#FamilyTravel | 2 Day Itinerary of Kid-Friendly Family Fun In Key West, Florida

2 Day Itinerary of Kid-Friendly Family Fun In Key West, Florida | SobeSavvy.com

The Continental United States literally runs out of land at Key West. Mile Marker Zero. The End. Perhaps that kind of geographic location is why this tiny island paradise has an anything goes attitude in a good way. Pirates, rum runners and those seeking to disappear off the grid have always called this 4×2 mile spot of land home. Today however, Key West has become a special destination for those seeking flip flop casual luxury, watersport fun, bars, restaurants or nature lovers.

I was there with family and friends celebrating my birthday, which we kicked off in Miami. (ICYMI..check out my previous blog post featuring My Top 5 Miami Family Vacation Must Do’s.) Living in Miami for 18 years allowed me countless visits to Key West but it had been over 7 years since my last visit here. So much has changed and thankfully much has stayed the same. Before going, I highly recommend the following websites to help build your itinerary: https://fla-keys.com/key-west/ & https://keywestattractions.org/ & https://www.historictours.com/keywest/

If you didn’t take a photo of a rooster while in Key West, were you really there?!

Day One

The 3 to 4 hour drive down from mainland Miami is part of the fun. US1 South aka Overseas Highway is a gem. Shimmering Atlantic Ocean on one side and the famed Gulf Of Mexico opposite is amazing. Most of the drive is just one lane each way and that forces you to slow down and enjoy the simplicity of it all. The seven mile bridge is one of the most unique experiences anywhere in the world! Upon arrival at our hotel, we dropped of our bags, grabbed a drink by the pool and hit those iconic Key West Streets.

We enjoyed a comfortable 2 night stay at the Hampton Inn Key West on Roosevelt Blvd.

Since this day was my actual birthday, I thought why not do one of the signature Sunset Sails! My #HeighPartyof3 and 2 good friends took a 2 hour sunset sail with Sebago Watersports. Sebago offers a multitude of cruises, watersports and tours. Departing from The Historic Key West Seaport, this was truly a grand way to celebrate another trip around the sun! Open bar, delicious hors d’ouevres and live music set the festive atmosphere. The crew went out of their way to check on its passengers and we had a blast celebrating! We thanked Sebago Watersports for making a great memory for my family and friends.

Fantastic Sunset Sail Memories made while cruising with Sebago Watersports

SobeSavvy Tip: We enjoyed a great happy hour at Onlywood Grill prior to our sunset cruise. They are located right near the Historic Key West Harbor, so we simply walked over after happy hour in plenty of time to check in for the sunset cruise. If your kid loves pizza like ours, then definitely check out this spot!

Happy Hour deliciousness at Onlywood Grill

Day Two

We awoke to a brilliant sunrise and were ready to seize an entire Key West day. Aqua Yoga at the Southernmost Resort was a wonderful way to begin my day. I met up with my girlfriend and we enjoyed an hour of peace in their pool led by an awesome yoga instructor. How unique!

Namaste by the pool for Aqua Yoga in Key West!

While I enjoyed yoga, my husband and daughter went to The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. They had an amazing time seeing dozens of varieties of butterflies, flamingos and birds. It has a education room and also a delightful gift shop. It is a must do for visitors looking to enjoy something different and beautiful!

A visit to The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is a Family Fun MUST!

Afterwards, it was time to eat breakfast. Our favorite is Blue Heaven in Bahama Village. This iconic spot has been everything from a bordello to hosting boxing matches refereed by Ernest Hemingway! Luckily since 1992, it has been a restaurant which serves a great breakfast. As always my husband ordered the banana pancakes, I went with a lobster benedict and my now 10 yr old enjoyed a simple but yummy pancake. Resident roosters just make the atmosphere a classic Key West experience. Be sure to save room for their infamous Key Lime Pie!

Who has Key Lime Pie for breakfast?! We do at Blue Heaven

Afterwards, we all made our way to Harry Truman’s Little White House. President Truman spent 11 working vacations here, starting in 1946. He loved the warm winter climate and outdoor activities he could do here. The home still has many of the original furnishings and floorings. It was spacious and airy. Although not yet air conditioned, the design and famous Key West shutters made it bearable indoors during that time. One of his fully restored Presidential Limo’s is also on the property. A great place to tour and so informative. No photos are allowed inside for security reasons but you can purchase some cool souvenirs in the gift shop to remember your visit!

Take a historic tour of Florida’s only Presidential Museum at Harry S. Truman Little White House

If you want an educational overview of Key West, I highly recommend The Old Town Trolley Tour. They offer a 13 stop, Hop on-Hop Off daily tour, which conveniently included a stop at our hotel! We could hop off at a particular stop to explore and once done, simply go back to the trolley stop. This is an awesome way to see the island while leaving your car parked. It is also fully narrated by one of their expert conductors.

Enjoy sightseeing via an Old Town Trolley Tour and learn more about Key West!

Opened in 1934, the Key West Aquarium is a small gem that should not be overlooked. Located adjacent to Mallory Square, this aquarium was one of the first and largest open air aquariums in the nation. Alligators, sharks and a hands on touch tank are all here. Make sure you go for their outdoor tank feeding time. They narrate as you watch HUGE fish battle it out for their lunch being tossed in the water. Great fun for adults and kids alike.

We enjoyed our visit to the Key West Aquarium, an interactive Key West family attraction!

