By Amy Suski
Our family recently visited Seattle for the first time and although it was a relatively short visit we managed to pack in a some very special experiences. With its famously relaxed vibe, getting around Seattle with kids is low-stress. Dad enjoyed sampling the microbrews, I loved the natural beauty of the Puget Sound and the mountains, and the kids got a kick out of the colorful street life (e.g. the Gum Wall, which has since been scrubbed clean and is in the process of being 're-gummed'). As a down-to-earth, kid-friendly city, Seattle gets ten thumbs up from our family of five. In no particular order, here are some highlights from our trip:
1. Puget Sound: Looking for an inexpensive 'tour'? Although not officially a "tour", we really enjoyed taking a round-trip ferry ride to get a better look at the water and city skyline. As a bonus, you may even see some marine mammals. The views were amazing, the kids were happy with the onboard cafeteria, and we even saw some harbor seals swimming by, so it was cool way to spend a morning without spending too much. If we're every able to visit during the spring or summer, I'd love to do a proper whale watching tour or trip to the San Juan Islands. [Note: perpetual house-hunters will also enjoy a peek at some of the big-money homes along the sound, a fair number probably owned by Amazon and Microsoft royalty.]
Families are invited to celebrate the season with the Newseum at its 17th annual "Yes, Virginia" Family Day on Saturday December 12, 2015, from 9 am to 4 pm. Enjoy holiday treats, cookie-decorating, crafts, train rides, music by the Figgy Puddings Holiday Carolers, a visit from the One-and-Only Macy’s Santa Claus and more on a day inspired by a letter from 8-year old Virginia O'Hanlon to the New York Sun in 1897. The paper's response assuring Virginia that there was a Santa Claus has become most reprinted newspaper editorial in history and has appeared in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other newspapers, and on posters and stamps.
As a special holiday treat for the whole family, kids 18 years and younger will receive free admission to the Newseum when they bring a “letter for Santa” to put in the Macy’s Believe Mailbox. Each letter collected will also earn a $1 donation to Make-A-Wish® by Macy's.
Tentative schedule of events:
Seating is on a space-available basis. Free same-day admission offer is not valid in conjunction with other discounts. For more info please visit Newseum.org.
Images provided courtesy of the Newseum.
by Micaela Williamson
We were lucky to attend the media preview of ICE Santa Claus is Comin' to Town at the Gaylord National. As always, the sculptures are just unbelievable. The artists are so incredibly talented, and it's surreal to think everything is made out of actual ice.
This year's theme focused on scenes from the classic Christmas movie "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town." Those unfamiliar with the story can read narrated plaques in each room and follow along with the plot. Of course for the kids, the most exciting part of the night is the five ice slides. Please remember that it's only 9 degrees inside. If you dress warmly in a winter coat, with a hat and gloves, you will be comfortable. All visitors are also given a parka to wear over their winter coat, and it is necessary.
Our cell phone pictures do not do this magical experience justice, but take an inside peek:
ICE is just one part of the Christmas on the Potomac celebration. Learn more about other holiday happenings, additional activities and get a special code to save $4 off tickets to ICE here.
Enjoy the season!
This year, the Junior League of Northern Virginia’s (JLNV) annual holiday-themed fundraiser, The Enchanted Forest, celebrates 15 years. The Enchanted Forest is a weekend-long holiday festival for the whole family, with main attractions including a beautiful forest of theme-decorated trees for silent auction throughout the weekend, arts and crafts, holiday marketplace, children’s performers and photos with Santa.
In addition to strolling through our beautiful ‘forest’ of theme decorated trees for auction at The Enchanted Forest, you won’t want to miss the performances taking place throughout the weekend in the center of the forest. From storytime with Santa and Pirate Magic to children’s yoga with Ivivva and musical and dance performances, there is something for everyone. The Enchanted Forest features premium events (children under 18 months of age are free) including a gingerbread house workshop, where kids and their parents will decorate their own edible gingerbread house to take home. Kids and their parents can also participate in breakfast and brunch with Santa; the event includes a visit, story time, and photo with Santa as well as a craft activity and General Admission ticket. Kids and their parents can get in the holiday spirit with the Ice Queen from Arendelle for hot cocoa, delicious cupcakes and an activity.
The Enchanted Forest isn’t just for kids. Grown-ups can start their holiday shopping in our holiday Marketplace, bid on beautifully-decorated holiday trees in our silent auction, or grab some friends or a date and attend “An Enchanted Affair,” our adults-only speakeasy themed cocktail event. An Enchanted Affair will feature an open bar with signature Prohibition-era libations, food stations, Vegas-style gaming, dancing to music by DJ Torrin Sanders, and more.
The Enchanted Forest will take place on November 21 and 22, 2015 at the Westin Tysons Corner. Proceeds from the weekend benefit the JLNV’s community programs, which promote healthy eating and active living by empowering families to make healthier choices through nutrition and physical activity education. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.jlnv.org/the-enchanted-forest. We hope to see you there!
We will be giving away a two pack of General Admission tickets to The Enchanted Forest, good for use on either November 21 or 22. Enter on the post on our FACEBOOK PAGE.
by Micaela Williamson
Normally I do not like to watch any holiday programs until after Thanksgiving, but when PBS Kids sent us a preview copy of Wild Kratts: A Creature Christmas, we had to make an exception. The special is a must-see for Wild Kratts fans as it brings in all the baby animal friends from past episodes and is full of antics by villains Donita, Gourmand, and Zach with his Zachbots.
