Monday, January 29, 2018

A Day Trip With Liam {Life with Down syndrome}

A Day Trip With Liam - Life with Down syndrome


When we brought Liam home from the hospital after his birth, there was no time to relax. With three older children, we were living a very busy life, and as the 4th child, Liam was along for the ride. He got used to life on the go when he was just a few days old! That has been our life for the past 4 years, and the truth is, Down syndrome was only a little hiccup on our parenthood journey. There simply wasn't time for it to be anything more!



It's no secret that I spend the most time with Liam right now. He goes to school three afternoons a week, while his siblings are in school for five full days a week. Our time together usually consists of him playing beside me while I work, or the two of us running errand after errand together. Even though it's time we get to spend together without other kids, it isn't exactly quality time...it's just us living life.

A few months ago, I started thinking about how I had never taken just him on a day trip. Sure, we had plenty of adventures together, but it wasn't anything big. All of our big day trips involved other kids. That had to change, so back when the weather was still decent, we picked up my mom and headed to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium to have some fun!

Down syndrome blogs

Liam loves to run and explore, which is a great thing, but it's not always easy on outings with the entire family. We usually have to keep Liam in a stroller when we go out as a family, or else we run the risk of him taking off. All it takes is a few seconds of distraction, and he's gone. He may be tiny, but the little dude is FAST!


Since it was a day trip with just Liam, we decided to follow his lead. I did take the stroller along, but we let him walk when he wanted to, explore things at his own pace, and lead the way! And what we learned was that following Liam, and watching him enjoy all the little things along the way, gave us a new perspective on a place we visited many times!

As we made our way through the zoo, we quickly realized it was fun experiencing the zoo from Liam's perspective! When you get down on Liam's level, you just might view things from a different angle, and get a closer encounter with wildlife!

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Down syndrome

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

(Whatever you do, DON'T stand there!)

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

We took a little break from the outdoors, and let Liam explore the completely empty education building. It offered plenty of hands on activities that even the tiniest explorer could enjoy!


Things to do in Pittsburgh

Life with Down syndrome

After that, we headed to the aquarium. I absolutely love our local zoo, because we get to experience the zoo and the aquarium in one visit! I do keep Liam in the stroller on the upper level, because it does get crowded in there, especially around the penguin exhibit.

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

When we reached the lower level, we let Liam explore again. He loved crawling through the tunnels under the touch tank!

Things to do in Pittsburgh for Kids with special needs

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

One of Liam's favorite exhibits is the Deer petting area. If you follow me on Instagram, I'm sure you have seen the pictures I've posted with Liam and his lovey, which happens to be a stuffed deer that he named "Oh Deer." I think it's awesome that he loves deer as much as I do!


Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

After sitting so nicely in the stroller as we walked through the deer yard, Liam deserved a break. We let him loose and let him run! I'm fairly certain he crossed this hanging bridge a hundred times!

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Down syndrome blogs

Our last adventure before heading out of the zoo, was to get up close and personal with the meerkats! Liam fit right in!

Life with Down syndrome

Of course, there's always one last thing to do! Liam got a bit sidetracked by the sea lions while we were leaving!

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

It was a great trip to the zoo with my sweet boy!

Down syndrome

Life with Liam is always an adventure. He has the amazing ability to find joy in everything, and that joy is so contagious!

Down syndrome

Liam taught us a few lessons that day during our trip to the zoo! He showed us that it's important to slow down so we can fully enjoy the experience, that we don't have to visit every exhibit and do everything in order to have fun, and that joy can be found in even the littlest moments. For such a young kid, he already knows exactly what matters!


Life with Down syndrome - A day trip with Liam to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium #downsyndrome #travelblogger #momblogger #specialneeds #travel #pittsburghzoo


If you're in the Pittsburgh area, make sure you visit the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG aquarium. It's a fully inclusive place for people of all abilities, and the staff is incredibly nice and accomodating. If you have a child with special needs, it's the perfect spot for a day trip. This isn't sponsored in any way...it's just one of our favorite places where we live!

You might also like:

Family Roadtrip to Pymantuning Deer Park and the Linesville Spillway

Pymatuning Deer Park

12 comments:

  1. How fun! This time with him is so special, it's the same thing I keep telling myself with Addie. Once they start school it just goes so fast.

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  2. Wow, that place looks awesome!! And so fun to do a special one on one time!! I try and do that with my kiddos but it doesn't happen as much as I'd like :)

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    1. It definitely doesn't happen as often as I would like, either. I need more time in the day!

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  3. I bet it's nice having the chance to have one on one with Liam. You have a wide range of ages that I'm sure you sometimes feel pulled in all different directions.

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    1. It definitely was, and you are right. There's never a calm moment on our outings!

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  4. It looks like Liam loves animals! I love the pictures and especially the ones with him up close to the animals!

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  5. That looks like such a great zoo!!! Looks like you all had a wonderful day with just some one on one time. I can't believe how quickly our "babies" are growing up!

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  6. What an awesome zoo! I love that you had a special day with sweet Liam. He looks like the perfect date--one that finds great joy and pleasure in everything! I love those pictures of his sweet little head looking at all the different animals. Oh, and who wouldn't love crossing that hanging bridge about a million times?! He sure does know how to have fun!

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    1. He definitely knows how to have fun! We had a great day together!

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