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Ritz Kids Gets Active

Exciting news from the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes! They’re rolling out a brand-new Ritz Kids interactive experience this summer, and we’ve got the deets you need right here! Grande Lakes is the first Ritz-Carlton to offer a physical space to bring the hotel’s scenography to life, and the refreshed Ritz Kids space and programming offers children the opportunity to become fully immersed in Florida’s rich history and biodiversity.

In this new experience, Ritz Kids continues its partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society inviting little ones to discover adventure and exploration through four pillars: water, land, environmental responsibility and culture. The journey starts at check-in, when kids embark on their adventure to learn more about the unexpected history of central Florida and the footprints it has left on the region through a variety of experiences against the backdrop of a reimagined trading outpost, characteristic of early Orlando pioneer life.

The focal point of the Ritz Kids space is the re-creation of a “Frontier Farmhouse,” as inspired by the traditional Florida frontier house, once the residence of ranchers who flocked to central Florida to explore the state’s vast, barren land for roaming cattle, ample water supply and sunshine. Elements of these structures have been incorporated into the design, whose defining characteristic was a breezeway passing through the center of the house, serving as a natural air conditioner.

The Everglades

Positioned at the headwaters of the Florida Everglades, the resort offers families the chance to experience a taste of Old Florida. Orlando may have evolved into a bustling metropolis, but the Everglades remain an unparalleled landscape and the “largest subtropical wilderness” in the United States. Underscoring the commitment to the two pillars of water and environmental responsibility, the main play area features a special carpet made from recycled fishing nets whose pattern mimics a bird’s-eye view of The Everglades. Ritz Kids teaches children more about this natural region of tropical wetlands located right in the hotel’s backyard.

The Swamp

“The Swamp” isn’t as scary as it sounds! This is where many of the friendly Ritz Kids critters call home.  A number of educational and interactive opportunities await from the moment children enter the space, including discovering the resort’s very own Cypress Tree, a hallmark of the swamplands and type of tree that has been growing in the state for more than 6,500 years.

Kids can get up close and personal with a variety of new additions to the Ritz Kids menagerie as part of the upgrade. In addition to meeting sirens and anoles, children have the opportunity to learn about the impact these creatures have on the Florida ecosystem.

The Green Thumbs Garden

“The Green Thumbs Garden” pays homage to Central Florida’s agricultural history and invites budding botanists to plant their own Grande Lakes roots. Kids can immerse themselves in nature here, using planters made from repurposed pallets to examine the world of edible seeds and nuts and learn how humans, animals and plants benefit from them.

Grande Lakes Orlando has launched a collaboration with a local non-profit organization striving to educate others about Florida’s wildlife and habitats and promote conservation and the great outdoors while providing for animals in need. As part of the partnership, Grande Lakes is providing a safe haven for animals that have been rehabilitated after sustaining injuries by releasing them back to their natural habitat on the resort grounds.

In addition to the new Ritz Kids program, guests of The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels can take advantage of the many other family activities offered at Grande Lakes Orlando including fishing opportunities from the shore and guided excursions to the private waters of Shingle Pond. There is also an interactive catch and release program as part of a collaboration with the Florida Wildlife Commission that transforms a typical day of fishing into a research adventure to determine why certain types of largemouth bass grow faster than others. Other outdoor excursions include two-hour guided Eco-Tours through Shingle Creek and birdhouse building while bird watching.

Posted by Elizabeth on 07/05 at 08:30 AM
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The Big, Friendly BFG Summer Celebrations!

Do you love the BFG as much as we do? YES! We were already super excited for The BFG movie that opens TODAY in the United States. Then we found out that there are loads of BFG activities taking place throughout Great Britain all summer long to celebrate not only the release of the movie, but also the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth. Book us a ticket, we’re so there!

The film, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the book by Cardiff-born author Roald Dahl, was filmed at locations across Britain including Blenheim Palace, London, the Isle of Skye and Bamburgh Beach in Northumberland. You can visit all those places and participate in all the exciting events celebrating both the movie and Roald Dahl’s September 13th birthday. Check them out below!

London & Partners’ Dream Jar Trail in London

This summer the streets of London will be transformed by magical giant dream jars containing the dreams of celebrities and top artists such as Steven Spielberg, Sophie Dahl, Quentin Blake, Nadiya Hussain of Bake Off fame, Paralympian David Weir, Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams and Arsenal Football Club. Find out more here!

Cardiff: City of the Unexpected

Cardiff: City of the Unexpected is a birthday weekend celebration taking place September 17th and 18th. To mark his centenary and to give thanks for the legacy he created, this will be a totally surprising celebration of the man, his characters and his stories. The Welsh capital will become a place where reality is turned on its head, and where the laws of physics, logic and the predictable will give way to magic, fun, invention and the surreal, as if Roald Dahl himself is at the helm.

Don’t miss out on any of these fun events either!

• A full year of celebrations at The Roald Dahl Estate in Great Missenden;
Roald Dahl’s Tremendous Adventures at Tatton Park; and
The BFG in Pictures at the House of Illustration, London.

It’s going to be the biggest, friendliest celebration ever!

Posted by Elizabeth on 07/01 at 08:30 AM
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At Gleneagles Hotel, You’ll Never Want to Come Inside!

Gleneagles

Now is a great time for a visit to Scotland! We love the Gleneagles Hotel—a 5-star Scotland resort on 850 acres of Perthshire countryside. Just one hour from Edinburgh and Glasgow, Gleneagles is home to three championship golf courses, including The PGA Centenary Course, Host Venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup, more than 20 outdoor activities, an award-winning Spa by ESPA and four restaurants including Scotland’s only two Michelin-starred restaurant, Andrew Fairlie. Gleneagles recently announced a property-wide redesign that will preserve the iconic resort’s rich history and character while debuting chic guest rooms, stylish public areas, a new bar at Dormy Clubhouse and a revamp to the main bar.

Gleneagle

From learning the art of Falconry and clay shooting to playing a round of golf on a championship course and relaxing in the award-winning spa, every member of the family will enjoy exploring the 800-acre luxury resort. From June 25 – September 4, there are daily summer adventures for everyone! Pitch ‘n’ putt, country pursuits, pony caregiving and Segway tours are just the beginning!

Children’s Country Sports Passport

Through the Children’s Country Sports Passport, Gleneagles provides world-class sporting schools for kids who want the ultimate educational outdoor experience. Local experts teach the art of falconry, clay shooting and archery as well as gundog training, fishing and junior off-road driving in mini Land Rovers through hands-on instruction.

Gleneagles

The Chance to Own Your Own Pony

It’s every kid’s dream to own their own pony! Under the watchful eye of Gleneagles’ equestrian experts, you can learn how to properly care for Scotland’s indigenous Shetland ponies. Before a riding lesson, kids six and up can groom, cuddle and tend to the pony’s stable.

Take a Segway Tour!

Have some family fun time exploring the grounds on a Segway tour! The 45-minute guided tour is a fun way to get around and allows access to places not easily accessible by car.

Gleneagles

Pitch & Putt

If you’re kids are interested in golf, why not have them experience the game where it first got its start? For those not quite ready to take to the courses, our nine hole Pitch & Putt  is great fun for all ages and abilities. An 11-acre championship practice ground, as well as several putting greens ensure you never have to go far to hit a few balls!

Gleneagles

Looking for a savings this summer? The hotel is offering the “Save on Seven” package that includes:

- Legendary Gleneagles breakfast at The Strathearn
- Full use of the club facilities
- Valid now through September 30
- Rates start at £2,075 for seven nights, based on two people in a Sovereign room

Hope to see you there!

Posted by Elizabeth on 06/28 at 08:30 AM
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We’re Crazy for Camping!

Starlite Camping Resort

We’re heading into the last weekend of Camping Month! Didn’t get to go camping (or glamping!) yet? Don’t fret, there’s still plenty of time in the summer! If you’re looking for a place where the kids can experience a little bit of “roughing it,” but you still get comfort, fun and entertainment, Starlite Camping Resort in Lancaster County, PA is a great choice.

Starlite Camping Resort

Comfy Accommodations

Choose between a private, wooded campsite or a more open site with panoramic views. All the sites are comfortably-sized with electric and water hook-ups. The property offers swimming, playgrounds, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a baseball diamond, pretty fantastic mini-golf, hiking trails, an arcade and an air-conditioned rec hall. There’s also three bathhouses, two laundries and a well-stocked camp store in case you forgot anything…or you’d just like to treat yourself with some hand-dipped ice cream!

Starlite Camping Resort

Activities for Everyone!

Hang out by the campfire, cool off at the swimming pool or participate in the many and varied activities offered by campground staff. Almost every weekend has a theme like Vintage Camper and Car Weekend, Woodsmen Weekend and Quiet Camping Weekend (no talking, just texting aaaallll weekend long. It’s a tween dream come true.) Even when there’s not a theme, there’s tons to do for all ages. Country line dancing, ball games, ice cream socials, karaoke, chicken barbeque, Sunday morning breakfasts, movies and old-school hayrides are just a few of the regular activities offered.

With all the choices at Starlite, you probably won’t want to leave. But if you do want to get out and about, the Lancaster area won’t let you down! Learn about the Amish culture, visit the home of our 15th president, check out the country’s oldest continuously operating farmer’s market for some authentic whoopie pies or do some tax-free shopping. If you come on the right weekend, you might even get to see a mud sale!

What’s your favorite camping adventure?

Posted by Elizabeth on 06/24 at 08:30 AM
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How to Survive in Europe with Kids

This post contains a link sponsored by European Health Insurance Card.

With summer fast approaching, vacation time is almost here! Now is the time to start organizing those last-minute details still on your to-do list. If you’re headed to Europe—whether to a sunny beach holiday in Italy, a city break in Germany or a sweet cottage in the UK, there are fundamentals that need to be arranged. We’ve got a handy guide for all the must-haves you need to remember!

Document Wallet

This is one of the most important pieces that needs to be organized and packed. Make sure your passports are valid, health insurance that will cover you nationally is in place (or if you’re a resident of EEA that your EHIC’s renewed), bookings are confirmed, travel insurance purchased and any other important travel documents you may need. Phones are convenient for showing boarding passes, but you should actually print and store these important papers in a plastic wallet or a folder.

Combating Motion Sickness

When you’re traveling with children you need to be prepared for anything, so even if your child doesn’t have a history of motion sickness it’s better to be safe than sorry! Talk you’re your doctor before you head out and find out what medications or remedies are suitable for your child!

First Aid Kit

Kids are always getting grazes and scrapes, and unfortuantely that doesn’t stop just because you’re on vacation! A comprehensive travel first aid kit will be great for your peace of mind and can be purchased online. Don’t forget the lollipops!

Entertainment

Children get bored easily, so pack lots of activities. Coloring books, puzzles and other fun activities will keep them occupied during the long hours moving from place toplace. Movies and games are great, just make sure your chargers are easy to access!

Essential Toiletries

Medications, wet naps, hand sanitizer, diapers and yummy snacks are crucial to making your vacation as drama-free as possible. Another must-have item is sun block. Apply liberally and often to avoid painful sunburns.

Have a great summer vacation everyone!

Posted by Elizabeth on 06/21 at 08:30 AM
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How to Keep up your Mindfulness Even When Traveling

When wellness and mindfulness are part of your daily routine, we know you don’t want to miss out just because you’re traveling. Morgans Hotel Group knows this too and has launched exciting new programs at their hotels in Miami, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and Istanbul.

wellness

Colorful Creativity

Right on trend as always, Morgans Hotel Group has put together a mindful coloring book for adults featuring each of its hotels’ iconic design elements. Coloring is believed to contribute to wellness and mindfulness—just like meditation—so it’s great for de-stressing and sparking creativity. With gorgeous illustraions by talented artist Peter Arkle, these coloring books will help you relax into a state of quiet contemplation. You’ll be transported to the iconic Delano South Beach pool on one page, the ornate stained glass staircase at Sanderson London on another and then to the vibrant library of Hudson New York.

Mindfulness Everywhere

Morgans Hotel Group has also partnered with Mindfulness Everywhere to offer guests who book rooms in special suite categories and above a complimentary download of its extremely popular buddhify app (while supplies last). The app provides access to buddhify’s more than 80 meditations for various moods and provides guidance while monitoring users’ progress. And when you stay at one of their participating hotels you’ll also receive in-room Mindfulness Cards with meditations and relaxation tips for travelers, created exclusively for Morgans Hotel Group by buddhify Founder Rohan Gunatillake - as well as a link to access complimentary mp3 meditation guides.

Wellness Around the World

Here’s what happening on the wellness front in their properties around the world!

Namaste New York: Hudson, Morgans and Royalton are partnering with wellness concierge group Namaste New York to deliver on–site massage therapy, yoga, personal training, Pilates and meditation sessions that can be done without equipment and in a small space.
Run Club and Agua Spa:  In collaboration with Alton Sports, Mondrian South Beach’s 5K “Mondrian Run Club” kicks off each Wednesday at 6pm. The run begins at Alton’s Sports on Alton Road and concludes at Mondrian South Beach. And, through April, agua spa at Mondrian is offering specialized green tea treatments that will enhance the function of your mind, body and soul.
Detox & Retox: Through May 26, Mondrian Los Angeles is offering registered guests a package to detox with healthy food options like fresh juices, crudité and hummus platters, then “retox” with preferred seating for two and two cocktails at Skybar from 11 AM - 3 PM. You’ll also get complimentary Mondrian headphones and an in-store 15% discount on Lifehouse tonics & elixirs!

Las Vegas, Mondrian London, Sanderson London, St. Martin’s Lane and 10 Karaköy Istanbul all have their own programs too!

Posted by Elizabeth on 06/17 at 08:30 AM
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Visit the Shenandoah Valley with Bucket

Shenandoah Valley

Seems like there really is an app for everything these days! This year, the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia has gotten in on the fun in a great way. Go Blue Ridge Travel’s friendly snail mascot, Bucket, is ready to welcome your family to her interactive adventure game taking place this summer. Bucket’s Buddy Adventures is an educational, competitive and inclusive way to explore creativity, wellness, fitness and family heritages as you learn about Piedmont and the Shenandoah Valley.

Shenandoah Valley

Sign up through the website here, and plan your trip. When you arrive at the first location, check in on Facebook or Instagram. Then the phone goes away for that location! At each new stop, your goal is to figure out the magic word. The registration desk will give you the details on how, as the game is different each place. Work as a team, figure out the word, and you’ll earn a prize. Keep track of your progress on the app.

Shenandoah ValleyShenandoah Valley

Locations are divided by the themes of creativity, wellness, fitness and family heritages. Buddy and his snail friends represent different personality types and will guide you through each theme. Bucket likes outdoor adventure while Shenny is into creativity. Fungi loves food and wellness, and Ridge is into technology and digs history. Even though they’re all different, they’re all friends!

Shenandoah Valley

Each theme has five activities you can complete over a few weeks if you live in the area, or in one trip if you’re just visiting. Check out the Explore More Discovery Museum or the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Visit Great Country Farms, the Cedar Creek Battlefield and take in a movie at the Family Drive-In. Hike to the top of the mountain at Bryce Resort for some outdoor activity! You’ll have opportunities to learn and have fun throughout the entire adventure. Grand prize is a weekend for four planned by Bucket. Sounds like a great time for everyone!

Posted by Elizabeth on 06/14 at 08:30 AM
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How to Visit 8 Fabulous Countries in 24 Luxury-Filled Days

Where do you go when you’ve been everywhere? Having spent a lifetime traveling the world, Geoffrey Kent, founder of Abercrombie & Kent, is always looking for new places to adventure. This insatiable curiosity led him to design an exclusive journey by private jet: Around the World With Geoffrey Kent: An Inspiring Expedition. For this Oct 1-24, 2017 trip, 50 guests can join him on a globe-spanning journey from tropical French Polynesia to Iceland, the land of the northern lights, aboard an exclusively-chartered jet!

