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April 2015

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If you’re visiting Seattle with the kids and the weather is warm, then your first stop should be the international fountain over at Seattle Center. Water jets shoot out of the central silver dome while music plays and everyone has a blast. Have some flip-flops available so the kids don’t have to go with bare feet.

International fountain Seattle Center

International Fountain Seattle Center – Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/djwudi/2923196

Once you’ve dried off, you’ll be ready to enjoy these additional fun opportunities that the city has to offer. But before starting, I would recommend you to acquire the Seattle CityPASS. With the Seattle CityPASS, you will save a lot of time as you benefit from direct access to most of the attractions included on the list, skipping the long waiting lines and you will get up to 46% discount on the entry tickets’ prices.

#1. Ride the Ferris wheel

The Seattle Great Wheel is right next door to the Bainbridge Island-Seattle ferry line. The gondolas are fully enclosed, so it’s a great activity if it happens to be raining. You’ve also got access to the curiosity shop, a merry-go-round, and an Ivar’s fish stand all within easy walking distance.

Seattle Great Wheel

Seattle Great Wheel – Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarairachel/7513340200

#2. Catch a show at Seattle Children’s Theater

The shows at this theater are just campy enough for the adults and older kids to enjoy them. The younger kids are going to be laughing their heads off throughout the entire show. The company runs shows from fall to spring, taking the summer off, so plan accordingly.

#3. Gameworks

When was the last time you went to a two story arcade? Gameworks is a huge complex that also has a movie theater multiplex in the same building. It’s close to the Monorail, a short walk from Pike Place, and parents can order a beer if they want while everyone enjoys some of the latest titles. If you don’t get a great score, then sooth the sorrows at the Cheesecake Factory across the street.

#4. Seattle Duck Tour

What’s great about the duck tour in Seattle is that it provides time on the streets of downtown and also provides exploration in the waters of Lake Union. The downtown experience often has pedestrians interacting with the tour, giving the kids a chance to interact with the city life in a unique way while you get to see the main sites.

#5. The Underground Tour

There is an amazing number of structures that are underneath Pioneer Square, creating a fun tour that is a one-of-a-kind experience. Maybe you’ll encounter the ghost that is said to haunt the Seattle Underground. Look up and you’ll see the skylights that have been built into the sidewalks. It’s kind of dirty, slightly messy, and fun for everyone.

#6. Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo has an ongoing emphasis to preserve the natural habitats of the animals they call the gardens their home. The kids will be able to feed penguins if they wish, get to meet a Komodo Dragon, and laugh at the antics of the river otters. There is often live music available as well. Right next door is Woodland Park, which offers a play area and a BMX jump track, as well as a skatepark.

The Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo – Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/djwudi/241868557/

#7. Skymania

If you don’t mind a short drive, take the trip to Kirkland to enjoy Skymania. It’s a trampoline arena that has video games, foosball, pinball, and endless games of pickup dodgeball to enjoy. The kids are usually who jump on the trampolines, but the adults are welcome to join in on the jumping action.

#8. The Seattle Aquarium

Make your way down to the Waterfront to take a tour of the Seattle Aquarium. Plan for your adventure here to last most of an afternoon. An entire room is dedicated to a hands-on exploration of the tide pools that surround Puget Sound. Attendants are on hand to help children touch all sorts of sea creatures, from snails to sea stars. There’s a jellyfish aquarium to walk underneath and many other interactive exhibits to enjoy for the whole family.

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium – Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/taylar/5092314939

#9. Pacific Science Center

Not only is there an IMAX theater there to enjoy, but the Pacific Science Center has a butterfly garden, interactive dinosaur exhibits, and a really cool planetarium that has a kid-friendly presentation that is for families with children 5 and younger. On a nice day, the open green spaces are a great place for a game of family tag too. You’ll find PSC at Seattle Center.

#10. Pike Place Market

On the lower floor of the marketplace is a kid-friendly comic book store that has candy, toys, and games that everyone is going to love. A novelty toy store is down there as well, away from the bustling crowds of the fish and produce stands at street level. If the kids are old enough, go up to street level, keep them close because the crowds are large, and ask one of the seafood vendors if one of the youngsters can catch a fish. You won’t always get a “yes,” but if you do, the experience is a video-worthy memory to cherish forever.

#11. Hit the Beach.

You might have to break out the sweatshirts, but Seattle has a number of great beaches. Green Lake Beach is the best place for a swim because the water is the warmest. Madison and Matthews Beaches over on Lake Washington are good secondary options.

Seattle Beach

Seattle Beach – Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/5922967014/

#12. The Children’s Museum

Also located at Seattle Center, there is a new activity planned every month for kids to enjoy. All of the exhibits are interactive and kids can pretend to be firefighters, chefs, or create their own art to take home. There’s 22,000 square feet to explore. Don’t forget about the EMP/Science Fiction Museum while there so you can make a music video with the kids, play real instruments, and experiment with sound production equipment.

#13. Ballard Locks

There’s no admission to the park and you can watch large boats come through the locks all day long. Bring a sack lunch or stop at one of the local cafes for a bite to eat. If there’s a lull in the action, the flower beds and gardens make for a nice stroll and there’s plenty of room to run around.

Seattle Ballard Locks

Seattle Ballard Locks – Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cronncc/9232526490

Seattle really can be a lot of fun, especially with these options on your itinerary. Add them to your trip and you’ll be having just as much fun as the kids.

Phuket has garnered a lot of tourist attention in the last few decades. Nestling in the Andaman Sea, Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand that attracts hordes of tourists all around the year. Blessed with a tropical monsoon climate, Phuket is a haven for tourists looking for sun and sandy beaches.

Even though it is considered as one of the most popular beach resort destinations and the party capital of Southeast Asia, Phuket offers a huge variety of attractions for families and kids. Below are the 7 best things to do/places to visit when traveling Phuket with kids –

1. Phuket Fantasea Park

Phuket Fantasea

Phuket Fantasea – Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/coolinsights/6548117563/

The Phuket Fantasea Park is the perfect place to take your child and get him/her acquainted with the rich Thai culture. Massive and impressive, the Fantasea Park is built with a theme depicting Thai legends and stories. The stage performance by elephants, Thai acrobats and performers would definitely win any kid, as well as, adult’s heart. In addition, there are magic shows and kids’ store selling stuff toys and artifacts that will keep your child entertained for hours! Once you have basked in the exotic heritage of Thailand and bowled over by the magnificent performances, you can treat your little one with the scrumptious buffet dinner at the mammoth golden restaurant. Need we say more?

Fantasea Park Phuket

Fantasea Park Phuket – Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/qsimple/4487421030

Cost – THB 1800 for show only for both kids and adults. THB 2000 for kids and THB 2200 for adults for show with buffet dinner.

Opening Hours Buffet dinner starts from 18:00 and lasts till 21:00. The show starts at 21:00 and lasts for 70 minutes.

2. Phuket Trickeye Museum

Featuring over 100 paintings and sculptures, Phuket Trickeye Museum should be on top of your list when traveling to Phuket. Not just another art museum, all the paintings at the museum is a treat to the eyes, and the senses, as all the featured paintings and sculptures are created using the old French painting technique – Trompe-l’oeil.

 

Phuket Trickeye Museum

Phuket Trickeye Museum

The paintings create that induce a lot of laughs. From funny illustrations of the classic works of world famous artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Jean Francois Millet to 3D paintings creating physics-defying illusionary effects, the museum will definitely stimulate your creativity and imagination. Get clicked from a falling building or walk through a broken bridge, the Phuket Trickeye Museum gives you all the good reasons to laugh out loud with your kids.

Cost – 500 baht for adults and 300 baht for children.

Opening Hours 09:00 – 21:00

3. Phuket Tree Adventure

Admit it, kids love adventures more than the adults! And if your child too has an inclination towards adventure sports and extreme activities, then Phuket Tree Adventure Park could be your best bet. From tree top adventure, flying fox to climbing and jumping, you can choose from 69 listed activities here. Moreover, you need not have to worry about the safety of your child as the park follows the most stringent safety measures. From easy to tough, you can choose from numerous adventure activities. This exhilarating experience must not be missed while traveling Phuket.

Phuket Tree Adventure

Phuket Tree Adventure – Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/suanie/10141920623/

Cost – THB 1200 for children and THB 1900 for adults.

4. Ride an ATV

Of course your kids can not ride a powerful ATV, they can be a part of this amazing experience. Riding an ATV in Phuket through the treacherous terrains would not only liberate the spirits of the kids, but will also give the adults the much needed boost of adrenaline! The 1 hour ride amid the scenic rubber plantations would strengthen the bond with your child.

Ride an ATV Phuket

Ride an ATV Phuket

Cost – THB 1400 for the rider, THB 1000 for the passenger.

5. Phuket Aquarium

Can you imagine visiting a beach resort and not getting enough of fish? Even if you do not see any on the famous Patong beach in Phuket, you need not worry. Visiting Phuket Aquarium is both fun and learning experience.

Phuket Aquarium

Phuket Aquarium

A part of Phuket Marine Biological Center, Phuket Aquarium is home to over 300 species of freshwater and saltwater fish from seahorses, eagle rays, butterfly fish, crabs to piranhas and electric eels.

Cost – THB 100 for adults and THB 50 for children.

6. Phuket Dino Park Mini Golf

Situated between the picturesque Kata and Karon beaches in West Phuket, Dino Park is an 18-hole golf course

If you happen to be walking through the Kata beach in the evening, you must not miss the ever-surprising Dino Park- the Jurassic-themed mini-golf park and restaurant, which is a famous attraction for families. The giant, 18-hole Dino Park has been a popular family attraction in Phuket, which is a compilation of caves, waterfalls, realistic giant dinosaur models, which your kids would love to watch out, while relishing delicious meals out there.

7. Phuket Surf House

If your children adore water activities and enjoy thrills then Surf House is the place not to be missed out with them. Located right at Kata beach, the giant water park is flooded with riders, which progress from body boards, kick flips, aerials to stand up on flow boards. The non-stop action, waves, music, delectable food and beverages, sensations of Phuket lifestyle, all make this place an exciting visit. Open from 12 pm – 12 am.

Cost- 1,000 baht for first time

200 baht for the registration

1 hour 800 baht

Fun, sun and frolic – this is what Phuket all about. If you are under the impression that being a city famous for its nightlife, there would be little for the kids to enjoy, then you are mistaken. Apart from vibrant nightlife, and elegant Phuket’s culture, you can visit the city with your kids to experience the unending fun, adventure and excitements it awaits for your entire family.

Information Provided By : Ovolo Hotels

Travelling with Kids is never easy especially if it’s their first time flying. You have to do a lot of preparation and research while making sure the little ones understand what they are about to do. But sometimes, no matter how much you prepare them, the fear can instantly take over and making them feel at ease can be difficult. This is where Bluey can help out.

family trip with KLM

family trip with KLM

TV programs and Movies can easily influence children. This is easy to see with the seemingly unstoppable Frozen craze. It’s apparent that these films create a positive experience for children and this is what “Bluey The Movie”, the first in a series of animation films, also aims to create for KLM’s young travellers. The adventurous little plane’s positive outlook for flying is sure to create some excitement for them as he creates fun experiences at the annual Zundert flower parade with his father and his friend, Windy. Check out the adorable short film below:

The short animated film will not only be shown on KLM’s Official Youtube channel but also onboard all intercontinental KLM flights starting from June. The character was launched last November and has proven to be extremely popular among the young KLM passengers.

flying with toddlers

flying with toddlers

The little blue plane is perfect for children as his hunger for adventure and his fearlessness has created quite an unforgettable experience for him.  Although a bit too curious for his own sake, his desire to help makes him a perfect role model. After all, the children’s desire to know everything at that age is at its peak and Bluey embodies that very idea.

flying with baby

flying with baby

Having an activity while flying is a great way to distract the children from feeling too nervous on their flight and this is something that KLM understands very well. That is why every child aged 2 and older on board will receive a Bluey play set containing a memory game, tic tac toe and also other items such as a key cord, a card game, sticker, pencils and more. Children on European flights will also receive a Bluey passport holder and an activity book. Other fun items can also be purchased online.

If you have children and are interested in flying with KLM, you can find all the needed information here.

The Do’s and Don’ts for a Family South African Wildlife Adventure

Two very different families have recently went on a South African safari with their children. Having been somewhat apprehensive of taking their tribe into the bush they have returned raving about it all – from the parents to their youngest.

