Kidventurous http://kidventurous.com Making Family Travel an Adventure Mon, 01 Feb 2016 20:32:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.3 Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Albuquerque http://kidventurous.com/exploring-kids-36-hours-albuquerque/ http://kidventurous.com/exploring-kids-36-hours-albuquerque/#respond Mon, 01 Feb 2016 20:32:13 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=8819 In July, my kids and I had the opportunity to explore Albuquerque, NM as part of our cross-country road trip. This was our first time in New Mexico and we were excited to explore a landscape far different from where we live in Virginia. From petroglyphs and volcanic rocks to mountains and shrubby bushes, it was like a whole new […]

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AB-Tram-Tall2In July, my kids and I had the opportunity to explore Albuquerque, NM as part of our cross-country road trip. This was our first time in New Mexico and we were excited to explore a landscape far different from where we live in Virginia. From petroglyphs and volcanic rocks to mountains and shrubby bushes, it was like a whole new world.

Whether you have just a day or two, or even a week, you’ll find much to do as a family in Albuquerque. Here’s the scoop on where to stay, what to do and where to eat. Have fun. :)

Where to Stay 

We stayed at the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. It’s in a great location for exploring Albuquerque as a family. It’s just a short walk from the Albuquerque Museum, as well as the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. It was nice to be able to just walk out of the hotel and begin taking in the town.

We stayed two nights and my kids loved splashing in the fantastic outdoor pool, which was so refreshing at the end of a warm summer day. There’s also a lovely courtyard adjacent to the pool, which was perfect for relaxing with an evening drink and looking out at the Sandia mountains before dinner.

Our first night in town, we ate at Garduno’s Restaurant & Cantina inside the hotel. The food was delicious (as were the margaritas). This was not a typical hotel restaurant. In fact, Garduno’s is highly regarded in Albuquerque as one of the best restaurants in town. Even better, just for staying at the Hotel Albuquerque, we saved 15% on our bill thanks to the Local Treasures Discount Coupon Card we received at check-in.

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Albuquerque

The Local Treasures Discount Coupon Card enables hotel guests to save at locally-owned and operated restaurants, museums and attractions in Old Town Albuquerque. Definitely a nice bonus for staying at the hotel and a great way to encourage guests to patronize local merchants and restaurants.

If you are at the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town on a Saturday morning, be sure to take the guided walking tour of historic Old Town Albuquerque. It’s free to hotel guests and is a great way to learn more about Old Town past and present.

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Albuquerque

What to Do

The Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town is within easy driving (even walking) distance of a number of kid-friendly attractions, including the Sandia Peak Tramway and the Albuquerque Museum. If you go, here are a few of my top things to do in the Albuquerque area.

ABQ BioPark. There’s a lot to see and do at the ABQ BioPark so you’ll want to schedule an entire day to explore the zoo, aquarium and botanic garden, as well as Tingley Beach, where you can hike, boat and fish. Be sure to hop on the Rio Line to take the train that connects the aquarium and botanic garden with the zoo.

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Albuquerque

Albuquerque Museum. Start your visit to the Albuquerque Museum with a Sculpture Garden Tour to learn about the 13 different sculptures that surround the museum. Inside, check out the “Only in Albuquerque” exhibit before joining an Old Town Walking Tour to see and learn about historic Old Town Albuquerque.

Petroglyph National Monument. Hike along the Mesa Point Trail in search of symbols carved into the volcanic rock at Petroglyph National Monument. Bring your national parks passport to get it stamped at the visitors center before or after you go out on your quest for ancient petroglyphs.

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Albuquerque

American International Rattlesnake Museum. While in Old Town Albuquerque, it’s a must to stop in the American International Rattlesnake Museum. Kids will enjoy learning all about different types of rattlesnakes through artwork, memorabilia, and of course, through live snakes on display at the museum.

Sandia Peak Tramway. Take in the views during the 10-minute tram ride to the observation deck at the top of Sandia Peak in the Cibola National Forest. While on the Sandia Peak Tramway, enjoy the 360-degree panoramic views. You’ll also enjoy noticeably cooler temps at the top (refreshing on a hot day).

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Albuquerque

Explora. Little ones will love making a stop at Explora, the hands-on science museum in Albuquerque. Blow bubbles, create digital sea creatures, explore gravity and work with recyclables to create new works of art. Check out the Experiment Bar daily at 10 am for vibrating forks and oboes made from straws.

Where to Eat

There are a number of restaurants in the Albuquerque area that are perfect for kids and families. Here are a few to check out during your visit.

Garduno’s Restaurant & Cantina. Located inside the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, Garduno’s Restaurant & Cantina is the perfect spot to settle in for Mexican food. Try the Shrimp Tacos. Yum.

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Albuquerque

Monroe’s. For authentic New Mexican food, head to Monroe’s. Look for Red Chile Dogs, Enchilada Plates and Tamale Platters. They even have meals just for “gringos,” like chicken fingers and pork chops.

Sadie’s of New Mexico. There are four Sadie’s locations in Albuquerque to satisfy your needs for salsa and chiles. Look for enchiladas, burritos and carne adovada. For little ones, there are tacos and chalupas.

66 Diner. If you want to skip Mexican food for at least one night, then head to 66 Diner. They’ve got chili dogs, meat loaf and tasty milkshakes. They also have southwest favorites, like breakfast burritos.

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A Weekend Getaway to Meet Punxsutawney Phil http://kidventurous.com/weekend-getaway-meet-punxsutawney-phil/ http://kidventurous.com/weekend-getaway-meet-punxsutawney-phil/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2016 15:23:42 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=8797 I’ve wanted to visit Punxsutawney, PA for a long time. I even added it to my travel bucket list for this year. Home to the most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, this small town is known as the Weather Capital of the World, and in less than two weeks, media from around the country (maybe even the world) will descend upon […]

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A Weekend Getaway to Meet Punxsutawney Phil I’ve wanted to visit Punxsutawney, PA for a long time. I even added it to my travel bucket list for this year. Home to the most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, this small town is known as the Weather Capital of the World, and in less than two weeks, media from around the country (maybe even the world) will descend upon Punxsutawney for Phil’s annual weather prediction on Groundhog Day, February 2.

