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The Best Way to Find and Book Family Attractions!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of TripAdvisor, all opinions are 100% my own.

The Best Way to Find and Book Family Attractions!

We are I the home stretch of holiday shopping, and I am a big believer in giving the gift of memories and experiences whenever possible.  For birthdays, often instead of parties my family opts for a unique mini-vacation, and for Christmas, I like to wrap up vouchers and tickets to local events and attractions that we can experience over school break.

I have used TripAdvisor for years to find hotels, restaurants, and local attractions.  It has always been my go-to spot to check out a business before making reservations or purchasing tickets.  However, it was always an extension of my purchasing process.  I would find a place and read all the amazing reviews that TripAdvisor offers, and then visit a secondary site to book my visit. 

Now TripAdvisor has created the ability to book attractions, tours, and experiences right on TripAdvisor.com!  As a busy mom who loves finding unique experiences for my family and making memories with my children, this service is perfect.  I love the streamlined process that TripAdvisor is offering, once I find the attraction that speaks to my heart I click the button, choose a day, and purchase my tickets, super simple!  Plus, they offer over 56,000 bookable experiences in 2,500 destinations worldwide, so there is something for everyone.

We used TripAdvisor to book our Christmas in the Wild experience at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa last week and if you followed along on Instagram Stories, you already know what an amazing time it was.  From elves taking “elfies” and glow cotton candy to snow in Florida, this experience filled us with the Christmas spirit.

  Plus, the Lowry Park Zoo is one of my favorite zoos to visit, the animal exhibits are top notch and they offer so many other attractions for the kids, including rides and a sprinkler park. 

We will also be visiting the Florida Aquarium next week, so be sure to follow along on Instagram Stories to see all the great memories to be made there!

Why Book on TripAdvisor

  • Knowledge: They consolidate the options in one place, so you can easily search for what best suits your needs.  
  • Reviews: They show you thousands of reviews on attractions so you can make informed choices
  • Ease: They make booking online or on the free mobile app quick and easy – no hotel concierge, no guidebook, no ancient brochures.  
  • Whenever, wherever: You can book a month in advance, a week in advance, a day in advance, or a ‘skip the line’ ticket form the very line you’re standing in.
  • VIP access: They offer skip-the-line opportunities, behind-the-scenes access, private viewings and more.
  • 24/7 customer service: Book with TripAdvisor Attractions and you’ll have 24/7 access to our customer support team
  • Low price guarantee: If you find a lower price for the same tour or activity within 72 hours of booking, or if you arrive in your destination and find your activity offered at a lower price by the operator, let them know.  They’ll refund the price difference.

They basically take all hard work out of planning your family’s fun, so where are you planning to visit next?

Winter’s Wonderland & Sea of Lights with Coca-Cola Florida and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium!

Thank you to Coca-Cola Florida and the Clearwater Aquarium for sponsoring this post.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Have you visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of the famous dolphins Winter and Hope?
We first visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium during our first vacation to Clearwater 4 years ago, and it has become a family favorite ever since.  This is a different kind of aquarium, where you learn the ins and outs of rescuing hurt and sick marine animals, rehabilitating, and releasing them whenever possible.  My children and I learn something new every time we visit, and Winter’s story is a story that never stops inspiring me and one I want to be embedded in my children’s hearts.

Winter’s Wonderland & Sea of Lights

Coca-Cola Florida has partnered with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for their Winter’s Wonderland & Sea of Lights holiday event, which should not be missed!  The holiday event will be taking place from November 24 through January 8th.  Featuring fun festive exhibits that are unlike any holiday entertainment elsewhere!

Holiday Fun Includes:

Come see Winter Claus till 12/23 set up in the Spectrum Theater. You will have the opportunity to meet Winter Claus and get a family picture taken.

Experience a Winter Wonderland with lights and décor all around!

Actors from the Dolphin Tale movies will be at the aquarium to meet guests December 27th through the 30th!

Watch Santa and his friends dive into Mavis’s Rescue Hideaway!

On special dates the aquarium will be staying open late, until 9 p.m.  With $9.99 admission after 4 p.m.  On these nights, guests will be able to enjoy free cookies and a “Sea of Lights” 45-minute boat ride around Clearwater Bay.
(Dates as follows 12/15, 12/16, 12/22, 12/23) 

This is an amazing one of a kind way to make holiday memories with your family, and when you would up a thirst from all your holiday fun, stop by the concession stand and grab everyone a refreshing Coka-Cola product!