All the Wild Kratts want to do is relax for the holidays with their crew, but in the middle of their celebration, the Creature Alarm sounds off. The villains have stolen all the babies animals from around the world to lock them inside Christmas ornaments. It is up the the Wild Kratts crew to save the creatures. After a few defeats, the Wild Kratts ultimately rescue the creatures.
As the only female in my household, I have a soft spot for Aviva. She always seems to save the day with her inventions and common sense, and the Christmas special is no different. As with all Wild Kratts episodes, goodness always prevails. The program shows that the true meaning of the holidays is about being with family, friends and of course that includes some baby creatures.
Besides the touching animated story, young audiences will learn interesting facts about real, Arctic animals during the live action sequences with Chris and Martin Kratt. You can catch the Wild Kratts: A Creature Christmas premiering on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 on your local PBS station. It will be aired many times throughout the holiday season, so be sure to check your T.V. listings.
Disclosure: I am a PBS Kids V.I.P. I sometimes receive special kits and PBSKIDS materials in exchange for review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.
by Jenny Lin
We were invited to attend the Santa HQ premiere event at Tysons Corner Center which was kicked off by Tommy McFly of 94.7 Fresh FM. After a local school’s choir sang holiday songs, Santa made his grand entrance, giving out high-fives and fist bumps before entering the HQ. The elves are friendly helpers, and effective at keeping the kids distracted while waiting in line to enter Santa HQ. Kids are encouraged to take advantage of the face-painting elf’s talents while waiting for their turn to enter Santa HQ.
HGTV’s Santa HQ is a fun, winter wonderland experience for kids and their families! After stepping into Santa HQ, kids start by stepping onto the Naughty or Nice O’Meter to see where they fall on the “scale.” Preschoolers will enjoy seeing which list their name appears on after stepping on the scale. Moving into the workshop, kids and their families are encouraged to take Elfie Selfies; up to five selfies can be included in a fun holiday video that can be viewed again at home via email. Be sure to use #SantaHQ and #loveHGTV when taking selfies with your own devices.
Next, the North Pole Observatory is filled with holiday lights and images; families are encouraged to download an app to their phone prior to entering the Elf-Ray Vision room to view the room in 3-D, but we were able to do the same with an Elf-helper and her tablet. The North Pole Observatory also includes a Control Center for kids to explore, showing the schematics of Santa’s Sleigh. After exiting the Observatory, there is an opportunity for a family portrait in front of a winter scene, and the last visit in Santa HQ is with Santa seated on his impressive and festive sleigh. Photos are available for pick-up within minutes of leaving Santa’s sleigh, providing lasting memories of a fun visit with Santa!
Visit Santa's Headquarters located in the Fashion Court at Tysons Corner Center near Nordstrom. Santa HQ is open November 14-December 24, 2015. For operating hours and more details, please click here.
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town at the Gaylord National Harbor for their iconic ICE event. This is a DC Metro holiday bucket list item and tons of fun this families. Relive scenes from this classic holiday film as you walk through breathtaking ice sculptures, slide down ice slides and even check out the Frostbite Factory-a live carving zone.
New this year, visitors to the resort will discover a free, immersive way to experience a variety of the holiday offerings during Christmas on the Potomac at the Village of the North Pole, located in the hotel’s exhibit hall. Upon entrance, guests will discover a decorated Christmas town square, complete with holiday merchandise, a hot chocolate stand, Santa’s sleigh and a new carousel ride. (The carousel costs $4 on non-peak days and $6 on peak days).
Inside the hotel's atrium, there is also a Potomac Express Train ride, photos with Santa and a stunning free nightly holiday fountain shows on the hour from 6 to 9 p.m. including a magical indoor snowfall and the debut of the resort’s new 55-foot-tall suspended, star-tiered Christmas tree.
Kid Trips readers can save $4 off non-peak tickets by using the discount code WeLoveICE. Hurry, this code will only last until December 17.
Order your tickets and find out more by clicking here today. Enjoy the season!
Disclaimer: $4.00 off is valid for adult (12+) and children (ages 3-11) tickets only on non-peak days . Cannot be combined with any other discount. Not valid on Military or Group tickets. Code muse be used online only to purchase your tickets. Code is not valid at the box office. Subject to 10% entertainment tax and service fees per ticket. Subject to change without notice.
Regular non-peak ticket price is $28 for adults and $20 for kids.
It’s November which means #hannajams are back at Hanna Andersson with in store specials and a social media giveaway.
Retail Event: On Saturday, November 14, 2015, from 10 AM – 12 PM all customers can receive 40% off ALL Sleepwear for baby, girl and boy at their local Hanna retail store. This includes Hanna Andersson soft organic cotton pajamas and licensed sleepwear (Disney, Star Wars, DC Comics, etc.) All customers will enjoy a special holiday treat while they shop too. Find your nearest Hanna Andersson store by visiting: http://www.hannaandersson.com/StoreLocations.asp
Social Media Giveaway: Starting now until Jan 3,2016, Hanna Andersson is a giving away an $100 gift card every week (one winner per week) to customers that share their #Hannajams moments by posting on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or uploading them here: http://www.hannaandersson.com/hannajams.aspx with
the hashtag #hannajams.
Good luck and happy shopping!
Disclosure: We are Hanna Andersson store ambassadors and sometimes receive special perks for sharing information. No compensation, discount or gift card was received for this article. All opinions are our own.
Kid Trips Northern Virginia Edition
Buy New $12.59
About The Blog
Kid Trips' blogs profile fun events and cool family-friendly venues. We focus on regional and national family travel articles.
Blogs Via Email
Links We Love