Monday, November 28, 2016

Night Before Christmas Train at Strasburg Rail Road

The Night Before Christmas Train at Strasburg Rail Road is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season! At the station, we were welcomed by carolers and a platform fully decorated for the coming holiday. The anticipation was felt by both children and adults as we waited to board the beautiful train.  Each cabin had a host dressed in old fashion pajamas who was happy and helpful and full of the Christmas spirit! One of the things we really like about Strasburg Rail Road is that the train is so comfortable. It is warmly heated by a coal stove, and seating areas face each other, creating the perfect family experience. After collecting tickets and starting our train ride, children were entertained by a reading of The Night Before Christmas, and more than one adult was caught whispering along!

The hour long trip (out and back) also included delicious milk and sugar cookies, a visit from a mouse puppet, and all the children receiving their very own coloring books of The Night Before Christmas. After spotting some reindeer and an empty sleigh outside the train window, a surprise visitor appeared in the train car to the delight of all the children! The experience ushered in the magic of the holiday season and was full of surprises that kept everyone entertained and engaged.

After our train ride, we enjoyed time in the stationary caboose with additional storytelling, as well as a ride on the Tinsel Trolley, the predecessor to modern day buses and trolleys. As a cabin host nearby explained to us, these were affectionately called "doodle bugs" in their day. Both these additional activities were free of charge and definitely worth it!  In addition to The Night Before Christmas Train, visitors can also ride with Saint Nick on Santa's Paradise Express and pick out an evergreen to take home on the Christmas Tree Train.

Plan on close to 2 hours total at the railroad depending on which train you are riding, including arriving early to pick up tickets and board the train, as well as enjoying the holiday lights and additional activities at the station. We love that there is a restroom aboard the train, which eased the stress of many  parents with young children. Many kids were wearing their favorite Christmas pajamas, which added to the experience! We can easily see visiting this train ride year after year, or traveling a far distance to enjoy this unique experience that allows both kids and adults to be caught up in the joy of Christmas.


Strasburg Rail Road will be donating $5 from each adult ticket sold to the
Clinic for Special Children. 
Visitors are encouraged to bring an old-fashioned storybook to benefit the Clinic for Special Children.

Great Gift Idea: Summer Fun Passes and Gift Cards to Strasburg Rail Road!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

UniverSoul Circus


(Photo: UniverSoul Circus)
In Fairmount Park for only a few more days, this is the liveliest party under the big top that you'll ever experience! UniverSoul Circus is filled with acts that keep us holding our breath. The cast of this show is made up of performers from all parts of the globe that perform a wide variety of stunts, high flying acrobatics and contortions. As UniverSoul claims, this is indeed a very interactive show. Between acts, there is plenty of opportunity for audience participation through lip sync battles, dance-offs and a "soul train". Lots of singing, dancing, and laughter at this high energy event!

(Photo: UniverSoul Circus)

It's "hip hop under the big top" acts include an Aerial Duet from Columbia, Pagoda Bowl Acrobats from China, and Russian Bar from Cuba. We were also big fans of the funny antics of the Comedy Dog Act from Chile, as well as the thrilling Airborne Motorcycles from California. The performers of this one ring circus were diverse and super talented as they showcased not only their own personal feats but also an eclectic mix of cultures from around the world. UniverSoul Circus will be performing in Fairmount Park through Nov 27th, so purchase tickets now to experience this wild and exciting show!




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Monday, November 14, 2016

Please Touch Museum: The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head

Mr. Potato Head is going on a adventure, and he needs some extra hands, feet, ears, and eyes! Right now at the Please Touch Museum, visitors can join one of the most beloved toys of all time as he travels around and out of this world discovering fun and new things throughout The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head. Using different senses, observe and interact with games and clues to figure out puzzles and play in all the fascinating parts of this exhibit.

Follow Mr. Potato Head's footprints around the first floor of the museum to go from exploring ancient ruins and diving under the sea to sliding through the jungle and blasting off into outer space.  Every part of the exhibit has its own fun twist with something for every age and stage to enjoy.  We loved how interactive and interesting it all was with a fantastic attention to detail and lots of cameos from Mrs. Potato Head. We observed plenty of caregivers getting as big of a kick out of playing in the exhibit as the little ones they were with.

Looking back, it's actually pretty hard to decide which parts were our favorites.  Almost every section had something that we had a great time with!  In the ancient ruins we played with weights and scales, followed clues to read a map, braved the stone passageway, and dug for relics. Then we went diving with Mr. Potato Head under the sea where we raced seahorses, hung out in the seaweed, helped an octopus figure out a puzzle, explored inside a submarine, and received funny answers to yes and no questions from a cheeky clam.  The jungle area had a slide and tunnel, as well as a place to complete mazes, use your senses to listen to and see wildlife, and even write your own message in code before driving off in your safari car.  Then we blasted off into outer space where we commanded our rocket ship from the captains chair (complete with travel coffee cup), listened in on alien conversations, and assisted Mr. Potato Head on his R.O.V.E.R. mission.

