The Valley has a plethora of yogurt places, and we decided to try several so that we could determine the family favorite. This is a fun, simple and relatively inexpensive way to get out of the house with the kids. It’s OK for little kids, big kids AND adults. It’s also easily expandable to include other cold treats like raspas and ice cream.
What we did:
About once a week, the five of us would pile into the minivan and drive to a frozen yogurt place. In a (slight) concesssion to healthy eating, we didn’t do ice cream – only yogurt. However, this was not a controlled scientific experiment. Participants were not required to choose the same kind of yogurt or toppings each time – everyone was free to make their own creation. Within limits! I have one child who would have skipped yogurt entirely for a a bowl full of gummy bears and marshmallows; that was not allowed. 🙂
Once everyone had yogurt, we would sit at a table and consider the shop.
We had 5 questions:
(1) What do you think of the shop’s atmosphere? Does it feel welcoming? Family-friendly? Clean?
(2) What about the decor? Do you like the colors? Is it comfortable?
(3) How would you rate the yogurt? Selection of toppings?
(4) How friendly and helpful did you find the staff?
(5) Would you come again?
I loved hearing the kids’ answers. As we got in the habit of trying new places, I was curious to hear their responses. They definitely noticed if one shop had marshmallows or another one didn’t. And *I* noticed if a shop felt more like it catered to college students than families. I liked how the kids would take the time to consider their surroundings. One child loved the colors at one shop, but didn’t like the chairs. Another child loved the high stools somewhere else, but felt that the yogurt was lacking. It was fascinating to see what was important to each person.
Because of where we live, most of the places we tried are in Edinburg or North McAllen. Here’s our list (not in any particular order):
- Orange Leaf – 601 Trenton Rd, McAllen, TX 78504 (956) 992-0955
- Sweet Spot – 4025 S McColl Rd, Edinburg, TX 78539 (956) 618-9919
- Red Mango – 5401 N 10th St, McAllen, TX 78502 (956) 630-0052
- Yo La La – 5612 N10th St., McAllen, TX 78504 (956) 631-5252
- Chill Yogurt Bar – 5021 N 10 St, McAllen, TX 78504 (956) 627-3179
- Crazy Yogurt – 3300 E Expy 83, McAllen, TX 78501 (956) 630-6195
- TCBY – 3701 Expy 83, McAllen, TX 78503 (956) 630-3109
I didn’t give you our final rankings because I think you should try the yogurt for yourself!
Frankly, this would work with any type of common food or activity. You could visit pizza or taco places – even local parks. The tour could be modified in the winter to “Souper Saturdays” – go sample soups from favorite diners or coffee houses. Or grab a girlfriend and do a coffee tour – meet for coffee at a different coffee shop each time and compare notes.
This was a good way for my kids to practice critical thinking: they had to list pros and cons, likes and dislikes, and they learned that opening a business involves LOTS of decisions – not only do you have to think about the yogurt, there are toppings, staff, space and more. And we all enjoyed having a special dessert once/week. Yum.
Have fun touring!