By Amy Suski
Last weekend my family returned to Adventure Park at Sandy Springs Friends School to test our courage and see what fun new features have been added. We last visited in 2012 and had a blast. [To read that review click here.] What I absolutely love about this place is that its an experience the whole family can really bond over. From my 7-year-old daughter to her 70 year-old-grandad, everyone in our family was able to have fun, help each other along, and achieve more than they ever thought they could.
Located just a short drive from the capital beltway, Adventure Park is a the largest man-made outdoor climbing experience in the world. There are three main areas in the park: Adventure Forest plus two brand-new areas, The Monkey Grove and The Labyrinth.
Adventure Forest consists of 190 platforms high in the trees connected by ropes, bridges, climbing obstacles, and zip lines. Each of the 13 trails are ranked according to difficulty from purple (easiest) - yellow - green - blue - black - double black (hardest). To climb, children must be at least 5 years old and capable of independently using their safety lines. 5-6 year olds must be accompanied by an adult when climbing, and there are additional age and supervision requirements for children depending on the difficulty of the course.
I climbed together with my 7-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son. We'd climbed before so the purple and yellow courses were pretty easy and no problem. Although plenty of school-aged kids were traveling through the green course with great confidence, the green course "Fern Gully," was pretty challenging for us. In some cases, I encouraged my kids along only to reach the obstacle myself and hesitate. Then it was their turn to coach ME along. (This is where the family bonding comes in.) At one point, I was so nervous about crossing a trapeze line that I froze in my tracks…the smell of fear radiating from my armpits. Really, the only reason I made it across was that my kids had already made it to the other side and my 'mother-bear' instincts simply wouldn't let me abandon them. Of course, the challenge was purely mental -- physically we were safe and always able to do the obstacles. So when we finally completed the course, we were both relieved AND exhilarated at having conquered our fears.
My 12-year old son, husband and father-in-law, faced much bigger challenges on the blue and black trails -- and loved it. These courses provide a rare opportunity for teens and tweens to take risks while being safe. And being able to do that alongside Dad and a remarkably agile Grandad is something special. (Note: this would be a GREAT Father's Day outing!) If you have adventurous kids, tweens, or teens, Adventure Park is hands-down one of the best family experiences in the area.
Not sure whether your younger kids are ready for Adventure Forest? A good place to start for anyone would be the newly added Labyrinth. This structure offers climbers as young as 5 & 6 the chance to climb along with older kids and adults on a variety of fun elements. The Labyrinth is open to the public Friday & Saturday afternoons and is available by private reservation for birthday parties and groups.
Another cool new addition to Adventure Park is the Monkey Grove -- 10 trees with rigging similar to a rock-climbing wall that allows climbers to scale the heights of a tree and safely rappel down. For both the Monkey Grove and the Labyrinth, limited spots are available so tickets should be purchased online in advance.
Adventure Park at Sandy Springs is located at 16701 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring, Maryland, 20860. For more information please visit their website at www.sandyspringadventurepark.org or call (240) 389-4386. Tickets also make a great gift idea!
_Upcoming Events at Adventure Park
Sunny and Licorice is a 30-minute, interactive, non-verbal show created by Arts on the Horizon specifically for children ages 2 – 5. It includes three professional adult actors and a musician. Sunny, the zoo’s sole orangutan, is delighted to get a new roommate, but things don’t go smoothly when Licorice first arrives. Sunny likes to be loud, but Licorice prefers to read the newspaper. And Licorice likes to keep things tidy, but Sunny keeps making a mess! When the zookeeper leaves behind a radio, a curious thing happens -- toes start tapping and arms start swinging. Could music bring this “odd couple” together? Featuring live music and a special tap finale inspired by movie musicals of the 1930s & 40s!
The Lab at Convergence
1901 N. Quaker Lane
Alexandria, VA 22302
Tickets are $8 per person for both children and adults. Children under 12 months of age admitted free of charge. Buy tickets here.
Friday, May 30 at 10:30 am
Saturday, May 31 at 10:00 and 11:30 am
Wednesday, June 4 at 10:30 am
Thursday, June 5 at 10:30 am
Friday, June 6 at 10:30 am
Saturday, June 7 at 10:00 and 11:30 am
Wednesday, June 11 at 10:30 am
Thursday, June 12 at 10:30 am
Friday, June 13 at 10:30 am
Saturday, June 14 at 10:00 and 11:30 am
Arts on the Horizon offers discounts to active duty military personnel and their families for these performances. In order to receive the military discount, you must present a valid and current military ID when picking up your tickets on the day of the performance.
At each of the performances, the company will be collecting non-perishable food and canned goods to be donated to Community Lodgings, an Alexandria-based nonprofit organization, in order to help families with young children in need.
We're not kidding when we say this is one of our FAVORITE festivals of the year. Come take a "vacation in your backyard" and start your summer here. The Celebrate Fairfax! Festival is Northern Virginia’s largest community-wide event. Presented by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc, the annual festival hosts tens of thousands of visitors during the three-day run.
Enjoy features such as:
Event: The 33rd Annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival
Dates: June 6th – 8th, 2014
Location: Fairfax County Government Center
Tickets: At the gate: $15 adult (13 & Older); $5 youth (3-12); 2 & Under Free; $10 Seniors &
Active and Retired Military with ID. Discounted tickets can be purchased in advance at www.CelebrateFairfax.com
Performances on the Bud Light Main Stage include:
Friday, June 6th at 8:00pm – The All-American Rejects
Saturday, June 7th at 8:00pm – Cheap Trick
Sunday, June 8th at 4:30pm – The Hunts
We received free tickets for sharing this information. No other compensation was received. All opinions are our own.
Recently I visited my son's early elementary classroom to assist students with an animal research project. The six and seven year olds were using easy books to find facts, but a few of the children were ready for the next step...going on the internet to search for interesting information beyond the first and second grade books. This required a ton of supervision on the teacher's part, and the search was limited to only a few basic sites. I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be great if elementary kids had more freedom to explore the internet in school without being exposed to questionable content or leading ads?" Now, thanks to Bing in the Classroom, parents and teachers can worry a little less while kids learn a whole lot more.
“We created Bing in the Classroom because we believe students deserve a search environment tailored for learning. Classrooms should be ad-free, and that should be as true online as it is offline,” said Matt Wallaert, creator of Bing in the Classroom, Microsoft.
Bing in the Classroom is an initiative sponsored by Bing to help bring technology to schools and is open to all K-12 schools throughout the United States . When schools work with Bing in the Classroom, they receive access to ad-free, safe, private search by Bing, digital literacy lesson plans, and a rewards program that community members can use to earn tablets for their schools.
Watch this quick, awesome (and funny!) video to see how it works:
Join Bing in the Classroom today, and spread the word to the educators and administrators at your child's school. When you join Bing Rewards, you can donate earned points to donate Surface tablets to school. Plus, Bing in the Classroom provides digital literacy lesson plans for teachers!
Click on the following links below to:
This post was created in partnership with Bing.
We disclose that this is a sponsored post and are happy to share about creating a safe search environments and increasing technology in classrooms. All opinions are our own.
20th Annual Manassas Heritage Railway Festival
June 7, 2014
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
HISTORIC DOWNTOWN MANASSAS
Free to attend
We are HUGE FANS of the Manassas Heritage Railway Festival and have attended for the past couple of years. Each year it gets better and better! There are elaborate model train and Lego displays, vendors, food, entertainment, kids' activities and more throughout the streets of Old Town Manassas.
While it is free to attend the festival, a big highlight for kids is taking the excursion VRE train to Clifton and back. This year, the princesses from Frozen will be on board. Excursion Times include: 10AM/11AM/12PM/1PM. Tickets are $5.00 each and can be purchased at the Manassas Train Station (9431 West Street), starting May 1st, from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday. Previously the excursion tickets were just bought at the festival. With the popularity of Frozen, we can't predict the availability of tickets ahead of time so highly suggest getting them in advance if you can!
London Rocks™ debuted May 16 at Busch Gardens® inside the park’s Globe Theatre. The show’s first public performance was one of several technical dress rehearsals held in advance of the show’s scheduled May 23 premiere. London Rocks tells a story about a young girl’s journey to adulthood and the music that influenced her life along the way.
The birth of professional theatre in the New World began in Williamsburg which is why "it is so special to celebrate live entertainment in a unique way that touches the audience through emotion, technology, and great performance," said Vice President of Entertainment at Busch Gardens®, Scott Gasparich.
London Rocks™ is a Broadway quality, lively, and highly entertaining show for the senses. It has the unique ability to engage and enlighten audiences of all ages. London Rocks also marks the permanent return of live entertainment to the Globe Theatre.
“We’ve never produced a show of this magnitude here at Busch Gardens,” Gasparich said. “The state-of-the-art technology used for London Rocks offers production possibilities we never thought possible at the park.”