Located 90 minutes northeast of Pittsburgh, you don’t need to trek to Punxsutawney with several thousand other people for Groundhog Day (up to 30,000 people will visit when February 2 falls on a weekend). In fact, going in the off-season may be an even better way to enjoy the town as I recently discovered with two of my kids, Paul (age 6) and Molly (age 8).

First things first, you’ll want to book a stay at the Cobblestone Hotel. It’s a brand new hotel that opened up just over a year ago. It’s got a free hot breakfast, including make-your-own waffles, an indoor swimming pool and a hot tub, so it’s perfect for kids. It’s also only a mile or two from the center of town (it’s worth noting here that there are just three hotels in Punxsutawney, including a B&B).

A visit to the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center is a must. Kids will love forecasting the weather in front of a green screen, creating a windstorm and becoming a tornado as they go down a twisty slide and crash into a pile of soft blocks. It’s very hands-on and a favorite among school-age kids (up to age 10 or 12).

PX-Weather-Kids

Look for a new interactive exhibit that teaches kids about emergency preparedness. Listen to an emergency siren, explore severe weather situations, like hurricanes and lightning strikes, and learn what to bring into an emergency shelter. The weather center is closed on Sundays, so make this one of your first stops in town.

The Phantastic Phils public art project is another must-do while in Punxsutawney. Pick up a map and take selfies with more than 30 six-foot tall groundhog statues around town. Each one is colorfully decorated, including one that looks like a Scottish bagpiper and another that’s dressed up as a tacky tourist.

PX-Scottish Phil

My kids absolutely loved going from Phil to Phil all around town. In some spots, there were three or four within easy walking distance of each other. There’s even one in front of the Cobblestone Hotel that’s dressed up like a hotel bellman.

In the middle of our quest to find all of the Phantastic Phils, we made a stop at Gobbler’s Knob. A total must. A mile or two from the center of town, this is where Phil speaks in “groundhogese” to the president of the Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle and shares his prediction about the coming of spring.

PX-Gobblers Knob-Kids

Also at Gobbler’s Knob there’s a half-mile walking trail with signs and photos along the way that tell the story of Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil. If you are in Punxsutawney on a weekday, you’ll also want to stop in the Groundhog Club Headquarters for more displays and memorabilia.

You can even take home a “Flat Phil” (a photo of a groundhog on a postcard, like a Flat Stanley) to take photos with in your own hometown or on your travels Once you’ve taken a photo, just mail it back to the Groundhog Club Headquarters where they’ll mark your “Flat Phil” submission on a giant world map.

PX-Gobblers Knob Gates

And, don’t forget to visit Phil himself at Phil’s Burrow, a glass-enclosed home in the side of the Memorial Library where Punxsutawney Phil lives with his wife, Phyllis. They sleep more than 23 hours a day, so you may not see them when you first visit, but keep your eyes open.

When it’s time to eat, stop in Nick’s Corner Lunch, which is just a couple of blocks away from the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center. Despite the name, Nick’s Corner Lunch is open for dinner, but it’s not open on Sundays. Kids will love the hamburgers made with loose ground beef served up in a hot dog bun. Order two or three with everything, including onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard and special sauce.

PX-Laskas Phil

Another favorite in town is Laska’s Pizza. The sauce is sweeter than most pizza sauces, which may be why their pizzas are so popular. The kids will also love that one of the Phantastic Phils is right in front of Laska’s Pizza. As a bonus, he’s dressed up as an Italian pizza chef. Snap a photo with pizza chef Phil and get warm inside with a few slices of pizza.

One last pick is Punxy Phil’s Family Restaurant. The food is great, it’s served up quickly. They also serve breakfast all day, so this restaurant was naturally a winner for me. On Sundays the restaurant can get quite busy with the after-church crowd, so expect a full parking lot if you want to grab a bite before you head home from your fun weekend in Punxsutawney.

Disclaimer: I was hosted by the Northwest Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau while in Punxsutawney. However, I was not compensated for this article and all opinions expressed here are my own.

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10 Best Indoor Waterpark Hotels http://kidventurous.com/10-indoor-waterpark-hotels/ http://kidventurous.com/10-indoor-waterpark-hotels/#respond Wed, 20 Jan 2016 12:56:44 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=8748 You may need to bundle the kids up to send them off to school, but when the weekend comes, get ready to grab the swimsuits, goggles and beach towels. It’s time to splash, slide and get wet at an indoor waterpark hotel, like Caribbean Cove Hotel & Waterpark in Indianapolis or Falls Avenue Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Whether you […]

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10 Best Indoor Waterpark Hotels

You may need to bundle the kids up to send them off to school, but when the weekend comes, get ready to grab the swimsuits, goggles and beach towels. It’s time to splash, slide and get wet at an indoor waterpark hotel, like Caribbean Cove Hotel & Waterpark in Indianapolis or Falls Avenue Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Whether you prefer to float along a lazy river, stand under a dumping water bucket or get sprayed by a pirate ship, there’s something for everyone at an indoor waterpark. Take a look at 10 of the best waterpark hotels for indoor fun this winter:

1. Caribbean Cove Hotel & Waterpark (Indianapolis, IN)
At Caribbean Cove Hotel & Waterpark, get in a game of basketball in the Boom Bay sports activity pool before splashing down one of three giant water slides. My kids and I spent the night at Caribbean Cove over the summer and easily zipped down the water slides at least three dozen times. My favorite was the Raging Rapids super flume tube slide (the other two slides are body slides that don’t require tubes).

10 Best Indoor Waterpark Hotels

My kids loved the Kataway Bay playscape too, and especially the 700-gallon tipping water bucket. It’s such a rush to hear the bell start to ring and you know the full water bucket is going to tip over with a major splash within seconds. The lazy river was great too, and oh so relaxing, especially after climbing the stairs to the water slides with a huge inner tube a few dozen times. :)

10 Best Indoor Waterpark Hotels

Once we finished splashing and playing it was nice to be able to make the short walk back to our hotel room, which was a perfect size for the five of us (two queen beds plus a pull-out couch). As a bonus, there’s an arcade inside the hotel and Caribbean Cove Hotel & Waterpark is super convenient to popular local attractions, like the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Zoo.

2. Camelback Resort (Tannersville, PA)
Go skiing and snow tubing all day, then head indoors to splash and slide at Camelback Resort in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Home of the largest indoor waterpark in the northeast, Aquatopia, the new indoor waterpark has seven pools, 13 waterslides, a wave pool and more across 125,000 square feet.

