Wednesday, July 8

4th of July in Review

My family was on the hunt for fun and frugal activities this 4th of July. We were happy to find events at Dublin Park and Bridge Street Town Centre.

Our first stop of the day was Dublin Park. The kids were excited to see inflatables that included a water slide and vendors that sold snacks that were reasonably priced. They kicked their shoes off and ran to their inflatable of choice. The baby and I headed for the canopy area where seating was provided. We were able to watch the kids and had plenty of room to run. We didn't last long though because the heat made the slides and obstacle courses hot to the touch. Our final thought on this was that we wished it were a cooler day so that we could enjoy the fun longer. It was another great community event provided by Madison City Parks and Rec.

Next we headed to Lowe's for a while where we planned projects for later this year and next spring (in free air conditioning). No trip to a store is complete with out one trip to the restroom and I have to say that I wish department stores kept their restrooms half as clean. They had plenty of hand soap, towels, and the restroom looked, smelled and felt clean. The customer service was top notch as always.

Our final destination of the day was Bridge Street Town Centre. We began at Barnes & Noble where we browsed through the books and the little ones played with the train. I was blessed to have three trips to the restroom at this stop in our day. This restroom was pretty clean however there was an odor that I felt could have been alleviated by removing the trash and utilizing an automatic air freshener. We were starting to get hungry so we left B&N to find some inexpensive food.

We ended up eating outside near the Gondola and Paddle Boat rentals (we really wanted to do this but couldn't justify the expense). We all enjoyed the food at Sakoa Japan Grill. The only thing that was irksome was when I asked to get a new drink because the iced tea wasn't "right". It tasted old/too strong.. but whatever the description was I just couldn't drink it. The lady argued with me and had her associates try it in front of me and they tried to tell me I was wrong (one guy did say that it seemed a bit strong). I wouldn't budge and was able to get a clean cup. But what happened to the saying that the customer is always right?

And now's the time for my opinion of Bridge Street's ONE (per gender) public restroom. This truly should be an embarrassment to an upscale shopping centre. It stinks, water is always puddled on the floor and you don't know if it's leaking from the toilets (my poor sister in law had that happen to her just last week) or if it's from the kids who were enjoying the sprinklers. I just can't say anything else except I only use these restrooms when extremely necessary. I'll walk down to Barnes & Noble or wait until I'm in Red Robin or the Monaco.

After dinner we passed by the single inflatable that was pay per jump. This was very disappointing because last year they had 4 or 5 inflatables that were available and they asked for donations to benefit a local charity. We later learned that the proceeds from this year did end up benefiting a child advocacy program but that was not clearly stated until just before the fireworks began.

So we strolled up to near the stage and enjoyed live music while the kids found another family that wisely packed games and glow sticks for the kids. I've made a mental note for next year. The weather had cooled off and the breeze was amazing. The music was great and in no time we were enjoying an awesome fireworks display.

So we spent less than $20 and had an enjoyable 4th of July. How was yours?

Final Score:
Bridge Street Town Centre: 3 stars (fix the bathrooms)
4th of July Celebration at Bridge Stret Town Centre: 3.5 stars
Sakoa Japan Grill: 3 stars
Barnes & Noble: 3.75 stars
Dublin Park: 3.5 stars

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