Feb
16

What to do in New York City with Kids? Here’s Another Bucket List Idea

If your wondering what to do in New York City with kids, here is a bucket list idea that will truly inspire their imagination. Travelling to far and distant new places can be quite mind blowing for kids, so it is always great to have activities which will provide new and engaging experiences whilst keeping them in their comfort zone. Forget an expensive and exhausting trip to Universal Studios, instead consider taking them to real movie set locations. New York city is a great place to do this.

Your kids may well feel that they have been there before- and in their wonderful imaginations, they have! Manhattan is featured in countless kids films past and present- Mr Poppers Penguins, The Smurfs, 2012: Ice Age, Night at the Museum 2 : Battle of the Smithsonian and of course who could forget Madagascar. Actually there are far to many kids movies filmed in New York to mention here. I am sure you and your kids can think of a few too. And, coming to cinemas in 2012 are Madagascar 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man. If you are taking the kids to New York city, then here are a few great activities that will surely please pint sized movie buffs.

What to do in New York City with Kids- top 5 ideas

1. Hire bikes for all the family in Central Park to explore all the nooks and crannies and experience you own version of a favourite movie. It takes around 2 hours just to ride around the park on bikes with kids, so hire bikes for 1/2 a day to do it comfortably.
2. Central Park Zoo– The inspiration for Madagascar

3. Times Square– featured recently in The Smurfs.

4. FAO Swartz– ‘The Smurfs’ and Tom Hanks’s ‘Big’

5. Take an open top bus tour to recognise the major buildings. It is also great to do this tour at night as many of the buildings are filmed in movies at night. Get a New York City Pass to make things easy. You can get on and off the bus as many times as you like and when you choose, allowing little ones to rest during a busy day.

For the complete list of all movies set in New York city use this link to Wikipedia. With SO many movies filmed in the streets of New York, there is a very good chance that you will even happen upon the filming a a brand new blockbuster. It seems much more likely than seeing snow in New York these days.

Our family loved these activities so much we recommend you adding these to your families bucket list! This is really only the tip of the iceberg of what to do in New York City with kids, so if you have some ideas to share, we’d love to hear your recommendations.

Jan
15

Luxury Family Holidays- Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore

Singapore is a great Asian destination for either a easy luxury family holiday destination or short stopover with kids en-route to Europe. Singapore is warm, clean, highly organised and efficient. Great for relaxing, dining, shopping and taking in the Universal Studios Theme Park, just one of the attractions on Singapore’s Sentosa Island. We stayed at the Pan Pacific Hotel twice during the past month on recommendation from research using trip advisor.

Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore Pros

We were not disappointed. The Pan Pacific Hotel is recently and beautifully refurbished, showcasing some interesting architecture which held the interest of the kids every time they stepped out of the room. The hotel also has internal and external glass lifts, making every trip to the room  a fun and interesting adventure on it’s own. The hotel is large and clean, with very good service. The pool is very large with wading areas which are ideal for kids, lap swimming areas and other areas deep enough to safely dive. The pool staff were attentive bringing towels and complimentary bottled water regularly. The gym is very well equipped, with Technogym equipment and open 24 hours, the Spa also very impressive offering a range of treatments including the Jet Lag relief treatment which I can thoroughly recommend. The buffet breakfast is very extensive and if you can’t find anything to temp you any of the expansive choices, the chefs are more than happy to cook pretty much anything you desire.

The hotel is well located in the Suntec City/Marina Bay area with direct indoor access to the convention centre and large indoor shopping malls with exceptional quality food court meals readily available which is great when traveling with kids who under the influence of a little jet lag, need to eat frequently and urgently!  The Pan Pacific Singapore is also fairly close to the highly efficient MRT train service. Taxi’s are also readily available, and the traffic, although fairly heavy moves quite freely in our experience.

Pan Pacific Hotel Cons

The only negative- we experienced issues booking accommodation for our family on both occasions. One stay was booked by the call centre and the other directly at the hotel, but on both occasions, we were shown to a room for 2 with one king bed and therefore not capable of holding our family. However on both occasions, the front desk staff promptly upgraded us to a very large executive suite, which made our stays very confortable. For our trouble, the front desk manager also kindly added some extras to our stay.

Tip- Make sure you print all of your booking info and carry it with you on check in to avoid any difficulties. Other than this minor inconvenience, we give this hotel the a big thumbs up and will return again.

Jan
01

New Years Eve Sydney Fireworks

New Years Eve Sydney Fireworks

Families LOVE New Years Eve Sydney FireworksKids love fireworks and the New Years Eve Sydney Fireworks are amongst the best displays on earth and a great way to welcome in the New Year with your family. Last year we spent the evening with six kids on the Eastern side of Circular Quay, 100 meters from the Sydney Opera House Forecourt- perfect viewing for kids. Each year there’s two spectacular fireworks displays rivalling anywhere in the world at 9pm and midnight, each running 10 minutes. The New Years Eve Sydney fireworks display has some unfair advantages when it comes to hosting a spectacular fireworks display. Firstly the backdrop: Opera House, Habour Bridge, city skyline, Botanical Gardens, Luna Park, Darling Harbour and The Rocks provide a canvas that cannot be matched. The other great thing about Sydney is that fireworks are launched from multiple vantage points around the harbour that have outstanding views. Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Botanical Garden’s– our favourite, if you and your family members are up for a walk.

New Years Eve Sydney Fireworks Tips

In order to get the most out of your New Years Eve Sydney Fireworks experience, researching and planning your trip with kids is important as Sydney hosts thousands of people on New Year’s Eve. Take public transport– there’s increased services of trains, buses and ferries . The majority of CBD streets are closed allowing pedestrians safe space, parking is difficult and the Harbour Bridge is closed for a couple of hours to prepare for the firework display launched directly off the bridge. There are a number of great ways to see the fireworks including- attending a function, or going to one of the many vantage points around the harbour with a picnic. Many of the hotels have great harbour views and family-friendly functions. Our pick is the Park Hyatt Hotel located just under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is also popular to buy tickets to a cruise (buy either early or last minute to get the best deals), which can give wonderful uninterrupted views. If you are planning a Sydney New Years Eve Cruise, find out where is the boat’s designated location for the fireworks. Anywhere east of the Harbour Bridge with bridge views is a prime location. Tickets to such events can be pricey, particularly when buying for the whole family. Boats leave early and get back very late, so if you are celebrating with young children, plan carefully. Around the foreshore there are many options. If you are planning to go to the Opera House, Botanical Gardens or Circular Quay, get there early (before 6 pm) or buy tickets online. The area is divided into several zones supervised by police with restricted numbers, providing extra safety for families. Take hats, plenty of snacks, water and batteries for your cameras. Prices at the convenience stores are exorbitant!! If you have a young family, it is advisable to leave the city by around 10.30 or 11 pm to avoid the unruly crowds and public transport queues. The fireworks at midnight are even more spectacular. Our evening involved watching the 9pm show, wandering up the centre lanes of usually very busy streets (the kids loved this), visiting the giant Christmas tree in Martin Place, leaving the city by 11 pm and getting to a TV to enjoy the full live televised midnight New Years Eve fireworks show. All tucked up in bed by 12.15am.

 

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