Dinosaur skeletons? Check. Trek through the Lost Dutchman Mine? Done. Pretend to lock my kids in an authentic territorial jail cell? Dare I say it? Priceless 🙂 I’ve heard whispers about the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa, but I’ve never found the time to go there. Ok, really my toddler was so much of a handful that I didn’t want to let him loose in a museum environment where something might break. Now that he’s nearing the 2 year mark, I took the risk. The museum’s admission desk was located in the Cenozoic lobby. Large mammoths greeted us from a prehistoric age. I found out later that these particular mammoths died about 15,000 years ago. I paid the admission for Llama and me and found out that Dude was free since he was under 2. The woman who greeted us gave two small sealed baggies. Confused, I asked what they were for. Gold panning, of course. Gold panning? Really?!!! Located in a courtyard in back, this fountain let my kids experience panning for gold. When we visited the sand was well stocked with tiny gold nuggets. My daughter found quite a few to take home. She panicked five times while we were there because she thought she lost her bag. My son just loved to splash in the water. We also excavated ancient dinosaur skeletons in the courtyard. Inside the building, we explored actual jail cells from Arizona’s first territorial prison. Even though this museum wasn’t established until 1977, the core of the museum is a 1937 WPA era building. The original structure held Mesa’s city hall, courts and police. These jail cells are the real deal. Llama was not a fan of the prison or the mine. A little too dark and scary for her taste. But she loved the area of the museum dedicated to movies. Hamming it up at the museum. A video posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Apr 3, 2015 at 11:32am PDT And then we crossed back over Cenozoic lobby into this: How have I not been here before? A video posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Apr 3, 2015 at 11:31am PDT Dinosaur Mountain spanned three stories of the museum and was simply amazing. We wove in and out of the exhibits and every time we caught sight of Dinosaur Mountain, we all just stopped and stared. We finished off our trip with a very low key visit to Exploration Station. Here kids can draw, read stories and engage in lots of fun hands-on activities. There were tons of volunteers in this room ready to help kids whenever they needed it. A few tips before you go: There is no food available for purchase nor is any food or drink allowed in the museum. Make sure you eat before you go. Allow approximately 2 hours to see every exhibit and play. You can find a few parking spots available at the parking garage next door. However, I suggest parking across the street (Pepper Place)in the lot behind Milano Music. My daughter […]
Family Activities in Arizona
Fun family activities all over Arizona. Places to go in Phoenix that are perfect for families. Great date nights, too!
You know the drill. You want a meal out. Delicious food, amazing ambience.. possibly wine. Slight snag… you have kids. While you love them to pieces, you do not want to go to McDonalds and drink a diet coke while watching them in playland. However, happy kids at a meal means a peaceful meal time. What to do?
I have you covered. These fun family restaurants are my favorite places to go in the East Valley that also cater to kids. My family and I frequent most of these places and have an amazing time!
A year ago, I searched online for a website that would give me the rundown on kids activities in the Phoenix area. I couldn’t find a single source that gave me detailed explanations or told me if an outing would be worth dragging my toddler too. So, I created it. If you need to get out of the house our Phoenix Family Fun section will have the details you need! If you need something indoors, our Kids Activities will have something to keep your kiddos (and you!) entertained.
If you have never visited the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium before, get ready to pick your jaw up off the floor. I was amazed! AMAZED and astounded that we have an experience like this in the Phoenix area. For our trip to the zoo, my friend, Brie, and I decided to pack all of our kids into one car. We trekked across the valley to Litchfield Park in 8AM rush hour traffic. Not many cars were in the parking lot when we arrived so we skirted through the entrance line with ease. Ten minutes later, I realized I had forgotten my cell phone in the car. I left the kids with Brie and sprinted out to the parking lot. The line was now twenty families deep. Not only that, but then two yellow school busses pulled up to the curb. Tip #1 Get to the zoo as soon as the gates open. When I returned, we made a beeline straight to the aquarium portion of the park. Among the highlights there were the shark tank: The piranhas, the penguins, and believe it or not, the turtles. Glimpsing a turtle fully extended underwater fascinated me. Before, I had only seen them cocooned in their shells. Near the end of the exhibit, we found a open air theatre for a sea lion show. A sea lion show! In Arizona! Who knew? Spectacular! Just like Sea World. Without Shamu. Another huge draw to this zoo: Rides! The rides cost extra but the ones we paid for were well worth it. Our kids’ favorite was the Log Ride ($6.00 a person). Which soaked them all. I wanted to go on this one, but was sidelined with Dude. No person under 30 inches is allowed to ride. There was also a sky ride ($4 a person): This zoo is fantastic. A sky ride! No way! A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Mar 11, 2015 at 12:42pm PDT Which Dude did get to ride on.. and loved! I loved it too. Mama and Dude up in the air. #momlife A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Mar 11, 2015 at 4:49pm PDT It was a peaceful 15-minute journey that soared above many animal exhibits, including kangaroos. Whatever you drop, becomes the animals’ new toy. Make sure to secure all loose items including flip-flops. You may have noticed that I’ve listed dollar prices next to all the rides which brings me to my second tip: Tip #2 Bring Cash And if you forget to bring cash, like I did, there is an ATM in the gift shop near the entrance. The most stunning aspect of the Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium was how every animal was so close. We were face to face with flamingos. The petting zoo let us pet deer, llamas and kids (of the goat variety) And then there were the giraffes… Little giraffe food vending machines are located on that platform. Simply turn the dial, hold out your hand and feed a giraffe. Which brings me to: Tip #3 […]
When I was a kid, I loved the movies! I dreamed of becoming an actress and being on screen. As I grew up, I changed my dream a little, but my love of the movies and TV is still very strong! If you have a budding actor, director or movie lover in your household, Phoenix Film Festival Kids Day is one festival you need to attend. I’m sharing this event because it is one that I would have loved to go to as a kid. On Saturday March 28th from 9AM to 2PM the Phoenix Film Festival opens it doors to guests of all ages to experience the magic of movies. This FREE event has tons of activities to entertain everyone from your young directors to your teenage actors. At the event, your family can walk the red carpet and get your picture taken by paparazzi Act in front of a green screen. And older kids will have the opportunity to create their own film! In addition to all of the activities, Kid’s Day will also offer a $5 family friendly film. At 1:40pm, you can catch a showing of Disney’s Monkey Kingdom: Life is an adventure for Maya, the clever and resourceful blonde-bobbed monkey in “Monkey Kingdom,” Disneynature’s new film set among ancient ruins in the storied jungles of South Asia. Maya’s world is forever changed when she welcomes son Kip into her complicated extended family. Like all families, Maya’s has more than its share of colorful personalities—and she’s determined to give her son a leg up in the world. When their longtime home at Castle Rock is taken over by powerful neighboring monkeys, Maya’s family relocates, and she uses her street smarts and ingenuity to lead them to untapped resources amidst strange new creatures and unsettling surroundings. Ultimately, they will have to work together to reclaim Castle Rock, where Maya can hopefully realize her dreams for her son’s future. The best part: you can win a family pack of tickets to see Monkey Kingdom at Kids Day! a Rafflecopter giveaway What do you think? Will you and your family go the Phoenix Film Festival Kid’s Day this year?
Twelve of us stepped into the room. Wood panels covered the floors. Tan sections of pew sidled up to each wall. Farther into the room, a metal teller’s cage separated the room into two sections. Behind the cage stood a mannequin dressed as a bank teller and large iron safe. “I’m locking the door and you will have 60 minutes to break into the safe and steal the bank bonds. Good luck!” The man shut the door behind him and turned the key in the lock. Right now you are either thinking, JoAnn this is crazy or THIS IS THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER! I have to agree with the latter. The twelve us immediately broke apart and started searching the room for clues. I crawled on the floor and looked under the benches. My sister, Jamie and college roommate, Heather, started pulling out drawers located in the middle of the room. My brother-in-law searched the maps on the walls for any clues on how to get out of this place. In a matter of minutes, we found our first break. Two of the drawers had pictures of keys inscribed on them. Each key had a number written under it in a black sharpie. One had a 3 – the other had a 6. A collection of over 50 mailboxes decorated the north wall of the bank. Three of these mailbox doors hung open while the rest remained firmly shut. Every single box had a number. We checked box number 36. No luck. Locked. We checked box 63. Nope. We needed a key. Moments later, Heather’s husband, Tony, found it. We tried both boxes and 36 jettisoned open. Inside, lay our next clue. But… it didn’t make sense. We brainstormed. We experimented. We searched the room again. Nothing. After 5 minutes at an impasse, a ding echoed through the bank. It’s the mirror!! All 12 of us rushed towards the door. The mirror was actually a TV screen. During our entire Escape the Room experience, our room attendant – the guy who locked us inside – watched us over security-like cameras. Any time we were completely stuck (or if we were about to destroy a prop in our search) he would feed us little clues. This clue read, “Take a seat and think about it for a little bit.” The benches!! We searched both pews. We crawled under them and finally found two numbers inscribed underneath. We used these to open another mailbox. The remainder of the hour had us cracking combination locks (which my husband and cousin are very good at!), shooting a bank guard and blowing up a safe. So did we make it? Did we Escape the Room? With a little under 10 minutes to spare! Escape The Room AZ is located in Old Town Scottsdale. It is within walking distance of many amazing eateries and bars. We started our night at BratHaus and then walked a few blocks to the location. We chose to solve the Western Bank Heist, […]
When I go to an event for kids, I expect a certain amount of chaos. Events like these tend to take a certain amount of stamina. Excited hyper kids, no parking.. that sort of thing. Thank goodness, I was completely wrong. LEGO® Kidsfest was one of the best kid’s events I have ever attended. Immediately after school let out, Megan and I packed up the kids in her Toyota Sienna and trekked across Phoenix rush hour to the University of Phoenix Stadium. Who’s excited for #legokidsfest ?!? On our way! A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Feb 27, 2015 at 3:30pm PST Kids: Mom, are we there yet? Mom: Soon. (Five minutes later) Kids: Mom, are we there yet? Moms: Just a few more days. Kids: What?!? (Two minutes later) Kids: Mom, are we there yet? Mom: (still on freeway) Yep, we’re here. Can’t you see the LEGO models? Why look, we’re on a LEGO freeway!! Needless to say, when we did get there, this was the reaction. Buddy’s little steps raced to keep up with his big brother, Biggie, and Llama as they ran down the ramps to the stadium floor. Amazing is really the only way to describe to LEGO Kidsfest floor. Batman #legokidsfest A video posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Feb 27, 2015 at 4:18pm PST Megan immediately filled out a LOST Parents cards for Buddy. She explained to me, “If I’m going to lose anyone, it’s probably going to be him.” We found these cards near the entrance. Megan simply filled out her contact information on the back and stick it in Buddy’s pocket. Every LEGO brick variety is represented on the Kidsfest floor – each seperated into themed areas. First, we visited LEGO Friends. #legokidsfest A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Feb 27, 2015 at 6:41pm PST Where Llama also requested that I take a picture of her with every LEGO friend in the area. This is one of six. #legokidsfest A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Feb 27, 2015 at 5:32pm PST We received a free bag of LEGO Friends bricks when we left this area! What!?! LEGO bricks for free! Everything is awesome! In the Disney Princess area, she got to hang with her BFF Cinderella.And found tons of opportunities to build. After a quick dinner, we visited Creation Nation. Circled around the massive city under construction were tables stacked with flat LEGO pallets and tons of bricks. The kids quickly built a few creations. Then brought it to a staff member… Who placed the creation on the floor. Sunday session visitors will get a huge treat when they see this “Nation” completely filled in. I love knowing that every visitor had a part in creating it. We also put our LEGO art work on display in the LEGO art gallery. Below is Llama’s and mine, side by side. I was going for Mario. The LEGO Challenge Zone challenged participants to complete a specific task in two minutes. Our goal was to make […]
I was given free admission to the Arizona Renaissance Festival in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. My daughter peered through the throng of people waiting to get in the gates of the Arizona Renaissance Festival this past weekend. She had talked about it all week. Even though she has been before, she didn’t really remember much. “Will there be fairies there?” she asked me. Above the entrance, the King and Queen of the fair greeted all the guests with welcoming waves. The King looked down on my daughter and called her a fair princess. Llama, smiled shyly and hid behind her Daddy. My husband and I love the Renaissance Festival! We have been going almost every year since we moved to Arizona and before that, we visited the one in San Bernadino. Only at the Ren Fest can you step out of the desert and walk into jolly old England of the 1600’s. Merchants and artisans line the dirt paths ready to sell you their wares – all speaking with various English accents. As soon as we walked through the gates, we make a beeline to the Twisted Sister’s braiding booth. The lines there get super long and we promised Llama a fantastic Renaissance hairdo. She chose a braided heart for $29. While the price does seem steep, I must tell you that her braid lasted for four days. In fact, it would have lasted longer but I didn’t feel comfortable letting her skip getting her hair washed for that long. She was fine with not bathing though. The braiding booth was right next to the Boathouse stage so we enjoyed a showing of Dead Bob and the Tortuga Twins during our wait. Both were incredibly funny and thankfully all of the more bawdy jokes went right over our six-year-old’s head. She just laughed and told us they were all acting silly. For food, the festival has something for everyone’s tastes. My husband always gets a giant turkey leg and a beer – both perfect and portable while chasing a toddler around the festival grounds. I chose fish and chips this time – my favorite English fast food. And no trip to the Renaissance Festival is complete for us until we visit one of the many chocolate stands to devour Queen’s Berries. Which Dude ate more than his fair share of.. Dude took all my chocolate. A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Feb 14, 2015 at 12:22pm PST My mom then took Llama off for some Grandma/ granddaughter time, while my husband and I entertained Dude, who was right on the brink of a meltdown. We took him him to Fairhaven Farm, the in-festival free petting zoo, and his no-nap meltdown disappeared as he fed sheep, giggled at some geese and talked to oxen. At the end of our day, we found a nice spot of grass near the exit and waited for my mom and Llama. People watching is amazing at […]
Want to find a great place to take your Valentine this holiday? Look no further! Members of Social Fabric have found places all across the United States that are romantic and perfect for a lovely date night! Just find your local area below and see what fabulous places it has to offer. You can make it a night to remember! #Dinner4Valentines Northeast Region Eastampton, New Jersey – Dawn from A New Dawnn Jersey City, New Jersey – May from La Vie En May New Rochelle, New York – Jason from The Social Media Samurai New York, New York – Ginnie from Hello Little Home Unadilla, New York – Miranda from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt Reading, Pennsylvania – Betsy from Heavens to Betsy York, Pennsylvania – Sarah from How I Pinch A Penny East Greenwich, Rhode Island – Kristin from Mama Luvs Books Newport, Rhode Island – Stephanie from Mammamoiselle Providence, Rhode Island – Mary from Tall Mom Tiny Baby Midwest Region Barrington, Illinois – Teresa from Tiaras & Tantrums Chicago Area, Illinois – Michelle from Honest and Truly Chicago, Illinois – Kelly from Kelly’s Lucky You Chicago, Illinois – Jen from Fashionably Employed Miami County, Ohio – Linette from The Home and Garden Cafe Columbus, Ohio – Abbey from The Cards We Drew Columbus, Ohio – Carissa from All in All Troy, Ohio – Kendra from A Proverbs 31 Wife Omaha, Nebraska – Mary from Living A Sunshine Life Omaha, Nebraska – Lisa from Mom on the Side Box Elder, South Dakota – Melissa from Kids Are Grown Madison, Wisconsin – Jessica from All She Cooks South Region Birmingham, Alabama – Jennifer from Simple Hacks Living Northwest Arkansas, Arkansas – Jamie from Jamie’s Thots Pea Ridge, Arkansas – Robyn from Create it. Go! Boca Raton, Florida – Shaina from Take a Bite Out of Boca Bradenton, Florida – Kelly from Virtually Yours Lee County, Florida – Krystal from Krystal’s Kitsch Mount Dora, Florida – Sherry from Family Love and Other Stuff Pensacola Beach, Florida – April from Frugally Green Mom South Florida, Florida – Melissa Ann from The Eyes of a Boy Tampa Bay, Florida – Lauren from Lauren Paints Tampa, Florida – C. Lee from Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad Augusta, Georgia – Candy from Candypolooza Annapolis, Maryland – Ashley from Momma Rambles Frederick, Maryland – Terri from Housewives of Frederick County Durham, North Carolina – Jen from Jael Custom Designs Memphis, Tennessee – Pamela from Still Dating My Spouse Arlington/Ft. Worth, Texas – Danita from O Taste and See Austin, Texas – Lani from Life Anchored Dallas, Texas – Heather from Dallas Single Mom Dallas, Texas – Emily from Fortuitous Foodies Denton, Texas – Stephanie from The TipToe Fairy Fort Worth, Texas – Julie from Julie is Coco and Cocoa Houston, Texas – Christine from Xtine Danielle Houston, Texas – Kelli from Eat, Pray, Read, Love San Antonio, Texas – Sara from Sensibly Sara Richmond, Virginia – Jen from JVKom Chronicles West […]
The Renaissance Festival is coming! The Arizona Renaissance Festival is a medieval amusement park, a 13-stage theater, a 30-acre circus, an arts and crafts fair, a jousting tournament and a feast — all rolled into one non-stop, day-long family adventure! Giant turkey legs, knights jousting in a huge open air arena and tons of kids activities is what draws us to the Renaissance Festival each year. My husband and I have been going yearly, and last year, my daughter finally caught on to the fun! She braved the giant dragon slide and sat for an elaborate hair braid. Dude had fun sampling all the food, but I know he is going to have much more fun this year since he can walk and terrorize! Coupon Receive One Free Child ticket Per Coupon with One Full Price Adult Ticket Purchased at the Festival Gate. Coupon valid at the 2015 Festival Box Office only. NOT VALID in conjunction with a FRYS discount ticket or any other discount offer. Not for resale. One coupon per person. Distribution on Festival property is prohibited. VALID FEBRUARY 21, 2015 THROUGH MARCH 29, 2015. Access the coupon here: http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=5324&dealid=764 Giveaway There is also a giveaway!! Enter to Win Tickets Here! http://www.usfamilyguide.com/Arizona_Renaissance_Festival/