Since the entire exhibit is hands on and interactive, we were thrilled that they had included an area devoted to just putting together and taking apart actual Mr. Potato Heads.  With a huge container full of body parts and accessories to choose from, this was one of the biggest hits for the little vacationers who accompanied us. Their other favorite moments in the exhibit included the camera in the rocket ship, the hilarious animal sounds in the jungle, and of course, the curvy slide!






The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head is FREE with general museum admission and will be on exhibit at The Please Touch Museum through January 16th!





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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Christmas at Strasburg RailRoad

(Photo: Strasburg RR)
The holidays are coming, and we can think of no better place to make memories than riding a vintage steam train at Strasburg RailRoad! Already known for its family inclusive, old-fashioned fun, the station becomes truly magical when decked out in sparkling Christmas lights while steam trains chuff in and out on their merry journeys, their whistles bouncing over the beautiful countryside. It's a wonderful tradition with three different experiences to choose from!


(Photo: Strasburg RR)
Visitors can ride with Kris Kringle himself aboard Santa's Paradise Express.  Fantastic Christmas card photo ops abound as Saint Nick makes his way through the train greeting and stopping to visit with each guest while the train winds its way through Amish country.  Look for Mrs. Claus at the station to help craft Letters to Santa.  This ticket also includes a ride on the self-propelled Tinsel Trolley as well as storytime in the heated stationary Caboose.

Those looking to take Christmas home with them will love the Christmas Tree Train! Hop on board at Strasburg RailRoad and ride in a vintage train car out to Leaman Place Grove to select your own freshly cut, locally grown Christmas tree.  Once your search is over, your tree is hauled back on the train's vintage flatbed.  (Tree prices vary.  Average cost $40).

(Photo: Strasburg RR)
The fun continues into the evening with The Night Before Christmas Train lighting up the track and embracing the magic of Christmas Eve.  Passengers can ride in the coziness of their own pajamas, while a Victorian visitor in a nightshirt and cap shares the classic holiday poem, "The Night Before Christmas". Cookies and milk will also be served.  Travelers of this train ride with also get to enjoy the Tinsel Trolley and the stories in the Caboose.


(Photo: Strasburg RR)
Strasburg RailRoad will be donating $5 from each adult ticket sold to the
Clinic for Special Children. 
Visitors are encouraged to bring an old-fashioned storybook to benefit the Clinic for Special Children.

Great Gift Idea: Summer Fun Passes and Gift Cards to Strasburg RailRoad!


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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Glow in the Park 2016

(Photo: Fairmount Park Conservancy)
We have looked on with envy at the Fairmount Park Conservancy's Glow in the Park events of past years, so we were thrilled to have the chance to check out their 2016 night in person!  This annual gathering is the perfect setting to showcase all that Fairmount Park has to enjoy while offering park visitors a chance to give back.  Fairmount Park is a phenomenal urban treasure unlike any other in the country. With various trails, picturesque bodies of water, historic mansions, beautiful museums, and much more, it's the location of year round fun, relaxation, and amazing memories for all ages.  Anyone who has ever enjoyed even a just small piece of all the Park has to offer will appreciate its celebration during Glow in the Park.

This year's event took place at the Palazzo on the Parkway, a beautiful historical building we've been dying to see the inside of for years!  While enjoying the lamp lit stone walls and intricately painted wooden ceilings of this architectural intrigue from the early 1930's, we got to sample savory fresh fish tacos from Buena Onda. Outside, the entryway arches were lit up in a spectacular display from Klip Collective (the imaginations and technology behind Longwood Gardens' famous Nightscape).  Constantly changing colors and patterns were an enjoyable and relaxing backdrop to the groups of party guests gathered around fire pits and along the front lawn of the Palazzo.

To the side of the building, even more delicious food was being offered from some of the Philadelphia area's best eateries including Poi Dog PhillyThe Cow and the CurdBonjour Creperie, and Dre's Water Ice and Ice Cream.  It was all deliciously amazing! Our top picks after chowing down were the Sweet Potato Pie Ice Cream from Dre's, the Fried Cheese Curds from The Cow and the Curd,  and the Savory Crepes from Bonjour Creperie.  The evening was made complete with a performance from the West Philadelphia Orchestra - Philly's premier Balkan brass band.  Their Eastern European flavor ignited the guests into a spontaneous and exuberant dance party, and it was a pure thrill to finally experience the sound of these amazing musicians in person.  (Check out their new album Tour de Flilli).

It was a lovely evening with eclectic entertainment, fantastic eats, and a wonderful time to learn more about all that Fairmount Park has to offer.  We have been perusing and marking up the new "50 Unique Experiences in Fairmount Park" map that we took home that night - so many different places to go and so many things that we haven't done yet!

Become a Fairmount Park Conservancy Member to help support this amazing park system while receiving wonderful membership benefits.


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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Daily Vacationer Jr: The Fairy Ball

The Fairy Queen requested our presence at the Garden State Discovery Museum's Fairy Ball, and we were thrilled to attend this delightful annual event.  A regular day at the Museum is already filled with loads of fun, but this enchanting evening made it all even more special.  Being greeted by the Fairy Queen, going on carriage rides with Princesses, dancing in the ballroom with a Prince, and taking a yummy dessert break with Tinker Bell - all amazing moments we got to enjoy!



On first arriving at the Ball, guests were announced and given a welcoming round of applause.  We quickly found the Fairy Queen for a few of the great photo op moments of the night.  Then it was on to the ballroom where Aladdin and others were busting a move with visitors - giving special attention to each little guest.  The ballroom itself was magical and fun with sparkling lights and great tunes!



We took advantage of the cool crafting available and put together a quirky Frog Prince and Magic Mirror with the assistance of lots of helpful fairies.  At the same time, Sweet and Sassy was doing simple up-dos and adding fun princess accessories (they also made sure to get every guest a special take home bag!).  The museum was open for free play, so there were lots of princesses building houses, doing science experiments, going fishing, and more - so cute!  We got to chow down on ice cream from The Silver Diner while chatting it up with Aladdin and Tinker Bell (all in The Silver Diner play area of course).



The dessert table opened at 7:30 with beautiful cakes (the birch tree one was our favorite!) and delicious cookies to be indulged in. It was quite a colorful spread with lots to choose from. After eating our fill, we headed outside for the evening carriage rides.  This part was of tons of fun!  Such a memorable experience to ride in a real horse drawn carriage accompanied by Snow White, Belle, and Cinderella.


As always, the event was fantastic due to the commitment and helpfulness of the Garden State Discovery Museum staff.  Whether dressed as a character from Frozen, helping in the craft area, dancing in the ballroom, or just hanging out, the fairies, princesses, and princes went above and beyond to make the Fairy Ball a wonderful experience for every single guest.  We had an amazing time and will definitely be back next year!




Check out more upcoming events at the Garden State Discovery Museum!

Bring your action heroes out this spring to their annual Calling All Superheroes event.





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Monday, October 17, 2016

Edaville USA: Seasonal Fun and Events

(Giveaway ends Nov 21th)

(Photo: Edaville USA)
Comprised of three parks in one, Edaville USA is already always a fantastic place to visit. Guests have over 90 rides and attractions to explore from mini coasters and carousels to daily shows and fun shops!  Travel from Edaville Proper, to Dino Land, to Thomas Land (yes, THAT THOMAS!) to discover new experiences at every turn. Daily Vacationer Jr is thrilled to be planning our own visit after hearing so many awesome things about this place!

(Photo: Edaville USA)

Thursdays thru Sundays throughout the month of October, the family friendly Pumpkins AGLOW comes to Dino Land with trail after trail of incredible carved pumpkins (stay in the park after dark to see the pumpkins lit up!).  Guests are encouraged to come in costume and bring bags to trick-or-treat all month long. New for 2016: apple cider and tasty doughnuts PLUS pumpkins for sale!  Take note of the last weekend in October when your little ones can come in their fanciest attire for Teatime with Madeline. On October 29th, EdavilleUSA hosts its Second Annual Spookatular Halloween Bash with Sir Topham Hatt, Sandy the Dinosaur, KC McBogg, and Madeline there to celebrate with dance parties, park-wide trick-or-treating, and more! (Pumpkins AGLOW and special event tickets include admission to Edaville Proper, Dino Land, and Thomas Land).

(Photo: Edaville USA)

EdavillaUSA reopens November 18th with the Festival of Lights, a magical annual tradition comprised of over 17 million sparkling lights. The Festival is so big, it needs its own part of the park (not to mention the holiday decorations and fun spread out over Edaville Proper and Thomas Land as well)!   It's certainly the "most wonderful time of the year" with a beautiful New England Christmas weaved around the parks' wonderful rides and daily experiences. Guests can enhance their visit with two amazing VIP train rides including helping dancing elves find Santa Claus (Edaville Express: Where's Santa?) and riding with Saint Nick himself (SANTA VIP Train)!  The VIP trains sell out quickly, so make sure to book your ride in advance.  (Festival of Lights and VIP Train Tickets also include Edaville Proper and Thomas Land).


(Photo: Edaville USA)
This is the time of year for making amazing memories and lasting traditions, and we can't think of a better place to do that than Edaville USA. Check out their full Events Schedule to for even more upcoming fun and special discount days.  (Thomas & Friends lovers especially need to make tracks for this fantastic place.  We are super excited to experience it ourselves soon!)


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