Wild Florida: Airboat Tours to Remember

Wild Florida airboat tour

Photo courtesy Experience Kissimmee.

As a first-time visitor to Florida, I was particularly excited to take an airboat tour with Wild Florida. Getting to see local habitat in such a classic way seemed like something that would be a very memorable and fun experience!

Approaching Wild Florida airboats

Airboat

Our group climbed onto one large airboat with our guide, and off we went! Ear protection is provided, and while not required, recommended because of how loud the engine is. You might want to turn your speakers down a little before playing this video from my airboat tour:

The tour was fabulous – riding an airboat is so enjoyable, and it was so much fun coasting over the swamps as we passed alligators, birds, and cows. Yes, cows will wade out into the marsh and calmly chew on grass while gators lurk in the water nearby. I wasn’t expecting to see cows out there and it made me laugh!

Can you spot the gator?

It’s neat observing alligators in their natural habitat and seeing with your own eyes how they blend seamlessly into the background. It was hard to spot many of the alligators that our guide pointed out, as I found myself frequently mistaking sticks and logs for gators and gators for logs!

Riding the airboat

Catching a wave

Our guide would stop anytime he spotted something interesting and point out alligators and birds to us. He told us all kinds of cool factoids and answered questions; one of our group said, “What would happen if one of us fell in?” to which another one joked that the gators would say, “Mmm, dinner!”. Our guide replied, “No, the gators would swim away from you because they don’t want to be dinner!” Although alligators are very dangerous animals, they are also scared of humans and not quite so vicious as, say, crocodiles. Our guide told us that most of the incidents in recent years with humans getting bitten were the result of people feeding wild alligators (!!). It was interesting to learn more about gators and explains how I was able to step inside a pen with Chester and not get immediately devoured. ;) (Don’t try this at home, etc. etc)

He also told us about the alligator hunting tours he offers – it never even occurred to me, but gator hunting is permitted and quite popular in Florida. Hunters buy a special permit and may kill up to 2 alligators per year. Our guide offers hunting tours because the cost for non-locals to buy a hunting permit is much higher – not to mention that it probably isn’t the best idea to go chasing alligators with a harpoon by yourself…

Our group asked him about some of the reality shows they’ve seen featuring alligator hunting, such as Swamp People, and our tour guide told us that most of the hunting techniques for gators that are legal in Louisiana are illegal in Florida, so they conduct their hunts a bit differently. Who knew!

Alligator sunning himself

We got a good view of this guy sunning himself!

Beeb on the airboat

Here I am on the airboat with the gator behind me! Thanks to Melissa for the photo.

As a bird lover, I also enjoyed seeing the wide variety of native birds, including the Northern Crested Caracara and a Bald Eagle nest.

There is a Bald Eagle nest tucked into the top of the center tree.

There is a Bald Eagle nest tucked into the top of the center tree.

Bird perched on sign

Touring the Central Florida Everglades

I truly enjoyed exploring the Central Florida Everglades in such a fun and memorable way! Check out this video compilation of some of the highlights of my tour:

We saw this little gator as we exited the dock!

We saw this little gator as we exited the dock!

In addition to airboat tours, Wild Florida also offers a full wildlife park, which I’ll be showing you in my next article. This place truly has so much to offer and I’m so happy I had a chance to visit!

For More Information:

Wild Florida
3301 Lake Cypress Road
Kenansville, Florida 34739
Phone: (407) 901-2563
Tickets: 1/2 hour tour is $25 per person for adults and $22 per person for children aged 3-12; price also includes admission to the Wildlife Park and a hands-on alligator demonstration. Other price points available for longer, private and nighttime tours – price list available here.

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Savor the Flavors of Spring at Arcade Lights Tasting Festival at Pike Place Market #ArcadeLights

arcade lights pike place market

Pike Place Market is famous for its veritable feast of restaurants, bakeries and takeout counters. But on Friday, April 25, 2014, the Arcade Lights tasting festival will nearly double the culinary offerings of the Market with local and regional vendors of artisan sweet and savory foods, craft beer and wine.

