101 Ways To Have A Family Fun Day in @VisitTampaBay

101 Ways To Have A Family Fun Day in Tampa Bay | SobeSavvy.com

Disclaimer: To facilitate this post, complimentary CityPASS were provided, however the opinions are 100% my own.

Are you planning to travel to Tampa Bay with your family soon? Recently me and my #HeighPartyof3 visited South Florida during the Thanksgiving weekend and took the easy 4 hr drive from Miami to Tampa to spend the day. We did our research by looking on the website VisitTampaBay.com and learned about the Tampa Bay CityPASS. It is a great way for families to see some of the most popular attractions at a 50%+ discount! I definitely found it helpful to not have to stand in line to purchase a ticket. Just walk up, show your Tampa Bay CityPASS and get ready to explore! With so much to see and do I thought I’d share with you 101 WAYS TO HAVE A FAMILY FUN DAY IN TAMPA BAY with the Tampa Bay CityPASS:

1-25 ZooTampa at Lowry Park

ZooTampa fun with #outandaboutAva | SobeSavvy.com

  • 1. Feel the rush of a macaw soaring overhead
  • 2. Meet animals and ask questions at the many animal mingles
  • 3. Watch an educational show
  • 4. Get a closer look and connect with wildife
  • 5. Witness a live animal feeding
  • 6. Stay cool & have fun in the water play area
  • 7. Love Penguins? See them swim and play
  • 8. Visit Lorikeet Landing in Asia to get up close and personal with the birds
  • 9. See the Primates swing and play
  • 10. Enjoy strolling thru beautiful tropical wildlife settings
  • 11. Go behind the scenes on an Expedition Africa safari ride
  • 12. Feel the rush of a three-story splashdown on the family water adventure ride: Roaring Springs
  • 13. Not feeling adventurous? Hangout at Lookout Landing to just watch and enjoy the splash
  • 14. Take an #elfie and other fun photo ops throughout ZooTampa
  • 15. Have a stare off contest with an Emu
  • 16. Touch & Feel the skin of a snake..if you dare!
  • 17. Experience unforgettable moments at their seasonal events like Christmas in the Wild
  • 18. Ooh and Ahh over the cute Koala Bears
  • 19. Ride the Tasmanian Tiger coaster
  • 20. Go round and round on the Jungle Carousel
  • 21. When was the last time you saw a Zebra, Giraffe and Elephant all at the same time? So cool!
  • 22. Learn how you can join in taking action to protect and preserve wildlife
  • 23. Upgrade your experience and add on an up-close signature encounter
  • 24. Go shopping at the gift shop
  • 25. Don’t forget to have your photo taken to have as a souvenir

👀WATCH recap video of our fun day at ZooTampa here ⤵️ Learn more at ZooTampa.org

26-50 The Florida Aquarium

Did you watch #outandaboutAva @SobeSavvy IG Takeover at The Florida Aquarium? She had a fin-tastic time! | SobeSavvy.com

  • 26. See thousands of sea creatures, including sharks, alligators, otters, sea turtles and more!
  • 27. Enjoy the Florida Wetlands Trail and see 30 different species of free-flying birds
  • 28. Have amazing close encounters with a colony of penguins when you get a Penguins Backstage Pass
  • 29. Experience visual drama with special sensations in the 4-D Theater
  • 30. Play at The Splash Pad, a rainforest-themed outdoor wet and dry play area
  • 31. Take in terrific views of scenic Tampa Bay
  • 32. Make a reservation to go on an unforgettable Wild Dolphin Cruise and receive 10% off with special savings CityPASS perk
  • 33. Get special VIP access to view exciting creatures
  • 34. Go on a Behind the Scenes Adventure and meet experts to further explore the Aquarium
  • 35. Discover what sea turtles eat
  • 36. Touch a real live jellyfish at the new Moon Bay exhibit
  • 37. Watch a daily dive show
  • 38. Learn about the Aquarium’s vital conservation efforts
  • 39. Dive into another world and make reservations for the Heart of the Sea Swim program, Shark Swim or Dive with the Sharks
  • 40. Enjoy delicious dining at Café Ray or Fins Cantina
  • 41. Journey to Madagascar and view incredible creatures like endangered long-tailed lemurs
  • 42. Kids can crawl inside viewing bubbles for a fun immersive experience
  • 43. Buy an amazing souvenir at the gift shop
  • 44. Stop by Bays and Beaches gallery where touching experiences are offered
  • 45. Do fish sleep? Find out the answer and learn more when you explore The Florida Aquarium
  • 46. Love Seahorses like me? Make sure to visit the Dragons Down Under exhibit
  • 47. Touch and learn about sea creatures who have no backbone in the No Bones Zone
  • 48. Find Nemo aka a clownfish in the Waves of Wonder exhibit
  • 49. Snap a pic with their mascot turtle before you go
  • 50. Go for yourself and experience why The Florida was voted Top 3 Aquarium in North America By USA Today readers

👀WATCH recap video of our fin-tastic time at The Florida Aquarium here ⤵️ Learn more at flaquarium.org

51-75 MOSI

A visit to a museum always makes our must do list when we travel. Here is a look at our visit to MOSI= Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa, FL.| SobeSavvy.com

  • 51. Get hands-on with over 100 fun indoor activities
  • 52. Explore space science in the NASA-funded Mission: Moonbase lunar colony
  • 53. Love Dinosaurs? Then be sure to explore the Dinovations Lab, a Jurasic-themed exhibit
  • 54. See how cool Engineering is
  • 55. Spark your curiosity with Physics
  • 56. Peak into the Human Body and discover a look inside of you
  • 57. Expand your mind by doing lots of STEAM activities
  • 58. Learn about planets and our solar system in the Saunder’s Planetarium
  • 59. Experience how science and technology is used in everyday life
  • 60. Get creative and draw some art
  • 61. See the art exhibit made by CDS Art & Design students
  • 62. Get inspired to become an inventor, astronomer, chemist or engineer
  • 63. Solve brain puzzles
  • 64. Build amazing structures
  • 65. Check out new Space Walk exhibit and learn about the history of Space Travel
  • 66. Use your imagination and innovation in The IdeaZone and have fun making a project
  • 67. Go on an outdoor adventure and climb the Ropes Course
  • 68. Play at the outdoor playground
  • 69. Feel the power of wind in the Hurricane simulator
  • 70. Enjoy free play in an autism-friendly environment
  • 71. See what your hand looks like under a microscope
  • 72. Build a robot
  • 73. Explore optical illusions
  • 74. Touch the future in Connectus
  • 75. Lie on a bed of nails..if you dare!

👀WATCH this video for a recap of our experience at MOSI ⤵️ For more info, visit mosi.org

76-100 Busch Gardens Tampa Bay| Christmas Town

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Christmas Town was such a great way to kick off the holiday season with my #HeighPartyof3 family | SobeSavvy.com

  • 76. Start a new family tradition and see why USA Today voted it as 10Best Theme Park Holiday Event
  • 77. See millions of twinkling lights
  • 78. Hop aboard the Sing-Along Train and jam to your favorite Christmas Carols
  • 79. Watch a spectacular holiday show like Christmas on Ice
  • 80. Visit with Santa and take photos with him and his elves
  • 81. Meet & Greet with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends
  • 82. Drink a festive beverage or eat a culinary treat at the Christmas Town Village (our kid loved the churros)
  • 83. Experience the thrill of rides and roller coasters at night
  • 84. Shop for the perfect holiday gifts
  • 85. Explore the new Merry Mint Lane and get up close to animals
  • 86. Take a photo with a Peppermint Pal
  • 87. Make plans to enjoy special holiday dining and savor a selection of seasonal offerings
  • 88. Take advantage of the many photo ops in front of Christmas trees, light displays and festive decor
  • 89. Meet the Sugar Plum and Ice Princesses
  • 90. Journey through Luminosity Lane, a beautiful tunnel filled with Christmas lights
  • 91. Got a girl who loves pink? Then make sure you visit Flamingo Way to see the festive flamingos and palm trees decorated in twinkling pink lights
  • 92. Choose holiday upgrades like priority access, holiday samplers and special dining offers to upgrade your experience
  • 93. Enjoy a live band and vocal performances at The Most Wonderful Time show
  • 94. Visit Sesame Street Safari to join Elmo and friends as they learn the meaning of Christmas in Elmo’s Christmas wish
  • 95. See Christmas lights choreographed to seasonal music at Carol Of The Bells light show
  • 96. Watch an elephant dance or an alligator relax
  • 97. Twirl yoursrlf in faux snow
  • 98. Meet the Poinsettia Princess
  • 99. Enjoy extended hours in the park for more festive fun
  • 100. Before you go, make the most of your visit by adding the Busch Gardens app to your smart phone

👀WATCH this video for a recap of our experience at Busch Gardens Christmas Town (open every night from Nov 16 2019 – Jan 6. 2020 ⤵️ For more info, visit BuschGardensTampa.com

101 Get a Tampa Bay CityPASS

“Spend Less and Experience More” by purchasing a Tampa Bay CityPASS! You get access to a total of FIVE attractions and can save 50% or more on admission. Visit the 4 on my list plus the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and you can choose either MOSI or the Chihuly Collection Presented By The Morean Arts Center. You make one simple purchase to get the CityPASS which is valid for 9 days. My favorite perk is that you can skip most lines and just show your CityPASS. There are also more special savings,coupons and discounts inside the CityPASS also. Here are two easy ways to purchase:

  • Ask for CityPASS at any attraction
  • Buy mobile tickets now at citypass.com | (888) 330-5008

I hope you enjoyed this list of 101 WAYS TO HAVE A FAMILY FUN DAY IN TAMPA BAY. We are already making plans to Visit Tampa Bay again and experience more sun, fun and culture found in this city. Thanks for reading!

***Have you been to Tampa Bay before? Share your travel memory of Tampa in the comments below.


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My #HeighPartyof3 Family Visit to @NMAAHC


As the newest jewel on the National Mall, The National Museum of African American History and Culture stands as a beacon of hope and pride to not just African Americans but to our nation as a whole. Opened on September 24, 2016 by President Obama, this Smithsonian Institution owns a collection of over 40,000 pieces. With almost 2 million visitors a year it has enthralled domestic and international visitors from all over the planet. Years later since its doors opened to the public, my family and I came here to celebrate its 3rd year!

Let us Rejoice! NMAAHC and its 3rd year | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com with #outandaboutAva

My family and I visited here in March 2017 during our stay in Arlington, VA and we were just as amazed as others upon visiting this special place for the first time. My little one was just 5 1/2 yrs old then, so this weekends visit opened up the history of Africans in America a little more to her than the last time we came. To quote Beyonce’s latest song “Bigger“..I wanted my daughter to leave the museum knowing that…

If you feel insignificant, you better think again
Better wake up ’cause you’re part of something way bigger
You’re part of something way bigger
I’ll be the roots, you be the tree
Pass on the fruit that was given to me
Legacy, ah, we’re part of something way bigger

Mother and Daughter visit NMAAHC ~ Legacy! | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

This beautiful museum takes visitors on a journey started in West Africa in the lower 3 levels to Barack Obama and beyond on the upper 3 levels. In between we are fed the wonders of our people. We started at 10 am and stayed until about 2pm with a lunch break in between. Even though we explored all 6 levels, here are just some of the hightlights from our #HeighPartyof3 Family Visit to NMAAHC!

#HeighPartyof3 Visits NMAAHC | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

C1-C3 | History Galleries

During our previous visit with our daughter, we chose to move swiftly through the 3 levels in the history galleries as it includes more graphic and violent past history {almost 400 years of that right?}. However, this time, I wanted her to have deep questions and comments and appreciate her 8 year old mind attempting to process what human beings are capable of doing to other humans, It was sobering and yet ultimately hopeful.

The opportunities for modern virtual interaction throughout this facility are endless. You can sit at a mock Greensboro, NC diner counter and use the touchscreen and pick from a ” join a movement” menu, which gives you all sorts on facts regarding sit in demonstrations and videos.

This museum also has docents {museum guide experts} stationed in some of the more emotionally difficult areas to give out facts and perspective. I truly appreciated one taking my daughter under her wing and explaining to her 8 yr old level what being sold “on the block” meant to families being torn apart and never seeing each other again. At 8 years old some of these facts still seem like science fiction to her and in a way that is progress. The inhumanity of slavery is quickly coming into focus for her and that is a good thing. History is not to be sugarcoated, it is simply fact.

Lunch | Sweet Home Cafe

When you come up the final 3rd ramp of the History Galleries, you will arrive to the Concourse level where you will find a wonderful cafeteria dining area called “Sweet Home Cafe“. Get ready to feast on all major foods credited to African Americans. Ribs, catfish, greens, red velvet cake just to name a few. Great place to take a break and fuel up to continuing your visit to this world class facility.

SobeSavvy Tip: Be sure to stop by the NMAAHC Museum store on L1-Heritage Hall. You will find free fact cards about the museum, books, jewelry and more! Plus, your purchase helps support the educational mission of the Smithsonian Instituition. Shop Online at smithsonianstore.com and join maiing list for special discount offers!

L4 | Culture Galleries

We rode the escalator to the very top level where the culture galleries are. On this level you will find the many contributions African Americans have made as artists. From music, theater, tv, dance, film, we have created and shared our cultural expressions to the world! Much of American culture is owed to the African Americans. Whether clothing, music or food, African Americans have always been the trend setters and the golden standard in the experiment of a nation we call America.

The music section is it’s own black rock and roll hall of fame. Chuck Berry’s Cadillac, Parliament’s Mothership and clothing/artifacts from almost every major artist in every genre is represented. You can also be a sound engineer or DeeJay if you like! We particularily enjoyed the “Neighborhood Record Store“, where we explained to our daugter about a time when music was not digital and you went to the store and found your favorite artists’ album.

This museum ultimately stands for triumph against all odds that African Americans have not only survived but we have been examples of excellence in every manner shape of form for the world to see just how unbreakable our spirits and indeed souls truly are.

L3 is where you can find the Community Galleries featuring The African American Military Experience and our contributions to Sports. Here is where we took a nice break to sit down and watch a film about Baseball Intergration.

L2 , the second floor is where you can Explore More! Get interactive in the gallery and have fun by taking a “stepping” lesson in HBCU fashion in a virtual reality dance game.

You could easily spend an entire day here and not see it all. I have found multiple visits of a few hours each time is a wonderful way to digest all that it has to offer. I look forward to coming back again in a few years and doing it all over again!
👀WATCH highlights from my #HeighPartyof3 Family Visit to @NMAAHC here⤵️

Have you been to the National Museum of African American History & Culture yet? Share a memory from your visit below!

Smithsonian Institution

National Museum of African Americn History & Culture

1400 Constitution Ave NW

Washington, DC 20560

Top 3 Reasons to Travel to DC and Stay in VA at Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza

I am back from a wonderful weekend in DC where I covered a food festival event (The 9th Annual Chesapeake Oyster, Wine and Beer Festival) at Dock 5/Union Market DC, revisited the National Museum of African American History and Culture (which I shared our family visit highlights>>here ) and enjoyed some family fun at the only attraction in DC where you can see all 45 US Presidents, Madame Tussauds DC!

Although my agenda mostly involved being in DC, I opted for our lodging to be in VA, which is just a 4 hr roadtrip from NC. Since hubby and our 8 yr old daughter were with me, the hotel of choice had to be somewhere comfy, clean(..of course!), in a convenient location, and with a free breakfast to fuel our fun days exploring Washington,DC. So, we decided to return to a hotel property that was featured in my Family Travel Guide to Arlington, VA, which is the Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse. Although our last stay was in 2017, my hope was that everything that was excellent then had remained the same in 2019. Indeed it was!

Here are my Top 3 Reasons to Travel to DC and Stay in VA at Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza!

1. PROXIMITY

Less than 4 miles from the National Mall, The Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza has all the advantages of staying in Washington DC with non of the cons like traffic, noise and lack of parking. A short drive on 66 East brings you straight to the Capital. Visitors often name traffic and congestion as their main gripes when finding a lodging, this property has neither. After 6pm Arlington reverts to a mostly residential area devoid of tour buses and tourist traps.

2. PRICE


Hotels in Arlington are on average almost 25% less per night than staying in Washington D.C. proper. Snag a great price being a World Of Hyatt member. This allows them to offer you exclusive member rates and discounts over the normal rack rate.

3. PERKS

The Hyatt Place Brand means casual comfort and smart places to work and play. This property does both very well. Large modern guest suites come with a sofabed and endless television choices. They also have a USB connector island for today’s multi-device charging needs. This Hyatt Place also has a business center and a 24 hour fitness center.


Their morning breakfast has quickly become legendary. Rotating daily choices of farm fresh eggs, steel cut oatmeal and all natural bacon just to name a few. Become a World Of Hyatt Member and the breakfast is complimentary.

Whether you are visiting Arlington, VA or planning a next trip to Washington DC, I recommend this property for all the reasons listed here. There are a variety of restaurants/bars within walking distance and we enjoyed the cozy comforts of this hotel especially after a day of sightseeing in our nation’s capital.

HYATT PLACE ARLINGTON/COURTHOUSE PLAZA

2401 Wilson BoulevardArlington, VA 22201

Arlington, VA 22201

http://arlingtoncourthouseplaza.place.hyatt.com

Plan a Day of Learning Fun and Play at Port Discovery Children’s Museum @portdiscovery in Baltimore, MD

Plan a Day of Learning Fun and Play at Port Discovery Children's Museum @portdiscovery in Baltimore, MD | Visit Recap by SobeSavvy.com

Looking for a place for your kids to learn and play when visiting Baltimore, MD? Port Discovery Children’s Museum, located just steps away from the Inner Harbor/ Downtown Baltimore, is an ideal attraction for your child (up to age 10) to have fun! Our last visit was in 2018 and I added it to my list of Top Family Fun attractions in Baltimore. I learned that Port Discovery went under recent renovations on June 14, 2019 and opened its doors for the public to experience its updated amenities, new exhibits and more! Take a look at how my 7 year old daughter and her cousin of the same age enjoyed their playdate at Port Discovery.

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | Visit Recap July 2019 | SobeSavvy.com

Guest Amenities

* Museum’s Lobby

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -Museum Lobby| SobeSavvy.com

As soon as we walked into the bright and colorful lobby, we felt welcomed and the kids were ready to explore. There was a timeless quote by Mr Rogers on the wall that left a great first impression and reading it was the perfect beginning to our visit.

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -Mr Rogers quote| SobeSavvy.com

* Free private lockers

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -free lockers | SobeSavvy.com

Free private lockers were available to store our personal belongings during your visit. This is the perfect place to store kids’ lunch/snacks or backpacks.

Two NEW Exhibits

* The Port

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -The Port| SobeSavvy.com

The Port is a total immersive experience. Ava and her cousin learned about navigation on the bridge, loaded cargo on a conveyor belt and had a chance to catch the cargo up top. It is simply a delightful way for kids to work as a team or solo.

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -The Port| SobeSavvy.com

* Sky Climber

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -SkyClimber| SobeSavvy.com

This new “shoes off” exhibit is a multi-story climbing adventure that ends at a long slide back to the ground level. Children get to utilize their physicality while having a great time!There is even The Overlook area where they played on swings and enjoyed the view from the top.

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -The Overlook| SobeSavvy.com

Interactive Fun

Tiny’s Diner

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -Tiny's Diner | SobeSavvy.com

This make believe diner allowed them to play everything from cashier, cook and waiter. Realistic “meals” can be served with beverages and dessert. Booth and counter service is available. Tips not required!

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -Tiny's Diner| SobeSavvy.com

* Wonders of Water

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -Wonders of Water| SobeSavvy.com

Kids love water and this area shows why. Kids can make a huge “body bubble”, seal up leaky pipes and even use a squeegee to clean the windows. They learned about cause and effect while getting wet at the same time!

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -wonders of water| SobeSavvy.com

Exploration Experiences

* BGE Studio Workshop

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -BGE Studio Workshop| SobeSavvy.com

This arts and crafts area allow kids to express themselves in many ways. Painting and chalk writing are just a few neat activities available here.

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -BGE Studio Workshop| SobeSavvy.com

* Adventure Expeditions

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -Adventure Expeditions| SobeSavvy.com

Travel back in time to learn about ancient Egypt. Inside this exhibit, there are chambers with hidden surprises around every corner. My daughter and niece really thought this exhibit was cool because you could look inside this xray box and discover what lies inside of different items.

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -Adventure Expeditions| SobeSavvy.com

**SobeSavvy Tip: Port Discovery Children’s Museum has a Gift Shop that is filled with educational books, gifts and goodies! You can stop in for cool finds without even paying admission to the museum.

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore MD | July 2019 Visit Recap -gift shop | SobeSavvy.com

Here are some links to help you as you plan your visit:

https://www.portdiscovery.org/play/exhibits-experiences

https://www.portdiscovery.org/visit/plan-your-visit

https://www.portdiscovery.org/visit/month-port-discovery

Connect with Port Discovery Children’s Museum! ⤵️

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

👀 WATCH MY YOUTUBE VIDEO RECAP OF OUR DAY OF FUN ⤵️

As you can see there is so much learning fun under one roof at Port Discovery. This place allows them to learn, explore and be creative and burn of some steam while using S.T.E.M skills. It is the perfect way to spend a hot, summer day indoor with kids!

Fun awaits behind those doors…what are you waiting for?!?!

Have you seen the 🆕️ exhibits at Port Discovery Children’s Museum?

PORT DISCOVERY CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

35 Market Pl

Baltimore, MD 21202

Summer Fun Day Trip Itinerary for Families Visiting #WilmingtonNC River District & Island Beaches @wilmingtoNCoast

Living in Miami for almost 20 years meant falling in love with the ocean and the beach. So for Fathers Day I thought it would be great to take my husband and our daughter for a Sunday Funday in Wilmington River District & Island Beaches for Fathers Day.

Depart Raleigh, NC | 9:00 am

Beach chairs ? check. Towels and cold water? check. Beach snack? check. Gas tank full and we were off. A quick 2 hour straight drive on I-40 East puts most Triangle residents in downtown Wilmington. Another great thing about the ride is it cuts thru farm country and there are many opportunities to pull of the highway to a farmers produce stand and pick up some ripe plums, peaches or berries to snack on! The beauty of a day trip is that you really don’t have to pack or plan much. Just get up and go!

Arrive Wilmington,NC| 11:00 am

We headed to the Wilmington riverbooth information center on Riverwalk at the foot of Market Street to pick up maps, guides, coupons and more from the Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau. They have 2 locations conveniently downtown.

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WHERE is your fave destination to take a Day Trip? For a memorable family getaway from Raleigh, NC, we ❤ Wilmington's River District & Island Beaches. @wilmingtoncoast Besides being an easy, 2 hr + drive, it is a cool place that has historic Southern charm and a beach life vibe! ————————– We have been coming here at least once a year ever since our daughter was 4, but not matter how many times we visit, it is always a good idea to stop by to see what's new and get information on fun things to do at The Riverfront Booth, which is located at the foot of Market Street and Water Street and operates on a seasonal schedule; daily, 9:30am-5pm (June-Aug.). ————– Watch for highlights from our fun day on my instastories exploring #WilmingtonNC, enjoying the walkable River District, visiting @ncaquariumff 🐠, playing on Pleasure Island [Kure/Carolina Beach], dining at @michaelsseafood and more! Plus stay tuned for my #familyfun #DayTrip itinerary on the blog, SobeSavvy.com! #visitNC #exploreNC

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Stroll River District | 12 pm

We spent some time strolling and window shopping in the historic River district. They have everything from vintage clothing boutiques, restaurants and we particularly enjoyed a little Italian food store. As is tradition we took a pic of our little girl by the fabulous fountain! It was Sunday so the Artisan street market was in full swing. Local vendors and artists had booths with unique art and gifts for sale.

Lunch Downtown Historic Wilmington| 1 pm
Strolling had us all hungry but we also wanted to make our way to the beaches. We ended up at this great spot called The Reel Cafe. They let us order some fish and chips to go. It was plenty for us all to snack on during the quick drive to the beaches.

Visit NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher | 1:30 pm

Who doesn’t love an aquarium? Not just any aquarium but the famous NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. This world class aquarium is adjacent to the beach so after exploring all of the wonders of the natural oceans we strolled took a dip in one !! From Albino alligators and a majestic Bald Eagle, this aquarium allows visitors to experience the wild close up. Sharks and giant groupers can be right around the next turn! My daughter loves the hands on areas where she can touch horse shoe crabs and real stingrays. How exciting! They have a cute outdoor patio cafe and kids play area. This aquarium also gives visitors some outdoor experiences. Behind the main building is their now famous Lorikeet Landing habitat. You can walk inside with pre made nectar for purchase and the happy Lorikeets will actually land directly on you and eat from your hand. Some can be a little aggressive so I laid my nectar on the ground for them to feast. Make this a must do activity on your trip to this wonderful facility.

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#Didyouknow…#June is #NationalAquariumMonth & #nationaloceanmonth? Celebrate both at @ncaquariumff #ncaquariumff and have fun going on an under the sea adventure at this landmark attraction, which was named TOP 20 U.S AQUARIUMS by @tripadvisor + BEST AQUARIUMS in the US by @travelchannel .com ———- Located at the southern tip of @kurebeachnc , the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is just a short drive south from @wilmingtoncoast and aprox 2.5 hrs away from #RaleighNC, making it an ideal place for families to visit for a day trip & it is right next to the beach! ——- Some must see highlights are: ▪Luna, the albino alligator ▪Touch/Feel stations ▪Adventure Reef, an outdoor interactive play area for kids ▪Visit the Lorikeet Landing exhibit and feed them too! …and over 2,500 animals to see and have fun learning about! ——- No matter how many times we visit, there are always new and fun discoveries! 🐠 . . . #SobeSavvy #soTravelsavvy #soNCsavvy #NCblogger #LifestyleBlogger #FamilyBlogger #TravelBlogger #tuesdaytip #traveltuesday #familyfun #aquarium #daytrip #summertravel #daytripideas #WilmingtonNC #KureBeach #attraction #landmarks

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Play at Kure Beach | 2:30 pm
Kure beach is a local favorite. There are many beaches to choose from along this portion of the coast and each has their own different flavors. Kure beach lets dogs get their chance at a ocean dip so my daughter {who is a big dog lover} was delighted at the happy hounds. The surf was not too strong so we did some body surfing and playing with the incoming tides. A great couple of hours just relaxing enjoying the ocean.

Explore Carolina Beach Boardwalk|4:30 pm
Next up was Carolina Beach Boardwalk. This beach has some traditional carnival like rides and small roller coasters. It reminded me of a small Coney Island. Pizza and ice cream shops were everywhere. When you visit the Boardwalk make a beeline to the world famous Britt’s Donut Shop. This is siimply the lightest most delicious glazed donut ever. They only make one kind so don’t worry about having a problem choosing one! Made fresh on premise and dropped still steaming warm in your bag. Simply the best. After all the eating, we wanted to work off some calories so we hit up Wheel Fun Rentals. We rented a fun double pedal bike and went off on a self guided tour of the area. Great exercise and a wonderful way to see more of the area.

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For Family Friendly Fun at the beach..head to Carolina Beach Boardwalk >@carolinabeachnc ! During our Day Trip to @wilmingtoncoast , we stopped by the award-winning boardwalk which features: amusement rides in the summer, sweets and eats from Beach Bunny Ice Cream @beachbunnyicecreamcoffee + Frank's Pizza @frankspizzacbnc and Britts Donut Shop @brittsdonutscb @brittsdonuts . Lastly, we rented a surrey bike from Wheel Fun Rentals @wheelfunrentalsofficial which allowed us to work off all that good eating, have a fun, unique bike riding experience together and see more sights around CB Lake Park! • What is your fave thing to do at #CarolinaBeachBoardwalk ? ————– Stay tuned for full Day Trip to Wilmington, NC Historic River District & Island Beaches coming soon, on the blog SobeSavvy.com

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Dine at Michael’s Seafood Restaurant in Carolina Beach | 6:00 pm
No trip to Wilmington and the Beaches would be complete until we have a early dinner at Michaels. This venerable seafood restaurant never dissapoints. The chowder is amazing. A bowl is never enough! The main even was the seafood platter. Crab legs, shrimp, corn and mussels oh my! As always the service was great as was the food and drinks. We love this place. Make sure you make this your place too.

Depart Wilmington,NC| 7:30pm

On our way back to 40-W, I heard ” I want Pelicans” from the back seat. Pelicans is our favorite snoball/snowcone spot back in the triangle so we were happy to see them in Wilmington. We grabbed 3 of them for the road. A sweet ending to a sweet day in Wilmington & The Beaches.

For more info on the happenings in Wilmington and Beaches go to www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com

#FamilyTRAVEL | Where to Stay in ATL,GA – Loews Atlanta @Loews_Hotels #LoewsLovesFamilies + Family Road Trip Package

This past weekend my family took a road trip to Atlanta from our home in Raleigh. After a 6 hour drive, we were happy to have the comforts of luxury accomodations at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. I was in town working as media to cover the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, and Loews Atlanta Hotel was the official host hotel for the event! It had been about 3 years since our last stay at Loews Atlanta, so returning here felt familiar yet still inviting.

Located in the heart of Midtown, this sleek, modern 26-story tower offers 414 guest rooms and 44 suites, more than 40,000 square feet of meeting space, the state-of-the art exhale Spa & Fitness Center and on-site restaurant, Saltwood Charcuterie & Bar (which I will share more delicious details later in this post). Besides these wonderful amenities, there are 2 more reasons why families should stay at Loews this summer: Loews Loves Families program and the Family Road Trip package.

Loews Loves Families

The launch of the new “Loews Loves Families” program focuses on kids of all ages, from infants to teens. For the last two decades, The Loews Hotels brand is known for catering to children but now has revamped their program to elevate the experience for the entire family. The “Loews Loves Families” will focus on the three pillars of Comfort, Imagination, and Exploration, aiming to provide engaging experiences that can be shared among different generations. It can now be enjoyed in the Southeast at Loews Atlanta, Loews Vanderbilt (Nashville) and Loews New Orleans Hotels.

Check out this video to see how Loews Loves Families here⤵️
https://bcove.video/2W23tEe

One of the program perks in Atlanta was Milk & Cookies as a special welcome amenity when kids arrive at their hotel. This undoubtedly was a sweet way to be welcomed to Loews Atlanta.

Family Road Trip Package

Starting from today until September, 30, 2019 families can save money when they book a stay and experience the Family Road Trip package. When you stay 3 or more nights, you get:

•Complimentary parking
•Free breakfast for up to 2 kids
•$30 food and beverage credit per stay
•2nd guest room at 50 percent off

My husband appreciated the convenience of complimentary parking and valet especially after our road trip!

We were met at the driveway by the valet and bell hop who promptly took our luggage and showed us to registration. Check in was efficient and we were warmly welcomed. We stayed in a Premium Double type room on the 17th floor. Looking out of the floor-to-ceiling windows at the gorgeous views of Midtown Atlanta was something we all enjoyed!

Modern, and stylish is how I would describe our room. It had ample seating areas and a spacious bathroom with both stand alone shower and tub with a tv in there as well. I had a fun yet busy day at The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, so it was very nice to come back, wrap myself in a cozy Loews robe and relax in a comfortable room such as this. Watch my brief room reveal video to see for yourself! ⤵️

Saltwood Charcuterie & Bar

After a wonderful night in their comfortable beds, all three of us were ready to enjoy breakfast at their restaurant, Saltwood Charcuterie & Bar. They have a Saturday & Sunday brunch that is amazing! Order a la carte from the menu or for $30, the unlimited buffet option has so many tasty choices including made to order omelets, salad bar, assorted pastries, carving station and more!

While I got a little bit of everything off of their brunch buffet, the little one chose pancakes and fruit + whipped cream from their kids menu. Crayons were given as well which always are a great idea to encourage kid’s creativity.

Hubby ordered a la carte off the breakfast menu and went with the Saltwood Burger. We all were drooling when it arrived to the table hot, fresh and topped with an egg. So yummy! No matter if you want something sweet or savory for breakfast, brunch lunch or dinner, Saltwood Charcuterie & Bar at Loews Atlanta hotel offers locally-inspired food for everyone!

For reservations or more information about Loews Hotels, call 1-800-23-LOEWS or visit: www.loewshotels.com.

Like Loews Hotels on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LoewsHotels

Follow Loews Hotels on Twitter: www.twitter.com/loews_hotels

Watch Loews Hotels on YouTube: www.youtube.com/LoewsHotels

Read our Wish You Were Here Blog at www.loewshotelsblog.com

Thanks again to our friends at Loews Hotel Atlanta for hosting me and my family! Your hospitality and committment to quality service will have my #HeighPartyof3 coming back again & again. Until next time…..

Jumpstart summer family travel and celebrate #LoewsLovesFamilies | photo credit: SobeSavvy.com

Where are you planning to travel this summer? Have you ever stayed at Loews Atlanta, Loews Vanderbilt or Loews New Orleans before? Let me know in the comments below ❤


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Spring Break Staycation Family Fun Ideas For Raleigh,NC |#Travel #Raleigh #NC #FamilyFun

It’s Spring Break for my 2nd Grader and we are kicking it off by playing tourist in our own backyard! Our staycation in Raleigh,NC ..where ALL ARE WELCOME..will be filled with simple pleasures, plus mother and daughter bonding time. We’ll be having fun while hanging in Downtown Raleigh in the Glenwood South neighborhood, and some other favorite ‘Random Raleigh‘ spots. I am excited to share these Spring Break Staycation Family Fun Ideas For Raleigh,NC with you! Enjoy!

Downtown Raleigh/Glenwood South

Raleigh,NC consistently ranks in the top 5 in quality of life index of American Cities and since living here for the last 4 years, it is easy to see why! There is access to so much and the cost of living is pretty good. Downtown Raleigh puts locals and visitors in the center of it all. One of Raleigh’s Downtown neighborhoods, Glenwood South, is known locally as the premier entertainment district where restaurants of every budget and cuisine coexist with nightclubs. However if you arrive on a Sunday like we did, you’ll find a quieter side of Glenwood South with locals walking their dogs and offerings for the entire family. Check out my photo gallery from our stay in Downtown Raleigh/Glenwood South full photo gallery >>here.

EAT | La Santa Modern Mexican Food

My idea of a great staycation involves having time to siesta, fiesta and enjoy good food! We found that we could do all that just blocks away from our hotel at La Santa Modern Mexican Food, located at 222 Glenwood Avenue #107. From their house made guacomole, tasty dishes created using recipes from the owner’s mother, margaritas featuring fresh juices and craft cocktails, everything here is done so deliciously! The décor is eclectic with a laid back upscale cantina vibe. Their carnitas tacos are incredible and they have a great ninos {kids} menu also. Great service, fresh food and amazing drinks is why families would enjoy dining at La Santa.

