will1494's Passport
 

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Member since:
07 July 2012

Icon_superoo_orangeSuperoo '12, '13, '14

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About Me & My Family

Hi! I'm Amanda and I have a high energy husband and a spirited preschool boy with another bambino on the way. We try to incorporate adventure into each day. We go to various beaches, zoos, parks and on road trips as often as we can. I have been to 31 of the United States (including living in Alaska), Canada from Ontario - westward, Mexico, and Costa Rica. I'm a total bird nerd, so you'll find me hauling around guides, binos, and checklists, ranging around anywhere I might find a new bird for my life list!
Our Family's Travel Personality
adventurous, curious, rowdy, relaxed, simple, independent, energetic, spontaneous, easy_going, scheduled
We Just Got Back From
Alaska
Our Favorite Vacation Spot
so many!! Everglades, Oregon coast, Southeast Alaska, Minnesota Staycations...
A Place We'd Love To Visit
Peru, Jamaica, New Zealand, Guatemala, Madagascar, Malayasia, Bali, the Virgin Islands, Thailand, the Blue Corn Islands
Favorite Vacation Memory
Surfing in Costa Rica, snorkeling at John Pennecamp State Park, climbing mountains and navigating rivers in Alaska, swimming in all the pools along the way! I love to eat wherever I go to--eating my way around the worlds' cuisine is a dream of mine!
Worst Travel Moment With My Kids:
Forgetting diapers on a hike--hubby took off his tshirt and we were resourceful with what we had! Old-fashioned cloth diapering! And a great hike after that crisis had passed! :)
Websites I Like:
Outside Magazine Field Guide to Parenting Outside Lonely Planet natgeo.com NPS.gov and....trekaroo!

Easter Activities & Egg Hunts Across Minnesota 2014

I think almost all kiddos love Easter egg hunts! Heck, I love Easter  egg hunts and I am well into adulthood! Be it a bright plastic egg with a chocolate morsel inside, a pastel egg with a nickel, or a real chicken egg, dyed and decorated, Easter eggs are fun to find! Here is a list of some of the places that you'll find egg hunts in MN -- this list is not all-encompassing, but more of a highlight reel. Updated for 2014

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72nd Ave. W & Grand Ave.
Duluth, Minnesota

Comment:
Easter EGG-stravaganza! Saturday, April 19th Easter Bunny photos, Games; Easter egg hunt, treats Animal Egg-enrichment schedule - see zoo site.

reviewed on: January 11 2013

"A really wild time for the family!"
Really great indoor exhibits and hands on areas for kids. Pretty cool learning animals from cockroaches to rabbits and birds. We are excited to see the zoo grow and expand. The primates are always a favorite!

The Zoo has a ton of great events and activities (both daily and annual) like Boo at the Zoo, Run Like an Animal, and many daily enrichment activities to enjoy.

What we loved:

• We really enjoyed the Boo at the Zoo event -- perfect for toddlers and younger kids, lots of candy, fun zoo activities (like petting alligators!) It is crowded inside at the start of the event, but as you move out to the grounds it's really easy walking.
• Really accessible to strollers and we loved that we didn’t have to take the costume off to go trick-or-treating like you do if you drive to different venues—it’s ALL in one spot!
• Traffic directors to help pedestrians get to the zoo safely
• Lots of vendors and ‘trick-or-treat’ stops along the grounds as you looked at animals
• Zoo bag to collect candy in, in case you forgot your own  
• Super reasonable food vendors on-site, so you can do lunch while you’re there, since the event encompasses lunch time
• Kids are worn out by the end of the day and sleep like champs!
• Great photo opportunities throughout the day

What we didn’t love:

• Parking is a ZOO too. You have to park about 8 blocks away, so plan for walking. You can try the main parking lot, but we didn’t see any point! There are also blocks of residential areas that do not allow parking, so check!
• Enrichments were scheduled so that if you have a napping child, you can’t hit them all. We’d have loved to have seen more, but schedule just didn’t allow. This won’t be an issue for older kiddos, but for toddlers it’s a long day to try to do it all.

This is a place that we will frequent year-around. The Griggs Learning Center is great for kids to have hands-on opportunities with several different critters--mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles!

