Family-Friendly Ski Pass Deals You Don’t Want To Miss!

Skiing can be expensive, so if you are a family that likes to ski, it’s best to get a season pass. Here is what you should know about current pass promotions for families with kids and teens. I’m posting now even though Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass has not posted their 2018/19 season pass details because there are some time sensitive season pass decisions to be made. Here’s what we know about family-friendly promotions for the new IKON Pass and the Mountain Collective. 

IKON Pass. The new IKON offers different levels of passes just like the Epic, but does it a little differently. They offer unlimited access to Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Steamboat, Eldora, Mammoth, Squaw Valley, and a few more. with then limited access to mountains like Aspen, Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Big Sky, and more. They offer 26 ski destinations in North America. The passes for kids or teens fully match up with the adult pass products.

Kids 12 & under: $149 for Ikon Base Pass & $199 for Ikon Pass. The kids pass price is good through April 9, 2018.

Teens/College: $479 for Ikon Base & $719 for Ikon

[For perspective: one day lift tickets at Aspen are $169/adult and $112/child/teen]

Get the details @ IKON Pass

Mountain Collective Pass. This pass offers 2 days of skiing at their 16 resorts for a total of 32 days of skiing at resorts such as Aspen, Alta, Taos, Snowbird, etc. This may work for some families, but it may not for others. The kids passes fully match up with the adult pass product. Early Season Adult price: $409

Kids 12 & under: Get a kid’s pass for $1 with the purchase of an adult pass and $99 for additional kid passes.

Teens/College: No Discount – real bummer!

[For perspective: one day lift tickets at Aspen are $169/adult and $112/child/teen]

Get the details @ Mountain Collective.

Epic Pass. No news yet from Vail Resorts on their 2018/19 season pass products. I’m wondering what to expect from Vail – I assume we will see the FREE Epic School Kids back which offers 16 days of skiing between Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone, for kids K-5th grade. The question is will Vail Resorts jump in with more discounted kids and teen passes? If they want to get more ski families in the Front Range and beyond, I sure hope so. I’m crossing my fingers!

Get the details @ Epic Pass  or Epic School Kids

Are you excited for the new IKON Pass? What pass will your family get? I’d love to hear your thoughts…


#Skiing #SkiPasses #Vail #EpicPass #IKONPass #MountainCollective #Kids #Families

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Packing For Traveling With Kids

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Traveling with kids? Let the kids have some input and travel like a pro!

As soon as our kids could pull a suitcase or carry a backpack we always included them in the travel experience by having them take responsibility for at least some of their own gear. Especially in an airport this can make your life easier but be prepared to offer a hand if your child gets tired of carrying the items you’ve given them. My priority is to ensure they learn to love traveling not dogmatically make them carry their own gear.

Packing a Suitcase – Always pack things they like to wear. It’s no fun to have a suitcase full of clothing or shoes and have your child say they won’t wear them, so avoid this issue and pack what they like. Better yet, give them a list of things they need to pack [you can alter this list based on your child’s age/ability] and help them identify the items they love to wear – and pack those. Always pack an extra set of clothing and a little more warmth than they kids think they will need.

You can find child size suitcases at a local department store, Target, Amazon.com or at high end travel stores such as Patagonia.com. 

Packing a Backpack – The backpack has the items your kids need to have with them for comfort [e.g., a bankie or other cuddly toy for comfort] and for entertainment. The pack should be their size and fit comfortably. This is true if you are packing for a car ride or an airplane ride. When our kids were young we had things we always did for them like wrapping a few new toys for them to unwrap in the airplane. These can be simple, but engaging. Now we never leave the house for a trip without a sketchbook, art supplies, and an iPad [preferably loaded with a movie and some games since you cannot count on wifi on planes and certainly not in the car]. We also like to pack things like a hackysack or soccer ball for when we land or on a layover. Entertainment is key!

You can find child size backpacks at online retailers such as LLBean.com. I like these because they last forever! You can get fancy and have their initials or name embroidered on if you have time. The younger kids love this! 

Please share any packing and travel tips! Enjoy your family travels!

 

The Capital Is Calling: Washington D.C. is a Great Family Vacation Option!

