Tag Archives: travel

Family Fun at Lion Country Safari in Florida

19 Apr

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I’m not being paid to write this post.  I felt compelled to share our experience at this amazing place.  We’ve been traveling to Florida for the past several years and basically hitting the same fun spots each time.  But it was while I was chatting with a friend a few weeks back that she told me about this Lion Country Safari….a safari in Florida you ask!? YES!  I don’t know about you, but I won’t be traveling to Africa anytime soon so this is about as close as I’ll get to a real live safari and wow it did not fail to completely wow me.

We headed there on a day when the weather was a bit iffy. You pay a fee per person in your car (you can also rent one there) and we found a coupon on the website.  You are provided with a CD to play as you travel through the safari.  The instructions are to keep windows up at all times.

And wow.  I’ll let my pictures do some of the talking.

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Other than the lions behind the fence all the animals roam freely; those zebras were right in front of the car blocking our path!

A total highlight for me were the giraffes….my favorite animal….they were everywhere and so gorgeous…

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The safari took us about 45 minutes and by the point the kids were done and ready to hit the amusement and water parks!

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There are rides and fun stuff for the kids but also different things like paddle boats that you could take out for a ride.

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And for an additional fee of 5 dollars per ride the kids each rode a camel :)

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is it me or is the camel smiling in this shot?!

is it me or is the camel smiling in this shot?!

My daughter’s highlight of the trip was her chance to feed a giraffe.  I think this is one of the coolest shots I have ever taken.

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I you tell I’d much rather the kids spend time in a place like this than that other place in Florida with all the mice & princesses!

Have you ever been here?

 

 

Feeling Refreshed After A Week in Florida

18 Apr

Yesterday we returned home from our trip to Boca Raton.  We’ve been fortunate to be going there almost annually the past several years around spring break to visit with my in-laws and catch some great sun.  This is their backyard…I mean can you just die?!

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And the beach is usually empty just like that…….we typically have the ocean all to ourselves, just like we like it :)

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When we weren’t at the beach we were in the pool…….or I should really say, the kids and their dad were in the pool, while I lounged and occasionally sat up and took photos!

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The only problem is that I don’t take enough photos!!! :)

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We did a few other fun things which I will detail in another post.

Today is about unpacking…the unfun part about vacations!

 

 

 

 

Family Trip to Cancun Part 1.

24 Aug

My father is hitting a very big birthday soon. To celebrate, he decided to take his children on a vacation…something we haven’t done together since we were children.

So a party of 11 of us set off for Cancun, Mexico to an all-inclusive resort.

For the first time on the plane, my husband and I didn’t sandwich ourselves in between the kids, allowing them to sit all 3 in a row together while we sat across the aisle.
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Their grandparents were in front of them while their cousins were behind them so they were surrounded!
They were great on the plane! I mean between the TVs on JetBlue and their Ipods we are pretty much set now and they behave, a much different story from our plane rides a few years ago.

When we arrived in Cancun and it was HOT.  Of course I loved it.  Customs wasn’t too bad and our resort was a 15 minute van ride away.  The kids couldn’t wait to see the room but they were wiped out.

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The room was beyond their wildest dreams!!!!!

You’ll hear me say a lot that the world is designed not for a family of 5, but a family of 4.  Hotel rooms never fit us, amusement park rides are always a problem, Great Wolf Lodge even charges you extra for that 3rd kid.

But this room………..had one king bed, and an alcove with bunk beds, and a pull out trundle…it was made for our family of 5!

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bed is also great for stalking mom and dad!

bed is also great for stalking mom and dad!

Since everything is included we thought we would order room service for our first breakfast.  The kids were totally wowed by the concept and enjoyed breakfast on the balcony in their pjs with the best views ever (while I told them it would be the only time in their young lives they would ever have room service again!).

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But really we couldn’t WAIT to hit the outdoors, and being the overprotective mom I am I put 5000 layers of sun protection on them which hampered their enthusiasm a wee bit :)

you suck Mom

you suck Mom

My dad wanted a family oriented place specifically for my kiddos and this one has a water slide so that had to be checked out ASAP!

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Total bummer though!!!!!!!!!!!!! The little one was too little to use it! But she could use some other cool stuff….

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It didn’t matter that this was called the KIDS CLUB because their DADDY was all over it!

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Oddly enough after this day we never returned to this area of the resort.  The kids had ZERO interest once they saw the rest of the many pools and gorgeous beach…

More to come!

Have you been to Cancun?

In Case You Were Wondering….

15 Apr

This is what 4 members of a family of 5 look like at 6:23 a.m. in New York’s JFK airport awaiting a 7:10 a.m. flight to Florida having been awake since 4:21 a.m….

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Fun times :)

Entertaining Kids (and Eating) in Boca Raton, Florida

7 Apr

We just completed our annual trip to Boca Raton for Easter to visit with my in-laws and to enjoy some spring break time away.  I just love it.

First you all know I am such a warm weather loving person and that the beach IS my place of utter peace and harmony.  This is our one yearly getaway so we really all look forward to it and hate when it flies by all too quickly.  And really what was once a really tough travel trip has turned out to be doable now that I have two 7-year-old and one 5 year old…a big difference from two 3 year olds and one 2-year-old!!!

So obviously we spent tons and tons of time at the beach in Boca.  We pretty much had one all to ourselves…

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The next best thing to the beach is the pool!

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this kid has some rough life!

As much as the kids love the beach and the pool,  (and literally had to be dragged in by their fair-haired ears each day) they all insist that we visit some of their favorite spots while we are in Boca.

The first one is Gumbo Limbo Nature Center which is right down the road from us.  Kids learn about endangered plants and animals and get to see turtles and other sea creatures.  It is a huge property where we hike around and they love to climb to the top of a structure each year where we try to spot their grandparents home.

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me out of breath!

I have photos of them as babies on these turtles!

I have photos of them as babies on these turtles!

I love it because we can still be outside while visiting Gumbo Limbo and you know I don’t want to step one foot out of that gorgeous Florida sunshine.  Similarly, we can be outside while visiting another spot, Sugar Sand Park. This is a vast park with many amenities.  We explore only a few, like the carousel…

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They all meet the height restrictions this year which means they can go on adult free…happy news for someone like me who tends to get dizzy while standing still!

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There is also a fabulous playground with structures the kids can climb through and areas where they can get can wet.  They love the playground and talk about it throughout the year.

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As if all that isn’t enough, just a few steps away and we enter a FABULOUS children’s museum that’s as great as any we’ve been to…there are two large fully interactive rooms that the kids could literally be entertained in all day long.

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Because this museum satiates our museum needs we’ve never visited but I’ve heard there’s the Boca Raton Children’s Museum as well.

As for eating, oh man, I ate way too much and went way too long without kick boxing!  A few of our favorites include Pizza Time.  You know as New Yorker’s we are very snobby about our pizza, but our visiting Boca tradition is to stop at Pizza Time right after we arrive because the pizza is that good.  There is something about the sauce and the thin crust that has us all loving it (and believe me we are all pizzaed out after eating it two weeks straight during Hurricane Sandy so that’s saying a lot!)

We tried Matteo’s for the first time which was a bit fancy for the kids but they did great.  And, my son has realized his newfound love for fried calamari which he has asked me to pack it for his lunch tomorrow (“Squidward tastes good mom!”) :)

We always go to Duffy’s because it’s very kid friendly and on Wednesdays kids eat free and they have a balloon guy roaming around.

My husband salivates all year for the place we go to the day after we arrive for lunch which is Baja Cafe.  It is the best Mexican food we eat anywhere and we wish we could find a place like this in NY.  Seriously I drool as I type!!!

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On our last night my in-laws sent me and the hubs to dinner without kids to New York Prime.  I’m not a steak eater but my husband enjoyed his and my salmon was great….place was very expensive though…we would have been just as happy going out in flip-flops to Baja Cafe again :).

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Have you ever been to Boca Raton, Florida?  What have I left out?

Chevy Malibu Moms Event and Being Away From the Kids

26 Aug

Oh I can’t stop thinking about the Winvian Resort and Spa that I spent 2 glorious days at with my brilliant blogging buddy Vera.  I was so excited when Vera invited me to come along as her guest and of course I jumped at the chance!

Have I mentioned that in the past 7 years or so since I became a mother, I have had only 4 NIGHTS away from home!?