Tip: If you want your child to be able to touch animals, don't expect it on a high-traffic event day. Also, have them choose the animal that they most want to pet, since staff can not take out all of the animals in the room for a few seconds each (due to stress on the animal) so kids need to find their faves and spend some time learning and enjoying those animals.

Disclosure: We were hosted at the LS Zoo during Boo at the Zoo to scope out the fun. We were not compensated in any other way and we really enjoyed our time.

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60 East Broadway
Bloomington, Minnesota

Comment:
SATURDAY, MARCH 29 - SUNDAY, APRIL 20 HOURS VARY WEST MARKET SQUARE (see MOA website for Easter Bunny Hours) Souvenir photos with the Easter Bunny for purchase, kids get a treat. Children will get special Peeps treat.

reviewed on: January 03 2013

"Fun way to spend a day!"
Mall of America® is the country’s biggest mall. It’s an international travel destination. We decided to spend some time there for a day while also seeing a few attractions within its walls. We had planned on dining at one of the popular restaurants and taking in the sites. It sounds dorky, but our biggest tip for seeing MOA is to try to plan our your visit if you only have a day to spend there – getting lost and being indecisive can eat up valuable time that could have been salvaged with a little more structure.

We were able to shuttle to MOA from the Radisson, which simplified the logistics so much. I would deem the walk between the two places a no-go with kids especially, though very short in distance, it is not very pedestrian friendly. If you stay at a hotel and do take advantage of the shuttle, make sure you know where and when your pick up is!

Being country bumpkins (at least in comparison to navigating the Twin Cities and the Mall) we spent a few minutes of our day retracing steps from wrong turns and checking the map when we really just wanted to get somewhere. Sometimes walking is the goal of ones’ visit and there are signs for the Mayo Clinic Mile all around the Mall, directing ‘Mall Stars’ walkers to the route that has been mapped out for distance (one mile, 5k and 10k.) We used a simple umbrella stroller to get around with our almost two-year old and it was a lifesaver. We thought about a framed backpack carrier, but there was just so much for our son to ‘take in’ that he was happy riding.

The site is great for people watching – I didn’t spend any time actually shopping, only looking at all the incredible stores that the Mall® houses! We did have a goal of seeing The LEGO® Store, but time got away on us and our boy actually ended up crashing after all of the fun at SEA Life Minnesota Aquarium and Nickelodeon Universe®. We admittedly spent the most time at those two attractions, but I’d say after seeing storefront after storefront, it would have been boring for our toddler had we just window-shopped all day. For those that like specialty stores though – this place is for you!

One favorite among the children in other families throughout the whole day was the American Girl® store. There were so many red bags with the stores’ name on the front that would undoubtedly hold the coveted dolls within. The store is located inside Nickelodeon Universe. Moose Mountain Adventure Golf is on the second level adjacent to Nickelodeon Universe and is another great way to have some multi-aged family fun.

Toddler Tuesdays® were a surprise to our family! We saw so many ‘stroller families’ during our time at the Mall! I never considered MOA a family destination for kids under 10 – but, they cater to the younger tykes at least one day each week! We visited on a Saturday but I would love to go back and experience a Tuesday there with my son!

Check out the MOA webpage and figure out what special events are being featured for the month and what restaurants you have to choose from. There are also seasonal variations in the hours of operation, so pay close attention to that while planning.

MOA does offer locker and stroller rentals at many of the main entrances. The Mall was quietest between 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (which is when we recommend seeing and enjoying Nickelodeon Universe.) I would recommend planning your visit for this timeframe. As the lunch hour approached, the Mall® became busier and more crowded. It wasn’t at all overwhelming in any one area except the food court, which is where we ended up eating (eat and run to keep our toddler napping and happy!) We had to wait in long lines and chose from fairly common cuisine. I had my heart set on Bubba Gump Shrimp, but we’ll have to save that for next time.

If we didn’t have tickets for Nickelodeon Universe and SEA Life™, we wouldn’t likely visit MOA because our family isn’t that into shopping or just walking around a mall for the day so it wouldn't hold our interest long. We might try to plan on a Tuesday if we plan another trip, just to check out what they have going on for the toddlers.  But, for those that love to shop, have variety in cuisine and stores, or just enjoys walking in 70 degree temperature-controlled climate all year, then you’d love MOA!

