Category Archives: Kids

Park Hyatt Skiing

Ski, Snowboard, Dogsled and More at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Park Hyatt Skiing

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek offers an amazing Rocky Mountain winter experience for all ages. From beginner skiers to the most advanced, it makes an ideal location to enjoy the snow.

In fact, the Beaver Creek Ski and Snowboard School offers programs for kids and adults. For the adventurous who want to do more than ski, the resort offers host of other opportunities to enjoy the incredible winter wonderland with a number of tours and rides.

Dog Sledding

Dog sled tours run morning and afternoon on a private ranch in the Wolcott area west of Beaver Creek. These tours take about two hours and cover approximately seven miles for a breathtaking adventure through the snow on a dog sled pulled by Huskies.

Tours include homemade snacks and a hot beverage. This is a popular tour, so be sure to reserve your spot early.

For safety reasons for the dogs, each sled can weigh no more than 400 lbs. (combined weight). Children must be at least 4 years old to take part.

Park Hyatt Tubing

Tubing

Tubing is an activity the whole family can enjoy. Kids must be 36″ tall to ride on their own and must ride down the hill by themselves.

The Buckaroo Express gondola provides a quick ride up the hill to tube down the groomed Haymaker Tubing Hill!

When you’ve had enough tubing, circle around the fire to warm up and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and a snack.

The tubing hill is open from mid-December through late March as long as weather permits. Opening and closing times are based on time of sunset as well as the elements.

Ski Biking

Ski Biking also known as Ski Bobbing is a sport that combines skiing with biking. This is the perfect challenge for those looking for a new adventure.

It is recommended participates who sign up for the nighttime guided tours down Vail Mountain be at least intermediate level skiers.

Children must be at least 14 years old and 4’6” in height to take part in this activity.

Allegria Spa

Allegria Spa

Ice Climbing/Rock Climbing

Apex Adventure Guides and Vail Rock and Ice Guides offer year-round adventures and instruction, from climbing basics to advanced courses in alpine climbing.

This activity uses technical climbing equipment which is provided. Kids have to be 13 or older to participate. This is an exciting and unique adventure for the daring looking for a new challenge.

Allegria Spa

When you’re ready to soothe your tired muscles and refresh your body and soul, the Allegria Spa provides a tranquil sanctuary.

Located at the heart of Beaver Creek, Allegria Spa offers treatments from massages to organic scrubs which  utilize the healing elements of Vail Valley. Here you can workouts and enjoy a Swedish massage. Stay as long as you like.

To learn more about additional winter activities contact the hotel concierge.

Photo credits: EastWestResorts Beaver Creek, Beau Ryan, EastWestResorts Beaver Creek

Santa's Workshop North Pole

Visit Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole

Santa's Workshop North Pole

With the holidays upon us the North Pole is a busy place and a favorite destination for families with children ages 2 to 10.

This Christmas-themed park offers shows, rides and other attractions designed to make Christmas memories your children will never forget.

Christmas Carousel

Christmas Carousel is open only during the Village of Lights.

Rides and Attractions

The North Pole is a budget-friendly destination, too, with the price for rides included in the admission price.

However, most of the rides found at the North Pole are designed for younger guests and are not accessible to all visitors based on height and weight.

  • Candy Cane Express: All aboard Santa’s locomotive for ride over the river and through the woods. This 24″ gauge trains travels through a covered bridge, a tunnel, and along picturesque landscape. Don’t forget your camera!
  • Bobsled Ride: Jump aboard the bobsled ride like an Olympian and hold on tight while it goes round and round and up and down.(Guests must be under 48 inches and under 75 pounds).
  • Santa’s Sleigh Coaster: This five-car mini roller coaster may be small but it gives a big thrill for guests of all ages.
  • Christmas Tree Ride: Ride in an ornament ball and take the controls. Make yourself go up or down as your ornament goes around the Christmas tree.
  • Ferris Wheel: The Kiddie Ferris Wheel features 6 cars and is only about 20 feet high. Perfect for smaller guests under 48 inches and under 75 pounds.
  • Christmas Carousel: The Christmas carousel features 20 hand-crafted reindeer an 2 sleighs to carry guests. This is another ride designed for smaller guests and is only open during the Village of Lights.

Weather also plays a factor in whether or not rides can operate.

