Sesame Place

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Place…? Sure, Sesame Place is in Langhorne, Pennsylvania about 25 miles outside of Philadelphia.Sesamecharacters

This themed amusement park appeals to kids and adults of all ages. Who doesn’t love taking photos with cuddly monsters, riding fun rides, seeing characters perform in the parade and watching interactive shows? This park is small enough to get around easily, yet large enough to keep you and your family entertained for hours.

I was really impressed with the overall layout and design of the park. Each of the rides were creatively named and related to the Sesame Street theme. My favorites were Oscar’s Rotten Rusty Rockets and Honker Dinger Derby.

Sesame Rides

If you visit during the summer season the water rides will be in operation. You’ll find The Count’s Splash Castle, which has many levels of fun including water slides, an enormous tipping bucket, bridges, water wheels and other features.  There are a wide variety of water slides, a rambling lazy river, a tidal pool and other wet fun.  Our favorite was Sky Splash where up to 6 riders can travel together in a tube down a twisting and turning slide.

Sesame wet

Character Viewing: You’ll be able to snap your own photos of beloved characters such as Big Bird, Elmo, Bert and Ernie, The Count, Abby Cadabby, Zoe, Oscar the Grouch and more. There were a lot of characters stationed throughout the park at different spots and times.  Typically there were only a few people in line so the wait was rather short.

You can also view the characters in the parade, shows or character dining experiences.

Sesame photos

Parade: Watching the parade is a great way to view the characters in one spot. During the Birthday Celebration Parade all of the beloved Sesame Street characters rode on interesting and colorful floats as they traveled down the street moving and grooving to upbeat music.

Parade viewing- I recommend standing on the street in the middle or closest to the entrance.  For the first song the parade performers stopped right about at the boat and anyone that was sitting further down on the street didn’t have anything in front of them to watch until the song finished and the performers continued down the street. People at this park reserved their parade viewing spot well in advance. Towels and strollers were lined up along the parade route an hour or two ahead of the scheduled parade time.

Ses parade

Dining: There are character dining experiences where you can pay extra to eat a buffet breakfast, lunch or dinner while Elmo and his friends dance around and are available for photographs. There is also a meal plan option that can be purchased.  You can bring a small cooler inside the park with you.  Near the parking lot there are several tables with a large umbrella for shade.  Many people were sitting there eating food they brought with them.  Also I saw people kept coolers in the car.  Very close by is Taco Bell and Chick Fil-A if you are interested in leaving the park to grab food.  Don’t forget your hand stamp to get back in.

Special Events: The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular (September 26, 2015- November 1, 2015) and a Very Furry Christmas (November 21, 2015-December 31, 2015 on select days).  Click HERE for more information and to see the full even schedule.

Deals: We bought our tickets online to save $10 and get a FREE second day. Visits did not have to be consecutive days. So for $55 a person we got 2 days of fun. That’s a really good deal. I’m sure the promotions and coupons change throughout the year so be sure to check the Sesame Place website by clicking HERE for the current deals.

Other Info:

2015 is the year that Sesame Places celebrates its 35th year so the park was decorated with a birthday theme.

Sesamebday

Remember to pack your bathing suit and towel if you plan on experiencing the wet attractions.

Only negative I can think of is that we waited for 20 minutes past the scheduled reading time for the story.  The people in Hopper’s Store said that typically they are running late.

Staying true to what Sesame Street is known for was the educational fun found throughout the park. The parades and shows incorporated learning concepts such as letters, numbers and shapes.

Cookie’s Monster Land opened in 2014 and has rides, large climbing net and soft play area for the little ones.

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 12.02.35 PM

Although toddlers and preschoolers are the typical audience range of the Sesame Street show this park is not just for youngsters.  Kids and adults of all ages will be entertained.  Sesame Place is bound to put a smile on everyone’s face and the memories should last well beyond the time spent at the park. I hope you have a delightful time at Sesame Place!

Amy - Post Signature

A Colorful Time at Crayola Experience

As a child my favorite episode on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was when they visited the crayon factory. I loved watching the behind the scenes tour as the machines quickly produced one of my favorite items. Can you believe they’ve been around for over 100 years? I bet it would be awfully hard to find anyone who hasn’t used Crayola products!

Crayola

We recently visited Crayola Experience in Easton, Pennsylvania (about 90 minutes from Philadelphia). There were 25 hands on exhibits to let your creativity shine. My favorite station was Be a Star where you selected a background,  inserted a photo of yourself into the background and then printed out your masterpiece. Here’s my rock star creation:

Rock Star

My children enjoyed the stations that involved melting crayons. One station allowed you to melt two crayons together to make a cool drip art collage. At the Melt & Mold station you were given a crayon to insert into a machine that would turn your crayon into a molded keepsake. My daughter loved making rings!

Crayola Experience

Today, July 1, 2015 marks opening day for Crayola Experience in Orlando. This will be another fun activity in the Orlando area and great for any rainy or cold days.

Discover the magic by clicking on the Crayola Experience website HERE!

Amy - Post Signature

Fun Family Activities in Cleveland, Ohio

Nostalgia kicked into full gear as I took my kids to places I used to visit as a child living in Cleveland, Ohio. Check out my list of family outings, recommended restaurants and shopping areas by clicking Cleveland Fun.pptx. You will also find spots to stop along the way from your trip from Columbus to Cleveland.  Here’s an example of the first of three pages.
Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 9.49.22 PM

 

Cleveland Zoo

A not to miss spot is The Rainforest because it is unique. Make sure to check out the tree house staircase to get to the second floor. My kids thought it was super cool to climb!

 

Cleveland Zoo

 

Memphis Kiddie Park

Memphis Kiddie Park is a great spot for little ones. So often kids are denied entry onto rides because they are too short. Not here!!! It is the opposite. Kids must be less than 50 inches to ride majority of the rides.

Height check

This park truly caters to the younger crowd. There are about 10 carnival type rides to keep your kids entertained.

Memphis Kiddie Park

Each ride requires one ticket. You can buy individual tickets or a book of tickets for a better price. I bought the book of 25 ride tickets and coupons for $31. Can you believe that Memphis Kiddie Park has the oldest standing steel roller coaster in North America? Pretty cool!

Lake Farm Park

Want to experience farm life? If so, visit Lake Farm Park in Kirtland to see a working farm. During our outing my kids got to pet a 6-day-old baby calf, 3-week-old piglets, 3-month-old kids (goats) and other animals such as sheep and horses. They were thrilled to milk a cow and ride a pony. There were interactive displays, indoor play areas, playground and greenhouse.

Lake Farm Park

Close to Lake Farm Park is Penitentiary Glen Reservation which is another Lake Metropark. Stop here for a free experience. The Kevin P. Clinton Wildlife Center houses 25 different animals (mainly birds). This is a rehabilitation center with the hope to release these animals back into the wild.

On the same property is a nature center. Here you can sit outside and observe wildlife in a tranquil environment. Learning opportunities inside include a touchscreen computer where you can read facts about different Ohio animals, bees that come in and out of a tube to make a beehive, stuffed animal area for pretend play and many signs to read.

Great Lakes Science Center

What a great way to spend a rainy day! The Beyond Rubik’s Cube Exhibit was super neat. It is a temporary exhibit and will only be on display until September 7, 2015. So get there soon if you want to experience the fun!

Rubiks cube

There were numerous interactive exhibits to keep kids of all ages and adults entertained. The Polymer Funhouse is geared towards kids under 7. My kids spent a long time in the ball pit and filling up the scooper.

Since I am a COSI member my visit was free and I only had to pay for parking. Big thumbs up for that!

Pizza

Cruise the main street in Little Italy for some authentic Italian food. A popular stop is Mama Santa’s for pizza and Corbo’s Bakery for some mouth-watering desserts. There is a playground on the street too if your kids need to burn off some energy.

IMG_3476

My personal favorite pizza in Cleveland is Geraci’s. The pepperoni is one of a kind and so delicious!

Beaches

Cleveland sits right on Lake Erie so why not stop at one of the beaches on the Great Lakes? As a kid we used to visit Huntington Beach. Digging in the sand, taking in the views, walking the beach and checking out the nice homes as you cruise down the road are great way to spend a warm summer day or evening. If you are brave enough to get in the cold water make sure you check the water quality to ensure that it is safe.

HuntingtonBeach

Malley’s Chocolates

I have fond memories of visiting Malley’s ice cream shop and sitting on the moving carousel that slowly spins in a circle. Seriously, how cool is it to rotate around to your original location? The charm of Malley’s is what you expect when you think of an ice cream shop. The hot fudge sundaes are to die for good! Just typing this I wish I had some of the warm, yummy goodness right now to eat. I visit the North Olmstead shop but there are 3 other ice cream shop locations and several locations that serve candy only.

Malley's

Cleveland may be nick named “mistake by the lake” but I think there is so much to explore. Do you have a favorite spot?

 

Amy - Post Signature

Freebies at Disney World

I’ve been to Disney many times and am still learning things I never knew about the best and cheapest ways to enjoy the parks.  Thanks to Erin Davis from Magical Moments Vacations for her Disney freebie tips below.  These will be very useful in my upcoming Disney trip!
Disneyfreebies
Believe it or not, there are lots of FREE things to do at Walt Disney World!  Here are some of my very favorites!
1) “Ye Haa” Bob Jackson has been entertaining guests at the River Roost Lounge in Port Orleans Riverside for nearly 20 years!  Bob performs a VERY popular sing-a-long piano show Wednesday – Saturday nights, beginning at 8:30pm.  This is a great way to spend the evening if it’s raining or if you want to get away from crowded parks.  His shows are family friendly, and you usually see kids there until about the second intermission.  Get there a little early to grab the best seats.  Ye Haa Bob usually mingles with the audience before the show, so be sure to tell him if you’re celebrating anything, or if you have a song request!
 Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.23.28 PM
2) Did you know that Walt Disney World Resorts have nightly movie showings?  Disney Movies Under the Stars is a great way to wind down after a busy day in the parks.  You are not limited to watching movies at your resort.  Feel free to resort hop!  Every resort has a different movie schedule.
Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.28.32 PM
3) Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Campground has  a daily Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sign-A-Long that is free!  The Sing-A-Long generally starts around 8 pm in the summer, and is held near the Meadow Trading Post in the campfire area.  The program starts off with a Disney cast member leading a sing-along, followed by a marshmallow roast around two campfire rings.  You may bring your own marshmallows, or buy them at the Chuckwagon Snack Bar.  Chip and Dale make an appearance to visit with guests, so don’t forget your autograph books!  The sing-along lasts around 45 minutes, and is followed by a Disney movie.
3 Chip and Dale
4) Animation Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a class that teaches you how
to draw a Disney character.  Classes are held every 30 minutes, and you’ll find that they are less crowded later in the day.  Frame them when you get home and you’ll have a great souvenir. (This CLOSED in July so we will stay tuned to see what Disney has coming next.)
4 Animation Academy
5) Free Drinks!  You can work up quite a thirst at Walt Disney World.  Forget about the $3 bottles of water!  Go to any of the counter service restaurants in the parks and ask for a large cup of ice water.  This also works for hot water, so you can bring instant packs of coffee with you for an afternoon coffee break.  If you’re at Epcot, don’t forget to check out Club Cool and sample drinks from around the world for free!  Located near Innovations West in Future World, this exhibit features Coca-Cola products from 8 different countries.  Kids love this, and it’s a great place to get out of the hot Florida sun and enjoy a refreshing beverage.
5 Club Cool
 Did you know Erin can help you plan your Disney Dream Vacation and there is no fee for her service?   That’s another great freebie!  Take advantage of her expertise and allow you to have a stress free planning experience.
 Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.31.46 PM

Magical Moments Vacations has earned the distinction of being named an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. This special designation is given by Disney in recognition of the agency’s ongoing focus and commitment to planning customized, magical vacations to the Disney Parks, Disney Cruise Line and other Disney destinations!

Erin Davis is a graduate of Disney’s College of Knowledge, and completes regular Disney training–including on-site visits–to ensure fluency with all the new attractions, systems and entertainment at the Disney Parks and Resorts.

Magical Moments Vacations is accredited by both IATA and CLIA and is part of the Vacation.com Travel Consortium.  

In addition to Disney destinations, Magical Moments Vacations by Erin Davis also books vacations to a wide variety of other destinations, including cruises, river cruises, all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, Hawaii, Europe and more!

Erin Davis
Travel Specialist
Magical Moments Vacations
(330) 204-1748
EDavis@MMVAgent.com
 
Amy - Post Signature

Patio Dining in Columbus, Ohio

If you’re like me than every time the weather is nice all I want to do is eat my meals outside. Each time I rack my brain trying to remember all of the patios in town. Inevitably I can only think of a few. I’ve said a million times, “I have to make a list of patio dining options” so without further ado here is my Columbus list…

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 1.16.31 PM

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 1.19.19 PMClick the link for the complete printable list:Patio dining.pptx

I know I missed many great patio dining spots in Columbus so I’ll be updating the list soon. Comment below if you have a favorite spot to add to the list!  🙂

 

Amy - Post Signature

Little Buckeye Children’s Museum

While COSI may be a great Science Center I have long wished for a Children’s Museum in Columbus, Ohio. I found a true gem- Little Buckeye Children’s Museum in Mansfield. Although it isn’t in Columbus it is close enough and so worth the drive!

BuckeyeChildrens1

There were 28 interactive displays that allowed your child to be creative, engage in pretend play, explore and learn. The colorful artwork on the walls and quotes reminding you about the true importance of play were visually appealing. With two floors of fun there was so much to do.

So often children want to model adult behavior and act like a grown up. Little do they realize that working in the real world isn’t always glamorous as they think, but at least they were pumped to test out some career options. My daughter enjoyed taking care of doll babies in the hospital, using hair supplies to style and accessorize human like heads and take my order as she worked at McDonalds. My son was really interested with the bank area where he could use money to role-play as a banker. He also enjoyed acting as a dentist while he pretended to clean his sister’s teeth.

Buckeyechildrens2

Other areas to spark curiosity included a nature area with tanks of small living creatures, a room full of soft foam building materials to make structures, and a transportation area with trains and airplanes.

buckeye3

Another few notes:

  • Admission is $7, which I think is really reasonable. They do have reciprocity for half off admission if you have a membership with another children’s museum (not science centers).
  • Cleanliness was a priority at this museum. There were spots to place toys that may have wondered into little one’s mouths, play sections were organized and I even saw one of the workers wiping down the tables and chairs while we were leaving.
  • Snacks such as Animal Crackers and Goldfish could be purchased for a dollar.

Other spots nearby:

  • As an added perk you can walk down the street and spend $2 to allow your child to take a ride on the carousel.
  • Visit the super cute boutique called Little Bo-tique. What a cute name and such an adorable store. They sell new and gently used children’s clothes and accessories, toys and maternity clothes. In the back is a play area to keep your kiddos entertained while you shop around. The owner was so friendly, offered balloons to my kids and answered politely as they asked her a million questions.DSC_1650
  • Two Cousins Pizza is down the street. I heard that the pizza is tasty and kids can make their own pizzas. There are great reviews on tripadvisor so we will be checking this place out on our next visit to Mansfield.
  • Ohio Bird Sanctuary is about 9 miles away. It is free and a neat place to visit. (I have more to say about this spot so stay tuned!)

Needless to say I was beyond impressed with our day in Mansfield. The next day my kids were already asking to go back. I know it won’t be long until we visit again!  🙂

Amy - Post Signature

Strawberry Picking and Recipe

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 6.14.11 PM

Strawberry picking has started in Ohio.   My kids LOVED picking berries. It was like a little hunt as they searched for only the red ones. We tried to see who could find the smallest strawberry, largest strawberry and oddest shape.

Here are some u-pick locations in the Central Ohio area. Make sure you call ahead or visit their Facebook pages because fields have a tendency to be open sporadically due to the amount of berries available and the weather.

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 6.08.50 PM

After your visit you will be thinking about all the different recipes you can make with strawberries. My kids wanted to make strawberry cake so I decided to “assemble” a cake that I have been making since I was 8 years old. It is super easy, only uses a few products and it tastes delicious.

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 6.12.56 PM

  • Use your freshly picked strawberries or buy the four ingredients shown in the picture below (Strawberries, Angel Food Cake, box of strawberry Jell-O and tub of Cool Whip).Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 6.02.44 PM
  • To flavor the cool whip I mix in a small box of strawberry Jell-O.Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 6.24.56 PM
  • Slice the Angel Food Cake in half horizontally.
  • Use the strawberry flavored Jell-O to frost the bottom half of the cake.
  • Layer some strawberries in the middle.
  • Put the top part of the cake back on.
  • Frost the rest of the cake and place more strawberries on the top.

Strawberry picking season doesn’t last too long so don’t wait to go. Not only will you have fun but you’ll also be supporting a local farmer. 🙂

Amy - Post Signature

Free Daily Bowling For Kids!

With the cold and dreary weather today my kids and I decided to check two things off our Summer Bucket List. First we signed up for the summer reading program at the library and then we headed to the bowling lanes.Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 11.39.39 PM

Did you know you could sign your children up to receive a certificate via email for 2 free bowling games per child all summer long???? Yes, it is an incredible deal. Just go to www.KidsBowlFree.com/PlainCity to register. There are a ton of other Ohio cities that are participating in this program as well as in other states. Check out www.kidsbowlfree.com to see the other available locations. I spent a minute or two entering my information and then immediately received the email with the certificates.

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 11.39.58 PM

Here’s what I loved about our experience today:

*It only took me about 15 minutes to drive to Plain City Lanes & Pizza from the Dublin library.

* Bowling shoe rentals were $2.50 each so for a total of $5.00 my kids enjoyed two full games.

* The staff was friendly. They helped me find the 6-pound balls and get the ramp so my kids could push the ball down. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 11.39.49 PM

* We can head back tomorrow and every other day this summer if we decide we want another bowling adventure.

The lanes are right next to Der Dutchman so I recommend stopping there before or after to dine in or pick up some yummy treats at the bakery. We will definitely fit that into our next trip.  🙂

Enjoy!

Amy - Post Signature

My Summer Bucket List

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 10.36.06 AM

One more day of work until my summer vacation officially starts! I’ve created my local Summer Bucket List full of exciting activities for my family. Click here: LocalBusyBeesSummerBucket2015.pptx  for a printable version of my list and a blank copy of the template so you can write in your ideas.

I’m thrilled to have been asked to guest blog on The Club Mom.  Check out my blog post at http://theclubmom.com/category/family/ for a ton of ideas for everyone.   I have lists of outdoor activities, craft ideas, rainy day fun and more.

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 10.49.14 PM

Leave a comment below about what is on your Summer Bucket List. Whatever it is, I hope it is fun filled! 🙂

Amy - Post Signature

Stop “Summer Slide”-Fun Activities to Keep Your Kids Thinking

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 9.09.31 AM

I can’t believe summer vacation will begin in just a few days. As a teacher I must give my public service announcement about the importance of maintaining a summer learning routine. By this, I don’t mean skill and drill worksheets that will result in a battle between you and your child, but rather fun activities that keep their brains thinking and charged up. It’s all about disguising the learning because after all learning can and should be FUN!

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 9.18.47 AM

You don’t want your child to experience “Summer Slide” because if their brain sits idle for too long it may result in a loss of academic skills. Not only have I witnessed this first hand but there is a ton of research about the loss of learning that occurs over summer break for some students. When it comes to learning, nobody wants to see his or her child slide backwards. Here is a wide range of engaging activities that your kids (and you) will enjoy!

Click StopSummerSlide.pptx for a printable with over 100 high interest ideas.  There are activities for toddler through upper elementary children.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 8.53.05 AM

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 8.52.37 AMScreen Shot 2015-05-23 at 8.53.53 AM(Above is just a sample of the pages.  Click StopSummerSlide.pptx for the entire document.)

Read, Read, Read!!!

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.45.00 PMThis is the single most important thing your child should do throughout the summer.  Signing up for the summer reading program at your local library is always a motivator for reading.  Read to your children, with your children and encourage them to read as much as they can.

Build background knowledge about places you’ll be visiting.  For example, if you are going on vacation to Washington D.C. read books with your child and have them learn a little history about what they will be seeing. Perhaps they can help you plan the itinerary or keep a journal about their experiences.

Vacations

Here is one of my favorite quotes that emphasis the importance of exposing your child to a wide variety of opportunities.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 9.47.32 AM

Have an entertaining summer and remember to squeeze in some learning time!

Amy - Post Signature