Are you ready to make a plan and get out of the house, but you have no idea where to go? There are heaps of places around the country where you and your baby will be welcome and have fun together. Here's are some suggestions for where you can find classes, events, and activities to do with your little one. They're also great places to meet other like-minded parents and make some new friends!
Parenting resource centres
Your first stop for information about mums' groups, classes, baby-friendly activities, and events in your area.
• Plunket www.plunket.org.nz
• Parents Inc www.parentsinc.org.nz
• Parents Centre www.parentscentre.org.nz
• La Leche League www.lalecheleague.org.nz
• Mainly Music • www.mainlymusic.org
• Singing Rainbows • www.singingrainbows.co.nz
• Julie Wylie Musical Play (Christchurch) • www.juliewyliemusic.com
• Wriggle & Rhyme Active Movement • www.aucklandcitylibraries.com or nationwide via www.sportnz.org.nz
• Many local churches and community centres also run music and movement groups for babies and toddlers, for example ToddleRock at C3 Churches throughout New Zealand
• Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter & Underwater World
• National Aquarium of New Zealand www.nationalaquarium.co.nz
• Southern Encounter Aquarium & Kiwi House www.southernencounter.co.nz
• New Zealand Marine Studies Centre Aquarium www.marine.ac.nz
Zoos and animal encounters
• Auckland Zoo www.aucklandzoo.co.nz
• Butterfy Creek www.butterfycreek.co.nz
• Hamilton Zoo www.hamiltonzoo.co.nz
• Natureland Zoo www.natureland.co.nz
• Wellington Zoo www.wellingtonzoo.com
• Orana Wildlife Park www.oranawildlifepark.co.nz
• Willowbank Wildlife Reserve www.willowbank.co.nz
Many local movie houses have special "mum and baby" sessions on weekdays, where you can bring your little ones and let them play, babble, and crawl around while you watch a movie with other like-minded parents.
• Hoyts "Mums & Bubs Sessions" www.hoyts.co.nz
• Village SkyCity "Baby on Board Sessions" www.villageskycity.co.nz
• Reading Cinemas Spit the Dummy Sessions www.readingcinemas.co.nz
Other places to look for baby-friendly activities:
• Museums almost always have children's exhibits and interactive sections where your little one can explore and play. We especially love the children's exhibits at the Auckland Museum and Te Papa.
• Local libraries and many bookstores hold regular weekly storytime sessions.
• Gyms, community recreation facilities and pools have heaps of options for baby-friendly fun, including mum/baby swimming classes, baby yoga, and pram walking groups. We're huge fans of re:ab in Auckland for their focus on mums.
• If you want to get out for a walk, head to a local botanic garden or domain and tread some different paths. Most major cities have botanic gardens (we know Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin do!) and they are usually very pram-accessible.
• Local playgrounds are perfect for meeting with friends who also have active toddlers. Drive around your neighbourhood and make a note of the cool-looking play areas you'll find.
• Playcentre (www.playcentre.org.nz ) is a great idea if you have a bit more time on your hands, as it's parent-run.
• If you have an older preschooler, dance or drama classes are fun. Take a look in your local phone book for places to go.