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 | 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

#FamilyTravel | Where to Play, Eat, Stay for the Holidays in Charlotte, NC #CLT

Thanksgiving Weekend 2018 has ended but not without making memories in Charlotte,NC. Me and my #HeighPartyof3 drove 2.5 hours to kick off our holiday season in the Queen City and had such a great time! I wanted to share some of the highlights from our visit to inspire other families who may be traveling there soon. Check out my Family Travel Guide|Where to Play,Eat,Stay for the Holidays in Charlotte,NC.

PLAY

Discovery Place & IMAX| website

Discovery Place, located in Charlotte’s Uptown area, is a wonderful hands on learning complex about technology, nature and science. Spread out over 3 floors, families can spend the day here exploring and having fun. Watch an IMAX feature, Touch a Starfish, Create Art with a hot glue gun, and Dance while learning how the muscles move in your body! There is plenty to see and do like looking at our skin cells under a microscope, crossing a rope bridge in the rainforest, playing the secret scents game and so much more! Discovery Place lets kids of all ages experience learning thru play. It is a great way to spend a fun day! To see more, watch youtube video>>here.

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Visiting #Charlotte #NC for the holidays? Take the whole family to @discoveryplace and discover something new! Swipe 🔙 and get inspired to learn more of the wonders of science, technology and nature. Plus, check out my #instastories as we explore three floors of fun for everyone from interactive displays, a rainforest, an @imax 3D theater and more! We ❤ science and had a blast! Have you ever been to Discovery Place? What did you discover? . . . #SobeSavvy #lifestyleblogger #NCblogger #familyblogger #fun #familyfun #family #clt #discoveryplacescience #Heighpartyof3 #museum #outandaboutAva #science #stem #stemlearning #travelblogger #play #thingstodoinCharlotte #learningisfun #Ilovescience #girlmom #dadanddaughter #nature #technology

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Speedway Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway | website

Charlotte Speedway is the annual home to “Speedway Christmas”. Every year thousands and thousands of lights takeover the infield and stands at this iconic racing venue. We got a chance to actually drive on the racetrack which my husband loved! Tune in to their own radio station and listen to Christmas tunes as you take a slow drive for a few miles. We enjoyed partaking in the tradition of seeing the unique sights and creativity used for the dozens of displays. Guests can stop at their Christmas Village for snacks, rides and shopping. Speedway Christmas is a seasonal, holiday event held at Charlotte Speedway. So pack the family up in the car and have your chance to drive on the speedway to see holiday lights! Pay one price per vehicle and sit back, sing Christmas Carols and Enjoy! Take a look at my youtube video and enjoy some of light displays at Speedway Christmas!

SobeSavvy Tip: It is recommended that visitors come in early in the season as the lines tend to get longer the closer they get to Christmas. Also going on a Thursday or Sunday night is best as the Village is open and movies are shown on the Speedway TV. On Dec.9 bring 5 Food Lion brand non-perishable food items and get $10 off admission!

EAT

Piedmont Social House | website

Looking for a place that has great food, a tap room, games and a 12 lane bowling alley? Then head to Piedmont Social House, located in the popular Ayrsley neighborhood of Charlotte. It is a one stop destination for an afternoon or evening of food,drinks and fun! The atmosphere here is energetic and lively. It is a great spot for groups or a fun date night. There is something for everyone in the family. The service was good and so were their Chicken and Waffles! Just feast your eyes on it here:

SobeSavvy Tip: Now through December 31 they have a special Gift Card Promotion. Buy a $50 Gift Card and receive a $10 Bonus Card! Just ake a look at my photos featuring good food and good vibes from our dining experience at Piedmont Social House >>here and you’ll want to give or get a gift card to this restaurant!

THE COWFISH Sushi•Burger•Bar | website

With so many restaurant choices around Southpark Mall in Charlotte, it can be hard to find something that is actually different. One in particular that stands out from the rest is The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar. Creative cocktails, innovative sushi rolls and awesome burgers is what ypu can find here. My daughter loves their kids menu choices, which comes with a Cowfish tattoo! Service is excellent and if you can, save room for dessert. See more drool worthy photos from our visit >>here and be sure to dine at The Cowfish when visiting Charlotte.

