As voted by Trekaroo families, here are the Reviews of the Day from back in the day to today.
It’s hard to pick a favorite thing we did in Abilene, but our visit to the zoo tops the list. We have been to a few zoos as a family, but the Abilene zoo was ideal for our family with a young toddler. It’s the perfect size to have little legs running from animal to animal and not get too tired out. It’s also very reasonably priced. We arrived at 9:00 am on Sunday morning and were among only a few other visitors. It got more crowded as we were leaving midday, but the crowd level was great!
The zoo is set up in a very nice way where you don’t have to walk miles and miles to see all of the exhibits. We received a map upon arrival and planned our trip around the whole zoo and never went more than a few steps without seeing a new animal. We’ve been to many other zoos where we’ve had to keep putting our daughter back into and out of the stroller. We still brought our stroller in, which was nice for holding our camera, diaper bag, etc. but our daughter walked (actually ran) through the whole zoo on her own.
The different areas of the zoo make you feel like you’re in a private oasis. For example the area with all of the birds was very tropical feeling with a lot of lush plants and flowers and it felt very quiet and private. When in reality just a few yards away when we stepped out of the exhibit, we were onto watching the monkeys plan and screech in their habitat. It was really set up perfectly for young kids.
Something that was extra special we got to do was starting at 10:30 am you could purchase crackers for the giraffes for $1.00 and feed them. There was a bridge over the giraffes habitat and it was perfect to reach through the fence and feed the giraffes. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done and I never thought we’d get that close to the animals. Our toddler had a blast watching the giraffes and their giant tongues take the crackers out of our hands.
Overall, this was one of the best things we did in Abilene and our entire family really loved it. I would highly, highly recommend it to people of all ages. It definitely was an activity I could see myself going back to year after year and really enjoying every single time.
This review is based on a complimentary visit to the Abilene Zoo. I received no other compensation and these opinions are entirely my own.
When we were planning our trip to Abilene and found out about the rental homes in historic downtown Abilene, the Sayles Ranch Guest Houses, I was sold immediately. Who doesn’t love staying in a hotel with house-keeping to make your bed for you and room service a phone call away? Well add in a toddler and hotel sleeping can get complicated. Our daughter still takes a solid 2-3 hour nap in the middle of the day and goes to bed by 8:00 pm every night, so when we’re in a hotel room as a family it’s tough. Think lots of whispers and reading by flashlight. After staying at Cottage Clare, I’ve decided it will be hard to go back to staying in a hotel!
Our jaws hit the floor when we walked into the house. It is one of the most luxurious places I have ever stayed. The photos don’t do the décor justice, it was just beautiful. Every little detail from the floors, the lighting, the furniture, the paintings on the walls, the linens…everything was first class. We felt so fancy staying in such a nice place! It was just perfect for our family getaway.
The house was a large three bedroom, two bathroom home with a dining room, formal sitting area and cozy living room off the full kitchen. There was also a little room with a daybed off of the master bedroom that would have been perfect for an infant “rooming in” with mom and dad. We put our daughter in one of the bedrooms in the front of the house and it was nice to be able to be in the kitchen and the living room without having to tiptoe around during naps and at night!
The Sayles Ranch Guest Houses are all located in the historic downtown Abilene area. It was incredibly convenient to stay there versus a hotel off the highway because most of activities and restaurants we went to were downtown and no more than 2-3 miles away. That was perfect since we went back and forth to the house and around town quite a bit during the day. The house was located on a quiet street in a peaceful neighborhood. We even enjoyed sitting out on the back patio one evening and it was so peaceful.
Besides the Cottage Clare being much fancier than our own home, we really did feel like we were at home. The bathrooms and bedrooms were fully stocked with linens, extra pillows and blankets, clean towels, and high quality bath products. The kitchen was stocked with nice dishes, cooking and baking dishes, a coffee maker with coffee and sugars, full size appliances, and a pantry with bags and cleaning supplies. There was even some food in the pantry and fridge such as butter, some condiments, dry cereal, dry pasta, etc. We had everything we needed to eat a breakfast and lunch in the house. There was a large television in the living room with a DVD player that we put to use with a DVD of cartoons we had brought for our toddler. There was also a Pack’n’ play for our toddler to sleep in. We had brought our own, but used the one provided so we could leave ours in the car.
My husband mentioned each night before we went to sleep that he thought the bed itself merited its own review! Never have we slept in such a comfortable bed with such nice bedding. He said how usually even in nice hotels he’s anxious to get home to our nice mattress and comfortable room at home, but we were both sad to say goodbye to the master bedroom in Cottage Clare.
The house is definitely old and one downside was the walls were paper thin. It wasn’t a huge deal for us, as we put our daughter in the front bedroom that didn’t share a wall with the master bedroom, but I could see if all three rooms were filled with adults or rowdy older kids, the thin walls could be an issue.
