Playing “I Spy” at the Lightner Museum in St Augustine, Florida
One of the surprise hits of our recent trip to St Augustine, Florida was our visit to the Lightner Museum. We had heard it was beautiful, but we were unsure if it would be family friendly. Secret’s out: it is! (Just keep the toddler crew contained in a stroller when exploring the glass rooms). The Lightner Museum is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel, which was commissioned by Henry Flagler, a prominent oil and railroad tycoon who is credited with designing and building much of St Augustine. The hotel was completed in 1888 by the same firm who designed the New York Public Library and was open until the early 1930s. The hotel included a three story ballroom, sulfur baths, and the largest indoor pool in the world (at the time). Many of the remains of these parts of the hotel can still be seen in the museum today.
10 Ways to Explore the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida
One of the most well known attractions, and the oldest attraction in Florida (the guest book has signatures dating back to 1868) in St Augustine Florida is the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. The 15 acre park is the original site of the oldest European settlement in the United States. In April 1513 Juan Ponce de Leon and his three ship fleet arrived at the area just above St Augustine (beating out the Plymouth Pilgrims and Jamestown settlers!). Within the next 50 years, the Menendez Settlement and the first Christian Church were both founded. Today, the park has preserved some of the structures and added engaging, hands on exhibits, programs, and opportunities to learn about the first settlement and our country’s origins.
10 Tips for Visiting Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida
We recently visited Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for the first time. We visited during the holiday break in December, which is the busiest week of the whole year. We knew that ahead of time but, boy, was it packed! The staff did a good job of keeping people moving and safe. It also rained on and off all day. So, not ideal conditions for visiting a major (and expensive!) amusement park, but we still had fun. We also learned a lot.
Sandoway Discovery Center in Delray Beach, FLA
Opened in 1998 in a former private residence in downtown Delray Beach, Florida, Sandoway Discovery Center is a nonprofit center focused on the native coastal environment and its inhabitants. The Center, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has plans to expand the outdoor area with an additional touch tank for stingrays in the coming year.
10 Must Do Activities at the Contemporary Resort in Disney World
There are so many options when it comes to hotel accommodations at Walt Disney World- everything from camping at Fort Wilderness to staying inside Cinderella’s Castle. We’ve been to Disney World three times, and each time we’ve stayed at a different level resort. On our second trip a few years ago, we splurged and stayed at the Contemporary Resort, considered a deluxe resort because of its amenities and proximity to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Parks. While we were there, we found so many fun things to do. Here are our top ten favorite things:
My Top Disney World Dining Recommendations
This past weekend, I was at a party chatting with a friend about her upcoming trip to Disney World. She asked for my dining recommendations. Before she knew it, I had pen and paper out, my My Disney Experience app on my phone open, and it was about thirty minutes before she could get a word in the “conversation”. I had a LOT of recommendations.
We’ve been to Disney twice already with our children, and have five days booked for this summer, as part of our larger road trip. While I wouldn’t consider myself a Disney expert, I did speak to a lot of people for personal recommendations and read a lot of blogs before each of our trips. I was very interested in where to eat to have the best family experience.
You can make dining reservations 180 days from the start of your stay. I cannot stress enough how important it is to make dining reservations ahead of time, and as soon as you can. When you make a reservation, they will ask for credit card information to hold the reservation. There are various cancellation policies based on the venue; some restaurants give you up to five days, and some are within 24 hours of a reservation. There are also a few dining options that will require you to prepay for your meal. Disney has various dining plan packages at various price points, and include snacks, quick service meals (you order at a counter, pick up your food, and find a place to sit), full service (buffet and menu options), and formal dining. Note: Disney Dining Plans are only available if you are staying on a Disney owned property.