Arcade Lights, an annual one-night, after-hours event, features more than 60 local purveyors – from one of Seattle’s most popular breweries, to the newest food artisan selling their handcrafted bites exclusively at farmers markets. As a longtime starting ground for small, local businesses with big ideas, including Starbucks, Rachel’s Ginger Beer, Mt. Townsend Creamery and Delve Kitchen, Arcade Lights gathers the best and the brightest purveyors under one roof for one night only. The challenge is what to taste first!

Here’s more information about this delectable event:

What:

Arcade Lights, a one-night celebration of local food and drink

When:

Friday, April 25, 7 to 10 p.m.
(6:30 p.m. for advance ticketholders)

Where:

Pike Place Market’s North Arcade
Pike Place at Pine Street

Tickets:

$33 advance, $40 at the door: arcadelights.com/brownpapertickets.com

Details:

More than 60 local food and drink artisans will be showcased at Arcade Lights, including Whidbey Island Winery, 7 Seas Brewing Company, Fremont Brewing Company, Hood Canal Brewery, Simple & Crisp, Seductive Specialty Foods and Sunset Café.

Each ticketholder will receive 10 tokens redeemable for food and drinks (additional tokens are available for purchase), as well as a keepsake glass. To stay up to date on social media, post or search the #ArcadeLights hashtag.

Proceeds from Arcade Lights benefit the Pike Place Market Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting the following human service agencies at the Pike Place Market: Pike Market Child Care and Preschool, Pike Market Medical Clinic, Pike Market Senior Center and Downtown Food Bank. For more information, visit: www.pikeplacemarketfoundation.org.

Off To Spend Next Weekend in Tennessee With Westgate #WGLorettaLynn #WGEvents

I haven’t been to Tennessee since I was in college. My roommate in college and her best friend quickly became my best friends and for one of our Spring break vacations we went off to Tennessee. Of course we did the Memphis stuff but her grandmother lived in the Smokey Mountains and it was so beautiful I can’t wait to get back there. I’ll tell you a huge secret (THERE IS NOTHING LIKE SOUTHERN FOOD)

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Through some new friendships I’m part of 6 bloggers headed to Smokey Mountains and Gatlinburg for a fun Westgate Event. From April 25-27 we will be staying at the Beautiful Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa . This is just one of the properties owned by Westgate and look at how amazing it looks. I can’t wait to get there!

imageWestgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa is an incredibly themed mountainside resort with world class accommodations and amenities. Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa sits on approximately 255 acres, with 55 acres developed, adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the largest national park East of the Rockies.

I don’t know much about the itinerary yet I’m just so excited to be hanging out with friends, learning about the location location in Tennessee. Our contributor Ashley stayed at the Westgate Vacation Villas in Florida a year ago. Westgate is really good at also providing you with entertainment options and we’re going to be seeing the iconic American country music singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn perform. So good food, a great place to stay, and entertainment. I’m so there!

Follow along:

@WestgateEvents on twitter# with hashtags WGLorettaLynn #WGEvents

Facebook: facebook.com/WestgateEvents

Instagram: #WGLorettaLynn #WestgateResorts.

A Bears Visit To The LA Zoo #DisneynatureBears #MeetTheCubs @LAZoo

Last month I went to LA to visit with Disneynature and watch their new movie Bears. Which is a really cute story about a momma bear and her two cubs. It’s her job to help them survive their first year in life out in the wild as they journey to find the Salmon. You’ll love it and it should inspire you to visit your local zoo.

Did you know, the Disneynature movie Bears is coming out on Friday, this Friday? And if the movie doesn’t inspire you to go to the zoo maybe this will…IMG_1183

I had an opportunity to visit the LA Zoo in honor of the movie. The zoo gave us a tour that I took my Disneynature Bears plush on with me. We had an adventure together.

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The Disney Store will contribute $1 to the NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION for every BEARS plush purchased between now and 5/11/14. Get yours at http://www.disneystore.com/disneynature-bears-plush-amber-medium-16/mp/1352895/1000267/ and http://www.disneystore.com/disneynature-bears-plush-scout-medium-16/mp/1352793/1000267/.

We saw the otter:

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And he was a little bit afraid of the Rhino

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My buddy bear wanted to know what does the fox say? No really?

The Fox says

We braved the Carrousel.

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Oh he really wanted to say hi to his kin, but I was afraid

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We were very hungry and @MommyIsBusy (Andrew) caught a photo of us begging for Churros

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It was a very quick visit to the LA Zoo but we were still tired and took a nap on the way back to our hotel.

 

Don’t forget to get your paws on one of the adorable plush Amber or Scout bears! In fact, The Disney Store will contribute $1 to the NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION for every BEARS plush purchased between now and 5/11/14.

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Bears opens Friday 4/18
Follow hashtags #DisneynatureBears and #MeetTheCubs

 

For More Info On The LA Zoo:

LA ZOO

https://www.facebook.com/LosAngelesZoo

https://twitter.com/lazoo (#LAZoo)

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheLosAngelesZoo

http://www.pinterest.com/losangeleszoo/

http://www.lazoo.org/

4 Cities You’ll Pay a Bundle to Visit

This post is brought to you by Annie Davis.

It’s hardly breaking news that New York City is the most expensive place to visit in the United States. TripAdvisor even ranked it fourth in the world for the most expensive night out. While American tourists know what they’re getting into when they visit the Big Apple, there are other cities around the country that can also cost travelers a bundle. Here are a few.

Orlando, Fla.

Two words: Disney tickets. Single park admission for adults is slowly creeping toward $100, meaning a family of four pays almost $400 just to get into one park. That doesn’t include food, souvenirs, water, and other miscellaneous park purchases. Even if a family decides to skip the happiest place on earth in favor of Universal Studios or SeaWorld, tickets will still cost them hundreds of dollars. The flights and hotels might be decently priced, but once families arrive their wallets are in pain. 

Nashville, Tenn.

Nashville is considered heaven on Earth for country music lovers, but the music rarely comes cheap. Attending concerts throughout your vacation can quickly add up. For some visitors, standing a few feet from their country music idol is worth every penny, but it’s just going to take a lot of pennies to get there.

In order to spend responsibly when traveling, consider buying VIP tickets to one show while looking for discounts and staying further back at others. All the concerts will be great, but you’ll have one that sticks in your memory forever. 

New Orleans, La.

While this city might not be costly all year long, there’s a certain week in the spring where prices skyrocket. Visitors will pay considerably more for flights and hotels during Mardi Gras than during the rest of the year because of the increased demand.

Plus, the costs don’t stop once travelers reach their destination, because that’s when the drinking begins. After a few mixed drinks, it’s easy to forget how much you’ve spent – and that’s usually when you start buying entire rounds. Only the wise can travel to New Orleans without going over budget.

Monterey, Calif.

If you’re looking to skip the bustle of San Francisco or Los Angeles, you might consider finding an Alamo rental car near you and taking a road trip down coast. The Pacific Coast Highway is regularly named one of the top road trips in the United States, and with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, it’s not hard to see why.

However, the journey to Monterey is paved with expenses. California is one of the most expensive states to visit, no matter where you are, and taking a road trip with current gas prices will slowly siphon dollars out of your pocket. Make sure your rental car gets good gas mileage before you hit the road.

Just because a city is expensive doesn’t mean travelers should avoid it. It just means they need to be realistic about their budgets before they leave. An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure, and that pound of cure translates into cold, hard cash.

Shop ‘Til You Drop at Orlando Premium Outlets

Shopping at Orlando Premium Outlets

Photo courtesy Experience Kissimmee.


All travel consideration provided by Experience Kissimmee.

Almost every vacation involves a little shopping, so during last week’s visit to Florida we took a trip to Orlando Premium Outlets to pick up some deals and souvenirs!

When we arrived, we received little goodie bags with coupons (You know I’m all over that!). I was in need of a pick-me-up after an exciting afternoon wrestling alligators – more on that later! – so I made a beeline for Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory to pick up an English Toffee Apple and some water to get my blood sugar up and rehydrate while I scoped out the map of the mall and looked over the coupons.

English Toffee Apple

Orlando Premium Outlets is a huge shopping center, so I knew they would be nowhere near enough time to scratch the surface of what was there. I decided to prioritize by peeking my head into Coach (Love the bags, but didn’t see anything big enough to replace my current massive purse!), and then headed to the Disney’s Character Warehouse. I found a really fun little Vinylmations keychain to give to a friend of mine as a birthday gift – SSSHH, don’t tell her! ;) Here’s a peek at what I bought along with some goodies from my bag provided by other stores In the outlet that I didn’t have time to make it to:

Premium Outlets Bag & Goodies

Orlando Premium Outlets is home to 160 stores, including Prada, Steve Madden, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, Armani Outlet, and many, many more! Learn more by visiting them online at PremiumOutlets.com.

For More Information:

Orlando Premium Outlets – Vineland Avenue
Phone: 407-238-7787
8200 Vineland Avenue
Orlando, Florida 32821
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Tour of The Seahawks CenturyLink Field With The Nokia Icon #VZWBuzz #LetsGoPlaces

A few weeks ago I was invited to a media event sponsored by Toyota. There I meat with the execs and talked about how their review program works and they also gave us a tour of the CenturyLink Field home to the Seattle Sounders and the Seattle Seahawks.

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During this tour, I used my new phone that Verizon gave me to review: The Nokia Icon and it’s known for it’s amazing photos and operating speed. It’s a super fast fully integrated WIndows Phone and what I mean by that is that I can now do all of my social media needs for work on a Windows Phone. The apps I need are there, the only one missing is Candy Crush and guess what? That just increased my productivity.

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The Tour of CenturyLink field reminded me of marching band in high school. There is something really amazing about walking down that same path that the football team uses when they enter the field before the game starts. We saw the press booth, which by the way Seattle has the best press booth out of all the stadiums. The Press Box is on the same level as all of the VIP booths and you get free food and drinks and free admission. I was told that Seattle’s press box is the only free press box in the NFL. I haven’t verified that fact.

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WP_20140325_20_20_00_ProWe were also allowed to walk through the locker room of the Seahawks. I took a photo of quite a few different lockers, but I had to share that even in the off season Marshawn Lynch’s locker is full of skittles.

The candy brand announced on Tuesday January 28th a formal deal with the Seattle Seahawks running back, whose relationship with the product dates to when his mother started giving him what she called "power pellets" in his Pop Warner playing days.

There is even now a Seattle Skittles package:

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I had my picture taken as if I was a victor from the field and was being interviewed by the press.

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I’m really amazed though at the quality this camera has with night shots. I love how the light was reflected in this photo of CenturyLink Field from the VIP level.

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This is a picture of a 12th man flag that has been signed and is used as good luck before each game. The players tap the 12th man flag as they are walking down the hallway to enter the field for the game.

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I had a great time learning more about my local football team. I will cherish the photos that were taken on my Nokia Icon for quite a while thanks to the automatic upload to my skydrive account, I can go ahead and let my husband have my Icon. He’s been drooling over it since Verizon sent it to me to review.

Family Friendly Places to Visit In Phoenix For Under $25

Last year I went to Arizona with a group of friends for a girls getaway. We had a lot of fun together and I realized it’s a great place for families too. Phoenix devised a list of inexpensive family friendly attractions in the Phoenix area. Each attraction offers admission for less than $25, which makes it easy for families to plan a fun filled trip while staying within a budget.