American Girl Bistro | website

SPECIAL..MAGICAL..MEMORABLE, Those are three words I would use to describe our visit to the American Girl Store/ Bistro. On Sunday, my #Heighpartyof3 enjoyed ‘Holiday Tea’ and each other during this event. Our #outandaboutAva and Luciana got all dolled up in their matching red velvet dresses for the special occasion! It was so darling! Girls got to visit the hot chocolate bar, play with a paper doll craft and we all had a chance to eat savory bites/sweet treats. Check out more photos from the Holiday Tea event>>here to see some of the holiday memories we made at this special in-store experience. With all the attention to the little details for girls and their dolls, it was a visit our daughter will never forget!

SobeSavvy Tip: Save 25% on matching dresses for girls and dolls thru 12/24/18! Find something special to make their season memorable and magical at americangirl.com

STAY


Hampton Inn & Suites Charlotte/SouthPark at Phillips Place| website

The Hampton Inn & Suites was a wonderful place to stay during our Charlotte visit. It is located at The Phillips Place Shops area and is within walking distance to many restaurants and even has a Whole Foods next door. The immense Southpark mall is right down the street. It has a stately lobby and public areas. Large modern and stylish suites awaits visitors. I loved the built in TV vanity mirror feature of our suite. There is complimentary Valet Parking and of course the Hampton Inn breakfast gets you ready for another day tackling the Queen City. Make this your property of choice on your next visit to Charlotte!

Here is an inside look at the Hampton Inn & Suites Charlotte/ SouthPark at Phillips Place:

As you can see, Charlotte is one of those cities in North Carolina that no matter the length or purpose of your visit, there are so many options for families. You can play, eat, stay and have fun along the way!

Planning to visit Charlotte this season? Which one of these places would be on your list?

4 #Books To Make Holiday #FamilyTravel Easier + #ChildrensBook Giveaway

*Disclosure: This content uses some affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy for more info: here

Do you pack books for yourself or family when you travel? I do. No matter if it’s by plane, train or automobile each member of my #HeighPartyof3 will have some type of reading material or activity book. We are heading up to Charlotte, NC for Thanksgiving weekend and I have already started packing up what books my daughter will read on the roadtrip and keep her entertained during our hotel stay. Sure she has a tablet and my husband has his kindle, but there is still something special about having and holding a book. Here are 4 Books To Make Holiday Family Travel Easier:
Football Freddie and Fumble Dog by Marnie Schneider, Goldie Grace, Illustrated by D.Moore

Description: Football Freddie and Gameday in the Carolinas is a book that follows Football Freddie, a football loving girl who also loves to learn, as she travels around the Carolinas taking in the sights, ending her trip at a Carolina Panthers game in Charlotte.

This book is beautifully illustratrated and includes dome fun facts about the Carolinas and even some Charlotte stops, which is right on time since we will be visiting there in a few days! Our daughter is including this book in her #outandaboutAvareads series to enjoy along the way.

*Available at Amazon.com >here
Color My Washington DC by Elina Diaz

Description: Color Washington, D.C., the way you want to see it… Color your journey through the capital of the United States. Color elaborately hand drawn pen and ink illustrations of some of the most iconic destinations in the District—from to the White House, down through the National Mall and across to the Washington Monument, enjoy all the treasures this city has to offer. Each page contains facts about the District of Columbia, so regardless if you’re a Democrat or a Republican or a first time visitor to Capitol Hill, you’ll have your own relaxing coloring experience for years to come.

I am from the DMV area and enjoy traveling back to DC to see family, friends and share our #soDMVsavvy highlights. With this book, I get to learn more about the city while coloring. When my daughter pulls out her coloring books in the hotel, this is the one I will use!

*Purchase at Amazon.com >here

48 hours in North American Cities

Description: 48 Hours In…North American Cities | How to Enjoy the Perfect Short Break in 20 Great Destinations By Simon Calder

Every Saturday in The Independent’s award-winning Traveller section, our “48 hours” stories explore new and exciting city-break itineraries. Now, 25 years after the series was first launched, we’ve produced this special, designed to help you get the most from a visit to a selection of 20 key North American cities. Among them, you can choose from New York’s dizzying nightlife, the rollercoaster thrills of Orlando, the Hollywood glitter of Los Angeles or Vancouver’s great outdoors. We’ve also included a range of accommodation options to suit your budget.

We love weekend getaways! While my husband and I both have a background in working in a Travel agency (it’s how we met actually), we still like referring to books on what to do in certain cities. Our family just came back from a 3 Day Vacation in Orlando and this book gave us some ideas outside of the Disney box!

