Tag: travel

Blast off into Space with Ontario Science Centre Summer of Space and DK Canada

DK Canada

There is something magical and exhiliarting when we talk about space. It is beautiful, untouched with so much left to learn. We can’t see it, the way we see the Earth around us. We can’t feel it, the way we can touch the grass, trees and our surroundings. But it pulls us in with its beauty and the unknown. It has this power to leave us wanting and needing to learn more.

This summer is all about space at the Ontario Science Centre with their Summer of Space theme. You can find exhibitions, hands on activities, films and so much more when you visit the Ontario Science Centre this summer.

The exhibitions in the Special Exhibition Hall include: Astronaut (learn all about the challenges and life for astronaut on a real space mission) and Women in Space (learn all about some of the leading women in the field of aerospace).

We loved walking through this area! There were many hands on activities, fantastic displays and interactive shows running. We sat through a rocket launch – yes all four of us squeezed into the spaceship and it roared to life (I was not expecting the jolts – it was amazing!), we tested our strength in hand grips (sadly I was the weakest although I think they were cheating on me), we tested out thermal imaging and tested our knowledge out on several interactive games throughout the exhibit (I won these ones!).

We learned all about life aboard a spaceship in space and gained a new appreciation for all the things that we take for granted here on Earth. I don’t think we could have ever fully appreciated how hard it was to wash your hair in space until we watched one of the female astronauts try to put water through her hair and watched the droplets escape on her. We walked through exhibits showing toilets and showers in space, food in space (always so important for the boys) and even plants.

We also took a tour through the Space exhibit on level four and learned about black holes, meteorites and rays. We tried our hand at a gravity game and even a rocket chair (which is a lot harder than it looks).

While the exhibits, displays and activities were so much fun – it was the spark of interest in space, planets and our own home, Earth, that developed in our kids that we loved the most. They left wanting to learn more which makes this trip so important. We want our children to be inspired to learn new things, to explore the world around them and to dream big.

DK Canada has a fantastic line of books in their Reach for the Stars collection that will encourage and satisfy your child’s curiousity about space, especially after an inspiring day at the Ontario Science Centre. The books include many great titles for young children such as:

  • The Space Race: How did we land on the Moon? What will the space jobs of the future look like? And why did we send a car to space? The Space Race answers all of the big questions that kids have about space travel. Sarah Cruddas brings to life the hidden stories behind the most famous space missions, before taking the reader on a journey through our space future. The Space Race is an essential children’s handbook to understanding every aspect of the history, and future, of human space travel.
  • Super Space Encyclopedia: Stunning photographs and digestible blocks of text combine with DK’s classic tradition of depicting information in a systematic way, immersing the readers in an unparalleled journey through the universe. Unravel the mysteries of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, investigate the explosion that created the Crab Nebula, and dig deeper into radio signals from spinning stars! Find out many more interesting super facts about space with Super Space Encyclopedia.
  • Moon Landings: Follow Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Apollo 11’s third crew member, Michael Collins, as they set off on one of history’s most important missions. Learn about the people and spacecraft that came before and have followed since, and discover what it takes to become an astronaut.
  • Did You Know? Space: Did You Know? Space answers all the questions about space that kids ask. What are shooting stars? Why is Jupiter striped? Is anyone else out there? Covering the solar system, stars, galaxies, planets, and beyond, each spread is structured around a question that inquiring young minds ask, with text broken up in manageable chunks designed for providing young readers with a reassuring and fantastic route into space.
  • DKfindout! Space Travel: Learn about the sun, our solar system, the International Space Station, how to be an astronaut, the Space Race, and whole new worlds discovered by space-exploring probes. Read my review of this book here.
  • First Space Encyclopedia: Explore the planets and discover amazing facts about nearby galaxies. A delightful first reference book about space for young astronomers, First Space Encyclopedia takes readers on a journey through the universe, from the beginning of space itself to current space technology.

The Summer of Space is running the entire month of August, with special features throughout the month (so make sure to check out their website before you visit so that you can plan your visit in advance). If you want to prepare for your visit by learning (or be prepared for lots of questions afterwards!), check out DK Canada’s Reach for the Stars line of books that will inspire, encourage and engage young minds to dream big.

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to visit the Summer of Space exhibit. All opinions expressed are my own.

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#TakeFlight and Soar with the Mini Pop Kids!

Get ready for an incredible live singing and dancing performance from an outstanding group of young children, the Mini Pop Kids!

We were first introduced to the Mini Pop Kids when my eldest was quite a bit younger. They did an amazing job of covering popular songs and making them age appropriate yet still being enjoyable for adults and kids. They originally launched in the 1980s (yes you heard that right) and went on to sell millions of albums worldwide. They relaunched in 2004 and their popularity has continued to soar.

The Mini Pop Kids landed in Hamilton on February 23rd at FirstOntario Concert Hall and they set the place on fire with their energy, fantastic vocals and dance moves. The atmosphere was electric the moment you walked into the hall. Children were dressed up to match their favourite Mini Pop Kids and I have to admit some of those children were quite the little fashionistas! We took several photos in front of the signs marking our very first concert and made sure to pick up a light up microphone. Once we entered the hall roughly thirty minutes before the concert started, we were treated to recordings of the group that had us dancing and singing long before the show started.

Once the group made their entrance on stage, the audience went wild with excitement. Kids were singing, dancing and screaming. I was embarrassing my youngest with my off tune vocals! The group covered many of the current top hits as well as two of their own original songs, Take Flight and Get Loud. Their Get Loud song is a song that you may have heard before and is associated with the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto (a place close to my own heart) and a portion of the proceeds from this song goes right back to the Hospital.

The show was engaging, the vocals were amazing – this group of kids are beyond talented. While the songs were from the top hits, parents will love how well they covered the songs that had a few words that may not have been age appropriate. They also had the words to each song running live on the main screen behind them to help encourage you to sing along, I have to admit I had been singing quite a few of these songs wrong for quite a while! It was so special and heart warming to watch the children dance in their seats, run up to the stage and how warm and responsive the Mini Pop Kids were in coming down to give the kids high fives.

Not only is the group vocally incredible but they are also very talented in dancing. Our son loved the way Kalan danced (he made me record several of his dance moves) and follow him on Instagram so that he could practice his moves. For an extra bit of local love, the group was joined on stage by a local dance group, which I found out later is something they do in each stop. What an special moment for those children and parents – watching them dance along side the group.

Make sure to check to see if the Mini Pop Kids are stopping at a location near you (they have stops until the end of April) here.

Don’t forget to give the Mini Pop Kids some love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Disclosure: We received tickets to see the Mini Pop Kids live. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Chobe River Cruise

Last week I shared our adventure through Chobe National Park in Botswana (if you missed our adventure – check it out here). While staying at the Chobe Marina Lodge, our family surprised us with a river boat cruise.

This was a truly breathtaking way to explore the area around us. It gave us such an appreciation of the environment, the animals and the people that work hard to protect them. While I was nervous at times, as our boat cruise brought us pretty close up to some unpredictable animals, we were definitely in great hands. We also experienced a wide range of weather while on the river – it was sunny at parts, then rain would come down but after the rain came the most beautiful rainbows, shown below, that made getting wet worth every moment.

Enjoy some of our favourite shots from the Chobe River Cruise, run through Chobe Marina Lodge in Botswana.

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Chobe National Park

We were blessed to have visited Chobe National Park located in the Northern region of Botswana. The country of Botswana is an incredible place to visit with it’s laid back lifestyle, focus on the environment and the protection of animals. We spent two weeks enjoying time with family, the culture and the natural beauty of this country.

During our visit, our family took us to stay at Chobe Marina Lodge and surprised us with a safari tour of Chobe National Park. This was an incredible, hard to put into words experience for us. Chobe National Park, which takes its name from the Chobe River, is Botswana’s first national park. Our youngest was so excited – he loves animals and this was a dream come true for him (I can see him returning home to live with family in Botswana!).