Review of the show:
Prior to the performance, I got to meet Jacob, one of the ensemble cast members. He told me there are two casts for the production, and they have been rehearsing nonstop for the past month. I asked him if the cast had a favorite number in the show, and he responded that even though every song is really great and visual, the finale is a cast favorite because it is "go big or go home."
Upon entering the Globe Theatre, you are immediately awestruck with the new, giant multimedia stage. While waiting in your seats, the audience is entertained with humorous, short clips of the "Queen of England" teaching proper tea etiquette (pinkies out please!) and giving an overview of theatre rules (silence your cell phones!)
When the show starts, we meet a young girl, her yellow raincoat stands out on the dull London streets. She rushes home to play her newest record, and the musical story begins on her sweet journey through adulthood in the 1960s and 70s. The fun, familiar music bursts through nearly 2,000 audio speakers, and colorful set is glazed with custom video animation and concert-style lighting. I loved the selection of songs. The score features hits from the glory days of the British Invasion, including the Queen, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, and a very heavy emphasis on the Beatles.
Younger audience members will love the musical bit with the puppets of the three children riding in the back of a 70s van that transforms into the psychedelic, imaginative "Octopus' Garden" and "I am the Walrus" mash-up, complete with floating bubbles.
London Rocks was honestly the best show I have ever seen at Busch Gardens® and found the vibrant costumes, dancing, and vocals impressive. As a New Yorker, I grew up on Broadway shows and have seen shows of such magnitude at other theme parks. Although my children weren't familiar with all the songs as I was, they loved the performers and were memorized by the multimedia set.
I highly recommend taking time out of your day at Busch Gardens® Williamsburg (or even PLANNING your day around) to see this newest production! The running time is approximately 30 minutes and premieres to the public on May 23, 2014. Although it is included with Busch Gardens admission, advance, complimentary tickets for specific performances are distributed throughout the day from a ticket booth next to the Globe Theatre on a first come, first served basic. For more information, see the official website here.
As one of the select members of the Busch Gardens Ambassador Blogger group, I was invited to attend the media preview of the show on May 16, 2014. In return for my honest written reviews and attending meetings, my family receives admission, travel discounts, and special perks at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA. All opinions are my own.
Fine Art, Children’s Activities & Street Performers Ready To Hit The Streets for the 23rd Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival
The 23rd annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival is gearing up for its artful and fun-packed weekend set for May 16-18th in Reston Town Center. The nationally-ranked Festival is produced by the non-profit the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) and is presented this year by automaker Kia and its K900 luxury sedan as the Festival’s Signature Sponsor.
* Artists: over 200 juried artists from across the country represented in 16 different categories including Ceramics, Digital and Multi-Media Art, Drawing, Fiber/Textiles, Furniture, Glass, Jewelry, Leather, Metal, Mixed-Media 2D, Mixed-Media 3D, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Wood.
* Performers: street performers, acoustical musical performances (jazz, bluegrass, contemporary), to interactive fun for the kids (hula hoopers, juggling, comedy, and unicycling) there will be something for everyone to enjoy. For the performance schedule, please visit www.northernvirginiafineartsfestival.org.
* Family Art Park – STEAMing Along Together: the ever-popular Children’s Art Tent, a Public Art project, face painting, and a family “Chill-Out” tent, as well as other fun hands-on activities, offered by our sponsors. The theme in the Children’s Art Tent is Art and Science STEAMing Along Together, encouraging families to discover what happens when you add Art to STEM – it creates STEAM. Children of all ages can explore the intersection of art and science, and learn how the two can work together to create exciting art. Hands-on art activities include Magnetic Painting, Wacky Mobile, Fun Architecture and Spinny Tops. In addition, everyone is invited to contribute their artistic touch to the Public Art project sponsored by the Initiative for Public Art-Reston (IPAR) and the Reston Town Center Association. The Family Art Park is open 10-5 Saturday and Sunday and is free to the public.
The Festival will open on Friday night (May 16) with a ticketed Opening Night Party at the Town Center Pavilion, sponsored by The M Group Architects. In addition to festive food and beverages, the party will feature a silent auction and a raffle to win a luxury cruise from Celebrity Cruise Lines. In support of GRACE, there is a suggested Festival entry donation of $5 on Saturday and Sunday, which will entitle patrons to a program, featuring over $50 in discount coupons to Town Center restaurants. Children 18 and under are free. Pre-sale Festival entry can be purchased online at a 20% discount.
