Cocoa Beach

We went to Cocoa Beach last weekend. My brother lives there now and we wanted to go visit for a bit. There was a launch this past weekend as well. That was cool to see and hear!

The beaches are beautiful and the sand is super soft.

 

The view from dinner at our hotel.

 

The tiki guys were colorful and fun!

We went into Cocoa Village and my brother pretended to fall asleep. It was a nice day to fall asleep!

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Planning Your Trip To an American National Park

If you have a thirst for adventure and a passion to see truly beautiful parts of the world, then exploring America’s National Parks should be at the top of your travel bucket list. Since they’re dotted all over the country, each park is very different, but one thing they all have in common is that they’re the perfect places to get back to nature. You can see spectacular scenery, view the native wildlife and do plenty of outdoorsy activities. Planning your trip beforehand will allow you to get the most out of your visit.

Which National Park

Each American National Park is truly a geological marvel. From mountains to rivers to lakes; there are ice fields, deserts and waterfalls amongst the different parks. Decide what you would most like to see, and make your choice based on that. You get a different experience at every destination.

 

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Source: Good Free Photos

What Will The Weather Be Like

The weather is America is of course massively diverse- from the scorching sun of Arizona to the snow of the Colorado Rockies. Do your research about the climate of different states so you’ll know what to expect. Be sure to pack accordingly, in some parks you will need to stay cool while still being protected from the sun (especially if you plan on being out in it for most of the day). Large sunglasses, wide brimmed sun hats and light yet long sleeve clothing items will prevent you from becoming burned. In others, you will need thermal clothing and a snow shovel!

Things To Do

Many of the National Parks will offer the same kinds of outdoors activities- hiking, bird watching, vehicle tours. However there will also be specific activities based on the climate and type of surroundings. For example, Big Bend in Texas is home to various important fossils including dinosaur bones. Wondering what to do in Big Bend National Park? Visit the fascinating fossil beds of course! In Virgin Islands National Park you can go scuba diving, something that won’t be possible in the colder or inland parks! Some are more untouched wilderness, whereas others offer more touristy things such as shops, spas and retreats. So make sure you look into exactly what’s available when you’re planning your trip.

Camping

During the peak season (around May to October) the National Parks get incredibly busy. Therefore to guarantee camping, it’s essential that you book ahead. During the off season reservations aren’t taken in some parks as the sites don’t generally fill up, so if you’re visiting between November and mid April you’re probably ok for a last minute visit. Campsites can vary, some will offer lodges for a more glamping experience. Others will offer RV hookups whereas in some you are only able to pitch a tent. Of course this makes a huge difference and depending on what you’re after can help you decide which park to pick.

Have you ever visited any of America’s spectacular National Parks? Will you be paying any of them a visit in 2017?

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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The Lone Star State: Kid-Friendly Vacations To Texas

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If you’re looking for a diverse and varied vacation spot, you won’t go wrong with Texas. It has everything your family could wish for, from big cities to small towns, and sandy beaches to hiking trails. It’s big, beautiful and you’ll be sure of a warm welcome.

The state of Texas covers over 261,000 square miles. To put this into perspective, it is larger than several small countries combined. So you won’t be covering the whole state on a short vacation. Here are a few highlights so you can plan your holiday accordingly.

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Dallas

Situated in North Texas, Dallas is a thriving, modern city. If you’re looking for some culture, then check out the museums. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza chronicles the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Dallas Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the USA, and the Nasher Sculpture Center is home to one of the finest collections of contemporary sculptures in the world.

After all that culture, stop by Adventure Landing where the whole family can enjoy fairground attractions, miniature golf, and other fun activities.

A note for shopaholics; there are more malls here than anywhere else in the USA so you can shop to your heart’s content.

 

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Galveston

If it’s a beach holiday you’re seeking, Galveston is your destination. This historic coastal town boasts several beaches, including East Beach, Stewart Beach, Pirate’s Beach and Porretto Beach. Each has their own unique charm and you can either while away the hours sitting in the sun, or take part in one of the many activities.

In addition to the beaches, enjoy spending time at the world-renowned Moody Gardens. Or take part in Mardis Gras or the popular Dickens On The Strand festival.

You’ll find plenty hotels, apartments and a great RV resort in Galveston. Accommodation is plentiful and varied and suits all budgets.

