The Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls Ontario Provides Amazing Views!

Skylon-Tower
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International travel with kids can be challenging, but finding the right place to visit and experience can make the visit even more enjoyable! While we were in Niagara Falls we were able to explore numerous fun spots like Ripley’s, Niagara Helicopters, Bird Kingdom, Skylon Tower and of course Niagara Falls itself. On the third day that we were there it was raining but we still wanted to see everything and we had tickets to see the Skylon Tower.

Skylon-Tower

The Skylon Tower is an iconic site in Niagara Falls, Ontario. This is a tower that you see from anywhere around the city. It is a 775 foot tower that gives you a 360 degree view of the city and falls. On a clear day you can see so far! Unfortunately fo my family and I, we were visiting on a rainy day, and all of the other days we were there were of a similar ilk, so we decided to go and see what we could see while we were out and close to the tower itself. While visiting the Skylon Tower was not something I would typically encourage in the rain, we were still excited to see what it would be like.  If you are not a fan of heights going up on this tower might be a bit much. It takes just over 50 seconds to go up and a large portion of the time you are in a glass elevator so you can see even more. If you have this fear, unless you plan to to close your eyes for almost a minute (which J-Mom was not) you may choose to sit this out and wait at the bottom (which J-Mom did).

Skylon-Tower

So the kids and I went up to the top and when you get there, while I thought you would look out from the inside, you actually go outside on a terrace of sorts that goes around the top of the tower and provides you with the 360 degree view. With this being said you get to have the opportunity to see everything around the city and beyond. The pictures I have included in the post were taken from the tower itself so you can see what we saw. The views are breath taking and I can see that on a nice day you would be able to get not only great photographs, but also great views and memories.

Skylon-Tower

All of this being said, I was glad that we went up there and can tell you that we would go again, especially if it was a clear day, as I know that the view would be amazing. While I did not try the restaurant at the top, I know that this too had a great view and was revolving, so, again, on a clear day you would get to see everything and get to eat!

So next time you are in Niagara Falls, Ontario, check out the Skylon Tower for yourself and check out what sights you can see!

 

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Bird Kingdom In Niagara Falls Ontario Is Amazing!

Bird-Kingdom
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International travel with kids can be challenging, but finding the right place to visit and experience can make the visit even more enjoyable! While we were in Niagara Falls we were able to explore numerous fun spots like Ripley’s, Niagara Helicopters, Bird Kingdom, Skylon Tower and of course Niagara Falls itself. On the second day that we were there it was raining and we decided to go and see Bird Kingdom even though we did not know a lot about what to expect.

Bird-Kingdom

When we arrived at the building I can say that the building is very unassuming. The building looks small and you cannot really tell much although there are pictures of birds on the outside. As you enter the building though the unassuming outside is transformed into vibrant colors, perking your interest in what else is in store for you further in the building.

Bird-Kingdom

As you enter the building you first learn about the history of Niagara Falls and some of the daredevils that crossed the falls. Then you get to meet and interact with some of the resident birds and reptiles of Bird Kingdom. My girls, wife and I loved being able to have one of the Macaws rest on their arm, and although we did not choose to buy the photograph that they took of each of us, this still was an experience that we will not soon forget.

Bird-Kingdom

Your continue through different rooms meeting different birds, small and large and what is great is thmoreat you get to meet so many that are from so many diverse countries, many of which you would never have seen before. You get to meet birds of the nights and other night-time creatures and creepy-crawlies in the Night Jungle and toward the end of the exhibit you enter an amazing open air forum that is simply filled with birds roaming free. In this open air area there is a beautiful three story tall indoor waterfall as well as Lorikeet Landing where you can feed myriads of Lorikeets, and let me tell you, when you have food for them, they simply flock around you!

Bird-Kingdom

This last room was massive and was a crowning achievement for the whole exhibit. Though I say this I will also say that really my family and I were very impressed with all of Bird Kingdom and even though it may not look like much from the outside, if you like birds and other reptiles and insects you will love this as much as my family did!

Bird-Kingdom

All-in-All Bird Kingdom really delivered. From the animal encounters, to the natural beauty and so much more, this is a gem and something that all families should experience together!

 

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Niagara Falls Ontario Gives Beauty & Wonder For All Ages

Niagara-Falls
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International travel with kids can be challenging, but finding the right place to visit and experience can make the visit even more enjoyable! We recently took our kids to Niagara Falls, Ontario to experience the majesty and grandeur of this natural wonder. While we were in Niagara Falls we were able to explore numerous fun spots like Ripley’sNiagara Helicopters, Bird Kingdom, Skylon Tower and of course Niagara Falls itself.

Niagara-Falls

J-Mom and I had visited Niagara once before, but the last time was in mid-February before we had kids, so we thought that it was time to bring both girls with us while we were traveling to my grandmother’s memorial in Silver Creek, New York. We would spend my 40th birthday there and experience a number of great sites and of course the falls itself.

Niagara-Falls

The Falls and the park around the falls are all run by the Niagara Parks Commission. There is so much more than the Niagara Falls as a part of the Niagara Falls Experience. The Niagara Parks Commission offers a Wonder Pass that encompasses all of these experiences, and in looking at the individual prices, the Wonder Pass is definitely worth the price. The Wonder Pass includes passes to Niagara Fury, Journey Behind the Falls, the Butterfly Conservatory and even a two day pass for the WEGO Transportation System.

Niagara Fury is an interactive movie that incorporates an animated story into a wild movie driven, water infused ride. You can get a bit wet during this interactive experience, but it is not too bad. My wife was quite worried about getting drenched, but it was not as bad as she had expected and the rain poncho that they provided was enough to keep her dry and it was a great addition to have for the Journey Behind the Falls. The Journey Behind the Falls gives guests the opportunity to actually go down below into the bedrock and behind Niagara Falls. You go down an elevator a long way and when you get to the bottom you have three vantage points to see Niagara Falls through tunnels. This is an amazing behind the scenes look at Niagara Falls that you would never get otherwise. Be ready though as the temperature really drops that far down and the noise in the tunnels is quite loud!

Butterfly-Conservatory Butterfly-Conservatory Butterfly-Conservatory

The Butterfly Conservatory was quite a ways north of Niagara Falls, off the green line on the WEGO Bus line. We ended up taking our car up there, but just note that if you do there is a $5 Canadian charge to park there. While we visited before the grounds were well landscaped or when the flowers were growing, I could tell that the area would be beautiful later in the summer. Inside the building they had a nocturnal animal exhibit and the butterfly exhibit that I was expecting.  As you go through this butterfly exhibit I have to say that this is larger than any other butterfly exhibit that I have visited before. There were so many butterflies and they were very friendly as you can see in the pictures. We had numerous experiences when they landed us making the visit memorable.

Elements-Restaurant

Finally, one last thing I wanted to share was that back at Niagara Falls we ended up having both lunch and dinner overlooking Niagara Falls at Elements Restaurant. While the falls were usually veiled in mist and rain while we were there we could tell that this would definitely be the best view that you could have without getting wet and being outside. During both meals we were able to have a great view of Niagara Falls and the food was amazing. They had a wonderful array of flavors mixed together to make the food special. One item that I tried the Element Burger was especially juicy, and I added in a special blue cheese that was made by monks in Quebec (talk about unique). The wait staff were also so attentive, friendly and great with kids, and we even were able to work with the same waitress at dinner (as she stayed late from her shift just to interact with us once she saw we were there). We loved our experiences at the restaurant and would definitely give this 5 stars, two thumbs up and more!

Elements-Restaurant

Even though the weather was a bit sketchy, we still had a great time and created a ton of memories that will not soon disappear.
 

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5 Tips For International Travel With Kids

IntlTravelWithKids

A week ago we decided to go on a mini-vacation to Niagara Falls, Ontario on the way to the memorial for my Grandmother in Silver Creek, New York. We were excited to be able to have the kids experience the magic and natural wonder that is Niagara Falls and because this was international travel with kids we knew that we had to do our research to do things right. That being said, I cannot say that we did things completely right, but we tried, and I wanted to take a moment to share the top five things that we learned in about international travel with kids.

SAMSUNG CSC

  • Research Documentation Requirements
    When you choose international travel with kids, look to see what is required in regards to documentation for kids and for you. For many countries, you will have to get a passport. The nice thing about this is that if you get this they will last for a few years, so it is a one time expense. If you are traveling through Canada the rules are a bit more relaxed. For example, we decided not to pay to get new passports for our kids this summer (their passports expired in March) because kids can travel in Canada with their birth certificate if they do not have a passport.
  • Check on the current Exchange Rates
    Make sure to look at the current exchange rates before international travel with kids. Realize that businesses in other countries may not be required to honor the exchange rate at the same rate as many will charge a transaction fee because of having to take the money somewhere to have it exchanged back. We had this happen to us numerous times and we found that the consistency between businesses was non-existent. If you want to pay in your own currency you need to ask what their going rate is for this. You may even want to think about purchasing currency before you go, especially if your trip is an extended one.
  • Look at the Weather Conditions
    Whether the destination that you may be going may be close or far, it is important to look ahead of time to bring the clothes that you will need for international travel with kids. We thought that we had done this, but unfortunately we came to find that our clothes were a bit inadequate for how cold it ended up being (colder than originally expected and rainier than expected).
  • Explore Public Transportation Options
    At Niagara Falls parking is very expensive by the falls, but if you get a WEGO pass you can really save a ton of money and get anywhere you need to go around the downtown falls area. That being said, when you are looking to travel internationally, especially if you will be near a major city, look for public transportation options as you may be very surprised by how inexpensive this may be, especially in regards to international travel with kids!
  • Pack Everything You Need to Capture Your Memories
    I am a photographer by nature so I always pack my Samsung NX 1 with me, but I also do not want to forget to think about the video camera, extra SD cards, battery chargers, external flash or any other filters or other camera equipment that I might need to capture the experiences with my family. So think ahead and bring what you need depending on the type of person you are and the type of experiences you and planning to try to have on your trip.

Niagara-Falls

These are just some of my take-away international travel with kids tips from our trip to Niagara Falls Ontario. I hope that they have helped you.

 

Do you do international travel with kids? What are your tips that you would share with others?

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High Flying Action With Niagara Helicopters Over Niagara Falls

Niagara-Helicopters
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In the over fifty years since Niagara Helicopters Limited started business in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, the company has continued to provide thrills for visitors from all over the world.

Today’s Niagara Helicopters is almost exclusively a sightseeing operation, augmented by charter flights, aerial surveillance, film and photography, external loads, and other specialty flying.

Niagara-Helicopters

In its busiest months the company employs about 40 people, including 10 full- and part-time Pilots and 2 Aircraft Maintenance Engineers.  Last year the company flew over 100,000 passengers from all corners of the globe, on the regular 9 minute, 27 kilometers flightseeing tour over Niagara Falls.

I had never been in a helicppter in the past, but had always wanted to. You see this in the movies and it just looks amazing and a bit scary too. We arrived at Niagara Falls on Tuesday and on everyday we were there Niagara Helicopters was actually grounded due to visibility and rain, but on the last day, right before we were about to leave I decided to call and try one more time to see if by chance I might be able to get us on the helicopter for one last amazing view of the falls, and we struck gold.

Niagara-Helicopters

The Niagara Helicopters site is a bit outside of town, but not a long drive and actually accessible also from the WEGO bus line as well. We drove there and when we got there we were the only ones there which was great! It took about 10-15 minutes to get the helicopter ready but once it was we were rounded up and we headed to our waiting helicopter.

J-Mom is not a big motion ride person so I knew she was worried, especially because it was quite windy on the day we went up, but the operators said that wind was not a problem for them and that it still should be a pretty calm ride. In going to the helicopter you always think you have to duck down to get into the helicopter itself, but that is not the case. You actually can walk right out, but hold onto your hat as it is noisy and windy. The people at Niagara Helicopters will take a number of pictures that they will offer to sell you at the end, and though we ended up not purchasing them, they were very well done!

Niagara-Helicopters

The ground crew get you situated on the helicopter and you get in and you are quickly off. My eldest took shotgun next to the pilot to my dismay, but I still got some amazing shots on the flight and amazingly enough we found that the falls during this flight were completely clear and we were given the best view of them that we had been able to get from the entire time that we were here.

The ride was smooth. There were a few bumps and sways and you do get some turns when the helicopter banked that I think scared J-Mom a bit.

As we were going through our amazing ride I could tell that this was going to be amazing. You see, for all of the days that we were at Niagara Falls we really did not get many good pictures, as the weather was poor and the falls were always covered in fog and mist. On the last day during this flight the falls were completely clear. We were able to see everything and get some amazing pictures and video too! The thing that I loved about this, was that you could see everything as well as everything that led into the falls both on the American and Canadian sides.

I am SO glad that we took this flight as you get to experience the falls in a way that most would only wish. The flight could have been so much longer, and I know that I would have loved to have experienced even more time in the air, even though I know that J-Mom would not have appreciated this.

If you want to have an unforgettable experience over the Niagara Falls that you and your family/friends will never forget, taking a Niagara Helicopters ride will definitely do it. I know that both of my girls will never forget this experience and I am so glad that I was able to provide the experience for them!

 

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Get Ready For a Weird, Wild Time at Ripley’s Believe It or Not

Ripleys
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When you go to Niagara Falls, Ontario and go to Clifton Hill, you will get a bit overwhelmed by all of the things that there are to do. From huge Ferris Wheels to fun spots, arcades, mazes, fright houses and more. You will also see some names of places that you have known for years and one will be Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

In Niagara Falls, Ontario, you will find that there are three locations that hold the Ripley’s Believe It or Not name. The first is the actual Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium. The second is Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks. The last is Ripley’s Believe It or Not Moving Theater.

Ripleys

Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium

Over 800 exhibits spread across 10,000 square feet. This museum has been one I have seen in other cities, but have never tried myself. I grew up loving reading the comics in the Sunday paper and then books as I got older.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! on Vimeo.

This building is filled with the oddest array of items. I loved how each room that you were in had something of a theme so you could see “unique” artwork such as things made out of matchsticks or Niagara Falls painted on a grain of rice. You also learn a ton about people and unique people at that. People such as the tallest or heaviest man (you should read about his daily diet). There was also a very interesting video about Niagara Falls and especially about the daredevils that crossed the falls or even went over the falls and either lived to tell the tale or not.

Ripleys

Some of the items in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium are a bit macabre, but my girls still thought that it was cool. I do not know if everything in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium would be for someone below the age of seven, but that is a parental decision. I say this, not because it is inappropriate (at least in most aspects) but more because of the understanding of the material and the appreciation for what they are seeing.

Louis-Tussaud’s-Waxworks

Ripley’s Believe It or Not Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks

Louis Tussauds Promo from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! on Vimeo.

Louis-Tussaud’s-Waxworks

With 100 lifelike wax figures you get surrounded by celebrities and characters from movies that are sometimes bigger than life. I have to say that for me, I had seen places like the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks before but I had never stepped foot into the  place I was in a bit of awe at the artistry that goes into finding the right likeness to each immortalized individual. All of this being said, I think for me, one of the things that

I loved seeing were the masks that each of the celebrities were asked to wear in the process. J-Mom was completely in awe with seeing Alfred Hitchcock’s mask!

Louis-Tussaud’s-Waxworks

There was even a hall of horrors which for me was not really that scary, but actually very cool because it had some of the best know movie monsters/characters of all time.

With some of the wax creations looking very much like the people that they were made to be and some a little off, I still have to marvel at the artistry that it does take to try and find this unique balance.

Louis-Tussaud’s-Waxworks

All-in-all I found this to be very unique and fun and even though it did not take a lot of time to get through the museum, it was a lot of fun and the kids enjoyed it too.

My eldest said that her favorite figures at the museum were John Lennon, Harry Potter, Hermione and the Wizard of Oz characters, but there were a ton of others that I loved too, some of which I have shared pictures of here. Diva-J said that you really felt that you could talk to the people and that it was hard to believe that they were made of wax!

moving-theater

Ripley’s Believe It or Not Moving Theater

Ripley’s Moving Theater: Rats Race Xtreme from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! on Vimeo.

Ripley’s Moving Theater: Winter Wipeout Ride from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! on Vimeo.

The above two videos are the ones currently showing at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Moving Theater. While what you are seeing is not in 4D, you get the picture on what the shows are about. Both movies combined are only about 15 minutes in length. If you want to watch the movie again, you can, but it will cost an extra $5/person which is good depending on your age as tickets range from $7.99-$13.99 per person.

You will get jostled around a bit and you will have some water sprayed at you too, but that was ok. You also wear 3D glasses and you need them for the actual 4D effect to happen for you too.

J-Mom does not like a lot of motion, so she sat this one out and it was probably a good idea. That being said the two films together as mentioned were only about 15 minutes in length, so J-Mom sitting and waiting was not too bad, and though she did not do this Clifton Hill offers a ton of other things to do for someone that does not want to do this!

 

All-in-all Ripley’s Believe It or Not definitely brings out some weird but also a ton of fun things for the whole family. Whether you are in Niagara Falls or anywhere else where Ripley’s Believe It or Not exhibits can be found, have some fun and check out the odd, you will enjoy it, trust me!

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Embassy Suites Launches #PrettyGreat Family Travel Hacks!

#PrettyGreat-Travel-Hacks

Three-quarters (77%) of parents across the nation take trips where they stay in a hotel at least once a year with their kids – regardless of how many children they have – with about one-third (30%) of families traveling three or more times a year.¹ Parents say that family vacations are among their favorite moments with their kids, and that’s why a favorite, family-friendly hotel brand is taking steps to help make these important journeys even easier on parents.

Recently, Embassy Suites Hotels, the Hilton Worldwide brand of upscale all-suite hotels, announced the launch of its new #PrettyGreat Family Travel Hacks community.

“Family vacations come in all shapes and sizes, but some of the challenges parents face are the same, which is why we are committed to providing families with everything they need for a terrific experience – from two-room suites to free, made-to-order breakfast to complimentary drinks and snacks for all ages at our evening reception,” said John Rogers, global head, Embassy Suites Hotels. “We are taking it a step further this year with new team member training, family-focused amenities and the new #PrettyGreat Family Travel Hacks online community, which gives parents the opportunity to learn and share great advice on what makes trips with the kids easier and more fun.”

The Embassy Suites #PrettyGreat Family Travel Hacks program includes the following components:

  • #PrettyGreat Family Travel Hacks Online Community: The online community provides family travel “hacks” – simple, clever tips to make vacation journeys with children easier, from packing to keeping the kids entertained on the road – posted by family travel experts and fellow parents. Currently, parents can post their own battle-tested hacks for the chance to win one of eight one-night stays to the Embassy Suites hotel of their choice, awarded weekly from March 19 through May 14, 2015.

 

  • Embassy Suites Team-Member Training: Fifty-six percent of people surveyed in the recent Embassy Suites Family Travel study said a friendly staff would make them return to the same hotel or stay at the same hotel chain in another location for a family vacation.1 Embassy Suites is reinforcing its commitment to providing families with a great guest experience by incorporating family-specific training into its orientation program and ongoing team-member training sessions.  The brand is also adding resources, such as how-to videos featuring our All-Star Team Members, and encouraging team members to share their demonstrated best practices to inspire others.

 

  • Family-focused Amenities: Embassy Suites is adding a variety of new family-focused amenities, from cocktail napkins with family-friendly games – like tic-tac-toe, Sudoku and word search – for the evening reception, to baby- and child-specific “do not disturb” signs, to coloring books and crayons at check-in. The brand is also planning a pilot program to offer baby care amenities – such as baby wash, wipes and other essentials – at select properties this summer.

