Travels in and around Sacramento, California

California tourists know big city names like Sacramento, but a visit to Northern California offers more than one opportunity to enjoy the area. A great place for a classic road trip, Camino, Coloma, Columbia, Jamestown, Placerville, Sonora, and  Tuolumne County are full of attractions just around the next bend in the road.

Sacramento

Sacramento is one of California’s largest cities and full of family friendly attractions. Museums dedicated to such topics as transportation, art, and history can all be found here along with shops, restaurants, and “Old Sacramento, a registered national landmark and state historic park”. With the diverse offerings there is something that will appeal to every family member.

visit california

Trains, cars, or both? Sacramento is home to the California State Railroad Museum and California Auto Museum. Transportation and the area’s history are closely tied as the city was part of the transcontinental railroad and Pony Express. The Railroad Museum not only displays restored locomotives and train cars, they also feature “40 one-of-a kind exhibits”. Here you can learn about railroad history from 1850 to the trains we ride today. A mile down the road the Auto Museum is full of examples of more modern four wheeled transport. The collection features cars from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, originals and restorations.

california railroad

Art? The Crocker Art Museum is a perfect stop. Opening in 1885 the museum is a part of history too, the “first public art museum in the Western United States”.  Enjoy more than the art when visiting, there are also live events, tours, and classes for kids, adults, or the whole family. When planning your trip be sure to check out their Events Calendar on the site.

History? Old Town Sacramento Historic District is a living piece of the past. Shops once supplied miners in search of gold, now those historic buildings house shops and eateries that appeal to new visitors in the area. The Sacramento History Museum is there to expand your local knowledge or if you want to go back before the city was founded try the California State Indian Museum.

travel in california

California Gold Rush

Gold brought the original settlers to the region and now you can learn about the history and recapture the experience at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma Ca. James Marshall triggered the “largest migration in history” when he discovered gold in 1848. With a museum, gold panning, candle and rope making you can spend the afternoon living history.
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Le Blanc Spa Resort, Los Cabos Mexico

A Luxury Adults Only Getaway to Mexico

resorts in mexico

When you are looking to vacation without the hassle, to just enjoy yourself in the deluxe accommodations, to indulge on your next trip, you need look no further than Le Blanc All-Inclusive Spa and Resort. Located in popular Los Cabos on the west coast of Mexico, Le Blanc offers everything you are seeking and more.

adult only mexico

This is Le Blanc’s second location, the first being their top rated Cancun resort from Palace Resorts, recognized by AAA as a Five Diamond Awarded brand. With this new location on the opposite coast they have raised the bar. Fine dining, ocean front views, spa and fitness facilities are all added on to the pure natural beauty of the Baja Peninsula.

couples only getaway

Taste enthusiasts will love the variety of foods available during your stay. Le Blanc offers gourmet delicacies with curated menus by world-renowned pastry chef, Antonio Bachour. If you too enjoy baked goods, they are a top choice for me and hard to resist, what could be better than a selection of dishes from a chef who shares that passion.
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10 Wildly Fun Ways to Enjoy the Houston Zoo with CityPASS

 

  1.  Up Close and Personal with the Animals: As soon as we entered the zoo gates we were greeted by the most adorable chinchilla and it’s friendly handler who let guest pet and pose for pics with the fluffy soft animal.

2. Playful Seals and Underwater life

3.  Under the sea: The Kipp Aquarium within the Houston Zoo houses 200 species of underwater animals like these stunning lionfish and moon jellyfish that we were all mesmerized by. On your way through the exhibit you’ll view 2,000 individual freshwater and saltwater fish as well as marine invertebrates that will have you feeling like you were touring the coral reefs of the Pacific, the Rift Valley Lakes of Africa and the Amazon basin.

4. Explore the new nature play area: The Houston Zoo believes that when children are encouraged to play in nature they are more likely to support and protect nature and this new area allows them to use their wild imaginations while discovering the natural world that surrounds them.  Kids can create sculptures and mud pies, build with tree branches and wall climb. Bring towels, extra clothes and expect your kids to get a bit messy!

5. Adorable Baby Elephants: During our visit we all fell in love with a few of the newest baby arrivals and gushed watching this sweet baby elephant right before she went over to the Houston zookeepers to get washed up.
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Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Getaway

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Casino, their motto is “Expect the unexpected” and visitors should!

If you are planning a trip to Pennsylvania there is no better destination than the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Stay, dine, and adventure all at one location. You can’t go wrong and there are options for every family member, even the canine ones. Luxury and activity come together to offer stimulation and relaxation.

Pittsburgh resort

The first step is choosing the accommodations that work for you and your family. Nemacolin offers three rooming options, the Chateau Lafayette, Falling Rock, and their Lodge. Or if you want more they have townhouses and luxury vacation homes available. Traveling with a four legged companion? Try Nemacolin Wooflands Resort and Spa. No matter which you pick there is no wrong answer when every one is so lovely a retreat from the every day.

luxury resorts

Once you are on the grounds and your vacation has begun it is time to select between all of the possibilities Nemacolin has for its guests. Want to get some dirt on your boots? Try the Adventure Center. Hiking, bike rentals, paintball target practice, even a Jeep® Off-Road Driving Academy are some of the adventures that keep your feet on the ground. Or you can adventure up high. Fatbird SuperFlyer is over 3,000’ of dueling zip lines, or give the elevated Ropes Tour and Climbing Wall a try. Maybe keep it simple with a family round at the Fallingbrook Mini Golf Course.

Have Sippy Will Travel

Your kids can get so much more from their trip to the Nemacolin Wildlife Academy than just time in the outdoors. With a Safari Tour, on foot, or horseback, there are many ways to experience the wild life at Nemacolin. They are dedicated to giving a safe home to animals such as bison, zebra, a bengal tiger, lions, wolves and bears. There is also a nursery of more than 40 species of smaller animals like the two toed sloth, fennec foxes, rabbits and reptiles. There is always something new to learn and discover.
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Kennedy Space Center Astronaut Training

space camp

There are many reasons why actual space travel for civilians is quickly gaining momentum. Corporate ventures, like Mars One, Virginia Galactic and Elon Musk’s space-bound Tesla, have made such voyages closer to being a real possibility. Celebrities like Beyonce have reportedly put deposits on being one of the first on a commercial flight. Turmoil and pollution on this planet often makes escaping it a tempting option. Also, there is wide interest in STEM programs: phones and video games have created a universal audience and brought awareness to people of science aptitude they didn’t even know they had.

visit nasa

Now, thanks to NASA and the Kennedy Space Center, students can get hands-on training to go to Mars! The Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) is a special simulation of space walks, landing a capsule and more, to give a physical experience to complement the science they’ve been studying. After all, there’s so much more to exploring space than what’s on the page of a book. This gives students a real incentive to be able to achieve the exciting pinnacles of being an astronaut. Participants will take part in a Space Launch System rocket. They’ll also spend the day working on simulated Mars: collaborating with each other, doing engineering work and botany-gardening to supply food. So thought provoking, and the hands on experience gives you and your children a whole new perspective, and experience, to space and what astronauts deal with. 
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Escape the Cold- to the Best Beaches in America. Visit Desin, Florida

Now that the cold weather has arrived, you might be thinking about ways to escape it.  Consistently rated among the best beaches in Florida and in the USA (and even the world), you can’t go wrong with a visit to Destin, Florida. Known for it’s emerald green, yet totally clear water and white “sugar sand” powder soft beaches, Destin will give you the break from reality that you have been craving. If you have yet to make up your mind, let the beautiful scenery, amazing seafood, and endless opportunity for outdoor activities help you arrive to that conclusion.

best beaches

If you are a fan of seafood, you will be in a foodie paradise. Obviously the fare is as fresh as it gets, being right on the water. Part of Florida’s “panhandle” (along the Northwest of the state, most boardering the Gulf of Mexico, and yes- because it looks like a panhandle), people here take seafood seriously. You will find some of the most interesting and unique ways of cooking seafood you have had along the panhandle region, in my own experience. You might have had oysters, but I can guarantee you have not tried them all the ways you will find them here. It doesn’t’ matter if you prefer “tried and true” dishes or you are more of an adventurous eater, you won’t be disappointed in Destin.

beach restaurants

At The Crab Trap, you can eat outdoors or inside. I’d recommend out, as this restaurant has the most beautiful views of the beach and the Boardwalk below. There, watch beachgoers play vollyball or the waves roll in while you enjoy your meal. The ocean breeze is peaceful and welcome, and it’s a very relaxing way to spend your time out as a family. Located directly below you is The Boardwalk at Okaloosa Island, with shops, a small spray park, and other ways to while away your time. Let the kids run ahead of you or enjoy the water while you keep an eye on them. Great restaurant with great food, fantastic service (really, top notch), location, atmosphere, and views.  (crabtrapdestin.com)

fishing pier

Make sure you take the time to visit Okaloosa Island Pier after you eat; it’s about a block away. Not only the perfect spot to take a family photo, but you can also look for dolphins, fish, seabirds, or other marine life. You can also go fishing as well if you’d like.  I know, again with the views- but really, they are incredible.

destin aquaruim

Across the parking lot, in the same center, is the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park (gulfarium.com). It is a top Fort Walton Beach attraction, and perfect for families and animal lovers. This marine park houses animals like seals, turtles, alligators, fish, snakes, and much more. Learn from trainers and staff members about these animals, their care, and what they do in the wild. There are live shows at set times, and you can also sign up for animal encounters to feed penguins, snorkel with stingrays, and other options. Do this ahead of time so that you have your choice available to you at a time you are able to attend. 