North Pole

Christmas Shows

Not all shows are presented every year, and weather also plays a factor, but this list offers a sample of what visitors to the North Pole, NY can expect.

  • Nativity Pageant: This daily show displays the true meaning of Christmas and includes Mary and Joseph’s trip to Bethlehem to the arrival of the three kings at the stable.
  • Christmas Magic: This musical revue features the Mother Goose Guild and a much anticipated dramatic appearance by Santa himself.
  • Santa Claus Parade: The Mother Goose Guild and Santa’s Helpers gather outside the Post Office and thread their way through the village as they pause to dance along the way. Guests are encouraged to follow along for a special presentation at Santa’s House.
  • North Pole Jamboree: This jamboree gives guests a chance to kick up their heels and clap along with Miranda Mouse, Chris Moose, Frosty the Snowman, and Rowdy Reindeer at they celebrate Christmas country style.

If you can’t make it to Santa’s Village this holiday season, they are also opened for Christmas in July. Check their website for dates and all the fun.

Photo credits: Santa’s Workshop

Harry Potter Hotel London

London B & B Offers Harry Potter Themed Rooms

Harry Potter Hotel London

The Georgian House is a family-run boutique B & B located in central London. It was originally built in 1851 and is still run by descendants of the original owners. They offer modern rooms and last year introduced two replica Hogwarts rooms as well for Harry Potter fans.

Serena von der Heyde, partner at The Georgian House, told the Daily Mail that “the initial idea was to find something to really appeal to children.” The result is two unique Harry Potter-themed rooms that resemble sleeping quarters at Hogwarts castle.

Harry Potter Hotel London

Wizard Chambers

Special Harry Potter-themed rooms include four-poster beds, trunks, potion bottles, caldrons and spell books. A stay in the Wizard Chambers for two people includes breakfast. The cost is £269 with an additional £25 for each extra person. The Wizard Chambers can sleep 5.

Enchanted Chambers

The Enchanted Chambers offers smaller Harry Potter-themed accommodations for 2 people with one night in the Enchanted Chambers costing £209. This price includes breakfast. The room can accommodate three people for an extra charge.

Harry Potter Hotel London

Harry Potter Tours

Prices do not include any of the tours available, but the staff will be happy to assist in booking one of the popular Harry Potter based tours.

  • The Muggle Walking Tour follows in the magical footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermione as the tour explores film locations, locations that inspired J.K. Rowling, and offers a chance to learn trivia about things that happened during the filming of the movies.
  • The Studio Tour takes place on a set that flanks the working film studios where all eight Harry Potter movies were filmed. This tour includes two soundstages and a backlot filled with original sets, animatronic creatures and breathtaking special effects.

The Wizard Chambers available at the Georgian House are not affiliated with Warner Bros, any of the tours, nor is it sanctioned or supported by Warner Bros. Entertainment, the Harry Potter book publishers or J.K. Rowling or her representatives.

Photo credits: miscellaneousvideos

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Coming to LA

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The first Harry Potter rides and attractions opened in Orlando, Florida, in 2010. A second Harry Potter attraction was added in 2014 bringing with it a healthy boost to attendance to both Universal and the city of Orlando.

Now the Universal Hollywood theme park in Los Angeles is scheduled to open its own Harry Potter theme park this spring, with the grand opening scheduled for April 7, 2016.

Flight of the Hippogriff

Flight of the Hippogriff

Los Angeles Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Fans will love the new Harry Potter theme park which will feature depictions of Hogwarts castle and the village of Hogsmeade, both of which are famous backdrops for the books and movie series.

As for attractions, the new Los Angeles version of Wizarding World of Harry Potter will include an immersive 3-D ride called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey which will deliver a whole new level of hyper-realism with 3D HD technology, and a new outdoor rollercoaster called Flight of the Hippogriff.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Where to Eat

Universal Hollywood’s Wizarding World will feature two eateries, Three Broomsticks, a rustic restaurant where visitors will feast on hearty fare like the “Great Feast Platter,” shepherd’s pie, and fish and chips. The second is the Hog’s Head pub located adjacent to the Three Broomsticks restaurant.

Here guests will experience an authentic dirty grimy feel from the Harry Potter series which of course is limited to looks only. A variety of alcoholic drinks will be available here as well as non-alcoholic Butterbeer and pumpkin juice, plus a selection of tasty desserts like apple pie and chocolate trifle.

And of course the new park will offer plenty of opportunities for visitors to bring home mementos and souvenirs from Honeydukes, Ollivanders, Owl Post, Zonko’s Joke Shop, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Dervish and Banges, Gladrags Wizardwear and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods.

Visitors to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be swept into the adventures of Harry Potter as they tour Hogwarts castle, shop in Hogsmeade and dine at the Three Broomsticks. It’s an opportunity to soar above Hogwarts with Harry unlike anything experienced until now.

Photo credits: Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios HollywoodUniversal Studios Hollywood

Santa Train

38th Annual Santa Train at Museum of Life and Science

Santa Train

The Museum of Life and Science in Durham, North Carolina is hosting the 38th Annual Santa Train this December.

This unique holiday event offers families an opportunity to visit Santa and a enjoy a host of other activities from Sunday, Dec. 9 to Dec. 13 and from Dec. 16 to Dec. 20 with multiple departure times offered each evening.

Santa Train Activities

Kids of all ages will enjoy the thousands of glimmering holiday lights shining throughout the Museum campus pointing the way to the open-air kiddie train for a moonlit ride to the North Pole.

Guests can savor complimentary hot chocolate, have their faces painted at no charge, visit the crafts tent to make special treats to take home, or check out the exciting “ice” skating rink for some skate-in-socks fun.

Santa Train

Santa and His Elves

Of course the highlight of the train ride is the chance to learn about the science of Santa and then to visit him and his elves at the North Pole where they greet guests and wish them a Merry Christmas.

Guests don’t have to disembark at the North Pole as Santa stops by each seat to ask the kids about one thing they want for Christmas while elves give each kid a Rudolph nose before heading back to the station.

Cost

Tickets can be purchased online and run $15 for Wednesday and Thursday evening runs and cost $20 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Children 2 and younger are free.

Ticketholders enter near the butterfly house and are directed by the Christmas lights to the museum’s Ellerbe Creek Railway depot.

This event is the Museum’s largest annual fundraiser and a holiday tradition that the whole family will enjoy. The entire adventure lasts about one hour.

Proceeds support the Museum’s mission to create a place of lifelong learning for people of all ages as they embrace science as a way of knowing about their world, community, and even themselves.

Photo credits: sakonyt

Sweet Mandy B's

Chicago’s Sweet Mandy B’s Serves Up Homemade Sweets

Sweet Mandy B's

Sweet Mandy B’s located at the heart of Lincoln Park is the perfect place to grab something sweet when visiting Chicago’s DePaul district.

Treats found at this Chicago baked goods shop range from homemade muffins or fruit salad for breakfast with a cup of Intelligentsia coffee, to their famously moist cupcakes frosted with homemade buttercream frosting like grandma used to make.

In fact, that old-fashioned buttercream is sold to-go for those who want to use it to frost their own confectioneries.

Sweet Mandy B's

Sweet Mandy B’s

Sweet Mandy Bs offers a warm, cozy atmosphere with a painted blue floor and pastel colors giving the shop an eclectic retro feel.

It was opened 12 years ago as home baker Cindy Levine followed her dream to open a shop that sold nothing but freshly made sweets, baked goods, and refrigerated goods.

Today’s menu offers a variety of large cookies like the Sweet Mandy B’s ranger cookie filled with coconut, chocolate chips, and oats, whoopee pies, s’mores, and old fashioned favorites like cheesecake, puddings, Boston cream pie, brownies, carrot cake, and much more, and they’ are all made on site.

Sweet Mandy B's

Parking

Parking is available on the street when dining at Sweet Mandy B’s West Webster Avenue location, and for those using public transit stops are close by at Fullerton (Brown, Purple, Red) and Armitage (Brown, Purple), and for those riding their bikes, there’s ample space to store bikes while you’re there.

Classes for Kids

Sweet Mandy B’s also offers classes for kids who enjoy playing chef. These classes teach kids how to prep and decorate one project treat that they get to bring home and share.

Two classes are offered. One is a class geared for 2-3 year olds and the other is designed for 4-10 year olds. Classes are held on Mondays and Wednesdays and cost $20. For more information on classes, be sure to visit their website.