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240 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Comment:
Outdoor egg hunt on the lawn, April 19th BYOB! (Bring your own Basket!) $6 per person, $2 discount for MHS members Children ages 2-7 can look for eggs according to age range from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (all kids must be accompanied by an adult) *Reservations Recommended* Outdoor event, dress accordingly!



27251 State Highway 30
Hayfield, Minnesota

Comment:
Easter egg hunts for children, Farm animals are present. Call for 2014 information. 507-272-7465



2727 US Hwy 169 S
Grand Rapids, Minnesota

Comment:
MEMBERS ONLY - free to members exclusive event. Separate egg hunting areas for little ones and bigger kids. April 12th from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. Cupcakes, easter bunny, egg hunt, crafts & playing at the museum! Really fun event! Egg hunt starts at 9:15 sharp!

reviewed on: July 25 2012

"Fun Gadgets Geared toward preschoolers "
The Children's Discovery Museum in Grand Rapids, MN is a large facility full of fun for a room overun with preschoolers. I recently visited with my preschool class (about 20 kiddos, aged 3-5 years old.) Some of the activities were a little too advanced for the 3-5 year old age (like a light-up map and activities with lots to read) but there were also lots of pre-K aged attractions. A popular favorite was a water table (though the children didn't understand the concept behind locks and dams) they did have a great time puddling in the water.

The girls especially liked the dress up closet that the Children's Discovery Museum offers, along with the area there to "play house" and grocery shop. The boys loved the camping simulation and crawling in and out of the tent that was set up.

In a separate visit, I took my 2 year old son to the Easter Party and discovered that smaller kiddos can have a blast too! There is just so much room for them to run and play! The egg hunt was scheduled from 9-11, but we were there at 8:45. They didn't start the hunt until 9:15, so it was hard for a toddler to wait that long, BUT the parents that came at about 9:45 searched the whole place and there wasn't an egg to be found. So, if you're going to the egg hunt, GO EARLY! He loved the maze and dinosaur fossil puzzle. The locks and dams area was drained, so it was a dry exploration table. The Easter Bunny was there (but her ponytail was hanging out in back so it was a little hokey) and there were lots of crafts and snacks.

There was plenty of room to run around and burn off some steam, and there was also a table setting area for all of us to have our lunch. The only down-side I found was that the museum has a very sterile feel to it--not vibrant and energetic like I would have hoped for in a museum for little ones--mainly due to the concrete floors I think. The walls are mostly stark white, other than a few murals. There are also a few areas that have cords exposed--so as a Helicopter Mom it was a little worrisome-- but otherwise we had a great experience with the friendly staff and wide range of activities.

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3900 W Superior St
Duluth, Minnesota

Comment:
8th Annual Bunny Bash event- Friday & Saturday, April 18 & 19. Activities include face painting, caricatures, fun games, egg hunts, photos with the Bunny and a snack bar. Charity fundraiser for Veterans. It's affordable fun for all! Prices vary by activity: $0.50 - $5.00. Free admission but fee for tickets for all of the activities.


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11000 Craguns Drive
Brainerd, Minnesota

Comment:
Easter Package starts at $139 per night with lodging in a Lakeview Fireplace Room for 2 adults and up to 2 children age 12 and under. Friday welcome reception, dinner buffet and bingo. Saturday family activities include: petting zoo, family carnival, Easter cookie decorating, horsedrawn trolley rides, bonfire and marshmallow roasting, & an evening Glow In The Dark Easter Egg Hunt. Sunday breakfast buffet with the Easter Bunny.



25022 County Road 41
Starbuck, Minnesota

Comment:
5th annual Easter Egg Hunt There are games and activities at the Group Camp Shelter before and after the egg hunt. The naturalist will be on site for a program about animals of spring, where they come from, and what they do. Children are divided into three groups for the egg hunt: Pre-school, grades k-3, and grades 4-6. Some eggs contain prize slips. Hot cocoa and treats will be served at the Group Camp Shelter after the egg hunt. In 2013 2700 eggs were hidden!! *egg hunt will start promptly at 2pm*


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3131 Campus Drive
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Comment:
(Plymouth, MN location) April 19th - 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Call for details. 651-341-9687 There will be games, crafts, and Easter baskets for the kids! For the adults there will be raffle prizes!