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Tuesday
Mar112014

10 Things for Kids To Do In Philadelphia

 

Remember the Wizard of Oz?  Well, Dorothy and I have something in common.

There's no place like home.

As much as I love to travel and explore new places, there's something special about coming home to Philadelphia. It's also a great place for a weekend trip or a quick escape during the week with your family. Now, with the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package (stay any two consecutive nights and your car stays for free) it's even easier to plan your getaway. 

There is so much to do for families in Philadelphia, that it can be a bit overwhelming planning an itinerary, so I wanted to share some of my favorite things to do with you.  If I were create my perfect 3 day/2 night trip to Philadelphia, here are some of the places I would go with my family:

1) I've taken my kids to many children's museums, and the Please Touch Museum® is top notch! It includes two full floors of interactive exhibit zones, plus a fully restored 100-year-old carousel. Youngsters can play and pretend amid Alice’s Wonderland, River Adventures and other hands-on fun. And on Target First Wednesdays, the museum stay opens 4:00-7:00 p.m. with $2 admission. 4231 Avenue of the Republic, (215) 581-3181, pleasetouchmuseum.org 

2) Philadelphia is full of history, and the Liberty 360 3D Show is a fun way to learn a little but about its roots. The show takes visitors on an immersive, 360° patriotic journey, led by none other than Benjamin Franklin, to discover our nation’s symbols of freedom—from the bald eagle to the Statue of Liberty. Inside the Historic Philadelphia Center’s customized, wrap-around PECO Theater, the 15-minute indoor show uses the most modern technology of its kind to spotlight the most treasured American value—liberty. 6th (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org

3) Going to the Adventure Aquarium is a must! It is the most family friendly aquarium I have ever been to and my kids love coming back time and time again! At Adventure Aquarium visitors can count on hands-on activities, animals, exhibits and unforgettable moments. You can walk through a suspended Shark Tunnel, get nose-to-nose with hippos and check out KidZone, a virtual playground under the sea. The 760,000-gallon Ocean Realm is home to sea turtles, stingrays, schooling fish and sharks, including the only great hammerheads on exhibit in the country. Adventurous types can roll up their sleeves to pet and feed stingrays, or touch shrimp, lobster, starfish, crabs and sharks. 1 Aquarium Drive, Camden, NJ, (856) 365-3300, adventureaquarium.com

4) America's first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo is also a family favorite. Home to nearly 1,300 animals— many rare and endangered. In addition to leading the way in conservation efforts, America’s first zoo features award-winning exhibits such as First Niagara Big Cat Falls, the McNeil Avian Center, the PECO Primate Reserve and seasonal family-friendly events. The new wildlife academy and interactive children’s zoo, KidZooU, enhances the zoo experi-ence for kids, from toddlers to tweens, with dynamic displays, hands-on learning and animals including unusual goats, sheep, chicken and ducks. 3400 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 243-1100, philadelphiazoo.org

5) Oh, how we love Linvilla Orchards! It's a scenic 300-acre family farm dedicated to agriculture, education and entertainment, families can explore the Garden Center, pick their own seasonal fruit, hop on a hay-ride and buy freshly baked pies to take home. 137 W. Knowlton Road, Media, (610) 876-7116, linvilla.com

6) Longwood Gardens is one of our favorite places to go year-round.  My kids absolutely love this place and it's a feast for the senses, no matter how old you are!  Each time we go to Longwood, we have a unique adventure.  You don't want to miss the towering tree houses, the magnificent conservatory or the enchanting indoor children’s garden. Although this is not located in the city, I I'd say it's well worth the drive! U.S. Route 1, Kennett Square, (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org

7) Riding The Ducks is such a fun way to see Philadelphia and learn about some of it's history. It is an amphibious vehicle that goes from land (Philadelphia Museum of Art to the Liberty Bell Center) to sea (Delaware River), can look forward to 90 minutes of entertainment, city history, fun facts and lots of kid-approved quacking. 6th (887) 887-8225, phillyducks.com

8) The Franklin Institute is a classic destination.  I remember going here as a child and it's still incredibly popular today. As the region’s premier science museum, The Franklin Institute features a full city block of kid-friendly exhibitions, such as the walk-through Giant Heart (an old favorite!), Space Command, Sports Challenge, Electricity and Changing Earth. It’s also home to the Tuttleman IMAX Theater, the Fels Planetarium and a 3-D theater. 222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1200, fi.edu

9) I've heard great things about the Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse.  It's one of the oldest playgrounds in America, dating back to 1899, and offers children (ages 10 and under) a free, safe place to play, jump, swing and climb. For children five and under, the Tot-Lot features more than 20 pieces of age-appropriate play equipment, and at the 16,000-square-foot Playhouse, kids run the show. 3500 Reservoir Drive (near 33rd (215) 765-4325, smithplayground.org

10) The Herr’s Snack Factory Tour is close to an hour from the city, but it's worth the drive! At the Herr's factory, you will learn about the History of the Herr's brand, get to see how the snacks are made, and get to taste freshly made potato chip! The tour is free, educational and fun, but be sure to reserve your spot online before going. Route 272 & Herr Drive, Nottingham, (610) 932-6400, herrs.com 

Sounds like fun, right? These are my top 10 things for kids to do when visiting Philadelphia and this is just a small sampling of what the area has to offer. There is so much to see and do.

