Reviews & Photos
November 01 2012
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Jungle Safari Mini Golf
71st Ave. North and Kings Highway,
I’ve already confessed my love for mini golf in my review of Captain Hook’s Adventure Golf. I also wanted to share another favorite mini-golfing spot - Jungle Safari Mini Golf. This 18-hole course is fun and fast.
My favorite thing about Jungle Safari is that it is great for small children. The scenery consists of animals is not at all scary or spooky like some of the other Myrtle Beach mini golf courses with dragons or pirates or spooky sound effects. This simpler, sweeter course is still challenging enough to be fun for older kids and adults.
I also like that this course, located just in between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach is a little less crowded than the courses in Myrtle. In fact, on a sunny Fall afternoon, we had the course to ourselves! The man running the course was so kind to the children and even offered to let us play a little longer. And that was before he knew I was writing a review!
I love this course and would recommend it to anyone vacationing in North Myrtle or Myrtle Beach.
October 17 2012
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1185 Celebrity Circle ,
South Carolina 29577
"4 1/2 Stars for the Live Action Magical Adventure Game"
It was a chilly weekday evening at Myrtle Beach, and I was trying to keep the kids entertained. They’re 5 and 7. Just to give you an idea of their interests, they’re planning to be Ginny Weasley and Hermione for Halloween. Needless to say they’re really into wands and spells and magic.
Despite the fact that my kids love all things magical, MagiQuest wasn’t high on my Myrtle Beach to-do list. I was planning on fun in the sun. Followed by fun at the water park. Followed by fun at delicious restaurants. MagiQuest? Wizards? Dragons? Unicorns? I was skeptical.
Then I realized this live-action adventure game involved Wands. I showed the kids pictures from the website. “We get a wand?” They were sold.
MagiQuest did not disappoint. When you arrive, you are greeted by a damsel wearing medieval clothes. She gives you a wand complete with a microchip that keeps track of your quest successes and failures. She enchants (programs) your wand, gives you a crash course on wizarding, then sends you off to complete your quests.
The game-playing area has a castle complete with dungeon, a forest, and a crypt. After visiting the Circle of Stones and choosing your Quest, you follow a riddle to find 4-6 clues. There are chests, crystals, and computer screens with sprites and wizards everywhere you turn. Wave your wand and the characters give you clues, the chests open and you earn gold, the crystals twinkle and you’re a step closer to completing your quest. Once you’ve discovered the clues from your riddle, you earn a rune. Then you can move on to another Quest.
Does it sound nerdy? Maybe. But nerdy is the new cool. And my kids had a lot of fun. So much fun that they are still asking when we get to go back. It was their favorite place at Myrtle Beach. This is saying a lot when you consider how much they loved mini-golf, the beach, and the resort’s waterpark.
Even though my kids gave MagiQuest rave reviews, there were a few downsides that prevented me from giving it 5 stars. First, there were glitches with my son’s wand which made it difficult to use. This slowed us down a bit and could have been frustrating for my 5 year old. Also, you are allotted a certain amount of time for game play so you don’t want to spend your time casting your wand over and over trying to get it to work. Lastly, in certain areas it was obvious that you were in a large auditorium, rather than a castle or forest. I’d love to see the decor upgraded a bit so that you could really lose yourself in the magic.
Despite the small drawbacks, MagiQuest was a surprisingly entertaining way to spend a cool evening at Myrtle Beach. We’ll definitely go back the next time we are there. The best part is that our wands will remember our game play, so we can start where we left off!
Disclosure: We received 90 minutes of game play at Magiquest from the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, but the opinions expressed in this review reflect my own views.
October 17 2012
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Barefoot Princess Riverboat Tours
Barefoot Landing ,
Barefoot Landing Marina,
North Myrtle Beach,
South Carolina 29582
"Cruise the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway"
If you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon on the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway, complete with lunch, a cash bar, and an honest-to-goodness lounge singer, look no further than the Barefoot Princess Riverboat.
We started the cruise with a box lunch from Firehouse subs - turkey sandwiches, which the kids enjoyed. Then we joined the other passengers on the second floor to listen to Ron Crane’s tales of the boat, the beach, and life as an entertainer. He crooned here and there and made small talk with the passengers.
After lunch, we wandered to the open front area of the boat to look for wildlife. Two beautiful hawks circled above. The kids took turns “spying” trees and butterflies as well. They also enjoyed pointing out the multi-million dollar homes we were passing. “Mommy, take a picture of that huge house!”
Eventually, we made our way to the third floor of the boat for a chance to steer. Captain Rick encouraged both kids to take the wheel and I also did my best to steer us straight through the calm waters.
The crew was delightful. Gail, who ran the cash bar, was the friendliest of all. She gave us the feeling that the boat is a family affair, and she made us feel like her guests.
The Barefoot Princess is a mellow break from the excitement of the beach and a nice way to relax with sleepy kids after an exciting morning of riding the waves and splashing in the water parks.
Disclosure: We received complimentary passes and lunch from the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, but the opinions expressed in this review are my own.
