By Amy Suski
To escape the summer heat, this July our family headed north to the Laurentian Mountains for a 4-night stay at the Tremblant resort in Mont Tremblant, Québec. After a lot of road-tripping this past year, it was a luxury to just park the car and forget it. By staying at the Westin in the pedestrian village at the base of the mountain, everything from the summit to the beach was in walking distance. We were able to give our kids wilderness adventures during the day and in the evening relax in the ambience of a french-speaking lakeside village with fine dining, street cafes, and live music. Although there is too much to do in one trip, we packed a lot in!
The Apprentice Falconry program was one of the neatest things we've ever done on a family vacation. During the hour long program, a Tremblant falconer and Onyx, a Harris Hawk, took us for a walk in the woods that we'll never forget. Embarrassingly, I've always been afraid of birds so I wasn't sure how I'd react to a flying predator landing on my arm, but I ended up loving it. We learned so much about birds-of-prey and have a much deeper appreciation for them now. Each of us took turns holding a piece of food for Onyx while he swooped down to grab his prize. The program is limited to 6 people at a time, so you're guaranteed a personal, birds-on experience. If you'd rather not get that close, try the Birds of Prey Show at the summit of Mont Tremblant, which you can reach via the Gondola (a must-do ride for the best view of the region).
Feeding Bison and Ziplining
Bison feeding and ziplining are not usually two things you associate with one another, but at Kanatha-Aki, you'll find all kinds of outdoor adventures including horseback riding, wilderness survival training, fishing, camping, sled dogs and more, [This was the one activity that we drove to, but transportation is available from the resort if you make arrangements from the Activity Center at Tremblant.] The special feature of this family-run nature center is the herd of woodland bison that live there. These majestic native forest dwellers are just incredible to see. We chose a package that allowed us to meet them during a mid-day feeding as part of a ziplining tour, but you can also take a ride on horseback through the area where the bison roam. We were especially excited to see several calves in the herd!
After feeding the bison, we stepped back into the forest for an 18-zipline course between treetops and down a mountain stream. Some of the ziplines were quite high, so I would recommend this course for brave school-age kids and adults. The harness system is extremely safe, but you need to be on your toes to make the connections between trees and slow yourself before hitting the platforms. My 11-year old daughter managed it brilliantly!
Tremblant Beach and Tennis Club
This was the first time we visited the Beach and Tennis Club, a short walk from the pedestrian village. There is more than enough to do on the lake: you can take a pontoon boat tour, rent a boat, kayak, SUP, wakeboard, or waterski. Our kids especially liked the floating Iceberg with its slides and climbing walls. [My husband bet our son a tidy sum of money that he couldn't climb up the concave side, so of course that's the first thing he did (and easily). Never underestimate a teenager when money is involved.]
Of course, if you just want to relax, the chairs, umbrellas, and beachside bar make that easy too. Oh, and did I mention there is a massage table there too?? Here my oldest is enjoying the rays while the younger ones and I splash around on SUP boards and a kayak.
Food and Fun in the Pedestrian Village
The base of the mountain is the headquarters for kid fun at Tremblant. There you'll find bungee jumping, climbing walls, and the luge. A little further downhill within the pedestrian village is mini-golf, laser tag, and Aqua Club, an indoor water playground. The luge is a perennial favorite for all ages: you can't help but have fun while zipping down the mountain!
Little climbers can stretch their legs on smaller walls, but big kids enjoy the rock climbing tower. For even bigger challenges, you can plan a family rock-climbing excursion at the Activity Centre.
Food choices in the village range from BBQ to sushi and pretty much everything in between. For a treat kids love the La maison de la crepe, ice cream at Oh La Vache!, and specialty popcorn at Pop Therapy. Personally, I enjoyed mid-afternoon margaritas and nachos at SoCal Kitchen.
Over the weekend Tremblant hosted an International Blues Festival which meant that there were free outdoor concerts all weekend. One of the great pleasures of the vacation was strolling the pedestrian village at night, listening to music, shopping, and stopping in cafes for drinks and desserts. On our last night at Tremblant we enjoyed an outdoor table at La Forge (great place for steaks), just steps away from the fun and interactive Banzai family show.
After the show we made our way over to the Flying Mile chairlift for a nighttime ride up the mountain to experience Tonga Lumina. Taking a walk in the woods at night is neat enough, but now try to imagine entering an Avatar-like world where leaves in the trees twinkle, green lights glow and float overhead, and illuminated forest spirits appear on cliffsides. Far from being a splashy light show, this is a thoughtful tour through the woods with gentle messages about respecting the Earth.
Tonga Lumina was an unexpected highlight of the trip -- even my jaded teenagers thought it was cool. I would recommend this unique experience for all ages, just be aware that the woodland walk is steep and uneven in some places (not for strollers) and smaller children may need to be carried by the end. There are restrooms along the way. Without being rushed, the walk and descent took us about an hour.
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The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own and do not reflect those of Tremblant. We did not receive any compensation or special deals on lodging for this trip; however, each member of our family did receive a complimentary Activity Card. All copyrights reserved to Kid Trips.