10 Best Indoor Waterpark Hotels

Photo Credit: Camelback Lodge & Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark

For the adventurous, try the Storm Chaser, the longest indoor watercoaster in the U.S. Or, ride the waves on the Bombora FlowRider, which offers simulated surfing and boogie boarding. For little ones, there’s Penguin Play Bay, a zero-depth entry pool with geysers and sprinklers.

3. Crown Reef Resort & Waterpark (Myrtle Beach, SC)
Splash, twist and slide at the Crown Reef Resort & Waterpark in Myrtle Beach. Look for two giant waterslides, as well as an eight-foot kiddie slide that’s just right for the smallest ones in your family. Little ones will also love Salty’s Splash House and the Silly Sub.

Photo Credit: Crown Reef Resort & Waterpark

Photo Credit: Crown Reef Resort & Waterpark

Crown Reef Resort offers suites and efficiencies that are perfect for families. As a bonus, many offer ocean views, as well as kitchenettes and oversized tubs. Since the resort sits right on the beach, take time out to walk along the sand, even in the winter.

4. Massanutten (McGaheysville, VA)
Less than three hours from Washington, DC, Massanutten is a four seasons resort that offers skiing, snow tubing, golf, pony rides, and yes, an indoor waterpark. After a morning of snow sports, nothing beats heading indoors for water slides and a float along the lazy river.

Photo Credit: Massanutten Resort

Photo Credit: Massanutten Resort

We went a couple of years ago and my daughter even tried her skills body boarding on The Pipeline, which looks both fun and scary. Little ones will love the Frog Pond, which has a kiddie waterslide, swings and water-spraying noodles. Try a Stay & Play package for a two night stay and four all-day waterpark passes.

5. Boyne Mountain Resort (Boyne Falls, MI)
You’ll find Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark, Avalanche Bay, at Boyne Mountain Resort. Get outside for snow sports, like fat tire snow biking, skiing, snowshoeing and snow tubing before heading inside to take on The Big Couloir, which has one of the steepest drops of any waterslide. WOW.

Photo Credit: Boyne Mountain Resort

Photo Credit: Boyne Mountain Resort

At Avalanche Bay, you’ll also find five other waterslides, a children’s pool, a lazy river and multiple hot tubs. Kids will also love the Splasherhorn, which dumps 800 gallons of water when the horn blows. Boyne Mountain Resorts offer several Splash & Play lodging packages, so get ready to get wet.

6. KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort (Gurnee, IL)
Your kids will flip for all the tube slides, waterfalls and water play structures they’ll find at this 65,000 square foot indoor waterpark. Inspired by the Florida Keys, spend time splashing in the Tsunami Washout Wave Pool or floating in a tube along KeyLime Creek at KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort.

Photo Credit: KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort

Photo Credit: KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort

Toddlers and preschoolers will love the Play Pond, which has a kiddie pool as well as several mini slides just for them. Book an overnight stay or a weekend at the hotel in a guest suite or stateroom at this Chicagoland resort, then play at the waterpark, in the arcade or at the Enchanted Lagoon Kids Spa. 

7. Kalahari Resort (Wisconsin Dells, WI)
There’s almost too much to do at Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, the waterpark capital of the world. Aside from a fantastic 125,000 square foot indoor waterpark, there’s also an indoor theme park complete with go-carts, mini golf and a carousel, as well as laser tag, a massive arcade, bowling and a spa.

Photo Credit: Kalahari Resorts & Conventions

Photo Credit: Kalahari Resorts & Conventions

At the indoor water park, look for a 920-foot lazy river, a wave pool and multiple water slides including Victoria Falls, a family raft ride. School-age kids will love Leopard’s Lair, a water play structure with water guns, slides and net crawls. Family Getaway packages include a two night stay, waterpark admission, breakfast and more.

8. Falls Avenue Resort (Niagara Falls, ON)
Splish, splash and slide while taking in the views of Niagara Falls at the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark, which is located inside the Falls Avenue Resort in Canada. The waterpark has 16 waterslides, a huge wave pool and a water play structure with a 1,000-gallon dumping water bucket.

10 Best Indoor Waterpark Hotels

Photo Credit: Falls Avenue Resort

Book a Waterpark Getaway package and stay at one of several connecting hotels, including Sheraton on the Falls and Crowne Plaza Falls View. You’ll also have access to other activities at Falls Avenue Resort, such as Adventure City, an arcade with 125 games, and Hershey’s Chocolate World.

9. Silver Mountain Resort (Kellogg, ID)
At Silver Mountain Resort in Idaho, you can ski, snow board and snow tube all morning, then splash, slide and body board all afternoon at Silver Rapids Indoor Waterpark. Hop on a single or double tube for a float along the North Fork Lazy River, then shoot some baskets at the Hoop Lagoon.

Photo Credit: Bob Marshal

Photo Credit: Bob Marshal

Little ones will love crossing bridges and spraying water at Minors Island, a water play structure, then relaxing with mom or dad in the Warm Springs. For toddlers, head to Pollywog Pond, a shallow pool with kiddie slides and a swing. Splash & Stay packages are available for those who want to stay at the resort.

10. Great Wolf Lodge (14 locations)
No list of the best indoor waterpark hotels would be complete without Great Wolf Lodge. With 14 locations across the country, including the newest in Garden Grove, CA, which is set to open Feb. 19, Great Wolf Lodge is a must-visit with kids for slides, water play structures, a lazy river and body boarding.

Photo Credit: Great Wolf Lodge

Photo Credit: Great Wolf Lodge

Beyond the indoor waterpark, make sure to take a morning Wolf Walk, go mini-bowling in the Ten Paw Alley and enjoy nightly storytimes. Book a stay in one of Great Wolf Lodge’s themed suites that are built out to include a playful forest-themed wolf den. It’s the perfect space for little ones to hibernate.

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Competitours: A Unique Way to Experience Europe as a Family http://kidventurous.com/competitours-unique-experience-europe-family/ http://kidventurous.com/competitours-unique-experience-europe-family/#respond Mon, 18 Jan 2016 21:27:19 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=8781 As my kids get older, I find myself looking for more travel adventures that go beyond a week’s stay at the beach (though a week’s stay at the beach sounds pretty good right about now as I’m looking at a temp of 22 degrees outside at this moment). Last summer’s cross-country road trip was a start, but what’s next? It […]

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Competitours: A Unique Way to Experience Europe as a FamilyAs my kids get older, I find myself looking for more travel adventures that go beyond a week’s stay at the beach (though a week’s stay at the beach sounds pretty good right about now as I’m looking at a temp of 22 degrees outside at this moment). Last summer’s cross-country road trip was a start, but what’s next? It may be Competitours.

