I have lived in southern California for my whole life, and I have never been to the Rose Parade. From what I understand, it is a pretty big undertaking. If you want to go for free, you have to spend the night on the sidewalk. If you want seats, you have to pay. Quite a bit, I'm sure.
But if seeing the parade is out of reach, you can still go and view the floats. Some people claim this is even better because you see them up close and personal. The floats are on display for 3 days after the parade.
Really there is no excuse for me to not go and see these amazing creations. I have been wanting to for years. Why we didn't before we had kids, I'll never know. There is a lot of stuff we didn't do before we had kids. Things we should have done. I guess you just don't know how precious time is until you have none. But that's another blog.
Since this is the year of adventure and doing new things, and it was January 2nd, I decided it was time to get started. Seeing the Rose Parade Floats would be the first thing checked off the list!
I knew it would be crowded, so we got there early. So did everyone else:
This is the first float we saw and it really is amazing when you get up close. You can't imagine the detail that goes into these things. They are incredible.
And the coral. Everything is made out of a plant material. We had fun trying to identify what each plant, flower, leaf, seed or grass was. Some were easy to identify and others not very.
This ship was also a favorite. Not only was it huge, it was also animatronic. The dolphins were jumping, the crabs waving, there was music playing and the flags waving.
We all loved the Boy Scouts float. In addition to their float, the Boy Scouts also had a whole scout village set up to celebrate 100 years of scouting. There were rope bridges, Indian dancing and, inside a tent, a short movie about the joys of scouting. The boys were so hooked! Heck, I wanted to sign up to be a Boy Scout. Rock climbing, scuba diving (OK that one's not for me) back packing, fire building, helping others, it sounds pretty good.
And then there was this, the Boy Scout's code of conduct, or whatever you call it. I'm not a Scout. I don't know the lingo. No matter what you call it, these qualities are all things I want to cultivate in my boys. In my girl, too. And in myself. I think these might just become the Eskridge code of conduct.
Mark me down as a fan of the Boy Scouts.
It was great to see the floats. Aaron and I decided we would definitely do it again...without the kids. Just kidding. But there are some things you should know before you go with little people.
Before You Go:
It's going to be hot. Wear layers and maybe even bring shorts.
We all would have been more comfortable in cooler clothes.
It will be crazy, crazy crowded. Arrive as early as you can.
They open at 9, but if you are there a little early, they might let you in with the seniors and disabled. They get in at 7.
Pay the $3 to ride the shuttle. The parking is free. You just pay to ride the shuttle. Otherwise you'll walk a long way from your car.
We used the back pack instead of the stroller. It was easier to get it off and on the shuttle as well as moving around in the crowds.
It is really well organized and the people in the white suits are super friendly and helpful. I love a well organized event, and this is one of the best I've ever been too.
Pack food, but bring extra $ to buy your kids an ice cream cone. It will help them on the long walk back to the entrance you came in. You have to return to the same gate you entered in order to catch the shuttle.
Expect that you might not see all the floats. Your kids might just be too tired.
Or leave the kids at home and take your time!
You can see that our kids were pretty wiped out after a while. The heat and crowds did them in. But we really did have a good time. All of them, even Lilly enjoyed seeing the floats. They are spectacular for all ages.
You have to do it at least once!
I'm planning on going again. Sometime.