Archive for Travel

Boo at the Zoo: Halloween at the Bronx Zoo

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Halloween is one of our favorite celebrations and we fill our October with lots of traditions–haunted hay rides, parties, harvest festivals, crafts, parades, and, of course, dressing up and trick or treating!

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This year we are excited to add to our traditions and check out Boo at the Zoo: Dragons and Dinosaurs at the Bronx Zoo.

With my resident paleontologist, we’ll be checking out the Dinosaur Safari: Mysteries Revealed experience. Check back later this month for our photographs and tips!

Boo at the Zoo Bronx

“Boo at the Zoo: Dragons and Dinosaurs is presented by Canon and will begin on Saturday, Oct. 4 and will run for five full weekends including Columbus Day and Halloween. All attractions and activities will embrace the spirit of the season while highlighting wildlife and conservation. Annual favorites including the hay maze, pumpkin carving demos, costume parades, music, magic and more will return with some additional Halloween surprises.”

Visit www.bronxzoo.com for a complete schedule of dates, performances and activities.

Disclosure: We are receiving complementary press tickets to facilitate my reviews. As always, words and opinions are my own unless otherwise noted.

Frozen Themed Guest Suite and Activity Cave at Quebec City’s Hôtel de Glace

I haven’t seen Frozen, yet, because I let my parents have the privilege of taking the kids…but I hear it is stupendous and can’t wait to watch on DVD.

In what may be one of the most clever tie-ins to a movie (though I am waiting to hear that Disney World’s Blizzard Beach is getting a Frozen make-over), Disney announced a Frozen-inspired suite and activity cave at Quebec City’s Ice Hotel.

Frozen Ice Hotel Suite

Hit it, press release:

Today, Walt Disney Studios has unveiled the first images from the Frozen-inspired suite at Quebec City’s famed Hôtel de Glace, in celebration of Disney’s “FROZEN” Blu-ray & Digital HD release.

Created entirely out of sculpted ice and snow and supervised by the film’s art director Michael Giaimo, the “Frozen Suite” is modeled after Anna & Elsa’s bedrooms. The collaboration will also include a “Frozen Activity Cave” bringing the wonder of Disney’s wintry tale to life like never before. The suite will be unveiled this weekend and remain open through March 23.

I love traveling and in the BC (before children) era I used to be pretty adventurous…but an ice hotel just is not on my bucket list. You sleep wrapped up in a super-warm thermal cocoon-like sleeping bag. Extreme temperatures just isn’t my thing. I would definitely be interested in visiting for a few hours, though, just to see it. How about you?

New York Renaissance Faire

The New York Renaissance Faire has two more festival weekends open in September. If you are looking for something to do and can make it to Sterling Forest in Tuxedo Park, New York, this is a fun family outing!

Plan to spend at least one full day at the New York Renaissance Faire to take in all the sites, scheduled events, rides, and shopping. This festival is huge and there is tons to explore.

Make sure you dress up! I would have gone in costume if I weren’t pregnant. Instead, I had the fun of dressing up my children.

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Splish Splash Water Park in Calverton, New York (Long Island)

Splish Splash Ride

Although I have lived on Long Island for about 6 years and have been spending summers out here ever since I started dating my husband (almost 15 years ago), this weekend was my first time at Splish Splash Water Park in Calverton, New York, and it was the kids’ first time at a water park. The kids had a blast and it was a great family fun day trip on Long Island. There are a few things we’d probably do differently next time we go so I thought I would share them with you.

We considered going to a water park on our Disney Social Media Moms trip but one of the water parks was closed and we ended up spending so much time in the other parks and at Sea World that we skipped it. So, we promised the kids we would check out Splish Splash when we were back on Long Island.

Splish Splash Ride

Parking and Tickets – Military Discount!

First thing you have to know is that you are going to be shelling out a lot of money. Read more

Port-of-Delight

In a lot of ways, it still feels like a dream.

A few weeks ago, I saw tweets flying back and forth about winning a vacation from Voyage.TV. Normally, I would have just assumed it was either “too good to be true” or that my chances of winning were infinitesimally small. But then I saw that Liz @Mom101 (and Cool Mom Picks editor) had actually won (and gone on) a trip to Barcelona. Wow.