STAY | Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh Downtown

In a previous post about Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh Downtown, located at 600 Glenwood Ave, I shared a list of my favorite features about this hotel property, which included convenient location, clean and spacious rooms, free breakfast, fitness center/pool. During that stay with my husband, we did not get a chance to use the pool due to maintanence. However, I learned that the indoor pool was heated and getting new patio furniture for the Spring. So here we are back with our daughter, who came ready to to get her mermaid on! The pool area was clean, intimate, and relaxing enough for me to sit poolside and read while they had fun in the pool! This hotel is ideal for families looking to enjoy some poolside fun no matter what season it is!

PLAY | North Carolina Museum of History

Did you know that Raleigh is often called the “Smithsonian of The South”? We have world class museums downtown, one of them being the North Carolina Museum Of History, located at 5 E. Edenton St.! Admission is FREE and it offers so much for the entire family to enjoy! Our favorites were the special art exhibition by Durham, NC native Ernie Barnes and a gallery dedicated to children that allows them to have interactive fun learning and listening from the oral history of North Carolinians.There were also lots of hands on areas so my daughter could actually touch some things in a normally hands off kind of place! We even made a souvenir penny in the shape of North Carolina.

EAT | Demo’s Pizzeria and Deli

Strolling the shops of Glenwood Ave can work up an appetite and we knew just the place to stop for a casual bite! DeMos Pizzeria and Deli, located at 222 Glenwood #121, offers NY style thin crust pizza and also a full service deli offering Boars Head Products. My husband/daughter shared a cheese pizza [read my full review of DeMo’s >>here] and I had a specialty sandwich called the San Fran, made with turkey, avocado, bacon, tomato and pepper jack cheese. It was so good! Great family-friendly environment and attentive staff makes DeMo’s Pizzeria and Deli one of our local favorites.

Random Raleigh

The City of Raleigh has earned the reputation of being one of the best places to live in the USA. There is a celebrated food scene, we have the largest research park [RTP] in the nation, and the diversity of culture and art that I can expose my child to is why we are happy to be here in the state capital. During Spring Break, we had the opportunity to visit a dairy farm

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My daughter and I had the opportunity to visit Randleigh Dairy Heritage Museum and got a private tour of NC State Dairy Farm. This unique agritourism experience allowed us to have some educational fun while learning how a typical North Carolina dairy farm operates. Some of what we learned: *how milk is made *what cows eat *how they raise the cows *what kind of cows are there ———— We loved seeing the baby cows and how they are cared for. We left knowing that milk is obtained in a clean, safe environment and that is is good for you. Especially in the form of Howliing Cow ice cream, which we got to enjoy at the end of the tour! ————— ***Interested in going on a GROUP Tour? To get more info, contact Alex Ives at awives@ncsu.edu

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and enjoyed admiring art around town, like the Raleigh ArtBeats Sidewalk Murals

..plus, had fun discovering many of the IG worthy murals we have in Raleigh!

Our main goal for this Spring Break Staycation was to simply have family fun with each other outdoors and teach our girl how to ride her bike without training wheels. Mission complete! We have many biking trails and beautiful parks here. We utilized Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department as a guide for fun and free things to do like the Pop-Up Studio Free Art for Kids Program and where to go for outdoor recreation like bike riding or simply blowing bubbles in the park!

I hope you enjoyed reading my Spring Break Staycation Family Fun Ideas For Raleigh,NC and will consider visiting if you are a tourist or revisiting some places like a tourist if you are a local. Whether your kid is on Spring Break, Track Out or you are curious what to do on a weekend, take the time this Spring to get outside and explore Raleigh, NC ….where all are welcome!

#TRAVEL | Take A Staycation at the Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh Downtown +Valentines Day Giveaway

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of leaving the kiddo with Nana and checking into a hotel for an overnight staycation. I had a blog assignment to cover an event at a restaurant and chose a place that ended up being just over 100 steps away (yep, I counted for fun). The Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh Downtown proved to be an ideal stay and here are my favorite features of this hotel:

Convenient Location


Located at 600 Glenwood Avenue, this property makes the ideal base camp for a night out. Being the middle of all the action means parking our car for the evening and simply strolling. Glenwood South is one of Raleigh’s premiere entertaining and dining areas. This half a mile stretch features over a dozen restaurants, bars and nightclubs. I had the pleasure of dining at VIDRIO and attending an event there, which made an overnight stay in the neighborhood at the Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh Downtown the perfect idea!

Welcoming Lobby Area

As soon as we walked into the hotel we were greeted with the hotel’s mantra… “MAKING YOU HAPPY MAKES US HAPPY”. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?! We were greeted warmly in their bright lobby. Next to check in is a very neat little snack shop for those late night cravings. Plenty of information, maps and guides to give you some ideas of what to do in downtown Raleigh. On the way to the elevator we noticed quite a bit of comfy seating areas where guests can relax. I loved the silver pineapple which is the symbol of hospitality/welcome.

Spacious Rooms

Having that famous Hampton Inn comfort awaiting us made our night that much more special. We had a spacious studio suite with a microwave, mini fridge and a huge 43 Inch HDTV for our viewing pleasure. I also appreciated the amount of workspace available and the vanity area was big enough for both of our toiletries. The studio also had a sofabed. Take a look at my YouTube video for an inside look of the room.

Free Breakfast

We awakened hungry and lucky for us all we had to do was go downstairs. That is where Hampton Inn’s “On The House” Breakfast was being served. Everything from self serve waffles to omelettes were on the menu Saturday morning. I really loved the healthy choices that they offered like oatmeal and yogurt. Their Robust coffee in bed is a must every time I stay at any Hampton Inn.

Fitness Center + Pool

When I travel, I attempt to get in a workout and this property made it easy. They have cardio machines, free weights, and more to help keep you healthy and fit. In addition to the fitness center, this location has an indoor heated pool.

Hotel Information

Check-in: 3:00 pm

Check-out:12:00 pm

Smoking: Non-Smoking

Parking: Self parking: $8.00

Valet: Not Available

Service animals allowed: Yes

Pets allowed: No

SobeSavvy Tip: Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh Downtown is hosting a giveaway just in time for Valentine’s Day! Win one FREE night of your choice between February 14-17! Click here to enter. See details on the hotel’s Instagram.

Thanks for reading and Good Luck!

Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh Downtown
600 Glenwood Ave

Raleigh, NC 27603

TRAVEL | Where to Stay in Baltimore MD – Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott @BWI_Airport @FairfieldHotels

Flying or driving to the Baltimore/Washington Dc area and seeking an affordable modern hotel? Well seek no more. The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriot BWI is the answer. This budget conscious property does not lack style or substance for a wallet friendly price. Whether just for one night pre or post flight or for a full blown vacation base camp, this property should be on your lodging short list. Let me share some reasons for you and your family to choose Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott BWI.

Location is Everything

This hotel is a short distance from the two major city centers.  It is right off of the B/W Pkwy-295. They also have a airport/train station shuttle that can take you anywhere within a 3 mile radius. There are a multitude restaurants and eateries close by. The MARC train runs between Baltimore and Washington and the Baltimore Light Rail takes you right into downtown Baltimore. This region offers visitors two major cities in one region. 

 

Wake Up to a wonderful Breakfast

There’s nothing worse than waking up in a hotel and having to figure out where to go for breakfast. Guests here do not have that problem. Just take the elevator to the lobby floor and voila. A hot breakfast awaits with some great coffee and tea to boot. Waffles, bacon, turkey sausage is on deck. Yogurt, granola, oatmeal, fruit and cereals can be had also. This just makes mornings better at FairField Inn & Suites.  

 

Stay Fit During Your Stay

 This hotel had an indoor pool and  spotless fitness center with new equipment for a quick run or weight training.

Modern Lobby

We were pleasantly surprised by how attractive the lobby and business center were designed. A few nods to Maryland crab culture always made us native Baltimoreans smile. Two full terminals with printers were available with office supplies. Two big flight status boards were also present. This would be priceless as it would avoid going to the airport only to find out your flight is delayed or canceled.

COMFORTABLE ROOMS

Our room was a king studio. It was a spacious open design. A microwave, mini fridge and coffee maker were all in suite. This was the only studio room I had ever stayed in that had two televisions ! Our girl stayed on the comfy sofa bed while the parents had the king. Perfect set up ! We all had a great nights sleep.

Make the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott BWI your lodging choice the next time you visit the area.

**Want to see more of what’s in store? Here is an inside look and brief tour, courtesy of my daughter #outandaboutAva!

WATCH: https://youtu.be/qk3MEStZ24c

FAIRFIELD INN & SUITES by Marriott BWI Airport
1020 Andover Rd.
Linthicum, MD 21090                    Tel: 410-691-1001
www.marriott.com/bwiaf

TRAVEL | Where to Stay in Atlanta GA – Hyatt Place Downtown Atlanta




Are you planning to visit Atlanta, GA? Well let me help you decide on where to stay. The Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown offers …”Southern Charm with a Big City Flair” at a great price. While there are a myriad of lodging choices in Downtown Atlanta, let me share some reasons for you and your family to choose Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown.
• CONVENIENT LOCATION


This hotel is conveniently located near the city center which made it the ideal place to stay while in Atlanta. You can walk to over 30 different restaurants and major attractions (we walked to Mellow Mushroom and World of Coca Cola). Not in the mood to walk? The Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown offers a free shuttle!Guests can utilize their free shuttle to any destination within 3 miles of the hotel. This pretty much covers almost all major city centers attractions like the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca Cola and even the trendy Atlantic Station Shopping Area.


WORLD OF HYATT MEMBER PERKS


World Of Hyatt Members {free to sign up here} get to enjoy complimentary breakfast featuring cage free eggs, delicious entree choices and specialty breakfast items. My daughter loved the warm monkey bread rolls and I appreciated the fresh fruit options for us all.


HAPPY HOUR


This location specifically has a 5 to 7 happy hour at the lobby bar. For two hours guests can indulge in half price appetizers and their complimentary “drink of the day” 7 days a week. I really enjoyed the Paloma Fizz which was the featured Saturday drink during my stay. Cheers to Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown for offering these refreshing cocktails to guests.


MODERN COMMON SPACES


We arrived pretty late and it was nice to be warmly welcomed by staff. As soon as we walked thru the door, I noticed the beautiful Christmas Tree and modern decor. My daughter noticed the fresh green apples in the lobby, which were available for all guests to enjoy. The Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown also has comfy nooks and sitting areas for guests to unwind , enjoy 24/7 dining or get some work done in the business center.


COMFORTABLE ROOMS

The Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown makes great use of a small space by having a sofa that converts into a bed and a partition that gives partial privacy. The layout made it feel spacious during our two night stay. The room included a microwave, mini fridge and also a personal coffee maker in our suite. We all thought the bed and pillows were quite comfortable and we were satisfied with the cleanliness of the room.

What makes a hotel stay comfortable? Is it cozy bedding, a room that offers peace and quiet for a good night’s sleep, or the quality of in room amenities? I need all of the above and the Hyatt Place brand offers just that! Overall, we had a nice stay. Which for me meant I was able to rest, enjoy a hot breakfast in the morning, and service with a smile. Every single person here greeted my family and I with a genuine smile and inquired how our stay was going. While this may seen minor to some, it is major in my book. This is a way to show thanks and respect for my business. Next time you are in Downtown Atlanta for pleasure or business, consider staying at Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown.


HYATT PLACE ATLANTA/DOWNTOWN
330 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia, United States, 30308
Tel: +1 404 577 1980 | Fax: +1 404 688 3706