*Get your copy on Amazon.com>here

BigFoot Fun Book!: Puzzles,Coloring Pages, Fun Facts! by D.L.Miller

Description: The idea of the book brainchild of Pennsylvania artist D.L. Miller, was to marry fun activities along with learning. “Children have the opportunity to have fun while learning about the world around them with BigFoot,” says Miller.

The activity book is a treasure trove of engaging activities such as mazes, word search games, dot-to-dot pictures, coloring, and of course his classic seek-and-find activities. As with his other BigFoot books, the activity book is intended to help children learn about the world in an engaging and exciting way. As an added bonus, the book also includes animal stickers.

This book, which is recommended for children ages 5-12 years old, grade level:4-6 , is 136 pages of fun for my 7 yr old 2nd grader. The variety of educational, fun and interactive activities is why we parents love this book for our daughter. It keeps her engaged and gives a good balance between playing with apps on the tablet doing an activity in a book. She enjoys the Bigfoot seek and find series, which you can find out more information at IFoundBigFoot.com

*Available at Amazon.com >here

SobeSavvy Tip: Enter my #SobeSavvyGiveaway to recieve a copy of the BigFoot Fun Book!: Puzzles, Coloring Pages, Fun Facts for a child in your life! Comment below in blog comments with ” I Found BigFoot” to enter. One winner will be selected randomnly. Contest ends Monday, Nov 26, 2018 at noon. Additional entry if you comment in this IG post also ⤵

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Orlando 3 Day Vacation- Day 2|Enjoy #FamilyFun at @SEALIFEOrlando @TussaudsOrlando

After a fun filled DAY 1 in Orlando at LEGOLAND and a good dinner/rest at Embassy Suites, it was time to get my #HeighPartyof3 crew ready for DAY 2. When we travel as a family, we love attractions that are located all under one roof. Saves time and just makes traveling with a young child more manageable. Within walking distance from our hotel was the ICON Orlando 360, which has 3 awesome attractions in one complex! Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and the huge observation wheel, ICON Orlando are all located at this outdoor entertainment complex. We could actually see the 400 ft tall wheel from our hotel balcony!

Just seeing the ICON Orlando from our hotel room had us ready to explore!

Located on International Drive, ICON Orlando 360 is also home to numerous restaurants and shops in the immediate vicinity. Although we walked there, parking is free inside the garage. It was a great idea to spend our #SundayFunday there and check out the following attractions during our visit:

SEALIFE Orlando Aquarium

SEA LIFE is a unique aquatic attraction in Orlando, Fl. Their mission statement includes their goal to “Rescue, Breed and Protect“. They take in injured sea animals and nurse them back to health to be released if possible. If not, they care for them or find a suitable home at other facilities.

This aquarium is what I like to call “friendly size”. Not too large or two small. Most viewing areas are made into “immersive” experiences. For example, plexiglass is built INWARDS into the tanks where guests can literally almost feel like they are in the water with them. SEA LIFE also has periscope type viewing areas where you crawl under and pop your head up into the middle of the tanks. That was so much fun to do!

Seahorses, Sea Turtles, Sharks..oh my! There was so much to see, discover and learn. Did you know that turtles can live for 50 years or more and take an average of 30 years to reach maturity? Being able to see one up close was amazing! My daughter’s favorite thing was being able to touch a starfish.

I really appreciated reading the educational notes that were found throughout the aquarium. All the major oceans and the Florida Everglades had their own dedicated areas highlighting the sea life in those specific places. We learned about simple ways in which we all can get involved in protecting out oceans. SEA LIFE raises awareness and supports their partner charities in their efforts to protect marine wildlife and habitats across the world. For more info, visit sealifetrust.org.

Watch video of our visit to SEALIFE here:

WHERE TO EAT | We took a meal break between attractions. Lucky for us, both SEA LIFE and Madame Tussauds are just steps away from many restaurant choices. We decided to stroll across the lawn and dine outside on the patio at Uncle Julio’s Mexican.

My family loves mexican food and had our fingers crossed that this was a good decision. BOY WAS IT! Great service, great food and great atmosphere. They make their tortillas on the premise. You can order fresh guacamole tableside. The chips and salsa are homemade. We ordered fajitas and everything was so flavorful,fresh and tasty!

SobeSavvy Tip: Save room for their signature dessert..a chocolate lovers pinata! It is unique and so good. Check it out⤵️

MADAME TUSSAUDS Orlando

Madame Tussauds wax figures are known around the world. My family and I have been to quite a few of their museums. There is always something/someone new to see so we loved getting a chance to go to their location at ICON Orlando 360. Since we are in Florida, welcoming us was Mr. 305 himself, Pitbull!

