4 Other Sandusky, Ohio Attractions for Families

March 1st, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

The Roller Coaster Capital of the World – that’s what Sandusky, Ohio, is known for due to its awesome Cedar Point Amusement Park. But for families visiting the Midwest town this year, there are a few other great attractions to check out. Here are four kid-friendly areas to explore on your next trip to Sandusky, Ohio.

Aerial view of Put-In-Bay, Ohio

Lagoon Deer Park
Get up close and personal with animals at the Lagoon Deer Park. Families can walk around the park, hand-feeding more than 200 animals from around the world. Additionally, there are 56 acres of lakes for families to fish. A gift shop and picnic areas for an outdoor lunch are available, too.

The Lagoon Deer Park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children and senior citizens. Parking is free.

Sandusky Maritime Museum
The Sandusky Maritime Museum is filled with history and information on the town’s experience in the boating industry. Interactive exhibits include Area Shipwrecks, Wetlands, Lyman: Legends of the Lakes, Success: The Convict Ship, Harvesting the Sandusky Bay and Pirates of Lake Erie. Monthly events also take place and are free with admission. A gift shop is also onsite for souvenirs.

The Sandusky Maritime Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and children ages 11 and under. One family (immediate household members) can get in for a flat rate of $13.

Kelleys Island
Located just off the coast of Sandusky is Kelleys Island, with a state park, golf course, shopping, dining and more for families. Spend a day exploring the beach in the state park, and try kayaking, canoeing, hiking and other outdoor activities with the kids. Then, head to the downtown area for local shops that sell jewelry, antiques, sweets and souvenirs. Families can sit and relax for a family dinner at one of the waterfront eateries, such as Dockers Waterfront Restaurant and Bar.

To get to Kelley Island, pick up the Jet Express ferry, which offers hourly departures. Round-trip fares start from $33 for adults, $9.50 for kids ages 6 to 12, and free for children ages 5 and under.

Another island off the coast of Sandusky, South Bass Island is home to Put-In-Bay, a town that offers families historical sites and outdoor adventures. Visit the Lake Erie Islands Historical Museum for insight into the past; the Butterfly House for an educational and entertaining experience with beautiful insects; the South Bass Island Lighthouse for breathtaking views; and Perry’s Cave, for a chance to be inside a 7-foot cave at sea level.

The Jet Express also takes families to Put-In-Bay from Sandusky. Round-trip fares start from $39.50 for adults, $11.50 for kids between ages 6 and 12, and free for children ages 5 and under.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

2nd Annual Ko Olina Children’s Film & Music Festival

February 28th, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

Families at the 2014 Ko Olina Children's Film and Music Festival in OahuThe Ko Olina Children’s Film & Music Festival is back for a second year of kid-friendly musical performances, feature film screenings, interactive shows and more. On Saturday, March 7, families living in and around Oahu, or who are visiting the island for a family vacation, should head to the Ko Olina resort for afternoon and evening festivities fit for all ages.

The resort’s annual event benefits the Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women and Children, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the center. The Ko Olina resort includes Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club, the Ko Olina Beach Villas Resort, and the Ihilani Resort & Spa. Activities will take place across all properties.

Events kick off at 1 p.m. with the Kapi’olani Medical Center’s Sun and Safety Tent. Also beginning at 1 p.m., but running through the rest of the day, are the Ko Olina Golf Kidz Club and the Honolulu Community College Recording Studio, where kids can practice their swings and their songs.

At 1:30 p.m., live performances, films and actvities offer families more fun. Enjoy Disney and Pixar’s “Monster’s Inc.” and the Hawaii International Film Festival movie, “Beyond Sight.” Don’t miss the POW! WOW! Hawaii School of Music performance and be sure to get your face painted, a fake tattoo or a balloon from one of the artists.

At 1:45 p.m., Disney’s “Peter Pan” and the Hawaii International Film Festival movie, “Winning Girl” begin, as well as live performances by the Performing Arts Center of Kapolei Kids (PACK) and “We Got the Best” Rhythm Fun. Additionally, James McCarthy & Friends, and Honoka & Azita, the Ukulele duo take the stages at 2:30 p.m.

From 3 to 5 p.m., families can enjoy character meet-and-greet sessions, more film screenings, including Disney’s “Tangled” and “Enchanted,” live performances and a live Disney character hula show.

