooster cock-a-doodle-doo-ed at him, but he was fascinated by the tags labeling each cage.

All in all, great fun! I’m sure it will get even more fun in years to come.

And while some things are more fun with kids, outdoor showings of “Zoolander” aren’t… so on that note, our babysitter is here and we’re off to the Milwaukee Lakefront for Fish Fry & a Flick!

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