#PrettyGreat-Travel-Hacks

To better understand and respond to the needs of traveling families, Embassy Suites Hotels commissioned a survey¹ of 2,000 U.S. parents with at least one child under the age of 18 at home. The results reinforce the desire of all parents to travel with their kids, and reveals key wishes and stumbling blocks related to family travel including:

  • Families travel frequently, but Millennials show real wanderlust. Nearly 40 percent of Millennial parents (38%) travel and stay in a hotel three or more times per year with their children – a higher rate than both Generation X and Baby Boomer parents. Still, eight out of 10 parents (82%) overall wish they could travel with their kids even more frequently.

 

  • Families that travel together, stay together. Sixty-three percent said they are motivated to take a trip with the kids in order to “build new memories with them,” and 62 percent said “spending time with their kids while they are still young” is a motivating factor.

 

  • Travel is a family affair. Millennial parents often bring other family members on vacation. About one-third (34%) of Millennials bring another family member other than their partner and/or a grandparent (31%) on family vacations. Generation X and Baby Boomer parents are both less likely to take these additional family members, with Boomers being about two times less likely.

 

  • Family travel is an important part of parenting today. Seventy percent of parents are motivated to take family trips because they believe giving their kids experiences they didn’t have as a child is important. These parents want their kids to be more well-rounded than they were at their age (51%) and want to provide more for their kids than their parents were financially able to provide (47%).

 

  • Family-friendly amenities lead to a successful vacation. Fifty-three percent said “affordable two-room suites,” and 47 percent said “free hot, made-to-order breakfast each day” would make them a lot more likely to take a trip with the kids, the two highest-rated of the choices offered. That’s good news for those staying at Embassy Suites, which has long catered to families by offering every guest a two-room suite, free cooked-to-order breakfast and a nightly two-hour reception with complimentary drinks* and snacks.

 

CityPASS ( @CityPASS ) Shares The Complete City With You! #DadChat

citypass
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Over the past month I have had the opportunity for work and for personal reasons to visit the cities of Tampa and San Francisco. That being said I wanted to not just be there for the business at hand but I also wanted to see some of what the city had to offer. While I did not have a ton of time in the cities, I decided to reach out to a company I had worked with one other time when I went to Chicago (Read about the trip here), CityPASS to see if they would be interested in working with me to try their product and allow me to see the cities, they were.

One of the things that I like about CityPASS is that they bring forth some of the most popular destinations within the city and make them accessible to you and your family at a reasonable price. CityPASS is a booklet of actual admission tickets, not coupons.  Guests can proceed directly to the main entrance, because San Francisco and Tampa Bay CityPASS is your actual ticket and you don’t have to stand in line to buy a ticket (Thus saving you time). Not only do you have the opportunity to access the sites, but at many of them you can get discounts on adding to the pass too. That being said, if you have the time to use the passes, you definitely can see and experience a lot of the culture, sights, sounds and more of the city when you are using the CityPASS tickets that you receive when you purchase your CityPASS booklet.

I also am impressed with the array of cities that they are working in now. You can see a full list here.

In the cities that I visited I tried out a few of the coupons, as I did not have time to use them all unfortunately. I will share a few of the experiences here, and hope that in the end you will find that you too will want to check out CityPASS the next time you are visiting one of the tourist locations that they frequent.

Clearwater-Marine-Aquarium

In Tampa, the one location that I wanted to share was the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. This working hospital got notoriety due to the Dolphin Tale & Dolphin Tale 2 movies. Yes, this is the actual site where Winter and Hope are, and yes, I did get to see them both and it was very cool! The site itself is set up with numerous areas where marine animals are and live, and you can easily spend the day watching, learning and more with these animals. Know that the site is not large, but there are many activities and interactive sessions with trainers during the day, and it is through these that you can spread out your visit. I arrived just after it opened and found it to be very easy to maneuver around and the employees friendly and engaging. After a few hours it started getting busy as there were busses of people that arrived and they all started to fill the spaces. When this occurred I tried to move to other areas in the facility to not get too cramped between the people. There was also a second site that is included in the pass that you receive and that is to an off-site location that is about a mile away that is dedicated to the movie itself. The site has a ton of movie memorabilia, facts and more as well as a very cool interactive area that recreates the Hurricane that hit in the first movie. All-in-all this is a great facility that is great for families, couples or individuals. You will learn a ton and also have your heart warmed a bit as you see the two famed Dolphins too!