 

 

I-Drive 360 a Must-See Attraction in Orlando!

I-Drive 360 a Must-See Attraction in Orlando!

I-Drive 360 is a must-see attraction in Orlando.  Tourists sometimes think all Orlando is, is a cluster of theme parks in the center of Florida.  However, there is so much more to Orlando, the family fun is jam packed throughout the city, and I-Drive 360 is the perfect example of this.

We visited I-Drive 360 last week while staying at the Wyndham Orlando International Drive, which is the official hotel of I-Drive 360 and within walking distance to all the fun.

From unique shops and restaurants, to amazing attractions you could easily spend an entire day exploring I-Drive 360!

The 3 most popular attractions at I-Drive 360

Coca-Cola Eye of Orlando
You probably seen this enormous observation wheel while driving around Orlando.  It is 400 feet tall and contains 30 Air-Conditioned Capsules.

This was an incredible experience that lasted about 23 minutes and was full of breathtaking views in every direction.  The kids loved the touch screen maps that gave them an idea of what the could see from the top.

Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum

Located next to the Coco-Cola Eye of Orlando is Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum, a fun self-paced tour filled with life like wax people.  This museum has everyone from former and the current president, important people throughout history, famous athletes, movie stars, singers, and TV personalities.  It was interesting to see the artistry that went into such incredible look a likes, and the kids had a blast posing for pictures with some of there favorite people.

Sea Life Orlando Aquarium

Located on the other side of the Coca-Cola Eye of Orlando is the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium.  This is an interesting aquarium that kept the kids entertained and learning through out each area.  The kids especially liked all the area’s that they could climb under the tanks and get a more 360 views of the tanks.  The touch tank was also a huge hit.

With countless sea animals, a playground, and several interactive areas, this is a great mid-sized aquarium for all ages to enjoy.

These three attractions, got two thumbs up from everyone in my family, ranging from age 8 to 40.

Plus, once you are finished with all the family fun, and have worked up an appetite, there are countless restaurants to choose from at I-Drive 360!

This is an attraction that should not be missed while visiting Orlando.

Cost of Admission:
Sea Life Orlando Aquarium
(Online purchasing here)
Adults:  $25.00
Children 3-12:  $20.00

Madam Tussaud’s
(Online purchasing here)
Adults:  $25.00
Children 3-12:  $20.00

Coca-Cola Eye of Orlando:
(Online purchasing here)
Adults:  $25.00
Children 3-12:  $20.00

Pass for all 3 Attractions
(Online purchasing here)
Adults:  $49.00
Children 3-12:  $44.00

Location of I-Drive 360:
8375 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819

Get Social with I-Drive 360:
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Disclosure: We received free passes to help facilitate this post.  All opinions are 100% my own.

5 Reasons Your Family Will Love Staying at the Wyndham International Drive!

5 Reasons Your Family Will Love Staying at the Wyndham International Drive!

My family and I were invited to stay at the Wyndham International Drive last week, and it was a blast!  I had never stayed close to International Drive before, and I didn’t know what I was missing.  It was incredible being in the center of so much Orlando fun!

Here are 5 Reasons You’ll Love Staying at the Wyndham International Drive:

1. Family Fun Suites; the family fun suite gives your family plenty of space to spread out. You can choose between 2 double beds or a king bed, there is enough closet space for everyone to unpack, and the kids get a little nook of their own with a bunkbed, beanbag chair, and tv.


2. Location; the Wyndham International Drive is surrounded by so many fun Orlando attractions. We walked to the Titanic exhibit, tons of restaurants and shops, miniature golf, and of course all the fun attractions at I-drive 360.

3. Pools; there are two large pools to and a hot tub to enjoy. Whether you want to lay by the pool all day and enjoy the Florida sun, or unwind after a long day exploring Orlando, this is the perfect place to cool off and relax.

4. Dining; if you want to experience some great dining, this is the resort for you! On site they have Gatorville, a great bar and grille that offers delicious food on site, by the pool, or in your room.  The resort is also surrounded by different restaurants from America’s Largest McDonalds and Cici’s Pizza, to Sugar Factory and Hanamizuki Japanese Restaurant.  There is literally something for every craving.

5. Discounts; The Wyndham International Drive is The Official hotel of I-Drive 360, and guests of the resort receive a 25% discount at the Coca-Cola Eye of Orlando, Madame Tussauds Orlando, or the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium!

