Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day Trip~Washington DC

One of the things I had always taken for granted, while growing up in Central Pennsylvania, was the accessibility to a LOT of great cities and the opportunity for day trips. It never dawned on me until I lived far outside the area that most people don't get big city day trips, and certainly not to cities like Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York City. Living on the East Coast we take a lot of pride in the fact that America truly did "begin here" and with that pride comes a certain responsibility when it comes to educating our children, from Boston down the Chesapeake and out to the shores off of Virginia we have a ton of history to share.

Sermons aside, I could go on forever, my husband and I decided to take a little day trip down to Washington DC with our 3.5 year old daughter this coming week. While trying to decide what she would like to do the most we came across a few good websites that I wanted to pass along in case anyone else was in the day tripping mood. As most of you know Washington is packed with great adventures for kids, finding age appropriate things to do isn't hard at all, in fact narrowing it down seems to be the difficult part.

First, here is a link to a nicely compiled list of 15 things to do in DC with preschoolers: http://dc.about.com/od/childrensactivities/tp/15BestforKids.htm . We have decided on the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Air and Space Museum for our trip, they are right across the Mall from each other and "BIG" exhibits will impress our little one. Obviously the #1 attraction is the National Zoo and rightly so, it's an awesome zoo and it's free, but with the heat and it being 4th of July week we decided to skip it and go straight into the air conditioned attractions.

The other cool feature about the Smithsonian Museums, there are 19 of them, is that you can hop onto their website: http://www.si.edu/ either before or after your visit and discover more about the exhibits and their topics, like worksheets, videos and stories. They also have an interactive calendar with events listed daily for teenagers down to preschoolers, check it out before you go and get the most out of your day at the museums.

Lastly don't overlook the National Gallery of Art. It's another great FREE museum with a lot of great programs for kids. Check out their website: http://www.nga.gov/home.htm and click on "plan a visit" for more information about drop-in classes throughout the summer. They also have a cool NGAKids link on the front of the website that lets you take famous paintings and play around with the colors and distort the faces, pretty cool stuff!

Other places to check out:
1. The International Spy Museum (for kids over 8): http://www.spymuseum.org/
2. The Washington National Cathedral http://www.nationalcathedral.org/
3. The White House- (Please remember to take age appropriate children only, dress respectfully and as your mother would say "mind your manners") http://www.whitehouse.gov/.

Wish us good luck, I'll let you all know how the trip went!

Friday, June 18, 2010

FREE MOVIES!!! (Frank Theatres)

So my husband and I just got back from date night at the new movie theater, yippie, and I had to tell everyone about the cool flyer that I picked up while waiting in line for popcorn. It looks like Frank Theatres is going to be offering FREE MOVIES this summer for kids, just like the program run by their competition over at Regal Cinemas at the West Manchester Mall. The movies will be Tuesday and Thursday at 10:00am and will run for 8 consecutive weeks. I can't find anything on their website about the free movies, but I will keep checking and will post the link when I find it. Here is the list from the flyer:

June 22nd and 24th: "Ice Age"
June 29th and July 1st: "Astroboy"
July 6th and 8th: "Night at the Museum"
July 13th and 15th: "Monsters vs. Aliens"
July 20th and 22nd: Alvin and the Chipmunks"
July 27th and 29th: "Tooth Fairy"
August 3rd and 5th: "Aliens in the Attic"
August 10th and 12th: "Fantastic Mr. Fox"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Amusement Parks, Ball Parks and More!

By now most of you know the joys of living in Central Pa. in the Spring/Summertime, the food, the weather and the number of outdoor activities available for you and your family. I have written before about the great parks system here in York County and hopefully you have all gotten acquainted with your local park, this Spring has provided us with some great playground weather! Today I thought I would take the outdoor theme in a different direction and offer up some links to other great outdoor activities within about an hours drive. (from downtown York)

I'm going to start with Dutch Wonderland, with a 3 year-old in the house it's the only logical place to begin. If you have kids aged 10 and under Dutch Wonderland is the place to be! They cater to the smaller kids, with a great variety of rides and shows, and now with the added water park you really can't find a better day trip around. Check AAA for the best priced tickets, consider the season pass if you know you will be visiting more than 3 times, and grab a few friends and purchase the group rate tickets. (hint: Group tickets don't have to be used on the same day!) http://www.dutchwonderland.com/index.php

Next up is Dutch Wonderland's big brother Hersheypark. Kids older than 10 will choose Hersheypark over Dutch Wonderland in a heartbeat and it's not hard to figure out why; with bigger and faster rides and a newly updated waterpark called the Boardwalk, Hersheypark is the place to be! If you haven't been there in a while you might want to tag along, Hersheypark has become a premier amusement park featuring 11 roller coasters, a huge 378,000 wave pool and an attached zoo, Zoo America. Giant Food Stores offers discounted tickets with a free parking pass, it's $10 to park, AAA has discounted tickets as well. Look for deals if you will be visiting both Hersheypark and Dutch Wonderland this summer, they sell a combination ticket that features one days admission to each park valid all summer long! http://www.hersheypark.com/index.php

