Showing posts with label Knoebels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Knoebels. Show all posts

Why family travel is not always a vacation. . .

I remember hearing an argument sometime last year on the Today Show where the hosts were talking about a blogger who was talking about her family "vacations" not really being a "vacation."  Several of the hosts disagreed with the blogger and shared the joys that they have vacationing with their children.  After a recent family weekend trip, I can certainly speak to the fact that while I love traveling with my children, the word "vacation" does not seem to be the most appropriate.

At the ripe old age of 2, there seems to be a lot of days (and nights) where our youngest runs the show.  A few weeks ago, we took a road trip up to Knoebel's for the weekend.  When we arrived Friday evening, we got settled in the hotel and began getting everyone ready for the usual bed routine.  But in this instance, it turned out to be anything but the usual.  Little man wanted no parts of going to bed and his protests were not silent but turned into raucous roars.  8:00 came and went, then 9:00, then 10:00.  By 11:00 we wondered if we had made a tremendous mistake and should just head home.  In addition to the squeals and desire to play coming from our 2 year old, our 5 year old was whining that his brother was keeping him awake.  Thus began the night walk.  I loaded Caleb into the stroller and walked him around the parking lot of our Bloomsburg hotel for 1 hr.  Yes. . .you read that right.  One entire hour of walking circles around a parking lot before he finally gave in and fell asleep.

Now amazingly, the next day at Knoebel's was wonderful.  No fussy children and Caleb even took a nap in the stroller which is unusual.  We figured that the exciting day at the amusement park would wear them out, but just to be on the safe side we let them play in the hotel pool for about an hour when we got back to the hotel.  Then we started the bedtime routine again.  This time, Brody was out like a light, but once again Caleb defied the odds and turned bedtime into playtime.  Again, it took several hours and then a 90 minute walk in the stroller to finally get him to sleep.  Meanwhile, this whole time the patience of me and my husband was wearing thin and we seriously questioned taking any more "vacations" this summer.

Don't get me wrong, the kids had an amazing time that weekend at the amusement park and enjoyed our stop at Indian Echo Caverns on the way home Sunday.  We love seeing smiles on their faces and sharing the magic of childhood with them, which is a big reason we travel and like to explore new places.  However, I don't consider this a "vacation" with the amount of work that goes into planning and executing the weekend.  We relish the time with our kids that we spend and I love to see families traveling together, but maybe during that busy summer carve out a spa day for mom or a romantic overnight for mom and dad to truly enjoy a relaxing "vacation" that we all so desperately need.

Family Fun in South Central PA

With summertime in full swing and everyone looking for fun things to do with the family, I thought I would highlight some of my favorite finds around the Mid-Atlantic.  Today, we'll start in Pennsylvania with a couple places that I have come to love with my kids.

Hersheypark - Hershey, PA
Home of the best chocolate around (I love me some Reese's!), the small town of Hershey is big on fun!  Hersheypark is a fun amusement park for the youngest in your travel party all the way through the most adventurous.  Featuring a lot of kid friendly activities and a number of thrilling coasters along with a fantastic waterpark, there is so much to keep your family entertained all day long.  If you live in the area, check local retailers for coupons to save money on park admission.  You can also check online for discounts direct through Hersheypark.  And your admission ticket also includes entry for everyone in your party to Zoo America - a small, but enjoyable experience.  Before you leave, don't forget to stop by Chocolate World.  The chocolate tour is a free ride and they also have several add-on experiences you can purchase like making your own chocolate.

Knoebel's Amusement Park - Elysburg, PA
Knoebel's is a family friendly amusement and water park located in Central PA that turned 90 years old this summer.  My husband introduced our family to this great location during the first summer after Brody was born.  He had grown up going here and couldn't wait to share it with his family.  One of the best things about Knoebel's is that parking and admission is free!  That's right, free!  You pay individually for rides and attractions or you can purchase a ride all day wristband.  When we've gone with Brody, the whole day we've spent less than $20 on rides - a far cry from most of the expensive amusement parks.  They also have a swimming pool there that you can purchase daily passes to use.  And if you enjoy camping, the campground is a perfect place for your family to end their day (so I've been told - camping is not my thing. . .)

Turkey Hill Experience - Columbia, PA
Located between York and Lancaster on Rt. 30, the Turkey Hill Experience is something you don't want to miss.  Turkey Hill is famous for their ice cream and iced tea and you get to enjoy both here.  Admission is inexpensive at just $9.95 to enter for adults and kids 4 and under are free.  That entrance fee lets you play and explore what it's like to milk a cow, drive an ice cream truck, and even design your own packaging for ice cream.  If you want to take your experience to the next level, you can add on a ticket to the Taste Lab for about $5.00 more.  Inside the Taste Lab, you get to make your own flavor of ice cream and take the pint with you to enjoy!

These are just a few of my favorite places to visit that are close to home.  PA has so much more to offer out towards Philly too!  Each of these make great family day trips.  Enjoy!