I hope our itinerary gives you some aid in planning your next family vacation to Key West. We can’t wait to return and when we do we will be utilizing the complimentary hospitality support services of OurKeyWest! We had the opportunity to meet Sarah and learned how they provide free concierge services with a locals perspective. We can’t wait to return to see what fun ways we can enjoy more of Key West!

Get your questions answered and find out how to live like a local from OurKeyWest Conceirge

SobeSavvy Tip: Make sure you stop at Bahia Honda State Park on your way back to the mainland. It is a natural wonder. Literally a real life snorkel aquarium in flat crystal clear water. Our daughter LOVED this place. We laid out a blanket and umbrella and frolicked. Perfect way to end our Florida Keys stay.

Fun in the sun at Bahia Honda State Park

We left Key West with fun family memories of sunsets, cruises and food. As always, we will be back!

👀WATCH my YOUTUBE video recap for more highlights from our family visit to Key West!

2 Day Itinerary of Kid-Friendly Family Fun In Key West, Florida

Featuring Key West attractions that are fun for the whole family!

My Top 5 Miami Beach Family Vacation Must Do’s

My TOP 5 Miami Beach Family Vacation Must Do’s

After a year and a half of staying close to home, we decided to take a well deserved vacation to our second home, Miami. We took a 2 hr direct flight from RDU to FLL via Delta Airlines, and before you know it, we were back in the sunshine state! Since moving away in 2015 (and my last solo trip in 2018>>read about that visit here.) much had changed but luckily alot stayed the same. We visited some of our favorite places in the 48 hours we were there before driving down to Key West (I’ll share more about that in my next blog post). Here are My Top 5 Miami Beach Family Vacation Must Do’s!

1. Stay at the Residence Inn Miami Beach South Beach

Location, Location is why we choose this hotel for our family stay whenever we visit Miami Beach. Besides being right across the street from one of my favorite stores, Trader Joe’s, you can walk (or utilize their free shuttle) to get to South Beach. A one bedroom suite suits my #HeighPartyof3 well as it includes a sofa bed in their spacious living room plus a kitchen. It’s also quiet because it is more on the local side of South Beach, so our stay at the Residence Inn Miami Beach South Beach has always been pretty relaxing.

My favorite feature at the hotel is the rooftop pool
Make sure to use your hotel amenities! I enjoyed taking a FREE yoga class offsite at Green Monkey Yoga

2. Explore the artsy side of Miami in Wynwood

Miami is known for many things: parties, beaches, latin food and culture. Miami in 2021 is also known for its street art scene. The Miami neighborhood of Wynwood is the center of this art scene. What started as grafitti artists tagging buildings has turned the area into a outdoor museum of murals, artist studios and unique eateries and shops. We spent a few fun hours there enjoying the scene and checked out an exhibit called the Womanish Experience, now showing thru August 29. See more about my experience here⤵️

Love street art and murals? There are so many Instagram worthy photo ops in Wynwood

3. Shop & Dine on Lincoln Road Mall

Living 5 blocks away, Lincoln Road was the backdrop of my daily life as a resident. It consists of almost a mile of restaurants, shops, a movie theater and more. There is even a church there in case you need a moment. We met up with a friend at Doraku, a restaurant known for it’s sushi/Asian cuisine. They have a great happy hour in a laid back stylish atmosphere. I suggest everyone spend time just strolling on Lincoln Road and see what catches your interest!

Lincoln Road Mall, a great place to shop, dine and spend some time. Check out Doraku for a great Happy Hour menu!

4. Get a relaxing spa treatment at exhale Spa

I learned that exhale Spa in Miami/South Beach offered Kiddie services and wanted to make an appointment for my daughter and I to have a mani/pedi date. However, because of my limited time, I decided to have a mommy break and enjoy a bit of self-care. The Power Facial was just what I needed to get my outer glow and inner glow aligned. Not only was it a relaxing treatment but the quality of the products used and service provided was stellar! See more about my lovely experience here ⤵️

Give the gift of wellness via a gift card or make a purchase at the boutique. For 15% percent off, follow exhale_southbeach on IG

5. Play in the sand and soak up the sun on South Beach

While I enjoy living in NC, I do miss the ability to walk 8 blocks to the ocean. We decided to frolick in the South Beach surf in the late afternoon. The ocean is bath water warm in August but still cooler than the air temps, so it was a relief from the heat! I did some daily yoga poses while hubby gave our 10 yr old piggyback rides in the water as the cruise ships went by. It was a beautiful day at the beach!

Spending some time on the South Beach sand is a great way to enjoy some family fun!

We enjoyed our 2 night stay in Miami Beach and being ex-locals made it easy. Seeing our friends and visiting old stomping grounds was a great start to our extended Florida stay. Next up… the Florida Keys and Key West! Stay tuned for more about our family fun in Key West coming soon on the blog, SobeSavvy.com!

We will always love Miami! Until next time😘

My Top 5 Miami Beach Family Vacation Must Do’s

Featuring My Favorite Places to Stay, Explore, Shop, Spa and Play

Spring Family Travel Guide | STAY, EAT, SHOP & PLAY in Fairfax, VA @MosaicDistrict @VisitFairfax

Did you and your family stay home or travel for Spring Break? Since the pandemic, many of us have not travelled. My family has not left the state of NC for the past year! But since our daughter is out of virtual home school for her spring break, it was the perfect time to plan for a quick getaway.

