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Posts tagged ‘ultimate kids travel’

UltimateMama was bummed when one of her daughters was a bit sick on vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in April (which is an ideal month to travel to that region). Destined to have a terrific vacation, UltimateMama had to alter her plans and create a kinder, gentler itinerary that was still fun and adventure filled. Ultimately, the trip was one of the best as UltimateMama combined light exercise and adventure with amusement park fun.  Make sure you research the National Parks website to see what is open during your visit.  A few tips:

-Fly into Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS)

-Stay at the Park Vista which has a fun pool, nice breakfast, and gorgeous setting

-Eat at The Park Grill in Gatlinburg which is a family friendly restaurant with a huge menu that will satisfy all appetites

-Visit Sugarlands Visitor Center which is part of the National Park Service and pick up some maps and souvenirs

-Hike to a waterfall called Cataract Falls which is a hidden gem and easy for all ages and great for pictures

-Drive over to Clingmans Dome Hike near the North Carolina – Tennessee boundary to explore the Appalachian Trail and learn that the Dome is the trail’s highest point at 6,643 feet (there was even snow when we visited in April)

-Visit Dollywood to let off some steam, ride roller coasters, catch some nature related shows, and make ornaments at Mountain Blown Glass

UltimateMama and her family love Chicago in June!  If you are looking for a family friendly itinerary for the Windy City then your first stop should be buying the official Chicago CityPASS.  Admission includes:  Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, The Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry or 360 Chicago, and Adler Planetarium or Art Institute of Chicago.  I will say we hit everything except 360 Chicago as we ran outta time.  The positives about CityPASS include:  no long lines for tickets/entrance, significant cost savings, and easy way to plan your itinerary.

Our family loved seeing “American Gothic” at the Art Institute and over 30,000 aquatic animals in their habitats at the Shedd Aquarium on the same DAY!  Whether you remember it as the Sears Tower or Willis Tower, Skydeck Chicago offers a step onto the LEDGE for amazing Chicago views over 103 floors up — if you plan it right you could stop for breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s first.  Take your watch to the Museum of Science and Industry as you may lose track of time with the submarine, tornado, mirror maze, and more.  Don’t miss the sky shows at Adler Planetarium.

Make sure you take some pictures by Chicago’s “Cloud Gate“- and get there early before all the tourists.  Grab some deep dish Chicago style pizza at Ginos East.

A short cab ride away from the hustle and bustle is the Lincoln Park Zoo which was the highlight of the trip according to my girls.  Did I mention it is FREE and open daily?! And, if you are lucky enough to catch a Chicago Cubs baseball game you are in for a treat.  Wrigley Field is a must visit ballpark that everyone will enjoy.

If you are staying at the Four Seasons Chicago hotel a nice little breakfast place is Tempo Café only a short walk way.  Be sure to hit the Ralph Lauren restaurant for a nice upscale dinner.  Rosebud is good for a more casual dinner. For an absolutely elegant dining experience head to the Trump Chicago’s Sixteen Restaurant!