Fly directly from Los Angeles to Lanai, Hawaii, to explore a marine preserve perched atop a rugged red-lava cliff overlooking a white-sand beach. In tropical French Polynesia, snorkel above brilliant coral reefs, observe black-tip sharks or explore a vanilla plantation by ATV. In Tasmania, visit the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), fly by helicopter to the Forestier Peninsula, plentiful with wildlife including the Tasmanian devil, then immerse yourself in Australia’s colorful history with an in-depth visit to former convict sites. Explore the rainforests of Borneo, alongside a leading wildlife photographer, to search for the Man of the Forest, the seldom-seen orangutan. Climb up to Bhutan’s breathtaking Tigers’ Nest Monastery and see Mount Everest on a thrilling helicopter flight.  Enjoy a cognac tasting at a distillery in Armenia, and attend a private ballet performance including the famous Saber Dance. In Iceland, ride a snowmobile across the surface of a glacier, hit the trails on a five-gaited Icelandic horse or take a helicopter to the Langjokull Glacier to explore man-made tunnels carved deep into the blue glacial ice.

Private jet travel with Abercrombie & Kent allows for a more authentic and intimate journey, filled with exclusive, invitation-only events, such as a meeting with local dignitaries in Bhutan to learn about “Gross National Happiness,” the country’s unique governing philosophy, and a private backstage tour of the Harpa Music Hall in Reykjavik—all arranged exclusively for A&K guests. Throughout the trip, you’ll have an experienced Tour Director handling all the arrangements and a professional photographer capturing all your special moments!

On the ground, you’ll divide into smaller parties of about 16 with a Tour Manager and local guides who lend insight and expertise. You’ll stay at carefully chosen properties that embody authentic hospitality at every stop on the journey. They may be historic hotels, lavish resorts or eco-friendly lodges, but all offer a distinctive sense of place, gracious hospitality and inspiring views. The group will have exclusive use of several properties, including Le Taha’a Resort in French Polynesia.

Fine Dining & Entertainment

What about the eats? Meals are more than just a chance to dine at the end of the day! They are a complete feast for the senses with local entertainment and stunning natural backdrops. Sample fresh cheeses from an artisan cheesemaker in Tasmania and learn the art of breadmaking in Armenia at a special ceremony. A&K’s Executive Chef travels with the group, partnering with local chefs to select fresh ingredients and pair local wines, and sometimes commandeers an entire kitchen to deliver top-notch dining in even the most remote locales.

Luxury in the Air

Travel by private jet allows guests to experience far more with greater comfort and ease than a conventional itinerary. While on board, you’ll enjoy a fully stocked, open bar featuring top-shelf wine and spirits, personalized, first-class meal service and even espresso drinks. Completing this best-in-class in-flight experience is a dedicated cabin crew providing a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:8. All of A&K’s private jet journeys feature a privately chartered Icelandair Boeing 757-200ER with 50 custom-designed Italian leather seats equipped with a personal massage system, 4-way adjustable headrests and lumbar support and a fully lie-flat bed.

Contact Abercrombie & Kent here to reserve your spot!

All images courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

Posted by Elizabeth on 06/10 at 08:30 AM
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What’s New at Atlantis Resort?

What’s new for summer 2016 at Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island? Atlantis’ bucket-list kids activities is! From the enormous Aquaventure waterpark and the world’s largest open-air marine habitat to swimming with the dolphins and a high-tech Kids Club, Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island is a family paradise.

Parents Magazine designs Kids Menu

Atlantis has partnered with Parents Magazine to create an all-new, exclusive Kids Menu at its family-favorite Marina Village restaurant, Bimini Road. The menu that just launched in May is super fun and nutritious and does not include the usual go-to’s like nuggets and fries.

New Eats

Poseidon’s Table and Platos’ are all-new renovated dining outlets at the heart of the resort in the Royal Towers. Designed by Jeffrey Beers, Poseidon’s Table brings a more upscale, naturally lit buffet experience to families throughout the day while Plato’s offers excellent coffee and grab & go food. Of course, there’s also favorites Seagrapes, casual dining with live cooking stations, and Carmine’s, casual family-style Italian dining.

Cartoon Network is back!

