Wanderer

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Wanderer

USA
Male
Children:
11
11
Countries visited with kids:
Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, USA
Favorite activities:
Indoor Activities, Museums, Outdoor Activities, Parks / Nature Sights, Playgrounds, Water Parks / Pools

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Reviews

  • Aaargh! A pirate adventure offering great views of Cabo San Lucas.

    Reviewed 06 September 2017

    We did the dinner cruise, but they also have a daytime snorkeling trip. I'm not sure about the daytime cruise, but the sunset dinner cruise is a fun way to get out on the water with the kids. It includes unlimited drinks (of both the kids' and adults' varieties), plus a filling and reasonably tasty dinner with enough choice to let everyone eat their fill (although maybe a challenge for special diets). The views of the Cabo San Lucas arch and other rock formations are gorgeous and the pirate show action packed enough to hold your attention, but silly enough to avoid scaring small kids. The whole family had a good time.

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    Tips

    Los Cabos is hot and sunny and there is little shade on the boat. Bring hats and sunblock for everyone. To get a good seat on the boat, be sure to gather as soon as your boat is called from the waiting area - they fill it up and we were glad to be among the first 20 or so on board.

  • A nice introduction to camping for kids - or a fun hotel stay

    Reviewed 06 September 2017

    Las Estacas is located within about a 30 minutes drive from Cuernavaca, known as the city of "eternal spring" in Mexico (itself about an hour from Mexico City). The hotel part has two rooms per small cottage, about as comfortable as any 3-star hotel room. For a bit more adventure, bring a tent and sleeping bags and camp out in the large camping field. It's an easy introduction to camping for the kids, because porters will haul your gear and coolers from the car to the site and back - plus there are clean showers and bathrooms and a place with running water to clean your pots and plates after cooking out on the available grills (no need for a camp stove). Whether you stay in the hotel or a tent, bring swim clothes and snorkeling gear, because the well-landscaped river is incredibly clear and offers a great place to swim (and see the fish and fresh-water lobsters). There is also a rope swing to launch yourself into the river, several places to jump from a height of 6-10 feet into the water, and rafts to rent. Las Estacas charges a fee for all those who choose to camp rather than stay in the hotel, including kids. Young kids stay in the hotel free.

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    Tips

    Besides the chance to try camping in a safe and easy environment, Las Estacas offers a fun campfire experience for the kids. They lead a number of songs and games around the fire and then provide sticks and marshmallows to roast. Bring your own chocolate and graham crackers if you want s'mores. There is also a restaurant for those who don't want to cook out for all their meals - and the opportunity for those in the family who wish to camp to do so while others choose the hotel.

  • Pleasant small zoo with great views and climate

    Reviewed 06 September 2017

    This is one of my favorite zoos and the kids always enjoy a visit here. Located near the SB bird sanctuary and East Beach, you have great views of the ocean, Channel Islands, and more from within the park. For a zoo its size, there is also a very nice variety of animals, most of which have a decent amount of space to roam and feel like they are in nature. Having seen the majestic California Condors in flight in the mountains, I am always a bit saddened to see them restricted to the space in the zoo, but I am also aware of the crucial role the zoo played in rescuing the species from near extinction. Highlights include the big cats, the elephants, the gorillas, and the giraffes. The zoo was once home to Jemima the giraffe with the crooked neck (a birth defect) and still sells souvenirs of her.

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    Tips

    Besides the animals, kids enjoy the train ride, which not only visits many of the animals, but affords a great look at the neighboring bird sanctuary (and the best view of the lions). The highlight for many kids, though, is the playground with the sledding hill, a grassy mound that kids slide down using pieces of cardboard boxes. It's a good idea to bring your own pieces of cardboard, since there is not always enough left behind by others for all kids who don't bring some. If you will visit more than once, consider a family membership (which includes parking). Has reciprocal access for members of a number of zoos around the United States.

  • One of the best parks/playgrounds in Santa Barbara

    Reviewed 06 September 2017

    Relax in the shade while your kids explore this complex wooden castle and surrounding swings and jungle gyms. This is one of the better wooden playgrounds I've seen and the kids have a great time when we visit. It's ideal fro a birthday party or family outing, or just a brief stop by. There is plenty of room for parents to hang out while the kids play.

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    Tips

    Bring along a picnic or takeout lunch and have pleasant afternoon in the park. It's not far from downtown SB shopping, and also relatively close to tourist landmarks like the Mission or Courthouse. It's easy to combine a visit here with sightseeing or errands. Not really for older kids (teens), though.

  • Great views of city and real castle, but a bit of a hike

    Reviewed 04 September 2017

    The castle experience pales somewhat to the better castles of Europe, but it is the one castle in North America where an actual king reined, if only briefly. This could be a fun fact for kids, or maybe they'll merely enjoy seeing the castle and some of the old suits of armor and fancy carriages while you take in a bit more of the history on display. You'll learn a bit about the US Army storming the castle during the Mexican-American War as well as about the Mexican Revolution.  The upper floor of the castle offers excellent views of the city, Chapultapec Park, and the surrounding mountains (at least on a clearer day). Part of what makes the tour less of a great experience than some of its European counterparts is the fact that there are no restaurants or cafes at the top - or even simple drink vendors.

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    Tips

    It is a bit of a hike up the hill to the castle, and they confiscate water bottles (if they notice them) before you can enter. Be sure your kids are up for the steep walk up and back, especially on a hot day. There is an elevator at the base, but it is only for handicapped and those with medical needs (and not all members of their party).

  • Quieter than other locations we've been to, but same experience

    Reviewed 02 September 2017

    You pretty much know what to expect going to Chuck E Cheese's, but what struck me here is that it's a lot quieter than some locations we've visited. It's located in a high-end shopping center on the north side of the fashionable Polanco neighborhood. We don't tend to eat during our visits to Chuck E Cheese's, but there are several nearby restaurants in the same shopping center with better food and children's menus (we especially like Bajia) where you can eat before or after the kids play. Like most of these places, the prizes are not worth the money you spend on the tokens for the kids to play, so the point has to be the enjoyment of the experience, not the excellence of the loot.

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    Tips

    It's a good location for birthday parties, since it rarely tends to be very crowded in our experience.

