Swamps, alligators, snakes, big cats and lemurs never get old, and if you find yourself in south Florida, tear yourself away from the shopping at Sawgrass Mills for a few hours to do a tour. Not only can you hold a baby alligator and pet some epic snakes, but there are many other rare animals to encounter. As a National Geographic Kids Insider, I have learned a bunch about big cats, but this is certainly the place to see them in person. I was pretty sad seeing them in cages, but hoped they get to roam and run freely as much as possible in order to keep the species healthy.
Nearly everyone who comes to New York City makes a point of visiting Central Park. It is, quite literally, the heart of Manhattan, and any guide to NYC will direct you to explore this green oasis, which is so full of wonders, it can make you feel like a kid again.
But for those of us with actual children in tow, sometimes you just need the relative sanity of a fenced in playpark, where you can sip a coffee while the youngsters burn off some energy. For us, some of the greatest gems sprinkled throughout Central Park are the 21 different playgrounds—all 100% free, open from dawn to dusk, many of which have been renovated by the Central Park Conservancy over the last few years. As a resident of Manhattan since my children were two and three years-old, I’ve done some serious investigation of at least two-thirds of those parks and have whittled down my favourites to these five Central Park playgrounds.
Road trip season is upon us and while we understand why you’re considering faking a flat tire to avoid the imminent whining from the back seat— we challenge you to put aside your fears and create lifelong memories along the ribbons of roads that cross North America. CTV Morning Live invited me on set to chat about these trip tips, and—while organizing for the segment—the nostalgia swept over me and I wanted to share some of my personal family road trip tips with you.
Although I love saying, “Have toothbrush, will travel,” I need more in my suitcase than oral care tools and a passport! If you find packing for vacation scary enough to put you off leaving your house, check out how I pack with ease, then start planning your next vacay.
As far as traveling with young children goes during spring break, Fort Myers Beach, Florida is about as good (and easy) as it gets. After taking one of the many available non-stop flights to the Southwest Florida airport, you’ll find a small, narrow island off the gulf coast, with vast stretches of soft, pale pink sand, clear ocean water, and not a single high-rise hotel in sight.
I travel often with my kids and while it’s much easier now as they’re getting older, I still remember the horrific time with one baby in a carrier, the other standing beside me trying to manoeuvre in a tiny airplane stall. And then there’s the flight where at least one child has cried for 9 straight hours. Yes, I have experienced flights from hell, and lived to tell the tale.
Mardi Gras is an exciting celebration, known around the world for its colourful parade floats and beads thrown into the crowd. This exciting event is a great time to experience the personality and culture of vibrant New Orleans, held every February. The colourful masques, costumes and parade floats are only one of the reasons to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras. It’s a once in a lifetime trip, and to make it happen for 2017, you need to start planning now!
Art of Mixology
On Friday, Sept. 11 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m, participants will learn how to use infused liquor to create summer cocktails paired with freshly prepared herbs from the chef’s garden. The event will take place at The Backyard Bar & BBQ at The Ritz-Carlton and will feature three cocktails paired with appetizers. Cost is $40 USD per person and tickets must be purchased in advance.
Wine Inspired Painted Vine Event
In partnership with The Painted Vine, a local business based in Truckee, Calif. the festival will offer an evening of wine tasting and painting on Friday, Sept. 11 beginning at 5:30 p.m in Cafe Blue. The night will include a painting class for two, cheese and dessert stations, wine and beverages. Cost is $100 USD per person. 48-hour advance reservations are required.
Tahoe Long Table Harvest Dinner
On Saturday, Sept. 12 beginning at 6:30 p.m. guests are invited to the Tahoe Long Table Harvest Dinner featuring a family-style dinner presentation of a special harvest menu prepared by Stanley Miller, executive chef of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. The menu incorporates fresh, locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. Guests will be seated together at a long table on the Manzanita Terrace to enjoy six courses with wine pairings al fresco, accompanied by the surrounding mountains views. Cost is $125 USD per person with wine pairings.
