Trekaroo Family Travel Blog https://blog.trekaroo.com kids. trips. tips. Wed, 18 Nov 2020 01:39:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 https://blog.trekaroo.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/cropped-Trekaroo-Social-Media-Purple-Gear-512x512px-32x32.png Trekaroo Family Travel Blog https://blog.trekaroo.com 32 32 9953755 10 Best Things to do in Scottsdale with Kids https://blog.trekaroo.com/best-things-to-do-in-scottsdale-with-kids/ Wed, 18 Nov 2020 01:39:42 +0000 https://blog.trekaroo.com/?p=176935 Ready for a family vacation full of adventure, culture, and natural wonders? Time to visit the kid-friendly town of Scottsdale, Arizona! Whether splashing in one of the amazing pools at a luxury resort or pretending to be a cowboy in the wild west, your family will love all the things to do in Scottsdale with […]

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Ready for a family vacation full of adventure, culture, and natural wonders? Time to visit the kid-friendly town of Scottsdale, Arizona!

Whether splashing in one of the amazing pools at a luxury resort or pretending to be a cowboy in the wild west, your family will love all the things to do in Scottsdale with kids.

Things to do in Scottsdale with Kids

1. Hike through the Sonoran Desert 

Hiking in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is one of the best things to do in Scottsdale with kids
Hiking in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve | Photo Credit: Myles McGuinness for Experience Scottsdale

Over 400 miles of trails meander through the desert hills of Scottsdale, and a quarter of those reside in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Start at the Gateway Trailhead for trail options for all levels including the paved Bajada Loop Nature Trail (0.5 miles) and the Gateway Loop (4.5 miles). Then head over to Lost Dog Wash and hike along the rocky terrain with excellent southern views. 

Prefer to bike? Check out these guided mountain bike tours in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. 

Another option for a trail with breathtaking views is Pinnacle Peak Summit Trail. At 3.5 miles round-trip and gaining 1,300 feet elevation, little feet may not make it to the summit. But don’t worry, great views and desert critters await all along the trail so you can turn back whenever you need to.

Improve your hiking experience with our blog article: Hiking with Kids…Get Out There!

2. Ride a Horse at MacDonald’s Ranch

horseback riding in the Sonoran desert in Scottsdale
Horseback Riding in the Sonoran Desert | Photo by Tiffany Vaughn

Channel your inner cowboy with a horseback ride past towering saguaros. At MacDonald’s Ranch, anyone over the age of five can ride, regardless of experience. The guides and horses know how to handle city slickers.

If you have younger cowpokes try a stagecoach ride. The same old west experience without having to sit on a horse. Or just enjoy the large petting zoo, pony rides, and games offered at the ranch. 

3. Catch a Baseball Game

Going to a Spring Training game is one of the best things to do in Scottsdale with kids
Autograph Signing at Spring Training | Photo Credit: Leah Overstreet

Every March, 15 major league baseball teams move to the Phoenix area for Spring Training. 

Scottsdale houses stadiums for three of those teams; the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium, plus the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Field. The spring training experience lets fans get a close up view of their favorite athletes in action for a fraction of the price.

For more information, check out our blog article Arizona Spring Training: The Cactus League with Kids.

In the fall, baseball fans can root for the Scottsdale Scorpions, the local minor league team. Tickets cost under $10, and kids 15 and under are free.

4. Experience One-of-a-Kind Attractions at Arizona Boardwalk

The Deep Ocean Escalator at OdySea Aquarium Credit OdySea Aquarium
The Deep Ocean Escalator at OdySea Aquarium | Photo Credit: OdySea Aquarium

Entertaining attractions for all ages can be found at the complex known as Arizona Boardwalk.

First, take a ride on the world’s only rotating aquarium exhibit at Odysea Aquarium. Then stand among thousands of butterflies in the glass atrium of Butterfly Wonderland

For the dinosaur lover, visit Pangaea: Land of the Dinosaurs and roam through life-sized animatronic dinosaurs. When you are ready for a challenge try your ninja skills at the Laser + Mirror Maze. Or let your gamer go wild with virtual reality gaming at VR Xtreme

On top of all these attractions, Arizona Boardwalk also offers rotating exhibits, shops, and dining. Make sure to check their website for special events, too. 

5. Window Shop in Old Town Scottsdale

Old Town Scottsdale's Fifth Avenue is a great place to shop for unique gifts, jewelry, fashions and mementos. Credit: Christine Johnson Things to do in scottsdale with kids
Old Town Scottsdale’s Fifth Avenue is a great place to shop for unique gifts, jewelry, fashions and mementos | Photo Credit: Christine Johnson

You can’t have a true Scottsdale experience without some shopping. For a fun western gift shop the whole family will enjoy, try Cactus Hut or Scottsdale Southwest Gift Shop

Another favorite is Bischoff’s Shades of the West Gift Shop where leather moccasins, cowboy boots, and belt buckles line the walls.

No need to worry about tired feet while shopping. A free trolley makes frequent stops around Old Town to pick up weary travelers. Or stay aboard and take a charming tour of Old Town.

When you need a break from the knick knacks, head to Civic Center Park. The art installations provide fun photo backdrops and kids love to visit the ducks. Then pop inside the Civic Center Library and check out the castle décor, games, and toys in the children’s section.

6. Ride the Rails at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

mccormick stillman railroad park is one of the best places to visit in Scottsdale with kids
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park | Photo by Tiffany Vaughn

Dreams come true for train lovers at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park.

After hitching a ride on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad, visit the model railroad building which houses 10,000 square feet of interactive model trains. Then climb aboard the Scottsdale Railroad Museum, housed in historic railway cars.

