Things to do:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Picks for Things to do this Weekend - July 25,26,27

This post is proudly sponsored by:    

 photo LMQ_zpsb9e8f632.jpg  photo paintnparty_zpsdfea2dbe.jpg



 photo Untitleddesign1_zps6a8af730.png

Have you heard the news?!?!  We have a new app and it's available for Android (coming soon for iPhone) - it's free!  Click here.

So much on our calendar but what's going on this weekend that's fun and free, those will be my picks - let's see:

Friday
Quest Outdoors is having a canoe, kayak and SUP demo day - see details here.  Dress accordingly to be out in the water.  They said they do have life vests for kids if you want to pop them into a canoe with you and try it out!  It's from 4-8pm at Long Run Park.  FREE!

Saturday
West Louisville Appreciation Day at Shawneed Park.  Full of activities and it's all free from 1-5pm.
See details here.  Climbing wall, fishing, archery....sign me up! (oh, and the kids too). FREE!

Sunday
Head to the Parklands of Floyds Fork for a day of fun exploring and enjoying two events - they have a new Farmer's Market that opens at 11am and then from 2-4pm you can hang with the Louisville Astronomical Society and learn about the sun....I mean, it IS SUNday. FREE!

Have a fabuLOUs weekend,
Stephanie

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Short Getaway to Cincinnati - Sawyer Point Park, Radisson Hotel, Coney Island Amusement Park

I was given admission to Coney Island Amusement Park for purpose of review.

I had two days off and thought about where I could go with the kids for a quick getaway from Louisville and not break the bank.  We headed right up I71 to Cincinnati to explore.  I found a deal on Priceline.com for $67 at the Radisson on the Riverfront.  It is a cool circular hotel and I knew the kids would love it - indoor pool too...BONUS!



LouFamFun's Cincinnati album on Photobucket

The Radisson was so easy to get to, right off of the highway. We checked in easily at 3pm and they even accommodated a room change since I wanted two beds and Priceline assigned me 1 king. They have parking under the hotel with access right to the elevators. It was really hot that day so it was nice to be able to park in a covered area. The kids LOVED that they hotel was round and the view from the balcony. The room was clean and had a little fridge and microwave - perfect for our instant oatmeal that I brought for breakfast the next day to save some money and be able to hang out in bed instead of running off to a restaurant.  Before the trip, I referenced a post by Family Friendly Cincinnati for ideas, see it by clicking here!

We quickly changed and used my phone's GPS to find Sawyer Point Park.  It took less than 10 minutes from the hotel. We parked on the street for no cost not far from the tennis courts on the eastern side of the park.  Sawyer Point Park runs a long distance along the Ohio River on the Cincinnati side.  We brought just a few items for the splash area so we could walk around with out the burden of too much stuff. It is a very nice park. There were many people out exercising, playing and sight seeing.  We stumbled upon an outdoor theater, a few playgrounds, a sand volleyball court and a place to rent surrey carts or bicycles - just like we have in Louisville.  We spent most of the our time playing at the super cool playground under the bridge. It was faux wood, like a big boat and totally in the shade.  Fantastic playground.  We kept walking west to find the spray area on the western side of the park.  It was such a fun urban sprayground and a relief from the heat.  After we played, we walked back to our car along the river.  All in all - we spent about 2 hours at the park and could have easily spent more time there. This was all free!

For dinner, we went back across the river to Newport on the Levee because someone told me that I had to have Dewey's Pizza.  You know, there's a pedestrian bridge that you can walk if you didn't want to drive!  Anyway, we parked in the garage (under $5) and walked around a bit and made our way to the top floor inside to the restaurant.  There was a modest wait but the kids didn't mind because they have windows to the kitchen and they kids watched the staff make pizza close up.  We were seated and chose outside seating.  The service was prompt and polite.  We all shared a pizza and I had a wonderful seasonal salad.  With beverages and tip, it was all just over $30.  The pizza was really good but the kids did notice that the sauce was a tad spicier than we were used to - but I actually really like that about it.  I gladly took a few pieces back to the hotel for pizza for breakfast the next morning (naughty me).    After dinner, we explored Newport on the Levee and got a few sweets for back at the hotel spending under $5.