We took a road trip from Raleigh, NC to Fairfax, VA. It took us approximately 4 hours and was an easy drive especially since we arrived on a Wednesday. The staff greeted us warmly at check in and we were ready for our mini family vacay to begin!

STAY | Hyatt House Falls Church /Merrifield

Looking to visit Fairfax,VA soon? My #HeighPartyof3 enjoyed a two night stay at Hyatt House Falls Church. It was comfortable, clean and convenient to everything in the Mosaic District.

I would recommend this property because of all of it’s wonderful offerings like:
• SPACIOUS one bedroom suites with full kitchen (upgrade to a room with a balcony!)
• FREE grab n go breakfast • AMENITIES: fitness center
• ACCESS to all of the Mosaic District’s shops, restaurants, services and more right outside of the hotel doors!

SobeSavvy Tip: 👀 WATCH this YouTube video for a tour of the hotel room and more!

EAT | bartaco & more!

We loved having so many dining options withing walking distance of the hotel. In fact, one of the reasons we chose the Mosaic District was to be near one of our favorite restaurants: bartaco! With their new/ improved app, ordering online for pickup or delivery was so easy and convenient. We ordered all our fave scratch made tacos and sides and even got their ‘reviver’ cocktail to go! We also tried the 🆕 #bartacosecret taco: chile-lime shrimp taco,which launched on 4/1 and available through 5/5. It’s the perfect combo of spicy + tangy! With plenty of space in our hotel to dine in our room, we were able to enjoy #bartacoathome away from home!

SobeSavvy Tip: If pizza is your kiddos love language, then deliciousness awaits! Our daughter, #outandaboutAva enjoyed cheese pizza for dinner from Oath Pizza & a chicken pesto pizza for lunch at Matchbox, located in the Mosaic District! I think it is safe to say, you will be in pizza heaven when you visit here!

SHOP | Mosaic District

The Mosaic District is described as an urban district with curated boutiques, restaurants and Angelika Film Center. For us, it was a one stop shopping district, where we could enjoy a short vacay with so many conveniences near our hotel stay! From Target, to boutiques & everything in between, there are plenty of places to shop in the Mosaic District.

SobeSavvy Tip: If you are looking for quality body/skincare, shop LATHER! Their products are natural & smell amazing! The perfect selfcare treat while on vacation!

PLAY | Muse Paint Bar & more !

When we checked in on our first night, I encouraged my husband to do something he has never done before ( attend a sip/paint by himself )! Muse Paintbar was the perfect place for him to sip wine, paint, play and enjoy some alone time because parents need a Spring Break too! He had fun painting ‘Bob Marley’ and creating this unique souvenir from our getaway!

SobeSavvy Tip: Create more #mosaicmoments by checking out the beautiful art murals in the Mosaic District and don’t forget to stop by the Gratitude Post for a chance to send someone (or yourself) a note on a postcard expressing your gratitude! #7wordstories

Although our visit was short and sweet, I am “Super Grateful” to have spent this time with family exploring Fairfax, Va’s Mosaic District. There is more to explore, so I know we will be back to stay in this area especially when the temps warm up and as things get back to normal! Until next time, keep wearing your masks, social distancing, washing yours hand and staying grateful! Peace Out!

Have you ever visited Fairfax, VA or Mosaic District before? Please share with me a place I should check out during my next visit. Thanks for reading and I hope you are inspired to travel to this area this Spring!

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Family Travel | Fun Tips For Your Mountain Weekend Winter Vacay in Asheville, NC


In our home, we try to apply this rule Long Weekends = Family Vacay
..and since we all had MLK Day off Monday + our daughter had no school on Tuesday due to a teacher workday, 
it was the perfect reason to take a roadtrip and enjoy a change of scenery! This time we made plans to drive to Asheville, NC.

From Raleigh, NC it took us about 4 hours to arrive. Our 9 year old was so excited to have a mountain vacay and so were we! Although this is not our first time visiting AVL, it has been quite a few years and she doesn’t remember much. Our experience will be different, new memories will be made and a balance of fun and relaxtion is always on the agenda.
If you are planning a family trip to Asheville, NC this winter, take a look at our family vacay experience featuring some kid-friendly and family fun tips for you to enjoy!



Arrive | Saturday


SEE & SIP: We made a pit stop in Black Mountain, NC to see the Roberta Flack Mural located on the side of the Black Mountain Brewing building. I am a big fan of her music and was excited to see how they paid homage to this African American female artist! While there, make sure to have one of their unique beers that are brewed daily and see why this area is known for it’s craft beer culture and breweries. For the kids, they have chips and a food truck on the outside patio to grab snacks from. 

SobeSavvy Tip: If you are bringing the family pet along, no worries… friendly dogs in leashes are allowed!


EAT: We were ready to eat lunch when we arrived to Asheville and Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas fit the bill because the menu offers something for the whole family. We started with some tasty tapas (my kid loved the Itto gyoza dumplings and Itto Buns were perfect for my family of 3 because you get 3 to an order). If you enjoy sushi, the Yellowtail Jalapeno is a must try! Want something deliciously fried: order the Crab Rangoon or Takoyaki Balls!


Also on the menu are salads, cocktails/drink menu, wine, beer, sake, desserts as well as signature ramen. It was nice to warm up with a bowl of ramen that features broth that has been cooked for 7 to 9 hours!
They make 3 vats of broth daily that make 300 broth bowls. If your kid loves slurping up noodles like ours, then you must try their house-made ramen. I tried the Itto House Special Ramen, which is brothless but still full of amazing flavors! I am still dreaming about how good that dish is.
There are many gluten free and vegan options on the menu and they are proudly serving local fresh veggies, pork from Hickory Gap Farms and local beer also. My husband and I ordered from the Itto cocktails menu and made a toast to celebrate our safe arrival to Asheville and this amazing dining experience at Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas.





