11 Upcoming Sesame Place Events

August 21st, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

Haven’t made it to Sesame Place yet this summer? Plan a visit in the fall or winter, when the one-of-a-kind park — which turned 35 this year — will offer more themed events for families. Note: The park will be open on weekends only, September through to December, plus Dec. 28, 29, 30 and 31.

Elmo and Friends Perform in Spooktacular Concert at Sesame Place

Back to School Bash
Aug. 29-30, 2015
School may be starting soon, but families can finish the summer off in style at the Back to School Bash on Aug. 29 and 30, 2015. The Bash includes singing and dancing with characters, plus one meal per person. Reservations are required. Party times are 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $29 for kids and adults ages 10 and older, $18 for children ages 2 to 9, and free for tots ages 23 months and younger. Park admission is not included and is required.

Labor Day BBQ
Sept. 5-6, 2015
Celebrate Labor Day with a BBQ and all your favorite Sesame Street characters on Sept. 5 and 6, 2015. The BBQ includes food and fireworks. Reservations are required. The BBQ is at 5 p.m. on both days. Tickets are $29 for kids and adults ages 10 and older, $18 for children ages 2 to 9, and free for tots ages 23 months and younger. Park admission is not included and is required.

Labor Day Weekend Fireworks
Sept. 5-6, 2015
Who doesn’t love fireworks? Visit Sesame Place on Sept. 5 and 6, 2015, for a fireworks display each night beginning at 8:25 p.m. Kids will enjoy the bright colors while dancing with their favorite characters. The fireworks are free with park admission, but for an even more fun time, families can purchase the all new Fireworks Grab Bags. Grab Bags include two souvenir cups filled with the beverage of your choice, one souvenir popcorn bucket filled with popcorn, two fiber optic glow wands and one souvenir tote bag. Fireworks Grab Bags are $25 each.

The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular
Weekends, Sept. 26 through Nov 1, 2015
Halloween isn’t scary at Sesame Place — it’s silly! The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular runs from Sept. 26 through Nov. 1, 2015, and includes special events and performances like Elmo The Musical Live!, Who Said Boo?!, the Not-Too-Scary Road Show and the Neighborhood Street Party. All events and performances are included with park admission.

Zoe’s Monster Mash Dance Party
Sept. 26-27, 2015
Zoe’s birthday is a time for fun and with her Monster Mash Dance Party, families can move and groove with their favorite character. Zoe’s party is on Sept. 26 and 27, 2015, and includes singing, dancing and an all-you-can-eat buffet. Reservations are required. Party times are at noon and 5 p.m. each day. Tickets are $29 for kids and adults ages 10 and older, $18 for children ages 2 to 9, and free for tots ages 23 months and younger. Park admission is not included and is required.

The Count’s Batty Birthday Bash
Oct. 3-4, 2015
Reservations are required for those who want to attend The Count’s exclusive birthday party, which includes singing, dancing and a buffet. Tickets are $29 for those ages 10 and up, $18 for ages 2 to 9 and free for children under 23 months. Regular park admission is required; party times are at noon and 5 p.m.

Grover’s Not-So-Spooky Birthday Bash
Oct. 10-11, 2015
If you miss The Count’s birthday, visit Sesame Place the following weekend for Grover’s special day (and don’t forget to wish The Count a happy belated birthday). Grover’s birthday also includes a meal, plus singing and dancing, with the exact same rates. Celebrations take place at 12 and 5 p.m.; reservations are required, as is regular park admission.

Monster Mayhem Dine
Oct. 17-18, 2015
Prepare to do the Monster Mash with your favorite characters and enjoy a delicious buffet afterward. You can make a reservation for 12 or 5 p.m. Rates are the same as those for the birthday celebrations — $29 for adults, $18 for kids ages 2 to 9 and free for little ones under 23 months. Park admission is required.

Elmo’s Silly Bones Spooktacular Dine
Oct. 24-25, 2015
This is your chance to dine with the one and only Elmo! Wear your costume — you’ll have an opportunity to get your picture taken with Elmo (who will be wearing a costume, too). Dining experiences are offered at 12 and 5 p.m. both days and require park admission, plus additional rates of $29 for adults and $18 for kids ages 2 to 9.

The Count’s Halloween Party
Oct. 31 to Nov. 1, 2015
Wear your costume for the ultimate Halloween event at Sesame Place: The Count’s Halloween Party. The special event includes dancing, singing and a meal. The event takes place at 12 and 5 p.m., and costs $29 per adult and $18 per child age 2 to 9. Park admission is required.