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Houston

About 45 minutes north of East Beach in Galveston, you’ll find the US’s fourth largest city. You can’t visit Houston without stopping at Space Center Houston. Here you’ll learn all about the space programs and experience some of the exciting attractions.

Other family-friendly delights include Houston Zoo, The Houston Museum of Natural Science, Children’s Museum of Houston, Hermann Park and the Downtown Aquarium.

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Austin

Austin is the state capital of Texas and home to the University of Texas. It is known for its thriving music scene which includes everything from big name bands to country singers, jazz and up and coming artists.

Did you know that Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America? During the summer months, hundreds of visitors gather at Congress Avenue Bridge, to watch as the bats emerge for their nightly feed.

Check out some of the city’s street art and murals. You’ll find a mixture of commissioned and non-commissioned work. Some of the murals are known throughout the world.

Whether you’re looking for a multi-site vacation or looking to settle for a week or two, Texas has everything from thriving cities to sandy beaches. When you’re planning your next family vacation, consider the Lone Star State.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Seaworld’s Christmas Celebration Begins This Friday, November 25th! #Seaworld

SEAWORLD’S CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION STARTS THIS FRIDAY

Brighten up this year’s holiday season during SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration, where guests experience the joys of Christmas complete with all-new festivities and returning favorites sure to inspire traditions for years to come. Holiday events take place Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays November 25 through December 11 and then run daily December 16 through 31.

During SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration guests of all ages can delight over scrumptious food, stunning live shows, joyful entertainment inspired by the natural world and much more.

All-New Holiday Festivities 

  • Rudolph’s ChristmasTown –New this year is the Rudolph’s ChristmasTown where guests can meet Rudolph, Clarice, Bumble and Yukon Cornelius from the classic family Christmas television special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Plus, guests can stroll past life-size story book vignettes showcasing the classic Rudolph story.

 

  • Santa’s Workshop presented by Coca-Cola –Meet Santa Claus in an all-new Christmas experience.  Guests can make timeless memories to treasure as they embrace the joy of the holiday season at Santa’s Workshop, presented by Coca-Cola.

 

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Returning Holiday Favorites

  • Clyde & Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas –A returning classic, Sea Lion & Otter Stadium celebrates the season with a hilarious Christmas comedy show.  Clyde and Seamore, along with a few mischievous otters, a comical elf, and even a jolly walrus, invite guests to their fun-filled holiday celebration.

 

  • Shamu Christmas Miracles –Shamu Stadium once again brightens the night with dazzling lights and glowing candles, while Christmas carols abound and Shamu splashes to celebrate the holiday season.

 

  • O Wondrous Night –Experience a live nativity only SeaWorld can bring to life, complete with more than 30 carols, life-sized puppets, and animals in a spectacular Christmas favorite based on The Christmas Story.  Told through the eyes of the animals that were there, O Wondrous Night is a touching, light-hearted, and glorious celebration with a host of angels, animals, and the true glory of Christmas.

 

  • Sesame Street’s Elmo’s Christmas Wish The holidays have arrived, and everybody’s Sesame Street® friends have come to SeaWorld Orlando for a festive and fun musical celebration! Elmo’s Christmas Wish will soon become every child’s favorite show. Join Rosita, Grover, Zoe and Cookie Monster as they work together to help Elmo find his Christmas wish!

 

  • Winter Wonderland on Ice –Christmas comes to life on a stage of ice, jewels and light as skaters dazzle and delight in this show-stopping, ice skating extravaganza.

 

  • Sea of Trees – Families will stroll through a wintery, watery wonderland as they are immersed in a sea of glistening holiday trees that sparkle to music as they light up the water. New this year is a glistening Christmas tree towering 70-feet above the water.

 

  • The Christmas Market –Nestled along the park’s Bayside Pathway, The Christmas Market features festive entertainment and delicious culinary delights. Complete with playful elves, a charming model train village, and the comedic antics of the Christmas Council, the Market is the centerpiece of SeaWorld’s Christmas event. Guests can also relax near the warm glow of the fire pit a holiday cocktail while experiencing a wonderful view of the vibrant Sea of Trees.

 

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Holiday Cuisine

For those looking for unique holiday cuisine, The Christmas Market is filled with fresh-popped kettle corn, waffle cone S’mores, grilled slider sandwiches, short-rib brisket mac & cheese and SeaWorld’s very own apple pie with a unique and delicious twist. Guests can also sip on flavorful hoppy craft brews and specialty flavored hot cocoa located near the stage at Bayside Pathway. Live music under the Gazebo completes the entire experience as guests enjoy the craft brew.

Guests can now indulge their senses with more than 60 delectable bites and craft brews served on tap with two all-new Tasting & Brew Sampler packages.

 

Guests can also enjoy a memorable holiday meal, along with a meet and greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa’s Fireside Feast. The exclusive dinner features an all-you-care-to-eat menu of holiday favorites and delicious desserts.

 

Ring In The New Year at SeaWorld Orlando

On December 31, guests can ring in the New Year at SeaWorld Orlando. Vibrant fireworks will fill the night sky and festive entertainment will take place throughout the park, including interactive DJ stations, craft beers and delectable bites.

Best Way To Enjoy Holiday Cheer

The best way to experience SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration and New Year’s with family and friends is with an Annual Pass. By purchasing a Pass now, guests can get three additional months free.   Also available now is the brand new Transferrable Pass allowing Pass Members to bring a different guest each time they visit SeaWorld Orlando or Aquatica Orlando dependent on the type of Transferable Pass purchased. Pass Members receive exclusive park benefits and rewards, priority access to new attractions and concert seating pre-sales, free tickets and give-a-ways, in-park discounts, access to the Pass Member lounge and much more.

To really sweeten the holidays, SeaWorld Pass Members can enjoy a delicious meal with each visit by purchasing an Annual Dining plan for just $79. The dining plan can be used at many of the park’s restaurants and includes one entrée, one dessert or side and one non-alcoholic beverage per day through December 31, 2017.

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration voted in the Top 10 Best Theme Park Holiday Event by USA Today 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards in 2015.

For more information, park hours and to purchase tickets, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.

Follow SeaWorld on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for the latest SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration details and information.

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SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 28,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection of over 800 species of animals. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company.

 

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and all related elements © & ® under license to Character Arts, LLC. All rights reserved.

Marijean

My name is Marijean, I live in Sunny FL with my wonderful husband and 2 children. I love Disney, Coffee and Blogging 🙂

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The Holidays are Coming to Avenues Mall and St. Johns Town Center

MAKE MAGICAL MEMORIES AT THE SIMON EXPERIENCE AT THE AVENUES AND ST. JOHNS TOWN CENTER THIS HOLIDAY SEASON 

Avoid Lines by Reserving Your Magical Moment with Santa Online 

Popular Caring Santa® event and Pet Photo Nights Offer Special Opportunities for photos with Santa 

Eager children and their families can experience the joy and magic of the holiday season with a visit to the Simon® Santa Photo Experience at The Avenues and St. Johns Town Center.  Children can visit and be photographed with Santa at The Avenues beginning Friday, November 4 in Center Court and at St. Johns Town Center beginning Saturday, November 12 in the Nordstrom Wing. Santa will remain at both centers to listen to holiday wishes until Saturday, December 24.

Save time, avoid the line with Santa by Appointment! Now you can reserve your magical moment with Santa online at http://simon.noerrsanta.com.

“One of the great traditions of the holiday shopping at Simon Malls is the annual family visit to the Simon Santa Photo Experience,” said Lindsey VonHoven, director of mall marketing at St. Johns Town Center. “I know Santa can’t wait to greet children bringing him their holiday wishes.”

Caring Santa provides a sensory-friendly environment for families of children with special needs, to safely experience the time-honored tradition and magic of Santa. The Avenues will host this special event on Sunday, December 4 from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m., prior to mall opening. Guests can register in advance at simon.com/caringsanta Caring Santa events have expanded from seven Simon malls in 2011 to 110 Simon malls today, a new high, reflecting the positive impact of this unique program.

The popular Pet Photo Night returns to the Simon Santa Photo Experience at The Avenues and St. Johns Town Center this year. Many pet owners view their pet as an integral member of the family and are just as committed in caring for their pets as their “human” family members. Pet Photo nights are hosted after regular mall closing and the set gets an extensive cleaning following the event to remove any potential risk to allergy sufferers.  Pet Photo Nights will be held on the following days:

  • The Avenues – Sunday, November 27 from 6-7 p.m. and on Sunday, December 11 from 6-7 p.m.
  • St. Johns Town Center – Sunday, November 27 from 6-8 p.m. and Sunday, December 11 from 7-9 p.m.