The festival’s events wrap up with an evening performance by Streetlight Cadence at 6 p.m. and a presentation by the Kapi’olani Medical Center Check, followed by a sunset feature of Disney’s “Frozen.”

Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and under. Food concessions with have refreshments for sale during the event. For families looking to stay the night, check out all of our Oahu hotels and resorts for families. For more information, visit the Ko Olina Children’s Film & Music Festival website.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

What Your Family Should Know About Google Flights

February 27th, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

Family at airportGoogle officially launched its Google Flights application on Wednesday, Feb. 25, after years experimenting with the online tool for travelers. Now, users can get the most from the experience with help finding deals on airfare, destination ideas before booking, and even reassurance that you’re booking the best flight possible.

So what does this mean for your family? Google Flights is a good tool to use when planning your family vacation. In a blog post on Wednesday, Google Flights product manager Eric Zimmerman highlighted a few key elements and statistics to know before using the new feature.

First, families don’t need to know where they want to go exactly before using Google Flights. According to Google, in a study completed in June 2014, 54 percent of people don’t know where they’re going to travel when they sit down to plan their vacation. So, Google Flights added a function where users can search for flights to any region, state or destination. For example, you can type in “flights to Europe” or “flights to Florida” and find airfare to the various places in the country or state. Click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button and Google will even suggest places for your family to go.

Next, Google understands that flexibility is key when traveling, especially with kids. The calendar function in Google Flights allows users to scroll through months to see the lowest airfare on any given day. Want to fly to Chicago for a summer vacation, but not sure if airfare will be cheaper in June or July? Check it out on Google Flights now (yes, in February) so that you can plan ahead and know when it’ll be the cheapest to fly with the family.

Lastly, Google knows that finding a great price for a flight is important. But Google also knows that sometimes the cheapest flight might mean a few stops or connections along the way. According to Google’s research, 40 percent of people don’t choose the cheapest flight available in Google Flights. This is where the Best flights function comes into play. Google filters what they think are the “best” flights to the top – these are based on both convenience and price. And, as a result, Google found that 85 percent of people select one of these best flights results when using their tool.

So, once you plan your entire trip using our Family Vacation Planner, check out airfare on Google Flights to find something that fits your family’s needs. Check out our air travel section for more information on flying with kids.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

Journeys International Names Top 10 Family Adventure Destinations for 2015

February 26th, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

A family exploring a cave in Costa RicaJourneys International, an adventure travel company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been offering guided tours for travelers since 1978, and earlier this month, it announced its top 10 adventure destinations for families for 2015.

Through first-hand experience, thorough research and feedback from past travelers, Journeys International chose the following 10 destinations as the best for families this year:

“These countries provide unique, safe, hands-on culture and wildlife experiences that will engage explorers of any age,” said Journeys International’s president, Robin Weber Pollak, in a press release.

According to Sally Grimes-Chesak, director of marketing and family programs for Journeys International, the itineraries in these destinations provide activities that interest both kids and adults, while including the much-needed downtime that is a staple for any family trip.

Additionally, Journeys International also has three trips designed specifically for families with teenagers. The Costa Rica Adventure, Wild Indonesia, and Incas and Amazon are all for families with teens, with itineraries that include activities for older children.

Journeys International currently offers families more than 20 itineraries across 18 destinations. Whether you sign up for a scheduled adventure or customize your own, Journeys International is the tour company to help your family have a vacation to remember.

For more information, visit the Journeys International website.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

4 Children’s Museums Celebrate Read Across America Day

February 25th, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

A little boy poses with the Cat in the Hat at the Magic House St. Louis Children's MuseumHave you heard about the brand new Dr. Seuss book that will be on sale July 28, 2015? If you can’t wait until the summer to enjoy “What Pet Should I Get?” just join in on the fun this weekend instead.

In honor of Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2, museums across the country are celebrating with arts, crafts, readings, writings and more. If your family lives in the Midwest or Mid-Atlantic, visit one of these four children’s museums this weekend for readings of his famous children’s books, as well as other fun activities for all ages.

Magic House St. Louis Children’s Museum
Get ready to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday all weekend long at the Magic House St. Louis Children’s Museum. From 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 28, families can visit for a daylong bash honoring the author’s 111th birthday. On Sunday, March 1, join in on the fun from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kids will love listening to readings of famous Dr. Seuss books, creating their own Cat in the Hat crafts, and taking pictures with the Cat in the Hat character himself! All Dr. Seuss events are free with admission, which is $10 per person.

