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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Everything from the practical to the sublime: Le Blanc Spa Resort, Los Cabos

mexico vacation

With what limited time we have for vacationing, when we run off, we want our romantic voyages to exceed our wildest imaginations. We want the best of the best, with everything as soothing and simple as can be. Le Blanc Spa Resort, Los Cabos, Mexico, has already been awarded the AAA 5 star status. That’s the pinnacle of luxury destinations, with many strict requirements to qualify for your best vacation ever, assuring your pleasure and enjoyment. The property is located right on the beach, but still has 4 pools – including an infinity pool – along with swim up bars, a massive and sumptuous spa with hydrotherapy and special couples’ treatments. Speaking of water, their drinking water is purified – so no worries there, you don’t need to worry about “bottled water only”, saving both your sanity and the environment. 

le blanc

Leave your extra stuff at home! With Bulgari toiletries, Chi hair appliances, top shelf liquors, bathrobes,  slippers and umbrellas, you can lighten your load (and not pay ridiculous airport fees) in luxurious style. You can leave your change at home, as well: taxes and tips are included. But should you want some cash, there’s an ATM and currency exchange on site. For those who may require them, there are rooms available for those who are physically challenged and wheelchairs are available, as well as a 24 hour doctor on call.

le blanc mexico

For many of us, the best part about traveling is the wonderful and exotic food that you don’t have to cook. As part of the included indulgence, 24 hour room service allows you to stay ensconced all cozy in your room. Sometimes, you just want to lie in. When you want to head out, there are a dozen restaurant options, serving almost anything you could be craving. Whether you want to explore the local Mexican traditional fare, freshly caught seafood, a cornucopia of buffet choices, classic steakhouse cuisine or even a simply perfect pizza, it’s all yours for the asking. Vacation time is the perfect splurge time and Le Blanc makes it worth your while: the world-renowned and award-wining pastry chef, Antonio Bachour, curates all of their menus, cakes, desserts, pastries, breakfast pastries, etc. He was named one of the ten best pastry chefs in America, so you know that your caloric intake sacrifice will be worth it.  Then, of course, you can atone the next day at one of their juice bars if you feel guilty- but I suggest that you leave THAT baggage at home as well. There is a gym on site with state of the art equipment as well as classes that include yoga, spinning, (even a water spinning class, which we tried and loved) and many more that rotate on a daily basis. Check the schedule on the weekly calendar when you arrive, your workout routine doesn’t have to suffer if you don’t want it to.  It’s also a great time to try something new, why not?
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Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Beach Ca.

Living Art in California

The Pageant of the Masters in the artistically inclined Laguna Beach California is an oasis by the sea for art, music, and food. Running from July 5th through September 1st this Festival of the Arts stands out from any other you may have experienced before. This is more than art you stroll up to like a gallery or art walk. This is art that fills a whole stage! Accompanied by live music and narration, works of art are brought to life for crowds filling the outdoor theatre. If that was not on a grand enough scale there is the fact that parts of the painting are played by live models!

Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach California sign.

How? Well the models too are painted, their clothes, every detail to match the style of the piece they are a part of. Part of the fun is picking out the real from the painted two dimensional portions. The scale of this event is huge, from the stage filling backdrops, the painted models, the costumes that blend in seamlessly. Even the lighting that adds so much to each scene. This year’s theme is “Under the Sun”, Impressionists from the early 20th century. These artists spent their time under that sun while creating works that are still appreciated today and you couldn’t pick a lovelier place to do the same than The Pageant of the Masters.
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Underwater Adventures at the Downtown Houston Aquarium with CityPASS

Home to over 200 species of aquatic life, the Downtown Houston Aquarium is an impressive & entertaining place to visit with the entire family. You can truly spend an entire day watching the adventures of your favorite sea creatures under 500,000 gallons of wonderment, dining within a full service restaurant and enjoying a variety of amusement rides to thrill kids of all ages. Grab your Houston CityPASS and save 49% off your visit to the aquarium and four other top attractions in the city at just $59 for adults and $49 for kids.



As you make your way through the Louisiana swamp you’ll spy gators, snapping turtles, crayfish, bullfrogs and more that will make you feel like you’re really exploring the bayou. Within the Shipwreck exhibit you’ll view a colorfully diverse array of coral, tangs, groupers and moray eels.

 

 Aside from the red bellied piranhas and venomous freshwater stingrays they featured in the Rain forest exhibit, we were all happily surprised by the handful of other inhabitants to view, like the emerald tree boa, vibrant birds and tree frogs.

If you’ve ever found yourself curious about the day to day travels of a shark, OCEARCH‘s global shark tracker enables scientists, explorers and even families at home to follow the tagged sharks in real time.

Discovering that the Downtown Houston aquarium has 4 majestic white tigers named Nero, Marina, Coral and Reef in the Maharajah’s Temple was an unexpected surprise. Coral had just awaken from a nap but we were told she’s normally quite the feisty firecracker. The state of the art exhibit is temperature regulated with multi-level areas for the tigers to climb, a large pool for water play and is one of 230 exhibits that have been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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