  • A great climbing gym for parents & kids

    Reviewed 02 September 2017

    There is a very good mix of difficult and easier climbs here, so the parents and kids can both test their limits, whatever their experience and skill levels may be. Gear is available for rent for those who don't have their own. My son had a great  time trying various routes, and even watching me demonstrate some of those that were too difficult for him. A visit of 2-3 hours was enough for both of us.

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    Tips

    The gym is made for "bouldering" - meaning low-altitude climbs without ropes. You'll need to stay close to your kids when they're climbing to spot them and ensure a safe landing. You'll also need to make sure they don't wander under other climbers so no one accidentally falls on them.

  • Not meant for kids, but they will still enjoy it

    Reviewed 02 September 2017

    I came with a group of adults for lunch, but immediately saw that this was a place my kids would enjoy. The grounds have peacocks, flamingos, parrots, and exotic birds wandering around - as well as toucans and other tropical species in cages. If your kids enjoy birds the way mine do, it's definitely worth a visit. It doesn't hurt that it's also a lovely garden where you can sit outside in Cuernavaca's eternal spring-like climate enjoying nice drinks and fantastic food.

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    Tips

    If your kids have a hard time sitting still and want to run around on the grass, then this probably isn't the place to bring them. The restaurant and garden are part of a luxury boutique hotel and spa, so it's really for well behaved kids who can take in the birds and scenery with a bit of calm.

  • A must-do activity with kids when visiting Mexico's Mayan Riviera

    Reviewed 11 May 2017

    Xel-Ha has just about everything you want for a day of fun and water-based adventure in a mostly natural setting. The giant lagoon makes for good snorkeling and a nice introductory experience for kids. On top of that, there is rafting on the lazy river, nature hikes, smaller grottoes and ceynotes, and the swaying bridge which is fun to cross with modest waves. For those looking for a bit more excitement, there is a short ropes course over the water (we did the rope traverse and zip line into water with our kids) and - for the especially daring - a couple places to practice your cliff diving! The park isn't cheap, but worth the price if you spend the day there. Plus, meals are part of the all-inclusive price and the buffet where we ate was pretty good. Overall, everyone had a good time and we were glad to spend most of a day there. It's a bit commercial for some tastes, but most should enjoy the experience.

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  • Good chance for adults to enjoy a nice meal while kids have fun nearby

    Reviewed 27 March 2017

    The Interconti's Chiquiclub offers parents visiting or living in Polanco a chance to let their kids unwind a bit while mom and dad enjoy a nice meal in one of the hotel's many restaurants, including those with French, Italia, and Mexican cuisine. The kids can eat as well, at the club's small buffet table. The club offers adult-supervised playtime and crafts in a safe environment close to the restaurants. Although it offers services for kids up to 12 years old, I'd expect most 11 or 12 year old kids to be rather bored. For those 8 or 9 and under, it seems fine. Our 7-year-olds said they'd be happy to go back. The cost of the club and the buffet meals can be charged to the parents' restaurant bill. If you have plans in Polanco (on the north side of the hotel) or Bosque de Chapultapec (on the south), this is not a bad choice for a meal before or after.

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  • One visit is not enough - plan on going at least twice

    Reviewed 26 February 2017

    While a single visit is not enough, we felt that multiple visits is better than staying all day long, especially when visiting with kids. This museum has one of the finest collections of antiquities from the Americas you can find anywhere, and the kids were fascinated despite working through more than half the museum (and not having their cameras). The ''Aztec Calendar'' is the most famous piece in the collection (and worth the visit), but the number of highly detailed artifacts and partial temple reconstructions by Mayas, Aztecs, and many other indigenous nations is fascinating. Tickets are cheap, so feel free to take your time if you're in Mexico long enough for multiple visits. The museum restaurant has pretty good food choices, too, so you don't need to hunt for other food options during the visit. This is one of Mexico City's true ''can't miss'' attractions and one of the great museums of its kind anywhere. Chapultepec Park itself is worth taking time to wander around, so the museum can be a part of a day filled with variety.

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  • Lava Tubes. Caves. Underground rivers and lakes. What more could kids want?

    Reviewed 30 January 2017

    When in the Canaries, it's absolutely necessary to rent a car and explore. These caves were one of the highlights of our visit to Lanzarote and the kids had a great time. It's one of the more enjoyable cave complexes I've had a chance to visit. The underground lakes and rivers were some of the best moments, but there really wasn't any downside to the visit. Go see it if you're on the island!

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  • Good fun for kids of all ages. Maybe even adults.

    Reviewed 17 January 2017

    You have to try to ignore the smell of sweat, which can range from faint to powerful depending on the time of day and heat, but your kids will thank you. For kids of all ages, there is the section for long rows of parallel trampolines, letting kids bounce down the length of the aisles and off the angled walls at the ends, plus a separate section for one kid at a time to try more advanced tricks. There is also the trampoline lane leading to the leap onto a massive air cushion, that younger and older kids will love. From there, it breaks into areas for older and younger kids. Cloud Kids is a section of padded slides, balls, and more for kids 7 and under. On the other end, there is the dodge ball court for playing the favorite childhood game with the added twist of trampolines - and a separate area for trampoline-assisted slam dunks. To top it off, there are the guided gymnastic activities for kids who sign up for classes. Cloud 10 also has birthday party options for kids and adults alike.

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  • Kids like amusement parks, but it rains a lot in Brussels. No problem, go to Plopsa Indoor!

    Reviewed 13 January 2017

    The rides are probably a bit too oriented to younger kids for your teens to be very interested, but younger kids will have a great time. Most of the rides are indoor, ranging from a small roller coaster to spinning swings to a giant slide, among others. Outdoors has a few good rides too, plus a large climbing structure that the kids loved. It's actually a good idea to go on a day with good weather to take advantage of the outdoor activities, plus the fact that the lines indoors will be shorter. Worth a try, rain or shine.

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  • Not quite Space Camp, but as close as you'll get in Belgium. Kids should have fun there.

