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Little Passports Inspires Newbie World Travelers

Little Passports

A new kids program, littlepassport.com, promises to turn your toddlers into international pen pals. Here's how it works: your kids get real, actual, non-virtual mail every month from Sam and Sofia, two characters who travel around the globe embarking on various adventures. The first delivery is your Explorer's Kit, with a tiny suitcase, a personal letter from the mini-globetrotters, a world wall map, a passport, activity sheets, and special access to games online. Every time Sam and Sofia visit a new country-Italy, France, Brazil, Japan-you'll get another package with stickers and photos of famous landmarks, souvenirs, and a note detailing their journeys. It's sure to inspire wanderlust in you and your little ones.

Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @csedlak1.

Photo courtesy of Little Passports

Legoland Discovery Center Set to Open in Boston This May

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Lego mania cannot be stopped. In addition to being painfully underfoot in playrooms everywhere, there's a Lego movie in theaters, high-art Lego sculptures, a Lego hotel, and now a new Legoland Discovery Center, in Boston. The 44,000 square-foot space is due to open in May and will have more than 3 million pieces of plastic all snapped into place (expect a Lego laser ride, a 4D cinema, and mini-models of US landmarks). And for true Lego maniacs? A master builder is on hand to teach toddlers the secrets to creating sky-high towers.

Clara Sedlak


Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @csedlak1

 


Photo Credit: Merlin Entertainments Group

Smithsonian Sleepovers Turn the National Museum into an Overnight Adventure

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In terms of film quality, Night at the Museum ranks right up there with Gigli and Glitter. Still, after finally acquiescing to the demands of two kids in stereo (“Please, please! Please, please!”), I endured two hours of so-so humor. And I have to admit the idea of sneaking around a museum after hours sparked my childhood imagination. As soon as Miles and Sebs are of age, I plan on taking them on a Smithsonian Sleepover. Families arrive at 7pm on select dates for a night of games, crafts, and dusk to dawn exploration. Some highlights: an Imax screening of Born to be Wild about orphaned orangutans and elephants and camping out in sleeping bags under the giant North American whale, Phoenix. May 17, June 14, June 28, July 12, July 26, Aug 8, Aug 22; age 8 through 12.

Clara Sedlak


Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @csedlak1.

Photo credit: Kumar Sriskandan / Alamy

Families Fly Comfortably on Air New Zealand's SkyCouch

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Amidst a heated conflict between travelers who want family-friendly zones on airplanes, and those willing to pay more for childfree cabins, Air New Zealand’s Economy SkyCouch seat is becoming a fast favorite for both sides of the debate.

The flexible seating option, which allows passengers to purchase three adjacent seats and transform them into a wide, flat sofa, has been particularly successful with families.

With a footrest that pulls out from beneath the three seats and armrests that virtually disappear, Air New Zealand has sold the Skycouch as an “ideal solution” for “a parent with two restless kids,” or the perfect play space for young children.

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Sleek YoYo Stroller is Perfect For Family Air Travel

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This week I'm loving the new YoYo stroller by BABYZEN. If you're a frequent flier and usually have the kids in tow, it's the ideal companion: sleek, easily collapsible, and at less than 13 pounds, meets all airlines’ overhead bin requirements. This means no waiting in the freezing jetway for the attendant to find your stroller after you land.

Clara Sedlak


Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @csedlak1.

Photo credit: Babyzen

Affordable Family Ski Packages to Book This Season

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It's that time of year again when I spend hours online looking for an affordable place to bring the kids skiing. Trust me, it's not easy. And I've been tempted to give up on the idea altogether, but these deals look seriously promising. 

Start Here

Make sure to check out LIftopia.com first. The discount site partners with more than 250 resorts worldwide. Just this morning I found savings of up to 50% at Magic Mountain, in Vermont, and 35% in Park City, Utah for a four day trip at the end of January. Ski.com is another winner and offers deals on airlines, lodging, and even lift tickets around the globe.

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Explore the Rainforest at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale

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I'm on a business trip in Scottsdale, Arizona and promised my twins I'd stop by the city's new Butterfly Wonderland complex. At 10,000 square feet, it's the largest indoor rainforest in the US, home to Silver Spotted Flambeaus, Peacocks Pansys, Tailed Jays (pictured), and hundreds more. I'm no science-buff (and this would not have been at the top of my to-do list), but once you promise your kids something, there's really no going back. So my mommy-guilt made me go—and I'm glad. I only wish I had the kids with me. The place is incredible (even if insects aren't your thing), with a 3D theater, a live ant colony, an aquatic center with Motoro stingrays you can touch, and my favorite part, a gallery where you can witness the metamorphosis of a Blue Morpho Butterfly. If you're headed to the Southwest with the family, it's definitely worth checking out.

Clara Sedlak


Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @csedlak1.

Photo courtesy of Butterfly Wonderland

Family-Friendly Getaway Ideas in Punta Cana

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I'm just back from a much-needed weekend getaway with the family. Our destination: Cap Cana, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Total travel time: 7 hours, round-trip. The mission: Do absolutely nothing.

All in all, our trip was a success (minus a couple of meltdowns at the airport and a nearly missed flight on the way back). If you're looking to stay put at a resort, Cap Cana is the perfect family getaway: there are beautiful beaches, countless water activities, and lush, tropical forests to explore.  But it's not a destination for culture-seekers—it's a place for fruity cocktails, sun, and sand. Here, the highlights:

Stay: There are tons of resorts to choose from, but the newest (and where we stayed) is Eden Roc Cap Cana. The hotel's small, coral sand beach looks like something out of the Blue Lagoon, with perfectly placed palm trees and crystal blue water, and there's a great kids club onsite. The boys' favorite part: Every guest has access to a golf cart for getting around.

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Disney Magic Cruise Relaunches With Super Heroes On-Board

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I’m not an experienced cruiser, but when I heard there was a ship that has Iron Man’s armor, Thor’s hammer, and Captain America’s shield, I knew my kids would be the perfect passengers.

With twin 4-year-old boys in the house, superhero talk starts at 6:30 a.m. and ends at bedtime. Disney’s relaunched Disney Magic has a new Marvels Avengers Academy program to give the short-cape set a sneak peek into the Avengers’ world.

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Family-Friendly Thanksgiving Getaways

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Among the many words used to describe the holidays, for me, "exhausting" somehow supercedes all that giving and thanks business. As much as I enjoy the tradition of it all, there’s part of me that wants to run far, far away. This is because a) The hours and hours of shopping and re-shopping and clean up and re-clean up and b) Thanksgiving means I have exactly 28 days left to get my act together for Christmas. This year, I'm going to my husband's parents house...again. But there's no harm in daydreaming, right? Here's where I'd take my kids if I ever get the courage to say no to the family mafia.

Avalon, Catalina Island
Biking. Kayaking. Lying on the sand doing absolutely nothing. Catalina Island, off the coast of California, is a postcard-perfect beach escape for families. Make Avalon your base and rent a cottage or waterfront villa for the long weekend. In town, Seaport Bistro and Villa Portofino restaurants are both serving traditional Thanksgiving meals, but you could always hole up in your house and skip it altogether.

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