6th Annual Halloween Spook-tacular in Myrtle Beach

October 15th, 2014 by Lissa Poirot No comments »

Kids and adults sit on the pool deck of the Dunes Village Resort and watch a magic showThe Dunes Village Resort is on our list of Family Favorite Hotels and it’s really no wonder. The Myrtle Beach resort offers a plethora of activities and comfortable accommodations for families – including its annual Halloween Spook-tacular event in October. Join the party next week on Saturday, October 25, and let the kids tie-dye t-shirts, wear costumes, play carnival games and more around the resort and its indoor water park. Here’s this year’s itinerary:

Mummy Wrap Contest – 10 a.m.
Head to the Palmetto Water Park and see who can become a mummy the fastest. Then break free of the wraps and head for the waterslides.

Tie-Dye T-Shirts – 11 a.m.
Make a tie-dye t-shirt and bring it home as a souvenir or wear it as your costume for the rest of the day (hippies anyone?). The artsy activity will take place at the Palmetto Water Park.

Pick & Decorate a Pumpkin – 12:30 p.m.
Help the kids pick out their own pumpkin on the Palms Lawn and then let them decorate it with their own personal style in the Palmetto Water Park. Bring them home as souvenirs, too. ($5 fee applies)

Personalize Your Trick-or-Treat Bag – 2 p.m.
Before filling them with candy, kids can decorate their own trick-or-treat bags. Get creative with this activity in the Palmetto Water Park. ($2 fee applies)

Magic Show – 4 p.m.
Dress up in your best Halloween costume and see magic done right before your eyes on the Palms Pool Deck.

Party Activities – 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The fun really starts in the evening with trick or treating, carnival games and refreshments. The costume contest takes place at 7 p.m. and is divided into age groups so that all can participate. Be sure to stick around for the Monster Bash Glow Party on the Palmetto Indoor Putting Green at 8 p.m. Glow items will be for sale so all can light up the night!

Hotel Package Deal
If your family really wants to make the most of the Dunes Village Resort’s Halloween event, book the Crowds Are Gone package. Enjoy up to 20 percent off all one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom condos, or book a hotel guestroom for a little as just $79 per night. Offer valid now through Nov. 21, 2014.

For more information on the Halloween Spook-tacular event and for reservations, visit the Dunes Village Resort’s website.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

New Interactive Bat Exhibit at the Orlando Science Center

October 14th, 2014 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

The bat exhibit at the Orlando Science Center gets kids up-close and personal with the speciesThis month, the Orlando Science Center welcomed a new species into their home. Just in time for Halloween, the newest traveling, interactive exhibit “Bats: Myths and Mysteries” brought bats from around the world into the center. Guests can get up-close and personal looks into the lives of the little creatures of the night.

Now through January 4, 2015, kids and adults alike can participate in activities that will educate them on the lives of bats. Experience hearing like a bat with sensitive, giant bat ears; try to match bats to their preferred foods; and see if you can spot bats in a variety of habitats. The exhibit includes bats from Egypt, North America, Africa and South Africa, all of which look and act differently. Plus, kids can watch the feeding of the bats at 11 a.m. daily before really learning about the species at the 1 p.m. enrichment class.

The exhibit and bat activities are available to guests daily between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. (closed Wednesdays) and are included in admission to the Orlando Science Center. Admission to the center is $19 for adults and kids 12 and older, and $14 for children ages 3 to 11; children 2 and under are free.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

8 Halloween Happenings for Families in Baltimore

October 13th, 2014 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

Kids dressed in costumes celebrate Halloween at the Port Discovery Children's MuseumFall in Baltimore is filled with haunted ghostwalks and history tours. Although great for teens and adults, little ones might find these activities too frightening. Instead, enjoy costume parades, trick-or-treating and Halloween-inspired arts and crafts with your kids. Check out one of these eight family-friendly Halloween happenings that are taking place this October.

