Tag Archives: Family Friendly

Four Mile Historic Park: The Name Says It All

Located on the 12-acre plot of land that once marked the end of the Cherokee Trail, former wayside inn Four Mile House is a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, it’s also a thriving destination for history buffs and their families, who can take tours of the property and its farm, bring picnics, embark on weekend carriage rides, sit in tee-pees and visit the reconstructed camps of Colorado’s trappers and miners, even learn how to pan for gold. The park also hosts special events, from activity-filled harvest festivals to lectures on the expansion-era history of the area.


Lincoln Park Zoo and its Mighty Fine Views

Some people think Millennium Park is the Windy City’s version of Central Park, but they’re mistaken. Lincoln Park is Chi-town’s Central Park with its grassy knolls. sporting fields and spectacular skyscraper views. In addition to the views and paths, Lincoln Park also offers a top notch zoo – for free! That’s right the Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the nation’s last offerings of a free zoo experience. Day in and day out, the zoo and the park serve as a meeting place for friends, a place to bring kids for families (and nannies, let’s be honest) and the perfect place to work out. Don’t forget to visit the Lincoln Park Conservatory as well to take in exotic plant life.

Just because it’s a free zoo doesn’t mean they skimp on the diversity of animals! Over 1200 animals call LPZ their home. Lions and tigers and bears,oh my- and more! They live at LPZ amongst rhinos, hippos, pumas, gorillas, African monkeys, meerkats, Mongolian camels, giraffes and much more. There are plenty of reptiles and birds (penguins to pretty flamingos) to view as well. And about those views, up the hill in the park adjacent to the zoo, take in awe-inspiring views of the skyline with the John Hancock leading the way along the sparkling and enormous Lake Michigan.

Insider’s Tip: Stroll past the park and wander into the residential streets of Lincoln Park to ooh and aah over the beautiful mansions: from the park go west on W. Wrightwood Avenue until you hit Orchard, from there zig-zag about on other streets and enjoy!

The Ever Expanding California Science Center

The California Science Center is the West Coast’s largest hands-on science center- and is only growing- with additions being scheduled for 2010 and beyond. From daredevil activities like bicycling a nearly 50 foot tight rope to playing with cuddly chicks, the ScienCenter, as it’s creatively spelled, has a myriad of exhibits for every age and personality. Permanent exhibits include the Air and Space Gallery that has artifacts and hands-on activities on the exploration of the final frontier, World of Life, which explores all things living- from single cell amoeba to elephants and Creative World that’s about all things technology. If you get tired from running around all day, sit back and relax at an entertaining film at the Center’s IMAX Theater.

Screamers Among the Skyscrapers: Elitch Gardens

Picture 9Not many city skylines boast a Ferris wheel and roller coaster amid the spires and office towers. Thanks to Elitch Gardens, downtown Denver does. Moving to its current site alongside the Platte River basin from its original location in 1995, the 120-year-old theme park presents a kaleidoscope of classic thrill rides—from the Mind Eraser with its double corkscrew turns to the Tower of Doom, which drops daredevils groundward from 200 feet in the air. For the tots, old-time favorites abound: there’s a carousel, tilt-a-whirl, and teacup ride, as well as the Island Kingdom Water Park with a high dive, wave pool, and array of slides. Kicking off in May, the season ends with a spooky bang during October’s Fright Fest—a boo-filled blast of haunted houses and trick-or-treat trails.

2. National Easter Egg Hunt April 5

Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 3.13.09 PMDating back to 1878 when President Rutherford B. Hayes opened the White House grounds to local children for egg rolling on Easter, the annual White House Easter Egg Roll is a tradition that takes place on the White House Lawn. Families can come to hunt for and race Easter Eggs, while listening to stories and getting a visit from the Easter Bunny. Opened to children twelve and under, families can also enjoy sports, cooking classes, and live musical performances.

The theme for this year is “Ready, Set, Go!” promoting health and wellness. There are also wooden souvenir eggs available for online purchase, with each one expertly crafted and painted, as well as signed by the President and First Lady.