STAY: After hearing about our friends and their 2 kids stay at the Asheville Cottages, I knew it would have the right mix of rustic & luxury that my family would be satisfied with. Wifi for the hubby, a fire pit to make s’mores for the kid and a private hot tub for me! Our vacation rental cabin exceeded our expectations and we felt right at home. We stayed in The Chestnut, which is one of their 1 bedroom cottages. Overall, it was clean, cozy, and comfortable. We loved the location and surrounding views of the woods. Having a full kitchen along with a gas grill on the back deck allowed us to enjoy making meals together just like we would at home. A few things I don’t have at home that I wish I did now that I’ve experienced it here are the King -sized Select Comfort Sleep Number Bed and heated bathroom floors/toilet seat/towel rack. With so many extras, I most definitely would recommend Asheville Cottages for your next stay!


SobeSavvy Tip: Before you go, we shopped for a few hot tub accessories on Amazon to bring with us like this hot tub light that changes colors and some inflatable drink holders !

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKPeOOBgDQX/?igshid=9iynztbgzvna


Sunday Funday


SEE:  Located in Downtown Asheville, the Asheville Art Museum showcases 20th/21st century American Art along with a concentration on work with significance to the Southeast. After learning of it’s 24+ million expansion in 2019, this museum was on my must see list!  From the glass facade to The Oculus, which features a 15 foot viewing window and all the amazing art, photography, crafts and glass being housed here amongst the galleries, there is so much to see!  We spent our time looking at the various artworks in 10 different Exhibitions and learning about it’s Collection. Did you know that the Asheville Art Museum is a collecting institution and serves all 24 counties in Western NC? You can explore this museum both in person and virtually via their website!

SobeSavvy Tip: Families, make sure to take advantage of the programs and some of the fun activities available for kids while there. We printed their downloadable coloring sheets and note cards for the whole family to enjoy!



SobeSavvy Tip: Café access is free for Members or included with Museum admission. Members get a 10 percent discount with code AAMMember.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKUGJi9nmnl/?igshid=q9ztcov8f038

DO: Add Hummingbird Candle Co. to your must do list when you visit Asheville for a unique candle-making experience. Shop and/or book an Interactive Candle Making Experience, with over 32 Scents to choose from using products that are earth-friendly. It’s the perfect Family (for kids age 7+) or Couples Date Night, Girls Night or Me Time fun anytime!
SobeSavvy Tip: Join the Insider Group for an Exclusive First Look at ALL of their NEW Items and Sales! You’ll receive 10% off your First Purchase TOO!

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CKKYNNvnXg6/?igshid=1cpfw4wawj4ms

Depart | Monday

READ: During our stay, I got to relax, relate and read! Here is a book recommendation to pick up before your next trip to Asheville: 📗EVEN AS WE BREATHE, the 1st novel published by a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, is partially set in Asheville,NC during WWII and tackles difficult social/cultural/ethnic divides.
Author Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle has definitely written a fictional page- turner and is a wonderful writer! I started reading this book before plus  during our trip and it was the perfect vacation read.


SHOP: Ladies, (and all those who like to save & shop) I was happy to discover the Asheville Outlets were just minutes away from where we were staying. After we checked out of our cottage at 11am, we headed there to see what bargains we could find.   I got a belted puffer coat with faux fur hood on clearance at Banana Republic orig $189.99 for just $25‼️ Old Navy had something for the whole fam and our kid loved her new combat boots from Famous Footwear. There were so many quality brands to shop from but so little time (since we were departing from Asheville). However, it will be at the top of my list our next trip here!


SobeSavvy Tip: Make sure to check out these coupons from the Asheville Outlets for extra shopping savings!


Honor MLK: Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said ” We know that to bring justice, love and friendship, we must build strong communities that foster these things.”
We learned via Facebook that the Burton Street Peace Gardens, where they have an area of art dedicated to
Dr. King, would be a good place to visit to see how they honor his words and legacy, while supporting the community.

Before you go, check out ExploreAsheville.com for some insight ahead of your trip. You can find the latest roundups and newsy tidbits with updated information for the current world we live in here.


This winter family vacay was enjoyed by all! From the joy our daughter had just being in the mountains, to my husband spending so much time in the hot tub that I nicknamed him Jacuzzi Joe to me having fun remaking this ” Let It Snow ” video, we truly enjoyed our time in Asheville, NC.

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Want a change of scenery? Here’s where to STAY, EAT, EXPLORE in @WilmingtonNCoast! #travel #familytravel #WilmingtonNC #CarolinaBeachNC #SobeSavvy

2020 has been a unique year to say the least. Challenges that none of us could have guessed a year ago have filled all of our lives since March. Like many of you, home school and working from home has become a mainstay. My #HeighPartyof3 family were in need of a change of scenery, so we opted for a roadtrip to Wilmington, NC over this past Thanksgiving Day weekend. If you are not familiar with Wilmington, it’s an iconic coastal city that is both urban and beachy at the same time with a down home friendliness and great food and hospitality scene. We have visited this destination a few times (read about past visits: here) and our familiarity made the choice that much easier. If you are in need of a change of scenery, here’s where to STAY, EAT, EXPLORE in Wilmington, NC!