The figures are so life like that you will want to take a #MTSelfie with these famous entertainers, politicians and heros in the flesh! My daughter got a kick out of posing with her favorite stars like Serena Williams, Taylor Swift, and Michael Jackson.

My husband enjoyed challenging sporting legends like Tiger Woods, Shaq and Ali.

Madame Tussauds Orlando has a new “Heroes Unite” section featuring some of the most popular Justice League characters. We loved Wonder Woman and Batman. All 3 of us had a chance to join Superman and actually “lift” a helicopter from crashing!

We accepted the fun challenge of taking the #BestSelfieEver with President Obama, MLK, Beyonce and even danced with Justin Beiber before exiting this wonderful museum. Adults love it, kids love it, EVERYONE loves Madame Tussauds! Here’s an inside look from our visit to this must see attraction⤵️

After a full day at ICON Orlando 360, we walked back to the hotel where our daughter enjoyed both the indoor/outdoor pool before going to our 5:30p dinner reservation. More about our Orlando Day 2, part 2 coming soon!

Thanks to SEA LIFE Orlando and Madame Tussauds Orlando for providing complimentary tickets to review both attractions and share my honest opinion with you.

#FamilyTravel – Plan to Visit DC? Here’s Where To Stay @EmbassySuites Old Town, Alexandria VA

For Labor Day Weekend my #HeighPartyof3 decided to make a last minute trip to the DMV [which I just shared with a Texas native that it stands for DC, MD, VA in case you did not know]. We have family and friends in this area but needed to decide where to stay for this long holiday weekend. Hmmm…Baltimore, DC proper or Northern VA? For this trip Northern VA would win out. Specifically Alexandria, Virgina at the Embassy Suites in Old Town Alexandria.

Alexandria, VA is a charming town known for its history, tree lined streets, restaurants and a bit of a small town feel in the middle of a booming cosmopolitan metro area. It is also just six miles from DC making it the perfect place to stay when you want to have a fun, family getaway near our nation’s capital.

Embassy Suites in Old Town Alexandria hosted us for one night of our trip this weekend which gave us an opportunity to explore a city we never been to before. Located near the old town section of Alexandria, this hotel is large but never feels overwhelming. Across the street from the King Street Metro station makes this property even more attractive to visitors who have easy access the to District and beyond. Embassy Suites brand is famous for it’s spacious 2 full room suites, it’s cooked to order breakfast and complimentary happy hour.

This hotel property does not disappoint in any of these areas. Newly renovated suites have plenty of room for couples and families alike. Our little one loves having a comfy sofa bed {and flat screen tv} all to herself as we wind down after a day of hitting those Alexandria and DC streets! Hubby and I love getting a handmade cocktail and snacks at the bar everyday during our stay between 5:30-7:30pm.

Each morning the first decision we had to make was cooked to order omelette or hand poured pancakes? Nothing better during a hotel stay than knowing breakfast is just waiting for you downstairs.

After breakfast, visitors can choose to spend their day enjoying the local area nearby or taking a short drive or metro ride into DC. So many places are within walking distance from the hotel. Whole Foods and Starbucks are nearby, dozens of restaurants and shopping choices await. You can even catch the free trolley across the street to drop you off at many of the wonderful destinations in Alexandria. Here is a look at our favorite features of this hotel that I shared in Instagram:

So the next time you are making plans to visit Washington, DC consider staying at Embassy Suites Old Town in Alexandria, VA and enjoy a 2-4-1 destination during your next trip!

EMBASSY SUITES

1900 DIAGONAL ROAD

ALEXANDRIA,VA 22314

A Family Guide to Happy Thrills at #Carowinds | #AmazingLooksLike @Carowinds #FamilyFun

Thanks to Carowinds for hosting SobeSavvy.com to a day of summer fun and “happy thrills”! Complimentary media passes were received in exchange for marketing purposes. Opinions and photos used in this review of my experience are 100% my own.

Recently my #HeighPartyof3 which consists of my husband, daughter and me, traveled from Raleigh,NC for a short 2.5 hour drive to Carowinds. This 400 acre amusement park, with 13 roller coasters, seven water rides and the new Camp Snoopy, was the perfect place to enjoy some end of summer fun and to celebrate #outandaboutAva turning 7 years old!