SNUBA

We were definitely looking to spend as much time as we were able to outdoors. Getting as much vitamin D as you can while you can is always good, true? If you are looking for some outdoor adventure, book some time with Destin Snorkel & SNUBA Tour (destinsnorkel.com) Easily one of the coolest things we have done in a long time, this experience is part scuba, part snorkel, and perfect for almost any age and any level of swimmer.  Head over to the (very cool, save time to walk and shop along) boardwalk, where you will meet your SNUBA professional and get your snuba-suit on. Yes, it’s just a wetsuit and fins, but you will feel so much cooler thinking of it that way. Once you are ready, head onto the boat where you are driven to safe, calm, and clear waters. First, you will receive a 30-minute orientation where you are shown how to use all equipment and explanations are given, as well as questions answered. Then, you can swim and snorkel for a while. After that, you are able to dive up to 20 feet, with the rest of your group and your SNUBA instructor swimming along with you. Your mouthpiece is connected to an oxygen tank, and you are able to breathe fairly easily after you get used to it. You can see quite a variety of ocean life, and it’s a really awesome experience to be completely submerged underwater for such long stretches of time. Literally otherworldly, and very peaceful.  Not a great swimmer? Believe it or not, that’s OK. Got kids? Also fine. Call ahead and talk to them about restrictions, but there are far fewer then you might think. If you have never experienced SNUBA, or are thinking about SCUBA diving but have not yet, you must try this. An absolute “must try” experience for anyone. 
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Astronaut Training Experience® (ATX) at Kennedy Space Center

Your Child’s Dream of Space Travel is HERE!

We have all imagined what it might be like to go into space, to land on Mars, to be an astronaut. Now at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida you and your family can live it.

Learning about science and space is important, but experiencing the trials and actively participating in simulations of life on another planet gives education a whole new perspective. There are two parts to the new program, the Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) and Mars Base 1. These are both are pretty much all day events, though there are shorter options available should you prefer. Keep that in mind because you will want to give yourself plenty of time for each, and time to explore the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

space center

Astronaut Training Experience® (ATX)

The virtual reality Walk-on-Mars, Land-and-Drive-on-Mars full-motion simulator, Launch Mission and Spacewalk Training are all part of the ATX. This experience is hands on and high tech. If you or your children already love science and have a fascination with space, this will bring that passion to life. Prepare for your mission to Mars by training like a real NASA astronaut headed to space. Once you have been through ATX, Kennedy Space Center has taken it one step further with Mars Base 1. Ever wanted to take a space walk? How about a zero-gravity experience, where you fix space equipment like a real astronaut would? You and your team are strapped into special seats just like the real thing and you are handed tools to maintain the equipment you need to function day to day in space, using NASA techniques to solve problems. Navigate Mars terrain to deliver needed goods in your own space rover- be careful, it can get very bumpy. Don’t worry, you receive training so your skills are up to par before you are sent on these harrowing missions.
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Summer Fun In New York With the Family

There is a lot to do in New York with the kids this summer, no matter what your interests are. From waterparks to Broadway shows, indoor or outdoor activities, you and your crew will find much to do in the Empire State.

When it’s hot, but you still want want to be outdoors, why not consider a water park? Splish Splash Waterpark is a great place to spend the day as a family in the heat of the summer. Waterparks should be high on the summer “to do” list, and this is one of the best spots in the area.  There are lots of options for kids of all ages, with smaller splash or wade pools for smaller kids (scaled down pools and slides, little swings, spray parks, etc) in several varieties so that everyone can have fun and enjoy themselves. The bigger the kid, the more places they can play- but of they are too big, they can’t play in the small kid areas, so that the little ones don’t have to worry about being trampled.  Some favorites were Mutiny Bay, which puts your family in brightly colored boats, letting riders use water-spray “cannons” to blast other boats while those outside the ride can blast those inside the boats- and get sprayed themselves. Abyss Tube Slides were a favorite with all the kids, twisting and and turning your way down the enclosed slides. So was Bootleggers run, which holds up to four at a time in a tandem raft.  “Climb aboard a four-man raft that actually goes uphill with new generation hydromagnetic technology. It flies like a roller coaster without rails. So much fun, it just may be illegal!”says the park.  It really did seem as much like a roller coaster as it did like a tube ride, it was very cool. There are also favorites like wave pools and “lazy rivers”, and so much more.  Head over to SplishSplash.com and get your tickets soon, summer will be over before you know it.

luna park

 

Coney Island, a “must” for locals and tourists alike, is a great place to beat the summer heat, or at least lean into it somewhat gracefully. A go to spot for generations, each season changing slightly, adding more rides, keeping new and fresh while still appealing to the nostalgia of days past. Just steps from the boardwalk, there is a beach with a clean shore and big open ocean.  For the animal lovers, there is the New York Aquarium just a little ways down, which also has a wonderful seal show that should not be missed.  For the adventurous types, there are big thrill rides at Luna Park which include 7 roller coasters like the classic wooden Coney Island Cyclone.  For the littler park goers, there are tons of attractions and rides at Luna Park like the Happy Swing and Magic Bikes. This year, Luna Park has also opened new rides Cozmo Jet and Coney Clipper, so even if you have been before, there is a great excuse to go again.
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