3. Miami Earth Day Celebrations April 19-24

Picture 15Miami will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day with a crossing from the Bahamas to Miami with a solar powered boat and  a week full of environmental events that will be fun- and good for the environment- for the entire family. Events include:

Fashion Forward: A hip clothes swap that makes the most out of unwanted clothes. Just bring your items down to the event and start swapping. And an added bonus? It’s free.

MiaSci Mad Lab: Children can enjoy interactive experiments at the Miami Science Museum’s Mad Lab. They’ll learn green concepts for the future, while having fun.

Secure Shredding: We all know that work can be very environmentally wasteful, so bring in your documents for free secure shredding by the premier recycling and shredding service in South Florida.

Miami Goin’ Green: A day long festival at BayFront park where there will be live performances, seminars, and eWaste recycling. The best part is it’s all free.

3. 12th Annual Boston College Arts Festival April 29

Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 4.47.23 PMEvery year, the Boston College Arts Festival brings the community together to celebrate the arts.  This annual spring event, now in its 12th year, showcases over 1,000 student and faculty artists in the performing, visual, and literary arts. Join the over 16,000 art enthusiasts expected to attend the festival and participate in art demonstrations, enjoy music, dance and theater performances, browse through art exhibitions, listen to literary readings and view films. A staple of the festival every year, this year’s children’s activities include interactive arts and crafts, a story hour, and an instrument petting zoo with the Boston College band.

4. The Fair Miami is Florida’s Largest April 1-14

Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 11.46.46 AMRanked as the largest fair in Florida, The Fair celebrates its 59th year in the spring of 2010. The Fair is an 18-day event that includes Pig Races, a Petting Zoo, Pony Rides, and a European style circus. Not to mention, there are the fair’s two live music shows: Everything Fitz, a family band featuring fiery fiddling and percussive step dancing; as well as Street Beat, a high energy explosion of urban rhythm, hip hop moves, and astonishing break dance acrobatics.

The fair is put on by The Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition, Inc. a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching their community by promoting education and South Florida agriculture while showcasing and rewarding youth achievement. In its nearly six decade history, The Fair has donated over $8 Million in scholarships, awards and premiums.

5. Spring Celebration & Easter Parade April 4

Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 4.23.28 PMThe Union Street Spring Celebration and Easter Parade is not your average Street Fair or holiday parade. With everything from roller-blading, cows, and creative self-propelled mini-floats to garden areas, sophisticated fashions, and beautiful classic and art cars, it’s a special event for the entire family.

The 19th annual event celebrates and showcases the diverse community of San Francisco and features some of Union Street’s best restaurants serving attendees in an outdoor bistro setting. A variety of children’s and family activities are the focus of the event and include: large inflatable bounces, kids’ rides and games, a climbing wall, a hands-on children’s activities area, costumed characters, a petting zoo, pony ride and entertainment from some of the Bay Area’s best musicians.

5. SoCal’s Largest Carnaval Primavera Celebration April 9-11

Screen shot 2010-03-24 at 5.35.42 PMFor the last 17 years, the Carnaval Primavera has been one of the largest Mardi Gras festival celebrations in Southern California. Spanning nine (!) full city blocks and lasting for three days, Carnaval Primavera will feature food from around the globe, as well as arts, crafts and commercial booths. As for entertainment, there will be live family entertainment on two stages, special exhibits, rides, and games. And don’t worry; the rides are for all ages. With upwards of 350,000 people expected to attend, the Carnaval Primavera is free to the public and a guaranteed good time for all.

4. Chi-Town’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 13

Picture 16It’s that time of year again that Chicago paints the city green – or at least in Grant Park- for Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Held every year on the Saturday leading up to the holiday, this is truly a family affair for people and families regardless of their ties to Ireland. The official grand stands to view the parade are at the beautiful Buckingham Fountain, where you’ll find floats, marching bands and even bag pipers in kilts.