A year or so ago, I wrote about Competitours, an 11-day challenge-style vacation. Think The Amazing Race for everyday people, like you and me. The idea is that 11 teams of two-people embark on challenges throughout Western Europe in locations that range from big cities like Rome and Munich to lesser-known villages in Europe, such as Sorrento (Italy), Andermatt (Switzerland) and Maastricht (Netherlands).

Participants receive just 12 hours notice before the start of the next challenge, adding to the fun and excitement. Challenges range from culinary activities, like an Iron Chef-style competition in a hillside villa in Italy in which all teams compete side-by-side, to soft adventure, like sliding down an alpine coaster in the French Alps. Teams may also participate in mask making, glass blowing, even dance competitions.

According to Competitours, the daily hands-on challenges are “fun, quirky and unique.” You’ll get pushed out of your comfort zone, but no special skills or athletic abilities are required to participate in any of the challenges. Even better, most of the challenges require special arrangements or exclusive access, making this challenge-style vacation very much a one-of-a-kind experience.

Competitours: A Unique Way to Experience Europe as a Family

Daily challenges begin mid-morning, so families can enjoy breakfast together before the day’s activities begin. Challenges end by mid-afternoon, enabling teams to shop, explore and dine on their own in each new town. Teams spend time in four countries across seven to eight “mystery destinations.” As a bonus, there are cash prizes for the top three teams (the first place team wins $3,630!).

While tours are best for kids ages 13 and up, Competitours let me know that the challenges are age-appropriate for kids as young as 11. The youngest team they’ve had was a mother-daughter team in which the mom was in her mid-40s and the daughter was 11 years old. Even better, there are no eliminations like on The Amazing Race. All teams compete throughout the vacation.

Competitours: A Unique Way to Experience Europe as a Family

Competitours is running one tour this summer from June 25 to July 5 for 11 two-person teams. The cost is $3,975 per person. Airfare is not included, but 11 nights of lodging and breakfasts are included, as are all challenges and transportation between European cities whether by charter bus, plane or train.

It’s still early for planning out all of my summer adventures, but Competitours is definitely high on my list. If you’re thinking about joining this challenge-style vacation, it’s a must to check out the positive reviews from travel bloggers and other past participants. After reading them, I feel like I can’t not go now. Who’s in?

Competitours: A Unique Way to Experience Europe as a Family

Disclaimer: I was compensated by Competitours for this post. While I have not personally traveled with Competitours, I absolutely love this idea and am seriously considering this as a vacation with my daughter. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Photo Credit: Far Flung Travels (Biking, Cooking, Sword Play and Countryside)

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10 Caribbean Resorts to Meet Your Favorite Characters http://kidventurous.com/10-caribbean-resorts-meet-favorite-characters/ http://kidventurous.com/10-caribbean-resorts-meet-favorite-characters/#respond Fri, 15 Jan 2016 15:47:45 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=8768 My kids love character meet-ups, like when we met up with the Sesame Street gang at SeaWorld San Antonio in June. We only spent the day at SeaWorld, but if your kids would be over the  moon to spend the week with their favorites, like Cookie Monster, SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer, there are a handful of resorts in […]

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CN-Beaches-Tall2My kids love character meet-ups, like when we met up with the Sesame Street gang at SeaWorld San Antonio in June. We only spent the day at SeaWorld, but if your kids would be over the  moon to spend the week with their favorites, like Cookie Monster, SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer, there are a handful of resorts in the Caribbean that are sure to please.

From character breakfasts to dance parties to treasure hunting on the beach, there are a lot of ways for your kids to get active with their favorite characters. Here are 10 resorts across Turks & Caicos, Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic where you and your kids can splish, splash, meet and greet. Have fun!

Beaches (Turks & Caicos, Jamaica)
Beaches has three family-friendly all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, including one in Turks & Caicos and two in Jamaica (Negril and Ocho Rios), and Sesame Street reigns supreme. I had a chance to check out Beaches Turks & Caicos a couple of years ago and was bowled over by the number of opportunities to interact with much of the Sesame Street gang, including Ernie, Bert, Zoe and Cookie Monster.

From dance parties and stage shows to story times and beach treasure hunts, you could easily spend your entire day with Sesame Street. Even better, most character interactions have an educational component. For example, kids can do science experiments with Super Grover or make puppets with Bert and Ernie. Kids can even create artwork from scraps and recyclables with Oscar the Grouch.

10 Caribbean Resorts to Meet Your Favorite Characters

One of my favorite Sesame Street activities was the weekly parade. All the characters were dressed up for a carnival celebration. The music was fantastic and there was so much energy. A definite must-do. While most Sesame Street activities are part of the all-inclusive package, there are several add-ons to consider, including a character tuck-in program at bedtime (Night Night, Sleep Tight) and the character breakfast.

Palladium Hotels & Resorts (Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic)
Another great option for character interactions is through the Play at Palladium with Raggs program. This kid-focused program is available at four Palladium Hotels & Resorts all-inclusives, including two in Mexico (Riviera Maya and Puerto Vallarta), one in Jamaica (Montego Bay) and one in Dominican Republic (Punta Cana).

10 Caribbean Resorts to Meet Your Favorite Characters

I had the opportunity to meet Raggs, a colorful, lovable dog and his four friends who sing songs, entertain children in musical pop-up shows across the resort and do meet-and-greets with children at the weekly character breakfast when they first arrived at the Grand Palladium Resort in Riviera Maya. While I’d never heard of Raggs before, the characters were immediately likeable and the songs were incredibly catchy.

Throughout your stay, dance and sing at Pido’s Surf Party, a tropical-themed party complete with limbo and hula hoop contests, and the weekly Raggs & Friends Breakfast, a character breakfast that is part of the all-inclusive package. Look for dog face-shaped pancakes and sunny side up eggs with smiley faces.

Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts (Dominican Republic)
For fans of SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, get ready for a new resort to open in the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana) in May. This beachfront property will feature more than 200 over-sized suites, including four exclusive two-and three-bedroom Super Villas. Book early to reserve Pineapple Villa, which was inspired by SpongeBob’s Bikini Bottom home.

Photo Credit: Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts

Photo Credit: Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts

Taking center stage at Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana will be Nickelodeon Village, the place to go for Aqua Nick, a waterpark with slides, splash pads and a lazy river, as well as Character Central, the must-go spot at the resort for taking selfies with all your favorite Nickelodeon characters. There will also be a kids club called Just Kiddin’ that’s just right for kids ages 4 to 12.

Karisma Hotels & Resorts (Mexico)
For those who can’t wait for the Nickelodeon Hotel to open up in Punta Cana, head down to Azul Beach Hotel or Azul Sensatori Hotel, both in Mexico’s Riviera Maya region. These two properties debuted the Nickelodeon Experience last spring to give children and families the opportunity to get up close with their favorite Nickelodeon characters, like Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Photo Credit: Karisma Hotels & Resorts

Photo Credit: Karisma Hotels & Resorts

At check-in, kids receive a Slime smoothie while mom and dad receive a glass of champagne and a cool towel to relax after the travels to the resort. Spend time with the Nick Concierge shortly after you get situated to book a character breakfast or schedule a private sliming. The Nick Concierge can also advise on the variety of Nickelodeon activities available at the resort during your stay.

Of course, if you want to cruise the Caribbean, there are also several cruise lines that boast on-ship characters, like Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian (Nickelodeon), Carnival (Dr. Seuss) and Royal Caribbean (DreamWorks). Here are my 10 Great Cruise Picks for Families.

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5 Things You Must Do Near the Grand Canyon http://kidventurous.com/5-grand-canyon/ http://kidventurous.com/5-grand-canyon/#respond Wed, 13 Jan 2016 13:00:41 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=8734 Over the summer, we visited the Grand Canyon. We stayed in the nearby town of Tusayan (not even 10 minutes from the South Rim park entrance) and had a fantastic time taking in this natural wonder of the world through ranger-led walks, the Junior Ranger program, even just by eating sandwiches along the rim. One of my favorite memories was […]

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NGC-Grand Canyon-Wide2

Over the summer, we visited the Grand Canyon. We stayed in the nearby town of Tusayan (not even 10 minutes from the South Rim park entrance) and had a fantastic time taking in this natural wonder of the world through ranger-led walks, the Junior Ranger program, even just by eating sandwiches along the rim.

One of my favorite memories was simply walking along the Rim Trail between Mather Point (adjacent to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center) and Yavapai Point. I probably took at least a hundred photos. While amazing on its own, there are several other must-do’s within a three-hour drive of the Grand Canyon.

1. Go on a Rafting Trip at Glen Canyon Dam. Join a half-day or full-day rafting trip along the Colorado River at Glen Canyon Dam with Colorado River Discovery. Since you can’t do a rafting trip at the Grand Canyon that is fewer than three or four days, this is great alternative and so much fun.

5 Things You Must Do Near the Grand Canyon

My kids loved this rafting trip, though their favorite part may have been the free cans of iced tea that we got when we made a stop to splash in the river (which is very cold, by the way, even in July). Colorado River Discovery operates out of Page, AZ, which is about 2 ½ hours northeast of Tusayan.

2. Take a Tour of Slot Canyons. Also in Page, you won’t want to miss seeing Antelope Canyon. As we drove into Page, I was able to hop on the last tour of the day to see Lower Antelope Canyon at 4:30 pm. I believe the last walking tour of Upper Antelope Canyon departs at 4 pm.

5 Things You Must Do Near the Grand Canyon

These slot canyons are amazing to explore. I’d just never seen anything like them before. Sign up for a tour (you’ll see the tour operator booths by the side of the road as you drive into Page) and head out on a short walk down to the slot canyons. You’ll want to take lots of photos, for sure.

3. Take in the View from Horseshoe Bend. As I began to plan for our cross-country road trip, I knew that I had to stop to see the view from Horseshoe Bend. It was just a must. We stopped here as we were leaving Page (clearly Page is a must-stop) and the view was all I’d imagined.

5 Things You Must Do Near the Grand Canyon

I will tell you though that the ¾ mile walk to the lookout point is a bit of a death march and it’s most definitely not stroller-friendly. While I love to give my kids new experiences, I was glad I went on my own while my husband took the kids to pick up lunch at McDonald’s.

4. See the Birthplace of Historic Route 66. You’ll find the small town of Seligman, AZ, the birthplace of historic Route 66, about 90 minutes away from the Grand Canyon (South Rim). We stopped here on our way to Las Vegas and it’s a tourist trap, for sure, but so cute and colorful.

5 Things You Must Do Near the Grand Canyon

We stopped in the main gift shop called Historic Seligman Sundries to explore. My daughter bought a few Route 66 postcards and I got a cup of coffee. In town, there’s also a Route 66 Gift Shop & Museum, as well as a fairly popular restaurant called the Roadkill Café.

5. Explore the Old West Town that Never Died. About 90 minutes past Seligman on the way to Las Vegas, you’ll find the tiny town of Chloride, which is known as the old west town that never died.

5 Things You Must Do Near the Grand Canyon

The oldest mining town in Arizona, Chloride has been a wild west ghost town since 1944, though you will be able to find a restaurant, convenience store and several gift shops today. Another stop to consider is Kingman, which is between Seligman and Chloride, and is another historic Route 66 town.

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Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Boise http://kidventurous.com/exploring-kids-36-hours-boise/ http://kidventurous.com/exploring-kids-36-hours-boise/#respond Mon, 11 Jan 2016 16:09:44 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=8724 In July, my kids and I had the opportunity to explore Boise, Idaho. It was the perfect stop on our way from Bend, Oregon where we visited with my brother-in-law to Yellowstone National Park. From learning about state history to racing down waterslides, Boise is a must-visit with kids. Whether you have just a day or two, or even a […]

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Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Boise In July, my kids and I had the opportunity to explore Boise, Idaho. It was the perfect stop on our way from Bend, Oregon where we visited with my brother-in-law to Yellowstone National Park. From learning about state history to racing down waterslides, Boise is a must-visit with kids.