In addition to all the train fun, this park features a vintage 1950’s carousel and multiple playgrounds with a water feature. Be sure to bring a picnic lunch. Plenty of picnic tables and grassy lawns cover the grounds.

Take a look at our guide Arizona Train Ride for Kids for more rail riding fun.

7. Pump Up Your Adrenaline with Indoor Extreme Fun

Rock Climbing Wall Photo by The White Mountain School Wikimedia Commons
Rock Climbing Wall | Photo by The White Mountain School/Wikimedia Commons

When the weather’s hot but the kids are full of energy, you need some indoor things to do in Scottsdale with kids. Put that energy to good use at AZ on the Rocks rock climbing gym. The instructors here help all ages and abilities learn to scale the 14,000 square feet of climbing terrain. 

Does your little daredevil dream of skydiving? Make his dream come true at iFLY Phoenix. Kids as young as three can participate in indoor skydiving in a vertical wind tunnel. Experience all the thrill of free falling, without actually falling.

Use this deal to book your indoor skydiving adventure. 

For the taller crowd (54” and up), race down the track in high-speed race karts at Octane Raceway. The ⅓ mile track starts indoors, winds through an outdoor section, then continues inside. Shorter family members can still have fun at the full arcade, mini bowling alley, or virtual reality arena. 

8. Discover Arts & Culture at Local Museums

The sculpture courtyard at Western Spirit Scottsdale's Museum of the West features eco-friendly weeping wall. Credit Chad Ulam
The sculpture courtyard at Western Spirit Scottsdale’s Museum of the West | Photo Credit: Chad Ulam

Learn about the wild west at the Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Discover culture, history, and art from the 19 states of the American West. Kids stay engaged through interactive activities in the exhibits.

Scottsdale Historical Museum also teaches about local history. This free museum is located inside a former school house. Visitors can even ring the old school bell. While there, grab a brochure for a self-guided tour of Old Town.

things to do in scottsdale with kidsKnight Rise by James Turrell at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Credit Photo by Sean Deckert
“Knight Rise” by James Turrell at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art | Photo by Sean Deckert

Find inspiration at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. In addition to rotating art exhibits, families enjoy the hands-on kids’ area. In this art room kids create their own art pieces and poems inspired by current exhibits.

9. Attend a Family-Friendly Performance

Medieval Times Photo by WikimediaCommons Boris Kasimov
Medieval Times | Photo by Boris Kasimov/WikimediaCommons

Enjoy dinner and a show at Medieval Times. Once you step inside the Scottsdale Castle, you’ll be transported back in time to experience horseship, falconry, and of course, jousting. Kids will love that eating with their hands is actually encouraged!

Book tickets for Medieval Times Scottsdale

Or visit Desert Stages Theatre to experience the local acting talent. The beautiful theater located in Scottsdale’s Fashion Square offers Broadway-inspired musicals and dramatic performances. 

10. Play a Round of Golf (or Mini-Golf)

Things to do in scottsdale with kids Family at Putting Green at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Photo Credit Visit PhoenixHyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch
Family at Putting Green at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale | Photo Credit: Visit Phoenix/Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch

Year round sunshine makes Scottsdale, Arizona a top golfing destination.

Most of the city’s popular courses offer classes and programs for all ages, including Kierland Golf Club, McCormick Ranch Golf Club, and The Phoencian Golf Club.

Additionally, Troon North Golf Club provides a family golf program with special discounts for juniors playing with adults.

Not ready for a full course yet? CrackerJax Family Fun and Sports Park boasts an award winning golf driving range and two mini-golf courses. Challenge teens and adults on the Optical Delusion course, or let the little ones have a go through the Amaze N’ Golf course. 

Topgolf Scottsdale at Riverwalk Photo Credit Experience Scottsdale
Topgolf Scottsdale at Riverwalk | Photo Credit: Experience Scottsdale

In the heat of the summer, bring your game inside at Topgolf. Rent a climate-controlled bay by the hour and play high-tech golf games to improve your driving skills.

Or hone those putting skills at Glow Putt, Scottsdale’s indoor, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course.

Quick Day Trips Just Outside of Scottsdale City Limits

Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden photo
Praying Mantis Sculpture at the Desert Botanical Garden | Photo by milomingo 10 Best Things to do in Scottsdale with Kids 1

With neighboring Phoenix so close, visitors looking for things to do in Scottsdale with kids would be remiss to exclude the amazing museums outside the city limits.

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix provides hours of imaginative play in their pool noodle forest and gigantic play structure. Located just across the street, Arizona Science Center invites kids to learn through interactive exhibits and experiments.

The popular Musical Instrument Museum invites visitors to don headphone and hear the music of different cultures as they view instruments and ritual costumes. Guests are even encouraged to play along on the unique instruments in the experience room.

On a nice day, walk among unique varieties of desert plants at the Desert Botanical Garden. Or visit animals from around the world at the Phoenix Zoo. Kids especially love visiting the goats at the petting zoo.

Where to Eat in Scottsdale

A selection of tasty dishes from Hash Kitchen. Credit MVMT Studios
A selection of tasty dishes from Hash Kitchen | Photo Credit MVMT Studios

The culinary delights of Scottsdale’s trendy restaurant scene make it one of the top dining destinations in the United States.

Start your day with the creative menu at Hash Kitchen. Popular dishes include Almond Crusted French Toast and Fruity Pebble Pancakes. 

Or stop by Butterfield’s Pancake House for made-from-scratch breakfast, including mouth-watering crepes and some of the best omelettes in Arizona.   

For a delicious burger in a fun, “beach-vibes” environment, go to Rehab Burger Therapy. Reviewers rave over the Mac and Cheese burger and sweet potato tots. And if you are brave enough to try the PBJ & Bacon Burger, you won’t regret it. 

A visit to the southwest deserves a southwestern meal. Old Town Tortilla Factory offers up southwestern cuisine with a Mexican twist in a 1930’s adobe home. The spicy Red Chile Pork Chops topped with Ancho raspberry sauce bring just the right amount of kick. And the Achite Ribs are a crowd favorite. 

Sugar Bowl Photo Credit Sugar Bowl
Sugar Bowl | Photo Credit: Sugar Bowl

A tour of Scottsdale wouldn’t be complete without a stop by Sugar Bowl Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant. This historic pink building has been providing classic American dishes and decadent ice cream treats to customers since the 1950’s.  

Where to Stay in Scottsdale with Kids

Arizona knows the importance of a great hotel pool, and all the best ones happen to be located in Scottsdale!

Great Wolf Lodge

Things to do in scottsdale with kids Talking Stick Treehouse at Great Wolf Lodge, Scottsdale Photo by Tiffany Vaughn
Talking Stick Treehouse at Great Wolf Lodge, Scottsdale | Photo by Tiffany Vaughn

Why settle for a big pool when you can have a whole indoor waterpark?! Great Wolf Lodge is a destination in itself. This kid-focused resort provides activities and entertainment just for the kids, although adults have fun too. 

In addition to the water slides, rides, and pools, other non-water related attractions fill the resort. From rock climbing to bowling, there is something for every minute of the day. And delicious on-site dining options make it so you never have to leave the resort.

Read our full review of Great Wolf Lodge Scottsdale

Fairmont Princess

Kids relaxing at Sunset Beach at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Credit Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.
Kids relaxing at Sunset Beach at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess | Photo Credit: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Four family-friendly pools (plus two just for adults) adorn the grounds of the Fairmont Princess Scottsdale.

The Sonoran Splash pools boast two 200-foot long water slides and the Sunset Beach pool features, you guessed it, a white-sand beach. Each pool hosts different activities including poolside games and dive-in movies. Around the resort families also enjoy the fishing lagoon, desert tortoise enclosure, and playground.

Westin Kierland Resort & Spa 

Adventure Pool at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. Credit The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
Adventure Pool at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa | Photo Credit: The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

This resort is loaded with dining options, luxury accommodations, and family-friendly amenities. In addition to the three golf courses, families can spend time playing the OK Corral lawn games.

And of course they have an amazing pool. The Adventure Water Park at the Westin Kierland Resort features a lazy river, waterslide, and Kierland FlowRider. 

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch 

Pool at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Photo Credit Visit PhoenixHyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch
Pool at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale | Photo Credit: Visit Phoenix/Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch

Leaving all the amenities at this resort may take some convincing. The pool features a 3-story waterslide and sandy beach.

The top-rated golf course at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort offers lessons for all ages, and a 28’ high rock climbing wall looks too fun to skip. Singing gondoliers even offer rides around the resort’s 7-acre lake.

The Phoenician

The Phoenician Casita Lawn Photo Credit The Phoenician
The Phoenician Casita Lawn | Photo Credit: The Phoenician

This full-service Phoenician Resort bursts with family fun, including an activity center with video games, pool tables, and more. The pool area is three levels and features a waterslide, treehouse, and splash pad.

They also offer a kid’s club for parents who want to take advantage of the onsite spa or adults-only pool.

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8 Awesome Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas https://blog.trekaroo.com/las-vegas-outdoor-activities-kids/ Mon, 16 Nov 2020 08:11:04 +0000 http://blog.trekaroo.com/?p=49892 Looking for outdoor activities in Las Vegas? Usually, the first thing to come to mind when one thinks of Las Vegas is The Strip, but there are also many great outdoor adventures to be had in Las Vegas.  One weekend in winter, my family headed out to discover Vegas without the fluorescent lights. It was […]

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Looking for outdoor activities in Las Vegas? Usually, the first thing to come to mind when one thinks of Las Vegas is The Strip, but there are also many great outdoor adventures to be had in Las Vegas. 

One weekend in winter, my family headed out to discover Vegas without the fluorescent lights. It was a trip dedicated to southern Nevada’s outdoors. And, boy, did we hit the jackpot!

Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas

1. Valley of Fire State Park

Visiting Valley of Fire State Park is one of the top outdoor activities in Las Vegas

Located 45 minutes northeast of Las Vegas is the mecca of red rock, aptly named, Valley of Fire. With multiple family-friendly hikes, petroglyphs, well-marked trails, and wildlife, we were in desert heaven.

For those traveling with young children, I recommend these trails: Petroglyph Canyon, Elephant Rock, and Fire Wave.

Check out the Visitor’s Center for a quick overview of the area’s history and topography, use the flush toilets, and get recommendations for hiking. Plus, get your Nevada State Parks Passport stamped.)

Make the trek out to Valley of Fire into a scenic drive: Drive north on Highway 15 and then loop back south-east through Lake Mead National Recreation Area in order to see more of the rugged natural landscape that makes up Southern Nevada.

Trekaroo Tip: Pack a picnic lunch and stay awhile at Seven Sisters or Petroglyph Canyon. This is one of those outdoors activities in Las Vegas that will keep you occupied all day. 

We love the big city offerings in Las Vegas, too. Here are the Top 10 Things for Families to do in Las Vegas with Kids and the Best Kid-Friendly Hotels in Las Vegas.

2. Lake Mead National Recreation Area

lake mead is a great outdoorsy destination near Las Vegas

Lake Mead is a haven for boating enthusiasts and hikers, making  visiting it of the best outdoors activities in Las Vegas.  With meandering roads and ecology, picturesque red rocks, and views of the Muddy Mountains, a drive through Lake Mead National Recreation Area makes for a beautiful, scenic day.

There are multiple places to stop for a picnic or to rest along the road. Lake Mead is huge and the road does not go right along the banks, so those who plan on fishing or boating should know that it is a drive into any of the bays. Head out for a boat tour of the lake or have a beach day along the shore.

Families will definitely appreciate the Alan Bible Visitor’s Center, located on the way to the Hoover Dam near Boulder City. The visitor’s center has a small, but jam-packed interactive museum with animals and history of the area that provided lots of information about how Lake Mead came to be.

 After touring the visitor’s center, I cannot recommend taking the Historic Railroad Trail enough. This multi-use, gravel trail offers hikers and cyclists the opportunity to travel the same path as the supplies used to build the Hoover Dam.

Kids will love hiking through the tunnels blasted into the side of the mountain to make way for the train. Adults will enjoy the sweeping views of Lake Mead and the low incline of the trail. While I wouldn’t say the trail was completely accessible, I had no trouble pushing my jogging stroller on it.

Tip: Print out the Junior Ranger Packet at home so that as you explore, you can fill in the pages before hitting up the Visitor’s Center.

3. The Hoover Dam

hoover dam photo

Just 30 minutes from Las Vegas, Hoover Dam is a must-see. This feat of engineering and architecture astonished me, especially given the time period in which it was built.

While we weren’t able to catch a tour this time, Trekaroo families recommend both the Powerplant Tour and the Visitor’s Center Tour.

If you only have a short time to spend in the area, my kids and I suggest parking at the bypass bridge and walking across it. The pedestrian section is closed off from the cars, and I felt safe enough to allow my kids to walk/run along the path.

There were several displays explaining how the bridge and the dam were built. And, what really made my kids’ day was the ability to stand in two states at once as the state line between Nevada and Arizona is located in the middle of the bridge.

Planning a road trip through Nevada? Check out our Top 10 Things for Families to do in Nevada.

4. Clark County Wetlands Park

 

Visiting clark county wetlands is one of the great outdoor activities in Las Vegas
Photo by Monkeystyle3000 8 Awesome Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas 2

Clark County Wetlands Park is Las Vegas’s best kept secret for families who love the outdoors. From the top-of-the-line nature center with multiple interactive displays to the well-marked trails and FREE entry, we were big fans.

In fact, of all the hikes and places we visited, this was my two-year-old’s favorite. Trekaroo families agree! Plan to spend at least half a day at Clark County Wetlands Park in order to fully discover all that it offers. Chances are your kids won’t want to leave.

5. Springs Preserve

Las Vegas Springs Preserve photo
Photo by Monkeystyle3000 8 Awesome Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas 2

Trekaroo families rave about the Springs Preserve, one of the best outdoor activities in Las Vegas. The immaculate grounds and trail system, as well as the indoor interactive museum are the top attractions.

With events year-round including weekend workshops, live animal displays, and camps for kids during school breaks, the preserve is a hit for families. Check out the Nature Exchange where visitors can bring in natural treasures they find while exploring to exchange them for points and treasures discovered by other visitors.

6. Red Rock National Conservation Area

Red Rock National Conservation Area photo
Photo by BLM Nevada 8 Awesome Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas 2

A mere 30 minutes west of Las Vegas, visitors can be swept away into another world at Red Rock National Conservation Area. With hikes for all ages, areas for rock climbing, a magnificent outdoor visitor’s center, and fantastic Junior Ranger packet, Red Rock was a crowd pleaser.

Take the 13-mile, one-way scenic drive from the Visitor’s Center and pull over at any spot that looks appealing. While I had one plan, my kids had another, and we spent awhile watching the climbers get ready and climb at Calico, which was a great idea.

Families will find a sweet spot at the Willow Springs and Lost Creek area. The Children’s Discovery Trail offers a mix of ecosystems, taking hikers from the creek bed up through the red rocks and back down through the springs and riparian area as well as cultural spots with a Native American preserved kitchen and camping spot.

The Willow Springs trails were full of pictographs and other remnants of years past. While hiking, be on the lookout for the threatened Desert Tortoise, which can usually be found in burrows except during times of temperate weather.

7. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

Spring Mountain Ranch photo
Overlook Trail at Spring Mountain Ranch |Photo by Monkeystyle3000 8 Awesome Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas 2

For history of a different era, head south along Highway 159 from Red Rock National Conservation Area’s scenic drive to Spring Mountain Ranch.

This state park shows guests what life was like for the pioneers and early settlers of the area. It offers living history events as well as a large variety of native plants.

Trekaroo families recommend having a picnic in the day use area and letting the kids roam the lovely grounds. Families with older kids will enjoy a tour of the main ranch house to learn a bit more about the ranch’s place in history.

Fun Fact: There are six different springs on the park’s 502-acre property, making it a true desert oasis. 

8. Mount Charleston

mount charleston snow photo
Photo by Sky Island 8 Awesome Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas 2

Did you know that Las Vegas has its own alpine getaway? Mount Charleston, located inside of Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, is a great place to escape the heat of the valley floor and even play in the snow!

Yes, you read that right! Snow! During the winter months there are opportunities to sled, snowshoe, and have a great day in the snow. Lee Canyon Ski & Snowboard Resort is the place to go if you want to o tubing, skiing, or snowboarding. 

Outside of the winter months, Spring Mountains National Recreation Area is a great place for camping and hiking. There are several trails in this mountain wonderland, from easy day hikes through ponderosa pine and juniper, to the hike up to the top of  11,916ft Charleston Peak.

Weather Alert

Outdoor Adventures in Las Vegas: Exploring beyond the strip and enjoy the natural beauty with kids. Kid-friendly hikes and adventures in Valley of the Fire State Park, Lake Mead, Clark County Wetlands, Hoover Dam, Springs Preserve, Red Rock Canyon State Park.
Photo by: Heather Erquiaga

As is to be expected, these outdoor activities in Las Vegas are best suited for three-seasons. Summer in Southern Nevada can be brutal with temperatures easily inching up past 100 degrees.

This sign was located in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It is highly recommended that families bring more water than they think they will need on all hikes and outdoor adventures as well as food.

Bring hats, slather everyone with sunscreen, and wear cool, wicking layers if possible. Even during our visit in the middle of winter, the sun was bright and temperatures hovered in the seventies.

 

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Snow Tubing for Toddlers and Kids on the East Coast https://blog.trekaroo.com/kid-friendly-snow-activities-snow-parks-for-toddlers/ Fri, 13 Nov 2020 08:46:48 +0000 http://blog.trekaroo.com/?p=20055 Snow tubing can be a lot of fun for the whole family. But what about families with toddlers or preschoolers in tow? Fortunately, there are several East Coast resorts and tubing parks that have carved out winter play and kiddie tubing areas to the delight of parents up and down the coast.

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Snow tubing for kids can be a lot of fun for the whole family. But what about families with toddlers or preschoolers in tow?

Fortunately, there are several East Coast resorts and tubing parks that have carved out winter play and kiddie tubing areas especially for young children to the delight of parents up and down the coast. Here are our favorite spot with snow tubing for toddlers on the East Coast. 

Snow Tubing for Toddlers | Snow Tubing for Kids on the East Coast

Wintergreen Resort – Ridgely’s Fun Park

Snow tubing for toddlers on the East Coast can be found at Wintergreen Resort
Photo Courtesy of Wintergreen Resort

Many little ones see and touch snow for the very first time when they take their first winter vacation to the mountains. Wintergreen Resort, located in Virginia about an hour north of Lynchburg, has a special area set aside for these young children.

Ridgely’s Fun Park is best for toddlers and preschoolers that are too young for the big thrills of Wintergreen’s popular tubing park, The Plunge. In fact, Ridgely’s Fun Park has its own tot-sized tube run complete with a slow-moving magic carpet to reach the top; perfect for kids 5 and under .

There’s also a tube merry-go-round for the littlest ones who just want to sit back and enjoy. With soft blocks, snow tunnels, toys and more, Ridgely’s Fun Park is the perfect introduction to winter fun.

Rigdely the Bear also makes appearances at the park, which is typically open on weekends and holidays in reservable one-hour time slots.

Check out Trekaroo’s full guide to Wintergreen Resort.

Cataloochee Ski Area – Wee Bowl Snowplay Area

sledding with kids toddlers

The snow in North Carolina is not as far away as you think! Catalooche Ski Area is one of most southern areas in the east to enjoy winter fun, and it is less than four hours from Atlanta.

Just four miles from the ski area, Tube World in Maggie Valley offers tubing for adults and children at least 42 inches tall. There is also an adjacent tubing area, the Wee Bowl Snowplay Area, with a shorter tube run for tots not quite tall enough for the big hill.

Maggie Valley’s Wee Bowl Snowplay area is first come, first served and is only open when snowmaking allows — so it’s best to call ahead before suiting up your little ones.

Find more snow tubing parks in North Carolina.

Liberty Mountain Resort – Pebble Ridge Kiddie Tubing

Snow tubing for toddlers
Photo by Melissa Moore

Roundtop Mountain Resort, Whitetail Resort, and Liberty Mountain Resort are three sister ski areas located across southern Pennsylvania that offer plenty of opportunities for snowy winter thrills to Mid-Atlantic families.

Liberty Mountain Resort, the closest to Washington DC, is arguably the most popular ski area in the region due to its convenient location near Gettysburg.

However, all three ski areas have similar features including fast tubing runs open to children age five and up as well as adjacent kiddie tubing areas especially for tots too small for the big hill.

At Liberty Mountain, Pebble Ridge Kiddie Tubing caters to children under 5, and affordable day passes to the area allow families to come back again and again all day long.

Check out more family-friendly ski resorts in Pennsylvania.

Killington Resort

Skiing with toddlers
Photo Courtesy of Killington Resort

Does your little one want to ski like mom and dad? Killington Resort has ski and snow play programs available for children as young as two years old. Children ages 2-3 can participate in Killington’s First Tracks Slide & Play lessons, which include a 1-hour small group lesson inserted into the regular day at the Friendly Penguins Child Care Center. The equipment is all included! First Tracks private lessons are also available for 2-3 year old tots excited about learning the skills to join their families out on the slopes.

Check out Trekaroo’s full guides to Kid-Friendly Fun at Killington Resort and Pico Mountain. 

Explore more places to play in the snow in New England.

Thanks to Erin Gifford of Kidventurous.com who wrote the original version of this article.

