Archive for the ‘Family-Friendly Destinations’ category

Easter Offerings for Families at Gaylord National Resort

March 6th, 2015

Easter is in less than one month and families may want to consider spending the holiday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside of Washington D.C. The resort is offering a ton of sweet fun in partnership with everyone’s favorite Easter candy – PEEPS! From scavenger hunts to kid-friendly spa treatments, plus an overnight package, kids and parents will be hopping around the hotel with excitement.

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center

Easter Activities
Visit the resort between March 21 and April 4, and enjoy a free PEEPS scavenger hunt during your stay. The fluffy marshmallow treats will be hidden across the entire 1.5-acre atrium and lobby area. All guests who complete the challenge will receive a free treat from the PEEPS and Company store. Additionally, families can enter to win a giant stuffed PEEP chick or bunny.

On March 21 to 22, and April 4 to 5, families visiting the resort can enjoy relaxing spa treatments together at the Relache Spa and Salon. Children ages 5 to 10 are invited to enjoy manicures and pedicures with special PEEPS scented nail polishes. Kids will also take home a PEEPS nail polish kit after the treatment. Manicures cost $35 and pedicures cost $45.

Festive Feasts
If visiting Easter weekend, choose from two brunches in celebration of the holiday. Both brunches are available between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 5.

The first is a rooftop feast at the resort’s 18th floor Pose Rooftop Lounge with breakfast items, seafood displays, prime rib, leg of lamb and other delicacies on offer. The PEEPS Chick mascot will make an appearance for photos with little ones, too. Rates start from $66 for adults and children ages 12 and older, and from $32 for children ages 3 to 11 years. Reservations are recommended.

The second is a grand brunch buffet in the resort’s atrium restaurant, Pienza, with pastries, omelet stations, seafood bars, roasted chicken, New York strip steaks and more on the menu. Rates start from $59 for adults and children ages 12 and older, and from $29 for children ages 3 to 11 years. Reservations are recommended.

PEEPS Easter Package
Book the PEEPS Easter Package at the resort to round out the weekend of fun for the family. Package includes overnight accommodations for four, an Easter-themed kids craft activity, an Easter egg hunt for kids ages 12 and under with PEEPS prizes, one $50 resort credit, one $10 gift card to the PEEPS and Company store in National Harbor, and one welcome bag of Easter candy per room. Package rates start from $239 per night for a family of four. The PEEPS Easter Package is available from March 21 through April 5, 2015.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

North Carolina’s Historic Barbecue Trail

March 4th, 2015

Allen & Son BBQ in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is on the Barbecue TrailNorth Carolina may be known for its beaches, like those along the Outer Banks, and the Wright brothers (it is the First in Flight state), but it’s also home to good old-fashioned Southern cooking. According to the North Carolina Barbecue Society (NCBS), the state is the Barbecue Capital of the World, and families who are in love with the spicy sauce covered dishes can try up to 23 barbecue pits along the Historic Barbecue Trail.

From eastern North Carolina to the Tennessee border, 23 barbecue pits were hand selected for their cooking methods, which depict the old style that is part of traditional barbecuing. The NCBS requires that all barbecue pits along the trail cook their meat products on wood or charcoal pits that have been operational for 15 or more years; make their own sauces; have a good rapport for delicious food in their communities; and that the dishes are representative of North Carolina barbecue.

Interested in trying one or all of the pits along the trail with your family? The trail map is available on the NCBS website. It winds its way through the state from Ayden to Murphy. Popular cities along the trail include Chapel Hill, Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

For more information and stop-by-stop trail directions, visit the North Carolina Barbecue Society website.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

6 Beautiful Libraries to Visit With Kids

March 2nd, 2015

In honor of Read Across America and Dr. Seuss’s birthday today, we’ve rounded up six of the most beautiful libraries in the U.S. and Canada for families to visit with kids. Not only are these libraries filled with millions of books, but they also offer breathtaking architecture, specific areas for children, rooftop gardens, onsite dining, and more.

Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego

Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego
Named for Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, the Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego is home to a Seuss Collection that can only be accessed by researchers, but families can get a sense of the author through the various structures that line the campus — snap photos of the kids with the Cat in the Hat or Dr. Seuss himself. Additionally, be sure to capture the library’s architecture, as it kind of looks like a spaceship.

Reading room at the Library of Congress in Washington DC

Library of Congress – Washington D.C.
On a trip to our nation’s capital, the Library of Congress is a must-see for families. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the country and the largest library in the world. Free guided tours are offered several times day, though families can also walk around on their own. Stop by the Library Shop for souvenirs and then sit and relax for lunch at one of the many snack bars and cafes onsite.

Inside the Salt Lake City Public Library

Salt Lake City Public Library
Walk up the six-story curving, walkable wall to reach the rooftop garden at the Salt Lake City Public Library and enjoy breathtaking views of the Wasatch Mountains and Salt Lake City skyline. Inside, the Children’s Library occupies the lower level and consists of a five-story atrium with craft and story rooms, such as Grandmother’s Attic with wood beams and stuffed animals, or the Crystal Cave with structures for kids to climb and play.

Outside of the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago

Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago
Although the the 8,000-square-foot Grand Reading Room at the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago is not open to the public, its architecture is amazing and families should take it in from the outside. The large glass dome allows so much light into the reading room that students may feel like they are outside. For families with teens interested in attending the University of Chicago, call the library ahead of time and ask for a guided tour.

Seattle Public Library

Seattle Public Library
With 11 stories made from glass and steel, the Seattle Public Library is an amazing site to see at any age. Head to the 10th floor for the 12,000-square-foot reading room, with its 40-foot ceilings and views of the Elliot Bay. Families with kids can check out the Faye G. Allen Children’s Center on the first level, where little ones can enjoy daily story times, and more than 80,000 books, DVDs, CDs and more.

Central Public Library in Vancouver

Vancouver Central Public Library
The Central Public Library’s main draw for visitors is its unique nine-story, Colosseum-style building and plaza that covers an entire city block in Vancouver, but it also offers family-friendly programs and events daily. Enjoy Family Storytime, Babytime, “Fancy Nancy” tea parties, workshops and more. In 2015, the Central Public Library will celebrate the 20th anniversary of it’s opening in 1995.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

4 Sandusky, Ohio, Attractions for Families

March 1st, 2015

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

Journeys International Names Top 10 Family Adventure Destinations for 2015

February 26th, 2015

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 Upcoming New York City Museum Exhibits for Families

February 24th, 2015

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.