Hot-spots to travel with kids between 4 to 7 years of age

While I have taken a break from writing my blog, I have seen my son grow from a baby to a seven year old. He has helped us shape our trips in the last few years and we have not stopped trotting domestically and internationally with him. The trips that have most enjoyable include ones where we either spend time with our immediate family and close friends or ones that were focused on activities that aligned with our son’s interest i.e. skiing, farming, horse ranch or elephant camps. All-inclusive resorts/ hotels with an active kids club, a heated pool, restaurant on premises, room with a kitchen/ kitchenette and nature-driven locations have been our favorite so far. We try to keep away from urban hotels and bed and breakfasts that usually have low tolerance for kids below 12 years in age. While our son is young, we do prefer destinations that are in our driving range and along with other like minded families with similar aged kids.

The places that we have enjoyed visiting the most in the past few years include:
• October in Blackberry Farms – Knoxville, TN
• Thanksgiving at Woodloch Resort – Hawley, PA
• Summer time in Colorado i.e.: Aspen, Beavercreek, Denver, Smith Fork Ranch
• Winter in the vicinity: Stowe Mountain, Vermont, ThunderRidge, Hunter Mountain
• Long weekends with family in Boston, MA

Internationally, it has been really fun to travel to:
• Switzerland
• Black Forest region – Germany
• Salzburg – Austria
• Mumbai, Orange County Resorts – India
• Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai in Thailand

The exposure to a variety of people, cultures, activities and languages has helped us as well as our son to value the underlying humanity, love and respect for each other. My son has grown a thorough interest in farming and in animals. I am hoping that traveling will continue to inspire us to widen our horizons and interests beyond our four walls.

A great New England family ski destination – 2.5 hour drive from New York

20140119-153857.jpg

An easy 2.5 hours drive from the city, Hunter is a great ski destination for the entire family. You have the option to make it a day trip or stay overnight at the wonderful Kaatskill Mountain Club. I would give it an A+ for skiing, an B for overnight stay, B+ for rental gear and a C for food.

I would suggest you pre-rent ski’s, pre purchase your ski pass prior to arrival at Hunter. It is fast to get your rentals if you contracts are printed and ready. If traveling with a tot I suggest you start skiing early in the morning and then take a breakfast break at 10:00AM at the Main Lodge. I would even recommend bringing your entire days food rather than eating here. While there are plenty of food options they are somewhat unhealthy and food courts get very busy at lunch time. Get back on the slopes and enjoy till 2:00PM. Grab a quick snack and hit the mountains till 4.00PM. If you can stay till 6:00pm, you can enjoy snow tubing outside the Kaatskill Mountain Club. They have long runs, fast runs, fun runs and runs for toddlers. After all the fun drive out to the town center – enjoy a somewhat healthy dinner and head back to NYC.

Top 10 Science Museums in the US – as per Mensa

Earlier this year American Mensa surveyed it’s members to come up with a list of the best science museums around the US. The list is as follows:

1. National Air and Space Museum (Washington, D.C.)

2. Academy of Natural Science Museum of Drexel University (Philadelphia)

3. Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago)

4. California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco)

5. Bradbury Science Museum (Los Alamos, N.M.)

6. Arkansas Museum of Discovery (Little Rock, Ark.)

7. California Science Center (Los Angeles)

8. Exploratorium (San Francisco)

9. Museum of Science (Boston)

10. Center of Science and Industry (Columbus, Ohio)

In the north east I have come to appreciate science content presented in:

1. Museum of Natural History (New York)

2. Liberty Science Museum (New Jersey)

3. Momath (New York)

In the south I also admire science content at the Children’s Museum in Birmingham – Alabama.

Happy Exploring!

Day trip from NYC: Liberty Science Center, NJ

Liberty Science center, just a boat ride away from New York city is a fantastic destination for kids 2 years old to teenagers. We took a ferry ride from World Financial Center to Paulus Hook station in Jersey City. We walked about 5 minutes to NJ transit station hopped on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail toward 22nd Street or West Side Avenue and exited at Liberty State Park Station.

I have to admit that I loved visiting the museum myself. I had visited this museum last year and this museum has undergone a major change in regards to the number of exciting exhibits, interactivity and its staff. Last year the museum felt empty, major sections of the museum were unused. This year every square inch of the museum was filled with exhibits and interactive stations for kids of all ages. Starting from pixology lab, the block exhibit, simulator ride, dinosaur dig, energy quest, grossology, iExplore, outdoor park and the iMax theatre made for an amazing visit for my 4 year tot and his friend. The staff was extremely helpful in guiding us and providing information to the tots about the exhibits.

Upon some research I realized what had drastically changed at the museum – ofcourse it was its leadership. On Nov 1, 2011 Paul Hoffman began his tenure as CEO of the Liberty Science Center. Mr. Hoffman is a prolific author, chess master, restaurateur, former editor-in-chief of Encyclopedia Britannica as well as Scientific American, television interviewer and paper-game tricks expert, he is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard University. I have vitnessed the change he has brought about and the life he has breathed into this amazing facility.

General admission for an adult and child adds to $35 which is a bit high, but you can truly spend an exciting full day at this amazing museum.