Photo credits: Chicagos Best

Candy Land

Visit Real-Life Candy Land this Holiday Season

Candy LandMost of us played Candy Land as kids and have introduced it to our own children as we teach them colors along the way to Gum Drop Mountain.

This holiday season, the Penitentiary Glen Nature Center in Kirtland, Ohio is offering a chance for you and your kids to visit a real-life Candy Land game board from Nov. 21 though Jan. 3.

To play, guests will draw a card and move from space to space, just like in the game. The difference is that in this real life version, the kids will pass through the different seasons along the way and experience what nature has to offer.

Penitentiary Glen Nature Center

Special Free Activities

If you visit on a Saturday, be sure to take advantage of free activities offered from 1 to 3 p.m. This list offers a snapshot of what you can look forward to:

  • Nov. 28 – S’mores and a Campfire
  • Dec. 5 – Learn about Apples and Berries
  • Dec. 12 – Ride Trains (weather permitting)
  • Dec. 19 – Taste Sweet Maple Syrup
  • Dec. 26 – Enjoy a Cup of Peppermint Hot Chocolate
  • Jan. 2 – Learn about Honey and Bee Keeping

Penitentiary Glen Nature Center

Other Things to Do

Along with the Candy Land adventure, the Penitentiary Glen Nature Center features indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts that explore nature.

Quiet activities like coloring pages and activity sheets are also offered, as well as crafts to take home. Kids can also try feeding a live chickadee with the Center’s Bird in Hand program.

Explore the many Nature Center exhibits as a family, watch and listen to wildlife at the center’s bird feeders, or sit and relax as you enjoy refreshments in the Snowshoe Lodge.

For those with older children, the Peppermint Trail also offers a chance to slip on some snowshoes as weather permits.

This life-size Candy Land experience offers a special way to create a new holiday memory. This attraction will be open from Nov. 21 through Jan. 3 with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.

While the Candy Land exhibit is free there is a nominal fee for the rest of the activities. Adult admittance is $3/hr. or $12 a day while the charge for children is half that.

Photo credits: Amazon, MoviesMusicNature, MoviesMusicNature

Macys Day Parade

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade an Event for Kids of All Ages

Macys Day Parade

There’s no other destination quite like NYC, and for those who enjoy the holidays, there’s nothing more incredible than witnessing the holiday madness surrounding the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

For those with kids, it’s a great way to create some fun memories, however, working strollers through the crowd can get frustrating, so you might want to wait until your kids have outgrown that stage.

Or, if you’ve got kids ready to enjoy the parade but one or two toddlers, you might consider staying at the Mandarin Oriental New York so you can watch the parade from your hotel room.

Macys Thanksgiving Parade

Floats, Balloons, and Santa

This year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be held on Nov. 26 from 9:00 a.m. until noon. If you plan to have your family join the crowds to experience the sounds, sights, and excitement of this special day, this year’s parade promises 1,000 clowns, 27 floats, 17 giant balloons, and of course the highlight of the parade – Santa Claus in his sleigh.

Along with all this, there are marching bands, cheerleaders, and live musical acts including pop stars and even Sesame Street characters. This year’s parade will also include new floats like Snoopy’s Doghouse, and new balloons including Ice Age’s Scrat and acorn, the return of Sinclair Oil’s “Dino,” as well as a new Ronald McDonald balloon, and Red (from Angry Birds) balloon.

Macys Parade

Parade Route

The parade starts at 77th Street and Central Park West and ends at Herald Square. Due to the popularity of this event, it is best to arrive early if you want to secure a good parade-watching spot. Or, you can plan to find a location across town where you can see the giant balloons from a block away.

The best way to see the parade will depend on what you want experience. Some people get out there as early as 6:00 a.m. and camp out along the west side of the street on Central Park West from 59th to 75th Street.

Other Kid-Friendly Attractions

For those who want to see the Macy’s Giant Balloon Inflation, there are special balloon inflation areas surrounding the Museum of Natural History beginning at 79th Street and Columbus Avenue. This takes place the day before the parade from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

As long as you are in New York City seeing the parade, plan to visit several other kid-friendly attractions open on Thanksgiving Day, including a visit to the Central Park Zoo, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, or Hershey’s Store.

