I asked if it was ok if I went down the street to get milk for my 2 year old son and leave my 15 year old nephew and his brothers to play. The girl at the front desk said it was ok. I went to get the milk at am/pm down the street. My 6 year old daughter saw McDonald's next door to am/pm and asked if she could have a burger. I got her and my nephews a meal and returned to Partipaliooza. I asked my nephew to ask the people at the front desk if can we eat inside. Zack, the guy working at the front, said no outside food allowed. I then told my 15 year old nephew to get his brothers to come to eat and they could play for 15 more minutes before we go. When my nephews tried to go back in, they told us no "in and out." Zack said that because they ate in the parked car they were not allowed back in. We could not return. I asked where was there a sign that said no "in and out." Zack said there was none. When I asked why a caucasian lady with 4 children where able to leave and come back into Partipaliooza, Zack advised me that they brought their food (she went to the car to get it) and ate it in the princess room. I stated, "I thought you said no outside food. That is why I called my nephews outside to eat. Why was she able to eat inside? Why was she allowed to go to the car and get it?" Zack responded, "Home made sandwiches or food from home are allowed." I then asked where these rules were published. His statement to me was, "I am stating these rules! This is coming from me." She was first allowed to go get the food from the parked car, then she was allowed to eat it in the facility. There was also another caucasian girl and her mother who left 2 times and returned 15 minutes later. My nationality is half asian and half caucasian. When I came here in the past with my caucasian husband, we never had a problem. He always went in and out to get us some coffee. Unfortunately today he was not with me and I definitely saw a difference with service. Other wives of other ethics had advised me of this problem. It is sad that this problem is still occurring in our country. I will not return to expose this behavior to my children.
The Kingsbrae Gardens are beautiful and very relaxing to walk through. There are fruit trees, mazes, hedges, sculptures and many different kinds of flowers. Everything is gorgeous! The sculptures are very unique and fun to look at and take pictures with. There is a good size animal pen with alpacas, goats, rabbits, peacocks, ducks and chickens. We walked through everything in about an hour.
I have been a member of this museum for many years and no matter what their age, they have no problem spending multiple hours here at a time.
Right now, for my three year old twins, I especially love the Kids Room. It has a door that's monitored by an employee so kids can't escape without a parent! It can get super crowded sometimes with camps and field trips but they purposely don't let any field trips in until 11:30 on Thursdays, which is when we try visit - although it's still ok when its crowded - it's a large space. My littles love the huge water table (when they were really small I used to actually bring a change of clothes with me!), the tube where you can send messages like a bank drive-up-teller, the dress ups, the fishing activity, the Duplos - we have played here for hours.
We also all enjoy the dinosaur area - lots of hands-on activities here too as well as Newton's Alley, which is full of physics exhibits to play with.
There is a large hall on the second floor that houses traveling exhibits that are always really well done. Right now they have an exhibit about how science is a part of every day life and I had to actually drag my kids away from the huge building blocks, paper airplane making and wall of magnetic pieces to create a track for a ball. In the past they have had a very well-done exhibit on the War on Drugs, a potato cannon they shot off and a huge air tunnel where you could use recycled materials to make things to fly.
There are free planetarium shows and I watched the Sesame Street one with my littles a few weeks ago and they were very entertained - it's cute and very age appropriate.
I always pack a lunch and eat in the brown bag area (right behind Newton's Alley) but there is a cafe also, near the front of the museum. Sometimes the brown bag area is full or closed for field trips and you can also eat near the coat room near the front desk.
This museum is a treasure along the Inner Harbor. It's not perfect or the most elaborate science center I've ever been to, but it is perfect for entertaining my kids every single time so that gives it five stars as far as I'm concerned.
This is THE Lodge to stay in on a Vail vacation. Not only is it the oldest and most original (opening in 1962), but it is great for families and is centrally located to everything families would want on a winter or summer vacation.
Right at the base of Gondola 1, the main access point to Vail Mountain, is this Lodge. From the Gondola, it's a few meters before the outside courtyard of Cucina (the hotel restaurant), Elways (delicious steak house), and a small children's playground come into view. Guests can enter and exit through this area right to the slopes. Also near the hotel, but out a side entrance, is the entrance to the main street of Vail Village. Shops, restaurants, and children's fountains are easily accessible - and it is all a pedestrian only area.
SHUTTLES and VALETS
There are plenty of great ways to get around the pedestrian-friendly village of Vail and the Lodge makes it even better. The Lodge provides a free shuttle service which picks up directly at the lobby. Take the shuttle to the Lionshead Village area to catch the Gondola to Epic Discovery (summer) or kids ski school and bunny slopes in the winter. For mountain adventures the Lodge provides ski and bike valet service. Mountain storage for bike equipment and ski/snowboards is provided complimentary. What a great way to get around and have your stuff taken care of!
The Lodge has been recently renovated for a complete new look which preserves the classic chalet-style feel, wood cabinetry in the rooms, comfortable bedding, and updated furnishings. Choose from a wide variety of rooms from a nice queen bedroom for two, up to 1-2 bedroom rooms, or 1-6 bedroom luxury chalets with ski-in, ski-out benefits. The queen bedroom I stayed in was very comfortable with an outdoor patio, flat screen tv, mini fridge, full bath, and coffee maker. Helpful touches included a humidifier for the dry air and a full bottle of lotion. We toured a privately-owned (but still run by the hotel) room which was a 1 bedroom suite with a full kitchen and wood-burning fireplace. The international wing has 1-2 bedroom suites as well with slope facing patios and these rooms are booked up to a year in advance due to their popularity.
FUN FOR KIDS
Mort the Moose is waiting to greet kids and loves to be "taken around" to visit Vail (a stuffed moose given on check-in.) Kids get a kick out of seeing him on instagram! The outdoor pool is heated year round with a pool bar open in the summer. Enjoy sandwiches, finger foods, and cocktails in the summer sun. 2 jacuzzis are ready for guests to soak in. Hot cocoa and cookies await kids at Cucina in the winter. Board games are always available to check out, and a game room in winter and on holiday weekends is open for ping pong, arcade games, and more.
DINING & SPA
3 restaurants are located in the hotel - Cucina, Elways, and Yama Sushi. Cucina offers comfortable family dining with the option of an outdoor patio around a fire pit. I loved Cucina for breakfast each morning! Elways is a delicious steakhouse. The RockResorts Spa offers luxurious and relaxing treatments to guests including a sauna, hot tub, tranquility room, and luxurious locker room. Please see separate reviews.
This is a great hotel to choose for a family vacation due to the variety of room options, great location, and complimentary shuttle and valet services. I would highly recommend it for families for a winter or summer vacation.
Disclosure: I received complimentary lodging as part of a press trip to experience Epic Discovery. I was not asked to present a particular point of view and all opinions are my own.