Archive for the ‘U.S. Travel’ category

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 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

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.

Put-In-Bay
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

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

4 Children’s Museums Celebrate Read Across America Day

February 25th, 2015

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

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.

Liftopia’s National Play Hooky and Ski Week Deals

February 23rd, 2015

Families can always buy lift tickets at discounted prices via Liftopia. But in honor of the site’s fourth annual National Play Hooky and Ski Week, families can save even more – up to 75 percent off advance purchase lift tickets, rentals and packages at more than 250 ski resorts across North America. National Play Hooky and Ski Week is from March 2 to 6, 2015, so purchase your lift tickets now to save on your next family ski vacation. Here are a few family-friendly ski resorts participating in this year’s offer:

Family on a ski lift

Colorado Ski Resorts
Up to 52 percent off lift tickets at Arapahoe Basin
Up to 50 percent off lift tickets at Sunlight Mountain
Up to 45 percent off lift tickets at Granby Ranch
Up to 45 percent off lift tickets at Copper Mountain
Up to 41 percent off lift tickets at Loveland
Up to 25 percent off lift tickets at Crested Butte
Up to 20 percent off lift tickets at Winter Park
Up to 20 percent off ski rentals at Keystone
Up to 20 percent off ski rentals at Breckenridge
Up to 19 percent off ski or board packages at Vail
Up to 19 percent off ski or board packages at Beaver Creek
Up to 12 percent off ski packages at Aspen/Snowmass

Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts
Up to 53 percent off lift tickets at Diamond Peak
Up to 44 percent off lift tickets at Sierra-At-Tahoe
Up to 31 percent off ski rental packages at Heavenly
Up to 20 percent off lift tickets at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows

Mid-Atlantic Ski Resorts
Up to 61 percent off lift tickets at the Omni Homestead Ski Resort
Up to 60 percent off lift tickets at Blue Mountain
Up to 54 percent off lift tickets at Shawnee Mountain
Up to 52 percent off lift tickets at Gore Mountain
Up to 45 percent off lift tickets at Whiteface

Midwest Ski Resorts
Up to 50 percent off lift tickets at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa
Up to 20 percent off flex passes and lift tickets at Boyne Highlands

New England Ski Resorts
Up to 73 percent off at Cranmore Mountain
Up to 67 percent off lift tickets at Jay Peak
Up to 66 percent off lift tickets at Attitash-Wildcat
Up to 64 percent off lift tickets at Smugglers’ Notch
Up to 54 percent off lift tickets at Okemo
Up to 50 percent off lift tickets at Mount Sunapee
Up to 49 percent off lift tickets at Sugarloaf
Up to 47 percent off lift tickets at Killington
Up to 30 percent off lift tickets at Sugarbush
Up to 22 percent off lift tickets at Sunday River
Up to 18 percent off lift tickets at Stowe

Utah Ski Resorts
Up to 61 percent off day and night lift tickets at Sundance Resort
Up to 40 percent off lift tickets at Alta
Up to 38 percent off lift tickets at Solitude
Up to 19 percent off ski or board packages at Park City
Up to 19 percent off ski packages at the Canyons
Lift tickets starting from $114 at Deer Valley

For more information and to purchase tickets and packages, visit Liftopia’s website.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz