- The Seattle Aquarium – Located on the waterfront the aquarium has Tons of animals for everyone to see. Kids can touch starfish and sea anemones and if timed right even see different animals during feeding time. Scuba divers swim in a large tank – and do show and tell with different sea life! You can spend as little as 90 minutes wondering through the sea life but most people spend about 2 hours to really explore everything it has to offer.
- The Museum of Flight - A great museum for all ages, you’ll see airplanes spanning the first 100 plus years of flight. Get a look inside a Concorde, the first 747 ever built, the original Air Force One, fighters and bombers. There’s a Kids Flight Zone and several flight simulators in addition to the always changing featured exhibits. AND if you are lucky enough to own your own plane they even have 5 fly-in parking spots available!
- The Seattle Children’s Museum - A trip to the Seattle Children’s Museum guarantees an interactive experience, allowing little hands and growing minds to explore, play and learn. They have several educators facilitate programs throughout the day, with a wide range of activities from plays to story time kids 10 months to 10 years old are sure to have a great time.
- Take the Water Taxi to West Seattle - There’s no cheaper way to cruise Elliott Bay. $4.75 buys you a 15-minute ride from Pier 50 on the downtown waterfront to Seacrest Park in West Seattle. From there, relax on the patio with some shaved ice, or head up the hill to check out the shops and restaurants at the West Seattle Junction, or over to explore West Seattle’s beautiful Alki Beach.
- Ride the Ferris Wheel on the Waterfront - There are amazing views of the Seattle waterfront and Elliott Bay from the Seattle Great Wheel. Rain is not a concern since the gondolas are fully enclosed, and hold up to 8 people.
- Visit the Seattle Pinball Museum – While some of the younger kids might have no idea what they are about to see it is always fun for parents to share their toys with their children. Take your kids ages 7 and up on a trip down memory lane and show them some of your favorite games! The Pinball Museum has over 50 vintage and modern arcade games, and all are free to play after a single entrance fee. Sodas, snacks, and local craft beers available for purchase.
- Explore the Fremont Neighborhood - Peculiar Fremont is one of Seattle’s most fun and unique neighborhoods. It’s in the middle of the best stretch of the Burke Gilman path, and is a great place to walk around, grab a bite at a restaurant, or have a picnic. On Sunday there’s a huge market with lots of great food and flea-market style vendors. The Urban Beer Garden at the Fremont Brewery is family-friendly and a great place to have a couple pints of a local Seattle beer – you’re welcome to bring outside food into the brewery.
- Living Computer Museum - Take a walk through computer history with hands-on exploration of dozens of restored machines with original software. Just for kids, there’s the LCM Bit Zone, with vintage video games to play, and cool interactive circuitry and binary exhibits.
- Take an Ice Cream Cruise - This fun and inexpensive Lake Union boat tour operates on Sundays year-round, and is a perfect activity for kids. There’s a chance to learn some Seattle history, watch sea planes take off and land, and see some floating homes and Dale Chihuly’s glass studio. It only last about 45 minutes so it’s great for short attention spans. There are ice cream treats or hot chocolate available for purchase on board.
Hectic school and extracurricular schedules and the abundance of screen filled options make it challenging to keep family members engaged with each other instead of their phones, tablets and TVs. Take away the warm temperatures of spring and summer and you immediately have a recipe for stir-crazy kiddos and parents alike. Here is a list of 50 nearly free things you can do as a family DON’T involve screens this winter.
I know it’s much easier to revert to screen time in the cold dreary depths of winter. But with a little extra thought you can have plenty of activities to keep your family happy and healthy.
There are a collection of states in the Midwest that are often referred to as “flyover” states. Although, there are lots of corn, wheat and windmill fields, there are several places that are worth seeing along the way. Here you will find just a few!
Great Platte River Road Archway Monument From 1843 to 1869, nearly half a million pioneers n rode and walked the trails West. This monument celebrates the Pony Express, the wagon trains and the pioneers, trappers, traders, and more.
Fort Kearny State Historical Park Take a 30 minute stretch break and enjoy this historical crossroads of the Oregon Trail.
Pioneer Village This is a private museum founded by Harold Warp in 1953. There are 28 buildings on 20 acres with over 50,000 historic items dating back to 1830. Literally, you can visit an entire village from the 19th century including a one-room schoolhouse, prairie church, land office building, Elm Creek Fort, general store and more. It is interesting for all ages and definitely worth a few hours for a visit in Minden, Nebraska.
Henry Doorly Zoo I have visited many zoos over the years with my children. This year I had the opportunity to visit the Doorly Zoo in Omaha with my grandson. It was an extraordinarily hot day, but we had a wonderful time. The lay out of the zoo is designed to leisurely stroll through or take a train or gondola to view different exhibits which is helpful when it is very warm. The steam engine train is one-of-a-kind and worthwhile to ride with younger children. I wish we had more time and it had been a bit cooler. The splash area is a welcome respite from the hot weather and the misters were placed throughout the park so we could at least cool off! Three hours was really not enough, but still a memorable and worthwhile place to visit.
Lunch or Dinner in the Old Market with a stop at Pioneer Courage Park Step back in time and enjoy the larger than life statues of a wagon train traveling thorugh downtown Omaha. Then do a little shopping and have a nice meal in the Old Market of Omaha. An enjoyable break from the highway!
Living History Farms near Des Moines tells the history of Iowa farming through the ages. Travel at your own pace through historical time periods spanning 300 years. On-site docents in character share interesting stories and demonstrations.
Quad Cities Enjoy a relaxing afternoon in Davenport to see the sights or spend an afternoon on the Mississippi River with a stop at the Davenport Skybridge for a lovely view.
Enjoy the journey!
Children between the ages of 5 and 15 who travel by air without a parent or guardian are known as unaccompanied minors (UMs). Millions of children fly alone safely every year, but you should take all necessary precautions when you arrange for your child to fly alone. Air travel has changed in recent years—there is much more congestion at the airports and in the air. Flights get cancelled, or sometimes delayed for hours. The steps below explain how you can prepare your child for a solo trip that will be safe and enjoyable.
1. Research the air carrier. Determine first if the carrier flies to your child’s destination city. If the carrier has direct flights to the destination city, inquire about their unaccompanied minor (UM) policies. Most airlines have similar policies on UMs, but it pays to do your homework:
2. Inquire about connections. Some airlines will not allow a UM to travel on connecting flights. Most airlines that do allow a UM to travel on a connecting flight will charge a fee for airline personnel to assist your child with changing planes.
3. Ask about all required paperwork. You will be able to download and print out consent and liability release forms and have them filled out prior to the flight. If you do not do this beforehand you can also complete these documents at the airport, however, it will save time and effort to complete this prior to arriving at the airport. You will have to provide your child’s name and age, as well as details about any medical considerations, including prescription medicine. You will also list the name of the person whom you are authorizing to pick up your child when the plane lands. (Upon arrival, your child will be escorted into the terminal and released to the person you have authorized.)
4. Be very clear about the airline carrier’s policy on young adult passengers. Most airlines consider a child of 16 or over to be a young adult, and don’t assist the child on the flight unless you specifically request the assistance and pay the fee. If you don’t make such arrangements, the airline expects your child to be responsible for making his or her own plans if a flight is canceled, delayed or redirected.
5. Keep flight arrangements as simple as possible. Even if the airline allows your child to take connecting flights, it isn’t an ideal situation. Try to book a nonstop flight. Make reservations; do not allow your child to fly standby even if the airline permits it.
6. Arrange for your child’s meals. If food will be served during the flight, reserve a meal for your child, especially if your child has dietary restrictions. If there is no meal service, be sure to pack a meal for your child.
7. Request e-tickets. Electronic tickets, stored in the airline’s computer, means your child won’t have to worry about carrying and possibly losing a paper ticket. However, all UM passengers must wear a pouch around their neck (given by the airline) with their ticket and copy of their paperwork is stored in it until they reach their destination. Electronic tickets are a nice insurance though.
8. Don’t forget about medications. Most airlines will not permit their employees to administer medication to children under any circumstances. If your child requires medication that he or she cannot take unassisted and which would normally be necessary during the time of the flight, ask your child’s doctor about alternatives.
9. Prepare your child for everything he or she might expect before, during and after the flight:
10. Do everything necessary to make your child’s flight comfortable:
11. Pack a small carry-on bag for your child and include the following items:
12. Pack some snacks, even if a meal is to be served. Include gum, for chewing during take-off and landing to relieve air pressure changes.
13. Give your child a small amount of cash.
14. Allow extra time at the airport. In addition to arriving several hours early, factor in traffic delays, security delays and time you might need to fill out any extra paperwork that may be required at check-in.
Every city has their niches, the things that make them unique, the places locals couldn’t imagine living without and the things that people will travel near and far to see; from micro parks to big hikes, from small towns to major cities, from secret treasures to the world renowned. Every city needs to be loved; here are just a few reasons to love Portland.
There are a few places that come immediately to mind when you start planning a trip to Southern California; Disneyland, Hollywood and the beach. Of course, no trip to the Golden State is complete without a trip to Disneyland, seeing how you stand up to celebrities by matching their hand and foot imprints on Hollywood Blvd or riding the Ferris wheel at Santa Monica pier with a giant ice cream in hand, but I want to focus on the lesser known but still oh so amazing “attractions” throughout the Southern California area.
1. See the Sea Lions at Pier 39
While many locals avoid the touristy Fisherman’s Wharf area, the waterfront complex at Pier 39 has street performers, shops, restaurants, attractions, a marina and the best views of San Francisco’s famous sea lions.
2.Visit Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park is a large manmade park full of forests, lakes, gardens, and museums. The weekend is prime time to visit because it’s car-free on Saturdays and Sundays. On weekends and holidays, catch a ride on a free shuttle bus running the length of Golden Gate Park with stops at the Conservatory of Flowers, de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, McLaren Lodge, the National AIDS Memorial Grove, Stow Lake, the bison paddock, the paths to Ocean Beach, and to the two windmills at the park.
Take a walk down the famous Lombard Street (between Hyde & Leavenworth streets). With eight switchbacks in one long block, you will fully appreciate how it got the reputation of being the most crooked street in the world.
4.Take a Free City Tour
San Francisco City Guides is comprised of more than 200 trained local residents who are passionate about their city. The free history and architectural tours are a particularly good way to experience the lesser-known parts of the city. A favorite tour is the Alfred Hitchcock tour, which takes you to some of the hotels, clubs, retail stores and other locations featured in Hitchcock classics
5.Walk through the Ferry building
Take a walk through the beautiful building or visit the farmers’ market, considered one of the best in the nation, which takes place on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Many of the cooking demos and other market happenings are also free.
6.Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge
The iconic 1.7 miles Golden Gate Bridge is without a doubt the most well-known emblem of San Francisco. Walking or biking across the bridge is a great experience, with incredible views from both sides.
7.Go to the Waterfront
Crissy Field stretches from Fort Point to Fort Mason, with miles of flat, open space for walking, biking and kite flying. It is also a favorite windsurfing spot. Check out the Wave Organ, a wave-activated acoustic sculpture on a jetty in the bay at the boat harbor. Best heard at high tide, it was constructed from granite and marble from a demolished cemetery.
8.Experience 360 degree views from Coit Tower
Coit Tower is another recognizable landmark. The slender white concrete tower was built in 1933 and resembles a fire hose to honor the city’s firefighters. While an elevator ride to the observation deck will cost you ($8 for adults), it’s free to visit the tower base and see the murals painted in 1934 by a group of artists inspired by Diego Rivera’s portrayals of Californian life during the Depression. The observation deck offers 360 degree views of the city and bay, including the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges.
9.Visit a museum
Some museums in San Francisco, including the Cable Car Museum, San Francisco Railway Museum, and the Wells Fargo History Museum, never charge admission, but for others you will need to plan carefully to take advantage of their free days.
10.Brave the slides at Seward Mini Park
Two very long, steep concrete slides are the main attraction at this hidden gem. They are not for tiny tots, nor for the faint of heart! If you decide to slide, please remember that the park closes at sunset and adults must be accompanied by children. Bring a piece of cardboard (or wax paper if you dare!) and wear sturdy pants and take a thrilling ride.
11.People Watch at Ghirardelli Square
Ghirardelli Square is a large, former chocolate factory that has been reduced to little more than a chocolate store and eatery but provides the perfect place to people watch the large volume of crowds who flock to the chocolate store and ice cream shop, desperately clawing to buy all the chocolate they can get, as if it were being discontinued the next day, although widely available in retailers and grocery stores across America. Shoppers can see the company’s original chocolate-making equipment on display and yes, also receive a free square of chocolate but unless you enjoy standing in long lines to purchase the same product you can elsewhere without the wait, I would suggest to just take in the frenzy from a distance. From Ghirardelli Square you can also enjoy one of the best views of the city, including the pristine beauty of the San Francisco Bay, along with Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.
12.Ride a Cable Car
Cable cars have been transporting people around San Francisco since the late 19th century. The cars run on tracks and are moved by an underground cable on three routes. Their familiar bells can be heard ringing from blocks away. Tickets ($7) may be purchased at the cable car turnarounds at the ends of each route. Each one-way ride will provide spectacular views of the city’s celebrated hills as well as exhilarating transportation.
13.Walk Through the Oldest Chinatown
This 24 block city within a city, known for exotic shops, renowned restaurants, food markets, temples and small museums is best explored on foot. Visitors can buy ancient potions from herb shops or witness the making of fortune cookies.