One night 2 years ago my sister graciously slept in my home and cared for the monkeys. She is STILL recovering.  One night we paid a sitter to stay so we could go out east to a bed and breakfast for our anniversary.  That weekend cost us about $800 all said and done.  The two other nights I left my husband with the kids and attended out-of-state family affairs alone.

Can you see why this fabulous invite was so enticing?! :)

Chevy provided us with a spanking new, red, shiny 2013 Malibu to drive in as a way to learn about it and travel to hear the Chevy Malibu Moms talk about their integral roles in the car production.  Vera picked me up bright and early.  We wanted to take a quick photo of the two of us with the car and hit the road.

That little monkey knew I was getting ready to leave.  She would not get out of the picture, would not smile, and was hanging onto my leg for life!  Once my husband untangled her, Vera and I got going and talked and laughed nonstop for the next 2 hours.

Do you ever realize, moms, how it is almost impossible to complete a thought or have a conversation with the constant interruptions, whining, fighting, mishaps and interjections from the kids?  Between Vera and me it’s x5 children and 2 husbands that all get in the way!

So needless to say, this was precious!

Come to think of it, I chatted non stop for the next 48 hours because I met the nicest and most interesting people once we arrived at our destination…women who are writers of blogs and also big publications. And, I got to meet the 5 “Malibu Moms” — the brilliant engineers, designer and manager who work for Chevrolet and helped create the Malibu.

A bunch of us before we got back into our Chevy Malibus!

Vera also gifted me HER SPA TREATMENT (she told me it was not up for debate…greatest friend ever!!!) so I got massaged for 60 glorious minutes at the serene spa at Winvian.

Two days of great wheels, food, people and a massage…it was awesome!

I keep thinking about Vera sighing and saying over and over in our extraordinary cottage at Winvian…”I’m so happy!”  Me too buddy! :)

Getaway to Winvian in Litchfield Hills, CT

24 Aug

I tagged along on a blogging road trip to Connecticut yesterday  to learn about the new 2013 Chevy Malibu.   We knew were staying at a spa resort place but had no idea what was in store for us at Winvian.  More to come on the car, the events and my time away from the kids, but right now I am still reeling from the amazing accommodations!

This ultra-posh, 113-acre hideaway consists of 18 imaginatively themed and luxuriously outfitted cottages you could ever imagine. Each of the huge one-bedroom cottages has a unique theme like the Helicopter Cottage which contains a genuine 17,000-pound U.S. Coast Guard helicopter (the fuselage has been refitted with a wet bar).  Unreal!

We stayed at the Charter Oak cottage which has inside it a giant oak tree reminiscent of the tree that hid Connecticut’s charter during the Revolutionary Period.


Can you imagine thinking you’re going to sleep in a hotel room and instead walking into a cottage built around a tree?!

The bathroom has heated floors, steam, a beautiful tub and rainfall shower…bliss!

The TWO fireplaces and upstairs screened in porch overlooking a meadow were some of our favorite amenities.  Yes we had multiple fires going on in the summer evening!

This big house for just 2 of us!!!


Winvian is a seriously posh and pricey place but an amazing destination experience with so many tranquil ways to pass the time.

Too bad my peace was eroded by the laundry, dishes and bickering children that greeted me back home. :)

Great Wolf Lodge..One Night is Enough!

12 Aug

We travelled to Great Wolf Lodge last week for the second time.  Last year we went right after Hurricane Irene (we had to delay the trip)  and the kids have literally not. stopped. talking. about this place for the past year.

It’s an indoor water park.  You stay over and the purchase of a room entitles you to admission to the water park.  For someone like me with OCD, it’s really a challenge to let go and let loose at Great Germ Wolf Lodge as we wander around in our bathing suits jammed pack with others, indoor, in a large humid room filled with water and rides and tattoos…lots of tattoos.

But the kids really have a blast.

The drive is only about 2 hours for us with a stop for lunch.  And this stop is the highlight for my husband who always  plans for us to dine at Cracker Barrel.

Waiting for a table…hubby dreaming about grits…kids dreaming about which water slide they’ll ride first!

The way I see it, it is a way for us to fortify ourselves with a big meal to prepare for the physical exertion involved with dragging 3 small children up 20 flights of stairs to the tops of many water rides, many times over!!

I am ever so grateful that there is a Starbucks in the lobby at the Lodge.  I literally become elated when I purchase my chai tea latte, after a night in one room the three bickering monkeys.

Great Wolf has several locations around the U.S.  Have you ever been?

water park wipe out :)

Montauk Getaway

17 Jun

My sister-in-law called earlier this week and asked if we wanted to use her Montauk dwelling for the weekend.  It’s about a 2 hour drive from us and her place has a pool and a playground in addition to being right on the beach.  We jumped on this great offer.

The twins told their teachers they were going “out east” and the teachers encouraged them to have fun and to climb the Montauk lighthouse.

After the little one’s graduation we set out.  The twins missed school but would have been out anyway because my son had strep and my daughter had been up the night before with stomach pain.  I was running on no sleep.

We drove straight through and the kids were troopers. But we were starving!  So we stopped at a place called Cyril’s Fish House for a late lunch.  We chose it based solely off the fact that it had a kid’s menu but the place ended up being a treat for me.  I got fried clams which I haven’t had in maybe over 20 years.  They were so fresh and delicious.  The drink menu looked great but it wasn’t the right time to indulge unfortunately! :)

Our residence was a minute away but we decided instead to go straight to the Montauk Lighthouse as it was a little too chilly to go swimming.  We arrived about 15 minutes or so later and the skies got bright and blue and sunny which made the scenery all the more amazing.


The kids couldn’t wait to get up there…and when I say up I mean to the top!  And here I was on NO sleep!

We climbed all the way up and the views were amazing.  There’s only a tiny gated spot you can stand out on and it was quite a thrill for us all.

Then it was time to travel back down and boy that was freaky for me.  I was hanging on for dear life while the kids sped ahead of me, fearless, of course.

We spent some time in the little museum at the base of the lighthouse and then enjoyed the views of the area  and just soaked up beauty.

When I think about the kids excited to roll down the hill it makes me want to cry…so innocent!

Always time for funny faces!

We went to the playground across the way and planned out the rest of the evening. Go to our place. Get situated and hit the pool!

We made some frozen pizzas for dinners and decided to wrap up the good long day.  The kids were all sleeping in one room so it was kind of disastrous getting them all to sleep.  Once again I pondered, how do people travel with kids!?

Since the kids awoke at 5:30 (yes 5:30 a.m.!!!) we decided to head out for some sustenance.  We went to Anthony’s Pancake House and loaded up.  I’m not a big breakfast person but I had an omelet and pancakes and it was all really good.

We headed back and set out for the beach.  When we arrived there were men who carried chairs, umbrellas and towels out to a spot and got us all situated.  What a treat when you have three kids in tow and too much stuff already to carry.

The beach was beyond beautiful and the water was very chilly.

That night we went to The Lobster Roll which had a great kids menu and awesome food.  The hubs and I were wowed by the lobster rolls and I had a very strong and so needed margarita which I am salivating for as I write about it!!!!

The next day we took off to go home.  Montauk is such a beautiful spot.  It was a great time but the kids were totally annoying, not sleeping, and my son now had the stomach thing and we felt done. The traffic is also really a drag.  We don’t know how people deal with it!

Have you ever been to Montauk?

Hey We Were In Florida

13 Apr

We just got back from our annual trip to Florida…no not Disney but good old Boca Raton.

The kids were great on the plane, what a difference from past years.  They were so excited to arrive and indulged me by posing in this little set up in the airport while their dad was stuck grabbing our fifty bags.

My in-laws have an amazing, spacious ocean front condo that they reside in for half the year.  The view is so amazing that you don’t even need to leave the apartment to have your breath taken away.


But we really didn’t spend tons of time inside.  We had all sorts of plans to go here and there and see this and that.  Instead we spent 10 days frolicking in the pool and the gorgeous ocean.

The kids loved spending Easter in sunny Florida.  There were lots of other children visiting and one of our local friends (down in Florida at the same time) came out to see us one day too!

Is it even necessary for me to express how depressed I am being back home!!?

And, I haven’t kick-boxed in 2 weeks…I know I am going to be ravaged with pain when I get back to it this weekend!

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