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Tag Results: Aquariums
Of all the 2012 family vacation ideas offered up last week, Milwaukee quickly emerged as the pick that generated the most smiles, but then it’s a city that always seems to do that. Knowing sequel fodder when I see it, I wanted to elaborate on some Milwaukee points of interest (initially suggested by my colleague Beth Blair) and continue to make a case for why the city could be an easy choice for one of your family getaways this year. Read more
Specifically, why haven’t more parents – who easily identify the San Diego Zoo as their main reason to visit San Diego – made a pilgrimage to Ohio’s largest city to see what’s widely considered one of the best zoos and aquariums in the country? Well, if you don’t have good answers to these questions, winter is a swell time to discover that the Columbus Zoo and its neighboring sights could be just the ticket for your family’s winter break. Read more
If for the rest of its days the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is known foremost as the home of Winter – a dolphin fitted with a life-saving prosthetic tail after losing her real one to a crab trap – the aquarium would likely be okay with that.
I’m guessing that, not only because the aquarium’s website is a testament to Winter (it’s seewinter.com), but also because Dolphin Tale, the hit movie released in September and based on Winter’s story, is inspiring droves of family vacationers to visit the aquarium to meet the miracle dolphin, learn about the technology behind her new tail, and see sets from the film firsthand. Read more
Last week the family vacation blog was clued in about seven cities with favorable fall hotel rates, a gift to parents with the luxury of traveling at will with non-school age kids. I don’t have that luxury, but if I did, my first choice hands down would be Denver.
Not only is Denver’s average daily hotel rate 10 percent lower than it was last fall, but prices tend to drop anyway immediately after the city’s summer high season. If you’re looking for a little luxe for less, check out our top-rated Denver hotel, Brown Palace, running such deals as the Kids in the City package (promo code MKTCKC) from $229 per night, including breakfast for two daily as well as a $15 per night room credit.
For nearly a decade my family and I have been visiting Mystic, CT because it’s perfectly halfway between NYC and Cape Cod. Our routine is to stop for lunch, peek at the water, and be on our way. It wasn’t until last week that we discovered what might happen if we gave Mystic a promotion from pit stop to getaway.
Sure enough, it’s worth making the circuit of the Mystic Seaport, the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, and Mystic Aquarium, if only because they’re family-friendly sites within a couple miles of each other. But since we had already been to more seaports, nature centers, and aquariums than we’d care to remember, what was special about Mystic?
Here are the moments that stayed with us days after we returned home.
Entertainment for all ages, beautiful beaches, sunny weather, and excellent accommodations – San Diego has it all. It’s one of my favorite places to recommend for families because there is a wonderful balance of relaxing activities – think pools and beaches – and fun family activities like the zoo, amusement parks like Legoland, museums, and outdoor sports opportunities. From toddlers to teens, the activities here appeal to everyone. In addition, the ideal weather – consistently ranging from 65-75 degrees – is perfect almost all year long. That said, try to avoid visiting in June, when there is often a layer of fog (“June Gloom”) that covers the beach for the first half of the day.
Favorite family activities in San Diego:
San Diego Zoo
This world famous zoo is not to be missed. From ages 2 to 72, everyone loves the zoo! Large natural-looking enclosures with huge glass viewing areas allow amazing proximity to the animals. Be sure to see the polar bears and the hippos swimming. If you want to cover the whole property, I recommend the hop-on hop-off bus. For a unique experience, consider the fantastic special excursions where you can get a behind the scenes tour of the zoo or even sleep over. The zoo’s sister property located in the northeast section of the county is the Wild Animal Park where there are trams that run through expansive safari-like enclosures.
Tip: Be sure to wear your sneakers and bring or rent a stroller. The zoo is located on a steep hillside and requires a good amount of walking. Also, the Wild Animal Park is very hot during summer months.
It would take several family vacations to see all of San Diego’s blue-chip parks, museums, and beaches, but if you need a soild spring break idea in March you could do a lot worse than to focus on the Holy Trinity: The San Diego Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, and SeaWorld.
Go that route and you’ll want to buy a San Diego 3-for-1 pass, granting you unlimited entry to all three sights for five consecutive days from first use. The cost for the five-day pass is $121 per adult (visitors 10 and up) and $99 per child (3-9). This pass is an easy decision, as the combined cost to see each of these attractions just once during your trip would be $143 per adult, $113 per child. Read more
Book a worthy, self-contained Jamaica resort for your next family vacation and you’ll be a hero, right up until the moment your restless brood ventures off property and discovers there’s nothing to do nearby.
Picking a resort that’s a hub rather than a final destination may seem sensible and obvious, but it doesn’t always emerge as a priority. And it’s not hard to see why. As the trip planner your focus is on nailing down a place with the activities and amenities your family demands. And while your family may refuse to admit it, they probably enabled your pick, testifying that they wanted a relaxing vacation, not a sightseeing one, and getting crazy giddy every time they saw the resort’s photos online.
If you’re looking at Jamaica, one of the better hubs is the all-inclusive Riu Ocho Rios. It’s got what discerning kids would describe as the bare minimum: About a gazillion square yards of gardens, a private beach, a pool with an obligatory swim-up bar, seven restaurants, kid’s activities, and water sports. But this hub also has three solid “spokes.” Dunn’s River Falls and Dolphin Cove are six miles east of the property and Shaw Park Botanical Gardens are slightly beyond those two, about eight miles east of Riu Ocho. While these spokes are conveniently clumped together, they’re each good for a full morning or afternoon. Limit yourself to one spoke a day and let the resort pick up the slack the rest of the time.
Riu Ocho rack rates average $323 per double occupancy, but you can cram up to four in a standard room. You’ll pay a child fee amounting to 25% of your total room price for each kid 2-12 and an extra person fee of about 40% of the total for each child 13 or older. Kids under two are free, however, and there’s no daily charge for wheeling in a crib or cot.
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