STAY

Social distancing is a invented term due to COVID-19 and picking a place that takes that seriously led us to Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront. They have instituted a industry leading room cleaning sanitation program called Clean Stay. They have partnered with Lysol to ensure the highest level of cleanliness at the property.

This hotel’s proximity to the riverwalk and historic downtown makes this a awesome choice for those wanting to explore this part of Wilmington on foot. Hubby took a jogging map the hotel has and went for a birthday morning 3 mile run! We had a spacious modern suite with a enviable Cape Fear River view. Great stay at a nice property!

STEAM Restaurant & Bar, located inside the Embassy Suites Wilmington Riverfront had a special Thanksgiving Brunch. The STEAM staff served the buffet with socially distanced tables and sanitized protocols in place. We had a table with no one in our immediate area so we got a chance to relax and enjoy a turkey dinner along with some locally sourced oysters and shrimp! Great service and wine/cocktail list made this a great choice.

EAT

In addition to STEAM , there are amazing family dining options in the area that offer takeout as well as dining in with Covid safety measures in place. Here are some places we enjoyed:

Hops Supply Co.: We had eaten a heavy “thanksgiving” at lunch time and didn’t quite think about the fact that almost NOTHING is open after 3 or 4 on Thanksgiving and needed a place to get something light. Enter Hops Supply Co. A restaurant that happens to be THE place in Wilmington for craft beer, wine on tap and food of course !We opted for curbside pickup of their Bistro Salad and a side order of asparagus. The.salad.was.everything !! Enough for two and incredibly good. The candied walnuts and blue cheese crumble combined with their incredible balsamic vinaigrette equaled perfection. When times get more back to normal I look forward to returning to try their beer and other food selections.

Slice of Life Pizzeria & Pub: Everyone likes pizza but my husband and daughter LOVE pizza. Lucky for them {and me} that one of the best pizza places ever at Slice Of Life. Voted Best Pizza and Best Late Nite Eatery in Wilmington for several years in a row, Slice Of Life got the unofficial stamp of approval from a 9 year old. You can customize a pizza with their myriad of toppings. We opted for half cheese and half Pineapple ham and mushroom. Simple perfection. We will definitely return!

The Basics: Located in the heart of everything downtown on Front street is The Basics. This mainstay has been a dining favorite for years. Everything from a casual breakfast to a dress up for dinner party can be had in this one restaurant. We had celebrated my birthday here a few years ago abd returned for breakfast this time. Shrimp and Grits, Chicken Biscuit and pancakes for the not so little one were ordered up this time. A few daytime cocktails included a Tequila Sunrise that was simply perfect.Yum Yum Yum. Just look at these pics and they say it all. There is nothing Basic about The Basics!

EXPLORE

Wilmington Riverwalk: Wilmington’s iconic riverwalk has been under construction for a few years now. It’s popularity had taken a toll and they are now renovating and expanding this wonderful walkway that doubles as a jogging route. We enjoyed taking walks during our stay here and made a fun IG reels video (that you can watch: here) to take you along the Riverwalk with us! Hugging the Cape Fear River this walkway gives visitors a great way to experience what I call the “backside” of downtown. Restaurants, shops and hotels line the riverwalk as well and you can see some of the most beautiful sunsets from here. You could also book a cruise tour aboard The Henrietta riverboat to learn more about Wilmington.

Carolina Beach: One of the best features of Wilmington is it’s proximity to many beach areas within a 30 min drive from downtown. Carolina Beach is one of them. We took a stroll along the boardwalk, enjoyed gelato while sitting in one of the swings and simply enjoyed being outside with nature. A walk on the beach is all that we needed to get some relaxing time together and a change of scenery.

Wilmington Tours: History is everywhere in Wilmington and sometimes it can be hard to figure out where to start when it comes to exploring historic Wilmington. Enter the Wilmington Tours App. Located in the Google Play store, this app features 5 full length city tours that include: African-American History, Pub Crawl Wilmington, Civil War Wilmington, 2nd Street to the River, and 3rd Street & East. We downloaded the African American Tour and since it was raining we drove to some of the historic sites that included the home of one of Wilmington’s most prominent black families, a rare intact urban slave quarters and different street corners of significance. This interactive tour is highly informative and literally made history come to life. I highly recommend this app for any visitor to learn about the history of Wilmington. Next time we will choose another tour from this amazing app!

Airlie Gardens: These public gardens are 67 acres of natural historic beauty. Airlie Gardens are a treasure not just of Wilmington or Hanover County but a treasure of all of North Carolina. While these gardens are beautiful any day of the year, we went for their annual “Enchanted Airlie” Holiday light spectacular. This is the hot ticket since 2005 and this year, while a little different still was as popular as ever. Timed tickets ensured it was not too crowded. Over a million lights adorned natural and man made things throughout. Different themes could be found everywhere. We all loved “Swan Lake” and the butterfly house exhbit. So many colors and with Holiday tunes playing, everyone was into kicking off the Christmas season! It even “snowed”. My daughter simply loved the whimsical atmosphere of it all and it will be a treasured memory.

👀Watch my full recap of opening night at Enchanted Airlie>> here.

We are thankful and grateful to be able to spend some quality time together and get a change of scenery in a neighboring city that we love to explore. This was our first time going to Wilmington,NC as a kick off to the holiday season and we may just make this a new family tradition! Before you go, be sure to check in with Wilmington and Beaches to plan your vacation. We hope that you are inspired to visit soon!