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Washington, D.C. is a great family vacation option! The history is rich and no matter the age of your children they will recognize some of the iconic monuments & locations in D.C. Not only is this an amazing learning environment for the kids, but the Smithsonian’s and all the monuments and memorials along the National Mall are free. Even though D.C. is not a beach vacation or an amusement park, it is vibrant and alive with tons of options for the whole family!

DC2We spent four amazing days in D.C. with our kids, ages 9 & 11. We could have spent longer, but four days worked out well. We got to see a lot, but not at a frenetic pace. My whole family agrees that we would head back without hesitation!

The Highlights of Our DC Trip:

Kids: The Flight Simulator at the Air & Space Museum in Virginia was their favorite!

Parents: Seeing the space shuttle at the Air and Space Museum in Virginia, and walking along the National Mall seeing the iconic memorials and monuments, especially the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

Whole Family: Capital City Bikes Tours – Monuments & Memorials Sunset Bike Tour. This DC2
was an amazing tour that took us through the streets of D.C. at sunset. We stopped at the major monuments and memorials and were treated to juicy details we never would have known without the guide who was super knowledgable! Older kids can have their own bikes and the younger ones can join on a tandem.

DC Government Tours: Our trip was a last minute decision so we did not get to participate in a lot of the organized tours of the government. If you plan ahead you can request a tour of the White House and/or the US Congress. Depending on the age of your kids – these can be a really memorable experiences! Try to put in a request at least 3 months ahead of time if possible.

Local Tours: Take a bike tour with Capital City Bike Tours. They can usually be booked last minute and offer you guided tours of the monuments and memorials of D.C. You can also take a self-guided tour of the National Mall. Find a brochure from the National Parks Service.

Smithsonian Museums: I have fond memories of spending time at Washington D.C., museums.  I specifically remembered the Air and Space Museum, so I was excited to take the kids back! We spent the most time at these museums: National Museum of Natural History, the Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American Indian. They were all great options and entertained the kids for hours. Each has a cafeteria so you can take a break, or grab something from a street vendor right outside along the National Mall. The American Indian Museum has a really great cafeteria we heard people rave about and after trying it we concur. It offered delicious food based on the different Native American regions so it was unique and educational, but the kids still enjoyed the food.

The most memorable museum – the one we had to drag our kids out of – was the Air and Space Museum in Virginia – this one you have to drive for – but this location houses all the over sized space toys like the space shuttle, war planes, bi-planes, and tons more. Also, there are flight simulators on site and the kids LOVED these. It was almost impossible to get them out!

Other Museums: There is also the International Spy Museum that is amazing and really engages the kids. It isn’t a Smithsonian so it does cost to go in. We thought it was worth the cost!

Outdoors: Take a walk on the National Mall – which is a actually a National Park – so look for Junior Ranger program information for your kids. They offer activity booklets your kids can do along the way all the while becoming a Junior Ranger replete with a badge and stamp when they complete this booklet. We found ice cream and pretzels along the National Mall which offered a great break and a burst of energy for all of us on those hot summer days. Of course you can explore the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and other outdoor locations too.

Getting There: United Airlines and Frontier Airlines offer direct flights to Washington, D.C. from Denver.

General Words of Advice:

1. Take your time! Go slowly and don’t schedule yourself too tightly. There is so much to do you will want to get it all in, but if you are traveling as a family, pick your top sites and hit those for sure. Everything else is icing on the cake.

2. If you go in the summer it can be really hot, so consider going early or late to avoid the middle of the day heat – even if you are planning to be at the museums!

3. Bring good walking shoes. Seems obvious, but you walk a lot and so good shoes helps!

Have tons of fun exploring the rich history and educational opportunities in Washington, D.C.!

Family Travel in Guatemala: A Full Sensory Experience!

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A Guatemala Trip Report: Our family of four had a blast!

The jungle here in Guatemala belies the hidden Mayan culture we are about to encounter. As the kids swim in the pool at our small hotel on the site of Tikal National Park I know they cannot comprehend what is right around the corner. No way. They complain about having to hike in. Par for the course. Then we come out onto the main plaza area in Tikal where they see pyramids and monkeys and things they have no words for – we all stop to soak it in. We are standing on this sacred spot looking into the past. Reminds me of the first time I saw the Grand Canyon – it was almost incomprehensible how large it was. Then our guide tells my boys they can climb around on the site and they immediately start exploring. Guatemala is truly a land of amazement and a perfect family travel experience!