Cartoon Network is back at Atlantis June 20 - August 21 with all-new programming. They’re featuring a “dive in” movie theater, huge obstacle course with Powerpuff Girls and We Bare Bears challenge and special cartoon network-inspired activities in the kids club.

Keep track of the kids

Atlantis just debuted an all-new mobile app which allows families to track down their loved ones and keep an “eye” on their kids throughout the resort using GPS tracking. A guest chat function allows kids to connect and guests can request baby cribs, extra towels, pool tools, and more from Atlantis on-demand.

The magic of Rob Lake

Back by popular demand, Rob Lake, International Magician of the Year, is performing at Atlantis nearly nightly all summer long. His Vegas-quality performance is in the state-of-the-art Atlantis Theater and perfect for all ages.

Images courtesy Atlantis, Paradise Island

Posted by Elizabeth on 06/07 at 08:30 AM
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Let’s Celebrate International Glamping Weekend!

The Resort at Paws Up

Did you know this weekend is International Glamping Weekend? That’s right, it’s time for the annual celebration dedicated to glamorous camping around the world. Our good friends at Montana’s premier luxury ranch resort, The Resort at Paws Up, boasts a variety of safari-style tented accommodations that create the perfect setting to enjoy the weekend—in the great outdoors and with all the comforts of a five-star destination. The festivities continue throughout June, because it’s national camping month!

The Resort at Paws Up

Why ‘Glamping?’

In 2005, Paws Up mashed up the words ‘glamorous’ and ‘camping’ to properly describe their revolutionary luxury camping experience. And suddenly, the glamping concept was born! Glampers can now choose to stay in any of the five gorgeous tented camps on Paws Up’s 37,000 acres, including the newest and most luxurious addition,Cliffside Camp. In Cliffside Camp, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of the Blackfoot River from a private outdoor deck, en suite bathrooms with heated floors, heavenly down comforters on The Last Best Bed™, rustic chic interior décor and a private camp butler. Sign us up now!

The Resort at Paws Up

The Resort at Paws Up also offers an extensive menu of wilderness adventures for guests to enjoy, including the brand-new ropes course, The Sky Line Aerial Adventure Course. This challenging activity features ten climbing platforms, several 22-foot drops and a 40-foot free fall option. Of course, all your favorite Paws Up activities are still around. There’s ATV tours, an authentic cattle drive, Blackfoot River floats, canoeing, guided fly-fishing tours, guided hikes, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, rappelling, spa services, sporting clays and more.

The Resort at Paws Up

Check out their 2016 Program of Events, and make your reservations!
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Posted by Elizabeth on 06/03 at 08:30 AM
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Amusement Parks Around the World

Disney World is, of course, the most popular amusement park in the world. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that eight of the top 10 parks in the world are Disney properties. But, if you’re all moused out after multiple visits, there are some other great amusements parks out there!

Universal Studios, Worldwide

Three Universal Studios locations are in the top 25 amusement parks and, while there is some crossover, each one has its own charms. In Japan, visit Hello Kitty Fashion Avenue’s Hello Kitty’s Cupcake Dream and Ribbon Collection. In Florida, you can visit the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Shrek 4D. At Universal Hollywood, check out Fast & Furious – Supercharged, Super Silly Fun Land and Waterworld.

Europa-Park, Germany

Europa-Park has a little bit of fun for everyone. They have roller coasters, shows and many fun attractions. Climb to the top of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to hear the story of the King’s charming daughter, Sleeping Beauty, take an enchanting boat trip through the elfin realms on the Elf Ride or ask your questions to to the magical Doctor Know-All who (almost!) always has the answer!

A photo posted by 에버랜드 (@witheverland) on

Everland Resort, South Korea

With five zones, European Adventure, Zootopia, Global Fair, American Adventure and Magic Land there’s much to do at Everland Resort in South Korea. Between the Magic Cookie House and the Live Hologram Theater, there’s fun for all ages! There’s even an attraction for the smallest in your brood, Kizcovery Children where kids are invited to climb and jump at eight zones with different animal and nature themes.

What’s your favorite amusement park in the world?

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/31 at 08:30 AM
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Celebrate 100 Years of State Parks in North Carolina!

Going for a more traditional vacation this summer? Steeped in history, culture and fun, the Outer Banks of North Carolina is about as traditional as it gets! But what’s especially fun this year is that the North Carolina state parks system turns 100, and there will be events all summer to celebrate. Home to one of the nation’s first state parks at the summit of Mount Mitchell, there is now more than a quarter-million acres set aside for conservation, recreation and education throughout the state and several in and around the Outer Banks. And, bonus! As with every state park in the country, fourth graders get in free! We’re highlighting a few great places to visit that are in and around the Outer Banks.

Wright Brothers

At the Wright Brothers National Memorial, site of the world’s first controlled powered flight on December 17, 1903, you’ll find an exhibit hall with special exhibits, including a replica of the 1902 Wright Glider and a multipurpose auditorium. The Visitor Center features full-scale reproductions of the Wright 1903 Powered Flyer and interpretive presentations, and the grounds include historical markers of each attempted powered flight, replica camp buildings and a 60-foot granite monument on top of Big Kill Devil Hill (a 90-foot dune) honoring the Wright brothers.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

The veritable birthplace of European Settlement in America, the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is home to the first settlement of English colonists. Although the first two groups of settlers were unsuccessful—one giving up and returning to England after a year and the second mysteriously disappearing—the area did eventually become the very successful Freedmen’s Colony in 1863. Up to 2,200 African-Americans called the self-sustaining colony home. While at Fort Raleigh, don’t miss the Elizabethan Gardens within the site. The gardens pay tribute to those 117 men, women and children who vanished from the Roanoke Colony.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

The 400-acre Jockey’s Ridge State Park encompasses the highest living sand dune on the Atlantic Coast and one of the Outer Banks’ best known visual icons. Climb to the top of the nearly 90-foot dune to view the panoramic vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and Roanoke Sound. Shifting sands, high winds, extreme temperatures and a lack of water give the park a desert feel, but also encompasses the wonders of an estuarine environment. Activities include hang gliding, hiking on one of the park’s two self-guided nature trails, kite flying, sandboarding and picnicking.

Centennial Scavenger Hunt

Last, but not least, and just for those who happen to live in North Carolina, this Memorial Day weekend the park service is holding a massive scavenger hunt at South Mountains State Park. South Mountains is full of “Naturally Wonderful” things for you to discover. Search for 100 different natural items marked with special tags throughout the park. Start off by picking up a Centennial Scavenger Hunt checklist and a map at the Visitor Center, and get searching!

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/27 at 08:30 AM
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Swim with Sea Lions? Yes, Please!

Through September 15, you have the chance to swim and snorkel with sea lions in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez. What a great opportunity for an all-day family adventure! After a short hour and 20-minute boat ride to the barrier island of Espiritu Santo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Bio Reserve, you’ll be visiting and swimming at the sea lion colony. Hungry swimmers will savor a freshly prepared lunch on the beach of Ensenada Grande Island that is surrounded by commanding red rocks and towering cacti. Snorkeling equipment is included!

After lunch, a professional guide will lead a discussion about interesting facts about the natural history of the area. Espiritu Santo Island is a pristine eco-system where you can see blue-footed boobies, sea lions, dolphins, sea turtles and, if you’re there at the right time, grey whales. Unfortunately, the Sea of Cortez area is in danger of overfishing and pollution unless serious, consistent conservation is put in place.

Even better, this trip is part of a five day, four night package that includes breakfast, four lunches and three dinners at CostaBaja™ Resort and Spa. Just 10 minutes south of downtown La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur, this resort won’t disappoint. The resort overlooks a 250-slip double-basin marina and a white sand beach. Just the place to decompress for a week away! Even after your visit to the Island, you won’t be bored, because golf, spa and relaxing are very much on the menu!

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/24 at 08:30 AM
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Want to try ‘Forest Bathing?’ Head to Mohonk Mountain House

Need to get out of the city this spring?Just a 90-minute drive north from New York City set in the Shawangunk Mountains, Mohonk Mountain House lies at the heart of the Hudson Valley. Owned and operated by the Smiley Family since its founding in 1869, you’ll find recreation and renewal in this sprawling Victorian castle resort. The National Historic Landmark offers a wealth of outdoor activities. There’s a picturesque lake for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, stand-up paddleboarding and even log-rolling at the height of season! And more than 85 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and their newest offering, ‘forest bathing,’ which involves guided mindfulness walks through the woods. Rejuvenate your mind, spirit and body as you connect with nature!