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Family Travel Tips for Visiting the @NCZoo in @TheHeartofNC during COVID-19

Disclaimer: Thanks to all at NC Zoo who work so hard to keep the visitors and animals safe. Media tickets & lunch were provided in exchange for review of our visit.

Family Travel Tips for Visiting the NC Zoo during COVID-19 | SobeSavvy.com

During these uncertain times, finding fun safe things to do with a child has been challenging to say the least. Lucky for us the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC comes in very high on the fun and safe things to do list. Most folks know this is not only one of the nations greatest zoos but it is THE largest natural habitat zoo in the world. Being only 90 minutes from the Triangle makes this day trip easy for well over a million residents here. Since a couple of years have passed since our prior family visit to the zoo, (which you can revisit that blog post >> here), me and my #HeighPartyof3 were very excited to return!

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My #HeighPartyof3 took a day trip to @theheartofnc to visit @nczoo and had a fun time enjoying the outdoors in a safe environment. We found out so many interesting things like: • How has the NC Zoo taken safety measures for Covid-19 😷 • Why do flamingos have pink feathers 🦩 • What local and sustainable ingredients are used to make the food for visitors to enjoy 😋 Take a 👀 at my instastories where our daughter, @outandaboutava did an IG story takeover to capture some Family Fun highlights from our day. I also have a recap video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/evEHEcHVI3k Plus, you can read more Family #soTravelsavvy Tips for Visiting the NC Zoo during COVID-19 on the blog, SobeSavvy.com! Have you been to the Zoo since Covid-19? What was your experience like?

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What To Know Before You Go

Due to COVID 19 the zoo has made some major changes in how they do business to ensure everyone has a safe time. Guest must now buy their tickets in advance on a timed basis. This helps to spread out any crowds during their operating hours so there is no overcrowding at any point of the day. Although they can accomadate up to 15,000 people daily they now limit only 2,000 guests per day. All guests have the room to social distance.

Guests are also strongly encouraged to wear mask coverings during their visit. Walkway paths are now designated one way only and they have added dozens of sanatizing stations and signage throughout the zoo. The majority of indoor exhibits are closed and all guests must enter through the “North American” section only.

NC Zoo is committed to the #NCZooCares & #StayStrongNC initiative and is reminding everyone to don’t forget your Ws! Wear. Wait. Wash.

WEAR a face covering.

WAIT 6 feet apart from other people.

WASH your hands often.

Learn more at nc.gov/covid19

KIDZONE

The Kidzone play area just reopened and my daughter was excited to check out that space. After being indoors nowadays for virtual homeschool, she enjoys any chance to play outside. They have many ways the kids can creatively explore the world of play by using their senses. Upon arrival, we were greeted at the entrance of the Kidzone with items such as hand sanitizer, disposable masks if needed and encouraged to grab chalk to write a message on the wall. They only allow a certain number of kids in at a time as a safety precaution.

Playing in the KIDZONE at NC Zoo | SobeSavvy.com

Lunch at NC Zoo

Located in the North America Plaza, The Iron Hen (while currently closed to the public) is an on-site restaurant where we met PR Officer, Moriah Angott (who filled us in on upcoming events, plans for Asia, and Covid -related initiatives they are taking.) We also met a representative from their food partner, SSA, to learn more about their nutritious and delicious options for providing visitors with food from local and sustainable ingredients.

We were treated to lunch which consisted of chicken quesadillas with a side salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing made in-house, and grilled chicken drizzled with Chipotle mayo, rice and grilled seasonal veggies. Our daughter had the chicken tenders (which are hand breaded and made with chicken breast from local farm, Joyce Farms) plus fries! She said it was really good and that you can tell the chicken tenders were better than processed chicken nuggets. For dessert we had their pumpkin parfait and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, which we devoured! Everything was flavorful, sustainable and made with care. I would definitely return just to eat there! For more info on dining options and catering for events, read >>here

Tune in for more NC Zoo

On October 31, 2020 get ready for the premiere of “Secrets of the Zoo: North Carolina”, which will be shown on the Nat Geo Wild Channel. The eight-part series features stories of every kind — from emergency and routine animal procedures and animal husbandry to rescue, rehabilitation and release.

Viewers will get an inside look at North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, home to the largest zoo in the world. Spread out over an enormous 2,600 acres, this AZA accredited zoo has thousands of individual animals, more than 212 species and a diverse range of landscapes, including swamps, prairies, rivers, forests and even a desert. It’s more of a wildlife reserve than a traditional zoo, and many species share habitats as they would in the wild. At a time when the traditional concept of a zoo seems out of sync with animal welfare, the North Carolina Zoo leads the way and has achieved global recognition for setting zoo standards.

SobeSavvy Tip- Shoutout to the always helpful and resourceful Susan Dosier (@SDosier) at DK Communications Group for providing me with the following tips that I’ll kindly pass on to you:

Make sure everyone is in comfortable shoes and clothes. (the zoo is huge, and you guys will walk a lot.)

• If it’s chilly or raining, the animals are actually more active. Be sure to put rain gear in your backpack in case of an unexpected shower!

Don’t miss the videos from the North Carolina Zoo. See their suite of options on Facebook like this video of the second baby rhino of 2020 learning to stand.

The North Carolina Zoo is also offering a Facebook Live EDVentures Online Series. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, children and adults will learn more about a species living at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.