Few things are more exciting than seeing your city light up for the holiday season. Everything takes on a different feel - families slow down a little to enjoy hot chocolate and awe at the lights around them, malls hustle and bustle with eagerness as Santa’s Chair arrives and the little elves prepare to spread holiday cheer, late nights spent by the fire wrapping presents. It is a special time of year for old and young alike, here are a some things you can do to enjoy the holiday spirit around Colorado.
1.The Ice Palace at Cherry Creek Shopping Center (Nov. 12 – Dec. 24)
There is no longer the snow globe-themed display from past several years at the Cherry Creek Mall. Replacing it is a 30-foot-tall, 22-foot-wide structure that looks like it was made out of ice, complete with constantly falling snow, a light show and a throne that feels cold to the touch. The display is a partnership with 20th Century Fox to promote their upcoming movie Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Going to see Santa just got that much more exciting! www.shopcherrycreek.com
2.PJs with Santa hosted by Arapahoe Community College. (Dec 11 at 6pm) They have an annual event which includes an evening of holiday cheer with dinner, dessert and storytelling, as well as a special appearance by Santa Claus himself! Be sure to make your reservations in advance! https://www.arapahoe.edu/event/2015/pjs-santa
3.Denver Pavilions Holiday Carousel at 16th Street Mall (Dec. 12-21 from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.) The first holiday carousel in the history of the 16th Street Mall! Rides are $3 each (or free with a nonperishable food donation to Food Bank of the Rockies, a purchase from a Denver Pavilions retailer, or a blood donation during the Bonfils Blood Drive 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 14) There are various holiday themes activities depending on the days you choose to go. www.denverpavilions.com
4.The Polar Express Train Ride at Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (Nov. 22-Jan. 3) Passengers can relive the magical journey of the Chris Van Allsburg children’s book with story times, carols, holiday refreshments and a visit with Santa. www.durangotrain.com
5.Living Lights at the Butterfly Pavillion (Dec 10 – Jan 10)
It's a fantastical journey through their indoor twinkling tropical rainforest & interactive exhibits with live animals, & an outdoor adventure through the glowing gardens! Depending on the night you choose to go they also have fire dancers or photo opportunities Disney Princesses! http://kdvr.com/2016/01/04/living-lights-at-the-butterfly-pavilion-2/
6.The Polar Express Ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum (Nov 10 – Dec 23)
The story of The Polar Express is being theatrically re-created so you and your family can be immersed in the sights, sounds and intrigue of this classic children’s tale. Scenes from the story come to life as dancing chefs and waiters arrive to serve cookies and hot chocolate. The children are invited to engage these charming and fascinating characters who are eager to hear from the them about what makes this season special to them. http://coloradorailroadmuseum.org/the-polar-express-train-ride/
7.Denver Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo (Dec 2-Jan 1) spanning 70 acres of Denver Zoo's campus, with nightly entertainment, animal encounters, Santa meet-and-greets and, of course, illuminated animal sculptures that swing through trees, jump across lawns hide in bushes and appear in places where they’re least expected. It is one of Denver’s most anticipated events, which is a great opportunity for folks of all ages to enjoy the holidays or kick off the New Year with family, friends and colleagues. http://www.denverzoo.org/
8.The Denver Parade of Lights in Downtown Denver (Dec 4-5) the 41st-annual holiday light parade meanders through downtown's streets with floats lit up for the holiday season. Admission is Free! http://www.familytravelcolorado.com/Parade_of_Lights_Tips.html
9.Trail of Lights at the Botanic Gardens of Chatfield (Nov 29 – Jan 1) the Trail of Lights at the Botanic Gardens at Chatfield is truly stunning and worth the trip. You’ll find more than a million little twinkling lights all lighting up a few different trails along the countryside. There is a shorter path that is perfect for those with younger kids; it ends right at the children’s play area. However, if your kids are up for a longer walk, then take the second trail that will take you to explore the Green Farm barn and silo and then on to a replicated 1880s homestead. Of course, there are plenty of places to warm up and grab a cup of hot cocoa along the way. http://www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/trail-lights
10.Yuletide Driving Tour in Estes Park (Dec 11 – Jan 2)
The town of Estes Park loves to show off their holiday spirit. Homes and business register to have a google map created directing all the visitors to the most festively decorated local businesses and residential houses! Grab some hot chocolate from a local coffee shop and hop in the car to enjoy this tour of Estes Park community members who want to share their holiday spirit with you! http://www.visitestespark.com/holidays/
With the holidays around the corner there are sure to be family gatherings of all shapes and sizes. Here is 20 Intergrenerational Activities to entertain the whole family, from the tiniest tike to the friendliest grandma.