Establishments touting themselves as Kid Friendly locations, such as wineries or casinos really don’t seem all that kid friendly. To me anyway. Go ahead and call me Judgey McJudgerson, but I seriously don’t see the logic behind bringing young children to these venues.
A couple of weeks ago some friends met Dave and I at a local vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island. We brought snacks, shared a few bottles of wine and talked about many things, such as why would you bring kids to a winery? Some wineries are accommodating with their large picnic tables, lush sprawling lawns, some even have farm animals on site and advertise as family friendly. Frequented by buses and limos transporting bridal/bachelor groups from vineyard to vineyard along the fork, and groups like ours where you might pick a couple of wineries to see during the day or just choose one and stay for a few hours. The predominant aspect at the center of it all, is wine.
I saw many a child running wild among the bottle filled tables, getting underfoot of other customers let alone their own caretakers. Infants in pappoose slings draped across a sipping mothers breast, barely able to maintain her footing in 4 inch high heels digging into the muddy earth below.
During our talk around the picnic table my friends said they would bring and have brought their son to wineries before. They grew up with alcohol around them in appropriate ways, as did I. For instance, in my Italian family, wine and spirits were as much a focal point of the dining room table as were loaves of bread and your utensils. It was common fare to see your family enjoying a drink or two.
But in my head, that was at home. No one had to drive back home after sometimes a full day in the hot summer sun enjoying a few glasses/bottles of wine with maybe a picnic basket full of cheese and crackers. Add some kids to that mix and I think it’s a recipe for disaster, more so than if you went solo.
Plus I’m there to enjoy wine, conversation, and company, without whiney children running amok and parents to busy drinking that they don’t watch their kids. If I’m going to Chuck E Cheese, I expect to see kids running wild playing, having fun, getting into a ruckus. But, I’m at a winery, an adult setting. It’s like choosing a 5 star restaurant verses Friendly’s for dinner. Expectations are there, and a time and a place for everything. Yes there are children who are well-behaved and parents who watch their children, but again I will say it’s not the place to have children. Some will say that those bachelor and bachelorette groups are more outrageous, and sometimes they are, but they are adults and not children.
Would you take your kid into a bar? To me, just because a bar is indoors and a winery is outside doesn’t mean they aren’t in the same realm. If you want the picnic aspect, go pack a picnic lunch and go to a park!
And let me say once again, it’s not that I don’t love kids, I adore well-behaved ones 😉 but there is a time and a place for everything, and I don’t think that wineries or casinos are one of them.
Fast forward to the following week. I spent time in Atlantic City, and Mohegan Sun. Kids where everywhere.
In the beginning of the week while I was in AC with my friend, Kathy we couldn’t help but notice the large amount of kids at The Golden Nugget. Not that we were staying on the boardwalk where there were arcades and shopping for the little tots, but we were on the marina side. Far removed from the allure of the boardwalk. Yet there were loads of kids. Not only on the casino floor, or the outer areas of the slot machines/table games, but the pool was riddled with them. The No Diving/Jumping signs didn’t deter the little monsters from doing just that, with encouragement from parents already in the pool. “Come on Johnny jump to daddy” WTF! Finally a pool manager came over and reminded them of the rules, but that didn’t stop daddy from saying “Don’t worry about it just keep jumping, no one cares.” WTF seriously? Yes we care, no one wants little Johnny jumping in the over crowded pool except you. Parents have no respect, so therefore the kids will learn the same thing.
Over that weekend Dave and I stayed at Mohegan Sun, and a sea of baby strollers lined their pathways too. Infants, toddlers, and tweens galore running wild among the casino floors and outer shopping facilities. Mohegan Sun has an arena for concerts and sporting events, but little itty bitty ones have no place in the casino floor. It was almost 11pm and we had just finished a late relaxing dinner and drinks at The Lansdowne, and headed to the Roulette table. A family of six, had two small children in a twin stroller, and two other children around 7 or 8 years old. The little ones were screaming, and the other two were running around as if on a sugar high, knocking into me at least 2 times as well as other patrons… including the motorized wheelchair of an older gentleman.
Nothing, not a word was said by the parents to calm down or stop, not a word. By the third time the little bugger knocked into me I turned around and gave the parents the death stare. It wasn’t as if the walkways were small and over crowded, it was just a wild child running free in the late night hours with no supervision. Again nothing was done or said and the chaos continued. Dave, seeing my frustration and feeling it himself as well since I would be pushed into him, took me by the hand and ushered me to a nearby bench. We sat there for a few minutes watching the strollers and motorized wheelchairs race by.
$200 on the red chair, yells Dave. 😉
Now I’m sure not everyone agrees with my point of view on underage children at these locations, but you don’t have to agree. I’m also sure that not all children act out of control in social settings. They are children of course and therefore an outburst is bound to happen. But bringing small children to places like casino’s and wineries where the atmosphere is saturated with alcohol and gambling is really a bad call. For the rebuttal of “What are parents to do if they don’t have a sitter and want a date night” Sorry my answer is blunt. “Don’t go out till you can afford a sitter” If you can afford a few bottles of wine at the winery for a few hours, I’m sure you can afford 2-3 hrs of babysitting services.