If you are looking for a baseball game think locally first and try a York Revolution Baseball game! We have taken Katie to a few games already and although we didn't get to watch too much of the game, for the price we didn't mind! Tickets start at $4 for the kids, $7 for adults, and check out their website for deals and specialty nights for an additional discount. Another great option is the Rookie Revs fan club for kids. We signed Katie up for this one and it's already paid for itself; for $19 she got 2 tickets for 2 games, one that was in May and one in August, a free mini-baseball bat, a pass to the Downtown playground for the whole season, a pencil and a coupon for 10% off one item in the gift shop. Not bad?! Check out the Revs at: http://www.yorkrevolution.com/

For great minor league baseball just head up 83 North to see the Harrisburg Senators. The Senators play AA baseball in the Eastern League and just sent a hot pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, to the big leagues to play for the Washington Nationals. To find out more about the Senators click here: http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/index.jsp?sid=t547

Finally we have the Baltimore Orioles. What can I say, they aren't that great but they play some great teams; if you are local and an Orioles fan than you know my pain, ugh. The upside of being a losing team is that there are plenty of seats available even with the big teams show up, like the Yankee's and the Red Sox. The stadium is clean, easily accessible and right in downtown Baltimore, close to great food and shopping. I'm sure the bigger kids will appreciate seeing a major league team, even if "root, root, rooting for the home team" isn't going to bring home a win. For more about tickets click here: http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=bal

Finally, there are other amusement parks and ball fields to check out if you are up for a little longer of a drive (Under or around 2 hours):

Monday, June 14, 2010

St.Joseph's Carnival!

This is one event that I just have to throw in because we always have so much fun, the 19th annual St. Joseph's Carnival! Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, and running through Saturday the 19th, the carnival is packed with great rides for the kids, delicious food and a lot of fun for the whole family. The carnival begins each night at 5pm and shuts down at 10pm, the kids can get a ride-all-night wristband for $20 and every night there is a featured dinner inside the school cafeteria, Tuesday is BBQ Ribs, Wednesday is Lasagna, Thursday is Porkey's Pulled Pork and Friday Crab Cakes. (There are also baked goods, funnel cake, hot dogs and french fries available, basically your standard carnival food is in full effect!)

In addition to the food and the rides, there will be live music, a Jello eating contest, karaoke (yes the priests get in on this) and a "Carnival Idol" contest. It really is a lot of fun, the money goes partially toward a mission trip for the high school kids and they use a big portion for donations to families in need. So come on out in support of a great cause, eat your fill and watch your kids have a blast! We might see you there!

St. Joseph's s Parish is located at 2935 Kingston Road in York.
Click here to find out more:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sky Jam~PA

I have been passing this billboard, with the above picture, on Richland Ave. for at least two weeks now, so finally today I thought I would sit down and see what this is! Thank goodness I did, SkyJam is the formerly named York County Balloon Festival, which I have never attended but always could see from my house. This year though, I think we have to make the trip, it looks AWESOME!

As you can see in the banner it's being held this year at the Fairgrounds, I still have a hard time calling it the Expo Center, from June 11th-13th. They have a schedule of events on their website: http://www.skyjampa.com/index.php but it's much more than just watching balloons. For instance you can go for a tethered ride on a balloon, go on a helicopter ride, they will have amusement rides for the kids, live music and food. The coolest thing will most likely be the actual balloon launches, early morning and late afternoon, so if you do decide to make the trip I would try and plan to see them. I'm absolutely going next weekend, I think a 3 year-old would love the different colors and designs on the balloons and from the pictures from previous years there seem to be a lot of bounce houses for the kids. I can't wait....glad I checked this one out!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Penn-Mar Irish Festival

Saturday June 19th marks the 10th Annual Penn-Mar Irish Festival at the Markets at Shrewsbury. If you have never been to the Irish Festival you are missing out on a great day of music, dancing and food. (Come on an empty stomach, the smells alone will make you want a little of everything!) They usually have a great set-up for kids, with activities and games, and the best part is that kids under 12 are FREE! There are also a lot of Irish vendors selling all of the Celtic items you could possibly want, from shirts to music.

Two hints if you think you might go, first, get your tickets before you go. The adult tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door. You can order tickets here: http://www.penn-mar.org/irish_festival.htm or call 1-888-273-4507. Secondly, parking is crazy, so be prepared. Don't take 83 S and exit at Shrewsbury, everyone coming from Maryland will be getting off that exit and you might sit in traffic for 20 minutes, speaking from experience here! Instead, take the Glen Rock exit and head south on the Susquehanna Trail and park at Penn-Mar North (10709 Susquehanna Trail), they provide a complimentary shuttle to the festival.

This event is a lot of fun for the family; gates open at 11am with live music and dancing kicking off the day. Have fun, wear your sunscreen and enjoy the festivities.

Two more links that might be helpful:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Family Rambles

Are you and your family looking for something fun that combines exercise and the great outdoors?

If so than you might want to head over to Rocky Ridge County Park June 9th from 6:30-7:30pm for a family ramble. Parks Advisory board member Anne Walko and her 9 year-old daughter will lead you and your family on an informal walk around the park. Make sure you and your child can walk for 60 minutes, bring plenty of water and let nature, and Anne, be your guide!

If you need directions to Rocky Ridge you will find them here: http://www.yorkcountyparks.org/parkpages/RockyRidge.htm

Family Rambles are also scheduled for June 30th, July 7th and July 28th, all 6:30-7:30pm. For more information call 717-840-7440.