As many parents will tell you, traveling with little ones is not for the faint of heart. We dared to make this feat with Kolton under 3 and Shayne only 5 months old. Luckily we did not choose a destination that was too far of an airplane trip away. We flew into Phoenix from San Jose, which is less than a 2 hour flight, then rented a car and drove to Tucson, which was about a 2 hour drive. While all of this would have been a walk in the park for two single people (I have done this trip more times than I can count), with two little ones, and all of the necessary carry-ons, luggage, and the special needs that they entail, at the end of the day, we were beyond exhausted!


The flight there wasn’t terrible. It also wasn’t a walk in the park. It happened and we survived, and that is all we could have hoped for. Getting the rental car (actually a mini-van, which was wonderful with two carseats), was a lot of work. We had to take a shuttle from the Phoenix airport to the rental car place, while managing a stroller, a baby, a toddler, and lots and lots of luggage. Once we got the carseats installed and were on the road to Tucson, all was much better. Both kids fell asleep and slept for most of the ride.

I spent my last two years of high school in Tucson, as well as college at the University of Arizona. In addition, I was born there and have a lot of family and friends still in the area. My Grandmother, who is one of the most important people in my life, is there, and that is where we stayed. It is very important that we see her as often as possible. She is absolutely in LOVE with her great-grandbabies, and they love seeing her as well.

We rented a lot of baby supplies from a company called Baby’s Away. This service was an absolute LIFESAVER! We were able to rent a baby swing, a bouncer, a pack-n-play and a baby bath. Traveling with these items would have been impossible, and having them handy really gave me peace of mind. I would highly recommend this service to anyone traveling with a baby or child. The drop off was right on time, and the service was EXCELLENT! The cleanliness and safety of all items is guaranteed, which was a huge reassurance.

The first morning, neither of the little ones wanted to sleep, and decided to wake Mommy up around 4:45am. Luckily we had all gone to bed early the night before after the long day of traveling. The difficult part was trying to find something to keep Kolton occupied at 5am in an unfamiliar environment without waking up the rest of the house. I ended up finding some small objects for him to count and organize while Shayne sat in her bouncer and I drank some much needed coffee.


We had been really excited about taking Kolton to the local zoo. Usually when we travel to Tucson, it is just too hot to do many outdoor activities, so going during these cooler months was quite a treat for us and opened the door for so many adventures!

The Reid Park Zoo is only about 20 minutes away from my Grandmother’s home, and the size is perfect for an almost 3 year old and and infant. To top it off, the Zoo had all of the animals that Kolton is already familiar with from his flashcards and books!


Since we went on a Wednesday morning, the park was almost completely ours!

We started with the tiger exhibit:


Then we moved on to the camels:


Everywhere we went, we got to see peacocks roaming free:


We also saw lions:


And giraffes, which we even got to feed:

My personal favorite was the elephants exhibit. We were so lucky to be up close and personal with such magnificent creatures without a big crowd around us!


We even got to play the congo drums:




Kolton had such a blast and with Curtis and I both there, we were able to switch off with him and the baby.


Kolton has been really into watching the show, American Ninja Warrior lately, and when he saw the monkeys, one of which was hanging from the fence, he immediately yelled, “Ninja Warrior Monkey”!! It was the cutest thing and made everyone around us laugh as well.



Towards the end of the day, we even got to meet up with a close friend of mine and her son, Lincoln. Linc is only a few months younger than Kolton and the just clicked right away. You would have thought that they had been friends forever. I think it is so refreshing to see little ones become friends so quickly. This is something that us as adults could learn from them.


Our first day in Tucson was definitely a success! After a fun morning at the Zoo, we ate some lunch and Kolton crashed out for a long nap. That night we went to a nearby steakhouse called, El Corral, for dinner. The steak was excellent, and the atmosphere was nice for little ones. We had another early night after that since I had a feeling that both little ones would be up early again.

The next morning, Curtis took Kolton to a local golf course to hit some balls. He had so much fun and is going to be a natural like his daddy! I really wish I had gotten photos of them, but since I stayed back with my Grandmother and Shayne, I didn’t get any. Next time!

Thursday evening, we went to a local kid’s spot called Funtasticks Family Fun Park, where we met up with my friend Cassandra, her husband Joe and little Lincoln again. This was a really fun place for the little ones. They have toddler friendly rides, an arcade, a miniature golf course, race cars, and boats! The only problem was, it was a little cold that evening. Luckily it was just down the street from my Grandmother’s house.


The boys had a blast together!

Unfortunately, this was the last day of our trip together as a family. Curtis and Kolton had to go home the next morning, so the rest of the Tucson trip would be just with myself and Shayne. My sister would be coming to town as well from Phoenix for the weekend, so we had that to look forward to.

I think Kolton really enjoyed going to his Nani’s house in Tucson. There were so many fun outdoor activities for him and he even has a new friend in town. We are all looking forward to our next visit, hopefully in the Springtime!

Check out my next Tucson Trip post coming soon!