A Very Furry Christmas
Weekends, Nov. 21-Dec. 27; Dec. 28, 29, 30 & 31, 2015
At Christmastime, Sesame Place is transformed into a winter wonderland, with lights, decorations, and themed shows to put families in the holiday spirit. Kids can visit the rides at Cookie’s Monster Land before visiting Santa in the Furry Workshop. All the fun is included in standard park admission.

Looking for a place to stay when you visit? See our picks for the 10 Best Sesame Place Hotels for Families.

–Hilarey Wojtowicz

6 Things to Do in Austin With Kids

August 19th, 2015 by Guest Blogger 2 comments »

Austin, the state capital of Texas, is a really cool and proudly weird city. The official city motto, “Keep Austin Weird,” perfectly sums it up. Consider a visit to these fun and funky attractions for families.

Lemonade Stand in Austin

The Cathedral of Junk
Once upon a time in 1988, Vince Hanneman decided to build a clubhouse in his backyard — unlike any clubhouse anyone had ever seen! This clubhouse contains 60 to 100 tons worth of stuff. It has bicycle wheels, car bumpers, ladders, and everything you can imagine (and some you can’t). It has changed over the years as the creator’s taste has changed, and it serves as proof that art comes in all forms. After the shock of seeing this fantastic creation wears off, try a scavenger hunt! Look for skis, phones, Barbies, Maggie Simpson, a horseshoe, helmet, iron, snowman, rocking horse, crutches, set of 4 matching tea cups and more. Add anything to your scavenger hunt list.

This amazing artistic creation is in the backyard of a private home, so you must call (512-299-7413) to make sure Vince will be there to show you around. The cost is $10 per group.

Bat Conservation International
Hidden from view under the Congress Avenue Bridge is the largest urban colony of Mexican free-tail bats in the world. The 1.5-million winged mammals migrate here each year in the spring and fly out each evening to eat up to 10 tons of insects per night. The best time to see them is late summer when their babies go flying, too. The black cloud zooming out from under the bridge is something amazing to see!

South Congress Street
Only in Austin could a regular street be so much fun. There is so much to see and do in just a few blocks! Window Shop in the store Uncommon Goods — kiddos and adults alike find this store amazing. It has just a little bit of everything. Give each person a mission: Vote for your idea of the weirdest thing there and then take a photo next to it. What will you choose?

Visit a food truck, and be sure to stop at the lemonade stand that is shaped like — what else — a lemon! Be sure to visit The Big Top Candy Shop, too. You haven’t visited a candy store until you see this one. Not only is the decor fascinating, but the variety of candy is awe-inspiring. They have real soda jerks, too, that make a huge list of sodas.

The Thinkery
Austin’s amazing children’s museum, The Thinkery, is a fun way for the kiddos to learn and explore using math, art, and science skills. Use computers to manipulate and display your photo. Build a foam plane and see how it flies in the wind lab. Paint with wax using magnets to make the wax flow. Prepare to spend half a day at this educational, hands-on museum, and plan ahead. Only a certain number of tickets are sold each day and while there are a few walk-up tickets available, we wouldn’t chance it.

Lake Travis Zipline Adventures
If your idea of fun leans towards an adrenaline rush, you need to see Texas’ longest zip line! Lake Travis Zipline Adventures has a 3-hour adventure that zips you five times all the while enjoying views of the Texas Hill Country and Lake Travis. The very last zip line experience is 20 stories high and takes you 2,400 feet over Lake Travis. This is an experience you can’t match anywhere else because “everything is bigger in Texas!”

Mt. Playmore
Mt. Playmore boasts 3,000 square feet of indoor jungle gym fun. Think climbing tubes like the ones at McDonalds or Burger King, but on a much grander scale than you can imagine. It has to be the cleanest one around, too, as it is sprayed down with a hospital grade germ killer regularly. Climb with the kids or sit nearby to relax and watch the fun.

For more ideas for things to do in Austin, plus hotel and restaurant recommendations, visit Austin Family Vacations.

–Natalie Tanner, The Educational Tourist

Natalie Tanner, The Educational Tourist, has hundreds of thousands of miles under her belt — business trips with her geologist husband to places like Scottsdale, Jackson Hole, New York and Denver — and family adventures to far-flung destinations like Rome, Paris, Tangier, and Istanbul. When she isn’t traveling, The Educational Tourist stays busy planning the next adventure while being mom to two kids, three dogs, Sushi the fisand a hamster. Follow her adventures at The Educational Tourist.

