Cyber Monday Vacation Deals – Ready, Set, Go.

It’s Black Friday and rather than participating in the shopping frenzy at the mall I am sipping herbal tea and browsing for family vacation deals and extra savings which are available now or will be available on Cyber Monday. I have discovered some which may serve as inspiration to make plans for spring break or next summer’s family vacation.  The savings are real but the booking window is limited and as always with deals there limited rooms and blackout dates.

Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort Phoenix, Arizona waterpark.

Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort Phoenix, Arizona cyber deal includes a four-acre water park open and heated year-round.

The ones I like best are great destinations for families even without the super savings. And I always like to see deals that actually span the typical family vacation time frame which includes the summer months. For example:  Grand Lucayan in the Bahamas is offering 55 percent off rates (starting at $99) for travel November 27, 2015 through September 1, 2016.

The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix, Arizona is offering 30 percent off best available rate during the 72-hour booking window November 30 through December 2, 2015s is good through August 31, 2016.  Also in Phoenix, the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort has a similar all-suite deal for families valid from December 20, 2015-August 31, 2016.

One of my favorite spots in Costa Rica, Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort is offering 50% off on Cyber Monday with rates beginning at $150/night. The resort has large suites and the concierge will happily arrange babysitting for a day, a night, or for your entire stay. The deal is valid for stays August 21 – December 17, 2016.

Family vacation deals

Family vacation deals and more fun for less.

We also keep and active folder populated with family vacation deals and ways to save. One of my favorites is Coupons for Fun a location with hundreds of deals available added weekly. It’s best to browse at your leisure, select, download and print.

Happy hunting on Cyber Monday.

Nancy Nelson-Duac

Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files.


Free Museum Day – Two Tickets to Create Memories.

Smithsonian Magazine’s annual Free Museum Day is Saturday September 26, 2015, a day when more than 1200 museums across America will offer free admission. The annual event provides two free tickets to each registered household and thus offers the perfect excuse to share a one-on-one museum experience with a child.

Adler Planetarium Space Light Dance

The positive energy of making discoveries at Adler Planetarium is not just enjoyable but contagious.

The collection of participating locations spans all interests from living history and natural sciences to art, culture, transportation, gardens, and hands on fun at children’s museums.

On this year’s list is the world famous Adler Planetarium in Chicago as well as the inspiring Arizona Museum of Natural History in Phoenix. Three of my favorite living history locations – Gibbs Museum of Pioneer & Dakota Life in St. Paul, Fort Worth Log Cabin Village and Conner Prairie Interactive History Park are participating.

Young At Art in Miami is loaded with possibilities for nurturing young imaginations. It’s the place to create masterpieces and make discoveries. Dig in ArtScapes, build sand sculptures and recycled puppets in GreenScapes and explore customs in CultureScapes.

Young At Art in Miami

Young At Art invites visitors to join a creative journey designed to inspire, educate and entertain the artist in everyone.

Anchored on the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago’s Adler Planetarium features three full-size theaters, including the renovated Grainger Sky Theater, the all-digital projection Definiti® Space Theater and the 3D Johnson Family Star Theater.

At Conner Prairie Interactive History Park there is no end to the innovative interactive activities. The complex has five outdoor experience areas, and oodles of creative ways to connect science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with history.

On Museum Day at Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa activities will include panning for gold, a territorial jail, and time to enjoy Dinosaur Mountain, Dinosaur Hall,  Cretaceous Seas, Southwest Cultures and Arizona in the Movies.

Overlooking the nation’s oldest port city, St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum showcases discoveries in shipwreck archaeology, features lives of keepers and their families, and an energizing climb with a rewarding view of land and sea.

To create your own one-on-one museum memories register at Smithsonian’s Free Museum Day, make your choice and secure your tickets.

I’ve made my choice and have my tickets on my phone.

Happy browsing.

Nancy Nelson-Duac

Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files.

Free Adventuring for 4th Graders All Year Long.

Do you know a fourth grader better yet do you live with a fourth grader?  If so then you are in luck. Starting today every fourth grader in the US is eligible for a pass that provides free access to all federally managed lands and waters – including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries.

Every Kid in a Park Pass

We come and go, but the land is always here and the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it for a little while. Willa Cather

The new federal initiative with the moniker “Every Kid in a Park” offers the possibilities for ready-made family adventures. The program is expansive, inclusive and I think terrific. No matter where you live in the United States, there’s a site within two hours of your home. Think about stargazing on the rim of the Grand Canyon or hiking to an ancient pueblo at Wupatki National Monument near Flagstaff.

Next year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service and this program makes it easy to select a park and celebrate with a visit. The pass is valid for the 2015-2016 school year and grants free entry for fourth graders and three accompanying adults (or an entire car for drive-in parks) at more than 2,000 federally-managed sites.

Grant Kohrs Junior Ranger Program

Grant Kohrs National Monument in Montana connects kids with the spirit of the American West.

From Boston and Philadelphia to Yellowstone and Yosemite the possibilities are endless. From hiking within the shadow of Mount Rainier or taking selfies at Mount Rushmore to air-boating in the Everglades or snorkeling within the US Virgin Islands National Marine Sanctuary, the choices for a world-class family adventure are many.

Fourth graders are invited to log onto  and complete an entertaining, educational activity in order to obtain and print their paper pass. The paper version may be exchanged for a more durable one at participating federal locations nationwide.

Pueblo at Wupatki National Monument

The ancient pueblos of Wupatki National Monument are perched between the Painted Desert and Ponderosa highlands of Northern Arizona.

Parents visiting the new website will find additional links for more information on planning trips to nearby public lands and some of the most remarkable places in America. Grant Kohrs National Monument demonstrates the cowboy spirit typical of the American frontier. Think about walking in the cloud forest of El Junque in Puerto Rico or counting roadrunners in Saguaro National Park near Tucson.  Fly a kite on Cape Hatteras in North Carolina or kayak within Acadia National Park in Maine.

So many great ways to celebrate 100 years with or without a fourth grader.

Nancy Nelson-Duac         Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files.


Dallas Now Has a CityPASS To Make Any Urban Adventures Easier.

I am thrilled to say that beginning in May CityPASS Dallas will be available with extra destination savings on the best attractions in the city.

Perot Museum Dallas Real Science Lab Fun

Perot Museum in Dallas Connects Kids with the Fun of Real Science in the Being Human Hall Biolab.

I like CityPASS booklets because not only do they offer prepaid admission savings on the most popular places but the compact pocket sized booklet enables parents and kids to plan together with no friction. Kids get the idea of using a pass for extra benefits and for parents or grandparents the pass booklet is the perfect framework for planning an urban adventure. Even better, CityPASS booklets save time, allowing holders to skip most main-entrance ticket lines.

The pass book benefits vary by destinations but all offer not just savings but access benefits and destination information. Each destination also comes with the flexibility of options so not everyone in the family needs to select the same attraction or museum. Using a CityPASS helps define the costs of a family vacation ahead of time.

Each Dallas CityPASS booklet will save visitors 41 percent off combined admission to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Reunion Tower GeO-Deck, a choice between the Dallas Zoo and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, and a choice between the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

Just in case Texas is not on your list for this summer, CityPASS ticket booklets are also available for urban adventures in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California, Tampa Bay and Toronto. For more information, visit

Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files.

Save on Family Fun

I have just discovered a most useful website which offers real savings on a wide variety of adventures, attractions and museums. Coupons for Fun features real time savings in more than 20 states. The selection is targeted making it easy to browse, select and download coupons to save on family vacation activities. The only catch is that one must download and print ahead of time to receive the savings benefits.

Butterfly Garden at MOSI in Tampa

Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa offers families access to more than 450 hands-on activities, a new inventor’s lab, planetarium, IMAX, and a butterfly encounter.

If you are looking for spring break deals on fun you will find oodles of possibilities. The site features savings for theme parks, whitewater rafting and whale watching experiences as well as caving adventures, swamp safaris and zipline thrills. The rich menu of savings also includes cultural experiences including gardens, historic homes, performing arts, fine arts museums, children’s museums, science museums, and some delightfully quirky museums.

To prove my point I have selected seven of my favorite places from the menu of discount coupon offerings.

The spunky Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier: One free daily admission with one paid admission

Energetic Wild Horse Adventure Tours (W.H.A.T.) in the Outer Banks of North Carolina: Download savings of $10 per person for parties of six or more adults.

The slightly quirky Madame Tussaud’s in Washington DC:  Enjoy a truly interactive experience for 25% off admission.

Lively excursions at Roaring Camp Railroads near Santa Cruz, California: 2$ off each general admission ticket for 19th-century steam train or beach train.

The inspiring Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa: A coupon for $3 off general admission.

The engaging LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Atlanta: A coupon for $5 off general admission.

The intriguing Dinosaur World in Glen Rose, Texas: Download $2 off adult general admission.

There are hundreds of deals available with more added weekly so it’s best to browse at your leisure, select, download and print.

Enjoy your next outing for less.

Nancy Nelson-Duac

Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files.



Jamaica: Runaway Bay, Franklyn D. Resort & Spa – Moms Stay Free in May.

I like how this sounds. Someone at FDR Resorts gets it. If mom is happy then the whole family will have a better vacation. So, jump-start your summer with your kids on Jamaica’s north coast. Why not?

Here’s the deal. Franklyn D. Resort & Spa and Pebbles Resort have announced mothers will stay for free during the month of May as a thank you for all that they do. This benefit applies to moms arriving at either resort with dad and kids (1st May through 4th June, 2010).
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