Whether you have just a day or two, or even a week, you’ll find much to do as a family in Boise. Here’s the scoop on where to stay, what to do and where to eat. Have fun. :)

Where to Stay

We stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Boise/Downtown, which recently completed a full renovation. It’s in a great location for exploring Boise as a family since it’s a short walk to the Idaho State Capitol and to a number of casual restaurants, like Bonefish Grill and PF Chang’s. It’s also an easy walk to the Boise Zoo and Boise River Greenbelt, which is great for family walks and bike rides.

Sports fans will love that the Hampton Inn is close to Boise State University, which is known for its blue football field turf (aka Smurf Turf). In the winter, the hotel is also quite convenient for those who want to stay in-town, but then make the short drive to Bogus Basin Ski Area for skiing and snowboarding.

We stayed two nights at the Hampton Inn & Suites Boise/Downtown and made full use of the heated indoor pool, which had a colorful, tropical theme complete with a palm tree. My kids loved the spraying water mushroom. There’s also a turtle-shaped waterslide that’s ideal for toddlers.

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Boise

There’s even a hot tub in the pool area as well as a fantastic fitness center that’s just on the other side of the glass from the indoor pool. It’s perfectly situated should you want to get some miles on the treadmill while still keeping an eye on your school-age kids as they splash in the pool.

Of course, we loved the free wi-fi and free hot breakfast that came with our room – always a plus with my kids. It was nice to be able to eat breakfast in the hotel before heading out to enjoy our day. It was not uncommon for my kids to get breakfast in their pajamas just like they do at home. The hotel also has On the Run breakfast bags with an apple, a muffin and a water bottle when you’re really short on time.

What to Do

The Hampton Inn & Suites Boise/Downtown is easy driving distance to a number of kid-friendly attractions, including Roaring Springs Waterpark and Zoo Boise. If you go, here are a few of my top things to do with kids in the Boise area.

Roaring Springs Waterpark. In summer, Roaring Springs Waterpark is the place to be. Kids will love multiple waterslides, including a family raft ride, a massive wave pool and the lazy river. There’s also a water playground, as well as several kid-sized slides at the Little Splash Mountain kiddie play area.

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Boise

Zoo Boise. Located inside Julia Davis Park, there’s plenty for kids to see and do at Zoo Boise. Visit with snow leopards, zebras and monkeys before taking a spin on the carousel. In the summer, sign up to have Breakfast with the Lions. Take time for encounter experiences with giraffes and sloth bears. 

Idaho State Capitol. You can’t go to Boise without taking a free self-guided or group tour of the Idaho State Capitol. Before you go, click over to Idaho’s Capitol for Kids, a website where kids can watch videos and play games to learn more about the state capitol building before seeing it in real-life.

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Boise

Discovery Center of Idaho. Kids will love all of the hands-on exhibits at the Discovery Center of Idaho. Design, build and test structures at SuperStruct before checking out one of the monthly demos that explore everything from chemistry to electricity to the science behind flinging and launching objects (physics).

Wahooz Family Fun Zone. Adjacent to Roaring Springs Waterpark, Wahooz Family Fun Zone is the place to go once you’re done slipping and sliding for the day. There’s so much to do from laser tag and bumper boats to mini golf and go-karts. There’s even a huge arcade with all kinds of video games.

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Boise

Boise Art Museum. Head to Boise Art Museum to take in exhibits that explore weather’s impact on nature, modern and contemporary ceramics, even Chinese gardens. Pick up a Family Activity Pack when you arrive to help children ages 4-12 explore the museum through games, stories and hands-on activities.

Where to Eat

There are a number of restaurants in the Boise area that are perfect for kids and families. Here are a few to check out during your visit:

Boise Fry Company. When in Idaho, the potatoes are a must, but really you want the spicy fry sauce, so head to Boise Fry Company. When ordering fries, choose from russet, purple, gold, sweet, okinawa or yam.

Exploring with Kids: 36 Hours in Boise

Moon’s Kitchen. A Boise institution since 1955, head to Moon’s Kitchen for breakfast, salads, tasty burgers and world-famous milkshakes, even floats and banana splits.

Guru Donuts. For those with a sweet tooth, Guru Donuts is a must for delicious made-from-scratch donuts. No ordinary donuts, look for flavors like “The Party Girl,” “I Have a Dreamsicle” and “The Bart Simpson.”

Flying Pie Pizzaria. There’s pizza, and then there’s Flying Pie Pizzaria. There are more pizza combinations than you can imagine and you can even take a one-hour pizza-making tour.

Photo Credit: Stuart Seeger (Idaho State Capitol)

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San Francisco by Bus: The Only Way to See the Sights as a Family http://kidventurous.com/san-francisco-bus-sights-family/ http://kidventurous.com/san-francisco-bus-sights-family/#respond Wed, 06 Jan 2016 15:10:14 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=8715 I’m not a big fan of exploring a new city from my car, especially not big cities, like New York and San Francisco. The buildings are tall and I’m so focused on navigating the streets with my iPhone that I don’t get to really see what’s all around me. So, a sightseeing tour is always a must-do for me. Since […]

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San Francisco by Bus: The Only Way to See the Sights as a FamilyI’m not a big fan of exploring a new city from my car, especially not big cities, like New York and San Francisco. The buildings are tall and I’m so focused on navigating the streets with my iPhone that I don’t get to really see what’s all around me. So, a sightseeing tour is always a must-do for me.

Since we had just one day in San Francisco over the summer, we opted for a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tour with Gray Line that we arranged with Viator, which allows you to easily book hand-picked tours and attractions in must-visit cities around the world (often at a very good discount, too).

We had a 48-hour sightseeing pass, which I always think is a good buy if you plan to be in a new city for several days. We actually planned to spend more time in San Francisco (hence, the 48-hour pass), but a flat tire slowed us down in San Jose. Such is life…

Our passes enabled us to explore all the bus loops, including the San Francisco City Loop and the Sausalito Loop. Since it was the first visit for the kids, we focused on the city loop, hopping off at typical first-time sights, like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alamo Square and Chinatown. As a bonus, the guides were fabulous.

It was partly cloudy the day we arrived in San Francisco and picked up our tickets at Fisherman’s Wharf, but naturally by the time we got to the Golden Gate Bridge, it was cloudy and windy. We sat on the top of the open-air double-decker sightseeing bus and I remember having my hoodie zipped all the way to the top!