As you plan your parade vacation, be sure to check the Macy’s Day Parade website for up-to-date information regarding the route, balloons and more.

Photo credits: JakeOrl

Keystone Resort Offers Family-friendly Rocky Mountain Experience

Keystone Resort 8

Keystone Resort in Colorado features plenty of outdoor winter adventure.

It offers three incredible mountains offering more than 3,000 skiable acres, 20 lifts, two gondolas all situated at the foot of a couple of unique villages where visitors will find good food and a selection of lodging options of various sizes.

Keystone Resort

Skiing and Other Winter Activities at Keystone

Keystone is famous for its skiing and snowboarding, and offers plenty of other winter activities to the mix from November to April. These include fun like ice skating, Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, tubing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, scenic gondola rides, and wine tasting.

For those who enjoy sitting back and enjoying the views, snowcat tours make a perfect choice for families and friends to take in the breathtaking beauty of the back mountains of Keystone Resort. The tour takes in the Continental Divide, Ten Mile Range, and the Gore Range.

Keystone Resort

Snowcat Tour

Save on Lodging

Lodging offered at Keystone Resort includes more than 1200 options with hotels rooms, to condos designed to accommodate guests with various numbers in their party. And the Resort’s knowledgeable concierge service is available to help plan every aspect of your stay with just one phone call.

To save on your stay, book early, and if you make reservations to stay for two nights or more, kids 12 and under get to ski and ride for free.

For additional savings, book before Dec. 2 and this year the Resort is offering a 50% discount on lodging. Be sure to check their website for all the details.

Keystone Resort is a family-friendly resort with first-class runs. Kids ski for free with stays of two or more night, plus there are plenty of other activities for younger kids, too.

The Resort makes a good choice for a holiday vacation with activities like ice skating starting on Thanksgiving weekend.

Photo credits: frontrangebusiness, MountainYahoos, KeystoneColorado

Costanoa Lodge

Visit Costanoa Lodge and Eco Adventure Resort

Costanoa Lodge

A visit to the Costanoa Lodge offers a chance to really get away from it all. Located in the tiny town of Pescadero, this location was once a stagecoach route stop south of San Francisco.

The lodge is situated on a bluff overlooking the ocean just beyond town, and today it offers mountains for hiking, empty stretches of beach for exploring, and a chance to experience redwood trees up close and personal. Plus, it is an affordable family friendly and even has a Costanoa Kids Camp with activities for kids ages 6-12.

Costanoa Lodge

Accommodations

The Costanoa Lodge offers a variety of affordable accommodations. Stay in the rustic log cabin lodge, one of the private cabins, or a tented bungalow (canvas-cabin) equipped with a queen-size bed with heated mattress pads.

Rates for staying in one of the tented bungalows starts as low as $86. To get the lowest rates, guests staying in cabins and bungalows share bathroom facilities at one of the Comfort Stations which feature outdoor showers, a sauna, heated floors and an outdoor fireplace. Guests staying at the lodge enjoy ensuite bathrooms.

The one thing all the “rooms” have in common is that there are no televisions.

Tent Bangalows

Things to Do

Along with hiking, Costanoa Lodge guests can enjoy mountain bike adventures with the lodge’s fleet of 27-speed, Rock-hoppers which can be rented for $15 an hour or $60 for a full day. Rental includes a helmet and can be arranged through front desk.

If you’re ready to explore but not ready to pedal or walk that distance yourself, guided trail rides take you at a leisurely pace through the grassland meadows and pine forest surrounding Costanoa.

Costanoa Kids Camp

The Costanoa Kids Camp provides surpervised outdoor activities for Costanoa campers ages 6-12. This gives kids a chance to have fun on their own level while parents take that hike, go horseback riding, or just decide to relax with a trip to the spa.

The Kids Camp offers a variety of activities and events and should plan to wear closed-toed shoes, bring sunscreen and bottled water.

Pace of Nature Spa

When you’ve had your fill of adventure, step back and discover the relaxing Pace of Nature Spa. Get one of Costanoa’s Integrative Massages or other therapies to help you unwind, revitalize and relieve those aching muscles after that long hike, bike or day in the saddle.

Consider the Costanoa Lodge a glamping experience as it features the luxury side of camping with plenty of perks and also that sense of community. For more information, be sure to visit their website.

Photo credits: lukemazza