For an added hue of celebration, at 10:45 a.m. the Chicago River will by dyed green near Wacker Drive between Columbus and Lake Shore Drive.

4. Family Concert Series with BSO March 3-27

Picture 2Classical music thrives in Boston this spring, especially in the hearts and minds of its young men and women. In March, the Boston Symphony Orchestra will join forces with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras to offer a new series for families. This new partnership allows the BSO to expand its family offerings, and demonstrates both organizations’ commitment to fostering an appreciation of classical music for the next generation.

The first concert will be a performance by the 120-student Boston Youth Symphony, was sold out back in November. Throughout March there will be various “Driving Forces” concerts performed at the BSO, with the final concert on March 27 that will feature the Young People’s String Orchestra made up of aspiring young students just 7-12 years old.

So for a night of classical music performed by some of the world’s finest youth and professional musicians, look no further than BSO family concert series.

5. The Coolest Acts Around at UniverSoul Circus March 1-7

Picture 18With the new show “We Play… Too Much!”, UniverSoul Circus sets the stage for generations of families to come together, sing songs, and even dance in the aisles to hits that span the last six decades. With tracks ranging from Motown classics to today’s Top 40, the most amazing acrobatic routines will be performed in front of a large audience. In the line-up are Chinese aerialists performing a synchronized aerial dance never seen before in the United States; the hottest stunt acrodunk players in the world; an entourage of contortionists who bend and twist their bodies beyond human limits; as well as a daring tiger act.

Where the audience is always part of the show, fans are forewarned, because under the Big Top of hip hop, you never know when you might wind up doing your thing in the center of the ring. Ringmaster Anthony Luewellyn a.k.a “Tony Tone” returns to lead an all star cast of performers that is unlike any traditional circus.

The Best Drive is to Universal City Walk

When venturing out to Hollywood to witness the bright lights and eccentricity on the boulevard seems daunting, there is an alternative that takes out the chaos and adds some fun. Universal City Walk is truly one of a kind in that it’s a city within a city, offering everything from movie theaters to restaurants, candy shops to water ballet. Locals and tourists alike are always gathering in the one pPicture 9lace where acting like a kid is commendable.

Though rummaging through magnet stores and a shop completely dedicated to Pez seems over the top, the adults have their fair share of fun, too. Universal has some American dining favorites, from Hard Rock Café to Wasabi. If you are looking for a quick bite to soak up all the fun, Universal has adapted the mall-like food court and offers quick eats from Dodger Dogs to Panda Express.
Once the shopping and eating comes to a rest, Universal City Walk has a nightlife scene offering great alternatives for those who don’t want to venture to the other side of the hill. Places like Saddle Ranch and Howl at the Moon bring in large crowds and keep the excitement alive all night.

Whether it’s daytime fun or nighttime entertainment, the crowds never seem to stop arriving at City Walk. The next time you feel like driving to Hollywood, skip the traffic and expensive drinks and drive to the Walk.

Endless Summers at Jasper White’s Summer Shack

If you are looking for some of the best seafood in town, you have certainly come to the right place at Jasper White’s Summer Shack. Award-winning chef and cookbook author JPicture 43asper White opened his first restaurant in Cambridge in 2000 and has been growing his enterprise ever since.

Whether you come for White’s famous clambake complete with corn on the cob or to indulge in his signature pan roasted lobster, the varied menu from sandwiches to lobster specialties appeals to every budget. You won’t find white tablecloths at this casual clam shack, but you will find a chalkboard filled with daily specials. The restaurant stays true to its namesake offering a casual and fun atmosphere for the entire family.

The seafood here is so amazingly fresh you would think it was plucked from the ocean just minutes before it hit your plate. The Tower of Power is a must-have indulgence, filled to the brim with oysters, littlenecks, crab claws, shrimp and lobster halves.  Summer Shack also has locations in Cambridge and Dedham as well as Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Visit summershackrestaurant.com for more information.

Insider Tip: If you are too full for dessert, order the walk away sundae, which is available in a to-go container to take with you.