Most of the world has seen (or at least heard of) the movie Dolphin Tale. The story highlights the rescue of a wounded dolphin who ends up losing one very important important thing… a tale! The Clearwater Marine Aquarium works hard in the movie to create a prosthetic tail just like you would for a human. All the while the characters are in the process of saving the aging Aquarium, which they do with Winter’s help.
That's Winter behind Mia's big smile!
We decided this summer would be a great time to meet Winter in person. Only about 1.5 hours from Orlando is beautiful Clearwater Beach and the somewhat small Aquarium. Staff at the Aquarium give you the feeling they are family and all have a vested interest in the success of the facility. Mia likes to talk and the staff there took the time to answer EVERY SINGLE question she had with no sign of annoyance. There are no bells and whistles here, but in a good way. Just fish, sharks, dolphins, stingrays, turtles, otters, local shell and geography exhibits and daily educational shows that incorporate the marine life.
Mia & Charli checking out the prosthetic tail
After the success of Dolphin Tale, the Aquarium now has a new facility located just a trolleyride away that is dedicated to the making of the movie – Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure. We weren’t able to get to this facility, but it was included in our entrance price and the trolleyride is free! Winter calls the main Aquarium home.
I highly recommend visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for an authentic marine life experience. Prices are reasonable. $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids. Teachers and active military get in free! There are often coupons available like this one on TampaBay360 for $2 off each ticket purchased.
If you can’t make it to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium just yet, you can follow Winter on Twitter or even view Winter through the online webcam!
The operating room from the movie
Great news! There’s a new Weekday Pass from Aquaticathat allows you and your family to enjoy unlimited weekday access through Dec. 31, 2012.
We are big Sea World fans so Aquatica is basically a shoe-in on our local favorite activities list. Aquatica takes guests in, over and under the water with some super cool water rides and animal encounters with Commerson’s dolphins, exotic birds and more!
I know as a full-time working mom, weekday passes to attractions aren’t always worth the money, but Aquatica is open until 7pm and even 8 pm most weekdays during the summer!
With the Weekday Pass
, guests can play every weekday this summer, and for the rest of the year, for just $59.99 plus tax. There’s even an option to purchase a weekend day for just $15 when you show your Weekday Pass at the front gate. (This is an awesome option!)
Guests can experience Aquatica’s 38 thrilling water slides, rivers and lagoons, side-by-side wave pools and two interactive water playgrounds designed for the littlest of swimmers.
For more info visit Aquatica’s website.
A few years back we ventured to Chicago for a long weekend over the 4th of July. At first, the thought of galavanting around in cabs in the city with my then one-year-old frightened me. I myself had no travel reservations, but this was a whole new ball of kiddie wax. In the end, I decided to escape the Orlando humidity for the crisp summer breeze in Chicago.
Check out my travel feature in the summer issue of PLAYGROUND magazine. You can read the online issue (by clicking through below) or stop by one of the Central Florida distribution points for your very own copy.
Once you read this, you too will be ready for your urban family vacation!
Click to read the article online (page 40-41)
Our Disney Dream Savings
After one year, two family yard sales, two lemonade stands, daily change contributions by daddy and the sacrifice of forking over birthday and holiday monetary gifts, we will set sail on our Disney Cruise this Thursday!
About a year and a half ago Mia expressed her desire to embark on Disney’s newest ship, The Dream.
This cruise meant pirate parties, princesses, a plexiglass waterslide and an adventure on Disney’s private island. This also meant a chunk of change for our family. We created a “cruise fund” complete with an image of the ship and began our saving mission.
One year of nickels, dimes and the occasional one dollar bills brought us to a grand total of about $250. This in no way shape or form is going to cover our cruise. However, it will cover most of our on board tips, activities etc. (I hope).
Mia’s All Packed & Ready To Go!
Mia has been observing this jar and working towards a goal for one year. Part of my joy in taking this cruise is the fact that she truly understands what it means to save and watch the savings accumulate over a year.
Stay tuned for posts on our Disney Cruise experience!
Posted on May 2, 2012
Everyone knows I love great products (travel specifically.) Making travel easy, stylish and fun is oh so important. Here are a few travel must haves for your holiday journeys!
The Text Hook
Cutest kids suitcase ever! Being comfortable while traveling is important, but never sacrifice style. Words to live by for sure. My daughter Mia is swooning over this travel accessory. We’ll see if Santa delivers! It’s Harajaku Mini, Gwen Stefani’s line, which is now carried by Target.
I have to talk about one of my favorite products again. The Text Hook is amazing for travel. It secures your smart phone to your stroller (or other travel item with a bar) for easy hands free use. Kids will stay occupied at your departure gate watching their fav movie while your smart phone is perfectly positioned. No holding necessary.
Super cute DJ style headphones for kids! Mia has the panda bear headphones and loves them. Several websites carry these headphones so shop around for the best prices.
The Holiday Travel Series continues… This deal is more of a staycation for us, but perhaps a few Mamma Mia readers will be traveling to Orlando this holiday season.