 

Family Safari

Family Safari

South Africa is undoubtedly Africa’s leading family safari destination with a longstanding reputation for offering a variety of options to suit all budgets and preferences. As for the accommodation, South Africa also has many of Africa’s best family friendly lodges with oversized suites, delicious food catering for varied meal times and tastes (and paired with equally remarkable wines for the Mums and Dads), and a smiley, can-do service. Safari lodges are generally well equipped to welcome younger guests with family suites and specialised kiddie game drives and activities ensuring little ones are thoroughly entertained, enchanted and enriched throughout their wilderness experience. And there is also the growing trend of exclusive or sole-use options, otherwise known as safari villas which are ideal for families and multi-generational travellers in need of a bit more space.

With world renowned wildlife parks and private game reserves to pick from visitors young and old are guaranteed to experience some fabulous game viewing – from the famous Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo) and the smaller and rarer species (Aardwolf, Brown Hyena, Bat Eared foxes) to children favourites (Giraffe, Zebra, Warthog and Hippo). In contrast to many of the continent’s other destinations, the country’s transport infrastructure also makes it very easy to travel around the country, whether by air or road. Popular options are to combine one or two safari stays with a city visit (Cape Town in particular is very well set up for family travel). Many visitors choose to self-drive along the famed Garden Route from Cape Town to the game parks of the Eastern Cape whilst others opt for a beach and bush holiday, combining their safari with a relaxing beach stay (Kwazulu Natal’s sub-tropical temperatures make this a popular choice for South African’s and visitors alike).

The Kruger National Park is generally regarded as the safari destination in South Africa however, visited at the wrong time of year it can be wet and there is the risk of malaria. Those who are keen to explore the country further should also consider the private game reserves of KwaZulu Natal or the Eastern Cape – with low risk to no risk of malaria respectively. Not only do these destinations deliver consistently good game viewing but they also boast top quality guides who are allowed to drive off-road and at night to give you exceptional up-close sightings.

 

Safari with kids

Safari with kids

Both families enjoyed safaris at quite different game reserves and have collaborated to provide a check list of recommended DOs and DON’Ts of taking small kids on a big game safari. One family visited Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape with their 4 children aged 12, 10, 6 and 3 whilst the other stayed at Thanda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal with their two girls aged 3 & 5 years. Here is their advice:

DO:
1. Consider taking kids from the age of 5 and older (smaller is possible but can be a bit wearisome for all).
2. Make sure the lodges are child friendly – both Thanda and Kwandwe cater extremely well for children of all ages, especially at meal times where we had custom made menus. They also provide their smaller guests with colouring books, check lists and educational activities to keep them entertained in the lodge, whilst on a game drive or on a nature walk collecting feathers, old bones and looking at different animal droppings.
3. Let the kids explore and enjoy the smaller side of the safari – our little ones were more interested in dung throwing than rhino watching.
4. Make up a game that engages their interest – one family’s children had 5 birds and 5 trees (very easy ones) they had to spot to get a point for each correct identification.  They loved the game – even though they did fight about who saw the Knob Thorn first!
5. Take the private villa option – Kwandwe offers Melton Manor and Uplands Homestead, Thanda has Villa iZulu; these are PERFECT as they offer great value at the luxury end of the safari options, a tailor-made experience and private 4×4 for games drives that fit around your family’s routine.

  DON’T:
1. Feel it is a waste of money if the kids prefer to stay at the lodge and bake Big 5 shaped cookies rather than go out on a game drive – just being close to the bush is a good start for the smaller ones.
2. Chase the big sightings – kids are never going to sit still and keep quiet so let them have fun and realise you may not be able to sit at the lion kill for more than 6 minutes!
3. Wait until they are older – it is wonderful to experience wildlife through a child’s eyes! Between looking for the Gruffalo (buffalos are boring) and understanding why the daddy impala had so many wives and babies, we had many laughs.
4. Go on drives with guests who do not have kids – if a private villa is not an option we recommend a private vehicle. Thanda Safari Lodge and Kwandwe Ecca have strict policies in place to ensure children do not impact on other guests’ safari experiences. 
5. Stress – rather relax and enjoy this very special family experience!!