👀Watch this recap video from our fun day at NC Zoo !

Overall, we were impressed with how well they are doing to ensure guests are safe, surprised by the crowds(and their willingness to follow rules and wear masks) and appreciated the technology of being able to scan out map via QR code which provided support for a better guest experience!We had an amazing time at the zoo and it was such a great way to spend a beautiful fall day! I would definitely recommend visiting for a safe family fun activity. Stay connected and follow @NCZoo and @TheHeartofNC on social! For driving directions and more information about the NC Zoo, visit www.nczoo.org

📍North Carolina Zoo

4401 Zoo Parkway Asheboro, NC 27205
1.800.488.0444

http://www.nczoo.org

My Top Recommendations For A Family Fun Getaway in ATLANTA GA with @CityPASS @Ctr4CHR @FernbankMuseum @GeorgiaAquarium @WorldofCocaCola @CNNstudiotours @TheKingCenter and more

A 3 day weekend + a teacher’s workday was the perfect reason to plan a family fun getaway in Atlanta, GA. From Raleigh, NC it’s a straight shot on 85 South, which takes us approximately 6 hours by car. Although it was not our first time going to Atlanta, we were ready to make new memories spending time with family & friends, seeing some
historical sights and having some #HeighPartyof3 family fun!

On our way to have family fun in the A!

👀WATCH Vlog Trip Recap here:

SAVE $$, SEE MORE

CityPASS Atlanta helps you save $$ and see more top attractions!

My top recommendation for anyone who is planning to travel to Atlanta and want to go visit some attractions is to make buy a CityPASS! Here’s why:

  • 1 simple purchase
  • Valid 9 days
  • Skip most ticket lines
  • Save 40% on admission to 5 must-see attractions

There are two easy ways to make a purchase. You can buy at citypass.com, where you’ll get instant delivery with convenient mobile ticketing , opt to have the booklet mailed to you before the trip OR ask for CityPASS at any attraction.

CityPASS Atlanta Admission includes:

• Georgia Aquarium

Experience the underwater wonders at Georgia Aquarium

• World of Coca-Cola

Learn the story behind Coca-Cola and get to taste more than 100 beverages from around the globe at World of Coca-Cola

• CNN STUDIO TOURS

Wall thru the halls of CNN Center to experience a behind the scenes CNN STUDIO TOURS

• National Center For Civil And Human Rights

(or Zoo Atlanta)

Uplifting, Powerful, Inspiring, Educational, Amazing-all words to describe the National Center For Civil and Human Rights, a must-see experience

• Fernbank Museum of Natural History ( or Chick-Fil-A College Football Hall of Fame)

Spend an adventure filled day with immersive exhibits at the Museum, see a movie at the 3D Theater, explore the Forest at Fernbank Museum

For more information on the attractions we visited, check out these websites at:

GEORGIA AQUARIUM | georgiaaquarium.com

WORLD OF COCA-COLA | worldofcocacola.com

CNN STUDIO TOURS | tours.cnn.com

FERNBANK MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY | FernbankMuseum.org

NATIONAL CENTER FOR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS | civilandhumanrights.org

CityPASS | citypass.com

EXPLORE BLACK HISTORY FOR FREE

Visit the places where Dr. King was born, lived, worked, worshipped, and is buried at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park

While Atlanta has all sorts of world class attractions, visitors usually must pay an admission fee to enjoy. However, there is one square block here in the Sweet Auburn Historic District that requires no entrance fees and allows you to walk in the footsteps of the great Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Here are the places we visited:

Ebenezer Baptist Church

We started at 407 Auburn Ave where the historic and iconic Ebenezer Baptist Church sits. Dr. King was co-pastor with his father Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. at this location off and on from 1947 until 1968. Original pews, stained glass windows and organs are all inside. Sit and listen as the guides gives details about the church. To literally see the podium and actual microphone that Dr. King preached from was a wonderful experience to have with my family.

• National Park Service Visitor Center

Across the street is the MLK Jr. National Park Service Visitor Center. This facility houses some wonderful exhibits relating to not only Dr King, but to the struggle to equality in America. Some of our favorite areas was the “Freedom Road” marchers that my little one and myself joined.

• The King Center

Adjacent to Ebenezer Baptist Church is the resting place of both Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King. Dr. King was never shy in telling folks that he would not have been able to achieve anything without Coretta by his side. Visitors can see an eternal flame and the two marble tombs in the center/bottom of a cascading waterfall with a uniting message of peace and purpose in their words. Although there were people present, it was still peaceful, serene and reflective. His body was there but his spirit and legacy lives forever.

WHERE TO STAY

📍Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park

Top Reasons To Stay at this location:

✔ Comfortable Beds & Bedding

✔ Accessibility to walk to many of the CityPASS Atlanta attractions

✔ Free Happy Hour (& breakfast)

✔Amazing Views

View this post on Instagram

S T A Y in the middle of it all … @embassysuitesatcentennialpark 📍ATLANTA,GA ———- My favorite thing about staying here was it's location! It's very convenient to walk to most @citypass attractions like: 🐟 GA Aquarium 📺 CNN Studio Tours ☮ National Center for Civil and Human Rights | @ctr4chr 🥤World of Coca-Cola Plus, we had an amazing view of 🎡Skyview Atlanta from our room ——– If you are planning a family getaway to Atlanta soon, I will be sharing my recommendations from our visit on the blog, SobeSavvy.com soon! Stay tuned . . . #embassysuites #centennialpark #atlanta #atlantahotel #hotelstay #hotelstagram #SobeSavvy #soTravelsavvy #TravelTuesday #travelblogger #lifestyleblogger #familytravel #familyblogger #familytravelblog #ncblogger #mommyblogger #raleighblogger #hotelview #girlmom #momlife #mommyandme #travelling #motheranddaughter #igersatl #discoverunder5k

A post shared by Leslie • Lifestyle Blogger (@sobesavvy) on

Atlanta is a fun, fascinating place full of rich history and cool things to do. If you are planning a trip here soon, I hope these recommendations are helpful. Have you been to Atlanta before? Do you have any recommendations for our next family visit? Please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading!