The next morning, we got up and out to get to Coney Island Amusement Park by 10am when the pool opened.  It was so easy to find with GPS and took just about 15 minutes from the Radisson.  Parking ($8) was close and there were virtually no lines to get in.  We went to the pool and found chairs and a shady spot to call our own for the day.  There are lockers for valuables that you can rent for the day ( $7) and a large locker room for changing or showers. For food, you can bring a cooler and leave it in the picnic area, lots of people do this.  That saves a lot of money.  Since I was coming from a hotel - we purchased food to compliment some of the snacks I brought with me, spending about $30 for the day. Pool + rides are $19.95 per person 5 and up and $9.95 for kids 2-4.  We swam, played ping pong, went on slides, floated around, dove off the diving boards, went to see shows in the amusement park area, ate, swam more, went on rides and had an all around great time. You can bring floats and pool toys - there are spot to inflate them! I think the pool is definitely the highlight and you can make a day of it just at the pool without the rides (you can still see shows at no cost) and the pool admission is $11.95 for 5 and up, $4.50 for kids 2-4. Great price!  We stayed at the pool until almost 7pm and drove back to Louisville.  My kids are dying to go back - the pool is HUGE, one of a kind fun.

We had a great 1.5 day trip on less than 1 tank of gas and I think if done savvy, you can have a little getaway on a really tight budget that is busting with awesome memories.

Stephanie

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review of The Cafe Restaurant in Louisville, KY

I recently enjoyed a nice sit down lunch at the very well known to Louisvillians, The Cafe, near Louisville Stoneware. It was such a nice lunch because I was alone, without my children, having lunch with two very near and dear ladies, and just having some catch up adult time in this eclectic Louisville staple to the dining scene.

 photo IMG_2642_zps20b56924.jpgWhen I posted a picture of the old overpass with the date engraved onto it, readers on Facebook knew right away where I was! Just from this picture! They know their restaurants, and the beloved Cafe is just that: very loved and very family-oriented.

I scoured the menu and literally wanted to try everything listed! I ended up getting one of the Combination options: 1/2 chicken salad sandwich with a cup of the tomato soup and a side of pasta salad. It also came with a cookie. I had coffee to drink. My two aunts-in-law had tea with their meals; one had the Louis XIV-their famous chicken salad and the other had the Roasted Chicken Breast Sandwich.

 photo IMG_2641_zpsba01d2ec.jpgI also indulged in one of the decadent desserts-I had the raspberry filled yellow cupcake, and my aunts had the Italian creme cake. I tasted it and it was divine!

The Cafe is open Monday-Saturday from 7am-4pm; they are closed on Sundays. They are really known for their weekend brunch. The place is full of ambience and history and is a hopping place. They do carry-out and that was just as busy as the dining area of the restaurant. They also made our Top 10 Places to Dine Al Fresco! You can also pair a lunch outing here with a paint your own pottery setting at Louisville Stoneware which is just across the street. If you're new to Louisville (or have been here for 25 years like me and hadn't been here yet!), you must check them out! The Cafe is located at 712 Brent Street; 502-589-9191. Follow them on Facebook as well-their photos will definitely have your mouth watering!

By guest contributor: Erin

Monday, July 21, 2014

What's Your Happy Place? Family Restaurants

We are starting a new "Happy Place" feature.  Different places around town that just make your family HAPPY, written by the LouFamFun team.

Recently, I asked the LouFamFun writers :

Write a sentence or two in a comment about your happy place restaurant for your family and why it makes you so darn happy.


 photo Untitleddesign6_zps5573fb1a.png

Jackie: our family "happy place" restaurant is Beef O'Brady's. Yummy food, grownup atmosphere, and very family friendly. Kids eat free on the night we go, and there are games to play when dinner's over! Win, win, and win.

Maggie: We love Fiesta Time and Cafe Mimosa. Both places have vast menus so there's something for everyone, and the atmosphere is casual and fun.

Allison: Chuy's is for sure a happy place for my family. My oldest son (5) asks to go to Chuy's quite often, the part that makes it the happy place is that I don't have to constantly tell everyone to eat.

Christine: Wild Eggs because we all love breakfast but different things for breakfast. My 88 yo Grandpa all the way to my 2 yo nephew love it.