    Reviewed 10 January 2017

    Kids under aged 4 might enjoy, but it's probably best for 5 and older. The museum is primarily done on a set tour time schedule, so don't go thinking you'll be able to move through at your own pace. Also, get the headphones for the guided tour (extra cost) for the kids too, or they may be bored in certain sections (or you end up like us awkwardly trying to share with the kids). Some parts of the tour might be dull for young kids early on where there is more talking and less moving, but it picks up as you move through the model of a space shuttle and other larger, more interesting exhibits. The best parts are the simulated moon walk (a highlight for the kids, being strapped into the spring-mounted device that allows them to take giant, bouncing steps across the floor while watching primitive virtual reality images of the moon. The video theater is also worth a visit and is educational about astronomy and space exploration. The museum is not really near anything else, so requires its own day trip from Brussels. If your kids are interested in space at all, it will be worth the trip.

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  • Because it doesn't ALWAYS rain in Brussels - try a visit to BLOSO.

    Reviewed 09 January 2017

    Along with De Nekkar, one of two great outdoor parks with playgrounds to visit with kids on a weekend day with nice weather not far from Brussels. We came here a few times and the kids always enjoyed to playgrounds. There are several, a few near the food court area allowing a variety of climbing, jumping, and sliding activity. Another stands on the sandy beach and partly in the small lake. This is a good spot for relaxing and for cooling off.

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  • Take your kids on a real submarine ride!

    Reviewed 05 January 2017

    It won't be the most amazing display of fish you've ever seen, but it's a fun enough ride if your kids aren't claustrophobic. There are a few surprises planted along the way, including some decorations added to a sunken boat and interesting inhabitants like a sea snake. The fish life was fun for the kids, even if not quite as spectacular as some of the dive sites near Kona. I wouldn't place this before visiting Volcano National Park or Mauna Kea, but it's a good thing to add to your itinerary with kids on the Big Island. Good restaurants nearby will make for a good lunch before or after the ride.

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  • If you're in London, you ride the Eye. Don't resist the cliche - embrace it!

    Reviewed 05 January 2017

    Is it one of the more obvious tourist attractions in London? Yes, of course it is. Should you ride it? Yes, of course you should! The Eye provides some of the best ''aerial'' views of London near Parliament, Big Ben, and the Thames River. Package tickets with other London attractions, like Madame Tussauds or the London Dungeon are available. There is always a roll of the dice with the London weather, so you will want to pay close attention to the weather forecasts for the best experience, but it's worth the risk. The pods are large with lots of room to move around and the kids had a good time taking and posing for photos. If you or your kids have serious fear of heights, then skip it. Otherwise, it's a must do.

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  • Lisbon's Oceanarium deserves its reputation - kids love it!

    Reviewed 05 January 2017

    You can't visit Lisbon with kids and not go to the aquarium. It definitely deserves its reputation as one of Europe's bets. Our kids loved the variety of marine life they could see here, from sharks to jellies to sea stars and more. We came on the Hop On Hop Off bus, which we do not recommend since it seems to run too irregularly, and ended up heading home by taxi. The aquarium, though, was worth the trip to this side of town and had everything you would want in such a place. The large, 5 million liter main tank has thousands of species and is one of the more impressive collections we've seen. It's about as close to taking the kids scuba diving with us as we'll get until they're a few years older. Rays, lion fish, sea horses --- it's all here.

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  • A worthwhile day trip when visiting northern Mallorca

    Reviewed 02 January 2017

    While staying in northern Mallorca, we tried to do a short day trip most afternoons, and found a visit to Pollenca to be quite rewarding. Not only was lunch in the charming market square enjoyable, but the climb up (and back down) the 365 steps afforded us fantastic views of the sea and the other nearby sites. The small church at the top is a nice bonus, but you're really looking for the view more than the architecture at the top. It might be a tougher climb on a hot summer day (we were there in spring), so be sure to bring hats and water.

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  • A long drive - but well worth it for the scenery

    Reviewed 02 January 2017

    The things about the lighthouse that make it worth a visit with kids have little to do with the lighthouse itself, which we found fairly unspectacular as lighthouses go. The drive out the peninsula and the sheer cliffs over the Mediterranean, however, are stunning and worth seeing. Kids should also enjoy seeing the many goats climbing all over the cliffs and the buildings. Ours loved this and climbing on the rocks, as well as taking a few photos. Be prepared for the long drive and the many bikes you may encounter along the way slowing down the traffic in the narrowest and windiest parts of the road. Also think about heading out in the morning so that the parking lot is not full when you arrive, requiring a longer wait for a spot.

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  • A great playground in North Arlington for young kids

    Reviewed 02 January 2017

    Lyon Village Park is a reasonable walk from addresses between Clarendon and Courthouse metro stations in North Arlington. It's meant for kids 5 and under, but might be OK for 6 or 7 year olds in a pinch. It's at its best on a hot summer day (as is typical in the Washington, DC, area) when the spray park is operating, giving kids a wet chance to cool off. There's enough shade for parents to get some relief from the heat too. The playground equipment is great for the 3-5 year old crowd, a bit too simple perhaps for older kids.

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  • Who knew that Westminster Abbey would be a fun place for kids?

    Reviewed 02 January 2017

    We never thought that this would be a place that would be so engaging for 6-year-olds. They tend to be troopers visiting churches and such places and even enjoy taking their own photos, but also often get bored before we're quite done seeing what we want to, as young kids will. Westminster Abbey is prepared for the chance of parents with bored kids and has created a special treasure hunt for the kids, finding different art works and depictions of animals and other images in the carvings. I think we counted hundreds of lions! After seeing the place quite thoroughly, they were rewarded in the gift shop with large Belgian chocolate coins wrapped in commemorative gold foil. As a bonus, the Abbey restaurant is well worth a visit. Consider timing your visit to coincide with lunchtime.

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  • A nice place for a family stay on Maui

    Reviewed 02 January 2017

    The Hyatt is part of a long line of high-rise hotels along a very nice Maui beach. The two bedrooms and one of the most comfortable fold-out sofas I've seen make this an ideal accommodation for up to 6 people in a family. The kitchen is well appointed making it easy to prepare meals in the room when not eating in one of the resort restaurants or traveling around the island. The kids loved the pools in this and the neighboring Hyatt which shares facilities. They also loved the sunset ceremony lighting the torches around the grounds every evening. Overall, this was a good place to stay for exploring the island as well as just enjoying the beach and pools.

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  • If you didn't go to the Monkey Forest, you didn't really see Bali.

    Reviewed 31 December 2016

    The Monkey Forest near Ubud is one of the true must-do activities when visiting Bali - whether or not you are traveling with kids. With the children in tow, there's no excuse for missing it. The sanctuary is a great way to see old growth forest, old ruins, and scores of monkeys. Don't bring too much food you don't want the monkeys to try to steal and be prepared for a good deal of walking, but it will be worth the effort to visit. It's a great place for photographers, nature and animal lovers, and those interested in old Buddhist culture.

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  • The waterpark choice in Tenerife for parents with younger kids

    Reviewed 31 December 2016

    Along with Siam Park, this is one of the two main water parks on the southwest side of the island. The consensus seems to be that Siam Park is the place to go with teens and for adults, while Aqualand is where you go with kids in their early teens and under. There were many slides that could be intimidating for our 5-year-olds, but probably not thrilling enough for those above about 14. Still, parents of young kids will find plenty of slippery good times to make the visit fun for the whole family. A surprise for us was that the park's shop had very reasonable prices. We had wasted time hunting for things like rash guards, sunblock and goggles before going. No need - you can find these things there, and cheaper than in many stores around the island.

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  • Enjoyable family destination in Cyprus - especially for young kids

    Reviewed 28 December 2016

    This was our first real vacation other than visiting family with the kids, and it was a great choice. Cyprus is well worth a visit anyway, and this hotel offered excellent family accommodations for three adults and two almost-two-year-olds. The pools had enough to keep the kids entertained and active and the animations/entertainment for kids had them mesmerized. It was an odd introduction to Swedish children's pop culture, since the characters in the shows were mostly from Swedish cartoon ''Bamsa the Bear'' and also featured Coco the Clown and Raj-Raj, the latter speaking partly Swedish and partly English with routines performed to Scandinavian pop. The kids wouldn't let us miss a single Coco show. Nearby towns are worth a visit for a change of pace, and there is an excellent, large waterpark that the kids loved (and a smaller one a short walk from the hotel, although with freezing water).

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  • A Warsaw Christmas must-do

    Reviewed 10 December 2016

    If you're in Warsaw for Christmas, the two things you must see are the illumination in Old Town and along Nowy Swiat-- and the lights at Wilanow Palace. The light sculptures and the music and light show at Wilanow will enchant kids and parents alike. Be prepared for all the vendors peddling cheap toys and souvenirs to tempt your kids, but don't let them keep you away.

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  • A fun kid-themed climbing gym that could use a tweak or two

    Reviewed 09 December 2016

    For the most part, this is a great place for kids who like to climb, or just want to try. There are only a few typical climbing walls familiar to climbing gym regulars (with the small, rough, rock-like holds). Most of the walls are brightly-painted with imaginative themes, from King Kong on the Empire State Building to the Eiffel Tower to story book scenes. The paint is one of the downsides, as it is glossy and slippery, particularly when the climber sweats a little (this could be most problematic on a hot day). The hand and foot holds are mostly large, helping the kids (and adult climbers) hold on, but a rougher surface on top of the holds would be a good idea. They have a very clever (spring-loaded?) belaying system installed that eliminates the need for an active belay (with a person controlling the rope to catch the climber) and assures a safe and slow descent in case of a fall. Parents still need to keep a close eye on kids just to be certain that they are properly secured. They might even want to climb alongside their kids and help them find hand and foot holds or just offer encouragement. My only other criticism, and as a longtime climber I think it's an important one, is that the harnesses need to be sized to fit the climber. One size fits all is not a good way to go with climbing safety equipment. Manufacturers make kid-sized harnesses for a reason and it's surprising that a place intended primarily for kids doesn't provide a variety of sizes like other climbing gyms do. My son's gear was up in his face no matter how tightly we adjusted the harness. He wasn't going to fall out, but he could easily have been bruised or scratched by getting hit in the face or forehead by the carabiner or other metal parts.

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  • My son had a great time, and so did I!

    Reviewed 09 December 2016

    My son loves climbing, but has so far had only limited exposure to the sport using the full array of technical equipment. As a long-time climber myself, I'm having a great time introducing him to the finer points of the sport, and as a father I'm happy to have good chances to instill a sense of how to climb safely. Earth Treks offers good equipment in a large facility with a lot of climbing options. Although my son is a bit uneasy with heights, his ability to focus on the challenges of the routes had him reaching new heights and coming down very (justifiably) proud of himself. You don't need to have decades of experience to bring your kids here, since they also offer lessons for kids and adults alike. The climbing routes include a few labeled as introductory routes, and go up to moderately difficult and extremely difficult (for those for whom U.S. climbing ratings make sense: there are a handful of climbs rated 5.5 to 5.7 that are within the ability of beginners, and super hard 5.12+). The rental gear and rates are fine for those wanting to try it out, and the shoes and harnesses are appropriately sized for the climber (some places absurdly put kids in adult harnesses). If you're going to go back often, you'll want to invest in the gear.

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  • Famous for red rocks and beams of light - fun for kids too!

    Reviewed 09 December 2016

    While Lower Antelope Canyon is perhaps the more pleasant of the two similarly named canyons near Page, Arizona, the famous narrow beams of light shining from above through the narrow slot canyon's red rock walls make this a must-do for visitors to the Lake Powell area. If your kids like to take pictures, this will be fun for them too. Unlike Lower Antelope Canyon, you will enter and exit through the same end of the canyon, meaning that visitors are pressing both directions at once, creating a number of traffic jams at tight spots and making it quite difficult to take photos without people in them. Other than those looking up, that is. To catch the mentioned light beams, it's important to come at one of the peak times (about an hour or so before and after noon when we were there in August). It's probably a good idea to avoid weekends to cut down on crowds. Approaching the canyon requires a ride from the tour operator to and from in a large bus or jeeps. Like all slot canyons on the Navajo Reservation near Page, you will need to hire a tour guide. Also, like many highlights of the Navajo Reservation, you will need a photo permit for commercial photography - or even just to legally post your photos on the internet/social media. Arrange both well in advance. Kids should enjoy the ride to and from the canyon through the dry river bed, and the hike in the canyon is short and easy. Bring plenty of sunblock and water, wear a hat, and give the kids their own cameras, and your trip could be as fun as ours was!rn

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  • Stunning example of nature's beauty - and an easy hike for kids

