Archive for the ‘U.S. Travel’ category

Spooktacular Fun at Great Wolf Lodge’s Howl-O-Ween

September 7th, 2014

Witch and bear read book at Great Wolf Lodge's Howl-O-Ween eventHave the kids started asking about Halloween costumes yet? Because the holiday will be here before we know it. In just a little more than one month from today, Great Wolf Lodge’s Howl-O-Ween event kicks off and families should book soon if they want to get in on the spooktacular fun. With 11 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada — and a new one coming to Southern California in 2016! — Great Wolf Lodge is a resort that is convenient and super kid-friendly.

This year, from October 9 to 31, enjoy the resort’s Howl-O-Ween event with your family. From sweet treats to ghost stories, there’s fun for kids of every age.

Nightly Costume Parade
Every night, kids (and parents!) can dress up in their costume and strut their stuff throughout the lodge. Snap photos and have fun — kids also receive a prize for participating!

Monster Bash Dance Party
Every Friday and Saturday throughout Howl-O-Ween, kids of all ages can shake it at the Monster Bash Dance Party in the main lobby. Games and prizes will also add to the ghostly fun!

Spooktacular Story Time
Great Wolf Lodge is known for its nightly Great Clock Tower Show at 8 p.m., and during October, families can stick around for even more fun with Spooktacular Story Time. Your favorite characters will be there, telling ghoulish tales that are sure to scare even the bravest (not really, this is a family place).

Trick-or-Treat Trail
Throw on your costume and grab your bags, pillowcases or whatever you can find to fill with candy. The Trick-or-Treat Trail is a safe and fun way for kids to get candy while meeting their favorite Great Wolf characters. (Sorry parents, the treats are only for the kids!)

Rates start from just $199 per night for the event, but vary according to location. For more information on the resorts, see Great Wolf Lodge.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

Museum Day Live! Offers Free Admission

September 6th, 2014

Exterior view of the Seattle Art MuseumMuseums across the United States will offer free admission on Saturday, September 27, 2014, in honor of Museum Day Live!, an event hosted by the Smithsonian Magazine. In order to get free admission, families must register on the Smithsonian Magazine website. Once you register, you can download and print your Museum Day Live! ticket, which is valid for up to two people, per household. In addition, those who register will receive a free digital subscription of the magazine for one year, beginning with the October edition.

Since the event is just three weeks from today, here is a list of some our favorite family-friendly museums (all of which are on our website!) in cities across the U.S. that will be participating:

California
Zimmer Children’s Museum, Los Angeles
Museum of Making Music, Carlsbad
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Florida
Zoo Miami
Harry S. Truman Little White House, Key West, Fla.

Mid-Atlantic
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Port Discovery Children’s Museum, Baltimore, MD

Midwest
Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, MO
Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, Milwaukee, Wis.

Pacific Northwest
Seattle Art Museum
Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA

Southeast
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory
Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, N.C.

Southwest
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, Dallas
Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ

These are just a few of the hundreds that will be participating on Museum Day Live! For a full list of museums and to search for ones that are close to your hometown, visit the Smithsonian Magazine website.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

Lancaster Whoopie Pie Festival for Families

September 5th, 2014

Pumpkin flavored whoopie pies stacked on a plateCelebrate a classic snack this weekend at the Whoopie Pie Festival in Lancaster County. On Saturday September 6, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., families can enjoy sweet events and kid-friendly activities (most are free!) at the Hershey Farm Restaurant and Inn in Strasburg, Pa., in honor of the sweet treat. Try more than 100 unique flavors (pumpkin and coconut anyone?), take part in a whoopie pie eating contest or play a game of checkers with whoopie pies as the game pieces!

Here’s everything you can do at the festival tomorrow with your family:

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Largest Whoopie Pie Ever Made
Imagine a whoopie pie that weighs more than 250 pounds…that’s what this year’s team is aiming for! See history being made as they attempt to create the largest whoopie pie ever.

11 a.m. — Whoopie Pie Treasure Hunt
Think you can find all of the whoopie pies? Hundreds wrapped in brightly colored foil will be hidden around the farm. Hunts start every 15 minutes and kids of all ages are encouraged to participate.

12 p.m. — Whoopie Pie Race
Grab a pie and race to the finish while spectators cheer you on.

1 to 3 p.m. — Whoopie Pie Checkers
Use the sweet treats as game pieces in a unique game of Checkers. Don’t just play with them — eat them, too!

2 p.m. — Whoopie Pie Yell Off
Can you “whoopie!” the loudest?

3:30 p.m. — Amateur Whoopie Pie Eating Contest
How many whoopie pies can you eat? Show off your love for the snack in this contest!

4 p.m. — Create the Most Creative Whoopie Pie
Pay $2 to participate and see if you can create the most unique whoopie pie in just five minutes. Prizes will be awarded at 4 p.m.

Other all day events and activities include live music, pony rides, face painting, train races, whoopie pie making stations for kids and more. Local food and craft vendors will be stationed with goods for sale throughout the day, as well, and the Hershey Farm Restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The rain date for the event is Sunday, September 7, 2014. Admission to the festival is free.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

6 Reasons to Visit Puerto Rico With Kids

September 4th, 2014

View of beach and ocean on Palomino Island at the El Conquistador Resort in Puerto RicoWant a tropical vacation that won’t break the bank? Go to Puerto Rico. On a recent trip there, we discovered just how easy it is to get to and from the island (and how enjoyable it is while you’re actually there).

No Passports Required
Because Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S., your family won’t need passports to get on the island; a standard photo ID will do the job. That’s a savings of nearly $200 for a family of four (the going rate for passports is $55 per adult and $40 per minor).

No Currency Changes
Also, because Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S., the U.S. Dollar is the standard form of currency. That’s another savings for travelers, who will find high exchange rates on other islands, such as Grand Cayman.

No Language Barriers
Both Spanish and English are widely spoken in Puerto Rico. During our visit there, we didn’t encounter anyone who couldn’t speak English, regardless of location.

Ease and Expense of Transportation
It’s easy to find a direct flight to Puerto Rico; many major airlines — such as American Airlines, Delta, and JetBlue — provide non-stop service. Plus, fares are reasonable, particularly during the summer months (you’ll actually pay more in the winter).

Affordable Hotels
Even at the island’s biggest resort, El Conquistador, rates start as low as $149 per night. In San Juan, you’ll find them even lower — rates start at $99 per night at The Condado Plaza Hilton and $72 per night at Dream’s Hotel Puerto Rico.

Free Beaches
You don’t necessarily have to pay money to enjoy the sand, surf and sun in Puerto Rico. In fact, several free beaches can be found in San Juan. We especially like Condado Beach, situated next to The Condado Plaza Hilton — it’s surprisingly calm.

– Amanda Geronikos

Family Packages at the Breakers Palm Beach

September 3rd, 2014

Arial view of the Breakers Palm Beach in Palm Beach, FloridaConsider Palm Beach, Fla., for your next family getaway. The South Florida destination is filled with resorts that are family friendly and luxurious, all at the same time. And one of our favorites is the Breakers Palm Beach. With its eight onsite restaurants, daily scheduled activities and in-room amenities like DVD players, mini-bars and movies, the Breakers Palm Beach is a great option for your next family vacation. And this year, the resort is offering three packages that you won’t want to miss. Book one of these packages for the ultimate getaway in 2014.

Exclusive Vacation Savings
Enjoy complimentary and enticing benefits and amenities when you book the Exclusive Vacation Savings promotion at the Breakers Palm Beach this year. Families will receive a complimentary full American breakfast buffet daily; complimentary meals for kids age 12 and under, when accompanied by an adult; unlimited tennis and fitness center classes; and unlimited Wi-Fi. All is complimentary during your stay. Plus, you can save even more with additional discounts on golf at the Ocean Course or the Breakers Rees Jones Course, and on the kids’ camps. Rates start from $400 per night. Offer valid for stays now through Dec. 17, 2014.

Thanksgiving Holiday Celebration
The holidays at the Breakers Palm Beach are magical. Kick off the holiday season with the resort’s Thanksgiving Holiday Celebration. Families will enjoy complimentary benefits like free breakfast, free kids meals for children 12 and under, free Wi-Fi and unlimited tennis and fitness classes during their stay. Plus, enjoy complimentary access to special events like the Harvest Festival, bonfire on the beach, a movie under the stars and the Thanksgiving carnival. Rates start from $550 per night. Offer valid for stays Nov. 26 through Nov. 30, 2014.

A December to Remember
Whether you choose to visit the Breakers before Christmas, on Christmas or for New Year’s, make it a vacation to remember. The December to Remember package offers families exclusive rates with benefits, such as festive hotel activities and complimentary kids’ meals. Plus, enjoy a free American breakfast buffet daily, complimentary Wi-Fi access and unlimited tennis and fitness classes. Take photos with Santa and ring in the new year with live music and delicious food. Rates start from $369 per night. Offer valid for stays Dec. 1 through Jan. 4, 2015.

And now through Sept. 16, 2014, you can enter to win a free family vacation at the Breakers Palm Beach by writing a review of your last family vacation!

Offers based on availability. Additional restrictions and blackout dates may apply.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

Five Last-Minute Labor Day Events for Families

September 1st, 2014

A young boy and young girl sitting in front of an American flagIf you didn’t make plans in honor of Labor Day, then you’re in luck! We’ve found a few great last-minute events across the U.S. for you and the kids to attend in celebration of the last weekend of summer.

Bucks County, Pa.
If you’re not already invited to a Labor Day barbecue, head to Sesame Place in Bucks County, Pa., for a special kid-friendly cookout! Make your reservation now for the 5 p.m. BBQ with all of your kids’ favorite Sesame Street characters. Enjoy a fun-filled day in the park and then head to dinner ay Big Bird’s Riverside Pavilion, with music, activities and fireworks. Prices start from $27 for all guests 10 and older, and from $17 for children between 2 and 9; kids under 2 are free. Park admission is also required. For more information, visit the Sesame Place website.

San Diego
The U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge has been going on all weekend long in San Diego and today is the last day! If you haven’t already visited the amazing sand art, then head there today. Sculptors come from around the world for this annual competition. Enjoy live music, dancers, circus performers, magicians and other kid-friendly activities. All events and activities begin at 9 a.m. at the B Street Pier and admission is affordable at $10 per adult and $7 per child. For more information, visit the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge website.

Asbury Park, N.J.
Head to Asbury Park, N.J., along the Jersey Shore, for a day of live music and food at the Labor Day BBQ, hosted by the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County and The Passion Group. Entertainment, games, rides, food and more will be going on all afternoon, from noon to 6 p.m., at Bradley Park, right across from the historic Asbury Park Convention Center. Plus, stay for the fireworks spectacular over the water at 9 p.m. Admission is just $5 and children under 12 are free. For more information, see the event listing here.

Fort Worth, Texas
Enjoy an educational and fun-filled day outdoors with the animals of the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge today. The center is hosting four animal meet and greets today at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., where visitors can learn about the animal ambassadors and their natural history. A few of the animals that you and your family might see include alligators, snakes, birds and butterflies. Enjoy hiking one of the center’s many trails before or after the meet and greet, too. The event is on a first-come, first-served basis, and is free for guests with general admission to the center. Admission is $5 for adults and kids 13 and older, and $2 for children between 3 and 12; kids 2 and under are free. For more information, visit the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge website.

Tampa, Fla.
If you live in or are visiting the Tampa area today, head to the neighboring town of Brandon, Fla., for the Labor Day Picnic and Bluegrass Festival. Enjoy live music from two different bluegrass bands, plus affordable drinks and food all day long. A bounce house, arts and crafts, games and more are available for kids, too. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Brandon Elks Lodge and admission is free for everyone! For more information, see the event listing here.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz