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. 

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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 http://oldcitydistrict.org/oldcityeats


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Monday, August 7, 2017

Port Discovery: KLUTZ: Amazingly Immature

This summer, immaturity returns to Port Discovery Children’s Museum! The new KLUTZ Amazingly Immature exhibit is based on the KLUTZ Encyclopedia vol. 1 and 2. There are 18 interactive activities that allow school age children (and any young minded adults) to discover some of the most basic laws of science with ordinary objects and lots of good fun. For, example, visitors to the museum can construct superfast airplanes out of paper and then launch them into air-all the while learning about aerodynamics!


Since 1977, KLUTZ has been producing activity kits for kids that help them discover their world using easy to follow instructions and a good dose of silliness. Children have a natural curiosity for their surroundings, and they are open to multiple uses for everyday tools. What child hasn’t desired to use their plastic spoon as a catapult? Well, at this exhibit, no care giver needs to worry about chastising their kid for being “silly”. Why, if silly isn’t happening, then you are in the wrong place!


The best part of this creative exhibit is that it allows one to have fun while learning about science. As parents, we strive to find new and exciting venues for our children to be awakened to the hidden truths that lie just beneath the surface of natural phenomena. At Port Discovery, only till September 4th, families and friends can come and make memories while having a solid educational experience. Are you Amazingly Immature?



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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

PMA: Art Splash

Fine art and children might not the traditional pairing we often think of, but at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, children are invited and encouraged to be a part of fine art through Art Splash. This summer, Art Splash is focusing on the museum’s exhibit of Wild, a wildlife photo exhibit by Michael “Nick” Nichols.




Each three week period focuses on a different aspect of wild life. See the chart below to see what you can expect when you go.

July 25 – August 6: Climb [Monkey see, monkey do. Watch for climbing critters.]
August 8 – August 20: Fly [Get a bird’s-eye view and soar through the treetops.]
August 22 – September 4: Play [Meet animal families who love, share, and stick together.]
(When we went, we got to explore prowling.)




Our visit began with a walk through the Wild exhibit. The photography was very striking, and we learned more about certain photos through the audio guide that was handed out. Most of photos had adult tracks, but there were about 15 photos that had information geared towards kids.

Then it was off to Art Splash. We were greeted by a friendly worker who walked us through what our craft for that day would be. We got to make landscapes using rubbing mats, crayons, and markers. Then, to get the prowl aspect, we added footprints! The open-ended craft was enjoyed by all of us, from age 2 to 32. After our craft, we explore the book nook where we could read storybooks about animals like the ones we had seen in the exhibit. It was a nice space to sit and get cozy in the museum, especially after having to keep our hands to ourselves during the exhibit. There was also building blocks and a magnet sticker wall for more hands-on exploration.

At the end of our time in Art Splash, we were invited to get our pictures “matted” and photographed in the on-site phone photo studio. It was a great way to remember our time in Art Splash. Art Splash runs from now until September 4, 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. As always, admission for kids 12 and under is free.




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Monday, July 24, 2017

Philadelphia Sightseeing Twilight Tour

We recently rode along with Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours, learning loads about the city that we love so much and having the chance to see things from a new perspective atop their big double decker buses. It was super convenient and a ton of fun! We really enjoyed ourselves and would do it all again any day. Later, when we putting together our follow up piece on our experience, we were excited to discover that Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours also offers a Twilight Night Tour.  Same route except during the evening as the summer sun sets.  We immediately moved some things around on our schedule and headed out again to the see the sights!

The Twilight Tour leaves from outside Reading Terminal Market on 12th and Market, putting you within an easy walking distance of some of the city's best restaurants and eateries to grab a bite or linger over a meal before the tour leaves at 8pm.  Guests can choose to sit inside the bus or up on top, with the most popular choice being to climb the stairs and sit on the open deck and really get a good view of everything.  We suggest bringing a sweater or jacket - even on a hot day, the continuous breeze can get chilly as the sun goes down.

The tour itself was well-timed with the fading daylight including a look at Fairmount and the Museum's District explored right when there is still enough sun to see the details of the monuments and farther away buildings.  The Twilight Tour doesn't have the hop-on-hop-off stops offered during the day, but they did give us a few minutes at dusk in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to climb the famous Rocky Steps and gaze down the Parkway.


As the sun faded completely, it was the perfect time to drive past the well-lit skyscrapers of Center City, see the huge lobby of the Comcast Building, and admire the spotlights pointed at William Penn up on City Hall.  We turned down Broad Street and made our way through the Avenue of the Arts getting the full effect of the Wilma Theater's neon lights and the gas lamps of the Merriam Theater.  We braved the low branches in the quiet streets of Old City before slowing down to get a good look at the beautiful lights on the Independence Seaport Museum ships and hanging from the trees at Spruce Street Harbor Park.



The whole tour is about an hour and a half, and we have a to give major props to our guide for keeping a running commentary of fascinating Philly facts going the entire time (as well at the driver for safely passing through tiny streets without hitting anything!). Having experienced both the daytime and nighttime version of the tour, we would have a tough time picking which is our favorite. While the daytime offers the opportunity to get off and on at different points of interest, we really enjoyed the relaxing, post-dinner Twilight Tour around town as well.


For a guaranteed spot on a Philadelphia Sightseeing Tour,
purchase tickets ahead of time!

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mirror Maze at The Franklin Institute

This summer, The Franklin Institute has been privileged to be the very first travel destination for a brand new special exhibit put together by the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago. This exhibit takes the everyday things we see out in the world and brings them under the microscope to examine their exquisite natural patterns. Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature not only allows visitors to look closely at different kinds of patterns from different angles with a room full of interactive screens and displays, but it also invites them to step directly into one with the astounding 1700-square foot maze!

We often think of patterns as man-made or simple accidental sequences, but the amazing truth is that the natural world is a design made up of uniform shapes and angles that seem almost surreal the more one is aware of them.  From honeycombs and dragonfly wings to fans of coral and spots on giraffes, the mathematical patterns are both precise and beautiful.  Every part of the exhibit is factually fascinating as well just plain fun to interact with.  There is a futuristic feel to the touchscreens and the layout that juxtapose nicely with the natural elements on display.  We really enjoyed the whole thing and spent a lot of time at each station.

Obviously, the biggest draw of the exhibit is the Mirror Maze itself. Quick Tip: Don't go too quickly or you will discovered what a bird feels like when it hits a window.  (We now know why it is so hard to catch the bad guy in all those movies when they wander in a fun house during a chase.) With the angled set up of the mirrors, everyone's reflections seem to be everywhere at once or suddenly no where depending on where they are standing.  For awhile we thought we were following a guy in front of us, who suddenly stepped out behind us!  Added to the maze are extra exhibit facts and finds that only show up if you happen to wander close enough to where they are.  The whole Mirror Maze is loads of fun and best experienced with someone else to venture in with you.

Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature will be on display through September 4th.


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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Storyland at the Please Touch Museum

How often do we wish we could step between the covers of a good book and spend a day within its pages?  We read and reread the stories, setting the characters into motion along beloved plot lines and through familiar settings, thinking how fun it would be to tag along beside them. Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites, the current special exhibit at the Please Touch Museum, allows visitors to do just that with some of the most cherished children's books found in libraries, on nursery shelves, and open on caregivers' laps all over the world.


Delighted kids (and delighted parents - let's face it) will be thrilled with the fun and hands on approach to Storyland with timeless favorites like Peter Rabbit and The Snowy Day coming to life with vegetable gardens to explore and paths of snow to crunch in.  The sing-song lines of Chicka Chiicka Boom Boom become even more fun when you help to send the letters up to the top of the coconut tree (with lessons about the alphabet thrown in to boot!).  Each book gets its own unique area as you jump from exploring New York City with Abuela to making mischief in the kitchen of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. We also loved how the each part managed to capture the feel of the book it was meant to represent like the hushed tones of Tuesday where the images tell most of the story to the simple boardbook-esque blocks of Where's Spot.

Every area of Storyland had not only the actual book to reference and many sections directly from the story's pages, but also a little bit more added for pure fun. Our favorite parts included climbing the huge letters of the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom beach, listening to all the different languages singing together on Abuela's city tour, wandering among Mr. McGregor's giant vegetables, and following in Peter's footsteps as he explored The Snowy Day. Storyland is also a bilingual exhibit with everything available in English and Spanish.  There's also lots of early learning concepts to practice and have fun with!


Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites is open at the Please Touch Museum through September 10th and is included in the price of admission.

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