Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Now in its 10th anniversary season, Christmas Village in Philadelphia's Love Park is fun way to join in the holiday spirit, and experience a market unlike all the rest!  Christmas Village is an authentic German Christmas market, full of food and vendors that are unique, bringing a European flavor to this park in the heart of Philadelphia. From traditional German Bratwurst and wooden nesting dolls, to Belgian style waffles and handmade hats and scarves, there is a ton to experience! 

With so many reasons to visit the Christmas Village, we put together a list of  our favorites:

1. Entertainment - the village has a constant schedule of free holiday music and dance performances, children's story times, tours, and concerts. There is something for every age group, at various times and days throughout the holiday season. We love the traditional German events, like the visit from St. Nikolaus, who fills the children's boots with treats, and the bratwurst eating contest! Or come for HoHo Happy Hour on Wednesdays, and stick around for live music and entertainment on the stage.

2. Food! Our favorites include the Baked Cheese House, and Helmut's Original Austrian Strudel. We also enjoyed visiting The Truffleist for a taste of truffle honey, and TorchBearer Sauces for some awesome tasty condiments. Also check out Chocoidea to see chocolate in shapes you would not have imagined! Chocolate bottle cap, anyone? And of course the bratwurst is worth a try! Top it off with mulled wine from Chaddsford winery, or a cup of hot cocoa on a souvenir mug! 

3. Shopping! A European market brings lots of unique treasures. We loved hand blown glass ornaments, the beautifully carved wooden figures and toys, and the tiny houses. If you are looking for something special to bring some holiday charm to your house, definitely check out the over 80 market vendors, as well as the traditional German gift shop located in the middle of the park. 

4. Location - Love Park is centrally located and easy to get to, and the market has no admission fee! When planning a Christmas trip to Philadelphia, this is a must see!

Check out the full schedule of events here:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

ASH Theater Company's Seussical

ASH Theater Company is a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization that strives to entertain and uplift its audience while fostering relationships and meaningful experiences for its students.  This month, ASH Theater takes a trip through the silly and stupendous world of famous children's author, Dr. Seuss, with the Seussical. This fun packed musical borrows from various Seuss books and twists them all up with catchy songs, memorable moments, and beloved story characters come to life.

The plot is propelled along by the mostly mischievous Cat and the Hat who is able to communicate with both the audience and the other actors on stage.  Not only that, but he is also able to take on other personas in a flash to fill the roles of a cheeky extra soldier, or a circus ringleader, or even a Dr. Strangelove-ish bird doctor.  He is quirky, quick witted, takes great delight in poking fun at the other characters, and the audience just loves him.  The Cat in the Hat's ridiculous nature is best seen at the beginning of the Act 2 when the curtain opens to just him dancing all on his own for awhile - obviously taking great pleasure in the mess he's been able to contrive on stage so far.

Seussical has a assortment of other wonderful characters including Horton the Elephant who bravely takes on both his stories and tries to save all the Whos living on their speck, as well as take care of an egg abandoned by an irresponsible bird.  Not only does he remain faithful 100% and is rewarded with friendship and love in the end, but his astounding singing voice rings of absolute sincerity every time he is on stage.  We never tired of hearing Horton's impressive vocals. Other cast standouts for us was the Jungle of Nool's Sour Kangaroo who had quite the powerful voice (we didn't get to hear her as often as other characters, but when she was there, she owned the stage!), We also enjoyed JoJo, the little thinker from Whoville, both Gertrude McFuzz and Mayzie La Bird, and General Genghis Khan Schmitz.

The entire production was a delight to experience with a creative approach to set and costumes (don't think we didn't catch the Wickersham Brothers sporting Planet of the Apes and Donkey Kong tees). We also appreciated sounds of the live orchestra that set the mood as the songs jumped to different tunes like the inspiring Oh, the Things You Can Think to the heart breaking Solla Sollew.  Funny, thoughtful, and entertaining through and through, Seussical is a show with something for everyone.

Tickets are still available for Saturday, October 21
and Sunday, October 22 at Venice Island.




Friday, October 20, 2017

Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland

Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland is a great way to explore the "kingdom for kids" during the fall season! Especially during mild weather, Dutch Wonderland is a comfortable park to walk around and enjoy some fall flavor and decorations while catching your favorite rides or even trying new ones! 

And if the rides and attractions are not enough, kids will enjoy dressing up and receiving treats on the dinosaur trail and checking out the dinosaurs themselves, appropriately decked out for the season. A couple of pieces of candy and stickers go a long way to make the line for a ride go quick! We especially enjoyed the car and boat rides on Exploration Island that highlighted some fun scenes, and catching another view of the dressed up dinosaurs!

Dutch Wonderland is an extremely popular attraction, so the park can feel crowded at times, however there is so much to see and do that its not hard to stay busy and having fun. The Merlin the Great show featured some very dedicated and talented characters, and was a nice break from the rides.  We also enjoyed the variety of rides that are good for all ages and can be enjoyed together, especially the train or monorail that give you a nice view of the entire park. 

All of the staff we encountered were helpful and positive, and we really appreciated conveniently located restrooms and benches. Nothing felt too far or cumbersome.  This is a park that truly is fun for the whole family, and is just the right size for enjoying in an afternoon and evening this fall!  Wear a costume and enjoy your time at Dutch Wonderland's Happy Hauntings.

Use our special promo code DailyVacationerhhBlog17 for discounted Happy Haunting Admission!

Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland is open select weekends in October.





Tiny Titans at The Academy of Natural Sciences

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University has a new special exhibit now open through January 15, 2018, and we think it's the perfect mix of fascinating facts and interactive displays during the colder months of Philadelphia.  We were recently invited out to take a look, and we definitely plan on going back again!  The new exhibit, Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies, explores the beginning and early stages in a dinosaur's life with a close examination of dino eggs, embryos, and babies with something new to learn in every corner.

Tiny Titans includes real dinosaur eggs and nests from all over the world  giving visitors a better understanding at how shape and size differed among the various species.  Each display is accompanied by loads of amazing information, and we found ourselves picking up quite a lot of new dinosaur facts.  The entire exhibit is interactive making it a hands on learning experience for all ages.

Daily Vacationer Jr says: Tiny Titans is a fantastic exhibit to bring kids! Nearly every part was labeled "Please Touch" with curious hands allowed to feel real dinosaur eggs, nests, and fossils (we were even allowed to touch the baby dinosaurs!).  There are multiple spots to play paleontologist and dig for bones, plus a fun area with toy dinos to move around.  Our little vacationers had the most fun in the dress up area, getting themselves rigged up into dinosaur costumes and protecting their pretend eggs.  With a low key, relaxing set up and hands on fun in every section, Tiny Titans is the place to bring the family on those cold or rainy days.

Tiny Titans is $5 for nonmembers in addition to general admission;
$3 for individual and family members.
Family plus members and above see it free.




Saturday, October 7, 2017

Fall at Johnson's Corner Farm

It's the harvest season at Johnson's Corner Farm, and they are celebrating with all your favorite daily activities, plus lots of extra events and experiences.  Daily Vacationer headed over recently to check everything out firsthand, and, as always, we had a great time!  Every time we visit, we are always blown away with not only the amount of things there are to do around the farm,  but also how helpful and friendly the staff continues to be.  It's no wonder that Johnson's Season Passes are one of the most common memberships families in the area purchase year after year.
Right now the daily hayrides are headed out to the apple orchards and the pumpkin fields for some fun pick your own experiences (with broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes to look forward to in November), while the market and bakery is teeming full of seasonal goods and goodies.  It's the time of year when you can definitely feel fall in the air, but you can still take a refreshing turn through the Splash Pad and savor the treats at the Ice Cream Window.

The Discovery Barnyard is still as fun as ever with playgrounds for every age, various sand areas, different sizes go cart tracks, and lots of fun and games tucked into every corner.  The Animal Farm area is included in the Discovery Barnyard Admission, and we love feeding the goats, sheep, chickens, and cows!  Gem Mining is also available on the farm, and this is an activity that we highly recommend for kids of all ages.

During the weekends, Johnson's Corner Farm gets even better with live music and even more good eats at their weekly Harvest Festivals (through Oct 29th including Columbus Day). The Corn Maze is also open Saturdays and Sundays with lots of twisty fun for all ages.  Make sure to check out the Harvest Gift Shop for festive decor and seasonal knickknacks (as a bonus, stop in the toy section of the Market to get a head start on that holiday gift list!).

Johnson's Corner Farm is available for both Field and Group Trips as well as Birthday Parties.
Check out their Calendar to find out about all their amazing events.




Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Moana Luau Fiesta at Lulu's Casita

Lulu's Casita is an indoor playspace and healthy cafe geared for ages 0-5 to explore and learn through fun and games.  A well-known spot in the area for safe and enjoyable self-lead play, Lulu's Casita is also a prime location for hosted parties and birthdays, as well as fantastic events. Daily Vacationer Jr had heard lots of great reviews on this spot and finally got the chance to see it ourselves during their recent Moana Luau Fiesta - so much fun!

We arrived and were instructed to remove our shoes as per the location's rules.  We were then free to play in their extensive indoor areas and help ourselves to some yummy snacks while we waited for the guest of honor to arrive. It's a busy play space with various activities for children of all ages and stages- a ball pit, slide, ride on toys, train table, tent, dress up, etc! (Our vacationers particularly enjoyed the ball pit and the train table and spent a lot of time there).

Once Moana herself arrived, the children bombarded her! She took pictures with everyone (even the adults), answered questions about Maui, and even sang her famous song.  Moana also joined the children making their special event craft: a luau necklace (or headband or bracelet as some children wore it!) before posing for even more photos. It was a wonderful and relaxed event for everyone.  We definitely see why so many people recommend Lulu's Casita for both open play and special events!

Lulu's Casita hosts special events every month and weekly programs including Bilingual Story Time, Live Music Circle Time, and BYO Pizza Nights.  Follow them on Facebook for schedule reminders and updates. 




Friday, August 11, 2017

Old City Eats

Old City Philadelphia is an area commonly explored by day time tourists and local office friends. But more and more, Old City is a place to stay and hang around after 5pm! Old City Eats is a great way to explore the area and the myriad of drinking and dining options, many in unique and fun settings.  Interested in a bar with 120 bottles of wine - on tap? Try a 5 wine tasting paired with a gold and red beet salad at Panorama. Love a cozy British atmosphere with some unique twists on England's classics? Go for a blue cheese stuffed date wrapped in bacon at The Victoria Freehouse.  Or, aim for classic American comfort food in a relaxing and fun atmosphere at  JJ Bootleggers, where you can enjoy a giant game of jenga while sipping one of their many moonshine flavors, straight from Gatlinburg, TN. 

The unique architecture and buildings of Old City create spaces that bring out the best in a bar and restaurant - owners and chefs that lend their talents to envelope you in an experience the minute you walk in the door. From Indian food at Karma (try the chicken 64!), to light fare at Continental, there is something for everyone in this neighborhood. The beauty of Old City Eats is being able to explore new places and foods at an affordable cost. 30 restaurants offer discounted drink and appetizer specials during hours. Once you try a place or two, this neighborhood will be a go-to place for Thursday nights through August 31st!

For the entire list of participating restaurants, check out