The culinary weekend concludes Sunday, September 13 in The Village at Northstar with the Culinary Competition and Grand Tasting of which the culinary team from The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe will participate in.
Tickets can be purchased and more information about the weekend’s events can be found online at www.NorthstarCalifornia.com.
For more information about events and to make dining reservations at The Ritz-Carlton call: 530-562-3000.
For many families, Las Vegas is an inexpensive and easy destination for travel, but are there enough kids activities in Las Vegas? I believe that kids can learn and have fun in any destination as long as parents are attentive to their needs and do a bit of homework. While smoky casinos and shooting ranges may be off the activity lists, there are loads of kids activities in Las Vegas that are thrilling for the whole family.
Here are a few Sin City activities that I’ve experienced that make me itch for a family trip!
After many jogs while training for a Run Disney event, I finally figured it out – Paradise Point Resort in San Diego, California was named after the bird of paradise flower! Because they are everywhere. And I must be blind as a bat. This expansive resort on an island across from the Sea World is perfect for families.
Paradise Point Resort is a private 44-acre island tucked away on gentle Mission Bay in San Diego. Resident turtles and ducks stroll right to your patio door and the beach around the perimeter of the property offers firepits that are ideal for the ‘S’more’ kit available at the resort store.
Caveman Pizza Company delivers on-site via bicycle, and yet the kitchenettes in each room offer a fridge and microwave in order to appease snack-happy kids. The pools were full of life and ideal for little ones.
Disclosure: UrbanMommies was not compensated for this review.
En route home from the ROAR Retreat in Cost Rica, I did a wee stop in Las Vegas to save one flights (which was promptly negated by my trip to the outlet mall). Wanting to try a newer boutique hotel, I picked the Cromwell Hotel Las Vegas. It’s one of those warm, posh places with masculinity oozing from each view.
As with other intimate spaces, the bartender knows every name and the rich red drapery in the casino make you feel as if you’re being wrapped in a warm velvet blanket.Even the hallways were symmetrically perfect and warm. Though I had only a few hours in Sin City, I did make it to my favourite Premium Outlet Mall. Ted Baker was beckoning, and my husband was texting with his sizes..
Though I had a phenomenally successful shopping trip, my carry-on bag wasn’t quite large enough to sustain the wardrobe additions. The Cromwell front desk manager and bellman called around the city until he found an inexpensive luggage store open until midnight only two blocks away. That is service!
Although the shopping cut into my dining time (I wasn’t able to experience Giada) and Drai’s Nightclub was closed, I loved the hotel so much that I will make more time away from the stores on my next visit!
I remember as a little girl growing up in Halifax the annual back-to-school shopping trips to New England. We took the ferry and it was incredibly exciting. But then the ferry was no more. All that has changed with a fabulous announcement today. Nova Star Cruises ferry will connect Nova Scotia and Maine. Starting at a price of $79 USD, Nova Star Cruises will connect Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and Portland, Maine in May 2014 when they launch daily, round-trip cruise ferry service.
One-way fares for the nine-hour cruise aboard the brand new, 161-metre cruise ferry, Nova Star, will range from $79 to $129 for adults and $39 to $64 for children five to 12 years of age, depending on the date of travel. Children under the age of five will travel free all season long.
With a casino, three restaurants, including fine dining and a sumptuous buffet, a theater and conference center for live entertainment, plus a spa, art gallery, children’s play area and more, Nova Star will provide a wealth of onboard amenities for passengers to enjoy during the voyage.
When it comes time to rest, passengers can relax in the comfort of an assigned recliner seat, from $19 to $39 per chair, or a private cabin that can accommodate up to four travelers, starting at $49 in the saver season and $89 during the summer season between June 12 and September 8.
Passengers can walk onboard the Nova Star, or bring their own transportation, at rates from $129 to $179 for autos, $49 to $89 for motorcycles, and $16 to $22 for bicycles, depending on the season.