Recognized as one of the Best Family Hotels by Travel + Leisure, Mohonk offers children’s specials where kids stay and eat free – upcoming dates are June 26-30 and July 5-28. No matter when you stay, the overnight rates include all meals and many activities, so families can enjoy most of the activities at no extra charge. This year, coinciding with the Kids Stay & Eat Free special from June 26-30, their Summer of Discovery offers an exciting array of daily activities for kids including our Junior Naturalist Program, scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, and more. Explore the Children’s Garden and enjoy talented performers that provide workshops and entertainment for the entire family.

But that’s not all, there’s lots more to do for kids! The complimentary Mohonk Kids’ Club is for guests ages 2 – 12 years and is tailored to your kid’s interests and abilities. The outdoorsy child may choose hiking and a frog hunt, while another child may prefer arts and crafts. Offered daily throughout the summer, as part of the Kids’ Club, the Junior Naturalist Program introduces children to the wonders of the world outdoors through eco-friendly activities that provide a hands-on approach to nature.

While the kids are making new friends, your goal will be to relax in the award-winning Spa at Mohonk Mountain House, named the Number One Resort Spa in the United States by Condé Nast TravelerWe covered it here and are dying to try out their Signature Treatments inspired by history and nature and an extensive Mindfulness Program.

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/20 at 08:30 AM
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Crazy Hotels You Definitely Don’t Want to Miss!

Every so often on Poshbrood, we like to cover a few of the crazy fun hotels that pop around the world. Because if you’re going to travel, why not make your experience just a little more unique!

Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam

The Zaan region—one of the world’s first industrialized areas—in Amsterdam boasts a distinct, colorful architecture of houses and windmills. You might actually recognize the look from a series of 25 paintings by Monet. While visiting Zaandam in the summer of 1871, Monet said “Zaandam is quite remarkable and there is enough to paint for a lifetime. Houses in all colors, hundreds of mills and delightful boats.” Taking a cue from the landscape, the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam uses examples of the traditional houses ofund around the region as its façade. Stacked on top of each other, the hotel looks a little like a Lego project gone awry. But the hotel offers superb rooms that reflect the traditional products, the pioneers of the local craft industries and the families that made the area world famous.

Solent Forts

Interested in history? The Solent Forts in Portsmouth UK offers an amazing trip through the past along with luxury accomodations! The forts were originally built to defend against Napoleon III, but weren’t built in time to fulfill that particular task. They were used to during World Wars I and II to protect from advancing forces. After decommissioning, the forts were sold and renovated into beautiful hotels and a museum. From the Crow’s Nest to the Wine Cave, privacy and fun are the goals!

La Balade des Gnomes

Have you ever wanted to stay in a fairytale house? La Balade des Gnomes in Heyd Nr Durbuy, Belgium is what you’ve been looking for! Shaped like a Trojan Horse, the inside is even more unexpected. Within the 10-room fantasy environment, you can sleep ina spaceship in a lunar landscape or cozy up in a troll’s habitat complete with running stream and goldfish. The owner and architect wanted to convey the simplicity of modern times and pulled inspiration from around the world to create this off-beat treasure!

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/17 at 08:30 AM
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Poshbrood is also a full-service travel agency. Our extensive network of contacts and a partnership with NYC-based SmartFlyer, a VIRTUOSO agency, enable us to pass along special perks at top hotels worldwide such as complimentary upgrades, breakfast-inclusive hotel rates, early check- in/late check-out and additional value-adds that might include hotel and resort credits, meals, spa treatments orairport transfers. Our clients also enjoy additional benefits from our Four Seasons Preferred Partner, Ritz-Carlton STARS, Fairmont Famous Agents, Preferred Hotels VIP & Orient-Express Bellini Club status. (Poshbrood does not charge clients fees upfront, typically we receive commission from hotels.)

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