Guatemala has a special place in my heart. My husband and I traveled to Guatemala in 1990. We took time off from college and spent 3 months learning Spanish and traveling around this amazing country. The indigenous culture, Spanish, vibrant colors, mountains, and the warmth of the people in this Central American country had left me dreaming of the day I would return. Since then I have always wanted to go back. I finally got the chance and took my kids – ages 10 & 12 – for 2 1/2 weeks.

Guatemala is not luxury travel. Though you can travel luxuriously. We IMG_3656used TripAdvisor to locate hotels that were family-friendly and retained a feeling of the local culture. A few years earlier we traveled to Costa Rica and we wanted something a little rougher, but not without any amenities. We organized most of our travel ahead of time, but left room for flexibility.

Guatemala is not insular. You can really get a sense of the culture through food, experiences, and observation. We chose to travel close to the ground and spend time observing [and participating in] the local customs and events whenever possible. It seemed we were always stumbling onto something new like on New Year’s day when the people in Antigua lit off literally streets full of firecrackers. Smoke filling the streets. People cheering. Believe me, we would never do this in the US!

IMG_4156Guatemala is not tame – there are adventures of all kinds to be had. We found ourselves traveling to some of the hot spots in this country since we had under three weeks. Our family spent time in Antigua, Chichicastenango Market, Tikal, and the Pacific Ocean site of Paredon Surf House. I would add Lago Atitlan and Livingston as must see family spots in Guatemala but we didn’t make it because of our schedule and choosing to travel more slowly! So to add to surfing some of the things you can find to do in Guatemala as a family are sailing, horse back riding and zip lining.

Here are the places we spent time in during our trip:

Antigua – We spent at least a week here on and off. The town is a Worldantigua Heritage site which was the capital of Guatemala at one time. The buildings are spectacular and the fact you can get a great cup of coffee was helpful! The kids loved wandering the cobblestone streets, eating lunch overlooking the plaza or in an amazing internal courtyard, touring a coffee cooperative, and experiencing the most amazing New Years party throughout the streets of Antigua – ever! If you were dropped in Antigua on New Year Eve you would think this was a town of Pyromaniacs – this makes for happy boys.

Chichcastenango – This was our first stop. A little overwhelming for theIMG_3615 kids as their introduction to Guatemala so I would head there again, but later in our trip. The market in Chichicastenango is amazing. It is the real deal. It is not intended for Gringo Tourists – people are selling day to day goods as well as masks. The best part was the fact that we happened upon a religious ceremony that includes ornate processions, and men hanging upside down from ropes on a pole 3 stories high. Captivating for all of us!

Tikal – The most amazing Mayan ruins rising out of the jungle! We stayed at a hotel on the site of Tikal National Park. A splurge. But it was amazing to be right in the park. A walk through Tikal is nothing like it would be in USA. You can climb all around and on these Mayan ruins so it was a full body experience and with 10 & 12 year olds they really appreciated being let loose. I highly recommend Tikal for any family!

Paredon Surf House – This is a little known location on the coast of Guatemala. Our family full of culture and loved every minute, but we IMG_4156wanted to satiate our surfing desires so we did some research and found Paradon Surf House in the town of El Paredon about 2 hours from Guatemala City. It was an amazing, tranquil, out of the way location right on the water with a pool, food available onsite [so no stressing about buying ahead and making it], and surf lessons available all day long. Perfect! Beside surfing along the black sand beaches was that there were people from all over the world staying in this small surf house that held maybe 30 people max. The kids got up and surfed the first day and then didn’t want to stop!

Getting Up Close & Personal – The thing we appreciated most is how close to the culture and people we got in Guatemala as tourists. It was the coffee tour that is burned in my mind – just our family with a coffee farmer & interpreter. We ended the tour at this farmer’s house where the kids got to separate the dried coffee by using a bike powered machine he clearly created, roast the coffee over a fire, meet the kids of this family, and drink coffee. They still talk about the “best coffee ever!”

Safety – We always felt safe traveling in Guatemala. With kids we decided to avoid the local bus service known as “Chicken Buses” which was bitter sweet because we traveled in relatively more comfort than we had in our previous visit, but we had some of our best experiences on these buses sitting next to chickens. We were careful with food and simply explained to the kids about not drinking water from an unknown source and washing regularly. It was easy and no one got sick!

The kids thoroughly enjoyed our Guatemalan adventure. They have asked that on our next vacation we stay in one place longer. What they described would fall into the arena of “All Inclusive” but I don’t think this is what they mean since they have never experienced anything of the sort. Will a more tame trip be in our future? I doubt it.

 

 

Foodie Kids. Where is a Boulder Family to Go?

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Enjoying sushi at Hapa Sushi on Pearl Street

Boulder has amazing food options! Recently I was asked where to go with the kids and here is what I said…

1. Wahoos. We love Wahoos for a semi-fast meal. The kids love watching the fun surf and skate videos and the overall vibe. I like the food because it is semi-healthy too. Kids Eat Free on Weds nights. 

2. Backcountry Pizza. This place is great if you have a kids who want some entertainment before or after dinner. It has a great casual and easy going vibe. They have a great arcade room that kids love!

3. Southern Sun. They have fun games, healthy-ish pub food, as well as great beer! The restaurant loud and kids feel right at home! We love playing games while waiting and when you have a beer it can be helpful. You can check out Under the Sun which is downstairs too.

4. Hapa Sushi [on Pearl]. They have a fantastic kids menu. The kids’ menu is inexpensive, healthy, and kid-friendly. Sit at the counter so the kids can enjoy watching the sushi chefs at work.

5. The Kitchen Next Door. This foodie favorite on Pearl Street offers a menu that resonated with kids – from kale chips to garlic smashers. The food is healthy and fast. And parents love the diverse and delicious food!

Interested in Kids Eat Free option in Boulder? Find a list here.

Boulder Family Deals: Fun [and inexpensive] activities for families!

Hey Boulder Families, there are a few great local deals floating around right now that I think you might enjoy.

1.Ice Skating with Boulder Creek Events [29th Street Mall & Louisville]: Admission and skates for 4

2. Fiske Planetarium [on Campus]: Admission for 2 [$10] or 4 [$20]

3. Colorado Railroad Museum [in Golden]: Admission for 2 adults and up to 5 kids [$10, M-F; $15,S]

4. Learn to Skate with Boulder Valley Ice [in Superior]: 6 week class for $32

If you know of other great deals for families in the Boulder area please pass them along!

All the best, Amanda

Boulder Family Events: December 6 to December 12, 2013

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Family-Friendly Boulder area events for the next week are right here!

Friday, November 6

Saturday, November 7

Sunday, December 8

Monday, December 9

Tuesday, December 10

Wednesday, December 11

Thursday, December 12

#getoutside #free #parenting #boulder #colorado #thanksgiving

Boulder Family Events: November 29 to December 5, 2013

IMG_3470Happy Day After Thanksgiving! Here are the Family-Friendly Boulder area events for the next week…

 

Friday, November 29

Saturday, November 30

Sunday, December 1

  • FREE Day at the Boulder History Museum

Monday, December 2

Tuesday, December 3

Wednesday, December 4

Thursday, December 5

#getoutside #free #parenting #boulder #colorado #thanksgiving

Boulder Family Events: November 22 to 28, 2013

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Looking for family-friendly events and happenings around Boulder? Check it out right here each Friday!

Friday, November 22

Saturday, November 23

  • Nature for Kids & Parents: Gobble, Gobble. Learn terrific facts about wild turkeys and why they are different from domesticated turkeys! Games and nature activities on this easy hike. Kids ages 5+. 1pm at the Chautauqua Ranger Cottage.
  • Panicking Poultry Turkey Trot at the Boulder Reservoir. 5 mile, family-friendly run. 1 mile kids’ run.
  • Bilingual Spanish/English Storytime at the Main Boulder Library. Storytime in both English & French. 10:15am at the Main Boulder Library.
  • Boulder Folders. Informal origami workshops for people aged 10 and older or experienced younger folders accompanied by an adult. Please bring your own paper if you have it. 10:15am @ the Main Boulder Library AND 1pm @ George Reynolds Branch Library.
  • Boulder Farmer’s Market. Meet your farmers, do some artwork, get some lunch. There is always so much going on at the market! 8:00am to 2:00pm. It’s still open. Head out to support these great farmers, bakers, and the rest!
  • FREE Day at BMoCA. Join them all day to delight in their exhibits or stop by during the Farmer’s Market for a fun kids craft.

Sunday, November 24

  • Switch on the Lights. Head to Downtown Boulder for a holiday performance by the Boulder Chorale as Santa counts down to the grand illumination of the Boulder County Courthouse and the Pearl Street Mall. 1300 Block of Pearl Street. 5pm. Stick around for FREE visits with Santa until 7:00 p.m.

Monday, November 25

  • No School for BVDS students
  • Take your kids on a bike ride at the Valmont Bike Park. This is a fantastic place to take kids of all ages and abilities! There is a play space, flat trails, pump tracks, and plenty to explore for all.
  • Kids Eat FREE: Larkburger & Cafe Mexicali 

Tuesday, November 26

Wednesday, November 27

  • No School for BVDS students
  • Boulder Folders. Informal origami workshops for people aged 10 and older or experienced younger folders accompanied by an adult. Please bring your own paper if you have it. 1pm @ George Reynolds Branch Library.
  • Wednesday Storytime at the Main Boulder Library. Children enjoy stories, songs and more in the Children’s Area.
  • Kids Eat FREE tonight at Wahoo’s!

Thursday, November 28

  • Happy Thanksgiving! 

#getoutside #free #parenting #boulder #colorado #thanksgiving

Boulder Family Events: November 15 to 21, 2013

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Looking for family-friendly events and happenings around Boulder? Check it out right here each Friday!

Friday, November 15

Saturday, November 16

  • FamilyDance Planet with Amazing DJ Rolf. FamilyDance Planet is transforming family time by offering your family a Saturday morning, active dance party with upbeat grooves that adults and kids can enjoy.  Our music is played live by different DJs each month!  We have a seasonal earth altar that kids help create, so ask your child to pick out an item from nature to put on the earth altar.  We throw in shakers, scarves and yoga mats to encourage creativity and movement.
  • Bilingual French/English Storytime at the Main Boulder Library. Storytime in both English & French. 10:15am at the Main Boulder Library.
  • Boulder Farmer’s Market. Meet your farmers, do some artwork, get some lunch. There is always so much going on at the market! 8:00am to 2:00pm.
  • FREE Day at BMoCA. Join them all day to delight in their exhibits or stop by during the Farmer’s Market for a fun kids craft.

Sunday, November 17

  • CU Museum of Natural History Presents the Americas Latino Festival. The festival promotes environmental awareness and unites diverse communities for a sustainable future through dialogue on the environment, health, education, culture, and small business entrepreneurship. This will be the first environmental justice Latino themed festival in the United States with novel programming components bridging the gap between academia, K-12 education, arts, policy, business and Latino and non-Latino communities

Monday, November 18

Tuesday, November 19

  • Lap Babies at the Main Boulder LibraryBabies (birth-12 months) and their caregivers explore language and books in a fun and intimate setting. Programs include rhymes, songs and books as well as time for free play and informal discussion of early childhood development. Attendance limited to babies up to 12 months of age; no older children please.

Wednesday, November 20

  • Cruisers & Crawlers at the Main Boulder LibraryCrawlers and beginning toddlers (9-24 months) explore language and books with their caregivers in a fun and intimate setting. Programs include rhymes, songs and books as well as time for free play and informal discussion of early childhood development. Attendance limited to crawlers and beginning toddlers up to 24 months of age; no older children please.
  • Wednesday Storytime at the Main Boulder Library. Children enjoy stories, songs and more in the Children’s Area.
  • Kids Eat FREE tonight at Wahoo’s!

Thursday, November 21

#getoutside #free #parenting #boulder #colorado #halloween