Social & Lead Images by Bigstock/famveldman

Featured photo by: Shutterstock

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Camping Near Healdsburg at Wildhaven Sonoma Glamping https://blog.trekaroo.com/wildhaven-sonoma-glamping-review/ Thu, 12 Nov 2020 17:50:09 +0000 https://blog.trekaroo.com/?p=175942 Are you dreaming of a glamping getaway? Recently, my family had the chance to get away from it all at Wildhaven Sonoma Glamping near Healdsburg and it was an easy and comfortable way to experience the outdoors without too much effort.  Have you considered camping near Healdsburg, California? Here at Trekaroo, we’re big fans of […]

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Are you dreaming of a glamping getaway? Recently, my family had the chance to get away from it all at Wildhaven Sonoma Glamping near Healdsburg and it was an easy and comfortable way to experience the outdoors without too much effort. 

Have you considered camping near Healdsburg, California? Here at Trekaroo, we’re big fans of the outdoors, and that includes glamping. At Wildhaven Sonoma glamping is a four season affair, especially with California’s temperate climate and Wildhaven’s creature comforts. 

Wildhaven Sonoma Review

Wildhaven Sonoma Tent
Wildhaven’s glamping tents | Photo by: Wildhaven Sonoma

What is Glamping Anyway?

Glamping is just camping but with more amenities and a bunch of prep work already done for you. It’s glamorous camping. Our family is a camping family – we’ve got our camping kitchen in a box and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

But if you aren’t a camping family and don’t have all the gear ready to go, it can be a daunting task to get it together for a weekend trip. So, if you’re a camping family or if you’re not, consider checking out Wildhaven Sonoma.

Wildhaven Sonoma is a glamping campsite located on the Russian River in the Russian River Valley wine country of Sonoma, California. It’s located 90-minutes north of San Francisco. No tent or extensive planning required. All you have to do is book it, pack a few essentials, and get there for a weekend a world away.

Why Camp at Wildhaven Sonoma?

Russian River at Wildhaven Sonoma
The Russian River at Wildhaven Sonoma | Photo by: Brennan Pang

The Great Outdoors

It’s always fabulous to get into the great outdoors. The Russian River flows along the property; in fact you can book a tent that is mere steps away from the river!

Head down to the river for a dip, or a short float down the river. We brought along our own inner tubes and kayaks. 

You can also take a longer float down the river by starting at a rental site in downtown Healdsburg. The river bottom and shore are a bit rocky, so sandals or water shoes are recommended. The location is close to family-friendly hikes, boat rentals, horseback riding, river floating, and wine tasting.

Wildhaven Sonoma plans to offer guests floatation equipment and kayaks in the future. 

The Comfy Bed

You don’t normally associate beds with camping. Wildhaven Sonoma provides queen sized beds with comfy mattresses, sheets, and plush pillows. When we’re traveling, a great bed always ups the happiness quotient.

Typically, we don’t worry about beds while camping, we just throw down our camping pads and call it “good enough”. We were pleasantly appreciative of the quality beds at Wildhaven Sonoma.

Tents can either have one or two queen beds, plus cots can be added for additional kids. Our family of five had one queen bed and three cots. For cots, you may want to bring along bedding or sleeping bags. Sleeping bags are also available for purchase at the camp.

Glamping it up at Wildhaven Sonoma
Glamping it up at Wildhaven Sonoma | Photo by: Wildhaven Sonoma

The (Warm) Tent

Sturdy canvas tents sit atop wood platforms with porches. You don’t have to fuss with setting up and tearing down a tent. The porch has a table and chairs for lounging. Each side features zippable windows with screens. There are hooks to hang your clothes, lights, power outlets, and bedside tables.

The fall and winter tend to bring lower temperatures, though Sonoma is generally a very temperate climate. Wildhaven Sonoma provides each tent with a space heater and extra blankets to keep you cozy at night.

Premium campsites have their own firepit grill and picnic tables. You can use the firepit to cook on, roast marshmallows, or just sit around and tell stories.

The Screen-less Time

Slow it down, way down. Distance your family away from those screens and into the serene. Although each tent provides lamps with USB outlets to keep your “essential” devices charged, when camping disconnecting is encouraged. There is wifi which is good enough for texts and to upload that one off photo to Instagram, but not enough to stream video.

If you are specifically looking to get some work or school done (don’t) in the great outdoors, reception for Verizon is usually 1-2 bars, while AT&T and T-Mobile can be a bit better. But seriously, try disconnecting in order to reconnect as a family.

Slow it down at Wildhaven Sonoma
Slow it down at Wildhaven Sonoma | Photo by: Brennan Pang

Other Amenities

Wildhaven Sonoma also sports a common BBQ grill area with propane, sinks for dishwashing, common bathrooms which are cleaned regularly, and individual shower rooms. A wheelchair accessible bathroom and shower are also available.

The recently opened camp store stocks wine, beer, snacks, and items for picnics. Wildhaven Sonoma is also working on organizing wine tasting events and food truck visits on weekends. Dogs are allowed for an extra fee. For more information or booking, visit the Wildhaven Sonoma FAQ.

Plan a getaway to Wildhaven this November.

Use code IGNOV20 (20% off a 2-night midweek stay).

Eating While at Wildhaven Sonoma

Head off to taste wine during the day throughout Sonoma County, and bring it back to your campsite and cook up a gourmet meal under the stars.

You can cook on your grill firepit (Premium or Riverside sites) or at one of the communal gas BBQs which feature side burners. Firewood can be ordered beforehand or requested at the campsite during the day.

If cooking isn’t your thing, Wildhaven Sonoma is just a short drive or bike ride away from the quaint town of Healdsburg which is chock full of wonderful eateries.

Things to Do in Nearby Healdsburg

Vinewyards of Sonoma County
The vineyards of Sonoma, from the Healdsburg Open Space Preserve | Photo by: Brennan Pang

Sonoma County is one of California’s well-known wine growing destinations. If wine is what you seek, you’ve come to the right place. There are six wine tasting rooms within a 10-minute bike ride from the property.

If you want a one stop overview tasting experience, you can also head to downtown Healdsburg.

Vineyard Tours and Walks

There are many spectacular vineyards and winery walks.

If you want to take a short walk through the vineyards, check out a self-guided tour from the Sonoma County Winegrowers association.

Trails are generally under a mile and relatively easy. There a number of tours available, including at Amista Vineyards, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and Mauritson Wines.

Stonestreet Winery | Photo by: Brennan Pang
Stonestreet Winery is just a stone’s throw away from camp. | Photo by: Brennan Pang

Downtown Healdsburg

Healdsburg is a gem of a small town. Its walkable streets radiate out from a lush central park square. The streets are filled with farm-to-table restaurants, wine tasting bars, art galleries, artisan shops, and wellness spas.

Downtown Healdsburg
Downtown Healdsburg | Photo by: Brennan Pang

We spent one of our lunches diving into the tasty BBQ platters at KINsmoke, which is located on the Healdsburg Plaza square. We particularly enjoyed the incredible flavor of the beef brisket.

For desert, consider heading over to the Noble Folk Ice Cream and Pie Company for a slice of pie, a scoop of ice cream, and a coffee.

Looking to start off the day right with some breakfast fare? The Costeaux French Bakery and Cafe offers up bistro cuisine for breakfast.

KINsmoke BBQ platter | Photo by: Brennan Pang
KINsmoke serves up a mean BBQ platter | Photo by: Brennan Pang

The Parish Cafe serves up New Orleans cuisine such as beignets covered in powdered sugar all day long. Craving for your morning coffee shop fix? Check out Flying Goat Coffee or Plank Coffee.

If you’re yearning to learn more about the rich history of Healdsburg, consider stopping for a bit at the Healdsburg Museum.

Hiking and Bicycling

We spent a couple of hours strolling around the wide trails of Healdsburg Open Space Preserve where you can find majestic overlooks of the vineyards.

The wide maintained trails are great for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. For novice mountain bikers, it’s a good place to get started with it’s wide maintained trails.

Hiking at Healdsburg Open Space Preserve | Photo: Brennan Pang
Hiking at Healdsburg Open Space Preserve | Photo: Brennan Pang

On the campground property, if you bring bicycles or scooters the kids can zip around the paved campground roads with little traffic.

Although there aren’t always bike lanes, Sonoma is a great place to ride. Healdsburg is about a 5-mile ride from Wildhaven Sonoma.

Wildhaven Sonoma sits on Alexander Valley Road which does not have bike lanes, so take care if you have little ones who are riding, or drive a bit to get started. Downtown Healdsburg is fairly easy to cycle around with its wide streets and slow traffic.

For a more extensive tour, you might opt for the Alexander Valley loop. I rode a 10-mile section of the loop and it was relatively flat. Nothing beats whizzing by the vineyards imagining you’re in an extremely slow Tour de France.

Bicycling in the midst of the vineyards | Photo by: Brennan Pang
Bicycling in the midst of the vineyards | Photo by: Brennan Pang

For a more protected paved cycling and walking trail, check out the West County Regional Trail which weaves along vineyards and agriculutral land.

More Places to Get in the Water

Although you’re adjacent to the Russian River at Wildhaven Sonoma, you may also want to check out Veterans Memorial Beach in Healdsburg which features a swimming beach and picnic areas. The swimming area is staffed with lifeguards in the summer time.

Lake Sonoma is a huge manmade lake which offers boat rentals and ample opportunities to swim, paddleboard, and fish. The lake contains bass, perch, catfish, sunfish, and bluegill. There are plenty of picnic areas, a visitors center, as well as a fish hatchery.

Day Trips From Wildhaven Sonoma Glamping

If you’d like to wander further afield, head towards the coast to the small resort town of Guerneville (35 mins) along the Russian River. Near Guerneville, Korbel Delicatessen & Market is a great lunch spot where you can also try their Korbel California Champagne.

Also plan plenty of time for the Armstrong Redwoods, where you’ll experience majestic and oft less-visited views of the majestic towering California redwood trees. 

armstrong redwoods photo
Armstrong Redwoods | Photo by: londonexpat Camping Near Healdsburg at Wildhaven Sonoma Glamping 7

Keep on driving west and you’ll reach Jenner, a village on the rugged Pacific Coast where the river meets the ocean.

Charles M. Schultz Museum lies 20 minutes to the south and celebrates the work of Peanuts artist Charles M. Schultz. Adjacent to the museum is an ice skating rink where you can order food served up in a dog bowl ala Snoopy.

Safari West is a Trekaroo community favorite and is a touch of Africa in Sonoma County. You can go on safari in the “Sonoma Serenghetti” amidst nearly 900 animals across 400 acres. Roam amidst the giraffes, rhinos, and wildebeest.

Disclosure: We were hosted by Wildhaven Sonoma to facilitate this article.  However, as always my opinions are always entirely my own.

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Toronto Christmas 2020 | Christmas Events Around Toronto https://blog.trekaroo.com/kid-friendly-events-toronto-christmas-season/ Wed, 11 Nov 2020 08:22:08 +0000 http://blog.trekaroo.com/?p=29570 Temperatures have fallen in the Toronto area, the days are shorter, and there's a pervasive feeling that autumn is over and winter will be arriving shortly. Along with the nip in the air, there's also a festive feeling as holiday displays appear in shop windows and the malls fill with the sound of carols. There might not be any snow on the ground yet but Toronto is ready to celebrate the holidays.