5 New York City Fall Festivals for Families

August 17th, 2015 by Guest Blogger No comments »

With summer ending, it’s easy to get remorseful, mourning the ending of everything the Big Apple has to offer this time of the year. Don’t fret; the fun will continue as the weather cools. During the fall season, the festival options are diverse and varied. There’s everything from farm festivals to Italian feasts to the ultimate street fair in Brooklyn — all out of this world and great for kids. Don’t miss these upcoming fests.

Village Halloween Parade in New York City

Feast of San Gennaro
Sept. 10 to Sept. 20
For culinary lovers of all ages, the Feast of San Gennaro is the place to go in September. It’s the area’s annual Salute to the Patron Saint of Naples. Little Italy will hold religious celebrations, colorful parades, musical entertainment, and a street fair full of food for 10 days. This area of Lower Manhattan served as the first home in America for hundreds of thousands of Italian immigrants who came here seeking to improve their lives at the beginning of the 20th century.

Queens County Fair
Sept. 19 to Sept. 20
The 32nd Annual Queens County Fair is as traditional as it gets with blue ribbon competitions in livestock, produce, home crafts, arts and crafts, and more. The fair features pie eating and corn husking contests, pig races, hayrides, carnival rides, midway games, and kids’ entertainment by Big Apple Circus To-Go. You can dance the day away at the Bavarian Garden with an Irish band and German band. At the Con Edison Ecology booth, kids can adopt a worm for the home compost or get gardening and recycling tips. They’ll also enjoy arts and crafts, a corn maze and food vendors.

Atlantic Antic Street Fair
Sept. 27
The 41st Atlantic Antic Street Fair in Brooklyn is a massive, festive street fair that stretches along two miles of Brooklyn’s centrally located thoroughfare. The entire street is closed to traffic, making way for food vendors and stalls selling clothing, artwork, jewelry, pottery, and T-shirts. Local restaurants and bars set up stalls in front of their businesses offering special deals. You’ll find great bands and music, dance performances, speeches, and raffles.

Fort Tryon Park Medieval Festival
Oct. 4
The Medieval Festival brings to life the customs and spirit of the Middle Ages. Every year, Fort Tryon Park warps back to the Middle Ages with knights in shining armor, strolling musicians, minstrels, juggling jesters and many a lady fair. Authentic medieval music, dance, magic, and minstrels, as well as jugglers and jesters, greet visitors. The afternoon concludes with a joust between four knights on horseback. The festival is free!

Village Halloween Parade
Oct. 31
Kids’ eyes will pop as they watch hundreds of puppets and dancers, dozens of bands and thousands of New Yorkers on the 6th Avenue parade route between Spring and Broome Streets during their favorite holiday of the year.

Looking for a place to stay when you visit? Consider one of the 10 Best New York City Hotels for Families.

— 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.

Halloween on Disney Cruise Line

August 14th, 2015 by Amanda Geronikos No comments »

It’s fun to sail with Disney Cruise Line no matter the time of year, but Halloween is extra special… or shall we say, spooky. Consider an autumn cruise in the future to take advantage of ghoulish parties, parades and more.

Minnie and Little Girl in Halloween Costumes on Disney Cruise Line

A Nightmare Before Christmas – Sing and Scream
This is a unique, interactive movie experience. After the show, families can meet Jack and Sally!

Haunted Stories of the Sea
Gather under to the stars to hear a mysterious captain share folklore of the sea.

Creepy Cabaret
Performers offer spooky music in the atrium.

Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party
Characters (and guests!) wear costumes at this party, which includes music, games, dancing and, of course, candy!

Spooky Movies
Halloween movies are presented in the ships’ movie theaters and cabins.

Ghoulish Delights
The chefs on Disney Cruise Line concoct magical potions and treats, including “Spooky Juice.”

Halloween Isn’t Just for Kids
Parents can participate in costume contests in each ship’s entertainment district.

Disney Magic: Oct. 4-28, 2015
Disney Wonder: Oct. 1-23, 2015
Disney Dream: Sept. 7-Oct. 30, 2015
Disney Fantasy: Sept. 5-Oct. 30, 2015

For information about each ship’s accommodations, activities, restaurants and more, visit Disney Cruises.

–Amanda Geronikos