#outandaboutAva gets a birthday hug from Sally and Schroeder from Peanuts at Camp Snoopy in Carowinds

I asked my daughter to give me two words to describe our family fun day at Carowinds to which she replied: “Happy and Thrilling”. So from the mouth of babes, I present to you “A FAMILY GUIDE TO HAPPY THRILLS AT CAROWINDS”. While this was not our first visit as a family to the amusement park, this was our first time experiencing the Carolina Harbor Water Park, checking out the new County Fair rides and seeing what’s new at Camp Snoopy. I have some mom friends who have children 7 and under who have not visited Carowinds yet, so my hope is that they will read this and be inspired to go and learn from our family experience.

Arriving at CAROWINDS

Upon arrival the first decision to be made is where to park. One thing folks like to complain about is parking. Yes Carowinds is a huge park that has thousands of daily visitors. These visitors also need thousands of parking spots. Parking is plentiful and visitors have two parking choices , General and VIP. VIP sections tend to be closer to the entrance than general.

Entrance in the water park is also entrance into the main park. You can purchase all the same tickets and passes there that can be bought at the main entrance. It is also smart to start here if you want to purchase a cabana for the day because they usually sell out in the first hour or two also.
We started our day at the Water park first and then enjoyed the main park.
The order you choose needs to only make sense to you !

SobeSavvy Tip:

For this trip, we found that if you drive around to the Carolina Harbor Waterpark entrance in the first hour or two of opening parking spots can be found that do not require a long walk.

Waterpark Fun in the Sun at CAROLINA HARBOR

Nestled right between the two states of North and South Carolina is Carolina Harbor Waterpark at Carowinds. There are so many splash adventures to be had at this 27 acre waterpark, including Blackbeard’s Revenge, a six story water slide, two wave pools and a two-acre family area. We are water lovers and really enjoyed staying cool by the pool, soaking up sun and relaxing on the lazy river ride. It’s no wonder Carolina Harbor Waterpark was one of the top winners of USA TODAY “Best Outdoor Waterpark” because of it’s themed water rides and one of a kind attractions for all ages.

SobeSavvy Tip: Now that you know that Carolina Harbor is the coolest place to slide,splash,chill and dine (BTW…the pulled pork Carolina BBQ sandwich is so good!), you should definitely consider renting a cabana. Cabana Life is the way to go to have your own private shaded haven. It comes with a flat screen tv, a mini fridge with half of dozen cold waters waiting for you, a table with 4 chairs, 2 lounge chairs, and menu service. It fits up to six people. So if you come with another small family, you can split the costs!

Love, Peace and Water Tubes at Tidal Wave Bay | Carolina Harbor

Happy Days Are Here Again at the COUNTY FAIR

The all-new County Fair themed area features 3 acres of timeless fun for all ages. There are 4 retro rides like the Zephyr swing ride, go round in a circular motion while enjoying music and spectacular lighting on the Rock ‘N’ Roller, flip upside down 63 ft above the ground on the Electro-Spin and don’t miss the twists and turns of Do-Si-Do, which glides guests up, down and around on three giant arms!

SobeSavvy Tip: Save room for some traditional fair food to eat! Here is wherr you can find hot dogs, cotton candy and my favorite..funnel cake!

Go back in time to 1959 County Fair and ride the Do-Si-Do Ride

Enjoy Kid Sized Thrills at the New CAMP SNOOPY

The former kids’ area known as Planet Snoopy has been completely transformed to the newly expanded Camp Snoopy, which includes six new attractions, a new wilderness theme and parent-friendly enhancements. There were lots of fun photo ops especially for fans of The PEANUTS and you may even get a chance to see your favorite characters. There is so much for young children to see and do here and great memories to be made at Camp Snoopy!

SobeSavvy Tip: Ride the Woodstock Express rollercoaster and choose a FunPix souvenir photo to take home. FunPix is a way to capture and share your memories of Carowinds with unlimited digital photo downloads! Its just one of the many great amenities at Carowinds.

This photo magnet of my daughter with her Dad on her first roller coaster ride at Carowinds is priceless!

Be sure to download the Carowinds mobile app from the App Store or Google Play and Follow Carowinds on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or head to Carowinds.com for more information.

Check out more ‘happy and thrilling’ moments at #Carowinds, plus WATCH my video recap of our family fun experience here ⤵️

What “Happy Thrills” did you experience this summer? Have you ever been to Carowinds? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!

#HeighPartyof3 at Carowinds Aug. ’18

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