by Janis Golden
Nestled in scenic Loudoun County on over 400 acres, visitors to Oatlands Historic House and Gardens experience a remarkable glimpse into the past. Oatlands is home to several school and scout programs, family friendly events like the Harvest Festival, specialty tours focusing on the enslaved, gardens and architecture, and beautiful wide open spaces.
"It is hard to believe a place like Oatlands still exists in the middle of the fastest growing county in the country. I encourage everyone to take a look at what Oatlands has to offer – there is something here specifically for you," says Janis Golden, Manager of Programming and Education.
Family-friendly activities at the Oatlands include:
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Staybridge Suites. We received a complimentary stay for sharing our experiences and these opinions are 100% my own. Unless otherwise noted, pictures are property of Kid Trips, LLC.
by Micaela Williamson
Have you ever heard the cliche “I need a vacation from my vacation?" I’m pretty sure parents invented it. As much fun as it is to explore new places, parenting on the road is tough and tiring. When my family visits hotels, I either end up sharing a bed with a kid who kicks me the whole night, or I’m forced to stare at the ceiling or read in the bathroom waiting for my kids to fall asleep. That’s why I was so excited when Staybridge Suites invited me to be part of their campaign.
Staybridge Suites is part of the popular IGH Family of Brands. Each tastefully decorated suite comes with a fully equipped kitchen, well-lit workspace, modern bathroom and free high-speed Internet access. Staybridge Suites also boasts a daily complimentary hot breakfast buffet.
We stayed at the Staybridge Suites in Newport News-Yorktown, Virginia. The hotel is very convenient to many popular tourist attractions including Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, Historic Yorktown, Newport News and Colonial Williamsburg. The region is pretty much a mecca for family vacations! After spending the day at the waterpark, coming back to the Staybridge Suites was relaxing and felt like coming home.
Even though we had booked a one-bedroom suite, I am an IGH rewards member so I was lucky to be upgraded to a two-bedroom suite at no additional charge. This allowed the children and adults to have their own sleeping space, and everyone slept well in their own beds. In fact, my children were so comfortable that they slept later than expected.
We have stayed in many condos/timeshares on vacation in the past, and I always love the convenience of having a kitchen. This gives families the flexibility to cook what they want, store food, and save on travel costs. Since complimentary breakfast is included and we can prepare either a delicious lunch or dinner in the suite, this allowed us to save to have a few nicer, more upscale meals during a family vacation rather than wasting money on fast food or junk.
We adored the elegant design and additional amenities at the Staybridge Suites Newport News-Yorktown property. The hotel had a beautiful indoor pool and hot tub that is perfect for families, laundry facilities on-site, a fitness center, and lots of beautiful outdoor space for grilling or eating out on the patio.
By Amy Suski
If you haven't yet been to an American Girl restaurant, I'll let you in on a little secret: the food is REALLY good and well worth the money any day of the week. In addition to plenty of fun kid options (fruit kebobs, mini cheeseburgers, cake pops) there are delicious adult plates, my favorites being the spinach dip and the salmon. [I've been tempted to sneak in myself after a day of shopping at the mall, but somehow going without my daughter would seem like a betrayal!]
Another secret is that you don't have to purchase a birthday package to ensure your daughter's birthday is celebrated in style. Our daughter Izzy has attended official birthday parties there before (which were a big treat) but we've had just as much fun (for less money) with a "ladies lunch" approach and a few special friends.
Go under the sea and visit with aquatic creatures at these top U.S. Aquariums on the East Coast. We've listed them in order from North to South:
by Micaela Williamson
We're thinking about Back to School, but Curious George is going back to the jungle in his newest movie, CURIOUS GEORGE 3: BACK TO THE JUNGLE, debuting Monday, August 17 on PBS. In this new movie, Curious George takes part on a space mission but crash lands in the jungles of Africa. Not impressed with the space teams rescue efforts, the Man with the Yellow at take it upon himself to search for George. As the Man with the Yellow Hat says in the movie, "The jungle is no place for a monkey." (Ha, ha!)
As usual, George never meets a stranger and immediately makes friends with the jungle animals. After he is finally reunited with the Man with the Yellow Hat, the two need to navigate their way out of the jungle. There is a lot of problem solving, often with George being the problem solver instead of the seemingly knowledgeable Man with the Yellow Hat.
There are some cute musical numbers by the Plain White T's. Parents will also recognize the voice of John Goodman as the goofy head of the space mission, Houston, and Angela Bassett as the African scientist, Dr. Kulinda.
We liked the "can do" and adventurous spirit of Curious George. In this film, he literally shoots for the stars and although he landed in the unknown, he never gives up, always looks on the positive side, and is never too busy to help others.