Glow-In-The-Dark Hula Hoop Making & Lantern Parade
Saturday, Oct. 18, at noon and Saturday, Oct. 25, at 3 p.m.
Kids can make a one-of-a-kind Hula Hoop on Saturday, Oct. 18, complete with glow-in-the-dark tape and decorations at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson. Return with little ones on Saturday, Oct. 25, for the Great Halloween Lantern Parade, where they can show off their Hula Hoops in a special choreographed dance before the parade begins. Admission is $70 per person and all materials are included. Admission is valid for both days. All ages welcome.

7th Annual Harbor Festival
Sunday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The free, family-friendly Harbor Festival is back again and guests can enjoy a pumpkin patch, a hay maze, live music, food and beverages, and more. Kids will love getting their faces painted, petting the zoo animals and riding a real pony. The festival will be held at the West Shore Park at the Inner Harbor. Admission is free.

ZooBOOO!
Friday, Oct. 24 to Sunday Oct. 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is hosting its 30th annual ZooBOOO! and families can enjoy free trick-or-treating, carnival games, food and drinks, live entertainment, and more. Kids should wear costumes for the contest, too! Admission to ZooBOOO! is free with zoo admission ($18 for adults and kids 12 and older; $13 for children 2 to 11; members and children under 2 free).

ArBOOretum
Friday, Oct. 24, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Visit the Cylburn Arboretum for trick-or-treating on the nature trail, carriage rides, costume contests, pumpkin carving contests and more. Kids will love exploring the spooky garden and touring the historic mansion. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids.

Falloween Family Festival
Saturday, Oct. 25, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Port Discovery Children’s Museum encourages families and kids to dress up in their costumes for this year’s Falloween Family Festival. Make your own mummy, hear live music from Here Comes Trouble and join in on a drum jam session. Plus, the Port Discovery Children’s Museum has so much more to do! Falloween Family Festival activities are included with admission to the museum ($14.50 for guests 2 and older; infants under 2 free).

Spooky Science
Saturday, Oct. 25, noon to 4 p.m.
The Maryland Science Museum’s third annual Spooky Science event includes hands-on activities like chemistry experiments and spooky crafts. Make slime, decorate pumpkins, and trick or treat. Be sure to wear your costume. Activities are free with museum admission ($19 for adults and kids 13 and older; $16 for children 3 to 12; kids under 3 free).

Hallowmarine
Saturday, Oct. 25 and Sunday, Oct. 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The National Aquarium’s annual Hallowmarine will offer families arts and crafts, costume parades, animal encounters and more this year. Wear costumes and learn how to make yours more environmentally friendly. Activities are free with admission to the aquarium ($35 for adults and kids 12 and older; $22 for children 3 to 11; kids under 3 free).

Toddler Time Halloween Celebration & Costume Parade
Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 10:30 a.m.
Join Choo Choo Blue, the mascot of the B&O Railroad Museum, in his home for a morning of Halloween fun specifically for little ones. Recommended for children ages 2 to 5, activities include a costume parade, kiddie train rides and story time. Toddler Time Halloween Celebration and Costume Parade will take place at the B&O Railroad Museum and all activities are included in museum admission ($16 for adults and kids 13 and older; $10 for children 2 to 12; free for infants under 2).

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

Competitours Takes Your Family on an Amazing Race

October 12th, 2014 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

Family with green shirts runs through the woodsDoes your family have a competitive side? Are you all fans of the TV-show, “The Amazing Race?” Then we’ve found the next family vacation for you. Competitours takes teams on a wild vacation adventure across multiple destinations in Western Europe. And it’s not just about the surprise locations and challenges. Families can win a cash prize at the end of the 11-day adventure, too!

How It Works
Competitours sets up specific tour dates for teams of two (you could do mom and daughter versus dad and son, or any combination you want!). All ages are welcome to participate, though the company advises that all guests be healthy and able to travel easily. The journey is 11 days long and teams will visit seven to eight mystery destinations in Western Europe. At the end, the top three teams to have completed all of the challenges in a timely manner will win up to $3,600.

Challenges
Teams will be required to tackle challenges throughout the trip. These may include mountain climbing (with a harness and leash), fencing, cooking, arts and crafts, dancing, puzzles, scavenger hunts and other creative and fun tasks. They are all suited for most ages.