Dana: We love B-dubs - we can usually get in and out, simple yummy food, and the kids love the games they can bring to the table.

Nicolle: Shogun! My kids are entertained by the cooking and fire show in front of them and everyone can find something delicious on the menu! And there's usually left overs!

Erin: Ours is El Toro. It's our happy place because they are great with kids, have a fab outdoor patio, Mariachi band on Sat nights. We love the price. Seriously THE place we go when we just want to chill together somewhere for dinner, and we've been going there long enough that many of the servers and the owner know us!

Lauren: Anything pasta is our happy place, but Fazolis has definitely become a go to for us - cheap food, pretty tasty, and I get a great deal being a teacher. And all the bread sticks you can eat!

Caryn: Our happy place to eat is iHop. My kids love breakfast food at any time of day, they love to decorate the kids pancake, and my husband and I love the large selection and friendly service.

Brandy: Our happy place is Salsarita's. We frequent the Middletown location, which is always clean and has a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, which we all enjoy. The entrees and chips are yummy, we get freebies with our loyalty card and never have to wait long to order.

Karen: McAlister's on Bardstown Rd in Fern Creek --- kids eat (a pretty decent sized meal) for free, and we generally go with half our neighborhood, and also run into many others. It's VERY FAMILY FRIENDLY, and everyone is always satisfied. **Doesn't hurt that my family of four, with a $3 off coupon from the previous receipt, can all eat for under $10!!!

Tami: Annie May's Sweet Cafe- no worries about food allergies here! We dine peanut and tree nut free. Great Saturday morning breakfast spot for our family!

Stephanie:  Our happy place is Dizzy Whiz. I love being in Old Louisville and there's nothing better than a complete dive serving up America standards at a low low price. Someone get me a milkshake!

What is your Happy Place Family Restaurant? 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July Family Book Review and the Importance of Summer Reading

The summer slide--heard of it? I'm sure you have as I have seen it mentioned all over the place in regards to school ending, summer starting, and kids falling out of their routines and learning opportunities that are more prevalent when school is in session. Hopefully you haven't let the summer slide happen at your house this summer! With so many fun things to do around Louisville -- see our Summer Fun Links -- you and your family have been busy!

I've had the privilege of being granted this really neat book to review for Louisville Family Fun. We have some to give away as well to some lucky readers! It's called A Simple Idea to Empower Kids written by Kathleen Boucher (KSB Promotions). There are three secrets in the book that the author wants to share with the readers, children. 1. You are a very special person exactly as you are right now. 2. The second greatest force on Earth is the power to choose. 3. Believe you can do it. The author writes a very special message to her readers that inspires them to be themselves, let hurtful words or actions roll off, choose their own thoughts and how they want to be in the world, and believe in themselves. This is a great story with a super strong encouragement to remind children to be these things. The author wanted her own children to be happy and confident, so she wrote down her message to share with children everywhere. Learn more at www.greatkids.me.

One last word about the importance of all that summer reading your kids (and hopefully you!) have been doing all summer long. Sure, the prizes are great, but as a children's librarian I love sharing with parents and kids the value of why we want them to read. According to Summer Reading First Facts from Scholastic.com, research shows "that kids who never crack a book during their summer break fall behind in reading while kids who do, maintain their reading skills and even excel. The best predictor of summer loss or summer gain is whether or not a child reads during the summer. And the best predictor of whether a child reads is whether or not he or she has access to books. And, regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic level, or previous achievement, children who read four or more books over the summer fare better on reading-comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one or no books over the summer."

As I love to say, Happy Reading and see you at the Library!

By guest contributor: Erin

Review of Disney’s “Planes: Fire and Rescue” in 3D at the Regal 16 Theaters in New Albany, Indiana

Jackie was given free movie tickets for purpose of review.

 photo WP_201407161_zpsf5b9b1b4.jpgMy boys (ages “almost” 5 and 2 ½) were so excited to get the opportunity to see “Planes: Fire and Rescue” at the screening we attended Wednesday night at the Regal 16 Theaters. This wasn’t just any movie for us. It was the first time for both my boys to go to a movie in a theatre! Our family was ready to go, and we were not disappointed.