    Reviewed 08 December 2016

    Lower Antelope Canyon is a dream come true for photographers and nature lovers with an appreciation for deserts, red rock, and slot canyons. Located just outside Page, Arizona, it also offers easy access to Lake Powell to cool off from the desert heat before or after the hike. Like Upper Antelope Canyon (and the other nearby slot canyons), it is necessary to book a tour from one of the operators licensed by the Navajo Reservation. This requires a bit of planning in advance, as tours can book up months in advance during the peak summer season. If you wish to sell photos or to publish photos online (even for non-commercial use), the Navajo Reservation also requires you to get a license from their local office (which can also be done in advance through the internet). Once you're there, you will likely encounter a bit of a wait to enter the canyon, even with reservations for a specific time, so bring sunblock, a hat, and plenty of water. The entrance requires going down a steep set of metal stairs, which might make those with a fear of heights a bit squeamish. Once in, however, it is an easy walk on the sandy bottom through the often quite narrow canyon. The guides space out the groups enough that it's not difficult to get photos with other people in them even on a weekend in the middle of the summer. Our kids enjoy taking photos with their own cameras, so there was very little complaining about the heat. Everyone had a good time and the canyon is short enough that it is not a strenuous hike even for 5 or 6 year old kids. Highly recommended! NOTE: Watch weather forecasts - due to the risk of flash floods, tour operators will not allow visitors to enter the canyon when it will rain.

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  • Great climbing gym for adults - and their kids

    Reviewed 08 December 2016

    After promising my son for some time that I'd take him climbing with ropes and harnesses, I finally made the trip over to Stone Age with him. I had hoped to sign him up for lessons with the center's instructors, but the wait lists were quite long. It might be possible to get higher up if you find out when they sign kids up for the new year, but luckily they do not require instructions if the adult knows how to climb and belay. rnrnMy son had a great time climbing, and I was only required to pay for him to climb if I was only there to accompany him and belay (that means controlling the safety ropes). There were enough routes within the ability of a relative beginner for him to feel challenged without being overwhelmed. Ideally, I felt I should have gone with friends to get a chance to climb too (to demonstrate technique for my son, as well as to have a little work out of my own).

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  • Fun for the kids and the grown-ups

    Reviewed 08 December 2016

    With a nice park and playground close by, the rail road is a pleasant way to spend a few hours. Everyone should be able to enjoy the ride on the small train, particularly any train enthusiasts in the family. Pay attention to the season start and end dates, though. We showed up a week late the first time we tried to visit and had to wait until the following summer! Once we'd finally experienced the ride, we thought it had been worth the wait. On a nice day, the park is also pleasant for a walk and has a decent playground for small kids.

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  • Younger kids will love this playground. Parents will love the view.

    Reviewed 20 November 2016

    The playground is right on Cabrillo Blvd - the main beachfront road in Santa Barbara. The location isn't the only good thing about this park, though. Kids love the soft surface and the shipwreck theme of the playground structures. It is conveniently close to the carousel, Stearn's Wharf and East Beach - among many other attractions. A must for pre-teens in Santa Barbara.

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  • Our family loved this as our Lanzarote base - but the pools are COLD!

    Reviewed 18 November 2016

    We enjoyed our time at this hotel with friends. Our kids loved playing together in and around the grounds - and the children's entertainment (animations) that went with it. The pools, however, are not heated and were rather cold even in the summer. The one heated pool is indoors and is accessible only when you pay a premium and the hours for family use are somewhat limited. This is one thing the hotel absolutely must change. rnrnThe half board option worked well for us, and the kids always found plenty they were willing to eat (besides the plentiful desserts). A nice perk was the on-site car rental, which we took advantage of for day trips around the island - a must for any visitor. You can't go to Lanzarote and not visit the cactus park and the caves up north.

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  • Decent neighborhood playground. No more, no less.

    Reviewed 18 November 2016

    It's a simple playground, which is sometimes all your kids need. If you live (or are staying) somewhere between Rosslyn and the Courthouse in Arlington, VA, and your kids (aged 3-10) need a place to blow off some steam, this hidden playground behind Fire Station 10 is not a bad option. It's close to the CVS, Target, and Safeway, so can be combined with a shopping trip - or with dinner out at one of the many nearby restaurants.

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  • OK for very young kids as introduction to dance. Older kids can do better.

    Reviewed 18 November 2016

    This dance school provided a nice introduction to dance for our young children for a couple years. It's a very basic introduction, though, so if you're hoping your child will be a future dance star, you might look elsewhere. This is just for the kids to have a bit of fun with an introduction to the concept of dance. Despite the course professing to teach jazz and tap, they really learned neither, and recitals (always expected to be weak mostly due to the young age of our kids) were a mix of uninspired ''choreography'' set to poor music choices. That said, our kids enjoyed it during the first year or so. Not a bad start for very young kids, but from what we saw at recitals, it doesn't improve as the kids get older. Use this as a stepping stone to other dance classes.

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  • If you like the Air & Space Museum in DC, you'll love the Udvar-Hazy location

    Reviewed 10 November 2016

    The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in DC has long been one of the favorite museums for kids going to the nation's capital. The Udvar-Hazy location of the museum raises the bar - a lot. The kids loved it, and we were right there with them. The huge exhibit space offers a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird (cool even if you're not an X-Men fan) and the Discovery space shuttle. Even without the dozens and dozens of other planes, this would have been a worthwhile visit. rnrnBesides all the planes, space vehicles, and other aerospace items, there are also flight simulator rides and fun photo opportunities to appear as though you and your family are in space suits in space or before the space shuttle. rnrnIt's definitely a place you need to drive to unless you have an appetite for a long commute on public transportation. The parking fee is well worth the price of admission.

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  • A classic for adults - but fun for kids too

    Reviewed 10 November 2016

    Visiting Madame Tussauds wax museum while in London seems almost a cliche. Yet, we thought the kids would enjoy it and they did. They showed little interest in the first sections with famous celebrities that appealed to the adults. But they started to enjoy seeing the royals, some rock and pop stars, and U.S. and international political figures. Once we got into Star Wars and superhero territory, their interest shot way up. In the end, they had a great time. rnrnA word of warning: if your kids are young and/or sensitive, skip the torture/dungeon section. There is a staircase that bypasses this exhibit and its graphic images.

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  • "The Croods Museum" - a highlight of our Duesseldorf visit

    Reviewed 08 November 2016

    If you are visiting Duesseldorf with kids, you owe it to yourself to make the trip out to the Neander Valley (Neander Thal), where Neanderthal remains were first discovered in caves. We'd recently watched the animated film ''The Croods'' so told the kids we were going to the ''Croods' Museum'' and the name has stuck. The museum includes many interactive components for kids, including the ability to make their own shell necklaces (after boring holes in the shells themselves), crack nuts with rocks, and try their hands at an archaeological dig. Even without this, the excellent displays of bones, tools, and models of various prehistoric humans fascinated our kids. For those with older kids with a bit more patience, doing one of the outdoor tours to the caves would likely be worthwhile and we hope to do this if we're ever back in the area.

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  • Rainy Brussels knows how to do indoors fun

    Reviewed 08 November 2016

    When you're as famous as Brussels for cold, rainy days, you learn to put almost all types of attractions indoors with heat. So of course Brussels has a great indoor water park. Aqualibi offers a large variety of pools and water slides, ranging from those for small kids to high, speedy rides for older kids and adults. There is also plenty of pool space and a lazy river, so neither kids nor parents should get bored, whether there for a few hours or the whole day. Some rides can get a bit crowded on popular days, so it's good to go early or on off days.

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  • One of the kids' favorites

    Reviewed 08 November 2016

    If you're running, walking, or biking along the ''Old Railway'' track (leading from near Stockel toward Parc Malou, Parc du Source, and Parc de Woluwe) as so many do, while passing by the Stade Fallon sports complex, you could easily overlook the small playground behind one of the buildings near the sports fields. Your kids might regret it if you do, since this was one of our kids' favorites. They'd ride over and back along the tree-covered trail (the Old Railway) and spend as long as we'd let them on the enjoyable, multi-faceted jungle gym. There are a few parts that have potential falls that parents might want to supervise closely with young kids, but our kids quickly got the hang of all parts. A nice diversion when the weather cooperates.

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  • Kids had a good time, but the pumpkin patch was a bit of a let down

    Reviewed 08 November 2016

    The kids had a good time when we visited in October with their friend, particularly going on the hay ride and visiting the small petting zoo (a number of goats, chickens, and a lama). There was a picnic area where you can eat what you've brought along or something bought there. The store has a nice selection of jams, nut butters, fresh apples and vegetables, and more. We were a bit disappointed in the pumpkin patch at the end of the hay ride. Rather than a true pumpkin patch with pumpkins growing on the vine, it was a grassy field with a large number of pumpkins left in it. You could still find a nice pumpkin to take home to carve and make into soup, pie, or whatever you prefer, but we'd been with the kids to a farm with pumpkins on the vine and had all enjoyed that authentic experience much more. Still, the kids had a good time in the fresh air and we did take home a few pumpkins and squashes. We heard the apple picking is good there, but were too late in the season to try. There is a nearby winery parents might be tempted to visit with a pleasant ambiance (but keep your expectations low). They had baby piglets that the kids enjoyed seeing.

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  • Worth a ride when visiting the aquarium

    Reviewed 08 November 2016

    If you are visiting Lisbon with kids, you must take them to the aquarium - one of the best we've visited. And if you're there on a day with good weather, then you have to take this ride to get this view of the Lisbon waterfront from up high. While it's not as spectacular as it might be if it were in the historic district, it's still a fun experience for the kids. As a bonus, it passes over a long row of restaurants that you can visit before or after the ride.

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  • Small, but worth a visit if you're in Santa Barbara with kids

    Reviewed 08 November 2016

    Any visit to Santa Barbara must include Stearn's Wharf, and any visitor to the wharf with kids should take the time to visit the Sea Center. It's a small aquarium and museum that actually has a number of rays and sharks you can touch, a fishing bucket to try your luck catching something in the water below, and a number of exhibits. The visit will not take long, so will still allow plenty of time for an ice cream - or for those with more of an appetite, lunch at one of the several restaurants on the wharf. Stearn's Wharf also offers one end of the water taxi ride on ''Little Toot'' a small tugboat aimed at kids and named after the famous story. The boat will carry riders over to the Fisherman's Wharf and marina on a one-way or round-trip voyage of about 10 minutes (passing by a buoy that almost always had sea lions resting on it). For trivia buffs, Stearn's Wharf was featured heavily in the 1966 Batman Movie.

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  • A DC area favorite for climbers and kayakers - also great for families

    Reviewed 08 November 2016

    I first visited Great Falls 30 years ago on a climbing trip and just brought my kids there for the first time this past weekend. While I didn't have them dangling from cliffs, they still thought the visit was a great adventure as they took photos of the falls, fall colors, and squirrels - not to mention scrambling over rocks, hiding in a hollow tree, climbing on an old lock of the Potomac Canal, and enjoying a nice morning hike outdoors. As an added bonus, a park volunteer let them meet and pet a tame, albino corn snake in the visitors' center. rnrnAs a National Park, your annual park pass will grant you access to Great Falls without the $10 per car parking fee. Even if you have to pay, it's well worth the price. There are three main overlooks along the river trail (at the tops of cliffs about 50-60 feet tall) from which to view and photograph the falls. You can also watch daring people in kayaks descend the falls or just practice paddling in strong current at the base of them. A short hike down river from overlook three brings you to the most popular climbing cliffs on the Virginia side (much better than those across the river at Great Falls Maryland and Carderock, in my experience). Even if you and your family might not be up for a climb, the kids might get a thrill to see the people on the sheer rock faces (this is serious technical climbing - the narrow, rocky shore below and dangerous currents make this a bad place for inexperienced climbers without an instructor and those without gear).rnrnBring a picnic lunch to make a day of it. And get there early on nice weekends - on our recent trip, the park stopped admitting visitors after we got there due to an over-full parking lot.

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  • The most iconic thing you've never heard of about Brussels - makes it a must see, but maybe just from outside.

    Reviewed 08 November 2016

    When I thought of Brussels before living there, my common associations were the mannequin pis statue, the Grande Place square, the EU quarter, and of course mussels, waffles, frites, chocolate and beer. I moved there to discover that there are images and replicas of the Atomium everywhere. (How did I not remember this from my several previous visits?) The ubiquitous nature of the image and its status as a symbol of Brussels makes a visit somewhat obligatory. The good thing is that there are interesting and worthwhile attractions close by, so you won't be making the trek out to this neighborhood just to see this large oddity. We found it curious to visit inside and the kids did seem to have a good time checking out the few exhibits and moving through the arms that connect the giant spheres. The view of Brussels from the top is pretty good, although not necessarily better than those you could have from around the Sablon in town. There are apparently programs for kids and students, which might be more interesting than just a visit to see the Atomium itself. While there, be sure to check out Mini Europe next door, with its miniature replicas of famous sites and architecture from around the European Union; the Oceade water park; and Park de Laeken.

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  • Fun for kids and adults alike - and it's getting better over time

    Reviewed 19 October 2016

    This museum has enough to offer to keep kids 6 and older busy and interested. Older kids might enjoy more the activity of selecting and maintaining a cover while going through the museum, while the younger ones can look for the displays and activities featured on the scavenger hunt sheet. Ours enjoyed a lot of the displays, especially the ingenious spying devices, but even more so the interactive parts, like sneaking through the air ducts (and spying on their aunt down below). Although our kids are too young to get the extensive James Bond references in the museum's 007 section (much expanded since my last visit years ago), this was still one of their favorite parts due to the activities there: defuse a bomb, hang from rising bar, etc. And the shark tank was great fun for them. I used to think of it as a slightly modernized version of a Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie Museum, but the Spy Museum is way more than that now. Worth a visit, even though it costs a bit. We found discounted tickets on Groupon, so give that a try.

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  • Looking for English-language dance classes in Brussels? Here's a good one.

    Reviewed 19 October 2016

    Our daughter started out with a tap class that got her interested in dance, but eager for something better. When we found this ballet class, we knew we had that something better. She participated in these classes for about two years before we moved and the improvement was noticeable - both in her abilities and her appreciation for dance. The end of year performances included groups from the youngest to the teenagers, which could be horrible if you aren't into watching other people's kids dance in a recital. But the program's teachers know how to give the kids appropriate choreography and music for their ages and it ended up being entertaining even when our daughter's group wasn't up. The groups clearly keep learning as they get older and more advanced, so you can be comfortable keeping your children in this school year after year. We highly recommend this dance school for your kids.

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  • A must activity for any visitor to Krakow - and one the kids will love

    Reviewed 19 October 2016

    Along with Wawel Castle, Wieliczka is one of the must-visit places to see during a trip to Krakow. It's an easy drive, train ride, or bus trip from Krakow and worth the effort. There are multiple tour choices depending on how long you want to be underground, and how much effort you want to put forth. The basic tour is probably enough for most people and has improved immensely over the years. I have done this tour twice about 15 years apart and was quite impressed by the upgrades. So even if you've seen the mines before, a return visit will be enjoyable. We brought our five-year-olds on the last visit and they had a great time, walking with the tour guide, who paid special attention to the children on the tour. (Tours are available in a few languages.) They had a great time helping to lead the group, looking for the dragon and dwarves, and other activities - including licking the salt walls and taking souvenir salt crystals. The mine's many caverns and corridors allow imaginations to run wild. Our kids still talk about it as a special and memorable trip.rn

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  • A fun place for the kids, but perhaps a bit hard to keep track of them

    Reviewed 01 October 2016

    Good for play dates on a rainy day in Brussels (not exactly a rare thing) or as a reward after dragging your kids to the nearby Ikea and other stores. It's probably best for kids above 5 or 6, since a key feature is its size and variety of elements. It can be a bit hard to keep track of multiple kids, who can easily disappear into one of the many rooms for imaginative play (bakery, kitchen, and many others), soft-play areas (including one dark one that might scare small ones), the small boats, giant bouncy castles, and more. Ours loved going here, but we decided that for birthday parties we preferred a place where it's easier to keep track of a large group.rnrnFor parents, there is a place to have coffee or beer with a snack - or even go bowling. For older kids, bowling or laser tag would be the main attractions.rn

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  • Not just a great museum to visit with kids, but also good restaurant with fantastic view!

    Reviewed 01 October 2016

    The musical instrument displays are a great attraction for kids (when I was there they had a special exhibit on the 150th anniversary of the invention of the Saxophone, which originated in Belgium). Going on the free Wednesdays once a month is a great idea for the budget-minded, but it's still interesting enough on other days.rnrnOne free feature is to go in for the restaurant on the top floor, which offers a very good lunch with amazing views of Brussels. This is reason enough to go for many even if you're not there for the exhibits, but anyone with a love of music or a desire to introduce their kids to the wide variety of instruments people use to make music owes it to themselves and their kids to go at least once.

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  • Classic carousel an essential part of most Santa Barbara waterfront activities with kids

    Reviewed 16 September 2016

    When visiting the Santa Barbara waterfront with kids there are a number of must-do activities, among them: Stearns Wharf, Shipwreck Playground, East Beach, renting a bike surrey, and more. A ride on the century-old carousel is like the icing on the top of any combination of the above. This is not one of the modern carousels with a variety of fantastic beasts to ride, but it is a classic with horses with a variety of neat touches, like the one with the lion-skin saddle. At $2.50 per ride, it's a a cheap and easy way to delight kids of all ages.

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  • A good alternative for kids' birthday parties - or just a typical rainy day in Brussels

    Reviewed 16 September 2016

    Our kids attended a few birthday parties here, as well as a few random rainy afternoons. We generally preferred a few other similar places, like Planet Kids, but this was a good choice for variety without having to go too far away. The snack bar is rather basic and the play area doesn't offer quite as much as some of the other sites, but it keeps the kids occupied and is good for birthdays for 6-years-old and under.

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  • Great way to spend a day in Palma

    Reviewed 05 September 2016

    The aquarium in Palma compares nicely with some of Europe's best. It was a nice way to spend a rainy day on the island, but would be worth a visit even with the sun out. The kids particularly enjoyed the sharks and jellies.

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  • Nice way to beat the DC area heat

    Reviewed 05 September 2016

    On a hot, humid day in Northern Virginia, a pool can be a necessity. Add a couple decent water slides and a kids' water play area, and you have a must-visit site. There's a main pool for families, a smaller 'baby pool' for kids 7 and under, and a lap pool for adults. When you're done with the pool, enjoy a round of mini-golf on the same site. Kids and parents had a great time.

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  • Worth it for the Royal Park even if you don't catch a show

    Reviewed 05 September 2016

    Even with the kids being a bit too young to want to take in the formal shows, we had a good time wandering around the Royal Park, getting face painting for the kids, and seeing the outdoor performers. It might be even better for older kids who want to take in the shows, but it was still a nice few hours.

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  • Picturesque and entertaining for kids

    Reviewed 12 August 2016

    The scenery in this southern part of Belgium is worth the trip alone, but the charming town and castle make it a special day trip from anywhere in Belgium, northern France, Luxembourg, or parts of Germany. The kids had a great time exploring the castle and watching the live show with hawks and owls.

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  • Probably best in summer, but worth a visit off season too

    Reviewed 12 August 2016

    Great for the family, and even better for multiple families. We went with two other families, which gave the kids more playmates (ages 3-5) and the adults opportunities to hang out and even take turns watching the kids. I imagine that it would be ideal to go during nice weather in summer, when the lake activities would be more appealing, but we enjoyed a long weekend in the fall, thanks mostly to the excellent indoor water park. Kids and parents alike enjoyed the slides and pools, even on a cool rainy Saturday. There was sufficient choice of places to eat and the cabins were quite comfortable. Having a mostly car-free environment also made it all feel much more relaxing. We would gladly go again.

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  • A great park in Brussels with a variety of activities for kids

    Reviewed 12 August 2016

    My kids loved going to this park during the three years we lived in Brussels. The larger park allows great space for riding bikes or scooters, or roller skating (although the uneven paving makes the latter a bit tricky). The playground area is primarily covered in sand, making for soft landings when climbing the various structures or sliding down the three long, enclosed slides. These can be a bit difficult for small kids to access, but kids 5 or older should manage fine. My kids really appreciated the labyrinth as a place to play. Near one end of the park are several restaurants and shops, including a good ice cream stand.

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  • One of our favorite outdoor venues near Brussels to visit with the kids

    Reviewed 03 August 2016

    This is one of several outdoor parks we returned to several times when seeking a place outdoors where the kids could play and we could visit with other adults (or just each other). There is a modest entrance fee at the gate, but then plenty for the kids to do on the multiple playgrounds, including one mostly placed in the small lake where kids could splash around or swim. The dining facility is not very fancy, but there are enough items on the menu to make a decent snack or lunch. Adults can enjoy a Belgian beer while watching the kids on one of the playgrounds. It's a fairly simple place, so don't set your expectations too high and you might enjoy it as well as we did.

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  • Nice park for kids and parents alike

    Reviewed 01 August 2016

    The park and playground are located near a small woods and short trails, so the approach is scenic and pleasant, despite one edge being along the major Woluwe Blvd. There are several distinct playground sites within the park, allowing kids to spread out and for some separation by age (keeping the older kids apart from the toddlers). Parents can engage directly with the kids or let them enjoy a play date while talking with other parents at the onsite cafe (don't come expecting anything fancy) or bringing a picnic lunch, or just snacks and drinks. We discovered this on a play date only after almost three years in Brussels, despite it being not far from where we lived. If we'd known about it sooner, we'd have been there much more often.

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  • Great day visit for families

    Reviewed 31 July 2016

    While admission is not cheap, it is worth a visit if you have a full day to spend - and a good deal if you want to come back, since they sell deeply discounted return visit passes if you buy before leaving the park (a few attractions on Tenerife offer this). Our kids are fans of the animated films Rio and Rio 2, so for them seeing the blue McCaws was a highlight among the hundreds of parrots to be seen. Although the main theme is obviously parrots (Loro being Spanish for parrot), the park offers much more, including a dolphin show, and aquarium, and a fantastic penguin exhibit. We stayed half-way across the island, but this was still worth a visit. For those without rental cars, package visits with bus transportation are possible from many resorts. Multi-park discount ticket deals for water parks and other attractions include Loro Parque tickets if you want to book a variety of activities on the island.

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  • Kids had a great time, and so did I

    Reviewed 30 July 2016

    I first visited during a business event booked in the museum and knew right away I had to come back with the kids. They are not particularly into cars, but still had a great time seeing especially the very old, the very unique (like floating cars or old electric cars), and the fast race cars. There are just enough that kids can sit in or climb on to keep it from being only a passive activity. One complaint is that the food service closes well before the museum does - the kids got hungry and we couldn't get them anything without leaving the museum. Still, it was enjoyable for all - and very convenient to the metro and other public transportation (and also has plentiful parking). Seeing the museum can be combined with seeing the adjacent Cinquantenaire & the military museum. It's also a short walk to the many restaurants around the Merode metro station or the European Union district (Schuman Metro).

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  • Fantastic experience on the Kona coast

    Reviewed 25 July 2016

    My family loves the west coast of the Big Island north of Kona, and Hilton Waikiloa has become one of our favorite spots. We got a good rate going a couple weeks before Christmas. The rates shot up starting a week before the holiday, and it was also less crowded when we arrived than when we left. We stayed in the building overlooking the Dolphin Experience lagoon, which also had great ocean views. We thought our kids were just a bit too young for the dolphins at 5 years old, but kids that age with more comfort in the water might love it. We rented a car to help explore the island more, but there was plenty to do right at the resort as well. There is good beach access and a number of good pools, but the kids' favorite spot was the beach along the lagoon, which had calm, sheltered salt water and plenty of turtles and fish swimming around. We were also able to rent paddle boats to cruise around the lagoon (they also have paddle boards for adults and older kids). There are a variety of restaurants and we enjoyed the tram system (air conditioned) and the taxi boats that carry passengers from building to building throughout the large property. The luau was pretty good. We didn't use the kids' club more than one morning, but they did enjoy it.

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  • Great base for exploring north coast of Mallorca

    Reviewed 25 July 2016

    We were there a bit before the start of the season, so were not able to take full advantage of the numerous outdoor pools on site (the kids did brave the children's pool a little). It was still a great experience, since the children loved the kids' club and we enjoyed the gym and spa. After mornings spent there, we still had time to take the rental car out to explore all parts of the island (especially the north coast). If staying here and not planning to stay at the hotel most of the time, we strongly recommend renting a car. Taking taxis around the island would quickly coast more than a car rental and you may want to explore the caves to the east, the aquarium and old town in Palma, the old trains and tram in the mountains of the west, and the lighthouse on Cap de Formentor. I think it earns 4.5 of its 5 star rating.

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