The Simon Santa Photo Experience is again sponsored by The Gymboree Corporation. The Gymboree Corporation is a specialty retailer operating stores selling high-quality apparel and accessories for children under the Gymboree, Gymboree Outlet, Janie and Jack, and Crazy 8 brands.

The 2016 Simon Santa Photo Experience and Pet Photo Nights are also sponsored by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment which is celebrating the highly-anticipated release of “The Secret Life of Pets,” available on Digital HD November 22 and on Blu-ray and DVD December 6. Come visit the Simon Santa Photo Experience and receive a fun-filled activity sheet, a custom The Secret Life of Pets holiday headband, and watch highlights from the movie.

This holiday season, Simon invites everyone to celebrate “The Joy of Giving.” Giving is contagious and this season Simon invites everyone to pass that spirit on and ‘Give Love,’ ‘Give Sparkle,’ ‘Give Warmth,’ and ‘Give Fun.’ Join Simon to experience the season’s good cheer with the best of holiday shopping and entertainment.

Throughout the holiday season, shoppers will experience joyous seasonal activations at the Jacksonville Simon centers.

The Avenues:

On Saturday, December 3, everyone on the nice list is invited to Breakfast with Santa from 8-10 a.m. in the Food Court. Join Santa and his elves for crafts, activities, delicious breakfast, and much more. From December 1-24, shoppers will enjoy being serenaded while shopping by local community groups during the Sounds of the Season Holiday Musical Series.

St. Johns Town Center

The 11th annual Holiday Spectacular at St. Johns Town Center will kick off the holiday

season on Saturday, November 12 from 2 – 8 p.m. with a full day of festivities,

culminating with the lighting of the tree by Santa Claus and a fireworks display.

Shoppers will enjoy holiday entertainment including a silent DJ, magicians, holiday

photo opportunities, games, giveaways, interactive hot chocolate station, costume

characters, and more.

Holiday entertainment will include live performances beginning at 2 p.m. at the Main Stage, located in the Town Green in front of Maggiano’s Little Italy on Midtown Parkway.

View More: http://fotoplicity.pass.us/menloparkrenovation

Guests to every Simon Photo Experience will have another opportunity to share Santa’s heart by making a donation via The Noerr Programs to Save the Children. For nearly 100 years, this non-profit has given underserved children in the U.S. a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. Since this program began five years ago, Noerr has collected over $1,000,000 largely due to the generosity of Simon shoppers.

About The Avenues

The Avenues is Jacksonville’s premier family shopping destination. A multi-level indoor center offering 1.1 million square-feet of shopping, The Avenues is home to 5 anchor stores including Belk, Dillard’s, Forever 21, JCPenney and Sears, plus more than 150 of the most exciting specialty retailers in Northeast Florida. Discover your favorite shopping and dining destinations including Aldo, Banana Republic, Buffalo Wild Wings, bareMinerals, Build-A-Bear Workshop, H&M, LOFT, LUSH, MAC Cosmetics, New York & Company, The Limited, Victoria’s Secret and more. The mall is conveniently located off I-95 at the intersection of Philips Highway (US1) and Southside Boulevard. Visit us Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday, 12 – 6 p.m. For additional information, please visit www.shoptheavenues.com or call 904-363-3054.

About St. Johns Town Center

St. Johns Town Center is Jacksonville’s newest and most-talked-about shopping destination with over 16 million visitors each year. Guests can shop, dine, live and entertain in a beautifully designed lifestyle center that offers 1.4 million square feet of unique shopping and dining including many new stores they won’t find anywhere else in Jacksonville. St. Johns Town Center features 11 anchor stores and more than 175 brand name specialty stores. Relax and enjoy the Park Green and Luxury Courtyard, attend community events, or dine at one of our fine restaurants.
For the latest information, please visit www.StJohnsTownCenter.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @StJohnsTownCtr.

About Simon

Simon is a global leader in retail real estate ownership, management and development and a S&P100 company (Simon Property Group, NYSE:SPG). Our industry-leading retail properties and investments across North America, Europe and Asia provide shopping experiences for millions of consumers every day and generate billions in annual retail sales. For more information, visit simon.com.

About Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) is a unit of Universal Pictures, a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com). Universal Studios is a part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

Marijean

My name is Marijean, I live in Sunny FL with my wonderful husband and 2 children. I love Disney, Coffee and Blogging 🙂

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