Orlando

The Grove Resort and Water Park Is a Worthy Disney Alternative

When planning a family vacation to Orlando, Florida, you and the kids might have just one destination on the brain: Disney. But actually, as we’ve pointed out before, there’s more to Orlando than theme parks, including plenty of family resorts from which to choose.

If you’re looking off-park for a hotel, consider The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando. The 106-acre resort is just a few miles down the road from the entrance to Walt Disney World, but sits on a pretty tract of land set back from the major highways in a natural marsh and wooded landscape. It has all the favorite perks of a great family resort, including suites for housing extended family, pools, on-site restaurants, a spa, activities for kids, and even a water park.

We just returned from a long weekend at the resort and are happy to share our review.

30 Things To Do in Milwaukee with Kids

John Steinbeck once wrote that Wisconsin is full of surprises, and the state's largest city, Milwaukee, is no exception. With a cosmopolitan feel and midwestern charm, and just an hour and a half drive north of Chicago (plus one of the easiest airports you'll ever travel through), families looking for a new vacation spot should put Milwaukee high on their consideration list the next time they're planning a trip.

Check out our list of 30 fun and interesting things to do with kids in Milwaukee (plus five bonus spots if you're willing to drive a little outside the city). Whether you're looking for the arts or the sciences, a great day outside, soaking up the sun on the shores of Lake Michigan or a fun day in, sampling some of the country's best frozen custard, you'll find something for everyone in the family in Milwaukee.

Joshua Tree: 12 Things Not To Miss with Kids in this Desert National Park

Visiting Joshua Tree National Park is an otherworldly experience: groves of twisted trees and giant boulders create enchanting settings so unique, you might think you have stepped into a fairy tale—or landed on an alien planet. Approximately a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, and a stone's throw from Palm Springs, this park is great for a family camping adventure or just a day hike, because it captures everyone’s imagination. Stroller-friendly trails make it a great option for little trekkers, as do several walks easy enough for young kids (or tired grown-ups) to maneuver. But teens and tweens who never tire will never run out of rocks and boulders to climb over.

25 STEM Activities Easy Enough for Preschoolers

STEM activities are all the rage in education right now, and for good reason. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) – and the Arts for STEAM – are crucial to kids’ learning and our future. But how to get your younger children interested?

They might not be ready for coding, but many preschoolers under age 5, and even toddlers, can enjoy some basic STEM principles through play. Although one of my family’s admitted guilty pleasures is relaxing with a little screen time, I was inspired by the upcoming national Screen-Free Week (April 30-May 6, 2018) to take my daughter on a STEM binge instead.

We built an apple boat, a toothpick-marshmallow castle, attempted a pom-pom drop, and indulged in baking soda science. Read on for a list of 25 tried-and-true screen-free STEM activities to do with your preschooler.

Visiting Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya in Mexico with Kids

Mexico's Caribbean coast is known for its first-class resorts, especially along the Riviera Maya, including towns such as Playa del Carmen and Tulum. So much so that sometimes the sparkling waters, stunning beaches, and swank surroundings of this northern Yucatan peninsula's all-inclusive deals make it hard to want to leave the lovely confines of your hotel.

But there’s so much more to this gorgeous Mexican coastal region just south of Cancun than beachside getaways. To introduce the kids to a taste of authentic culture, including Mayan ruins, natural wonders, and unlimited adventure, you don’t have to go far. Some excursions may take only an hour and others a whole day, but these 25 ideas are surely worthy of drawing the family out of the resort for even just a few hours.

30 Things To Do in Austin, TX with Kids

As a native Texan, I can quickly rattle off about 100 obscure things that make Austin an amazing place for a family getaway. But on a larger scale, Austin, Texas, is widely known for several major reasons. Hailed as the live music capital of the world, Austin is home to one of the nation's most notorious music festivals, SXSW (South by Southwest), as well as the Austin City Limits Festival, and many smaller permanent live music venues throughout the city. Austin is a college town, home to The University of Texas campus, the second largest university in the second largest state in the country. It's also the state's capital, which means it is rich with historical sites, museums, and iconic landmarks. 

The city's popularity is booming thanks in part to the wide variety of culturally enriching activities available, especially for families. "Keep Austin Weird" is the city's unofficial mantra, and boy do they ever keep it weird...in the best way. This list of must-do family activities in the capital of the Lone Star State includes quirky toy shops, breathtaking outdoor sites, unique museums, and even a collection of old "junk" in one man's backyard. And don't forget, we also have awesome ideas for the best things to do with kids in other parts of Texas, including San Antonio and Houston.

50 Indoor Activities for Kids on a Rainy Day

When rain or cold weather keeps kids inside, it can be hard to keep everyone entertained. Of course, NYC offers plenty of amazing children's museums and exhibitsindoor play spaces, and classes and activities where families can take shelter when bad weather arrives, but sometimes staying home can be just as much fun—if you know the right games.

Whatever the reason you're staying put, try one of these 50 indoor, boredom-busting games, crafts, and other things to do with kids to turn a rainy day into a memorable one. 

Beyond the Goody Bag: 10 Great Birthday Party Favor Ideas for Kids

Whether you love them or hate them, party favors are still a huge part of any child’s birthday celebration. I happen to love figuring out favors for these festive occasions, because it’s creative and challenging—something I can happily pat myself on the back for, if done successfully. For that to happen, it needs to be equal parts pleasing for the kids and their parents, and either edible, memorable, practical, shareable, or charitable.

Do yourself a favor and read on for 10 ultra unique ideas to take your little guy or girl’s goody bag from basic to brag-worthy.

For more unique ways to fete your youngsters, check out our list of free ways to celebrate and 10 sweet alternatives to birthday cake, or learn how to create a DIY photo booth for the big event. Planning to celebrate your little one's first birthday soon? We've got ideas for your soon-to-be-turning-one babes, too. Whatever you're looking for, we’ve got birthday hints in the bag.

Can You Visit Legoland on a Disney World Orlando Vacation?

Planning a theme park vacation in Orlando, Florida? Disney World and Universal are the common highlights of an Orlando trip, but there are several other tempting theme parks in the area. If your family has Lego lovers—especially if they're between the ages of 2 and 12—Legoland Florida is a great add-on to an Orlando vacation. But with only so much time and a limited budget, the big question is, "Is it possible to go to Legoland and Disney World on one trip to Orlando?"

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