What’s Included
During your trip, all lodging, challenges, inter- and intra-city transportation, and some meals (eight breakfasts, two dinner and one dessert reception) are included. However, teams must pay for the rest of their meals, some city transportation, all cell phone, Internet or communication devices, personal expenses (laundry, toiletries, souvenirs, etc.) and some of their airfare.

2015 Tour Dates and Pricing
This year, Competitours is hosting two tours. Tour one will be from June 7 to June 19, 2015. Tour two will run from July 5 to July 17, 2015. Pricing for both tours is $3,850 per person. All participants under the age of 18 must be paired with an adult. A maximum of 12 teams per tour is allowed – so register ASAP!

For more information and to register for the 2015 Competitours tours, visit the company’s website.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

Photos: Inside Club Med Cancun Yucatan

October 11th, 2014 by Amanda Geronikos No comments »

The Baby Corner at Club Med Resorts offers snacks and essentials for little ones
Baby Corner. Club Med Cancun Yucatan (along with other Club Med Resorts) offers Baby Corner, where parents can find formula, yogurt, and pureed food, along with a “Baby Special of the Day.” Bibs, plastic bowls and a blender are also available.

View from top of cliff looking down on the clear blue water near Club Med Cancun Yucatan
Excursions. Day trips can be arranged at the resort (additional fees apply), and include excursions to Tulum (about an hour away).

Family Suites offer separate bedrooms for kids with two beds and colorful deco
Family Suites. The resort recently opened 60 oceanfront Family Suites, each of which sleep up to six guests, with separate bedrooms and bathrooms just for kids.

Family Suite Cabanas with palm trees, umbrellas and ocean views
Family Suite Cabanas. Request a Family Suite on the first floor of Aguamarina, and a private, luxurious cabana by the ocean is yours.

The Jade infinity pool overlooks the ocean
Jade Pool. Those who stay in Jade, a building that includes more family-specific accommodations, have access to an infinity pool that practically pours into the ocean.

Ocean views from Club Med Cancun Yucatan
Oceanfront Views. Part of the resort fronts Cancun Hotel Zone, and provides spectacular views like this.

The Petit Club Med Activity Room has bean bag chairs, a table for crafts and games, and toys for little ones
Petite Club Med Activity Room. Kids enjoy arts and crafts, games and more in this room, part of Petit Club Med.

The Petit Club Med Nap Room has beds, pillows and blankets for kids
Petit Club Med Nap Room. When it’s time for a nap, Petite Club Med — newly added to the resort — provides a special room just for kids.

Playground with slides, swings, monkey bars and more at Club Med Cancun Yucatan
Playground. Added in 2014, a playground awaits kids by the beach.

Multiple tennis courts are available for guests of Club Med Cancun Yucatan
Tennis Courts. The resort offers a series of tennis courts, with lessons for kids and adults, plus scheduled tournaments.

Windsurfing in the water near the beach at Club Med Cancun Yucatan
Windsurfing. One of the most popular activities at the resort, windsurfing lessons are offered daily.

For more information on the recent renovations at Club Med Cancun Yucatan, read our review of the resort and Amanda’s blog.

– Amanda Geronikos

Pop-Up Orchard Brings Apples to Boston

October 10th, 2014 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

When families think of apple picking, they may not think Boston. But this October, kids and parents in the New England area can pick their apples at the pop-up orchard inside The Ritz-Carlton Boston Common on 10 Avery Street.

The pop-up orchard in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common has apples, apple cider and baked goodsEvery Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., now through the end of the month, the Ritz-Carlton will have its orchard set up inside its lobby where visitors can purchase apples, apple cider donuts, spices and pastries. All pastries and ciders are made with locally sourced apples, too. The Belkin Family Lookout Farm in South Natick, Massachusetts, delivers the goods to the hotel so that people who are stuck in the city can enjoy some of the country, too.

Additionally, part of the proceeds from this urban orchard will go toward the Food Project. The Food Project is an organization that gathers people and volunteers to farm acres of land in eastern Massachusetts. The food that is grown and harvested is then distributed to local communities in hunger relief efforts, as well as to farmers markets around New England.

The pop-up, urban orchard is open to guests of the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common, as well as Boston residents and city visitors.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz