Review: Terracotta Warriors at Discovery Times Square

The Egyptians had their pyramids and burial chambers filled with goods they thought they’d need in the afterlife. Chinese emperors were buried with a full size army. Fortunately this army was made of terracotta, but 8,000 soldiers strong.

Terracotta Warriors exhibit. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

(Tickets and discount ticket information at the bottom)

The army is thought to include 130 chariots and 520 chariot horses and 150 cavalry horses (2 of which are on display at this exhibit), and nonwarriors like acrobats and musicians. The soldiers formed a large army in complete battle formation. They were buried in three pits, which are not fully excavated. You can see details and a lot of pictures of the ongoing Terracotta Warriors archeological excavations here. Continue reading “Review: Terracotta Warriors at Discovery Times Square”

Sleepover at the Philly Zoo

Many zoos have sleepover programs you can attend with a group (like scouts) or on your own. We went to the Philly Zoo with our Cub Scout pack and thought we’d share our experience here. One of the great things about the sleepover program, is you can get a lot more “show and tell” type of experiences. Animal shows, some behind-the-scenes activities, early access to exhibits, and additional tours. By the way, the Treehouse is open to the public at some times, and only to members at others. You can see some grand arches inside – the building was designed by a church architect and is one of the oldest zoo buildings.

Our host talks to the kids

We spent much of the evening in the Treehouse (one of two indoor spaces you can sign up for). The space was awesome, with a large tree the kids could explore, dinosaur shells they could climb into, a large-scale beehive they could climb in, and more. Our host for the evening, Kaitlyn, was excellent at keeping the boys in line (something we parents have a hard time doing). Continue reading “Sleepover at the Philly Zoo”

Review: Disney Wonder Mexican Riviera Cruise – the Details – Part 2

As mentioned in yesterday’s post this part 2 in a 3-part series on the Disney Cruise. Read on for very extensive details about the cruise. Part 1 was an overview. Part 3 is special Hidden Mickey photos. Here I break the cruise into categories. If you’ve taken a Disney Cruise, please post about your experiences!

Glad we didn’t need one of these. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Continue reading “Review: Disney Wonder Mexican Riviera Cruise – the Details – Part 2”

Review: Disney Wonder Cruise to Mexican Riviera – part 1

When we returned from our Disney Cruise, our friends had a lot of questions, the main one being, “should we book one too?” The answer to that question is of course, individual. In this 3-part series on the Disney Cruise, I’ll give an overview (here), then go into specifics about the cruise (activities, food, kids’ club, entertainment, etc.). Part 3 is special Hidden Mickey photos.

The Disney Wonder – copyright deborah abrams kaplan

We had a fabulous time on our Disney cruise, and went with an extended family group on the Disney Wonder. Our 7 night cruise was the Mexican Riviera itinerary, going into and out of Los Angeles, with port calls in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta (the Mazatlan stop was cancelled ahead of time due to violence there). Disney will add New York City as a starting/ending port, in 2012, which is the talk of everyone at school. They have will Canada and New England coast trips, as well as visiting the Bahamas and going to Disney World in Florida. This was our second cruise (the first was an Alaskan cruise when my daughter was a toddler, and Disney didn’t do Alaska then). Continue reading “Review: Disney Wonder Cruise to Mexican Riviera – part 1”

Review: Dead Sea Scrolls with Kids

The Dead Sea Scroll exhibition tells the story of the foundation of three religions, in terms of ancient texts and times. The scrolls are more than 2,000 years old, written mostly before Jesus’s time.

The entrance to the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition

When you enter, you’ll be in the room above, pictures/movies that change depending on what your guide is telling you. You’ll hear about the three jars – their origin and times, while seeing scenes of Israel and the area in historical context – the Dead Sea, digging at an archaeological site, the Western Wall, and more.

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Review: Arlington, VA Family-Friendly Suite Hotels near Washington D.C.

This is part of a series on Washington D.C. with kids. Most of the attractions in Washington D.C. are free, making a trip like this much less expensive than trips elsewhere (after factoring in hotel costs!).

After two trips to Washington DC in two years, I feel like a hotel search expert. I spent hours trying to find the right combination of things I wanted for our meager budget. If you can get a hotel that works for you in Washington D.C., by all means go for it. When we went the rates were too high (not to mention parking costs). We opted for Arlington, VA, which is very easy (and quick) to get to on the Metro system.

Here was our criteria for a hotel: Continue reading “Review: Arlington, VA Family-Friendly Suite Hotels near Washington D.C.”

Review: Not for Parents – New York City – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

If there’s one way to get a kid to read a book, label it “Not for Parents.” That will attract their interest. As a travel writer, I collect guidebooks from the places we go, and try to get kid-friendly ones so my kids will take an interest. Usually they don’t. They were interested, however, in this Not For Parents: New York City – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know. But of course I had to sneak away and read it too.

Though it’s published by Lonely Planet, it’s not actually a guidebook, but a great way to get to know a city we visit often. As expected, it’s quite colorful with cute illustrations from a number of artists. Inside it tells the story of everything from street food, to the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, to wild animals in the city (yes, rats are included).

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