48 Hours Making Waves with Your Kids.

For a spring break escape indoor waterparks top the list because they offer easy 48-hour solutions for families short on time but ready to make waves.

A pause at top of the slide at KeyLime Cove.

At KeyLime Cove Waterpark in Illinois sliding challenges await all ages and sizes.

Scattered across the continent these tropical islands offer family adventures defying Mother Nature during the coldest months of the year. There is really nothing to compare to the cacophony of sounds, 84 balmy degrees, almost 90 humidity (no chance of rain) and bodies of all ages dressed in beach wear under a glass dome with chilly skies above.

Surf riding at Massanuttan in Virginia.

At Massanuttan Resort waterpark in Virginia riding the surf is park of the fun.

The cool thing is that waterparks in the US and Canada offer families not just water thrills and an array of interactive ways to enjoy water play but also climbing walls, ziplines, laser tag theaters, black light mini golf, mini bowling, and glow-in-the-dark gaming arcades. With feedback from readers and my own research I have posted an expansive list at the top of our family adventures folder. Three of my favorites are listed below.

Kalahari Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells.

Ride the Rippling Rhino at Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells.

Kalahari Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells. The family-friendly water complex offers FLOWRIDER waves for surfing, lazy river floats, a water rollercoaster, lily pad jumps, spiral pipe flume ride and if that is not enough Kalahari has a giant adventure park as well.

World Waterpark in Edmonton Mall, Alberta.  The five-acre waterpark complex includes a beach supporting world’s largest wave pool so the surf is always up. There are more than 20 waterslides including super-fast body slides with free fall elements and if that’s not enough there is always shopping.

Great Wolf LodgeWwaterpark Thriling Vortex

The fun quotient is high at Great Wolf Lodge waterparks where flip-flops are essential; no sunscreen is needed; splashing is allowed and laughter prevails.

Great Wolf Lodge Waterparks in US & Canada. The undisputed champion of indoor waterparks, Great Wolf operates more than a dozen locations coast to coast including Canada. The locations are truly family adventure islands with interactive activities and amenities for all ages including grandpa.

More spring break family vacation ideas have been posted to our Family Adventure folder.

Just imagine 48 hours away making waves with your kids.

Nancy Nelson-Duac

Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files.

 

Snow Tubing Yields Squeals and Smiles.

Don’t wait to get your snow tubing thrills, snowy activities may be part of spring break 2016 for many but Mother Nature is fickle and some are already predicting an early thaw. I am nudging action if your family is in need of a double dose of thrills and laughter because snow tubing will do it.

The growing popularity of snow tubing offers the chance to share snowy thrills and sometimes ride a magic carpet as part of the experience. It does not require lessons or practice to be enjoyed. It’s really a ready-made, surprisingly affordable, screen-free day adventure.

I like it as much as ziplining for many of the same reasons. Snow tubing is definitely a multi-generational experience (not really a sport) that combines a modicum of skill, fresh air, squeals of joy, and laughter. It is a recipe for pure family fun with no apps needed.  It has few age requirements and offers thrills for 10-year-olds, teens, 20-somethings and most snow slugs over 50. Some locations even have mini lanes and short runs for tykes.

To facilitate spring break planning or planning for next weekend, the Family Travel Files has just expanded its Snow Places folder to include an extensive list of snow tubing spots across the US. New additions to the list offer terrific snow tubing possibilities including snow tubing at night, snow play areas and extra activities like snow sledding, winter ziplining, pint-sized snowmobiling, dog sledding, and even a bob sled run for those who get no thrills from snow tubing.

Prepare to slide before the thaw.

Nancy Nelson-Duac

Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files.

Sharing Pie on Pi Day.

It is a fortunate coincidence that Saturday is not just Pi Day but also Albert Einstein’s birthday. Museums and destinations across the country have created terrific ways for families to celebrate with pi parades, Albert Einstein look-a-like contests, pie eating contests, and interactive numbers games.

Franklin Institute Pie on Pi Day

Pi Day at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia includes numbers games and scrumptious pie.

I think Mr. Einstein would smile at the assorted events created to honor the most memorable number sequence on the planet. If you are not following me, pi usually recognized by the Greek letter “π” is the symbol used in math to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter which is 3.14159265358…. and on it goes. The following events prove math can be fun for everyone and who doesn’t love pie.

Princeton, New Jersey is hosting a string of crazy events including an Einstein look-a-like contest and a Dinky Train ride with reenactors playing Einstein, his mother and their good friends.

Naturally MoMath, the National Museum of Math in Manhattan will begin the day’s festivities begin at 3/14/15 at 9:26 with a scavenger hunt through the exhibits and oodles of pi puzzles to be solved.

Any day at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia offers exceptional rewards for families but the Museum’s National Pi Day celebration will add extra geekiness with pi reciting contests and a pie launch competition

Adler Planetarium’s daytime Pi Day activities include a pie eating contest, a parachuting pies challenge, and pie-in-the-sky solar observations.

At San Francisco’s Exploratorium the day begins at 9:26:53 and includes pi processional, light circles and pizza pie dough tossing.

If none of these work for you there’s always the excuse to bake a pie and do your own calculations per serving.

For the latest family travel news follow the Family Travel Files on Twitter (@FamTravelFiles)

Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff

Snow Tubing Squashes Winter Blahs

For most of the northern states and for many of us in the south March has provided extra snow, and a string of snow days so unless spring break plans include Caribbean sunshine and sandy beaches or an escape to an indoor waterpark,  snowy activities will be part of spring break 2015. Which is why I am opining about one of my favorite solutions to the winter blahs – snow tubing.

In the old days there was sledding and sometimes tobogganing offering the same thrills but less comfortable seating. And then resorts began to add inner tube lanes to sledding hills providing more bounce with no need to steer in order to enjoy the slide and a new way to enjoy the snow was born.

Woodloch Pines Resort Snow Tubing in Pennsylvania

At Woodloch Pines Resort doubling up on snow tubing is encouraged all winter long.

Snow tubing is definitely a multi-generational experience (not really a sport) that combines a modicum of skill with snow, fresh air, squeals of joy, and laughter. It is pure fun with no apps needed.  It has few age requirements and offers thrills for 10-year-olds, teens, 20-somethings and most snow slugs over 50.

Snow tubing ranks at the top of any winter family adventure list adding energy to chilly days. The growing popularity of snow tubing offers parents and grandparents the chance to share snowy thrills with the younger generation and sometimes ride a magic carpet as part of the experience. It does not require lessons or practice to be fun. It’s really a ready-made, surprisingly affordable, day adventure that makes a healthy family tradition.

To facilitate spring break planning the Family Travel Files has just expanded its Snow Places folder to include an extensive list of snow tubing spots across the US. New additions to the list offer terrific snow tubing possibilities including snow tubing at night, snow play areas and short tubing runs for tykes plus extra activities like snow sledding, winter zip lining, pint-sized snowmobiling, dog sledding, and even a bob sled run for those who get no thrills from snow tubing.

Two view the best snow tubing places in the US posted by region browse Snow Places lifestyle folder.

Nancy Nelson-Duac

Curator of the Good Stuff

Southern California: Spring Break Family Vacation Ideas – Sun, Fun, and Discoveries.

San Diego North - child with cactusIn “SoCal” it is easy to create family vacations that include fun and learning. Kayak along the coast or fly a kite on the beach. Rent bicycles to explore the oceanfront boardwalk or go whale watching off Dana Point. Make time to enjoy a sunset with your kids.

I have assembled a few of the best family vacation ideas for your perusal and there are many more in our family Spring Breaks folder.

Continue reading

theFamilyTravelFiles.com Showcases The Best Places To Combine Family Fun and Learning.

School breaks and spring family vacation time provide the perfect chance to take a break, have fun, and share a learning experience with your children.GatlinburgZiplines

The Spring Break folder at theFamilyTravelFiles.com is loaded with ways to create and share unique learning experiences. From stargazing and living history to tide pools and animal encounters the possibilities are endless. Trying something new in a new place may be just what everyone needs or returning to a favorite museum and a comfortable pastime may be even better.

“I have always looked at learning opportunities as an added family vacation value because learning together makes all the difference in how successful your children will be in their studies,” according to Nancy Nelson-Duac, Editor of the popular family vacation planning website. She goes on to say, “The trick is to find places and activities of interest and share the discovery with your kids or grand kids.”

The top 10 choices for exceptional family learning experiences include not just museums, aquariums and zoos but also energizing activities in nature.

  • Dallas: The Perot Museum – Dinosaurs, gigantic gems, and a leap frog forest.
  • Long Beach: Aquarium of the Pacific –Touch tanks and Free Shark Lagoon Nights
  • Oakland: Chabot Space and Science Center – Bill Nye’s Climate Lab discoveries.
  • Atlanta: Fernbank – See Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing.
  • West Virginia: Bridge walks and mountain biking.
  • Tennessee: Ziplining and rope antics in Gatlinburg.
  • Seattle: EMP –Celebrating Jimmy Hendricks with outrageous outfits, and rare concert footage.
  • Space Coast: Kayak at the zoo and walk through the tree tops.
  • Virginia Beach: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center – Boat excursions and behind the scenes encounters.
  • Orlando: Forever Florida – Treetop EcoSafaris and horseback adventures.

Checkout more than 300 Spring Break family vacation ideas which feature ways to combine learning and fun.

About theFamilyTravelFiles.com. Founded in 1998, theFamilyTravelFiles.com is one of America’s top-rated online family travel resources offering more than 1000 pages of timely family vacation ideas and trip planning information. The website specializes in displaying family vacation ideas, destination information for adults planning family vacations, advice about family trips, and family travel deals. To assist in narrowing searches, colorful vacation idea folders are visible throughout the website.

Lisa A Duac Publisher (813) 968-4799 or publisher@theFamilyTravelFiles.com
Nancy Nelson-Duac (817) 573-6920 or editor@theFamilyTravelFiles.com

Spring Break Family Vacations Including Baseball. Why not?

March is the month Grapefruit League in Florida or the Cactus League in Arizona to show their stuff. And for families who share a passion for baseball spring training is ideal –  cheap seats, great weather, and close encounters with players.

Kissimmee Florida Spring Training Baseball

After each game Houston Astros' players meet fans at Autograpgh Alley.

The obvious advantage – spring training games offer fans a less intense atmosphere with players willing to talk with fans, and sign autographs. From batting practice to the 7th inning stretch the atmosphere is convivial. Including baseball in your spring break plans is fairly simple. If any team will do then the options are many.

Look to the Grapefruit League in Florida for Astros, The Braves, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Devil Rays, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, Tigers, Twins, and Yankees. The ballparks are found in central Florida, along Florida’s east coast, southwest Gulf side, and the Tampa Bay area. For example: love the Astros then it’s Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee; follow the Yankees the its Legends Field in Tampa. Add to ballpark time in Florida beach time along the Gulf, airboat rides, Harry Potter at Universal or horseback riding or ziplinging at Forever Florida.
 
Each spring, Arizona hosts the Cactus League spring training with the teams in  Scottsdale, Tempe, Surprise and Peoria. The teams training include A’s, Angels, Brewers, Cubs, Dodgers, the Giants, Indians, Mariners, Padres, Rangers, Reds, and Royals. A two-hour drive south, Tucson is home to the Rockies, White Sox and Diamondbacks play. Add to sunny days in Tucson a visit to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Sabino Canyon, Reid Park Zoo or Old Tucson Studio. For families vacationing in the Phoenix area offers plenty of activities to supplement any spring break. Start with the Heard Museum for a glimpse of Native American culture. The Children’s Museum of Phoenix, and the Arizona Science Center are definitely worth time plus the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo offer hours of fun for families.

Here’s the deal. Whether you choose Arizona or Florida the savings will be in the tickets. Ticket prices span $10 to $30 with family nights offering extra savings and benefits. Some teams offer the chance for fans to take batting practice or attend an autograph session. For planning purposes checkout www.grapefruitleague.com  or www.cactusleague.com. Each site offers current schedules and ticket information.