So, are you ready to #VisitPhilly? 

Philadelphia is the perfect spot for a getaway! Stay for any two consecutive nights at one of twenty participating hotels and your car stays free! For more information and to book your room visitphilly.com/overnight.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Visit Philadelphia. The opinions and text are all mine.

Photo Credits: Linvilla & Adventure Aquarium by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™ / GPTMC. - Please Touch by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™ 

Friday
Mar072014

Easy Hawaiian Upside-Down Deep Dish Pizza Recipe ~ Ragu #NewTraDish

What are your favorite meals to cook? I love experimenting with new recipes, and this Ragu Hawaiian Upside Down Deep Dish Pizza Recipe is perfect for a quick, satisfying for the entire family.  It was easy to prepare, tasted great and everyone loved it!

My friends at Ragú asked me to put a unique twist on a recipe from Ragu.com. There were so many amazing recipes to choose from, but I was drawn to the recipe for the Upside Down Deep Dish Pizza.  When I think of pizza, "Hawaiian" is one of our family favorites. So, I decided to add diced ham and pineapple to this recipe and it was even better than I imagined it to be.

As a mom who is always trying to get my family to eat more veggies, it's great to know that each jar of Ragú Old World Style Traditional Sauce is made with 11 juicy tomatoes making it Ragú's thickest, richest sauce. 

Here are the ingredients for my Hawaiian Upside Down Deep Dish Pizza

  • 1 lb. very lean Ground Beef (I used the kind that was 96% fat free) You could substitute Ground Turkey too.
  • 1 jar (1 lb. 8 oz.) Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Pasta Sauce
  • 10 ounces of Pineapple Tidbits (very well drained)
  • 4 ounces of cooked diced Ham 
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 can (13.8 oz.) refrigerated pizza dough

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Brown ground beef in large nonstick skillet and drain any excess fat.
  2. Stir in Pasta Sauce and bring to a boil; turn into 2-quart deep dish pie plate or baking dish.
  3. Top with pineapple tidbots and diced ham, then cheese. Place pizza dough over dish, sealing edges tightly.
  4. Bake 20 minutes or until crust is golden. Let stand 10 minutes.

It's that easy!

To make it even simpler, the ground beef mixture can be even be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated in the baking dish until assembly time. Just heat it in the microwave until hot before topping and baking.  Perfect for those busy nights when we're coming home from a sports practice around dinner time!

If you're family likes ham and pineapple pizza, I think they'll really like this recipe. It was hot, rich and very satisfying! Plus, it was so easy to make, that it didn't leave me with a mess in the kitchen - which I love too!

Visit Facebook.com/RaguSauce for more quick, easy and delicious recipe ideas.

Check out the Ragú Better and Better Sweepstakes for a chance to win Italian themed prizes and a trip to Venice, Italy, for a family of four! www.RaguSweeps.com

Monday
Feb102014

Try Hockey for Free on March 1st, 2014

Any parent who has ever had a child play hockey knows that it can be a huge investment of time and money, so you really want to make sure your child is committed before signing up. A couple of years ago, my son begged us to play hockey. My husband and I let him give it a try, only to find out that it wasn't his cup of tea.  Over time, he has found other sports which he loves, and now enjoys watching hockey games from the sidelines instead.

Does your son or daughter want to try playing hockey? Thanks to the Try Hockey for Free program, your kids across the U.S. can have a free hockey session before you take the leap to skating lessons or team sign ups.

As part of the NHL's Come Play Hockey Month, ice rinks across the U.S. will be hosting programs for kids to try hockey for FREE!  This is a great opportunity for your child, between the ages of 4 to 9,  to get on the ice and learn more about the sport. 
These FREE hockey trial sessions will take place on Saturday, March 1, 2014.  
To learn more and find a location near you, go to the Try Hockey for Free website.  All locations have a limited amount of equipment available for use so you will need to register as soon as possible.
Wednesday
Feb052014

Get Ready for the Olympics: Movies, Books & Crafts for Kids

 

Do you remember watching the movie Cool Runnings when you were a kid? Both my husband and I fondly remember watching this movie and we were thought it was the perfect time to share it with our kids, since the Winter Olympics are about to begin.

My sons are 5 and 8 and they both loved this movie which is based on the true story of four Jamaica athletes and their their journey to the Winter Olympics. There a few words in the movie that may not be appropriate for small kids, but overall, this movie is really funny and entertaining. It's a positive story about athletes who face so much adversity, but never give up.  It's definitely a winner in our house, and I have a feeling we will be watching Cool Runnings over and over again this winter.

Are you excited for the Olympics too? Here are 10 Movies, Books and Crafts based on Winter Sports and Olympics that should keep the kids busy. (Some of the following are affiliate links)

Movies

Books

Crafts