My husband and I used to travel all the time (Rome, Florence, Venice, Sicily, Angkor Wat, Bangkok, the Greek Islands, Prague, Budapest, Romania, Belize, Mexico, Peru, Edinburgh, the Orkneys) but since we’ve had kids we haven’t had the opportunity–the time, energy, or money.

On a lark, I sent out a few tweets and then the one that won:

I found out I won on a Friday. My husband had actually been planning to take the following week off but the demands of work were making our “staycation” dwindle day by day. Since he already had requested the time off, when I won, we decided to see how quickly we could make the vacation happen.

There was also the matter of the kids.

My 1 year old nursling is very attached. So, we decided to take both children and turned the romantic getaway into a family adventure. With Voyage.TV covering airfare for my husband and I and the hotel, we were able to purchase the kids’ tickets and upgrade the hotel room.

By the following Wednesday, we were in New York City picking up expedited passports for the kids and by Thursday we were on an airplane, headed to Lisbon.

And we are so glad we decided to “go for it”.

Watching my daughter dance through Medieval Castles, Gothic Cathedrals, and stone-paved plazas was the memory of a lifetime.

We explored the ramparts of the Castle of São Jorge, rode an elevator to the oddly tranquil open-air nave of the Carmo Convent (the roof collapsed during the 1755 Earthquake), and climbed the seaside Tower of Belem.

We took a day trip to Sintra and Pena Palace, constructed over time in fits and starts of Romanticism so that it looks like a conglomeration of every tale of knights and ladies you’ve ever heard. The approach is through a dark, ethereal forest, completing the fairytale atmosphere.

Our last evening was spent at the end of Europe–the westernmost point.

On the way home, we enjoyed one more bit of luck: a woman with the patience of a saint played with my son during the transatlantic flight.

This Tweet Your Trip contest really helped lift my spirits and recognize all the blessings we enjoy.

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You Say It’s Your Birthday!

The day before my birthday I found out that I won a trip to Lisbon! Yes! To Lisbon! from my new BFF’s VoyageTV thanks to some 140 character Twitter poetry. And yes, I played the married to an Iraqi vet card. A girl desperate for a dream vacation has to do what a girl’s gotta do. You could win, too.

On my actual birthday, my husband found a crafts festival. Yes, I am truly a sucker for a good craft festival. And he bought me this fun, red, enamel, flower cuff bracelet. A little more bold and dramatic than my usual but I think it is fun.

Then, my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law showed up to play with the kids. Since Junior actually did not scream his lungs out as soon as I moved two inches away, Captain Commander Dad and I ducked out and went to an adult restaurant! with low lights! ambiance! real china! Sorry for the absurd number of exclamation points but eating out without having to clear a two-foot radius around the baby or answer the preschooler’s questions about how her food “got dead” is truly noteworthy in my life.

And the birthday fun did not stop there! The next day we went out for Indian food, my favorite (although this meal was interrupted by the antics of our children). And today I got to got to another local favorite, the Tea Time cottage, home of delightful tea, delicious scones (I had the seasonal pumpkin raisin), heavenly lavender, friendly goats, and a charming garden with ponds (a perfect place for searching for fairies with a fairy-obsessed preschooler).

Bulldog, Bulldog, Bow Wow Wow

A student group invited Super Dad to speak about his military experience at our alma mater, so all three of us got to travel to New Haven and Baby Diva got her first taste of Yale. Despite a hellacious flight into New York (delays, delays, delays–thank goodness I am breastfeeding and have a baby wrap), Baby Diva was an absolute doll.

We took her out to fancy restaurants, during which time Baby Diva alternated dancing for her adoring public and napping. Baby Diva loved all of the attention and staying up to play cards with her grandparents (she was on my team for Hearts).

Granny and Papa live nearby in suburban New York so they came up for the afternoon. Grandma and Grandpa (Super Dad’s ‘rents) live near the airport so we ended our journey with a visit there.

Baby Diva is becoming quite the traveler!!!