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Temperatures have fallen in the Toronto area. The days are shorter. There’s a pervasive feeling that autumn is over and winter will be arriving shortly. There’s a nip in the air. A festive feeling as holiday displays appear in shop windows.

There is no doubt about it- a Toronto Christmas is just around the corner! Here are the” do-not-miss” Christmas events around Toronto. Updated for the 2020 season.

The Santa Claus Parade

Sharing the best Christmas Events in Toronto
Photo by: Bigstock/MikeCphoto

The holiday season in Toronto kicks off each year with the Santa Claus Parade on December 5 2020.  The parade has been a tradition in Toronto for well over 100 years and is the longest running children’s parade in the world. 

Animated floats, marching bands, celebrity clowns, costumed participants, and of course, Jolly Old St. Nicholas, make their way through the streets of downtown Toronto past cheering crowds.

Note: Normally, thousands of Torontonians line the streets to watch the parade each year but in 2020, not spectators will be allowed. The 116th Annual Santa Claus Parade will air on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. on CTV.

Look for current hotel deals in Toronto.

Tree Lighting Ceremonies

Sharing the best Christmas Events in Toronto with Kids.
Photo by: Tourism Toronto

Another celebration early in the holiday season in Toronto is the Cavalcade of Lights which includes a tree lighting ceremony for the city’s official Christmas Tree in Nathan Phillips Square. In addition to the tree lighting, the festive event includes performances by musicians, a fireworks show, and an outdoor skating party at the Nathan Phillips Square ice rink outside City Hall.

Holiday Shopping at the Toronto Christmas Market 

The best Christmas Events in Toronto include Christmas markets
Photo by:  Toronto Christmas Market

Since 2010, the European-style Toronto Christmas Market has provided Torontonians with the opportunity to experience the old-world charm of a traditional market during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Tickets are required on weekends to reduce crowds.

The market takes place in the city’s historic Distillery District and features a massive tree and magical lighting, family-friendly entertainment, delicious food, and baked goods. Don’t miss the charming market stalls selling locally handcrafted items.

Holiday Fair in Nathan Phillips Square returns this year and is fast becoming another Toronto holiday tradition. In addition to the ever-popular skating at the rink in Nathan Phillips Square, visitors can now enjoy the Holiday Fair. Cancelled for 2020. 

The Fair combines the charm of a Christmas market with the fun of a winter carnival including the Holly Jolly Midway rides. Santa Claus makes an appearance at the Fair on weekends and guests can take their own photos with him in exchange for a small donation to Epilepsy Toronto.

The One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale is ideal for shoppers looking for unique hand-crafted Christmas gifts. The show, held at Exhibition Place late November/early December, is the largest consumer craft show in North America and features handmade designs by over 800 artisans from Canada and the United States. This event will be digital for 2020 due to Covid-19.

Check for hotel availability in Toronto.

Toronto Christmas Entertainment  

There are several holiday entertainment options in the city for families as well. The National Ballet of Canada‘s production of The Nutcracker premiered in Toronto in 1995. It has been delighting audiences each year since. Cancelled for 2020.

In addition, a Nutcracker Story Time also takes place 45 minutes prior to each performance at the Four Seasons Centre. The story time is designed to familiarize children with the story before watching the ballet.

Meanwhile, families looking for more rambunctious entertainment will be delighted with Ross Petty Production’s English-style pantomime performed at the Elgin Theatre each year. These fractured fairytales are fun for everyone in the family with a blend of comedy, music, pop culture references, and audience participation. Cancelled for 2020.

Museums and Other Attractions

Christmas at Toronto's msueums
Photo by:  Tourism Toronto

Christmas is the most magical time of the year at Toronto’s Casa Loma. First make sure to see the beautifully decorated festive tree that greets visitors as they enter the Great Hall.

Then, enjoy holiday programming including sing-a-longs with live carolers, magic shows, and scavenger hunts. As if that isn’t enough, Casa Loma also offers arts and crafts, treat decorating, a dazzling light display in the gardens, and more.

Visit fun historical attractions such as Black Creek Pioneer Village during the holidays. The 19th-century village dresses up for Christmas and festive programming fills its weekends.

During Christmas at Black Creek, families will enjoy Christmas-themed activities such as holiday baking and chestnut roasting, learning about Christmas traditions, visits with Santa, horse-drawn wagon rides, and a Gingerbread Village contest.

For three evenings in December, visitors may also experience a Victorian Christmas. While there, enjoy live music, food, and activities in the lamp-lit village.

For more than 25 years, the Gardiner Museum in Toronto has celebrated the season with the 12 Trees of Christmas. Twelve of the city’s top designers pick a tree to decorate with their design aesthetic. When the display is over, the trees are distributed to various charities across the city in order to spread the spirit of giving. This event appears to be cancelled for 2020. 

Look for the best hotel prices in Toronto.

Outdoor Skating in Toronto

Sharing the best Christmas Events in Toronto with Kids.

For many Torontonians, celebrating the holidays means bundling up to skate outdoors. Two of the most popular free outdoor skating venues in the city are Nathan Phillips Square and the Natrel Harbourfront Centre rink. After your spins are done, enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

Looking for more holiday fun? Explore more than 65 things for families to do in Toronto and the GTA during the holiday season.

Find more Christmas events near you! Trekaroo has guides for dozens of cities across North America.

Pin this to bookmark all the holiday fun; we update it yearly:

Christmas and Holiday fun for families in Toronto

 Featured photo by: Shutterstock

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