Each of us wanted to spot a specific animal on our safari ride – the top ones were elephants, a giraffe and a hippo. We spotted some of these and so much more. While the park is home and famous for its elephant population, we did not see one on our safari ride (although we did see many when we were leaving the Lodge to drive home on the highway!). The giraffe surprised us when we stopped for a bathroom break during the middle of the ride, it was so close! It was completely breathtaking and majestic to see this beautiful animal, can you tell it is my favourite animal?

Enjoy my collection of photos during our safari drive through Chobe National Park. Next week I will share our Chobe river boat ride!

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Fun Family Activities at Blue Mountain Village #WinterWarrior


After wrapping up three days at Blue Mountain (staying at the gorgeous Westin Blue Mountain) we were amazed at how much the village has to offer. Blue Mountain Village has something to offer for every member of the family, from the youngest to the eldest.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

We started off our stay at Westin Blue Mountain by dropping off our bags early and hitting the Hike and Tube. It was a short walk (less than five minutes) to the location and easy to locate as it was right on the main road.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

I haven’t had that much fun in a long time! The staff were fantastic and hilarious as they spun us down the hill. I honestly don’t know how they don’t go home sore from twirling people all day but it looked like they were having a fantastic time! Our youngest was terrifying me as he was laughing and telling them to spin him more. The ‘hike’ up the hill was short and easy to do for most individuals. Our youngest kept getting free rides up the hill by staying in his tube and getting us to drag him up (oh the joys of being young and lightweight!).

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

On our second day we were ready to hit the slopes (or in our case the novice course!). Blue Mountain has an incredible novice area with excellent and patient instructors. I would highly recommend if this is your first time trying out the sport to meet with an instructor and have them go over the basics with you – honestly this is so important both for your own enjoyment and for personal safety.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

My eldest son took to snowboarding like it was nothing! He was doing his second turn across the open area while I was still navigating how to push the snowboard with one leg and pull my leg across without falling. I could not believe how much work it was – these guys make it look super easy.

It was truly amazing to see the amount of young children on the course. They took to the skiing and snowboarding like it was second nature to them. They were fearless in getting up the mini hills and gliding back down the hill. My son had tried snowboarding before in the past but I was so grateful for all the time and energy our instructor spent on teaching my son the basics. It truly made a big difference.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

The Kids at Blue Mountain located out of South Base Lodge is the perfect opportunity for your youngest members (ages 3-5) to learn in a quieter environment with the focus solely on children. A short walk (roughly ten minutes) or you can take the shuttle from the Westin hotel lands you at South Base Lodge and the Kids at Blue Mountain area. The children were adorable as they stepped out on the skiis and up the ‘carpet’. The instructors were fabulous as they came down the hill behind the children holding on to the jacket and guiding them through each stage.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

The Plunge Aquatic Centre is located just adjacent to the Westin Blue Mountain. It took us under five minutes to walk there from the hotel. The Plunge Aquatic Centre contains both an indoor and outdoor pool (with access through the pools), indoor water playground, hot tub, rope swings, slides and basketball nets. Swimming outdoors in the cold temperatures (-26C) was an experience to remember. Your face could barely feel the cold but your eyelashes would have frost on them! The steam from the pool would become thick at times and you could sometimes only see a couple of feet in front of you which was pretty awesome! There were plenty of lifejackets and the pool space was quite spacious. Each pool is kept quite warm so you never felt cold.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

The Ridge Runner Coaster is an exciting single person (or you can go with your children) that runs through the mountain. The coaster takes you on a 1,085 metres down the mountain. It was fun, scary and exhilarating all at the same time! At times you felt like you were going to fly over the side of the mountain. While I screamed the whole way down the mountain both of my children laughed the whole way!

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

We also spent an afternoon at Crock A Doodle painting our own ceramic creations. There was a wide variety of ceramic options to choose from and which you can settle in right away. Your creations are left over night and can be picked up the next day after four or for a small fee can be mailed to your home. We just received our creations in the mail today!

Blue Mountain Crock A Doodle

Here is a collection of some of my favourite photos around Blue Mountain village:

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

What are your favourite winter activities? What activity would you love to do at Blue Mountain?

Come back again tomorrow for more Blue Mountain fun!

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