I’ve never been to ICE! at the Gaylord Palms here in Orlando, but I’ve heard it is absolutely amazing. The great deal taking place this weekend might just persuade me to go! Guests who purchase advance tickets for Saturday, Nov. 19 will receive 50% off the ticket price and also support Give Kids The World. Half of the cost of each ticket will go to the charity!
ICE! At Gaylord Palms
ICE! features over 20,000 square-feet of ice sculptures in a room that is kept at a frigid nine degrees fahrenheit. This year’s ICE! features friends from “Shrek the Halls.” The crew from Shrek comes to life through huge ice sculptures. There are also five ice slides that are 30-feet tall.
Tickets during the Give Kids The World special are $12 for adults and $8.99 for kids. The discounted tickets must be purchased in advance using the promo code SEGKW online.
If you can’t make the special discount day, ICE! will run through January 2. Regular price tickets are $22.99 for adults and $13.99 for kids.
Even though we are in the sunshine state, long pants and closed toe shoes are required at ICE! Hats and gloves are recommended. A winter coat will be provided to each ticket holder for use while at the event.
Starting this week through Christmas, I’ll be writing a holiday travel series to help everyone get prepared for the upcoming holiday travel season. Expect tips and news that will make your holiday travel a little easier.
CLEAR at your local airport
Many of us, myself included, are begining to look at booking holiday air travel and figuring out how to get our family from point A to point B. The question I ask myself when traveling with the family is, “How can I get there in the least amount of time, keep everyone moderately happy and not break the bank?”
I have seen the CLEAR lines at the airports and thought these were for “on the go” business travelers only. Think again weary parents in long security line… if a parent has a CLEAR membership, kids under 18 can also utilize the service free of charge. CLEAR members skip through long security lines… saving a ton of time. A one-year membership is $179 and the second family member (over 18) is only $50 per year.
Just in time for the holidays, CLEAR is offering Mamma Mia readers a special 3-month FREE trial! No need to deal with unpredictable security lines, the stress of rushing to your gate, or the time you waste getting to the airport early. Click here to get your pass and try CLEAR’s enhanced travel experience. Just enter The Mamma Mia code (CMNDST11) in the promo code filed on the payment page.
Happy (and quick) travels!
There’s someone in this world who ranks pretty high on my special list… And, she just happens to be my sister. While most days you’ll find my sister Abbey writing scientific documents with facts and figures, she took a step away to write this post on her recent trip to the Philadelphia Please Touch Museum with my fabulous nephew. Enjoy!
While looking for things to do on a recent weekend trip to Philly with my almost two year old son, I came across info on the Please Touch Museum. From the website, it seemed appropriate for a wide range of ages so I figured it would be something my son, the friend I was visiting, and I could all do together.
Once inside, Keefer started out cruising in the stroller but that was soon a lost cause. It is the “please touch” museum afterall! Keefer loved the grocery store. (Go figure) He grabbed a shopping cart and headed straight for the produce section where he stocked up on cauliflower, multiple heads of lettuce, and a few tomatoes (all plastic of course). During the shopping excursion, he also grabbed a few boxes of cake mix and a giant plastic turkey. He knew exactly what to do when he went to the register and another young museum-goer scanned his items.
There was a “garage” where kids could play on cars, fill up tanks, drive a bus, or play on a model monorail. Some other cool things were the Wonderland area, where we ran through a maze and were able to sit down for tea with some lifesize replicas of the Alice in Wonderland characters, River Adventures, and Rainforest Rhythm.
My friend and I had as much fun playing as Keefer did! The only dissapointing thing about our visit was the museum closed at 5 and we didn’t get there until 3 due to our lengthy drive from the Pittsburgh area. It would be nice if they had at least one day where evening hours are offered to accomodate those parents who work during the day (like myself.) The Museum is open 9 am – 5 pm Monday through Saturday and 11 am – 5 pm Sunday. The price tag seemed a bit steep for our short visit but would be worth it for a whole day of fun. Admission is $15 per person – one flat rate and kids under one are free.
Check out Please Touch online for more details!
You are seeing the advertisements and hearing the buzz about SeaWorld’s new killer-whale show, “One Ocean.” Check out my review of the show at The Theme Park Mom.
After a long travel day… And, some turmoil with United Airlines, we arrived in San Diego mid-day to rain and clouds. The rain moved out quickly, and we managed to beeline for Seaport Village for a quick burger at San Diego Burger Company. Yum! Staying at the Hilton Bay Front, but haven’t had a whole lot of time to explore. Just finished dinner with old friends at their home in Chula Vista and now some rest so we are ready for the week. Mia was an awesome traveler, as usual, but her first major time change has not been so well received. Tomorrow will be a better day for all. Wild Animal Park and La Jolla on the schedule! Please excuse my phone quality photos… I’ll have the new camera ready tomorrow.
Still smiling… waiting for connection in Los Angeles
- Um… Tired, but happy to be here.
Room view… 29th floor Hilton Bay Front