San Francisco by Bus: The Only Way to See the Sights as a Family

We basically crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge, made a quick stop to take it all in and pick up new passengers, then immediately turned around and crossed back over the bridge. We were off to see more sights, like Golden Gate Park, City Hall and Haight-Ashbury, as well as a favorite sight for my 12 y.o., Alamo Square.

Given you can still watch re-runs of Full House on cable, it was a must to stop at Alamo Square (along with 50 or so other visitors snapping the same photos of the houses). I couldn’t believe how many photos my daughter took or how much interest she had in Alamo Square. There’s also a playground and a public bathroom at Alamo Square, so it was a good stop for the other kids, too.

San Francisco by Bus: The Only Way to See the Sights as a Family

We got back on the bus and were very hungry by this point, so we took in more sights and got off in Chinatown for a sit-down dinner at a Chinese restaurant, of course. The menu was very different from our local Chinese restaurant down the street, but the food was equally delicious.

If you plan to take the kids to San Francisco, here are five quick sightseeing tips from me to you:

1. Take a Sightseeing Bus Tour. It’s an easy way to get around the city and you’ll be able to learn a bit about various attractions around town, too. Plus, it’s a great way to get your bearings before venturing off on your own around the city.

2. Opt for a 48-Hour Sightseeing Pass. Gray Line has a 48-hour sightseeing pass. Since San Francisco is so big, I highly recommend going for the 48-hour option in order to see more of what you want to see.

San Francisco by Bus: The Only Way to See the Sights as a Family

3. Plan Your Sightseeing Around Meals. We hopped on our sightseeing bus after lunch, so when we arrived at the stop in Chinatown, about mid-way through the tour, it was time for an early dinner. That worked out perfectly since there was a lot to see in and around Chinatown, as well as plenty of restaurants.

4. Get Off the Bus at Least Once or Twice. It can be tough for kids to sit for a lengthy bus ride, so check out the routes ahead of time and plan out where you want to stop. Alamo Square and Fisherman’s Wharf are great stops to get off the bus and walk around as a family.

5. Look for Discounts. When traveling as a family of six, it can get costly when looking at sightseeing bus tickets for all of us, which is why I like to buy tickets through Viator. They have lots of great tours and activities on their website, all at a great discount for travelers.

Disclaimer: My family and I received free Gray Line sightseeing passes from Viator while in San Francisco. However, all opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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10 Great Cruise Picks for Families http://kidventurous.com/10-great-cruise-picks-families/ http://kidventurous.com/10-great-cruise-picks-families/#respond Mon, 04 Jan 2016 16:48:55 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=8695 It’s Wave Season, which means that now is the time to book a family cruise for the very best deals. Wave Season, which runs from January through March, is the time of year when cruise lines are most generous with incentives, like cabin upgrades and free onboard credit, to secure early bookings. Cruises are a great option if you’re considering […]

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10 Great Cruise Picks for Families It’s Wave Season, which means that now is the time to book a family cruise for the very best deals. Wave Season, which runs from January through March, is the time of year when cruise lines are most generous with incentives, like cabin upgrades and free onboard credit, to secure early bookings.

Cruises are a great option if you’re considering a multi-generational vacation. Enjoy on-ship activities together, like mini golf and waterslides, then disembark at each port for horseback riding, snorkeling and kayaking, as well as exploring the port cities, on your own or as a big group.

Given every cruise line has added so much to their cruise offerings to make them incredibly appealing to families, now is a great time to book a family cruise. Take a look at 10 of the best cruise vacations for families, as well as cruise reviews from my fellow family travel bloggers. Enjoy.

1. Cruise to Norway with Disney Cruise Line.
Disney Cruise Line launched cruises along the coast of Norway aboard the Disney Magic in 2015. They were such a hit with Frozen fans, in particular, that the seven-night cruises are back this year, departing from Dover, England in May and Copenhagen, Denmark in June.

10 Great Cruise Picks for Families

Cruises make four stops in Norway giving families the opportunity to explore fjords, cobblestone streets, local flavors and medieval history. Dave at Adventures by Daddy took his family on this cruise last summer and live blogged about the Norwegian waffles, Fjord horses and welcoming trolls, as well as all things Frozen. 

2. Cruise to Alaska with Princess Cruises.
If you’re considering a cruise to Alaska, think about Princess Cruises, which offers seven-day cruises from Seattle and Vancouver, as well as ten-day cruises from San Francisco. Cruises depart from May through mid-September and make stops in Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, as well as Glacier Bay National Park.

10 Great Cruise Picks for Families

The on-board Junior Ranger program educates children about the local environment and wildlife as the ship makes its way through Alaska’s Inner Passage. As a bonus, a partnership with the California Science Center enables kids to participate in interactive activities, like whale watching and science experiments, as part of the “Science on the Seas” program.

3. Take a Mediterranean Cruise with Carnival.
Yes, you can take a cruise ship to introduce your kids to Rome, Marseilles and Athens. Carnival offers eight- to 13-day cruises departing from Barcelona, Athens and Trieste, Italy on board the Carnival Vista. Since you’ll be cruising aboard a big ship, as opposed to river cruising, you’ll get everything you expect from a big ship, like multiple restaurants, an IMAX theatre and waterslides.

10 Great Cruise Picks for Families

Stefanie at Mommy Musings cruised the Mediterranean with Carnival a few years ago and couldn’t speak more highly of the experience. She loved being able to expose her children to culture and history they’d only read about in school books, and planning was easy since there was no need to book hotel rooms at each stop. As a bonus, the ship stops almost every day, enabling you to see many new cities.

4. Cruise the Panama Canal with Norwegian Cruise Line.
I can’t imagine a cruise more exciting than one that goes through the Panama Canal. Hop aboard the Norwegian Pearl in Miami for a 10-day cruise that will take you and the kids through Curacao and Colombia before arriving at the Panama Canal. On the way back, visit a banana plantation or ride a gondola through the canopy at Veragua Rainforest in Costa Rica.

10 Great Cruise Picks for Families

For West Coasters, there’s an option to pick up the Norwegian Jewel in Los Angeles for a 14-day cruise that includes stops in Mexico, Nicaragua and Guatemala, as well as Costa Rica and Colombia. On board, look for Splash Academy (ages 3-12) and Entourage (ages 13-17), both of which offer loads of activities for kids, like treasure hunts, arts & crafts, even Circus School for kids as young as 10.

