Thursday, December 3, 2015

Ticket Giveaway and Review of Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates at The Arden Theatre

Arden Children’s Theatre presents
Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates

November 24, 2015 – January 31, 2016




Arden Theatre Company presents the World Premiere of HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES by playwright, director and screenwriter Laura Eason and adapted from the novel by Mary Mapes Dodge. The first of two Children’s Theatre offerings during the 2015/16 Season, HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES runs from November 24, 2015 – January 31, 2016, on the Arden’s F. Otto Haas stage at 40 N. 2nd Street in Philadelphia.







About the Show


My family and I had the chance to review the show this past weekend and as usual, the Arden Theatre doesn't disappoint.  We loved how the set design was done with making the stage look like an ice rink and the way they told the story. My kids loved how it looked like the cast was skating on real ice.   We also loved the lesson the show told about never giving up and being kind to others. Here is some background of the the story:


A great skating contest is announced, and the winner will receive a shiny pair of silver skates. But will Hans Brinker and his sister Gretel, with their hand-carved wooden skates, be able to compete against children who own fine steel blades? Set against a backdrop of frozen canals in 19th century Holland, this new production celebrates the importance of grit and determination, the value of generosity, and the thrill of flying down the ice on a pair of skates.

Another favorite activity at the Arden is after the show the audience can ask questions to the actors.  This helps everyone to learn more about the show and it helps kids to connect with the actors.  Also, you can meet the actors and pose for pictures with them in the lobby after the show.



Hans and Gretel



Schedule and Events

The show opens on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 7pm and runs through Sunday, January 31, 2016. A full calendar of events can be found here.


HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES includes weekday matinee performances for students and weekend performances for families. Single ticket prices are $20 - $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 www.ardentheatre.org or walk-up at the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia


Enter to win a voucher to purchase purchase tickets to see Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates at The Arden Theatre.  



Disclosure: Thanks to the Arden Theatre  for arranging for our complimentary tickets to facilitate this review. As always all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Review of Crystal Spring Resort Grand Cascades Lodge





If you have been following me on Instagram or Twitter you know that my family and I were invited to spend a few days at Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, New Jersey. Crystal Springs in about 2 1/2 hours from the Philadelphia Area, located in the Mountains in New Jersey and 1 hour away from NYC.

Resort




We stayed at the Grand Cascades Lodge which is a beautiful and well appointed AAA 4-Diamond hotel. Minerals Hotel and Mourtain Creek Resort are also part of the Crystal Springs Resort.   The views of the Kittatinny Mountain Range were breathtaking. I loved the high ceilings and natural light in our room, with a husband who is tall this was a plus making our family comfortable. We stayed in a room with 2 double beds and we had plenty of room for the 4 of us. 

Our Room



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, My kids loved the outdoor heated pool, nothing like swimming outside when the air temp is 30 degrees.

Biosphere


I had the chance to sneak away for some me time at the Reflections Spa. The spa was ranked #19 in Spas of America’s Top 100 Spas. I can see why it was ranked so high. This was a truly relaxing place to unwind. One of my favorite parts was the post-treatment sensorial room for relaxation. 


Dinning

There are multiple restaurants at the resort. While we were there not all of them were open. I liked that we could call down to the lobby and a bus would drive us over to the Minerals Resort to have dinner at Kites. We went there for pasta night and had a wonderful meal! If you wanted to stay at the Grand Cascades there is the Crystal Tavern which offers American cuisine with plenty of options for the whole family from sandwiches to rib eye. I also loved that the ingredients are provided by local growers. 



What to do in the area:
View from High Point State park


If you love golf then this is the resort for you, there are 6 golf courses in the area to choose from. There are many wineries in the area the offer tours. Also there is plenty of hiking in the area. The two places we went to for easy hikes were the High Point State Park, I recommend checking this out for some breathtaking views and incredible pictures. We also went to the Pochuck Boardwalk on the Appalachian trail. 


Pochuck Boardwalk



We also visited Warwick New York. This adorable town was a 20 minute ride from the resort. This cute town has shops and restaurants for you to explore. Many people recommended Fetch for us to grab a bite to eat and this restaurant didn't disappoint.




Other options for activities are fishing, horseback riding, skiing, mountain biking and much more.

In conclusion Crystal Springs has something for everyone in you family.  This is a year round resort with plenty of activities or relaxation if that's what you need.  The resort has plenty of things to do for families, but it's also good for a romantic getaway, or a girls/guys weekend.


For more info: http://www.crystalgolfresort.com


Disclosure: Thanks Crystal Springs Resort for arranging for our complimentary stay to facilitate this review. As always all thoughts and opinions are our own.






Thursday, October 22, 2015

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm




Looking to have some fall family fun?  Head to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm in Lancaster PA.  Last weekend my family and I visited the family friendly farm that has something for everyone.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is a 15-acre farm, with 50+ Farm Fun activities, including the Hay Chute Slide and Straw Bale Racer, Jump Pillow, Farm Tour Wagon Ride, Petting Zoo and Farm Experience Center, Corny’s Ball-cade, and everyone's favorite the Corn Maze.


They have thought of everything to keep everyone having fun!  Forgot your stroller or the kids tired of walking rent a wagon for the day.  Kids hungry their are plenty of options for the family to get something to eat or drink.



Cherry Crest has been open for 20 years and this year the corn maze is a locomotive just like it was 20 years age.  I loved the fact the there were 3 options when going through the maze,  Easy, intermediate and advanced.   The advance takes the longest to complete 3.5 to 4 hours and the easy takes under 30 minutes.   There are different stations that you can visit while going through the maze where you can get clues on how to get out of the maze.   If you get hungry to need to use the bathroom while in the maze no worries they have food and bathrooms in the maze.




After the maze you can enjoy the many activities around the farm the will certainly tire your family out after a day at the farm.  Looking for more adventure?  Hop on the Strasburg Railroad you can by tickets inside the farm and catch the train.





On October 31st Cherry Crest Adventure Farm will hold Pumpkin Madness Fest

The Pumpkin Madness Fest begins at 12 noon with Corny’s Costume Parade – for kids who come in family-friendly costumes (no masks permitted). Cherry Crest’s mascot Corny will be joined by the Pumpkin Princess for the parade and to greet guests throughout the day.


Pumpkin Madness proves you can get very creative when it comes to smashing pumpkins. Activities include:



  • Reverse Pumpkin Darts – where you will hurl pumpkins at a board filled with pointy darts!
  • Pumpkin Shotput Contest – carefully monitored, where competitors with the farthest throws in their category win a Cherry Crest Adventure Farm season pass!
  • Pumpkin Ring Toss - based on the classic carnival game with various levels for different ages.
  • Notes from the Sky Pumpkin Drop – where your pumpkin is hurled from the top of a giant boom lift and crashes onto the target below. The bigger the pumpkin the better the splat! People really have fun with this as they can write messages on their pumpkins which are read over the microphone before they’re dropped!
  • Pumpkin Smashing – with a big rubber mallet – very therapeutic for all ages!
  • Pumpkin Bowling – for kids age 10 and under.
  • Pin-the-Face-on-the-Pumpkin – a play on Pin the Tail that’s perfect for small children.
  • Flyby Pumpkin Pie Drop – at 3:45 p.m.,where you can watch parachuted pies fall from the sky, just for fun!
  • Flyby Candy Drop – at 4 p.m., where kids age 12 & under can grab all they can as a plane drops the goods from 200 feet.
  • Monster Pumpkin Drops:
  • at 3 p.m. see a 800+ pound pumpkin fall from the giant crane.
  • at 5 p.m. the Grand Finale Giant Pumpkin Drop starring the largest pumpkin we can find. The largest to date – at 1,744.5 pounds – is the record to beat this year!


No worries if you can't make it for a visit this fall, they will open again in the spring for more fun adventure.


For more information http://www.cherrycrestfarm.com


Location:   150 Cherry Hill Road, Ronks, PA 17572


Disclosure: Thanks Cherry Crest Adventure Farm for arranging for our complimentary visit to facilitate this review. As always all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Review of Kalahari Resorts in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania


If you've been following me on Twitter or Instagram you may saw that I visited the new indoor water park located in the Poconos called Kalahari Resort.  Kalahari is just under two hours away from the Philadelphia area. When you visit Kalahari you certainly feel like you've been taken on a tour to Africa.

This family resort is owned by the Nelson family who own two other Kalahari Resorts  located Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin and Sandusky, Ohio.  This 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. When you first arrive at the resort you will notice the decor of the resort is African themed. The family traveled to Africa to bring authentic experiences back to the US.

Facts about Kalahari Resort
  • The resort is home to Pennsylvania’s largest indoor water park and also includes: 
  •  457 guest rooms containing one-, two- and three-bedroom suites 
  •  An outdoor water park with a huge outdoor pool, a large sundeck for relaxing, indoor/outdoor whirlpools and a swim-up bar 
  •  30,000 sq. ft. family entertainment center with dry activities such as mini-bowling, cutting-edge arcade games, a 5-D theater and black light mini golf 
  •  Three full-service signature dining experiences 
  •  Spa Kalahari & Salon 
  •  100,000 sq. ft. convention center 
  •  6,000 sq. ft. of retail 
Hotel Rooms


1 bedroom suite


The hotel rooms keep with the African theme of the resort.  There are many options for rooms they have one-, two- and three-bedroom suites.  We stayed in a 1 bedroom suite.  It had 2 queen sized beds and a pull out couch.  The room also had a large tub and shower.  The rooms are equipped with a microwave and a small fridge.  We also had a room that had a small balcony that overlooked the Pocono Mountains.


Lazy River



Water Park
Kalahari is home to the largest water park in Pennsylvania.  There is truly water fun for everyone in your family.  If your not into slides then take a ride on the lazy river.  Want a drink, swim up the the adults only swim up bar or take a dip in the outdoor pool.   Babies and toddlers will enjoy their own special water park with age appropriate slides, lazy river and so much more.  Older kids and adults will enjoy all the choices of slides and pools.  There is plenty of seating around the water park.  There are also lockers available to rent and a locker room to change in.  

Delicious Food
Dining 
 There are plenty of options at the resort for your family. There are nine different dinning options at the resort.  Buffet, quick service and sit down options. There are so many options for everyone in your family.    




Plenty of choices in the water park

Conclusion
Overall my family and I fell in love with the resort, we loved that everything was in one place and we didn't even have to carry money or credit cards around with us while staying.  We had our credit card linked to our wrist band.  The wrist band was our room key and allowed us entrance to the water park. Before we left the resort we talked about special occasions that were coming up and how we would love to come back for a visit. 




For more information: www.kalahariresorts.com/pennsylvania


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

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fun Things Kids Visits Residence Inn National Harbor

Residence Inn National Harbor


From the moment we arrived at the Residence Inn National Harbor we felt like we were home. The front desk staff greeted us with a smile and were eager to help us, explaining where to park and were to visit on our stay at the National Harbor.  The kids received activity books during check in which is perfect to keep them busy while parents unpack and organize the room.

The Room
We had a 1 bedroom suite which was roomy enough for a family of 4.  My husband and I had a king size extremely comfortable bed and the kids shared a sleeper couch, which they said was comfortable.  I loved that we had a full size refrigerator, 2 burner stove, and microwave in the room   We could store our leftovers and heat items up when the kids were hungry.  We also had wonderful view of the Potomac River from our room.

Breakfast
Each morning complimentary breakfast was served in a room off of the lobby.  This is great for families.  You save money and don't have to worry about finding a place to eat every morning while away.  The kids loved the make your own waffle station and the assortment of toppings available. The staff was helpful, making sure each guest had everything that they need during their stay.  I enjoyed the fact that coffee and hot water for tea/ hot chocolate were always available to make in the lobby throughout the day.

Staff
I could go on and on about how wonderful the staff was at the Residence Inn National Harbor.  They always greeted us with a smile.  They would share ideas on what we should do in the area, they even shared their favorite pizza shop when we were craving pizza one night.


Pool/ Fitness Room

The pool was nice and the kids had fun.. They have an indoor pool that is open from 5 pm to 10 pm. The hotel also has a fitness room with a treadmill and other equipment.  What I found super convenient was free ear buds to use while working out.






Overall
The Residence Inn National Harbor is a great value for families traveling to the National Harbor area. You don't have to go out to eat every meal, you can cook in.  It's even great to cook in snacks or leftovers. They even have a grill to cook meals on in their patio area and a fire pit to sit outside and relax after a day of sight seeing.    The hotel is close to all the activities in the area and easy to get to.







For more information http://www.marriott.com

Location:  Residence Inn National Harbor Washington, DC-192 Waterfront St National Harbor Maryland 20745

Disclosure: Thanks to the National Harbor Visitors Bureau and The Residence Inn National Harbor for arranging for our complimentary stay at the Residence Inn to facilitate this review. As always all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fun Things Reviews ICE! at the Gaylord National featuring Frosty the Snowman


A must see event this holiday season is ICE at the Gaylord National in National Harbor MD. Each year the Gaylord plans out a different theme to recreate all in ice.  This year's theme is Frosty the Snowman.   Join Frosty and his friends through the retelling of a holiday classic.   Favorite scenes come to life in more than two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures, including a two-story tall ice slide.






What you need to wear

Hats, gloves, winter coat, Anything else that will keep you warm, layers is the key.  Once you get your tickets you will make your way to the blue parka section.  They have coats in all sizes, believe me the coat will be a welcomed layer once you step into the exhibit.  





Once inside

After you get your blue parka you will make your way to a tent to get your photo taken.  Then you proceed to the ICE tent, once you are inside you will be happy that you wore those extra layers so you can enjoy the story of Frosty.  

ICE features:

  • Walk-through holiday attraction, kept at a chilly 9 degrees
  • Two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures
  • Four ice slides
  • Six individual rooms depicting the story of Frosty the Snowman
  • The Frostbite Factory – a live carving zone




Tips 
  • Purchase you tickets in advance online (they do sell out)
  • Bring a camera to take plenty of pictures (but make sure your camera can deal with the frigid temperatures).  Just make sure you can work it with your gloves on
  • Try to visit during non peak hours 
  • Take you time walking through there is so much to see
  • Definitely take a trip or two down the ice slides
  • No strollers are permitted inside the ICE exhibit
  • You can park at the The Gaylord National, or there are parking garages throughout the National Harbor area


Visiting ICE put my family and I in the mood for the holiday season.  From the Philadelphia area National Harbor is about an 2 and 1/2 hour drive.  Because there is so much to do in the National Harbor you can do this as a day trip or an overnight stay.  Click here to read more about the National Harbor.





For more information http://www.marriott.com


Location:  Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
201 Waterfront Street National Harbor Maryland 20745 


This event is appropriate for:  the whole family


Price: $16-$34


Disclosure: My family and I received complimentary tickets to visit ICE.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fun Things Visits National Harbor Maryland





Looking for a family friendly place to visit with the kids this holiday season or even a weekend getaway or summer vacation.  I have found the place for you,  National Harbor Maryland is located about 2 and 1/2 hours away from the Philadelphia area.  The National Harbor has something for everyone.  It is located on the banks of the Potomac river, right outside of Washington D.C.. It features remarkable hotels, thousands of residential units, tree-lined streets with shops and offices, a marina and much moreThe National Harbor is is about a 15 minute drive from Washington D.C. 







Family Friendly Activities


Visit ICE this holiday season at the Gaylord National

Take a breathtaking ride on the Capital Wheel
Take a spin on the Carousal 
Water Taxis
Sight Seeing Cruises
Outlet Shopping at Tanger Outlets
The National Children’s Museum
Go Shopping 





Where to Eat


You will never run out of options for good food in the Harbor area.  You can get anything from delicious crab cakes at the Crab Cake Cafe or steak and seafood at  McLoone's Pier House.  During our visit we enjoyed every meal.   Below are some of our favorites from our trip


Cadillac Ranch (casual dinning, burgers, steaks, salads)
Elevation Burger (fast casual dinning burgers, fires shakes)
Fiorella Italian Kitchen  (casual dinning pizza and entrees
Nando's Peri-Peri ( fast casual dinning Portuguese flame-grilled Peri-Peri Chicken)

Where to Stay

The Residence Inn (check out our review)

Aloft
Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
Wyndham


No matter if you visit the National Harbor for a day trip or make it a longer vacation there is something to see and do for the whole family.

For more informationhttp://www.nationalharbor.com




Disclosure: Thanks to the National Harbor Visitors Bureau for arranging for our complimentary stay at the National Harbor to facilitate this review. As always all thoughts and opinions are our own.

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