My kids and their friends (grades preK-3rd) really enjoyed the film. Check out CURIOUS GEORGE 3: BACK TO THE JUNGLE premiering on PBS this Monday, August 17 with encore presentations on August 19, 21, 22, 23 (check local listings.) The DVD is also available for sale in stores and online with a running time of 81 minutes.
Back to School with PBS Kids
If you are shopping for great back to school items, we highly recommend the new line of responsibly sourced back to school products by PBS KIDS® & Whole Foods Market®. As a teacher, I plan on using the new PBS KIDS Butterfly tote for my own lunch (it's not just for kids!,) and I love how it is made of organic cotton, has a velcro cooler pack, and is machine washable. My kids are excited about the bold colored notebooks and folders offered in this line. Plus, all the proceeds PBS KIDS receives goes directly to support its mission of providing the highest-quality programming and educational outreach for kids so you can feel good about giving back. The products are available at Whole Foods and also online at the Official PBS Kids Shop.
I am a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Important Parent) and received the movie and products for review for the purpose of this article. No other compensation was received. I believe in publicizing the mission of PBS KIDS and their dedication to quality, educational children's television. All opinions are my own.
by Micaela Williamson
Did you ever have a time when you looked at your child and thought, "I want him/her to remember this moment for the rest of their lives?" That's how I felt when my son, a rising third grader, and I got to spend the night at the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C. as part of their "History, Heroes & Treasures" sleepover program. The evening was filled with bonding, fun, and some unforgettable experiences.
Upon arrival, we entered through a special security, dropped off our sleeping bags and were brought to the theater for an orientation. While we were waiting for the program to begin, we met costumed historians dressed up as Sally Ride and Meriwether Lewis as well as a present day underwater archaeologist. The were incredibly entertaining and made everyone feel at ease. My son asked "Sally Ride" how many astronauts were on the shuttles, and she told us five on her first mission and seven on her second mission. She quickly added that "Seven was way too many, and since astronauts are only in the capsule of each shuttle, everyone was bumping into each other the whole time. When I came back to earth, I told my supervisors, 'never more than five again!"
We also had the opportunity to chat with other participants and were surprised to find that many states were represented. The sleepover attracts a national audience, not just the local crowd from the DMV.
by Micaela Williamson
My baby is starting kindergarten. Every parent knows this is as much a milestone for mom and dad as it is for little ones. I took my little one to Hanna Andersson to pick out some "big boy" outfits for back-to-school. He choose the vibrant, Getting There Tee with airplanes and the Star Wars™ Lunch Bag, the one he says has "all the characters." Since I know temperatures inside and out can vary, I chose the Very Güd Survivor Jacket In 100% Cotton and the Double Knee Cargo Pants, which besides being durable, they are easy on and easy off for little kids. We also couldn't help ourselves and got the Star Wars™ Boxer Briefs In Organic Cotton. We already had a pair from the spring, and they are seriously my kid's favorite pair of underwear.
I love Hanna Andersson for boys, especially their basics. The clothing is always so comfortable to wear and doesn't shrink or fade. Plus the basics don't look like basics. The colors are cheerful, modern, and easy to mix and match.
Read our top picks for boys, and scroll below to print our special coupon for 15% off your entire purchase through October 18th. I'll definitely be back at my local store picking up some more boy items soon! Happy Shopping!
Those who live in and visit the Washington, D.C. region know that the Smithsonian Museums, which offer free admission every day, are a national gem. On September 26, 2015, nearly 1300 museums across the United States open their doors for free for Museum Day Live! This annual event hosted by Smithsonian Magazine. Tickets are available online now. Take advantage of this special day and go check out a new museum, near or far.
To view the list of participating museums, get tickets, and learn more, please visit the Museum Day Live! website.
By Amy Suski
If there's one back-to-school assignment my daughter Izzy loves, its clothes shopping at Hanna Andersson! She's grown-up wearing the iconic striped long johns, colorful play dresses, and comfy leggings and now that she's getting older, she has graduated to putting together her own playful combinations. At Hanna's she can't go wrong -- everything is super soft and comfortable and can be endlessly mixed and matched. Put together with glittery footwear, fashionable accessories and messenger bags in fun new patterns, it was easy one-stop shopping for a terrific back-to-school look!
Some of Izzy's favorite picks from this season are shown here. [Note: full prices are listed here, but many of these items are currently on sale. For special back-to-school prices visit the website.] Top Left: Pretty in Peplum Top in Chambray ($39), Here to There Cardigan ($45), Capri Leggings ($18), and Sigrid High Top Sneaker ($55). Top Right: Now Playing Dress ($46), Cotton Crochet Necklace ($14), Livable Leggings ($20), Carine Glitter Boot ($69), and Slouchy Hat ($22). For more of Izzy's favorites a and a special discount keep reading!
Kid Trips Northern Virginia Edition
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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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