The American Discovery Trail

January 25th, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

For a cross-country adventure unlike any other, follow the American Discovery Trail. This 6,800-plus-mile trail is the only coast-to-coast, non-motorized recreational trail in the United States and it invites families to bike, hike and horseback ride along its route, which crosses through 15 states.

Map of the American Discovery Trail

Beginning in Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware and ending at Point Reyes National Seashore in California, the American Discovery Trail winds its way through the U.S., linking small towns, farmland, cities, and suburban communities along the way. In all, the trail connects five national scenic trails, 12 national historic trails, 34 national recreational trails, and many other state and regional trails throughout the country. Additionally, 14 national parks and 16 national forests line the trail, as well as more than 10,000 historic sites.

The American Discovery Trail passes through Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. Families can stop for an hour to hike the trail, or can spend a few days exploring it and camping under the stars. Pick up specific trail guides, turn-by-turn maps, hiking gear and accessories to help plan your trip, too.

For more information and all your trip essentials, visit the American Discovery Trail website.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

Celebrate Mardi Gras at WonderWorks in Panama City Beach

January 24th, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

The WonderWorks museum building in Panama City Beach, FloridaLooking for a fun, family-friendly way to celebrate Mardi Gras this year? Head to Panama City Beach, Florida, and explore all that the WonderWorks attraction has to offer. In honor of the carnival-themed holiday, WonderWorks Panama City Beach is offering discounted tickets for all guests, now through Feb. 17, 2015.

The Mardi Gras Madness ticket promotion offers $15 general admission tickets for both adults and children, with all of the exhibits and the indoor ropes course included. Additionally, families can purchase Works Combo Tickets at the discounted price of $18 per person, for both adults and children, with the exhibits, indoor ropes course and one game of laser tag included. These discounted prices save families up to $9 per ticket!

WonderWorks is a hands-on museum that challenge the mind and the imagination. Check out the natural disasters exhibit, the light and sound zone, the space discovery area, and more. Lay on a bed of 35,000 nails if you dare, or brave the 84 mph winds in an indoor hurricane simulator.

Visit Panama City Beach on Saturday Feb. 14, and enjoy a trip to WonderWorks with kids before the 2015 Mardi Gras Parade kicks off at 5 p.m. After the parade, fireworks will light up the sky at 8:30 p.m.

For WonderWorks tickets and information, visit WonderWorksOnline.com. For additional Mardi Gras events, check out VisitPanamaCityBeach.com.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

Seattle Announces First-Ever Museum Month

January 23rd, 2015 by Amanda Geronikos No comments »

Daytime view of SeattleIn February, vacationing families should visit a museum in Seattle — many institutions will offer 50 percent off admission for guests staying at one of 54 hotels in the area.

In order to receive the discount, guests must present an official Museum Month Pass; discounted admission is available for up to four people per group.

Participating museums include the following:

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitors Center
Chihuly Garden and Glass
EMP Museum
Museum of Flight
Seattle Aquarium
Seattle Art Museum
Woodland Park Zoo

Families will be able to enjoy half-price admission at museums just outside of Seattle, too, including the Kids Discovery Museum on Bainbridge Island and the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.

For a full list of participating museums and hotels, visit SeattleMuseumMonth.com.

– Amanda Geronikos

2015 Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival

January 22nd, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

Kid on skis gets pulled by man on horseNot only is the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival the oldest, continuous winter festival west of the Mississippi River, but it is also an event unlike any other. Watch the local high school band march down the street on skis, see skiers jump through rings of fire, and don’t get caught without your carnival pin or you might have to push a peanut down the main street with your nose. Here’s what to expect at this year’s Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs.

The 102nd annual carnival kicks off on Wednesday, Feb. 4, with opening ceremonies at 5:30 p.m. at Olympian Hall. Directly after the opening event, families are invited to the Speed and Slight Night Ski Jumping event, where kids ages 12 and older can register to learn under the lights. On Thursday, Feb. 5, afternoon and evening events include the Cross-Country Skiing Obstacle Course at 4:30 p.m. and then the Air Bag Jam Session, where skiers fly into the air and land on a 15-by-50-foot air bag in the snow.

Begin again on Friday, Feb. 6, with the Soda Pop Slalom on Mount Werner in the morning, before lunch at the Bear River Bar & Grill, where families can feast while watching the Vintage Ski Race & Ski Fashion Show. In the afternoon, head over the historic Howelsen Hill where Nordic ski jumpers will fly through the air during the Nordic Ski Exhibition. Afterwards, enjoy a family snowtubing party all together! Cap off the night at the annual Sorel Soiree at 7 p.m. in Olympian Hall.

