Travel Ideas with Kids on the East Coast

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.  

MARVEL STUDIOS BEGINS PRODUCTION ON “ANT-MAN AND THE WASP”

Marvel Studios announced today that production has begun on “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” starring Paul Rudd (“Captain America: Civil War,”  “The Fundamentals of Caring”), Evangeline Lilly (“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” “Lost”),  Michael Peña (“The Martian,” Fury”) and Academy Award® winner Michael Douglas (“Behind the Candelabra,” “Wall Street”),  who all return to the roles they originated in the 2015 box office hit “Ant-Man.”  Bobby Cannavale (“Vinyl,” “Chef”), Judy Greer (“War for the Planet of the Apes,” “Wilson”), Abby Ryder Fortson (“Togetherness,” Transparent), Tip “T.I.” Harris (“Sleepless,” “Get Hard”) and David Dastmalchian (“Twin Peaks,” “The Belko Experiment”) also reprise their supporting roles.

The highly-anticipated follow-up welcomes Academy Award® nominees Michelle Pfeiffer (“The Wizard of Lies,” upcoming “Murder on the Orient Express”) and Laurence Fishburne (“John Wick: Chapter 2,” “The Matrix”), along with Hannah John-Kamen (“Black Mirror,” “Ready Player One”), Walton Goggins (“Vice Principals,” “Six”) and Randall Park (“Veep,” “Fresh Off the Boat”) to the ensemble cast.

“Ant-Man” director Peyton Reed (“Yes Man,” “The Break-Up”) returns to helm Marvel Studios’ action-adventure from a screenplay by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers, Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari, and Paul Rudd. The film, which opens in U.S. theaters on July 6, 2018, will be filmed in Atlanta and San Francisco. 

From the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink: “Ant-Man and The Wasp.”  In the aftermath of “Captain America:  Civil War,” Scott Lang (Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father.  As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne (Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.






Marvel Studios’’ “Ant-Man and The Wasp” is produced by Kevin Feige with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard, Charles Newirth and Stan Lee serving as executive producers.

The director’s creative brain trust includes Academy Award®-nominated director of photography Dante Spinotti (“L.A. Confidential”), production designer Shepherd Frankel (“Ant-Man”), costume designer Louise Frogley (“Spider-Man:  Homecoming”), visuals effects supervisor Stephane Ceretti (“Doctor Strange”) and seven-time Academy Award® nominee, special effects supervisor Dan Sudick (“Captain America: Civil War”). 







MOD Pizza


I'm sure your family is just as busy as my family as the school year draws to an end and spring sports and activities have everyone running different directions every night of the week.  The one thing we try to do a few nights a week is to eat a meal as a family, but with busy schedules, we don't always have the time to cook a meal from scratch.  So I am always looking for restaurants that are quick but good for a quick bite to eat before we head off to the next event.   MOD pizza fits the bill with their fresh ingredients and quick service.  They also fit the bill with picky eaters because you can customize your pizza.

History behind MOD
MOD Pizza is a chain of fast-casual pizza restaurants based in the United States. Founded in Seattle, Washington in 2008, MOD currently has more than 200 locations in the United States and the United Kingdom.

What to Expect at MOD
So you're wondering what types of food they serve at MOD, they sell individual artisan style pizzas and salads.  There are 3 choices of sizes to choose from and over 30 toppings to customize your pizza and it just one price no matter how many toppings you add.


You can pick your own fresh toppings or they have different types of pizza listed on the menu if you are not in the creative mood. This spring they have a new pizza available called the Crosby.   The Crosby combines springtime favorite, asparagus, with MOD’s house-made red sauce, mild sausage and shredded mozzarella, finished with a swirl of fig balsamic glaze and sprinkle of sea salt. The Crosby will be available through July 10, 2017.


Final Thoughts
MOD Pizza has something for everyone in your family, with their variety of choices, friendly service, and delicious food.  When you get a chance stop into MOD Pizza in Glen Mills or Newtown Square.



For more information: https://modpizza.com

Location: 
Brandywine – Glen Mills, PA
1751 Wilmington Pike
Glen Mills, PA 19342

Ellis Preserve – Newtown Square, PA
3741 West Chester Pike
Newtown Square, PA 19073




Disclosure: Thanks to MOD Pizza for arranging for our complimentary meal to facilitate this review. As always all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Legoland Discovery Center Philadelphia




Earlier this spring Legoland Discovery Center opened at the Plymouth Meeting Mall.  Recently my family and I were invited to check out this new addition to the area.

Before you go
To save some money and to skip the lines you should order your tickets before you leave home at Legoland Discovery Center. If you purchase tickets at home you will guarantee  Legoland is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you want to purchase your tickets when you arrive at Legoland you can do that too.  Legoland is located in the Plymouth Meeting Mall and it's very easy to get to via 476 or 76. Allow yourself 2 to 3 hours to experience everything at Legoland.




What to check out
  • LEGO® NINJAGO Training Camp: Train through interactive build challenge activities to improve your flexibility, agility, ingenuity and LEGO brick building skills to help protect NINJAGO from its marauding enemies. Complete your training in the NINJAGO Laser Maze.
  • Pirate Adventure Island: Go on a swashbuckling quest in the soft play area aboard an LEGO-themed pirate ship. Adventure through whimsical scenarios as you climb the rigging, walk the plank, capture the flag or escape down the slide to make it ashore to the island’s castle.
  • LEGO® Friends: Tell a story with Andrea, Mia, Olivia, Stephanie and Emma as you add your own creations to the colorful LEGO® Heartlake City.
  • Earthquake Tables: Visitors can build their own LEGO skyscrapers and see if their creations can survive the shaking earthquake-stimulating tables.
  • DUPLO® Park: Little builders can let their imaginations loose in our DUPLO® Park. Build a colorful DUPLO flower for the farmer's garden, climb up a small hill and slide down the other side or play on our special big soft bricks. 
  • MINILAND®: See iconic Philadelphia landmarks recreated from nearly 1.5 million LEGO bricks.
  • Imagination Express: An interactive LEGO ride that takes visitors on an adventure that starts at Brick Station and goes from a soapy bath all the way to outer space.
  • LEGO 4D Cinema: Guests will be on the edge of their seats as an incredible action adventure unfolds in 3-D before their very eyes. The film comes to life in the fourth dimension as flurries of wind, rain, lightning and even snow burst into the auditorium!
  • LEGO Racers - Build & Test: Let your imagination take over as you build your vehicle and take it to the ramps. Test your car and see how you can make it go faster! Once you have built the ultimate race car, time its speed on our test track. With times recorded to the hundredth of a second, it might be a close competition between you and your friends.

Extras
Birthday Party Rooms
Cafe
Legoland Store
Daily Creative Workshops offered




What We Love
We fell in love with the miniland of Philadelphia.  We could have spent hours finding all of the iconic Philadelphia buildings.  My husband got a kick out of finding the building he works in made out of Legos.
As a mom of daughters, I loved the section of the discovery center that had Lego Friends since they are a favorite in our house.
I also liked how they had something for everyone to keep families happy and busy while visiting and exploring Legoland Discovery Center.




For more information: https://philadelphia.legolanddiscoverycenter.com

Location: Plymouth Meeting Mall, West Germantown Pike
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462


 This event is appropriate for: 3 and older

Cost: $24




Disclosure: Thanks to Legoland Discovery Center Philadelphia for arranging for our complimentary stay to facilitate this review. As always all thoughts and opinions are our own.

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 hotel.  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.



Bethesda
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.








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!

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.

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 www.ardentheatre.org or walk-up at the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City, Philadelphia.


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.

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.  

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!



H20ooohh!
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 

Fun Things To Do With Kids Review Historic Jamestown




While my family and were in the Williamsburg area we visited the Historic Jamestown Island. This is different from Jamestown settlement, which is a museum and replica of America's first permanent English colony. Historic Jamestown is an ongoing archaeological dig. This site has a dozen staff members excavate, interpret, preserve, conserve, and research the site's findings.




The best way to learn about Historic Jamestown is to take a tour. Tours are offered throughout the day. Your tour guide can explain a lot about the findings and what's going on in with the archaeological digs.  It's really cool to see an actual archaeological dig and to watch the archaeologists at work.



Our tour guide was a wealth of information explaining how the dig was started.  He also gave our tour so much information about the animals in the area and how the colonist would survive.



You may be thinking there is probably not a lot for kids to do but there is. During the spring and summer months, they have the Ed Shed is an interactive space that provides kids and families with the chance to share in the moment of discovery.  Also on the Historic Jamestown website has games, colouring, and activities.  This is a great way to help kids to understand what life for kids was like back then.



For more informationhttp://historicjamestowne.org

Location:   1368 Colonial Pkwy Jamestown, VA 23081

Fun Things To Do With Kids Review Jamestown Settlement




Recently, my family and I visited Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg, VA.  This is separate from historic Williamsburg but something you should definitely add to your list of places to visit when you are in Williamsburg.

Jamestown Settlement is located near the site of the original Jamestown Colony.  Jamestown Settlement is a museum and replica of America's first permanent English colony, founded in Virginia in 1607.

photo courtesy of Jamestown Settlement


Once you purchase your tickets inside the visitor center, you make your way through the galleries that are divided into three major sections. The first gallery introduces visitors to pre-17th-century Virginia.  The second gallery explores the relationship between Virginia’s colonists and the native Powhatans.  The third gallery provides an overview of the political, social and economic development and expansion of the Virginia colony during the 17th century.

Next visitors travel outside to the Powhatan Indian village.  The village has several houses, a crop field and a ceremonial circle of carved wooden posts. Historical interpreters discuss and demonstrate the Powhatan way of life. 



Once you leave the Powhatan village, you walk toward the waterfront that has re-creations of the three ships that transported the original Jamestown colonists to Virginia in 1607 – the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery.  Kids and adults will love being able to board the ships and explore them.



Once you leave the waterfront you travel into the re-created James Fort, that has homes, a church and other buildings that historical interpreters demonstrate tasks of the time period.



We really liked that everything was hands on at Jamestown Settlement.  Visitors can talk with the historical interpreters and learn more about the settlement.  I really liked how the interpreters asked the kids questions and helped them learn more about the time period.




For more information www.historyisfun.org

Location:  2110 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185

Cost: $17.00 adults, $8.00 ages 6-12. Value-priced combination ticket with Yorktown Victory Center: $21.25 adults, $10.75 ages 6-12. Discount for groups of 15 or more. Children under 6 are free. Parking is free.

Disclosure: My family and I received complimentary tickets to visit Jamestown Settlement in order to facilitate this review.