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Winter Family Travel |Plan a 3 Night Stay in Alexandria VA

Did you and your family stay home or travel for the holidays? With our daughter being out of school for 2 weeks for her winter break, it was the perfect time to plan for a quick getaway. On Christmas morning, after opening presents, we took a road trip from Raleigh, NC to Alexandria, VA. It took us less than 4 hours and was an easy drive especially since not many were on the road! After visiting family in MD, we checked into our hotel Wednesday night and our mini family vacay began.

STAY | Embassy Suites Old Town Alexandria

Looking to visit Alexandria,VA soon? My #HeighPartyof3 enjoyed a three nights stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton Old Town Alexandria. It was comfortable, convenient, clean and you can choose to start the day off right with an omelet made just the way you like! That’s what makes a hotel stay at Embassy Suites Alexandria Old Town unique! Since we enjoyed our previous stay, it was nice to come back to this familiar property and all of it’s wonderful offerings like:
• SPACIOUS two-room suites
• FREE drinks & snacks at Evening Reception every night from 5:30p-7:30pm
• Complimentary made to order breakfast

👀 WATCH this YouTube video for a tour of the hotel room and more!

SobeSavvy Dining Tip: We love having a Whole Foods within walking distance from the hotel. If you love ramen noodle soup, I recommend ordering from Genji Ramen. My daughter and I shared the featured ramen noodle soup: Truffle Butter Miso and it was delicious! She gave it the #outandaboutAva 👍🏾 thumbs up!

Day 1 -Thursday | Visit Alexandria

During our last visit to Alexandria, VA , we kept seeing The King Street Trolley and vowed we would ride it next time. Well this time we had a chance to get aboard and enjoy this free system of trolleys that run every 15 minutes with stops throughout Old Town. Stop 1 for anyone planning a trip to Alexandria, VA should be a stop by Visit Alexandria, located at the Ramsey House at 221 King St. for info, maps, deals and more! The employees are very helpful with tips and suggestions. That’s where I learned about the Key To The City Museum Pass.

Did you know you can save money on admission to museums and purchase a “Key To The City Museum Pass“. Purchasing this booklet gives you access to 9 historic Alexandria museum sites and also you get a 40% admission discount if you chose to travel to Mt Vernon. This $44 value will only cost you $15. We had time to enjoy two museums: Gadsby’s Tavern and Stabler Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. Both of these showed different parts of colonial Virginia life and learned quite a bit of history after going to some of the museums and historical sites. We attempted to go to George Washington Masonic Masonic National Memorial Observation Deck but it was closed for the holidays. However, it was still quite a wonderful view of Alexandria from the steps of this attraction.

👀 WATCH this YouTube video for some highlights of our day exploring Old Town Alexandria!

SobeSavvy Dining Tip: Our niece, whose husband used to live in Alexandria, gave us the recommendation to eat at Mai Thai. So when I saw the menu also on the wall in the dining section at the visitor’s center, I was like, that’s a sign! We were sold and everything from the cocktails to the appetizers to the flavorful entrees. If you live Thai food, check out this restaurant.

Day 2 – Friday | Gaylord National’s Christmas on the Potomac at National Harbor

A day of fun was on the agenda when me and my HeighPartyof3 spent the day at Gaylord National’s Christmas on The Potamac– OPEN November 15 – December 30, 2019. Alexandria,VA is just across the bridge and National Harbor is just 6 miles from the hotel! It only took ten minutes by car to get there.

What is Christmas on the Potomac?

A holiday tradition where every year National Harbor and the Gaylord National Resort transform into a Christmas Village complete with holiday decorations and activities like:

▪︎ Feast with the Grinch

▪︎ Reindeer Rush

▪︎ Gingerbread Decorating

▪︎ Cirque Dreams Unwrapped

▪︎ Christmas Village

▪︎ Winter Square

▪︎ ICE! – Featuring Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
..and more !

SobeSavvy Tip: Everyone who goes to the ticketed ICE! exhibit must be ready for fun in 9 degree temperatures! Bring hats & gloves and be ready to see the amazing skill and artistry put into this ice exhibit. Everyone from infants to adults received a heavy #BlueParka to wear before going in the exhibit.

👀 WATCH this YouTube video for some highlights of our fun day at Gaylord National’s Christmas on the Potomac!

We had hoped to unlock more of Alexandria’s history and visit more museums but we checked out on Saturday because the one thing that sometimes comes with winter travel is catching a cold! We all got some bug and picked up some meds from a nearby CVS (which is also walking distance from the hotel) before getting back on the road. Although our visit was short and sweet, we know we will be back to stay in this area and explore more of Alexandria, VA!

Have you ever visited Alexandria, VA before? Please share with me a place I should check out during my next visit.


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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