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Vacation and The Only Child.

I am raising an only chid. This was never the plan, but life rarely goes according to plan, does it? The thing is, as much angst as I may feel about this only child thing, my only child super loves it and seems to have embraced his given lifestyle with a big cosmic high five. According to him, “I have tons of cousins to hang out with if I need to fight with anyone and I can always bring a friend on a trip.” Which is really an awesome way to look at things. But the thing is, he can’t always take a friend on a trip. A trip to the grocery store, sure. To the museum, no problem. Across the country, probably not. Not yet anyway.

Enter: The Family Resort.

I talked about how vacationing at one of these modern-day Kellerman’s Resort concepts is awesome for an active child. And it’s also super ideal for an only child.

When we visited the Westin Kierland Resort last week, this concept wasn’t even on my radar. But when we arrived, it seemed there was an entire FUN team (!) ready to conjure up all the fun for all the kids in the land.

This is what greeted us when we arrived in our room. The kid freaked. (“How did they even know a child would be here in this room?!”… Oh they’re clever like that.)

And that “Compass”… that was everyone’s favorite part….

You see, at the Westin Kierland, they have this fantastic kids’ club called the “Kierland Mining Co.” where they’ve created this very clever system…mapped out (like a compass, say)… where kids are encouraged to explore the entire property and get stamps (literally, each station had a different stamp) for visiting 12 different places and “unlocking the secrets of Arizona”…everything from the various restaurants (there were five) to the spa (I enjoyed that) to a variety of events, activities and happenings (his favorite spot: A tie between the Phoenix Zoo animal presentation and the pools’ Lazy River).

He got a stamp as he learned how to make a tye-dye shirt. And he got to keep it. Bonus.

At each of the locations, the lovely Westin people took it really seriously too…having the kids do specific games or puzzles or learning activities before they procured their stamps. Then, each of these stamps earned  each child a super cool pin to put on his Compass. The whole thing was like an awesome vacation Boy Scout badge program, and I was just as into it as Harry was. Mind you, he was really into it.

He still wears this treasure around the house…like a medal he’s won…because he feels like he worked for it. (Also, he’s been trying out this new smile for photos. It looks a bit scary. Like he’s in pain.)

Now, it should be noted that he did these things with other kids. His age. They found each other along the way, as kids do, doing their various activities and action items, and they compared notes (“Oh, you gotta do the Lobby Concierge, they have the BEST PIN!”).

There were also daily day camps that kids could do if their parents would like some alone time. And speaking of that, one night while we were there, Harry attended the evening Westin Kids Club Pajama Party supervised by the Resort’s award-winning FUN Team. In a stroke of brilliance, this program allows parents to enjoy a dinner date or evening meeting while the kids enjoy FUN activities, arts and crafts, dinner and a movie. Basically, he had fun party evening with his new, pint-sized BFFs, and we got to go to a fancy dinner.

Win. Win. Super Win.

And speaking of winning, I have a lot to say about the food. More about that next…

Huge thanks to Westin Hotels & Resorts for sponsoring this campaign.  Click here to see more of the discussion.

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