5. Take a Family River Cruise in France with Tauck Bridges.
If you want to experience a small ship with your kids, try the Bon Voyage! France Family River Cruise with Tauck Bridges. Spend ten days in July or August experiencing Paris and cruising the Rhone. Kids will love going on the scavenger hunt through the Louvre, bicycling along the Rhone promenade and visiting a private ranch in French cowboy country for hay rides and a bull show.

10 Great Cruise Picks for Families

Because it’s a river cruise, plan to make stops every day for new adventures. Or, stay on the boat for a chocolate making or crepe tasting. In between adventures, enjoy free time exploring the sights, the foods and the culture of each new city.

Cruising the Caribbean as a Family

Of course, Caribbean cruises are as popular as ever with families, too. Here are a few of the highlights:

6. Norwegian Cruise Line
Not only does Norwegian Cruise Line offer Splash Academy (for kids) and Entourage (for teens), but Nickelodeon characters, like Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants, host dance parties and pajama breakfasts on select ships, including the Norwegian Breakaway, Epic, Gem, Jewel and Getaway.

10 Great Cruise Picks for Families

Here’s a look at Lyla of Globetrotting Mommy’s recent adventure on board the Norwegian Gem. Or, read what Caroline at Smarty Pants Mama had to say following her sail on the Norwegian Escape.

7. Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean’s Adventure Ocean program for kids has long been a favorite, enabling children ages three to 11 to participate in scavenger hunts, dig for fossils and conduct science experiments on-board the ship. Plus, be on the lookout for DreamWorks characters, like Shrek and Po (from Kung Fu Panda), which make appearances at special breakfasts and parades.

10 Great Cruise Picks for Families

Here’s a look at Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, which according to Rebecca at R We There Yet Mom? is a real hit with teens. Or, check out a review from Nichola at Globalmouse Travels.

8. Carnival
The Carnival Freedom provides children with various opportunities for on-board learning, including Camp Ocean, a sea-themed camp for kids ages two to 11. Kids will make ocean murals, create art projects from seashells and engage in marine-focused trivia games. Or, check out Seuss at Sea for kids ages two to five for Seuss-a-Palooza Story Time and Dr. Seuss Bookville, an area for family reading. 

10 Great Cruise Picks for Families

Read the review of the Carnival Freedom at Smarty Pants Mama. Or, discover what’s great about cruising on board the Carnival Magic at The Vacation Gals. Meantime, Mommy Musings has the scoop on the Carnival Dream and Carnival Breeze.

9. Disney Cruise Line
It seems most everyone loves setting sail on a Disney cruise. From character meet-and-greets to deck parties to ride after ride on the Aquaduck, there’s a lot to do and enjoy on board a Disney cruise. As a bonus, there are live, Broadway-style shows, as well as first-run movies. And the Sail-Away Celebration is a must.

10 Great Cruise Picks for Families

Jodi at Family Travel Magazine recently sailed the Disney Fantasy and thoroughly enjoyed the port stops at Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth, Jamaica and Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island), as well as on-board activities, like the kids club. Meantime, check out Carpe Travel for 20 Disney Cruise Tips.

10. Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises has partnered with Discovery Consumer Products to launch Discovery at Sea, a program for both kids and adults that features Discovery Channel-themed activities. Learn about the stars on the top decks with Stargazing with Discovery at Sea. Or, learn to pan for gold on a tour inspired by Discovery’s Gold Rush. 

10 Great Cruise Picks for Families

There are also unique shore excursions that have been inspired by Discovery and Animal Planet, like the “Meet the Sloths” Tour in Costa Rica. Kids and teens will also love the on-board activities program where they can conduct science experiments made popular by Mythbusters.

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2016 Travel Bucket List: 25 Items to Cross Off this Year http://kidventurous.com/2016-travel-bucket-list-25-items-cross-year/ http://kidventurous.com/2016-travel-bucket-list-25-items-cross-year/#respond Fri, 01 Jan 2016 16:32:56 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=8689 I had high hopes when I put together my 2015 Bucket List. I dreamt big (maybe a little too big), but I didn’t put any action plans into place to achieve any of the 25 travel experiences on my list. So, it didn’t come as much surprise to me that I crossed off just five items on my list. Pretty […]

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maine puffins2

I had high hopes when I put together my 2015 Bucket List. I dreamt big (maybe a little too big), but I didn’t put any action plans into place to achieve any of the 25 travel experiences on my list. So, it didn’t come as much surprise to me that I crossed off just five items on my list. Pretty sad.

Still, the kids and I did manage to cross off some pretty cool things in 2015, like exploring a wild west town (Dodge City, KS), going to a rodeo and taking off on a cross-country road trip. Yet, we didn’t even make it to the top of the Washington Monument, which is 30 minutes from our house.

This year, I put together another list for 2016, but my must-do experiences are a better mix of attainable local experiences and reach activities that require a little more planning with four kids. So here you go, here’s my 2016 bucket list (here’s hoping I cross off more than five items this year).

1. See the puffins in Maine.

2. Take a helicopter tour.

3. Try stand-up paddleboarding.

4. Go to the top of the Washington Monument.

5. Visit Punxsutawney, PA (home of the country’s most famous groundhog).

6. Run a half-marathon in five different states.

7. Try snowboarding.

8. Do the National Treasure Tour at Mount Vernon.

9. Take the kids snorkeling.

10. Go on a Maid of the Mist boat ride at Niagara Falls.

11. See the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

12. Go to a drive-in movie theatre.

13. Stay at the LEGOLAND Hotel in Orlando.

14. Go on a mileage run.

15. Rent and travel in an RV.

16. Enjoy a new city on a by-bike tour.

17. Go whale watching.

18. Stay at a Club Med.

19. Go tent camping.

20. Do a night sky stargazing program.

21. Go whitewater rafting in West Virginia.

22. See the wild ponies at Assateague State Park in Maryland.

23. Go to the Neon Museum in Las Vegas.

24. See the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes.

25. Go on a walking food tour.

Of course, there are many other places I’d like to go and things I’d like to do, but for 2016 I wanted to dial it back and actually reach some fun travel goals. I may get more ambitious in 2017, but let’s first see how well I do this year!

Do you have any travel goals or bucket list adventures you hope to cross off in 2016? Let me know in the comments section below. Good luck!

Photo Credit: nebirdsplus

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