Monday, February 13, 2017

Traveling to Washington DC on a Budget with Kids

A few weeks ago my family and I attended a convention in Washington DC.  I was trying to keep the cost down since I was paying for both of my children to attend the convention, I spent a lot of time researching a money saving way and I wanted to share what I discovered with my readers.  

Many families from our area take trips into Washington to see the sites.  Many of the hotels in D.C. have high parking costs $30-$50 a night.  If you drive into to Washington there is free parking in the mall area but it's hard to find unless you're there very early in the morning.  If you find a parking garage you can pay $25 or more a day to park your car.

After some research, I found out that if I stayed in the town of Bethesda and took the red line metro into D.C. We would be in walking distance to the convention.  I never knew how easy and convenient it was.

Where to Stay
We found the Hyatt Regency Bethesda, which is right by the entrance of the Metro.  Which turned out to be perfect because it was raining on Saturday.  The Hyatt was just renovated and was gorgeous and perfect for our family.  I loved the modern finishes in the room.  The kids loved the mirror showed the time.  The staff at the Hyatt were so helpful with helping us find restaurants, offering umbrellas to use when it was pouring rain and giving us tips on riding the metro.

The town of Bethesda is a great town for families everything was a no more than a 10-minute walk from our hotel.  Plenty of restaurants to choose from and many different price points.  For instance, they had budget friendly choices like &pizzaNoddles & Company to a romantic date night Morton's Steak House.  If you want a special treat after dinner or lunch Georgetown Cupcake is there and also a frozen yogurt store. We loved window shopping after dinner at all of the boutiques.

Riding the Metro
Since we arrived after dinner on Friday night we decided to check out the metro before we needed to board it on Saturday morning.  I do have to warn you there is a very steep and long escalator that you need to take to get to the Metro.  You can purchase passes right at the station you load the SmarTrip card with money and you can use the card over and over just reload it with more money. I found the Metro station clean and the metro cars were clean.  Coming from Bethesda and going into DC you pass many stops, for instance, the zoo, Smithsonian, Dupont Circle, and so much more that are perfect for sightseeing in the area. The D.C. Metro website has tools for you to plan your trip using the Metro.

Overall, we found staying in Bethesda and taking the Metro a fun experience and would do it again.  My husband and I couldn't get over how easy it was and how much money we saved on parking and the stress of driving in the DC area.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tracking Santa

So the kids are making you crazy today asking you when Santa will arrive? So why not have them track Santa. 

The Norad Santa Tracker keeps children updated about Santa's whereabouts. Based on his current location, they know whether they should head to bed before he arrives. The website offers a Christmas countdown, games, activities, 2D and 3D training maps, Santa Camera videos and more.

The Google Santa Tracker takes you to Santa’s Village, which is filled with ways to follow Santa. Head to Google Santa Tracker to find a countdown clock to Christmas Eve and 24 different activities to pass the time before Santa arrives.

Happy Tracking!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Big Changes Coming to Kalahari Resorts in the Pocono Mountains

If you ever visited  Kalahari Resorts before, you will want to plan a return trip. If you haven't been there before, it's time to start planning your trip.

This past week I got a sneak peak of all the new things coming to Kalahari Resorts.  The resort will truly have something for everyone in you family, no matter what age they are.

This March, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in the Pocono Mountains will become the home to America’s Largest Indoor Waterpark – dethroning the current title holder, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Sandusky, Ohio.

The indoor waterpark will have 8 new slides

    Screaming Hyena:
    A trap-door start that drops into a near-vertical plunge.

    Sahara Sidewinder:
    An indoor looping waterslide that takes guests on a 250-plus-foot journey.

    Kenya’s Korkscrew: Zig-zag slide

    Zig-Zag Zebra: Tunnel slide
    Cheetah Race Mat Slide:
    Challenge your friends to see who gets down the hill fastest

During this expansion, Kalahari has added 520 rooms. They also added a few suites so you can bring your whole family and even your extended family, with the option of 3 bedroom suites or five bedroom suites. With the addition of these suites, you will have plenty of room to relax and spend holidays or special occasions with your family.

Kalahari will be adding some new dining options too. I had the chance to try samples of food that will be served at the restaurants and guest will be in for a special treat. This is not your typical resort food, you will be enjoying gourmet food.

Double Cut Charcoal Grill/Liquor Bar:
Kalahari’s signature steakhouse experience featuring: premium cuts of meat, craft cocktails, family style sides and more

Sortino's Italian Kitchen:

The menu will include: wood-fired pizza, Italian family dining, a large variety of wines and more. 

Marrakesh Market:
Grab and go convenience bazaar style shopping, unique gifts, authentic-African items and everyday needs.

Even more family fun:

If you get tired of the waterpark you will be able to check out the new virtual reality experience, The Arena.  Guest can step into the virtual reality and play with other guests.

If you want some outdoor adventure check out Gorilla Grove Treetop Outdoor Aerial Adventure Park (now open)

Kalahari Resorts continues to be a top-notch family friendly resort for families looking for a weekend getaway or a family reunion.   

Disclosure: Thanks, Kalahari Resorts for arranging for our complimentary stay to facilitate this article. As always all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Year With Frog and Toad at The Arden Theatre

Looking for the perfect show to take the kids to this holiday season? You definitely need to check out A Year With Frog and Toad at The Arden Theatre now through January 29th.

You may be familiar with the books written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel. When my children were younger Frog and Toad adventures were a staple in our household. It was exciting to see their adventures come alive on stage at The Arden.

"A Year With Frog and Toad follows the unlikely friendship between cheerful Frog and the rather grumpy Toad through four fun-filled seasons. Their friendship blossoms and grows as they learn many life lessons along the way. Filled with musical numbers that will make you laugh and cry."

There are many lessons in the show. The main lesson is friendship. It is about compromising and working together. Another lesson that the snail teaches is to never give up. The snail was given a job and no matter how long it took him to do the job he was going to get it done!

The great thing about seeing a show at The Arden Theatre is how they include the kids. At the end of the show, there is a Q & A session, kids, and even adults can ask questions about the actors or even see how different props move on stage. After the Q& A session, the cast stands in the lobby for pictures and questions.

Get you tickets early the show is selling tickets fast for this popular duo!

A Year With Frog and Toad includes weekday matinee performances for students and weekend performances for families. Single ticket prices are $18 - $36, with discounts available for groups of 20 or more, seniors, students, military, and educators. Arden Children’s Theatre 2-play subscriptions are available for $26 - $50.

Call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, visit or walk-up at the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Free Admission to National Parks August 25th-28th

 Free Admission to National Parks August 25th-28th

Celebrate with the National Park Service as it turns 100 years old.   All National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone August 25th -28th.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Last Minute Summer Travel Ideas

Looking for a quick getaway before the kids head back to school? We have picked out some of our favorite places to visit.  All of our picks are driveable and no more than a few hours from the Philadelphia suburbs.

1. Double Tree Resort in Lancaster PA.  There is so much to do at this family-friendly resort.  This 185-room resort is very family friendly, but it's also perfect for a weekend getaway without the kids.  The hotel is about a 10-15 minute drive to the Strasburg Rail RoadChoo Choo BarnCherry Crest Adventure Farm and other Lancaster attractions.

2. Kalahari Resort in the Pocono Mountains. If you are looking for a water park adventure then Kalahari will keep everyone happy and entertained.  Kalahari is just under two hours away from the Philadelphia area. Kalahari is truly a family oriented place and they have thought of everything to keep all members of the family happy and occupied while on vacation. 

The National Harbor area is located on the banks of the Potomac River and it has plenty of activities to keep the family busy, take a breathtaking ride on the Capital Wheel or a spin on the Carousel. Explore the area with Water Taxis or a Sight Seeing Cruises
There are two great resorts to stay in while visiting the area Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center and The Residence Inn

Baltimore has something for everyone. Younger kids will enjoy Port Discovery Museum, which offers 3 floors of hands-on activities for the kids. National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Museum are also must see places when visiting the Harbor
If you want to stay check out the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Maryland that is in walking distance to all the attractions.

5. Williamsburg Virgina
The Williamsburg area has plenty of activities to keep your family busy.  Head to Busch Gardens for some family thrills.  Take a step back in time at Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestown or Jamestown Settlement.

Grand Cascades Lodge is a beautiful and well-appointed AAA 4-Diamond hotel located in Hamburg, New Jersey.  The main attraction for families at the hotel is the Biosphere, which is an indoor pool complex with an aquarium, vortex pools, and caves, and lush tropical foliage; year-round outdoor heated pool; 140-foot waterslide.  There are plenty of outdoor activities to keep the family busy.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Water Parks in the Philadelphia Area

Beat the heat this summer and head to the water park. Most of the water park offer day passes, but a few require overnight stays. Please check ahead to see their specific requirements.

CoCo Key Water Resort

915 Route 73
Mount Laurel, New Jersey 08054 

CoCo Key Water Resort is the ULTIMATE in indoor water resort adventure located in Mt. Laurel NJ.

Camelbeach Mountain Resort

309 Resort Drive
Tannersville, PA 18372

Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark is the biggest water park in Pennsylvania, with over 37 rides slides and attractions.

Sahara Sams Oasis

535 North Route 73
West Berlin, NJ 08091

Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor and Outdoor Water Park offers families of the greater Tri-State community entertainment the entire year with 58 of its 68-thousand square feet under a retractable roof system. 

Great Wolf Lodge

 1 Great Wolf Dr
Scotrun, PA 18355

This indoor water park offers 4 restaurants and a Starbucks. Other amenities include a spa and free parking, while adventure activities and mini-golf are also available. This water park does require an overnight stay.

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions
250 Kalahari Blvd.
Pocono Manor, PA 18349

Experience the 100,000 sq. ft. Indoor Waterpark featuring a retractable roof, stand-up surfing or body boarding on the FlowRider, the twists and turns of the Anaconda and Swahili Swirl waterslides, relaxing lazy river and indoor/outdoor family hot tub, tons of activities for the little ones and much, much more!

428 Moseywood Road
Lake Harmony, PA 18624

H20ooohh!! is an indoor family water park adjacent to the Galleria at Split Rock Resort in beautiful Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania. With 53,326 square feet of water attractions to enjoy, H20ooohh! has five exciting body, tube and raft slides, a wave pool, activity pool, fun play structure, crossing activity, snack and Tiki bar, and more.

Photo from Kalahari