Wake up on Saturday, Feb. 7, and head to Steamboat’s Lincoln Avenue as street events take place from 9 a.m. to noon, including kids skiing down the street behind the horses that pull them through jumps and hills. Grab lunch and visit one of the many attractions in town in the afternoon before heading the Night Extravaganza at Howelsen Hill at 7 p.m., where the famous Lighted Man takes center stage as skiers jump through rings or fire and fireworks explode in the snow.

On Sunday, Feb. 8, start your day exploring snowshoe trails and taking in the beautiful snowy scenery. At 11:30 a.m. the Diamond Hitch Parade begins where the Steamboat Springs High School marching band skis down Lincoln Avenue while playing classic songs. End your family’s winter carnival weekend with a three-course dinner the 9,000-foot-high Hazie’s gourmet restaurant as the sun sets over the mountains.

A Winter Carnival button is required for entry to all events. Buttons are $10 each and can be purchased at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, City Market, All That or Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty. For more information, visit WinterCarnivalSteamboat.com.

Can’t make it to Steamboat Springs for this winter carnival? Check out these other exciting winter festivals for families for one closer to you!

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

4 Lehigh Valley Travel Packages for Families

January 21st, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz 1 comment »

Children jumping with Crayola Crayons at the Crayola ExperienceLocated about 90 minutes from both Philadelphia and New York City, Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley is a great spot for families to take a weekend trip with children. This year, the area’s official visitors bureau, Discover Lehigh Valley, is offering special travel packages for local attractions and accommodations, making your vacation simple and easy to plan.

Stay & Create
Get crafty with kids and book the Stay & Create package for overnight accommodations, two tickets to the Crayola Experience and two passes to the green screen attraction, “Say Crayola!” Additional tickets are available for up to 25 percent off when purchased in conjunction with this package.

For a list of participating hotels and package prices, visit the Stay and Create page on the Discover Lehigh Valley website.

Stay & Investigate
Discover the scary side of Lehigh Valley, if you dare. Book the Stay & Investigate package and enjoy overnight accommodations and tours of the area’s spookiest spots, such as the Museum of Indian Culture and the Historic Hotel Bethlehem.

For a list of participating hotels and package prices, visit the Stay and Investigate page on the Discover Lehigh Valley website.

Stay & Ski
Hit the slopes at Bear Creek Mountain Resort or Blue Mountain Ski Area and save with the Stay & Ski package. Ten hotels are participating in this promotion and all packages include overnight accommodations and passes to one of these two ski resorts.

For a list of participating hotels and package prices, visit the Stay and Ski page on the Discover Lehigh Valley website.

Stay & Scream
Get a thrill in Lehigh Valley this spring and summer with the Stay & Scream package. Kids and teens will love the rides at Dorney Park and the slides at Wildwater Kingdom. Book the package at one of 13 participating hotels and save – each hotel offers a package with tickets included, or discounted admission to the parks. Note: Dorney Park opens May 1, 2015, and Wildwater Kingdom opens May 23, 2015.

For a list of participating hotels and package prices, visit the Stay and Scream page on the Discover Lehigh Valley website.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

2015 Ski Spree Extravaganza at Sunlight Mountain Resort

January 20th, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

Families at Sunlight Mountain ResortCelebrate Western Colorado ski culture at Sunlight Mountain Resort’s annual Ski Spree Extravaganza this year. Located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Sunlight Mountain Resort is home to 67 trails, with activities available for all ages, year-round. Visit Feb. 6-8, 2015, for the community celebration that includes skiing and snowboarding competitions, a chili cook-off and a fireworks show at the historic Hotel Colorado. The 2015 theme for the Ski Spree event is Colorful Colorado, and guests are invited to incorporate that theme in every which way that they can throughout the celebration.

To kick things off, skiers and snowboarders will perform their tricks at the Rail Jam competition on Friday, Feb. 6. The fun continues at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7, when guests are invited to sample chili recipes at the Chili Cook-Off Competition, and to cast their vote for the winner. Afterwards, families should stick around for a fireworks display at 8 p.m. outside the historic Hotel Colorado. On Sunday, the Need-4-Speed Race starts at 11 a.m. and all guests are invited to sign up to see if they can beat the clock on the slopes. All weekend long, though, families should take advantage of all the fun that Sunlight Mountain Resort has to offer during the winter season.

Admission bracelets for the Ski Spree event are $10 each and can be purchased in advance. With the bracelets, guests will also receive a $10-discount on lift tickets at Sunlight Mountain for Saturday and Sunday, Feb.7-8.

Ski. Swim. Stay. Package at Glenwood Hot Springs
Book the Ski. Swim. Stay. Package at Glenwood Hot Springs and save even more on your trip to the Sunlight Mountain Resort. Enjoy accommodations, free breakfast, lift tickets, free shuttle service and admission to the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. Plus children ages 12 and under stay for free with a paying adult. Rates start from $437 per night for a family of four. Offer valid now through April 5, 2015.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz