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Family Travel Guide #ArlingtonVA | @StayArlington Where to Stay, Eat, Play

Arlington, Va has long been known mainly just for it’s proximity to the nation’s capital. Well I am here to share that Arlington is a awesome destination all on it’s own. With a population of 1/4 million people, Arlington is a gem well worth exploring because it packs a lot of excitement,charm accessibility and affordability into one small area. My family and I, aka #HeighPartyof3, went on a roadtrip to Arlington,VA and here is our weekend family travel guide! 

Where to Stay

Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza  

Savvy Tip: Arlington is home to more than 40 hotels offering rates up to 20 percent less than those in downtown Washington,D.C.

Arlington has many options when it comes to accomodations. At the suggestion of Stay Arlington, we stayed at the brand new Hyatt Place in the Courthouse district. In my opinion this eight-story hotel property is located in an awesome area for walking and exploring Arlington on foot or the metro 2 blocks away. Hyatt Place Arlington is perfect for families as well as business and leisure travelers as it has everything one needs for a comfortable stay. The guestrooms are spacious and allowed us to rest easy after driving up for 4 hrs from Raleigh.

With inviting spaces to connect, meet, socialize, eat and drink, this innovative hotel is truly designed around the modern traveler.Speaking of eats and drinks, this hotel offers a Grand and Go case in the lobby where you can get sandwiches and salads 24/7 as well as order from a gallery menu.So whether getting in late or early you will never go hungry here. Be sure to check out the drink menu if you are in the mood for ‘satisfying sips’ for a night cap.Since it was St.Patricks Day (well evening) when we arrived, I decided to drink green and ordered me an apple martini. CHEERS~It was great!

During our stay, we enjoyed their complimentary A.M.Skillet breakfast which has a build your own yogurt station and hot egg and waffle options presented in what else but a skillet ! My little girl enjoyed putting almonds and granola in her oatmeal. For some of our visit, #outandaboutAva got a lil stomach bug. Thanks to the kind and helpful staff at Hyatt Place Arlington for making some customized chamomile/mint tea to help her feel better! We all loved the Hyatt Place as our home away from home.

What to Do

Explore~  We stayed in the vibrant Courthouse district which is within walking distance to a variety of shopping, entertainment and restaurant options. Just across the river from nation’s Capital, Arlington boasts the neighborly, small-town community vibe with all the amenities and conveniences of major urban centers.In addition to its many historical attractions, Arlington is just minutes to the National Mall and other regional attractions. Here are some of the places we explored:

Arlington Farmers Market

Since 1979, residents and visitors alike have enjoyed the weekend Arlington Farmers Market. All things produce and much more can be found in this local gem of a market.

Rocky Run Park

We actually happened upon Rocky Run Park. Set in a quiet residential street, this park has something for everyone. Extensive kids jungle gym activities and basketball courts and multi use turf fields. Great spot for letting the little {and big} kids burn off some steam and have fun.

Arlington National Cemetery

We decided to visit the hollowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, our nation’s shrine to honor those who have served our country. Both beautiful and peaceful, the cemetery is a place to pay homage anf remember those who sacrificed. We enjoyed exploring the impressive landscape and saw many moving experiences like: the Eternal Flame, President Kennedy and Family and Medgar W.Evers grave. If you are looking for a particular place of interest, use the ANC Explorer app available on the cemetery’s website, on-site kiosks or through online app stores. To see more of my photos from our visit to Arlington National Cemetery, see here.

National Mall

One of the perks of staying in Arlington is that you can visit The National Mall, the Smithsonian museums and other places in our Nation’s Capital because they are all just minutes away on Metro. Since we drive up, we just crossed the Potomac River in less than 10 mins to see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Albert Einstein Memorial and the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. A must see!

#PhotoswithAlbert 

National Harbor Capital Wheel

If you happen to visit Arlington by car like we did, you will learn that its location ‘inside the Beltway’ (I-495 and I-95) makes it easily accessible from many routes. There is plenty of on-street and private parking options. About 20 mins away is the National Harbor , where we were invited to visit their family fun regional attraction, the Capital Wheel. If you have a sense of adventure, take this ride up to the sky to see the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) landscape for miles around!

Where to Eat

Bayou Bakery 

In the mood for Louisiana-style favorites, coffees and desserts? Stop by Bayou Bakery. Owned by New Orleans-born chef David Guas who hosts The Travel Channel’s “American Grilled”, Bayou has brought authentic cajun cuisine to Northern Virginia. 

We had some delicious beignets and coffee as a mid morning snack. The place was bustling with families and couples alike. Their living room atmosphere, full of casual charm and vintage Southern character, makes this place a welcoming eatery for breakfast or lunch.

Earl’s Sandwiches

I first learned about Earl’s when looking up what restaurants were close to the hotel. With great reviews on their Facebook page, I knew the location at 2605 Wilson Blvd would be a wonderful place to feature as a must go to lunch spot. There are 2 locations (Clarendon,Ballston) in Arlington where you can get you one of Earl’s delicious sandwiches.

Owner Stephen Dugan(as seen in photo above) was there making sandwiches and taking orders himself! He shared that after being in business for 11 years, his customers love their homemade sandwiches, salads and soups made without the hassle. Looking for a Gluten Free meal? No worries. Any sandwich can be made into a salad for no additional cost. Breakfast sandwiches are served all day and they offer a catering menu too. We ordered 2 items from their monthly Fab Four menu: lump crab cake sandwich (deliciously grilled and served on a sesame seed bun), fish and fries (all served together on one sandwich-yum!) and we all drooled over my daughter’s grilled chicken breast sandwich, shown here. My daughter said it was not good..it was FANTASTIC! Everything was delicious, fresh and tasty. 

Kona Grill

Located in Rosslyn, one of Arlington’s urban villages, Kona Grill is one of the 500 restaurant options available in Arlington that offers diverse cuisine and a delightful epicurean experience. Known for their variety of amazing appetizers, mouthwatering entrees, fresh sushi and creative cocktail creations, I knew Kona Grill would be the perfect dinner option for us as a family. They also offer a kids menu and there’s a beautiful aquarium in the center of the restaurant that my daughter loved. This place is popular so make reservations and go early if have a little one. I will be sharing my full review as my #FoodieFriday feature. Stay tuned!

With plenty of “National History.Local Flavor”, our stay in Arlington was indeed memorable. We look forward to returning when it’s warmer as there is some shopping I did not get to do at their infamous Fashion Centre at Pentagon City and more fun to be had!  

We did do some online shopping prior to our trip with SunglassWarehouse.com and partnered with them to show you how we travel in style.I’ll be sharing more about this brand that offers classic sunglass styles at affordable prices in a future Fashion Friday post. Since our roadtrip took us to Arlington, VA & Washington DC, I thought it would be fun to style their (from left to right) Canoe driving sunglasses for me, Arlington for Him (very apropo don’t ya think) and Lincoln (for my lil one and Mr. President himself..lol)

Until next time..Happy Travels!

#TravelTuesday Feature ~ #FamilyTravel Fun Itinerary for Greensboro, NC #VisitGSO

With a great selection of 135 attractions, Greensboro has been on my family’s radar to visit ever since we moved to Raleigh, NC almost 2 years ago. That’s why when I learned the Triad Women’s Blogger Network was holding their first meetup of the year in The Gate City, I took the opportunity to reach out to VisitGreensboroNC.com, who guided us in where to stay, eat, play while there. Here is a look at my family’s, aka #HeighPartyof3, itinerary during our weekend visit. 

FRIDAY

We checked into the Home2Suites by Hilton Greensboro Airport . 

This extended stay property is located near the airport, so for those flying into and out of Greensboro this is a great location. They have a nice gym and a indoor pool. Breakfast is included so you have fuel to start your day of exploring Greensboro !

SATURDAY

I attended the meeting with Triad Women Bloggers Network, while my husband and daughter checked out The Greensboro Children’s Museum.What is the Triad Women Bloggers Network? It is a group, founded by Ashley Carter of http://www.fabellis.com, of women bloggers in the Triad North Carolina area who connect, build, empower and encourage each other. The meetup was held at Urban Grinders which is part coffee shop, part art gallery, 100% cool. It was the perfect place to hold the event, which included an amazing Blogger panel, swag bag for each attendee and great networking. Check out photos from the meetup here.

Photo Credit:Triad Women Bloggers Network

According to my daughter, aka #outandaboutAva, I missed all the fun at The Greensboro Children’s Museum.

Having a 5 yr old means that you first realized that there are actual museums devoted to just children, What a concept !!

Having visited other kids museum, this one turned to be pretty unique. Besides the usual pretend Post office and Dentist office , this museum has an extensive outdoors area dedicated to agriculture, vegetation and even a tractor and a hen house. Science and hands on arts and crafts made this museum a fun and a learning experience. Centrally located downtown , this is a can’t miss for families with the under 10 set.

We met up for lunch at The Table on Elm, located in Downtown Greensboro . I will be sharing an in depth review of this restaurant as my #FoodieFriday feature this week, so stay tuned! I will say that this place is a must try and I am still dreaming of their desserts. It’s the perfect grab and go eatery to get lunch, and walk to one of the 2 nearby parks.

LeBauer Park and Center City Park are both adjacent to each other

City Center Park is a stylish park with beautiful walkways sprinkled with public art pieces that sometimes are actually benches ! They have an attractive amphitheater where free concerts and events are held all summer long.

Lebauer Park is a new urban park/playground area we had heard so many positive things about. It takes up a few acres of prime real estate downtown so it did not disappoint. What makes this place great is the plethora of activities that can be had at one time in a clean and modern park setting. Ping Pong tables, badminton, miniature golf..ALL of the equipment right there for the public to use at their leisure. I have not seen anything like this here in the states before. Other places would charge for these facility perks but here it all for free. They have a lot of tables on the perimeters where coupes and families were enjoying their lunches whilst their kids romped around. It was very pleasant and even though there was a crowd there on a Saturday afternoon, it never felt crowded. A must see for any visitor to the Gate City of Greensboro.

#soTravelSavvy tip: Get off the beaten path when visiting a new city. You never know what you may find. We saw so many beautiful murals while doing so!

SUNDAY
No Family Travel to Greensboro would be complete without a visit to the Greensboro Science Center.

This attraction has a trifecta of activities. The aquarium, Science museum and the outdoor zoo. We spent the entire morning here looking at snakes and sharks and tigers ! The layout is logically set up so guests meander throughout the indoor sections that eventually lead them to the outdoor zoo and Skywild zipline/elevated walkway attraction. We so enjoyed every part of this complex. The interactive science experiments were so much fun. The zoo had Gibbons and of course that big Bengal Tiger.The petting zoo was an awesome part also that my little one enjoyed. The whole complex is just a wonderful concept.Here is a video roundup of our day at the Greensboro Science Center. Enjoy!

#soNCsavvy Tip: Don’t leave Greensboro without learning more about the role this NC city played in the Civils Right Movement, Black History and American History.

Although it was our first visit to Greensboro , it won’t be our last as it is a quick road trip away. Tell me, have you been to the Gate City of Greensboro and explored all they have to offer ? If not, what are you waiting for?! If so, share your experience below….as seen here at The Greensboro Science Center, we’re all ears! 

#FoodieFriday Spotlight on #CLTFood | Where to Eat & More #Charlotte #CLT #charlottesgotalot 

Note: This post was sponsored in part by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. All opinions and photos are my own.

To celebrate the end of 2016, my family and I went on a road trip down to Charlotte, NC. Besides all the great cultural and sports attractions that North Carolina’s biggest city encompasses, I was there for a more basic reason: to eat !  Charlotte has quite the cuisine scene and this foodie was focused on eating like a Queen in the Queen City! 

American Girl Dining SouthPark Mall

First, I made plans to have lunch with my little princess and her favorite doll at the bistro inside the American Girl Store at SouthPark Mall. It was quite a unique experience, which you can read my full review here. Not only was it a fun time, but the kid friendly menu had tasty options for us adults too. A reservation is definitely necessary as this place is popular. Be sure to end your meal on a sweet note and order dessert. They’ll even bring a cupcake out for your child to decorate for their doll to enjoy!

Dinner at Sea Level NC  

Since it was NYE, an early dinner in Uptown was the perfect choice. I love fresh seafood and Sea Level NC delivered just that! Service was friendly and professional. Never underestimate how important southern hospitality is to a restaurant experience.Their decor is modern and understated stylish. Lots of exposed brick and wood. 

They have a incredible farm to fork raw oyster menu sourced from North Carolina and all over the country. It changes constantly depending on the season and what’s available. All fresh and delectable. 

Ooh baby I like it raw..in my ODB voice..lol, but if you dont’t and prefer something steamed, try the mussels. Plump and tasty. Mussel rule #108 don’t forget to use the bread for sopping up the mussel broth made with white wine and garlic butter !

Wash them down with a beer or glass of wine from their extensive drink menu or a  order craft cocktail called Melting NY Sour. It was what my husband called a “man’s drink”.

Their daily seafood catches and delicious dishes, like their classic Lobster roll make this restaurant a must try for visitors and locals. Huge hunks of lobster on greens and a remoulade sauce on a lightly toasted bread was fantastic. They let the lobster just be lobster. Why mess with perfection?!

Midwood Smokehouse Ballantyne

Midwood Smokehouse has quickly become a BBQ institution in Charlotte. We had the pleasure of dining at their Ballyntyne location in Charlotte on New Years Day for dinner. North Carolina and Charlotte in general have a lot of BBQ restauarants, but when restaurateur Frank Scibelli toured barbeque joints in Texas, he picked up invaluable tips.For starters, they burn hickory logs 24 hours a day to smoke their meats in a one of a kind ,old school manual commercial smoker. The general manager was kind enough to give me a tour of the kitchen where all the magic happens. Someone has to feed the smoker constantly to keep the fire going and maintain a even temperature in the smoker at all times. That takes a lot of work . More art than science and it shows in their food.We started with some smoked wings. Dry on the outside but moist and flavorful inside. 

I had a new years special that is not normally on their menu. Pork shoulder, collard greens, black eyed peas and jalapeno cornbread. This is traditional meal to be eaten for good luck to start 2017. They should start a tradition and keep this entree on the menu! It’s was that good.

One side dish you can always find on the menu is the mac and cheese. I do not know what cheeses were used but there was plenty of it throughout ! I have no doubt this was made with love.

Service was prompt, informative and friendly. The manager demanded we try some brisket before we departed , so we managed to try a few bites. WOW ! tender, tasty and perfect mix of lean and fat.Midwood is now our “GO TO ” spot when we are in Charlotte and craving REAL BBQ . Take it from their mascot, the Notorious P.I.G ..they smoke the good stuff!

After a great dinner, we headed back to our hotel at Homewood Suites by Hilton in Ballantyne. It is conveniently close (within walking distance) to the restaurant and a great choice of lodging when staying in Charlotte. Check out my video to see why : https://youtu.be/YqoCw2QHhuk

Holidays on Ice at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza

Although it rained most of our visit, on our last day, I got to work off some of that good eating by ice skating. Located outside the
Nascar Hall Of Fame, Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink is perfect for families, date nights or fun outings with friends. 

None of us had ever been ice skating before so this was an exciting family first! Skates on.Stand up. Let’s skate. If it was only that easy !! Luckily a few kind teenagers helped us onto the ice. We all held on to the bannister and laughed alot. Holiday on Ice is definitely a holiday tradition that both skaters and non-skaters can enjoy. Afterwards, we celebrated by having our picture taken with the giant polar bear and next to a NASCAR sign of course!

Thank you to our friends at Homewood Suites by Hilton Charlotte Ballantyne, American Girl brand and a very special thanks to the CRVA for the warm welcome to Charlotte! We made great memories, discovered amazing places to dine, learned that the Queen City is a haven for foodies and that Charlotte’s got a lot.

#TravelTuesday Where to Go: @BaltimoreMD – My 5 Fave #InnerHarbor Spots #FamilyTravel

Baltimore is one of our favorite cities to visit as a family.

Why ?

It’s a great place that ends up pleasing almost everyone who has ever visited there. Waterfront fun, world class restaurants and attractions play a big part in it’s charm

Our recent visit centered around the Inner Harbor and all it has to offer.

Baltimore‘s Inner Harbor

Here are my 5 favorite places to stay~eat~play with my family while visiting downtown Baltimore: 

Hyatt Place Baltimore Inner Harbor East 

The Hyatt Place Hotel was our base camp for our stay. Located in the trendy Harbor East area, Hyatt Place is situated perfectly to access all the Inner Harbor has to offer. Superb bedding, modern and chic style are everywhere, but it is their superior customer service and local knowledge that sets them apart from other choices. Their breakfast is awesome and they have a great room service menu to boot!

To see a more in depth hotel review, read here.

National Aquarium

My little one LOVES fish and all things in the ocean so The National Aquarium was a easy choice.