If your family is anything like ours, we have watched Cars, Cars2, and Planes too many times to count. We love planes, cars, trucks, trains, and construction equipment. We were in luck! This movie had a lot of things that we thought were missing from the first Planes movie. The dramatic action begins when Dusty Crophopper, that superstar of racing, discovers a problem with his gearbox that spells the end of his racing career.  A series of events leads to Dusty being trained as a fire rescue plane, to save Propwash Junction’s airport from being shut down. 

 photo WP_20140716_zpsa2cfc4f1.jpgDusty’s journey in his fire training reminded us of the first Cars movie.  We were quickly introduced to new characters, and their personalities endeared them to us very quickly. The action picks up, and the story line was really enjoyable. The few moments where characters were in danger or injured, were resolved in a gentle way. This was good for us, because our boys are pretty young and my oldest son tends to be more sensitive.


 I would recommend this movie!  If you enjoyed Cars, and have wished (like we have) for another movie with the same charm and wit, this is it. All 4 of us had a very enjoyable time, and I look forward to adding “Planes: Fire and Rescue” to our library!

By guest contributor: Jackie

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Picks for things to do this weekend - July 18,19,20

This post is proudly sponsored by:    

 photo LMQ_zpsb9e8f632.jpgand  photo paintnparty_zpsdfea2dbe.jpg



Feel like taking a hike? Tune into this podcast for an idea or two!


 photo Untitleddesign1_zps6a8af730.png

My goodness this weather has been such a nice treat! It's definitely not pool weather, if you ask me. I prefer it super hot when I am headed to the pool.  I wonder what's going on this weekend?  Let me make my picks.

Friday:  How about a summer church picnic - there's one going on at St. Agnes - click here for details or see it listed on our calendar. Click here to read our post about church picnics.

Or, check out a summer concert or outdoor movie - several options!  See our Summer Fun Links page.

Saturday:
It's ECO kids day at Bernheim.  Free event ($5 environmental impact fee for non-members, so not really free but they list it as "free" - I digress).  See details here.  It's basically all day with special activities at specific times so check out their website.

 photo Family-Fun-Day-flyer-2014-850px-832x1024_zpse0bdc13c.jpgSunday:  THE MAIN EVENT!!  LouFamFun is sponsoring Family Fun Day at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve - simple, awesome fun - our favorite event of the summer in an awesome location.  It's from 11-3, only $3 per child (no charge for adults and kids 2 and under).  See the full schedule of events by clicking here. Free gift for first 100 families.  Stop by the LFF tent for a free activity book for kids - highly recommend being there for the splashdown and participating in the ice cream eating contest...SO.MUCH.FUN.


Have a fabuLOUs weekend,
Stephanie

PS: Here is the name of the winner for the big Warren County-Ohio's Largest Playground + Coney Island Amusement Park Getaway....... Lauren Hayes.  Lauren - please message us on Facebook so we can verify you are the correct person claiming the prize and we'll coordinate getting you your prize! CONGRATS!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review of Canoe Rental at The Parklands of Floyds Fork in Louisville, KY

 photo 20140525_135650_zps86826e14.jpgMy family loves getting outside and enjoying nature. We go to The Parklands often, so we were thrilled to hear they’d found a company to handle their canoe rentals. So over Memorial Day weekend we gave them a call and headed their way.

They were insanely busy. The parking lot was packed and we had to wait an hour and a half to get a canoe. That was fine, because it gave us a chance to take the kids to the playground for a bit before setting off. I’m also glad the demand is so high because it means this company isn’t likely to be going anywhere any time soon. 

I’ve been canoeing in the Parklands before, and it is really the perfect spot for beginners and families. The water is calm and not too deep, and it’s clean and peaceful. There’s wildlife and places to stop and look at fossils.

 photo 20140525_143817_zps99160ff9.jpgMy kids had never been canoeing before, so we opted for the one hour two mile trip. It takes off at the rental booth and ends at the interpretive center near the playground and sprayground area. It was a beautiful trip with only one difficult spot to get through, and even my youngest, who said there was no way he was getting in a canoe, ended up loving it.