Phoenix Zoo

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With more than 1,400 animals, the Phoenix Zoo offers an educational experience and understanding of the wild creatures’ habitats and lifestyles. The zoo is one of the largest private non-profit organizations in the country and relies on admissions, concessions, special events and philanthropic donations for operations. Walk through the Africa Trail and greet giraffes, zebras and flamingos. Head south toward the Tropics Trail and witness jaguars and monkeys. Continue to the Harmony Farm and see real farm animals such as cows, pigs and chickens. Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 3-12, and free for children 2 and younger. Hours vary by season, but the zoo is open year-round, seven days a week. Visit the press page for more information.

Heard Museum

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The Heard Museum has been internationally recognized for its collections, educational programming and festivals. The museum dedicates its work to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native American arts and culture. The exhibits feature artwork ranging from ancient artifacts to modern paintings. General admission includes access to 11 exhibition galleries, public guided tours, outdoor sculpture gardens, the café and museum shop. Admission is $18 for adults, $7.50 for students and children ages 6-12, and free for children 5 and younger. The museum is open every day of the year excluding Easter, July 4, and Christmas. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Visit the press room for more information.

Phoenix Art Museum

Through July 6, the Hollywood Costume exhibit comes to life at the Phoenix Art Museum. View outfits worn by unforgettable characters in movies such as The Wizard of Oz, Titanic, Harry Potter and Dark Knight Rises. This once-in-a-lifetime exhibit is only coming to the West Coast once and only at the Phoenix Art Museum. Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 6-17, and free for children 6 and younger. General admission to view the rest of the museum is $15 for adults, $10 for students and $6 for children. The museum is closed Monday and Tuesday, but is open Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m.

Hollywood Costume exhibit hours through July 6, 2014:

• Tuesday, Noon – 5 p.m.

• Wednesday, Noon – 8:30 p.m.

• Thursday, Noon – 5 p.m.

• Friday, 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

• Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

• Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Musical Instrument Museum

The Musical Instrument Museum is the only museum in the world that displays musical instruments from nearly every country in the world. Guests are invited to play instruments in the Experience Gallery as well as view instruments played by musical icons such as John Lennon, Elvis Presley and Taylor Swift. A unique feature to the museum is the use of wireless headsets that provide continuous audio as the guest approaches each display, which provides a greater understanding of the sounds of each musical culture or topic. General admission includes the use of the headset and access to the Orientation Gallery, Experience Gallery and the country galleries. The price for admission is $18 for adults, $14 for teens, $10 for children ages 4-12, and free for children ages 3 and younger. For an added $7, guests can view the Women Who Rock gallery, a special exhibit created by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. The exhibit features artifacts, costumes and instruments from more than 70 women artists. This exhibit is only available through April 20.  The museum is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit the press page.

Arizona Science Center

The Arizona Science Center is the premier Phoenix destination for learning all things science. With exhibits focused on inspiring, educating and entertaining guests about science, the Arizona Science Center is sure to keep adults and kids alike interested and amused. Enjoy the hands-on exhibits that allow you to explore renewable energy, digital communications and even the shake of an earthquake. General admission for the center is $16.95 for adults, $11.95 for kids age 3-17, $14.95 for seniors, and free for children 2 and younger. The center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Visit the press center for more information.

Enchanted Island Amusement Park

Whether you like spinning, flying, dropping, bumping, driving, rocking, or rolling, Enchantment Island Amusement Park rides are sure to thrill and delight. This picturesque park is filled with charm and magic, offering nine fanciful rides and a variety of popular attractions geared especially toward children aged 1 to 10. Ride the historic Encanto Carousel or get your feet wet in Splash Zone. Whether you duel with dragons or float into the sky with Parachute Tower, all ages are sure to delight at Enchantment Island. Admission into the park is free, but each ride takes tickets purchased inside the park. An all-day park pass is $14.25 for children under 54 inches tall and $8.50 for guests over 54 inches tall. Add the all-day splash zone pass for an added $2. The park has varied hours throughout the 2014 year.

Goldfield Ghost Town
Back in the 1890′s Goldfield boasted 3 saloons, a boarding house, general store, blacksmith shop, brewery, meat market and a school house. Just when it looked like the town would outgrow Mesa, the vein faulted, the grade of ore dropped and the town died a slow painful death despite unsuccessful tries to revive it. After more than 115 years, travelers from all over the world still visit this gold mining town located on the historic Apache Trail and enjoy the excitement and grandeur of Arizona’s Wild West. Tour the historic Mammoth Gold Mine and visit the town’s museum. Witness an Old West gun fight or pan for gold. The town is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located 45 minutes from Downtown Phoenix. Ride the Goldfield Narrow-Gauge Railroad in a 1.5 mile loop that circles the town for admission of $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $4 for kids 5-12. Take a 25-minute Goldfield Mine Tour that takes you underground and back in time for the same price as the railroad. The Goldfield Gunfighters offers free shows every Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. 

Usery Mountain Regional Park

Located on the Valley’s east side, Usery Mountain Regional Park spans 3,648 acres in the Goldfield Mountains. The park has plenty to explore, with a large variety of plants, animals and trails. Explore the beautiful Sonoran Desert by camping, hiking, horseback riding or picnicking. Programming and events at the park includes bird walks, family hikes, animal flashlight walks, scorpion information sessions, stargazing, full moon hikes and an abundance of others. Price for the programs typically cost just $6 per car. A full list of events and programs is found on the website. 

5 Family Friendly Attractions to Visit in Chicago

BY Alana Birky:

If you’ve ever been to the Windy City, you know how huge it is. It can be a little overwhelming if you’re traveling by yourself, but even moreso if you’re traveling with your family. Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do in Chicago. Here are a few family attractions that will keep both the kids and parents entertained.

Millennium Park

With Lake Michigan on one side and the Chicago skyline on the other, Millennium Park is a beautiful place to go to so you can take in the city. Not only that, but the famous outdoor theater hosts famous music performers in addition to free music concerts and cultural programs during the summer months. Stop by The Bean just next to the amphitheater to catch a reflection of yourself and the Chicago skyline. And if you are going to be there in the winter, enjoy skating on the large McCormick Tribune Ice Rink nestled between The Bean and Michigan Avenue. 

The Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium

If there is one thing that Chicago has on other cities, it’s museums. The Field Museum is home to SUE, the largest and most complete fossil of a T-Rex in the world.  In addition to that, the Field also has a DNA interactive discovery center, tons of fascinating dinosaur and animal exhibits, and a world-class Egyptian exhibit, among others.

If you can pull yourself away from the Field, explore the Shedd Aquarium, one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world. The nearby Adler Planetarium is another great family museum is known as America’s first and the world’s most advanced planetarium. The Museum of Science and Industry and the Art Institute of Chicago are other Chicago options.

Soldier Field and Wrigley Field

For the true Chicago experience, you have to get a Chicago-style hotdog at a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Not the baseball type? Soldier Field is the oldest NFL stadium, recently renovated for a mix of 1920’s architecture along with modern glass and metal. The stadium was long listed as a national historical landmark and sits right on the water for a beautiful view of the lake among an energetic crowd of Chicago Bears’ fans.

After enjoying a long day at the game with your family, you may still feel the need to have some fun. For that reason, since you’re with your family in a hotel room, you can turn to online gambling. Instead of just throwing your money down on any site, though, make sure you check reviews and use only the best online casinos.

Shopping at Water Tower Place

Looking to do some upscale shopping? Water Tower Place was one of the only buildings left standing after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. Now, it is a shopping hub that includes the American Girl Place, complete with photo studio, doll hair salon, and café. In addition to tons of shopping, it is also home to the Chicago Sports Museum, and you can even catch a Broadway at the Water Tower Broadway Playhouse.

These are just five of the family-friendly things you can do in Chicago. You can also head to Navy Pier to ride the Ferris wheel, Ravinia for an evening picnic listening to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, or the Magnificent Mile for more shopping and a look at the famous Marshall Fields building.

