A Sweet and Spooky Halloween in Hershey, PA

hershey park halloween

Halloween isn’t quite the way it was years ago, but in some ways — in some places — it’s better! Today, when it comes to the little ones, parents are hesitant to let them wander throughout the neighborhood at night. City dwellers and those who live in remote areas can’t trick or treat. As for older kids – and these days, they’re growing up faster and faster – the holiday should be celebrated on a larger, more exciting and engaging level. What more memorable way for the whole family to get into the spirit (!) than a stay in Hershey, PA. Hersheypark After Dark is the epicenter of all the festivities.

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Accommodations: There are two different excellent choices to stay, adding to your immersion in the Hershey experience. For that super comfy, homey feeling, there’s Hershey Lodge. High wood beams, warm candy ambient fragrance as you enter, a crackling fire to welcome you and relaxing environment adds to home away from home feeling. The brand new indoor pool complex has two interactive indoor pools, Twizzlers Twists Slides, Reese’s Water Walk, water play structures and the Cocoa Cabana dining location with a full bar. To that end, complimentary shuttle service to all Hershey attractions, the spa and dining spots takes away the stress of driving.

hershey park rides

For an elegant and sophisticated experience, The Hotel Hershey is considered a world-class resort. The tints and hues of the hotel’s “soft goods” harken back to the colors of fine chocolates and caramels. Inside the main building is a shopping arcade that has everything from candies, souvenirs, as well as chic clothing and luxury items. Different themes can be seen in the interior, reflecting upon different aspects of Milton Hershey’s life. An indoor courtyard with recessed bar, lounging areas, Moorish architecture, warm lighting and plants hint at old Spain and the Havana, Cuba to which the Hersheys traveled and conducted business. The hotel has daily activities for both children and adults, incorporating chocolate tastings, making things and other fun past times. Complimentary transportation to all Hershey attractions and local destinations is easy to arrange.
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Head to Dutch Wonderland @FunatDW

This time of year, one of the best ways to escape the summer heat as well as those long, boring summer days is a day at a theme park. One of our semi-local favorites is Dutch Wonderland, home to Duke the Dragon (whom my son loves). Located in Amish County, Lancaster PA- a great place to spend a vacation, as well.

Dutch Wonderland

 

Dutch Wonderland has tons of rides and games, as well as many food and drink stands. Some favorites are the “Panda Party”, which is an adorable ride in which the kids ride in Panda Bears and go around the beehive in circles, the Leapin’ Frogs, which bounce around causing the kids to erupt in giggles until the ride hops to a stop, and the Double Splash Flume, a classic ride with two drops (but not too scary or steep that would frighten the kids).

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We were there on what turned out to be a stormy day, but before that it was sunny, not too hot, and clear. Also, the lines were almost non-existent, which was great. We were able to get on a bunch of rides.

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Just two years ago, Dutch Wonderland opened Exploration Island, where you can walk among more then 20 dinosaurs the roar and move as you view them. We had hoped to visit again this year, but they were closed. We did get to see the dinosaurs when they first opened, and it was a lot of fun- my son really enjoyed it.

“Exploration Island is a rediscovered island of adventure and fun where guests will have the opportunity to walk with over 20 lifelike dinosaurs, dig for fossil remains, take a spin on the newly relocated and lengthened Turnpike ride and travel the Island canals on the classic Gondola Cruise.
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Visiting Dorney Park #DorneyFirstTimer #ad

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand, and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.

Now that it’s, summer (and now that nature has hopefully figured out what season is it) it is now time to enjoy the sun.  One of the best ways to enjoy that beautiful weather is by screaming at the top of your lungs on a thrill ride or roller coaster.  One of the most popular local amusement parks is Dorney Park in near by Allentown Pa.

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Dorney Park is the perfect destination for fans of summer fun- all ages and enjoyment levels will have a great time, from the roller coaster enthusiast to the little ones who just want to play with familiar Peanuts characters and get their feet wet.  The best way we have found to tackle an amusement park is by splitting up at some point.  Mom and little guy venture off together to the kids area while dad ventures onto the roller coasters.  This is the way the day starts because lines are shorter earlier in the morning.  We all get in several rides before meeting up again to discuss the plans for lunch and the rest of the day.
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Visiting the Poconos

This most recent visit to the Poconos, we stayed at Split Rock Resort & Golf Club and visited Jack Frost Mountain ski area during the day. It was only a short ride, making spending the day outdoors easy (and coming back to our room was relaxing).

Winter is a great season to enjoy time at a resort- and to take advantage of the winter-weather sports like skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing while you are there. Split Rock Resort and Jack Frost Mountain are the perfect escape combination that you are looking for this season. Split Rock Resort is not just for winter, however. Every season is a good time to visit, with a different experience each and every time. Located in the western region of the Poconos, you will find the sense of adventure that you have been missing from everyday life.

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Split Rock Resort has over 1,200 acres to explore, and is lots of fun for the entire family. The resort offers lots of on-site events and live entertainment, as well as a pool and several restaurants and eateries. You can check out local bands and award-winning festivals. There is something going on every single week, so while you are there you can soak in some music and festivities. There is also an arcade, movie theater, and bowling alley, all for additional fees.

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The resort has all sorts of accommodations, so whether you want to stay in a suite, lodge room, villa, or cottage, you have that choice. Lake Harmony is the gorgeous view that you will get from the lodge rooms. If you are planning on a longer stay (or you have a larger family), you may want to look into the suites or the villas, which offer a fireplace, full kitchen and even a dining area. The bathrooms were amazing in our room- there were showers and a whirlpool tub, which we loved.  What a great way to relax after a day outdoors! It’s like a home away from home, and in some cases, better. The cottages are perfect for an intimate stay.

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There is also the H2Oooohh! waterpark you and your family can visit, but that is a separate price from the rest of the resort. Ticket prices range from $16 for observer only (you can enter, but not ride or take part in anything) to $32 for adult and children over 12.   There are 53,326 square feet of water attractions, five exciting body, tube and raft slides, a wavepool, activity pool, water dumping bucket, and more.  There is also a surfing activity, where kids and adults can try to ride a wave standing up or body-boarding style on the Komodo Dragon – Pennsylvania’s First Indoor Flow Rider.  There are also hot tubs and a kiddie play area. This was the highlight of the trip for my son, and the place where we spent most of our time.
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Have a Howling Good Time at @GreatWolfLodge in PA

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Great Wolf Lodge is a terrific place to take your kids to year round, not in the least because your hotel was also your waterpark, restaurant, activity center, and more. All I had to do was park the car and bring in the luggage and we were good to go.
The  huge indoor waterpark is reserved for guests only, guaranteeing that you will never have to wait on a long line.

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Making it “snow” from the decorated ceilings at Great Wolf Lodge

Once you arrive, you are greeted and checked in by friendly staff, and you make your way to your room.  It is decorated for the season right now, and so pretty.  From the minute you walk in, the ceiling to the floors are decked out for the season. Even the characters are wearing their holiday best as they meet the kids and walk around the resort.

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Great Wolf hosts its annual Snowland celebration for guests from November 28th to January 3rd, where they turn the resort into a winter wonderland complete with indoor snow showers, spectacular decorations, visits from Santa Clause, “Polar Wolf” Walks, North Pole Letter Depot, a Great Clock Tower Howl-iday Show, and more.

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New this year, Great Wolf Lodge will introduce special Snowland Suites complete with twinkling garland, decorated tree, oversized snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, and a plush blanket and Great Wold Lodge book to take home with you. To up the holiday ante, Wiley and Violet the Wolf will also be hand delivering cookies to each suite booked.  My boy got a milk and cookie delivery from Oliver, and he was so excited.  We’ve never met Oliver before, and my son couldn’t have been happier to see him. He stayed for some hugs, too, and let mom take a few photos- what a nice holiday critter.

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Families are also invited to celebrate the magic of the season by dining inside the world’s only life-size, dine-in gingerbread house. Featuring more than 5,000 candies, 600 pounds of gingerbread dough and 1,320 pounds of sugar, each house will be baked, iced and candied to perfection, providing the setting for a memorable holiday feast. The appetizing walls of the lodge-baked abode have as much heart as taste as the proceeds for each meal go to charity.  I’m not sure how much this costs, but give them a call and see- you for sure need an RSVP to do this one.

