About Amy Querido

Amy is the owner & author of The Q Family Adventures Travel blog, family blog chronicles her family trips, tips and tricks. She hopes to inspire family to travel with kids one adventure at a time. Connect with Amy on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

Seattle with Kids: Quacky Wacky Ride on the Ducks Tour

Seattle with Kids - Ride the Duck Tour-3

One of the fun thing to do while visiting Seattle with kids was riding on this fun, quirky and entertaining Ride the Ducks of Seattle tour. Yes, it looks cheesy and touristy but it is also a fun and great way to enjoy a leisure day around Seattle.

What is Ride the Ducks tour

You might have seen some of this bus with noisy tourists roaming around many popular tourist places. In Seattle, Ride the Ducks tour provides a quick and fun way to explore Seattle with entertaining guide. The unique thing about this ducks tour is it can be both a bus and a boat. So you will get the best of both world in touring Seattle on land and in the lake.

Convenient Location

 

Seattle with Kids - Ride the Duck Tour-1

Ride the ducks tour has two locations where you can start your fun journey to explore Seattle. One is located by Seattle Center (where the Space Needle and EMP located) and another is at Westlake center by the convention center. The location at Seattle Center opens year around while the Westlake center opens from April to December.

We chose to hop on board the duck tour at Seattle Center since we were already in the area. You won’t be able to miss it if you just look for the big Duck on top of the building.

Entertainment on board

 

Seattle with Kids - Ride the Duck Tour-2

The fun part about the ducks tour for kids is probably the Quackers, a noisemaker in the shape of duck bill. OK, it was fun for the first few minutes but after the tour we had to ban them and kept it safe from little hands for a while. My ears were ringing even hours after the tour.

The Quacker is not the only entertainment on board. The guide aka the driver or the captain is the one who makes or breaks your trip. A good guide is fun, engaging as well as knowledgeable. We learned a whole lot about Seattle history as well as different neighborhood.

Boat tour on the Lake

 

Seattle with Kids - Ride the Duck Tour-6

The best part about this tour for me was when the bus transformed to the boat and took us on the Lake Union. It was a gorgeous day which we were so thankful to experience. The ride was giving us a glimpse to the other part of Seattle that we could only dream of. Living on the lake or by the lake is the kind of privilege that only we can dream of when we win the lotto. Some of these lake houses are worth in the millions.

Seattle with Kids - Ride the Duck Tour-4

We had a great view of Seattle skyline as well as the Space Needle and I could totally see why so many people choose to call Seattle home.

Seattle with Kids - Ride the Duck Tour-5
The Gas works park front lawn was filled with people who came out in full force to enjoy the sunny day in Seattle. I guess when you have more cloudy days than sunny days, you will take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy the Sun.

The whole tour took about one and a half hour. So it was a quick tour to get you oriented with the city and learn a little bit more about the city. We truly enjoyed our experience.

If you are visiting Seattle with kids, put this on your list and you won’t be disappointed. Kids will love to be able to wave to pedestrians along the way.

 

Have you ridden in one of this duck tour?

What do you thing of your experience? 

Seattle With Kids: Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Seattle with Kids Mount Rainier National Park

When we visited Seattle with kids a few summer ago, we couldn’t plan our trip without adding a day trip to Mount Rainier nation park to our itinerary. As a national park passport holder, we always looks for national park wherever we go to add to our stamp collection. Not that Mount Rainier is something we can skip on our visit to Seattle.

Seattle with Kids - Mt Rainier-2

On a clear day, we can see Mount Rainier enticing visitors to Seattle to visit. A lot of locals plan their weekend trip to the park. But we only had so much time in Seattle that we decided to just rent a car and drove to Mount Rainier for a day trip. If we go back to Seattle again, we would probably plan a longer trip to truly enjoy the many outdoor activities we can do there.

Easy Day Trip from Seattle

Seattle with Kids Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier national park is about three hours drive from downtown Seattle so we started our day bright and early after picking up our rental car. We chose to visit Paradise visitor center for year round opening as well as easily accessible from Seattle. After a couple pit stops along the way, you know, kids needed to go to the bathroom, Mr. Rojo needed to refill on his coffee, we entered the Mount Rainier national park and all our attention was directed to the beauty of nature along the way.

View Points and Photo Ops

Seattle with Kids Mount Rainier National Park

If you plan to go to Mount Rainier, one advice I can give you is to take it easy and stop to take in the majestic view. There are several stops along the way that you can enjoy different views of Mount Rainier before arriving at Paradise visitor center. Take advantage of that. It will help kids to stretch their legs and spend some energy after riding in the car for almost three hours.