Are you interested in visiting the Wyndham International Drive?  I have an exclusive offer for all my readers!  Book here and save 30% on the Best Available Rate with NO minimum nights required.

Location:

Wyndham International Drive
8001 International Dr.
 Orlando, FL 32819

Get Social with Wyndham I-Drive!
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Disclosure: I was invited by the resort for a hosted stay in exchange for my review of the hotel, but as always, all opinions are my own.

 

8 Tips for Saving on a Family Beach Vacation

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Shell, in which I was compensated. All opinions are my own.

Beach-Vacation-Budget-Tips

8 Tips for Saving on a Family Beach Vacation

We recently took a fun trip over to Clearwater Beach, Florida and it was amazing. Growing up in New England, I was more of a lake side traveler or an up in the mountains girl. However, when we moved to Florida my salty side came out and I’ve found myself craving the ocean more and more. Unfortunately, the idea of staying on the beach for a week was giving me and my wallet anxiety attacks. I decided to search some hotels that I had drove by in the past to see how out of reach a beach week was. Well, I think my credit card laughed at me.

We had already taken several road trips over to Orlando, have a trip to Kiawah Island booked for Thanksgiving, and back to school shopping is something I guess needs to be done. So, my gypsy soul was not working in my favor when it kept putting a beach vacay in my mind.

Then one morning, I realized I could still wake up to ocean waves and have my toes in the sand for a week, I just needed to get in to the right state of mind. I needed to do it on a budget and plan it right.

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Here are my 8 Beach Vacation Budget Tips that made my Family Beach Trip Possible

  1. Skip the hotel! Sure there are perks to staying at a luxury hotel, but there are also perks to staying at a vacation rental. Like a kitchen and more space for starters. We found some beautiful 2 bedroom beach cottages for as low as $50 a night.
  2. Eat Meals In! With a beach rental, you most likely get a full kitchen, which means there is no need to eat out 3 times a day all week. This is a huge money saver! We did easy breakfasts in the house each morning. French toast bakes, cereal, and breads I cooked ahead of time, all took about 5-10 minutes to serve. We also made lunches and packed a cooler each day for the beach. We brought sandwiches, chips, veggie, and dips. Plus, all our drinks, a soda on the beach is usually at least $3.
  3. Eat Out Early! When we did go out to eat, it was usually for dinner because after a long beach day everyone was tired and hungry. However, we tried to get off the beach and to dinner early to beat the rush and to take advantage of any early bird specials that restaurants were offering. Plus, this is usually when the sun is starting to get incredibly hot anyways, especially the Florida sun, so it was nice to be able to cool off inside. Our favorite restaurants on Clearwater Beach are Crabby Bills for their amazing king crab legs and full kid’s menu and The Pavilion for their delicious hotdogs. The Silverking Tap House also is a great place to relax and listen to live music while enjoying a beer and some delicious appetizers.
  4. Bring Your Own Beach Gear and Supplies! In the Florida sun during the middle of summer, my family has gone through a bottle of sunblock in one day. So, we brought a case. I’ve seen sunscreen at the beach stores that cost about $20, the same bottle that costs $6 at home. Same goes for beach toys and floats, every beach store has isles of them but they feature a hefty mark up. Plan ahead and buy the stuff you don’t have at home. Also consider bringing your own beach chairs and umbrella, or plan to sit on a blanket from home. Clearwater beach like many Florida beaches offer chairs, umbrellas, and cabana rentals, but for almost $35 a day, you can save a ton by bringing your own.
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  5. Stop at the Visitors Bureau! On Clearwater Beach, there is one right by the playground on the beach. This is the perfect place to see what free and inexpensive activities are happening. Clearwater Aquarium let’s their rehabilitated sea turtles free off of Clearwater Beach so if your visiting at the right time you may get to witness an amazing experience. The Visitors Center is able to give you all of this information plus they have coupons for almost every major attraction. Our favorite free things on Clearwater Beach are walking Pier 60 at night to watch the performers, watching the Sunset Cinema’s outdoor movie under the stars on weekend nights, and of course relaxing on the beach and catching a glimpse of dolphins jumping in the ocean as the sun sets.
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  6. Try to Book Off Season! If your traveling south, the weather will allow you to book off season. Try booking for a long weekend once school vacations are over, or into the fall or spring. In the Clearwater area, the water stays pretty warm through part of December. Plus, if you’re traveling from up north, like New England, even the mid-winter temperatures down here aren’t as bad as some summer days on Old Orchard Beach.
  7. Skip Buying Souvenirs! In every beach town souvenirs are everywhere. You can get just about anything imaginable with the local beach printed on it, from t-shirts to shot glasses. Instead of racking up a hefty tab at one of the beach shops, bring a mason jar (or a plastic bag) and bring home a cup of sand and a few seashells. Once you get home, clean off the shells and write the beach and date on them with a permanent marker and arrange the sand, shells, and picture or two from your vacation. You likely already own a mason jar, and finding seashells makes for a fun afternoon with the kids. Our favorite place to find seashells near Clearwater Beach is to take a short drive up to Honeymoon Island Beach, where the surf is a little stronger. We have found amazing shells there. If your adventurous, rent a kayak and take a short ride out to one of the small islands on the gulf coast.
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  8. Use the *Fuel Rewards® program! As I have said in prior posts, my favorite way to save on travel this year is with Shell and the Fuel Rewards® program. The current offer, “Instant Gold Status“, rewards members with an automatic 5 cents a gallon savings on every fill-up (up to 20 gallons / visit). Plus, when linked to your credit card, you earn rewards on everyday spending at participating merchants. I earn additional rewards when I buy my weekly groceries at Winn-Dixie, which is right next to a Green Market Café that the kids love to stop at for lunch. There I earned a reward of 10 cents for every $50 spent. When my rewards are stacked, I save big time on fuel. While on our beach trip I continued to earn rewards at the Palm Pavilion, Silverking Tap House, and Five Palms Rental. All places I would visit anyways, however this year I’m earning some amazing savings at the pump, which allows me to continue to plan more amazing road trips!
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Have you signed up for the Fuel Rewards® program and earned “Instant Gold Status” yet? What are you waiting for? It’s free to sign up and you can start saving immediately! Head over to the Fuel Rewards® site to register and take a look at the long list of online retailers, stores, restaurants, travel locations that let you earn rewards. These are places you likely already shop and eat at, why not put some savings in your pocket while you’re at it?

Plus, once you’re signed up, you can send your referral link to friends and family so they can join the Fuel Rewards program. The first time a friend uses the program by earning a reward or using their card at a participating Shell station, you will instantly earn 25¢/gal. And there’s no limit to how many friends you invite or how many times you earn.

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Tips to Remember:

There’s a 20-gallon limit on fill-ups. Get the most out of your rewards by filling up when your tank is low.

*Fuel Rewards® savings earned through linked credit card offers could take up to 5–7 business days to post to your Fuel Rewards® account

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*RESTRICTIONS APPLY. TO QUALIFY FOR THE GOLD/SILVER STATUS OFFERS, YOU MUST BE A FUEL REWARDS® MEMBER AND SWIPE YOUR FUEL REWARDS® CARD OR ENTER YOUR ALT ID WHEN YOU FUEL AT A PARTICIPATING SHELL STATION. WITH GOLD STATUS, YOU WILL RECEIVE 5¢/GAL IN FUEL REWARDS® SAVINGS ON EVERY FILL-UP. THE 5¢/GAL REWARD FOR GOLD STATUS WILL BE COMBINED WITH OTHER REWARDS IN YOUR FUEL REWARDS® ACCOUNT. IF YOU ARE AN EXISTING FUEL REWARDS® MEMBER, YOU WILL RECEIVE GOLD STATUS FROM 6/5/2017 THROUGH 12/31/17, THE “EXISTING MEMBER INTRODUCTORY PERIOD”. IF YOU ARE A NEW FUEL REWARDS® MEMBER, YOU WILL RECEIVE GOLD STATUS FOR THE INITIAL MONTH YOU JOIN THROUGH THE LAST DAY OF THE MONTH, 6 FULL CALENDAR MONTHS LATER, THE “NEW MEMBER INTRODUCTORY PERIOD”. THE LAST 3 MONTHS OF THE EXISTING MEMBER INTRODUCTORY PERIOD OR THE NEW MEMBER INTRODUCTORY PERIOD (COLLECTIVELY THE “INTRODUCTORY PERIOD”) IS THE “QUALIFICATION PERIOD”. YOU WILL RETAIN YOUR GOLD STATUS DURING THE QUALIFICATION PERIOD, BUT YOU MUST MAKE 6 QUALIFYING FUEL PURCHASES TO QUALIFY FOR GOLD STATUS FOR THE NEXT 3 MONTHS, THE “BENEFIT PERIOD”. DURING THE BENEFIT PERIOD, YOU MUST CONTINUE TO MAKE 6 QUALIFYING FUEL PURCHASES TO MAINTAIN YOUR GOLD STATUS FOR THE NEXT 3-MONTH BENEFIT PERIOD. A QUALIFYING FUEL PURCHASE IS ANY FUEL PURCHASE AT A PARTICIPATING SHELL STATION IN WHICH YOU SWIPE YOUR FUEL REWARDS® CARD OR ENTER YOUR ALT ID AND FILL UP WITH AT LEAST 5-GALLONS OF ANY GRADE OF FUEL. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU ARE A NEW FUEL REWARDS® MEMBER AND REGISTER ON 6/15/2017, YOU WILL RECEIVE GOLD STATUS THROUGH THE NEW MEMBER INTRODUCTORY PERIOD (I.E., 12/31/2017). YOU WILL NEED TO FILL UP WITH AT LEAST 5 GALLONS OF FUEL AT LEAST 6 TIMES DURING THE QUALIFICATION PERIOD (I.E., 10/1/2017 AND 12/31/2017) TO MAINTAIN GOLD STATUS DURING THE BENEFIT PERIOD (I.E., FROM 1/1/2018 TO 3/31/2018). THEREAFTER, IF YOU CONTINUE TO FILL UP WITH AT LEAST 5 GALLONS OF FUEL AT LEAST 6 TIMES DURING THE SUCCESSIVE 3 CONSECUTIVE MONTH BENEFIT PERIODS, YOU WILL RETAIN YOUR GOLD STATUS. IF YOU DO NOT MAINTAIN YOUR GOLD STATUS, YOU WILL RECEIVE SILVER STATUS. WITH SILVER STATUS, YOU WILL RECEIVE 3¢/GAL IN FUEL REWARDS® SAVINGS. THE 3¢/GAL REWARD FOR SILVER STATUS WILL BE COMBINED WITH OTHER REWARDS IN YOUR FUEL REWARDS® ACCOUNT. REDEEM FUEL REWARDS® SAVINGS WITH YOUR FUEL REWARDS® CARD OR ALT ID AT PARTICIPATING SHELL STATIONS. FUEL REWARDS® SAVINGS ARE LIMITED TO 20 GALLONS OF FUEL PER PURCHASE, PER VEHICLE, OR FRAUD LIMITS PLACED BY SHELL AND/OR LIMITS PLACED ON YOUR FINANCIAL CARD BY YOUR FINANCIAL INSTITUTION, EACH OF WHICH MAY BE LOWER. FUEL REWARDS® SAVINGS MUST BE REDEEMED IN A SINGLE TRANSACTION. ONCE YOU BEGIN TO DISPENSE FUEL USING YOUR FUEL REWARDS® SAVINGS, YOU MUST DISPENSE TO THE 20-GALLON LIMIT OR YOU FORFEIT ANY REMAINING DISCOUNTED GALLONS OF FUEL. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU ONLY PUMP FIFTEEN (15) GALLONS OF FUEL, YOU WOULD ABANDON THE REMAINING FIVE (5) GALLONS OF DISCOUNTED FUEL. IF YOU HAVE A REWARDS BALANCE GREATER THAN THE CURRENT PER-GALLON PRICE OF FUEL, THE PRICE WILL ROLL DOWN TO THE MAXIMUM CAPABILITY OF THE FUEL EQUIPMENT, AND YOUR REMAINING REWARDS WILL BE SAVED FOR A FUTURE FUEL PURCHASE. DISPENSER MAY REQUIRE A PRICE OF UP TO 10.9¢/GAL. IT MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE TO COMBINE MULTIPLE DISCOUNTS AND/OR REWARDS IN A SINGLE TRANSACTION. FOR PURCHASES OF $75 OR MORE, PLEASE GO INSIDE TO PAY. UNBRANDED DIESEL AND ALTERNATIVE FUELS MAY NOT BE ELIGIBLE. THE FUEL REWARDS® PROGRAM IS OWNED AND OPERATED BY EXCENTUS CORPORATION. OFFER MAY BE MODIFIED OR DISCONTINUED AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. NOT VALID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. PLEASE SEE FUELREWARDS.COM FOR COMPLETE FUEL REWARDS® PROGRAM DETAILS AND TERMS AND CONDITIONS. OTHER RESTRICTIONS MAY APPLY. ALL TRADEMARKS ARE THE PROPERTY OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS. TO LEARN MORE, VISIT FUELREWARDS.COM/GOLD OR CALL (888) 603-0473.

 

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

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