sf-cable-car

 

In San Francisco, one of the experiences that I loved the most was the Trolley Car rides that I took. Yes, the other locations that I visited were great too, but these cars are so iconic and something that I had not experienced in the past. The cars are exactly as you have seen, but how they work and stay on the steep streets of the city were amazing. They also bring you all over the city and allow you to maneuver easily without having to deal with the traffic that is all around. While yes, I did partake in a few other of the locations provided in the coupon book, this was on the top of my list coming in and leaving too!

All-in-all I have to again commend CityPASS for what it is trying to do. Getting people to truly experience these amazing cities is amazing and I for one have to say that for the price and for what you get, it is definitely worth it!
 

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Planning a day at the beach with kids #DadChat

beach

Planning a day at the beach with kids

Summer is just around the corner and nothing is more fun for the whole family than a day at the beach with kids. If you live close to a beach, a staycation is a great vacation idea for families. It’s a great way to have fun and save money.

A beach staycation can mean more than just swimming. There are many fun things to do at the beach, from boating to beach volleyball.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you plan a trip to the beach, including comfort, safety and fun. Yes, it’s true, the beach isn’t just about fun, but if you go prepared you can make sure the whole time is a fun experience and a memorable one.

beach

Comfort

Comfort is important for a trip to the beach because you want to make sure you have a chance to relax and enjoy the sun and sand. That means having the right towels, the right wardrobe and even the right chair. Make sure that bathing suites fit, and stay in place, before heading out. This will help avoid any embarrassing moments. Make sure to bring sandals, sunglasses, a beach hat and even a change of clothes if necessary.

The right seating is important too. While it might be fun to sit in the sand, why not bring along heavy duty chairs from Beach Mall. A comfortable chair that can stand up the the beach and climbing kids is definitely a must have for the perfect beach vacation.

beach

Safety

If you have young children that don’t know how to swim well, make sure to bring flotation devices. It also helps to choose a beach that has a lifeguard on duty.

Keep a first aid kit in your vehicle. Sometimes a trip to the beach can result in a cut foot from someone’s broken glass hidden in the sand, a bug bite, or even sunburn.

Speaking of sunburn, always bring sunscreen. Find one with an SPF of 30, or more, and make sure that it protects from UVA and UVB rays. If the sunscreen is not waterproof it may need to be reapplied numerous times, depending how much time you spend on the beach.

beach

Fun

While a visit to the beach itself is fun, it sometimes helps to bring some fun things with you.

Make the kids leave technology at home, and set an example by doing the same. Tech gadgets don’t do well clogged up with sand anyway.

Take a beach ball, beach noodles, and other fun beach toys with you. Depending on the beach rules, you might even be able to bring the family dog to play for the day.

If your beach rents out any kinds of boats or wave runners it might be fun to rent one for a bit. Just make sure everyone wears their life jacket and follows safety rules.

Beach volleyball is also another fun sport, mainly for older kids. You can always bring your own set-up if the beach doesn’t have one, and invite other beach goers to play too.

The important thing is to make sure everyone is safe and having fun, together.

 

February is the cheapest month to travel! #DadChat

frn-card

With the start of 2015, I know people are always looking for ways to save and, as you may already know, February is the cheapest month to travel! So why not pack up and take a road trip?  To make it easier to hit the road, Shell Fuel Rewards is offering more ways to save with a special Winter 20’s Offer till March 1, earning 20 cents off for:

  • Shopping at Toys “R” Us, JCPenney or Olive Garden with every $100 you spend in accumulated purchases
  • Every friend you refer to sign up for Shell Fuel Rewards via your unique referral link with the Refer-A-Friend promotion
  • Linking your MasterCard debit or credit card to your Fuel Rewards account for the first time
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