I am a child of the 80s. My Little Ponies, Cabbage Patch Kids, Strawberry Shortcake, Holly Hobby… the list goes on and on of the things that were popular back in the day.
I grew up in Ohio and Chicago, but because my Dad’s parents lived in North Georgia, we spent lots of time visiting this area. When I was 5 or 6, I remember my parents taking me to Babyland General Hospital – the place where Cabbage Patch Kids are born. The first time I walked into Babyland General, I remember being awestruck by all the “babies.” You’d walk through room after room, and there were preemies, babies, and “kids” everywhere. There was even a tree where new babies were pulled from the Cabbage Patch, and members of the audience would get to name them. Or, you could schedule a birth and name the baby to be born ahead of time and then adopt them after the birth.
I wanted a doll so badly, but the “real” dolls cost about $150 – $200 back then. I remember my Daddy telling me I had to save my pennies and buy my own doll. I saved my pennies for a year, (with some help from Mom and Dad), and I was finally able to purchase a doll of my very own. Her name was Vera, and she was beautiful. Red yarn hair pulled into braids and the softest skin you’ve ever felt on a Cabbage Patch Kid. I went through the “adoption” process and Vera was all mine. I loved that doll, and now I’ve passed her down to my girls.
Now that we live down here in North Georgia, we get to go to Babyland General Hospital a lot more often. In fact, almost every time we drive down to Gainesville, Cleveland, or anywhere south of us, we stop at Babyland.
Recently, they moved Babyland to a new location in Cleveland, GA, and on our last trip to the dentist, we stopped to see what had changed. To start, I was flabbergasted by the size of the new building. The new “hospital” is humongous! Definitely not the crowded little house that it was in before. Our trip was bittersweet for me. I have so many memories of visiting the old Babyland General Hospital, and then taking my kids there so many years later. I can’t believe how much has changed.
We went inside the hospital and signed in. After stopping for a picture, we headed over to the window where the “original” babies were housed. Ashley couldn’t believe that I’m as old as the very first Cabbage Patch Doll. “Gosh, Mom. You really are old.” Thanks, honey.
We walked through the nurseries. Parker went crazy over all the “babies” in the cribs. Lucy wanted to take them all home with them. Zander had fun reading all of the names, and giving his opinion on what they should have been named. Jace kept trying to decide if he could really climb to the top of the shelves or if he’d fall off halfway up. (I didn’t let him try.)
After leaving the nurseries, we landed in a humongous room with tons and tons of ‘Kids. They were everywhere! The folks at Babyland had brought all of the props from the old hospital and placed them in this one huge room. And there, in the center of it all, was the tree. The exact same tree I had seen many ‘Kids born from, just cleaned up and spruced up a bit.
Parker ran from ‘Kid to ‘Kid, hugging them, patting their heads, and chatting with them. Lucy picked out her favorites and begged me to let her bring them all home. The boys found the toy section and didn’t want to leave it. There were tons of toys for little boys to play with while the girls (and I) obsessed over the babies.
All of a sudden, it was time. Mother Cabbage was about to give birth to another Cabbage Patch Baby! We ran over to the tree, and got right in front. No way we were missing this! A few minutes later, a sweet baby boy was born. The doctor asked my boys what their names were, and the baby boy was named “Zander Chase.” (Yes, I know. No one ever gets that his name is JACE on the first try. Ever.) But how cool was that? We headed over to the window and watched as little Zander Chase got weighed, measured, and wrapped in a blanket. If I had had the $$ to adopt that little guy, I totally would have. But, alas, it didn’t happen. So we took lots of pictures instead.
I had a wonderful day full of laughter and fun with my kids that day at Babyland, and I can’t wait to go back again. While I’ll forever miss the old hospital, I can’t wait to make tons of new memories with my kids at the new one.
If you’re ever in the North GA Mountain area, be sure to stop by Babyland General Hospital. Admission is always free, and it is definitely an experience you will never forget.
Below, I’ve posted more of our photos from our recent trip to Babyland General Hospital. I can’t wait to go back with the kids again soon!