October 17 2012
2 families found this helpful
Captain Hooks Adventure Golf
2205 N. Kings Highway,
"My Favorite Miniature Golf at Myrtle Beach"
First, let me confess, I love mini golf. When we decided on Myrtle Beach for a Fall getaway, the kids immediately asked, “Can we play miniature golf?” It looks like I’m teaching them well. This was our second trip to Myrtle Beach and our second trip to Captain Hook’s Miniature Golf.
Putt through caves, onto Captain Hook’s boat, past Alligators, and On To Neverland! Divided into two 9-hole courses, the courses make for fast play even on a crowded day. It is a popular spot, though, so you might find a short wait. Fortunately, the life size Peter Pan characters will keep your little ones entertained while you wait.
I will warn that for smaller, sensitive children, Captain Hook and his pirates can be a little intimidating. My son is very, very sensitive and was afraid of the pirate sounds coming from Captain Hook’s ship as well as from the skull shaped rock replica.
All-in-all, though, Captain Hook’s Adventure Golf is a great place to tee off and my personal favorite spot for miniature golf at Myrtle Beach.
Disclosure: We received free passes for 9-holes of play for the purpose of this review, but the opinions expressed here are my own.
August 23 2012
2 families found this helpful
The Omni Homestead Resort
7696 Sam Snead Highway,
Hot Springs, Virginia
"The Homestead: An Upscale Resort for the Entire Family"
I have to admit, when we decided to go The Homestead for vacation, I worried it would be too stuffy for my five and seven year old. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Our three day vacation included a falconry course, archery, bowling, swimming, and enough rest and relaxation to make up for all of that activity!
TAKE THE WATERS! THE POOLS OF THE HOMESTEAD
The Homestead is nestled in the legendary Alleghany Mountains of Virginia, famous for the healing properties of its hot springs. The phrase “Take the Waters” refers to floating in these springs for health benefits. My family, on the other hand, took to the swimming pools!
Though the resort is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion that will soon include a lazy river and water slides fed by natural mineral waters, my family was able to enjoy a newly renovated outdoor pool featuring a kids’ water play zone with water sprays and fountains. There was also a large sand area for little ones, a second swimming pool, and a hot tub which children were welcome to use. We could have spent the entire vacation at this pool.
In three days at The Homestead, we managed to try more new activities than we have in the past year! Falconry, archery, paintball, and a carriage ride were the family favorites.
Falconry was amazing. The falconer lectured on the history of the sport and the husbandry of the birds. My seven year old daughter hung on her every word. When she brought out the Harris Hawk, both children gasped. I felt a little nervous donning the falconer’s glove, but fear turned to exhilaration as the hawk landed on my outstretched hand.
Falconry was just the tip of the iceberg. In every activity, the instructors were patient and encouraging with the children. Most impressive was the archery instructor, who took extra time to help my 5 year old perfect his aim and hit the target. My son usually shies away from attention, but our instructor was soft spoken and gentle. Before I knew it, my shy guy looked like an Olympian.
REST AND RELAXATION THE HOMESTEAD WAY
In between activities, we needed downtime. Tea in the Grand Hall was the perfect break. Families filled the lobby. A pianist played. Children nibbled sweet treats and sandwiches, while parents and grandparents relaxed with tea.
After tea, I treated myself to a spa visit. A reflexology treatment left me feeling restored and ready for dinner.
DINING AT THE HOMESTEAD
Dining options are abundant at The Homestead. We chose The Casino Club and were happy with both the food and the company; most of the tables were content families with children. The next morning we enjoyed breakfast in the Main Dining Hall. Thanks to a combination of chandeliers, white table cloths, and waffles and doughnuts; this meal was a visual delight and the kids’ culinary highlight.
PLANNING OUR NEXT TRIP
As our trip came to a close I asked the kids what they enjoyed the most. My daughter loved the carriage ride. My son voted for the kids’ pool. They both wanted to know when we would return to enjoy the lazy river. There were so many activities we didn’t have time to try - horseback riding, the hot springs of the Jefferson pools, guided hikes, and mountain biking - I’m already planning our next trip!
If you’re planning a trip to The Homestead, here are a few tips to make your trip the best possible.
Attire: Dress at the Homestead is resort casual. I felt very comfortable in a sundress or slacks and a blouse. That said, designer attire abounds. If you are fashion conscious, pack accordingly.
Activity Packages: The Homestead offers seasonal room and activity packages. Some resort guests mentioned trouble scheduling activities they wanted because they weren’t included in a package, their children didn’t meet age or size requirements, or the activity was full. Choose your preferred activities then consult the concierge or activities coordinator before booking a package.
The Price Tag: Most of the pricing information can be obtained from The Homestead’s website. Be aware that most activities, including the Jefferson Pools, bowling, and, I believe inner tubes on the lazy river will require an additional fee unless included in your activity package.
Disclosure: I received complimentary lodging and activities while at The Homestead. The opinions in this review are my own and were not influenced by the Homestead or its affiliates.