With school vacations rapidly approaching traveling with the family can feel daunting and you may feel like you are overlooking something (hello mommy brain). Thankfully, Daniel from Kensington's in Mashpee Commons has shared a Traveler Tip & Checklist for us! Underneath the pictures there is also a link to download this as a pdf.
Coco Key Water Park & Double Tree by Hilton Review
After the long winter and the kids being cooped up, we knew we needed to take a little mini vacation with the kids to kick off the spring and summer. So when we were recently offered a chance to come up and visit the Double Tree by Hilton North Shore and Coco Key Water Park in Danvers in exchange for our honest review, we jumped at the chance.
We arrived shortly after check-in time with two very excited children who were eager to immediately go and check out the water park. When we arrived in our room we were delighted to find a fruit and cheese plate, which was a very welcome sight after having sat through Boston traffic on a Friday afternoon. The kids were more than thrilled to get their own Coco backpacks complete with a parrot. They quickly changed into bathing suits at lightning speed.
The water park was a huge hit with the kids. The park is designed well with age levels and abilities considered. There is an area for young children with two small slides, waterfalls and spouts and parents can interact with the kids easily. Only children can use the slides but you are allowed to catch your child at the bottom. The area gradually becomes deeper so there are plenty of places for kids of all ages to play and interact.
This area also has a pirate sail utilized as a movie screen, which at night you can see really well and enjoy a family favorite while splashing around. This is also where the family seating and the cabanas are located.
We decided to purchase a cabana the second day we were there so that the kids had a quiet place to rest. The cabanas had a table, chairs, couch and tv for everyone to use. We enjoyed a delicious pizza from Gator’s, which was recommended by staff. They have a bar inside the park that sells both cocktails as well as smoothies. Guests can also rent lockers to store valuable items in as well as utilize locker rooms to change and use the restrooms.
The center of the water park consisted of a splash pad, with more advanced slides and water toys while surrounded by the lazy river. This area was designed so that kids as well as parents can enjoy the slides together. One of the biggest hits was the giant water bucket which would fill over the course of 5 minutes and then dump over the entire structure. The kids had a great time getting dunked and riding the “big boy” slides!
The water toys were a lot of fun and allowed for children to experiment as engineers with how water flows. This area was a huge hit with the kids as they explored the different types of slides and activities.
In the back there was a basketball pool, which sadly only had 2 balls that could be used. It looked pretty when it was lit up at night but was always crowded. We ventured in here only once and luckily a big kid passed the Tiny One the ball about ten times in a row to give him a chance at trying to score a basket. There was a small section behind this that had inflatable lily pads that kids could cross while holding onto roped netting from above. This area was closed, but we it looked like fun.
In the opposite corner, just past the hot tub section, were the most advanced slides. We climbed all the way up to the top of the facility and were able to choose between two sets of slides that both utilized a tube and ones that did not. We chose the ones with the double tube and were quite impressed at how fast and fun the slide was. The slides themselves exit the building, twisting and turning all the way down to reentry into a large pool. While the kids were not tall enough currently to ride these, all of the adults found them fun.
We balanced our time between the water park and the hotel pool which was our quiet sanctuary. Having young children, we needed a place where we could have down time, free from the over stimulation that often leads into a meltdown. You could choose to do laps, relax in the hot tub or just lazily swim around with your kid. We all really loved this option which was a benefit to staying at the hotel. It is essential to all our sanity to have decompression time and a quiet place to swim and practice our skills.
There is also an arcade with availability for birthday parties. We allowed the kids to play with money they had saved in their piggy banks. It was a fun way to transition between the water activities and the hotel. They had small rides for the kids, air hockey, video games for various ages and even a photo booth. We spent a little time here and were sure to get a family picture in the photo booth on our last day.
We noticed quite a few birthday parties taking place which would definitely work for local families looking to host a fun combination of water and video fun!
The Double Tree by Hilton is a great hotel. The staff very clearly cares a lot about their guests and hotel. Our room was great, and big enough for six of us (2 couples and 2 children) including having a separate section for the kid beds and their own tv. The family rooms are located around the perimeter of their event rooms, which allows for easy access to the water park. The second evening we were at the water park there was an accident in the kids pool so we left back to our room early. As we went to our room, friendly staff asked about our day and we told them how much fun we had but it had ended on a poopy note. As we were getting ready for bed, we were surprised by a knock at the door and were treated to a sweet surprise of three hot fudge brownie sundaes. the Tiny One was more than a little excited to end the day on such a positive note and we were grateful to the staff for making the day even better. By going the extra mile the staff shows just how much they care about guest comfort and happiness even when things happen that are totally beyond their control.
The hotel provides a brunch, a Starbucks cafe, a sit down restaurant and room service as options for meals. During our stay we enjoyed service at all these places. Breakfast included both a cold and hot breakfast options depending on your appetite. The hostess stand also offers children a coloring page that if they turn in post meal they can pick from a prize box. I appreciate this little extra as it gave the kids a purpose to work towards while the adults could enjoy their meal and coffee quietly. Our first evening there, we ordered pizza to our room for dinner as we were all too exhausted from all the excitement of the water park. The food was delivered promptly and with a smile and the kid pizza’s made two young boys very happy. The Starbucks cafe had the majority of all our favorite items and was a nice way to wake up with a treat. The hotel restaurant was also pretty good. They had a delicious salmon salad with candied walnuts that really hit the spot and the Tiny One was happy with another personal pizza, but we would have loved to see more affordable lighter options for a meal.
Our only comment for improvement pertains to the water park. There seemed to be way too many people in the lazy river at certain points to the point where some teenagers were racing through the river running over families and young children. While the lifeguards are attentive in terms of safety and trying to ensure everyone has a water tube, they also need to address this as it becomes a safety issue. There were several times some of these older kids were swimming over my 5 year old and roughly passing me which at times caused discomfort as they shoved past me. I finally had to address it myself and that particular group seemed to back off, but this is an area the waterpark staff definitely needs to show more authority and ensure it is safe for all and not just a race track for teenagers.
Overall, we would highly recommend the Double Tree by Hilton North Shore and Coco Key Water Park in Danvers as great choice for a local vacation for Cape Cod Moms and families. It is both affordable and fun. The kids will be happy and it won't break the bank so it is a great option for school vacations or just as a weekend mini vacation. The attentive staff at the hotel truly care about their guests and always aim to improve. Even the kids think this place is pretty awesome, just check out their thoughts in the video review below!
Legoland Boston Additions Review
Since my last review of Legoland there have been a few exciting additions just in time for a day trip during April Vacation. A new movie called The Lego Movie 4D A New Adventure has been added. Plus the Space Mission exhibit has opened. Which will be your child’s new favorite?
The Lego Movie 4D A New Adventure is about 12 minute movie that plays about once an hour. It is about the characters from The Lego Movie coming back together to visit Brickworld. It turns out Brickworld is just an elaborate plot by the brother of the owner of Legoland to capture the Lego Movie stars and make them work at Brickworld. My three and five year old think the movie is funny and interesting I think it is too loud and the story is lacking compared to Spellbreakers and Legends of Chima.
The Space Mission exhibit is the newest addition to Legoland and my son loved it! This new exhibit has its own room with no windows and dim lighting which may be too dark for some children. In the exhibit there are many activities to do. The mission control area allows children to pretend they are actually preparing the space shuttle for blast off. Mission control has tv monitoring of the space shuttle and the astronaut on the moon (your child can go behind the cut out and pretend to be that astronaut) as well as interactive buttons and Legos to build with. The space shuttle blasts off every five minutes complete with countdown, smoke and light effects. There are also four tables with space themed Legos to build with. One of the tables has a pre built space station kids can add to and another table has an alien colony to make additions to or build your own creation. The space Lego pieces include spaceship pieces which my son enjoyed using to try and build one.
Another special event Legoland is having is a Sensory Friendly event here is a blurb about it...
In honor of Autism Awareness month, LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Boston is hosting a sensory friendly event on Sunday, April 24, 2016 from 8:30am – 10:00am. For this event, we will make special modifications around the attraction, including designating quiet areas, turning down the music, and adjusting the lights throughout the attraction. These special adjustments will be made from 8:30 am – 10:00 am, but once you are inside, you are welcome to stay for as long as you would like. We will be open to the public at 10:00 am. Please remember that LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston is a children’s attraction, geared towards ages 3-10 and all adults must be accompanied by a child. Tickets must be purchased online, and space is limited.
Let me know what you think of Legoland and keep an eye out for space objects in Miniland!
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It’s almost April vacation and if you’re anything like me (i.e. you don’t have an exotic vacation coming
up), you are just now starting to plan for it. Well, I have a fun suggestion for a day trip to fill one of your
upcoming vacation days. Recently my girls and I discovered Beantown – no, not Boston – this Beantown is actually in Reading inside of … Jordan’s Furniture and is called BeanStalk Adventure Ropes Course. I have been sadly uneducated in the amazing offering that reside within Jordan’s Furniture. I always thought the only thing to be found there was, well, furniture. I was WRONG! Look at this place!
First of all, there are famous Boston landmarks which are recreated in smaller scale throughout Beantown made up of … jelly beans. Get it?! BEANtown. It’s awesome, and basically made us feel like we’d entered Willy Wonka’s magical candy world within his Chocolate Factory. Look at these faces:
Since you can’t actually eat the jelly beans in the replica, there is a handy dandy candy store right there with Jelly Belly jelly beans and other awesome treats like Harry Potter’s Chocolate Frogs. The kids were just a little bit excited about this:
And did you happen to see the picture up there of that insane-o ropes course? Well that is there to try as well. There is a huge, high, crazy-pants multi-level course with a zip line for older kids, and a smaller, less crazy-pants course for younger ones. All three kiddos I brought started on the insane course but it was REALLY scary! The two 8 year-olds pushed through their fear though it was still really scary for them and I think they may actually enjoy the memory of it more than they were enjoying it while actually participating. But if you ask them right now, they would say it was the coolest ever and even though they were scared they still had fun. Which in its own way (being scared but still having fun or at least still participating) is a pretty important thing to be able to do and know that you CAN do. Now my 5 year old went up there for about 5 seconds and knew immediately it was not for her. She is a tree-climbing, rock-scaling, dare devil, so that should give you a sense of the fear factor here. So she decided to do the lower course level and totally loved it. It should be noted that the entire time they were on the ropes course they were buckled into a harness that was attached at all times to a secure built-in system, meaning there is truly no danger at all of falling.
After our time was up on the course, we retired to Fuddruckers restaurant which is also right there at Beantown. So awesome! Did you know they have the World’s Greatest Hamburger? Well they say they do and we all thought so too. The kids also really liked the milkshakes!
After that the kids hung out in front of the Liquid Fireworks show, which the kids loved – this really surprised me and reminded me how awesome kids are. They danced up a storm!
After all that dancing we then got some yummy Sundays at Richardson’s Ice Cream Shop which is right next to the fountains inside the giant jelly bean banana split sundae. Yum!
There is one more cool feature that we didn’t get to experience, which is an 8 story Imax 3-D theater. It was showing a grown-up movie at the time, so we didn’t visit it, but if it was showing something else, how cool would that be to add in to the day?!
We were exhausted by the time we were done, luckily it was an easy drive back home to the Cape and it was such a fun, unexpected adventure. Our trip definitely made me excited to discover more awesome day trips we can do over vacation – stay tuned!
What do you have lined up for vacation? Any favorite day-trips that you recommend? Share for me and the other parents looking to fill our staycation or just our weekends. Thanks!
As promised, our Teddy Bear Tea Party will return for spring vacation, April 16th-24th. Like last time, we will be serving a selection of tasty treats, including no-crust pb&j’s, nutella and banana on white bread, cucumber sandwiches and fresh donuts with chocolate dipping sauce. Our Teddy Bear tea service is super kid friendly and presented on a tiered tray with a free fountain drink of your child’s choice (small $10, large $18). Bonus — each kid will receive a cute teddy bear! Feel free to bring your own Teddy Bear from home, too — he/she can enjoy the view for free!
The Teddy Bear Tea Party is offered at lunch service, 11.30 am to 3 pm from April 16 – 24th, all through school vacation week. Enter our Tea Party Contest and you could receive $30 towards your next meal at Quicks Hole Tavern or Taqueria. See the details here: http://bit.ly/1N4hT78
We hope to see you in Woods Hole!
Editor's Note: We attended this tea party during February vacation and absolutely enjoyed our lunch and experience. The presentation was very well done and Quick's Hole did a great job at accommodating my child's peanut allergy. We also really enjoyed sharing some of those delicious donuts with the kids! We recommend trying to go in around the regular lunch rush so you can be sure to get one of the window tables to ensure being lower to the ground and having a view. We will be attending once again and hope you will too! We look forward to your pictures that you share for their contest!
Marcus the Magician Performs for the Whole Family
Presented by Cultural Center of Cape Cod at Cultural Center of Cape Cod
FEB 18 4-5PM
At Cultural Center of Cape Cod at Cultural Center of Cape Cod
An outstanding magic show for kids of all ages ... and adults, too!
For a magic show that will have you believing the impossible, come to the Cultural Center of Cape Cod where Marcus the Magician from The Magicompany will present a high-energy, comedy magic show geared for ages 3-15 years and adults featuring music, live doves, and a chance for kids to take part and meet the amazing “Abracadabra the Magic Rabbit.” Marcus has made magic for over 35 years and is a member of The International Society of Magicians, The Society of American Magicians, and View more
$10 for Adults; $5 for kids 18 and under
Legoland Boston for the Under Six Crowd
My son J (3) and daughter E (5) love Legoland, and would go every week if they could! We have been members since 2014 and have gone dozens of times. Here are some of our thoughts and suggestions for what works well for young kids.
We usually arrive shortly before 10 AM and have a snack at JP Licks or Starbucks. Then, at 10 AM we head into Legoland and skip the tour because it’s tailored for older kids. Plus, E and J usually want to get to “Save the Princess” (Kingdom Quest Laser Ride - basically “zapping” skeletons, trolls, ogres, etc.) as quickly as possible.
After the ride, you walk through “Miniland” (a Lego model of Boston) to get to the main room with most of the attractions. J likes to fire the cannon on Old Ironsides and E enjoys racing a scull on the Charles river. My favorite is pinball at Fenway park. In the main room J likes to building race cars and E building on the earthquake table (which works well for keeping an eye on both since they are next to each other). Both kids enjoy the fire pit (Lego City Play Zone) but adults are not allowed in, which is tricky when you have really little ones who need help (small kids can also play in Duplo Farm). For kids who enjoy free play with Legos, there are bins of Legos in the middle of the main room and themed areas like Olivia’s House with table building boards.
Both the kids love the 4-D theater (sit by the entrance door to avoid getting too wet). J’s favorite movie is Legends of Chima and E’s is Spell Breakers. We usually spend about 90 minutes in the main room, and then head to the gift shop to look at the new Lego sets and build Minifigures for fun (my kids like collecting all the pieces off the ground and putting them back in the buckets haha). Legoland is a great place to take young kids, especially when it is not too busy!
Before you go:
*Tickets can add up quickly, but there are ways to save. Consider buying tickets ahead of time online. Even better, look for coupons on selected Lego bags (kids go free with an adult - see picture below) or the Lego Magazine (sign up here). If you will be going a lot, get an annual pass.
*Bring minifigures to trade (duplicates, ones you don’t want). My kids love getting “new” minifigures for free!
*Pack snacks to eat before and after so you can focus on playing. Legoland does not allow outside food.
*Beat the crowds and avoid lines by arriving early, especially on weekdays. Legoland opens by 10am.
*If you arrive before Legoland opens head over to JP Licks (across the street) for some coffee and breakfast goodies or ice cream. I think ice cream tastes better at 10 in the morning!
Here is to great adventures with kids! What are some adventures you have had?
Usborne Books & More Independent Educational Consultant
I am always looking for people to join my Usborne team, host parties (Facebook or home), or just share these wonderful books! For more information visit https://w4728.myubam.com or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February School Vacation in Falmouth
Art and Theatre Workshop
with Jacek Zuzanski
for Children ages 8-12
Join Dream Tale Puppets and the creative fun and immerse yourself in a theatrical adventure leading to a final performance based on an original adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories. The workshop is for those who like to move and express themselves using their bodies and voices, and will include painting, drawing and sculpting. Students will play acting games, and will exercise physical and vocal expression, as well as articulation. We will explore ways actors use imagination and give life to characters, as well as learn how to enjoy supporting each other. Everybody will take home his own puppets, and puppet theater to continue creative adventures with family and friends. No experience necessary. Materials provided.
Dates: Monday-Friday, February 15-19, 2016
Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Children should plan to bring lunch)
Class and Performance Location: The Fellowship Hall at John Wesley United Methodist Church,
270 Gifford Street, Falmouth, MA
Performance: Friday, February 19th at noon.
Fee: $ 150.00
More information: http://www.dreamtalepuppets.org/workshops.html
Questions? Contact Jacek Zuzanski at: email@example.com, or call
To register, please download the registration form from: http://www.dreamtalepuppets.org/workshops.html#Upcoming_Soon
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