In addition, your family can try the all-new interactive game, Clubhouse Crew, partake in various Snowland-themed activities, and enjoy a $50 credit to explore the lodge at your leisure.

Holiday Trips

Mailing his letter to Santa


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A Visit to Dutch Wonderland @FunatDW

This time of year, one of the best ways to escape the summer heat and long, boring summer days is a day at a theme park. One of our semi-local favorites is Dutch Wonderland, home to Duke the Dragon (whom my son loves). Located in Amish County, Lancaster PA,  it’s a great place to spend a vacation, too.

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Dutch Wonderland has tons of rides and games, as well as many food and drink stands. Some favorites are the “Panda Party”, which is an adorable ride in which the kids ride in Panda Bears and go around the beehive in circles, the Leapin’ Frogs, which bounce around causing the kids to erupt in giggles until the ride hops to a stop, and the Double Splash Flume, a classic ride with two drops (but not too scary or steep that would frighten the kids).

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We were there on a very wet and stormy day, where much of the park was closed due to severe thunderstorms in the area.  It did eventually clear up and we were able to get on rides again- it just took about 2 hours.  The good news is 2 rides were open, as were most of the games and some of the food stands as well.   When they opened back up, the lines were almost non-existent, which was great.

Last year they opened Exploration Island, where you can walk among more then 20 dinosaurs the roar and move as you view them.  We had hoped to visit again this year, but they remained closed.  We did get to see the dinosaurs last year, and it was a lot of fun- my son really enjoyed it.

“Exploration Island is a rediscovered island of adventure and fun where guests will have the opportunity to walk with over 20 lifelike dinosaurs, dig for fossil remains, take a spin on the newly relocated and lengthened Turnpike ride and travel the Island canals on the classic Gondola Cruise.
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The Philadelphia Museum of Art Summer Kid’s Program #ArtSplash @philamuseum

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My son loves art, it is one of his favorite things.  The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of his favorites, and they always have great kids and family friendly programming going on, which we both appreciate.  He loves the new program, art splash, and how he gets to get his hands on art, create, and learn about new ways to paint and use colors.  There is also an amazing new app that gives a kid’s eye view of the museum and the work hanging on the walls- you can borrow a tablet there, just leave a form of ID and pick it back up when you are done with it.

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Drawing with colored pencils

 

Art Splash 2015, an innovative ten-week summer adventure in creative play at the Museum—with a dedicated art exhibition especially for families, a huge Splash studio for hands-on activities, reading nook with colored lamps and age-appropriate seating, new mobile app, and a series of family festivals and performances upcoming, is perfect for your kids.
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Desaki – Dining out in the Poconos

Read the full post on This Girl Travels!

While on a recent trip to the beautiful Poconos in the Pennsylvania mountains, we stopped at a restuaunt somewhat unique to the area.  While most of the restaurants we saw in the area were more “American” or had a deli or diner feel, Desaki was not only great cuisine, but also a fun family dining experience.

poconosThe restaurant itself is beautiful, and definitely stands out from others. When you enter, you are able to check your coats and see what fun you can have while waiting for your table.  (Yes, you can call ahead for seating.)  Since we were there on a “family fun night”, there was a balloon artist as well as a face painter on site for the kids.  My son was thrilled with his “Darth Vader” balloon, complete with light saber.

Many of the kids also got their faces painted. My son chose not to, because he was going to eat and was convinced he would somehow get paint in his food and in his mouth.  He’s just not big into face painting, what can I say.  The other kids loved it, and there was quite a queue waiting for a turn.

20150207_181923There are also XBoxes and TVs for the kids while they wait- or if they finish first and get antsy.  I am pro everyone eating together, but I know some people don’t feel the same way, and let the kids bring their tablets to the tables and whatnot anyway. It’s a good option instead of tablets or phones at the table.  I would let my son use it while we waited, for sure.
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