Within walking distance from Hyatt Place you will find one of the world’s greatest aquariums. Opened in 1981, this structure houses an impressive array of fish, shark and coral reef species. It’s open design allowed us to view all sorts of sea animals while at different levels of the building. Rays and sharks. Jellyfish and giant groupers. My daughter just LOVED the Dolphin tank. They have many interactive kid sized exhbits. She even put on a puppet show ! Most of their viewing windows are low enough for her to see at eye level. The rain forest was simply amazing. I don’t want to give away too much, but let’s just say keep looking carefully in the trees and you will be surprised

Phillips Seafood

Blue Crabs are THE quintessential Baltimore summer food so what better place to go then Phillips Seafood Restaurant.

Walking distance from the Aquarium sits world renowned Phillips. They have an over water crab deck open for diners in the summer, so we indulged in crabs and shrimp right over the water. My daughter loved seeing the ducks swim by to say hello. Their kids menu is much more varied than most places. They had everything from grilled salmon to clam strips. Stellar service matched the laid back cuisine.It lived up to it’s iconic reputation.

We recently did a “Tasty Thursday” feature of this restaurant , as seen here. Check out this photo slideshow of some of the deliciousness we enjoyed on the crab deck at Phillips Seafood Baltimore!

Baltimore Water Taxi

We also wanted to get ON the water and there’s no better way than to buy a daily ticket on The Water Taxi. For just $14 you have on and off rights all day long. The Water Taxi stops at various popular destinations throughout the Inner Harbor area. We embarked at Fells Point and went on a short cruise to Fort Mchenry.

*Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine 

Fort Mchenry was the decisive battle that decided the War Of 1812. That battle inspired our national anthem. We toured the grounds and the cannons. You could still feel the weight of history here. We also witnessed some folks in historic dress telling visitors about the rich history of the Fort.

We caught the Water Taxi back to Fells Point to transfer on another boat. The warm breeze on the ride was a welcome relief from the summer heat ! Next stop was for Harborplace on the west side of the harbor. Besides being a major restaurant and shopping destination, Harborplace also has some entertaining attractions.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Baltimore

Located in the HarborPlace, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium Baltimore was a fun and fascinating entertainment spot. It is Filled with artifacts and interactive exhibits. My little one spent extra time in their kaleidescope dancing mirror area ! Hubby tried to measure up to tthe world’s tallest man !

After some window shopping off we went again on the Water Taxi back to Fells Point. An easy walk back from there back to the Hyatt Place for some well needed rest. Baltimore is a great place with so much to do. Until next time

Go to Baltimore.org and discover more about the exciting things you can only see and experience in “Charm City”. We love the Inner Harbor and hope you get a chance to visit some of our faves !

BTW…Baltimore has had a rough last year and seems to be bouncing back . This T-Shirt just exemplifies how I feel about this port City. Hope you feel the same way too https://www.amazon.com/Idakoos-Baltimore-Cities-Sleeve-T-Shirt/dp/B01KOUL45U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1471824436&sr=8-2&keywords=keep+calm+and+love+baltimore

#TravelTuesday Recap ~ #43HoursInVegas with #SobeSavvy ! #LasVegas #Travel @LiquorLibraryLV

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I celebrated my 43rd birthday this past weekend in Las Vegas. We only had 43 hrs on the ground so we wanted to hit the ground running. Vegas basically invented the word “party”, so after an almost 5 hour flight we landed at noon. We were ready to get the party started and guess what? We didn’t even have to leave the airport to get a bottle of something for the room. We stopped at the Liquor Library. What is the Liquor Library you say ? Liquor Library is the nation’s ONLY in baggage claim, non-duty free liquor store.http://liquorlibrarylv.com/

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Everywhere else in this nation you must have a international ticket to buy liquor at duty free airport location.

Lucky us ! Liquor Library usually has daily tastings and this day Hennesey was being sampled. The gracious hostess treated us to a few mini cocktails. The party has started ! One of the managers gave us a tour of their expansive offerings.

Everything familiar and a lot of choices that are rather unique in nature. The Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary authorized bottle of Crystal Head Vodka that comes with a 2 cd set along with a actual mini crystal skull head. Try finding that at your corner liquor store !! Or how about a bottle Louis XIII cognac that will set you back more than a few Thousand dollars !!

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Mind you they still have all your favorite tried and true libations. Vast wine and Champagne choices are also on the shelf or cold in their fridge to get your stay in sin city off to a festive start.

So the remember, right after luggage pick up , stroll over and add a few bottles to your bags prior to that cab ride to your hotel. Avoid the high prices on the strip and get stocked right at the airport.

So off we went to check in our suite at the stylish low key{by Las Vegas Standards} Delano Hotel. https://www.delanolasvegas.com/en.html

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It is part and parcel of the Mandalay Bay complex but it operates totally separate from it’s more well known parent hotel. Quiet boutique luxury made our stay there quite nice. Roomy modern suite and 1 1/2 bathrooms were a great surprise. After check in we hit their pool for exclusive use of Delano guests only. That cut down on the kid chaos that takes over the main Mandalay pool complex. Relaxed and had a “few” drinks poolside. Very nice.

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After a quick party nap we went to happy hour at RM Seafood. They have a seafood/sushi happy hour between 3-6. We enjoyed freshly shucked oysters and lobster rolls to go with specially prices glasses of wine.

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Afterwards it was off to THE show.

THE show would be Cirque Du Soleil’s MJ ONE tribute to the king of pop. Needless to say it was mythical and magical, just like Jackson himself.

We ended our first day in Vegas at The Foundation Room Lounge/Restaurant located on the roof of the Mandalay bay. View of the entire strip and beyond was priceless.

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Jet lag hit and our Delano suite was calling us so we called it a night.

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Next morning we gloriously slept in. We decided to spend the early afternoon at Daylight Beach Club for their infamous weekend pool party. It was exactly as wild and fun as a pool party in Vegas could be!

Later on we did the High Roller Ferris Wheel at Linq Hotel. It is a huge new landmark on the strip. We had a pod with a full open bar for the entire 30 minute ride. The drinks and the stellar view were a very good combination. The ferris wheel units were airconditioned so we could just look at the 108 degree day instead of feeling it !!

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We relaxed back at the Delano and decided to get take out at House Of Blues to enjoy back at the suite. 7am flight back home. 43 hours of fun, revelry and desert HEAT! Vegas never disappoints. The end.

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#TravelTuesday Tip: Visit #Atlanta #FamilyFun #Attractions & Save with @CityPass ! #CityPass

If you are planning to travel to Atlanta and want to have an amazing experience at some of the best attractions at a huge savings, get a CityPASS. For more than 15 years, CityPASS has been the premier product for savvy travelers who want to visit a destination’s most popular sights while enjoying significant discounts.

You can save 43% on 5 Admission tickets to all the iconic spots Atlanta has to offer. That is such a great deal that we here at SobeSavvy.com couldn’t wait to share with you how easy it was to use and how much fun we had using Atlanta CityPass for the following attractions: 

Fernbank Museum of Natural History-Here is where our journey with CityPass began.I simply showed an email voucher along with my ID and received the CityPASS booklet with tickets to attractions, insider tips and information as well as a map and coupons. We chose this attraction because I knew our almost 5 year old would enjoy the exhibits here that cover the world’s largest dinosaurs, nature, natural history and more! Our CityPass also included ticket to see an IMAX film (which is not included with a regular admission ticket). That was a pleasant surprise savings bonus! It’s located just minutes from Midtown and offers free parking. Be sure to check out FernbankMuseum.org/Summer to see what upcoming daily activities and Family Fun events they have for you and your family to enjoy! Here are some pictures from our fun-filled morning at the museum!

Zoo Atlanta – We headed here in the afternoon for some family fun with the little one who enjoys learning about animals! There are over 1500 animals here but we could not wait to see Bamboo Besties Mei Lun & Mei Huan. Those two young giant pandas are so cute and playful.They are twin sisters and are the only twin pandas in the world! We checked out the petting zoo, the playground and thanks to CityPASS we did not have to pay extra for the train ride and carousel. A memorable moment was getting a chance to see the zookeeper feed the elephants and learning about their conservation. Enjoy these photos from our animal adventures at Zoo Atlanta!

Georgia Aquarium –  We got expedited entry thanks to CityPASS (Who doesn’t like feeling like VIP?! ) into one of Atlanta’s most famous attractions. This massive aquarium and its 6 unique galleries is a must-see for its spectacular aquatic sights from sea lions at Sun Trust Pier 225, giant whale sharks, manta rays,beluga whales and dolphins! 

Georgia Aquarium invites all to come and see more aquatic life than any aquarium in North America ! Take a look at a few pics from our “Funbelivable” experience:

The CityPASS is valid for 9 days after first use but we were only in Atlanta for a brief 48 hours and only got to 3 out of 5 places on our to do list of attractions. Reduced admission is also available for World of Coca-Cola, Inside CNN Studio Tour, Center for Civil and Human Rights(instead of Zoo Atlanta) and College Football Hall of Fame (instead of Fernbank Museum).