By Amy Suski
The older the kids get the harder it is to hold their attention on a family trip, so we decided to do something radical. Over spring break, instead of heading to the beach we hopped on the "Sushi Express", a Japan Airlines direct flight from Boston to Tokyo, known for flying freshly caught tuna from New England coastal fisherman to the famed Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. Without question, it was one of the best family trips we've ever experienced. From the amazing food experiences, the bright city lights, and the grace and hospitality of the people, Japan had us at Konnichiwa.
Cool Thing #1: The ultra-modern and super comfortable Dreamliner flight took just 13 hours. I'm not sure I'd try that with a toddler, but our teens were more than happy to plug into a lazy day of eating, sleeping, and watching movies. Plus, flying over the Arctic Circle was very cool!
Cool Thing #2: The best way to get from the airport into Tokyo is the Narita Express (NEX). If you purchase a Japan Rail Pass in advance of your trip online (which I highly recommend if you are traveling to any other cities outside of Tokyo) this train is included. A Japan Rail pass will give you access to the famed bullet trains, which we used to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto and Kyoto to Nara. Tip: when validating your pass, take the time to make seat reservations. Reservations are free and will save the anxiety of trying to find seats together while boarding.
Cool Thing #3: Nothing says "hey, we're not in Kansas anymore" than fish and pickled vegetables for breakfast. Surprisingly, the kids were eager to dive into their traditional Japanese breakfast, even after discovering that the little orange crunchy things had eyes.
Cool Thing #4: If you've seen films like Lost in Translation or The Tokyo Project you'll definitely want to try the so-called "Shibuya Scramble" for yourself, where thousands of people and cars cross the same web of intersecting streets in synchronous time under the glare of millions of pixelated lights. While there, be sure to visit the famous dog statue of Hachiko. After his owner died, the loyal dog continued to wait for his owner's return outside the train station every day for the rest of his life. Tip: The best aerial view of the intersection is from the second floor of the Starbucks.
by Micaela Williamson
Last summer, I interviewed the owners of ZavaZone for a magazine article. I couldn't wait to bring my kids to check this place out. Life happened. Little toddler brothers happened. We just didn't get around to visiting. I was recently thrilled when my 8 year old was invited to a birthday party at ZavaZone Sterling. This place lived up to it's great reputation and more!
Calling all little engine fans! DAY OUT WITH THOMAS is coming to the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore from April 27 - 29 & May 4 - 6, 2018. This fun filled day includes a 25 minute train ride behind Thomas the Tank Engine™, all day admission to the B&O Railroad Museum, live entertainment, themed activities and programs. Some of the fun things at DAY OUT WITH THOMAS include:
by Micaela Williamson
UPDATED: This post contains new and previously published information from Kid Trips.
Repeat after me, "History is FUN!" Yes, you heard that right. If your memories of history include memorizing timelines and writing definitions in composition notebooks, then it's time to create new memories. The perfect place for hands-on history is the historic triangle of Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown. Here, history truly comes to life. We've written about this area in the past, and as our children grow and change, it's a place that we keep coming back to learn more.
We especially love the immersive historical environments of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown (read our previous post here) and Jamestown Settlement.
by Denise Stern
Did you know the White House is the only private residence of a head of state that is open and free of charge to the general public? Not only is a White House tour educational and full of history, it is truly a tour of the People’s House! Here are 5 tips to make your tour a breeze:
by Micaela Williamson
One of our favorite children's museums in the U.S. is Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore. With so many hands-on exhibits and sensory opportunities, kids are sure to have a blast. Here's what's coming to museum this spring:
It's time to spark your child's creativity! A new show, PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC, is premiering on PBS KIDS on Monday, February 19, 2018. The animated show is based on the popular best-selling Pinkalicious book series by Victoria Kann and encourages kids to engage in self-expression through music, dance and visual arts.
PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC follows the adventures of Pinkalicious and her brother, Peter, as they explore the town of Pinkville with their neighborhood friends. Pinkalicious is an artist at heart and has a unique perspective on the world. She's also not afraid to express herself--though sometimes she needs a little help from her friends. Each episode includes two 11-minute stories featuring Pinkalicious, Peter and their friends, and one live-action interstitial. The interstitials will feature real-life kids creating art, as well as profiles of professional artists.
My daughter really wanted a Mermaid Pillow for Christmas but I dropped the ball and didn't order one in time. Happily, I was redeemed by the arrival of the Love pillow this week. Since she opened it up she can't keep her hands off it. The removable cover has a velvety side that is huggably soft. On the other side, sequins flip with the brush of a finger or a hand to reveal whatever shimmery pink and silver design you want to create.
Being familiar with kids with sensory issues, I am especially impressed by this pillow's ability to engage kids in calming, tactile play. This special purpose hasn't been lost on the company...in fact they have donated pillows to children in hospitals and have designed a special pillow to benefit Autism Speaks (see pick #5 below). Whether used as a calming comfort pillow, inspiring decorative pillow, teaching tool, or an entertaining travel pillow, the reversible sequins beg to be played with.
Now that its close to Valentine's Day, this pillow would be a perfect gift, especially if you are trying to downplay candy and screens. In addition to the Love design there are gift sets in a variety of themes like mermaids, fairies, sharks, and more. Our top gift picks are:
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Kid Trips' blogs profile fun events and cool family-friendly venues. We focus on regional and national family travel articles.
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