Paradise Visitor Center

Seattle with Kids Mount Rainier National Park

We are by no mean the expert in national park but we have been to plenty of national parks in the past and I have to say the Paradise Visitor Center is high on the top of our list on both size and design.

Seattle with Kids - Mt Rainier-10

The two-story lobby surrounded by wooded columns and wooden beams really make you feel closer to nature just like you are in a fancy hotel on the mountain. The big windows all around the building allows nature light and mountains to be part of the inside. And not to mention, Mr. Rojo’s favorite, Starbucks coffee is available on site.

Seattle with Kids Mount Rainier National Park

Coming from Atlanta, we didn’t think we will be able to still see snow in summer. So it was a nice surprise to be able to just walk outside the visitor center and played in snow for a while.

We enjoyed our lunch at the visitor center food court. Then it’s time to explore the park. There are literally so many things to do in the park. Many trails you can choose from. So take time to check out and see which one is best fit for your family.

Grove of the Patriarchs Trail

Seattle with Kids Mount Rainier National Park

As we headed back to town, we opted for a stop at Grove of the Patriarchs trail for a quick hike. The hike is relatively easy for kids but might be a bit tougher for younger kids in stroller. Check out at the visitor center to get the advice on what trail is suitable for your family as well as along the path of your trip.

Seattle with Kids Mount Rainier National Park

There is section where we cross the river on the suspension bridge. The kids loved it! It was the introduction for them to the suspension bridge before our visit to Capilano suspension bridge in Vancouver.

Seattle with Kids Mount Rainier National Park

Along the trail, we learned about the ancient forest. The trees are huge! The pictures don’t do its justice for capturing how majestic those trees are.

All in all, we had a great day trip to Mount Rainier and I highly recommended adding to your itinerary.

 

Indy with Kids: Guide to Indy 500 with Kids for First-Timer

Guide to Indy 500 with kids

So you have heard about Indy 500 even though you are not a race fan but have you ever thought about attending the world’s single-day spectator sporting event?

You might think that you are not a race fan for why bother. We have the same thought. But we can say that you won’t be disappointed and heck you might even be addicted to this world’s famous auto race event.

The roaring of the engine was deafening as well as charging all your sense in your body that you can feel the adrenaline pumping through your body as the drivers start their engine and ready to zoom out for the 250 laps race in this Indy 500.

We didn’t think it will be so accelerating and exciting. So now we knew why there are so many people making the trip to Indy 500 or even other race events every year. It was so addictive to be there in person.

As a first-timer to the Indianapolis 500, we did have a lot of questions and made a few mistakes as a newbie. So we want to share our own experience and some lessons learned so you can truly enjoy this spectacle experience.

Guide to Attend Indy 500 with Kids

Guide to Indy 500 with kids

Get There Early

When they said, get there early, they really meant it. The race typically starts at noon. But the gate opens at 6 AM. 6 AM?? Why do you need to wake up in this ghastly early hour, you ask. Well, if you hate waiting in line for the next 2 hours with kids, we suggest you do that. You might not have to be there exactly at 6AM. But plan to at least arrive there at 7AM to avoid traffic getting to the race track as well as through the gate.

We didn’t heed the advice and arrived at 9 AM. Even with more than 3 hours before the race started, we spent almost TWO hours waiting in line to go through security and barely made it for the start of the race. The plan to walk around and enjoy the pre-game was all gone.

Yes, You Really Can Park on The Lawn

One of the most popular advice about parking is to just look for houses that have the parking sign up and park on their front lawns. As an out of towner and first-timer, we didn’t know what to expect and didn’t really believe that we can do so.

We drove past several hand-made card board for parking until we were too late to turn for parking and ended up in the line to go through race track parking. But without pre-paid parking ticket, we were turned down and were advice that we looked for the next lawn we could.

So we ended up on the other side of the track, which in turn was a good thing because it was closer to walk and in a bit of a better neighborhood. And yes, we did park on someone’s front lawn. Literally on their lawn!

Bring Your Cooler

Even if you are traveling to Indy 500, it’s easy to pack a few snack and drinks with you. It will be cheaper and less hassle to munch on something while watching the race.

