Post by roomomoftwo on Jun 17, 2008 19:42:05 GMT -5
2008 was our first Roo, and we were apprehensive about taking the kids (14 & 5), but we had a blast! I wanted to post this to say that if you're considering bringing the younguns, it can be great IF your kids (and you) haven't lead sheltered lives and you're willing to stay in tune with your kids' needs. Make sure they stay hydrated, keep slathering on the sunscreen, provide earplugs, offer to take them to the potty often, and put them to bed when they are tired.
Please, please, PLEASE think twice about bringing an infant. There was one in Family Camping that seemed to be crying ALL the time. We were all the way on the other side of the area, and could hear it clearly. It was so hot, and I felt sorry for the baby, the parents, and the people camped near them. There were also some boneheads with a baby at Death Cab For Cutie, about 1/3 back from the stage, with no headphones or earplugs. Poor kid.
Seriouslly, there was not a lot of love for people with infants. When someone with a baby would pass by, there was eye-rolling, head-shaking, and people saying things like "take that baby home".
Getting Into Family Camping (FC): FC was fine once we found it. Considering that there were only about 50 cars in FC , it's understandable that the volunteers aren't familiar with its location. Be vigilent about getting a FC mark on your car as soon as you enter the gates -- you don't want to get past security without it or they won't let you in. There were at least two, sometimes four people outside the fenced-in FC area making sure cars were marked.
FC Location: Very convenient -- 5-10 min. walk to the Centeroo entrance near the ferris wheel. Port-o-johns were right outside the entrance to FC. We could hear the late night shows loud & clear, so bring ear plugs so the kids can sleep!
Music: It can be very loud. Bring ear plugs (be sure to get ones that fit children) into Centeroo, not only to protect their little ears, but also so they can catch a nap.
If you stay toward the back at the stages/tents, it's not quite as loud, and you can sit and chill. It's also nice to just lie in the shade under a tree near a tent and listen.
Kidz Jam: Great place for the wee ones. We took our daughter several times a day. They gave her free water, a little mister fan, and the whole thing was under a tent. There was face painting, a balloon clown, daily art projects, and instruments to play with. Sponge Bob paid a visit, and there was also an inflatable bouncer, sand box and a small splash pool for toddlers.
If you plan to participate in face-painting, be sure to bring some baby wipes -- the paint gets really hot and itchy. Our daughter asked us to take hers off every day after only an hour or so.
Be sure to drop a some $ into Kidz Jam's donation jar -- the workers are volunteers, but they still have to pay for their supplies!
Sun & Keeping Cool: Bring LOTS of sunscreen (SPF 50 or higher), including sweatproof & stingproof kind for faces. Sunscreen lip balm is also good. A wide-brimmed hat is great for keeping sun out of eyes, and don't forget that little ones need sunglasses too!
Bring an empty gallon water jug to Centeroo so you don't have to make so many trips for water. We brought reusable insulated aluminum bottles & they were great. The fountain is great for cooling off; just be aware that it isn't always on, and since it's recycled, don't let your kids catch the water in their mouths!
If you need to cool off when the fountain isn't running, drop into one of the mist tents, or just spread out a blanket under a shade tree.
Food/snacks: We had no trouble getting pb&j sandwiches, crackers, and granola bars into Centeroo every day. Maybe it was because we had kids, I don't know. We bought food from the vendors for dinner each night, and there was plenty of kid-friendly fare -- hot dogs, ice cream, burgers, pizza, shish kebabs, mozzadillas, etc.
Potty Time Even you have an RV or portable toilet at your campsite, your kids will have to use the port-o-johns at Centeroo at some point. Make sure to tell them there could be a LONG line, so not to wait until they are ready to burst. The Centeroo pots can get pretty gnarly, and are often out of TP, so bring toilet paper with you, antibacterial wipes for the seats, and antibacterial gel for your hands.
Tip; There would often be people 10-deep waiting on one side of a rows of pots, but if we walked around to the row directly behind them, there was nobody in line at all.
People: Fellow Rooers were very cool. Several each day went out of their way to give our daughter glow jewery, pat her on the head, ask her if she was having fun, etc. A security guard even gave her a confiscated glow stick as we were leaving Bonnaroo for the last time.
I'm no prude by any means, and we're pretty free around our house, but I wasn't sure how the kids would react to nude strangers. The nudity wasn't as widespread as I had expected. I think we saw maybe ten people total -- one nude man in body paint, and several topless women. Our daughter didn't bat an eye, and our son thought it was funny. Just have an open mind and prepare your kids for what they may see.
Also be aware that your kids will often see people smoking a bowl, rolling one up, and they will smell LOTS of funny smoke. Be prepared for what you will tell them, because they WILL ask.
Overall, Bonnaroo is a great experience for the family, as long as you know what you are getting into.
Post by herecomesthesun on Jun 17, 2008 20:22:39 GMT -5
Karma for a very informative post! I saw about four babies and in my opinion it was four babies too many. But I think Roo is fine for older kids that can express themselves when they are tired, hot or thirsty as long as they have thoughtful parents such as yourself
Oh and: I know that Roo is an adult playground and we all like to take the opportunity to indulge out in the open in an environment where its accepted... but I was disappointed by people nomming corn when there were small children standing right next to them. I disapprove of smoke of all kinds around kids anyway, but it just seemed discourteous to partake when someone else's kids will be breathing it.
I did see some kind of campers in the family camping area in 2006. I'll have to ask around and see what the consensus is.
A reminder for family campers...you have to be very emphatic with the parking directors when you come in, stressing the fact that you are destined for family camp. If one parking attendant doesn't know what you're talking about, tell someone to jump out of the car and find one that does know the situation.
Getting steered down the wrong road can lead you away from family camp for the entirety of the weekend.