23rd Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival
(Produced by the Greater Reston Arts Center)
Reston Town Center - 12001 Market Street, Reston, VA 20190
Friday, May 16, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday May 17, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 18, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Rain or Shine
Website: www.restonarts.org or www.NorthernVirginiaFineArtsFestival.org
Encore Stage & Studio Proudly Presents The 12 Dancing Princesses (with giveaway)
There’s a mystery afoot in King Alfred and Queen Lillian’s kingdom. Uncover the mystery in Encore Stage & Studio – Theatre By Kids, For Kids! production of The 12 Dancing Princesses, a fun fairytale that will keep you on your toes—literally! Every night the King sends his twelve princesses, each more beautiful than the last, off to bed with brand new shoes in a secure chamber in the castle. However, every morning the King awakes to find the shoes worn as if the girls had been dancing all night. Since no one will confess to what has happened, the King promises his kingdom to anyone who can discover his daughters’ secret within three days. Join one hero who is determined to uncover the mystery of the shoes and win his shot at a kingdom and a princess.
“It’s a world of adventure, love, dancing, sword fights, and comedy; a world where you can become part of the story and connect with the characters on stage. Be ready to laugh, maybe cry, smile, and enjoy yourself!” says Sarah Conrad, Director. Click here to read full press release.
Performance Dates and Showtimes:
Friday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 31 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Sunday, June 1 at 3 p.m.
Friday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 7 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Sunday, June 8 at 3 p.m.
Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
125 S. Old Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22204
Encore is delighted to announce their first special Accessible Matinee performance on May 31, 11 a.m. This matinee performance will provide accommodations for children and families with special needs and disabilities. There will be a special pre-performance music by Prelude Youth Orchestra on June 7 & 8 at the 3 p.m. shows.
$12 Adults, $10 Children, Students, Military and Seniors. Tickets are available online at www.encorestage.org or calling our box office (703)548-1154.
Enter to win a 4 pack of tickets to your choice of show below:
To Trend or Not to Trend
by Moss Building and Design
To trend or not to trend, that is the question.
Trends in home remodeling mean a lot to some homeowners and very little to others. This tracks right along with the way some homeowners consider the impact on resale value with every home-related decision they make, while other people do what suits their personal style with little regard to future owners. The current trend of removing the bathtub from the master bath touches both of these issues.
Traditionally, homes in the US have a tub and shower in the master bath which are typically located side by side. Today, many consumers are separating the tub and shower and some choose to eliminate the master tub altogether, particularly when there is at least one other bathtub in the home.
Eliminating the tub provides lots of newfound space which is tough to come by in a bathroom remodel that has to remain within the existing footprint. This master bathroom renovation in Vienna, VA, illustrates just that. The once non-descript bathroom is now a showstopper complete with large shower, bench, beautiful tile, oversized vanity and linen closet. These features mean so much more to the homeowner than the bathtub she never used.
If more storage space is what you’re after, removing the master tub might be your answer. In this bathroom remodel in Fairfax Station, VA the homeowners did away with their tub because they didn’t used it regularly. With the extra space seen below, we were able to create a marriage of style and functionality.
If you love long soaks in a bubble bath, this remodeling trend is one to let pass. However, if the family dog is the only one getting a bath in the master tub, perhaps it’s time to consider the many other ways you could be using that prime real estate.
If this is something you are considering or if you have other remodeling needs, call us at 703.961.7707 or email us at Sales@MossBuildingandDesign.com and we’ll be happy to set up a free estimate to talk about your home improvement needs. We not only work in kitchen and bathroom remodeling, but also specialize in additions and basement remodeling. Additionally, Moss Home Services can provide you excellent service in handyman services, plumbing, electrical, tile, roofing and siding, and structural work. Moss is your one stop shop for all your home improvement needs. Nothing is too large…or too small!
This is a sponsored post by Moss Building & Design. We were compensated for sharing this information. All opinions are our own.
In honor of Mothers' Day, our wonderful sponsors at Baby Blossom are giving away a $50 gift card to be used in their stores. Baby Blossom is packed with amazing baby gear, strollers, furnishings, diaper bags, nursing accessories, and all things baby! There are even toys and books for toddlers and school age kids.
Plus, Baby Blossom has two convenient locations:
To win, just comment below and tell us how you are celebrating Mothers' Day!
Valid towards in-store purchase of any regular price merchandise. May be used at either Fairfax or Reston location. Excludes taxes and or shipping.
Winner will be picked at random at 7 PM on Sunday, May 11, 2014. Please make sure you provide a valid email address. If the winner does not respond to the email within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen at random. All opinions are our own.
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