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal
Although a few days early, the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is honoring Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss on Saturday, Feb. 28, with activities all day long. Bring gently used books to the museum to donate them to the Adopt-a-Book drive; sing along with Joel the Singing Librarian at 11:30 a.m.; read out loud to a furry and friendly therapy dog at 1 p.m.; dance along to the reading of the Jamie Lee Curtis book, “Today I Feel Silly: and Other Moods That Make My Day” at 1 p.m.; and enjoy author and illustrator Annie Ruth sing and read her book, “My Daddy Reads” at 2:30 p.m. All activities are included with admission, which is $14.50 for adults, $10.50 for children, and $4.50 for toddlers. Children ages 12 and under will get in for free though with a valid library card and the purchase of one adult ticket.

Children’s Museum of Cleveland
On Sunday March 1, and Monday March 2, the Children’s Museum of Cleveland will celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday with hourly readings of his famous books, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days. Additionally, kids can create Dr. Seuss-inspired collages to take home. And in true birthday fashion, a cake will be served at 1 p.m. each day to honor Dr. Seuss. All activities are included with museum admission, which is $8 per person. Infants 11 months and under are free.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Read Across America Day is Monday March 2, this year, but the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is celebrating with a special event at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 1. Join former Pittsburgh Steelers player Franco Harris as he reads the classic story of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” by Eric Carle. The event is included with museum admission, which is $14 for adults, $13 for kids between 2 and 18, and free for children under 2 years of age.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

4 Upcoming New York City Museum Exhibits for Families

February 24th, 2015 by Guest Blogger No comments »

Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York CityNew York City offers families the chance to be a spectator at some of the most prominent art exhibitions in the world. The options are endless – from modern art to abstract work to opportunities to learn about icons. If you’re planning a vacation to the Big Apple with kids, it’s wise to narrow the museums down before your adventure. Here are a few existing and upcoming museum exhibits to put on your agenda in 2015.

Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Through November 1, you can introduce your young musicians to the art of music and design – from rhythm to tonality to harmony to interaction to improvisation. Drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection, Making Music Modern gathers designs for auditoriums, instruments and equipment for listening to music, along with posters, record sleeves, sheet music and animation. Every Friday at 5:45 p.m., the MoMA offers screenings on the 1963 Scopitone — an early music film jukebox. Admission to the MoMA is $25 for adults, $14 for students and free for children ages 16 and under.

Van Gogh: Irises and Roses
Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)
Starting May 12 and running through August 16, the MET is showcasing the work of Vincent Van Gogh. The exhibit will focus on four paintings, which haven’t been shown since his death, each consisting of bouquets of flowers. The exhibit’s vibrant colors and shapes will mesmerize children, and if they have stamina and can endure a half-day or more at the museum, take them to the Egypt and Greece exhibits to take a trip back in time and learn about important periods in history at one of the most famous museums in the world. Admission to the MET is $25 for adults, $12 for students and free for children ages 12 and under.

A Year with Children 2015
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
On May 1, the Guggenheim Museum’s annual exhibition begins. It highlights art created by New York City students in a program called Learning Through Art (LTA), an artist-in-residence program for students in public elementary schools. It’s a collaborative project that pairs artists and teachers in classrooms to explore art and ideas. Children will be excited by the results, and equally inspired by the fact that their peers created the amazing works of art on display. Admission is $25 for adults, $18 for students and seniors, and free for children ages 12 and under.

Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television
The Jewish Museum
Starting May 1 and running through September 15, you can take your children to the first exhibition at the Jewish Museum that explores how avant-garde art influenced and shaped the look and content of network television in its formative years, from the late 1940’s to the mid-1970’s. The exhibit looks at how the dynamic new medium paralleled and embraced cutting-edge art and design. The exhibit includes work of famous artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, television memorabilia and clips from film and TV such as “Batman,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Ernie Kovacs Show” and “The Twilight Zone.” Admission is $15 for adults, $7.50 for students, and free for children ages 18 years and under.

– Holly Fink

Holly Rosen Fink is a mother, marketing consultant, writer and blogger for a number of sites, as well as her own, The Culture Mom.