There is so much family fun to be had there, just let CityPASS be your guide! 

#TravelTuesday~A #Daycation in @WilmingtoNCoast #FamilyTravel #WilmingtonNC #WrightsvilleBeach

Summertime and the living is easy..especially if you have a coastal city/beach destination within road trip reach!  Our family headed up 40 east and in 2 hours we were at our destination:  Wilmington, NC & Beaches

With our little girl in tow, we planned a ‘Sunday Funday’ that included a city tour, a fun children’s museum to explore, good eats galore and playtime by the shore!  This was our first visit to this charming Southern city but definitely will not be our last. They have a variety of activities suitable for everyone ! Discover below just how fun our Daycation in Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach was.

Where to Go/What to Eat: Wilmington
Before you get started in any city, I think it is travel savvy to get visitor information. Located at the foot of Market Street, the RiverFront Visitor Information Booth was our first stop. They are open daily..how convenient!  The welcoming staff gave us great tourist tools for our visit and even snapped a family photo to celebrate the start of our Wilmington adventure! 

Before exploring the historic streets of Downtown Wilmington, voted the #1 “Best Al Fresco Dining Neighborhood” by USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards,  we decided to grab a bite. And since it was Sunday, I said, “Let’s do Brunch” !  The Pilot House, a waterfront restaurant with scenic views of Cape Fear River, is known for its steak/seafood selections and for having the only bar that faces the river. Our daughter enjoyed the kids menu choice of grilled shrimp and fresh fruit , while the seafood lover in me had to have the chargrilled oysters topped with lump crab meat! It was amazing! I also had a half sized ceasar salad with shrimp. My husband enjoyed the French Toast from the a la carte Sunday Brunch menu.If you are foodies like us you must try a dining experience at The Pilot House. 

Next we went sightseeing in Wilmingron’s National Register Historic District via a Horse-Drawn Trolley Tour. Dan, our costumed driver, was a funny yet informative tour guide who took us on an unique adventure. We learned some of the rich history of the city and got to take in its beauty and Southern charm. We saw classic architecture, specialty shops, moss-draped live oaks, Wilmington’s historic houses, mansions and more! It’s also nice to know the horses are rescued horses and if you like, you have the option of taking a picture with the horses at the end of the tour. 


Having fun while learning is something our #outandaboutAva loves to do. So when we discovered that The Children’s Museum of Wilmington was located in downtown, we walked over for a family play date!  There were lots of hands-on exhibits and plenty of opportunities to stimulate our soon to be 5 year old imagination. Her favorite area was the Magnetic Minds Science Center, where she could explore and experiment.I had fun too letting my inner child run wild!

Where to Go/What to Eat: Wrightsville Beach
The beach is always recognized as the ultimate family vacation destination and Wilmington,NC has 31 miles of Island Beaches to choose from making it the #1 reason to visit!  We took the easy 20 minute drive from Wilmington across the scenic Intracoastal Waterway to visit Wrightsville Beach

Spacious and clean, this beach with it’s crystal blue waters was the backdrop for some relaxation and family fun in the sun!  Our little one enjoyed collecting shells and playing with her new Wilmington beach ball.We just happened to find parking near public access to the beach close to the newly renovated Crystal Pier. Here are few pics of memories made on the sandy shores of Wrightsville Beach !

A sunset dinner at Bluewater Waterfront Grill was the perfect way to end our day in this beautiful beach town. It is popular on Sundays as they have Live Music on their large patio, so we made sure to get there early. They have an outdoor bar and seating available or you can enjoy dining inside. This restaurant had quite a vibrant dining scene and good food to go with it! Whether you are going for sips and sites or having lunch/ dinner (I highly recommend the coconut shrimp and the filet mignon entree), make sure to get to Bluewater Waterfront Grill. 

It was National Tequila Day, so I made sure to order a margarita or two… on the rocks, no salt please !

Cheers to a wonderful daycation in Wilmington, NC!  I look forward to future visits and I’m already gathering a list for next time. And with Wrightsville Beach being such a short drive away, you can bet we’ll be back soon !  

* These are the latest postcards our daughter will add to her collection 🙂 Thanks for the memories Wilmington,NC !