Guide to Indy 500 with kids

Buy the newspaper

You can purchase that day newspaper special edition with all the scoop and detail of the racers for Indy 500. It’s a fun way to cheer on the driver or team even though you don’t really know them. Kids had fun trying to figure out which place their team was during the race.

Guide to Indy 500 with kids

Explore the race track

This might seem like counter intuitive to advice you to not watch the whole race. But there are more to explore in the race track during race day or even a day before. We walked under the tunnel to go into the inside of the track where there are lot of activities going on. Certain section might be best left for when they are much much older. The lawn in the middle is a great place to also view the race as well as let the kids run wild.

For more information on things to do in Indy with kids, check out local resource at Indy with Kids.

Have you been to Indianapolis 500 with your kids? What other tips do you have?

Postcard from the Road: Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

After two month trips to Thailand last year, this year we decided to stay closer to home (for various reason including financially). So our summer road trip 2013 was born.

Summer Road Trip 2013

Our road trip will take us from Georgia to Indianapolis, Niagara Falls, Toronto, New York City, Philadelphia and home. This two plus weeks will be the most we have ever done. So I decided to do a quick post like a postcard from the road to keep you up to date on our adventure.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Leaving early from our home in northern suburb in Atlanta, we passed through Tennessee and Kentucky on our way to Indiana where we planned to stop.

A Detour at Mammoth Cave National Park

But along the way, as an avid national park passport holder, we looked for opportunity to add a cancellation stamp to our passport book. And as we drove along I-65, I spot the sign for Mammoth Cave National Park right off the exit. Seeing that we still have plenty of time to arrive in Indianapolis later that day, we decided to take a quick detour of our route.

And what a pleasantly surprise to have found a great national park. We had no idea what to expect with Mammoth Cave National Park. I didn’t even know what’s the park is known for.

Mammoth Cave National Park Visitor Center

But as we stopped at the visitor center, we soon learned that we would be visiting not just one of the world longest cave system but also the world heritage site. What a great combo! This made me want to tag my friend, Traci from Go Big or Go Home whose site features her family quest to conquer all biggest, longest, tallest sites all around the world.

Since we didn’t plan the trip, we didn’t anticipate the activities that we could do at the park. The best way to truly explore the Mammoth Cave National Park is to join one of various tours provided by the park ranger. So we settled for the next best thing and explore the visitor center where there are plenty of interactive information for us to learn about the world largest labyrinth underground.

We already talk about planning a trip back so we can truly enjoy visiting Mammoth Cave National Park.

Family Tips:

  • There are various types of accommodation within Mammoth Cave National Park ranging from tent camping, cabin and hotel. So any types of travelers will be sure to find something to suit them.
  • Plan at least one tour to explore the world underground of the cave system that still have yet to be explored fully. The tickets for the tour can be sold out during high season so plan in advance.

 

Tell Your Travel Stories with Disney Story App

 

StoryApp

During Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2013, I learned about recently released new iPhone app from Disney called ‘Story’. And I can’t wait to share with everyone about this cool app that will be perfect for summer vacation or any occasions for that matter.

What is Disney Story App?

 

StoryApp Disney

 

Story is the iPhone app from Disney that curate various moments from your iPhone’s camera roll and help your organized it into stories based on date and time when the pictures or videos are taken.

How Does it Work?

 

Story App Disney

Just think of it as an easy way to create a multi-media book from your iPhone. Story makes it easier for you to create your own stories. The application automatically pull moments that happen based on time and location together as a starting point. You then can add, delete, edit photos or videos to your tell your own story.

Once you are done, you can then share with your friends and families via social media or email.

See My Story at Disney Social Media Moms Day 1

Here is an example of the story I created for our first day at Disney Social Media Moms. It took less than 10 minutes to edit to the way I want. There are so many creative ways you can tell your stories.

 

What I Love about Story

 

Story App Disney2

With millions of app out there on iTune, I know you are probably wary about download yet another iPhone app. Me too! But here are a few reasons why I love this Story app from Disney.

Easy to Use

After you download and start the app, your pictures are organized by date and time so it’s easy for you to start creating your story based on the moment. The simple interface makes editing very easy.

Visually Pleasing

The design is simple and elegant. The story comes to life and very easy on the eye to see.

FREE – Need I say More

Oh! And I almost forget to mention that the app is absolutely FREE. So go download your app and share your favorite moments or stories with your friends and families.

HOWEVER, I do wish there will be a way to share story not only on your Facebook timeline but on your page as well. Maybe next update? :)

 

Have you create stories from Story App? Do share!