Ride Bikes on Lakefront Trail

Don’t stay locked away in your hotel room! Since you likely didn’t travel to Chicago with bikes in tow, rent a bicycle and head down Lakefront Trail. There are other bike routes in Chicago, of course, but this is one of the most well-known. You’ll enjoy a scenic route along Lake Michigan. Remember to always remain vigilant while riding your bike. Don’t wear headphones while riding your bike!

Have you ever traveled to Chicago with your family? If o, what did you do? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Author Bio:

A born-and-bred Chicago girl, Alana Birky is eager to share a love of her city and why it is better than New York. When not planning trips back to Chicago to visit the Lyric Opera and eat pizza at Gino’s East, you can find Alana planning another vacation, tutoring kids in English, or editing short stories, novels, and works of nonfiction. You can read more about her work as a writer, researcher, and editor by checking out her website, alanagbirky.wordpress.com.

Traveling With The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 With Keyboard #ATTSeattle

You know I travel a whole lot. I love to travel and lately I’ve been in and out of the airport like crazy. I even had a day trip where I was down to Portland and back in one day. Well, when I travel like that I want to travel light and the Samsung Galaxy Note was perfect for my trip down and back. I had all the computing power I needed for my little day trip. I can easily enter data into my spreadsheets while on the go with Polaris Office. This productivity app lets you view and edit Word, Excel, PDF documents and more–wherever you are. And I have to say the Galaxy Note series is one of my favorite devices out there.

IMG_1478Quick Deets:

  • 1.6GHz Quad Core Processor
  • 8-inch Display
  • 16 GB Memory, 2 GB RAM
  • microSD Card Slot (Up to 64 GB)
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS

One of the things that was really helpful was the stylus. I was able to write down notes as I was touring my top secret location on Monday. I still can’t give out details and I wasn’t allowed to take photos even though the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 has a fantastic camera on it. With the Awesome Note app, you can manage your schedule and to-do lists in one convenient place. Awesome Note allows you to combine notes with To-do priorities, so you’ll always be on top of your life and schedule. You can customize Awesome Note’s appearance with different themes, icons, colors, and fonts. The 5-megapixel rear camera lets you take high-quality photos and videos, and a 1.3-megapixel front camera lets you video chat with your friends. After you’ve taken photos, you can edit them directly on the Note, and you can easily create and send a handwritten postcard. It’s so awesome!IMG_1479

The S Pen also opens up new ways of interacting with your tablet, thanks to built-in gestures. For example, by pressing and holding the S Pen button and drawing a less-than arrow, you’ll go back to the previous page you were on. Drawing different gestures will allow you to take screenshots, open a menu, launch a Popup Note, select text to cut and copy, and more. IMG_1480IMG_1481

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 includes the latest S Note with Web Viewer app, which is a great companion for the S Pen. Take notes on the fly, and then access these notes and edit them from your desktop or another Galaxy device. S Note makes it easy and intuitive for you to digitally publish your experiences. It includes different templates for journals, photos, text, and more, so you can find the perfect template for your needs. By using the S Pen, you can freely handwrite into your tablet, and S Note will automatically convert it to text. You can also draw shapes and formulas, and they’ll be matched and converted by the software as well. S Note is compatible with Evernote and Dropbox, automatically saving and syncing your documents once you’ve finished.IMG_1482

Another thing I really loved was the use of the keyboard. The keyboard acts as a screen protector when it’s not in use and then as I’m sitting at a round table interviewing talent or taking notes it gives me the speed that I have. I’m a very very fast typer so when I’m not standing I prefer to use a keyboard. It came in quite handy. Plus I just get a cool factor by setting myself up at the table in front of everyone!

Quick deets:

  • Compatible Model: SamSung Galaxy Note 8.0 inch Tablet
  • Rechargeable, wireless, bluetooth keyboard is sleek, professional, easy to use, and easy to carry. Comes with USB charger cable
  • Versatile design allows you to prop up your tablet into comfortable typing and viewing position
  • Rubberized back provides extra grip to make sure your device stays put in your hands