I would highly recommend the Sayles Ranch Guest Houses to anyone, especially families, visiting Abilene. It’s actually made me think about when we visit other cities, I’d love to look into staying in rental homes versus hotels for the convenience of having a whole house. It was so much easier to keep our daughter on her schedule, while still enjoying ourselves at the house. The comfort and luxury that the house provided was just amazing and I think all families would love a getaway to Cottage Clare.
This review is based on a complimentary visit to the Sayles Ranch Guest House- Cottage Clare. I received no other compensation and these opinions are entirely my own.
You know when you step foot inside a hotel and you just know your family will be treated wonderfully? That's exactly how I felt when my daughter and I walked into The Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park. With many rooms having a gorgeous view of Central Park and vicinity, a location near many popular family stores, and an amazing and attentive staff, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is a great option for families looking to splurge on their New York City vacation.
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is located on the southern edge of Central Park in Manhattan. We loved walking across the street to see the horse-drawn carriages that queue up for passengers or taking a stroll a few blocks east to FAO Schwartz, Dylan's Candy Bar, and Bloomingdale's. If you want to hop on the subway, there's a redline access only a few steps away which we used to visit Times Square, China Town and the 9/11 Memorial during our visit.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR STAY
What didn't we love! The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park really goes out of their way to make kids feel special, and my tween daughter certainly felt that way during our visit. At check-in, the front desk has a special area for kids to check in including chocolate-covered pretzels and a sign-in sheet. Kids also receive a fun packet and can do a scavenger hunt during their stay and will receive a small prize when they finish.
On days with pleasant weather, noon is the time for feeding the carriage horses across the street from the hotel. At lunchtime, we came back from touring Manhattan and couldn't wait to give the horses carrots. A very kind staff member walked us across the street with a special box filled with carrots that the horses easily recognize and my daughter walked down the line giving each horse a treat. The drivers, as well as the horses, look forward to the daily feeding and it was a definite highlight of our stay.
The way that the staff treated my daughter was amazing as well. When we walked in or out of the hotel, the lobby staff knew her by name and made her feel special by asking her about her day, what we did, or what our plans were.
Modern luxury of The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park combines the classic look and feel with modern touches like iPhone docks, flat screen televisions, satellite channels, a top of the line stereo system, ans soundproof windows.
Our one-bedroom suite had a large living area with pull-out couch, television, stereo system, and honor bar. At night, hotel staff came for turn-down service and made up her bed swiftly and gave her plenty of blankets and pillows. The sound-proof windows made falling asleep easy for her and she loved watching the city traffic at night.
A separate king bedroom with television and courtyard view allowed plenty of room for me and gave my tween daughter her own little space. Our suite had two bathrooms, so we each had our own which made for an easy morning of getting ready to tour the city.
CLUB LEVEL FUN
Club Level at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is an option that all guests can add to their visit. We were able to access the Club Lounge at anytime during the day and into the evening and it was always filled with breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, and drinks depending on the time of day. My daughter's favorite part of the lounge was the candy bar- large glass vases filled with individually-wrapped candy. She thought grabbing a handful of candy to snack on was the coolest, and I loved the courteous, knowledgeable staff of the lounge.
Valet parking is available at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park for $70 per day including unlimited in and out privileges. Having taken the train into the city, we didn't use the valet services, but we did see several guests using their cars and the valet option seemed swift and safe.
And the Verdict is...?
Worth the splurge! We had an incredible time during our visit to The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park and would visit again in a heartbeat! We loved the staff, my daughter loved the special treatment, and the view of Central Park was so peaceful and calming. I would definitely recommend this hotel to families with children of all ages visiting New York City.
Disclosure: I was hosted by The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park for the purpose of this review. I was not asked to state a particular point of view and, as always, my opinions are my own!
Okay, so maybe a little extreme to say that as we were already looking to live in the area... but we really love this thing. It's a stretch of gorgeous nature that branches off from Downtown Naperville that has parks with play equipment, large walking/running paths and plenty of space to check out the ducks and other wildlife. It's nearly two miles of beauty and definitely fun for all ages. Some parts are even wheelchair accessible and in the summer, there's a Naperville Library kids storytime along the path.
100% free. Well, not to us taxpayers. ;)
Leisurely, walkable, safe for kids, romantic for dates. Also very close to downtown and able to catch lunch/dinner or get some quick shopping in!
Fun water fountains, bridges, storytime, close area to wildlife along the very shallow river.
Note: There is no fence. Parents are required to be present with their kids at all times.
My family visits the Olympia area annually to visit my aunt and we always make time to go to Lattin's. The best time of year to visit is in the fall when apple season is in full swing and the crisp air lends itself to fall fun. Of course, I have also visited in the spring and summer and had a great time. Luckily the cider and fritters are available year round. The big attraction for my family is the opportunity to feed all the farm animals. There are goats, sheep, ducks, chickens, turkeys, quail, cows, pigs, and a few other bird species. The goats have a large pen with ramps to climb which lead them to a platform above our heads. There is just something so fun about watching them walk around up there. The kids and I could spend hours talking to and feeding the animals. Definitely make time to visit.