Everything about our experience was great, except for the price. It cost nearly $70 for my family of four to canoe for an hour. The canoe rental alone is on the high side of what I consider reasonable at $35 for a tandem canoe for a 2 mile trip up to $71 for the 10.7 mile trip. There are lots of other types of vessels to choose from, each with its own rate per trip. But then they added two snap-in seats for my kids at $15 apiece, taking us up to $65 plus tax. They included paddles and life vests at no additional charge, which was great since I didn’t want to take wet life jackets home with me. However, even with those freebies, this is not an accessible activity for most families, especially when you consider you can take your own canoe (or a borrowed one) for free.

 photo 20140525_133324_zpsa589b145.jpgI respectfully request that Green Earth Outdoors stops charging for the extra seat rentals. This would make it an activity that more families could afford to do more often. Currently, canoe rentals are available Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday during the summer. Canoeing is a great way to experience The Parklands from a different perspective.

By guest contributor: Maggie

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review of the YMCA at Norton Commons in Louisville, KY

 photo image0021_zps9247c062.jpgBefore kids, ME time was never a problem… to the point of, now that I think about it, the term didn’t even exist in my vocabulary. Now three kiddos later, sometimes I would like some time just for me – this does not include the time I spend hiding in the bathroom at random intervals during the day because even there, they will find me and try to either have a conversation or decide that’s it a good time to declare war on each other.

I would also, on occasion, like to have command of the remote control. There’s only so much Caillou I can watch without starting to need some mind numbing adult humor. Moreover I, over the course of 7 years and 3 children, have less “stuff” and more “fluff.” In my efforts to lose extra weight, I’ve learned working out at home ends up just being frustrating since I spend most of the time telling one kid not to lift ten pound weights over his head, another kid not to jump on my exercise ball because didn’t you just bust your mouth 2 seconds ago doing that very same thing!!!! and explaining to my toddler why he and mommy CANNOT be on the treadmill at the same time.

 photo image0041_zps7b427d07.pngEnter the saving grace I found: The YMCA at Norton Commons!!!! I love this place with every single slowly shrinking ounce of me. First of all, they have a kids club where I can sign in my kiddos (they allow 6 weeks and up) for up to three hours. During that time, they have outdoor play, different supervised and themed adventures, and social time that they love! Then I can work out in peace on any of their state of the art cardio equipment (and most of them have TVs to plug my headphones in so I can watch Golden Girls.) After my workout, I get the kids and sometimes we go to their indoor splash pool, which they LOVE, before heading home.

Then after dinner, we go back with Dad in tow, the kids go to the kids club again (which they love), and Hubby and I get an hour “mini-date” while we workout together and try to make each other laugh while we’re using the weight machines – it’s just what we do.

 photo image0051_zps19454626.pngI haven’t tried any of the classes yet, but they offer family Zumba and family yoga over the weekends, they have time for strollers and younger kids on their indoor track, as well as parent’s night out programs, just about the sweetest staff I’ve ever had the pleasure of dealing with and I’m only scratching the surface of what they have to offer. It’s a win-win for the whole family because I get recharged and then am able and focused enough to sort out intense drama – like who is looking at whom and who touched whom first. Seriously, you need energy for that stuff.

By guest contributor: Dana

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Day Trip to Indianapolis, IN from Louisville, KY

We conquered the Children’s Museum, the Lego Store and had a dinner all before heading home for the evening.

 photo indy2_zps99c4be85.jpgChildren’s Museum: We left our house right about 11:15 on Sunday morning to head up for the museum, it was a spontaneous decision to go up there so we didn’t leave as early as we probably should have. We got to Indy at about 1 pm. The museum opens at 10 and closes at 5 on Sundays. Parking in the garage or in one of the outside lots is free. When we pulled into the garage it was very full and I got a sinking feeling that this trip was not going to be very much fun. I don’t do very well with large crowds and my boys are pretty small and they tend to get pushed around when there are lots of other people trying to see the same exhibit. I was pleasantly surprised when we walked in and there wasn’t a crowd of people at the ticket line. The price for 2 adults and 2 children was $68.00, the price for a family membership for the year is $155 and you have a two week window to apply the $68.00 to the membership if you chose to convert it. My children (5 and 3 years old) absolutely loved the museum, it was extremely interactive and touching/ playing with the displays was encouraged! There might have been a lot of cars in the garage but we didn’t experience any areas where there were so many people that it was uncomfortable. In fact many times we felt like we had the place to ourselves. There are 4 floors to explore with most of the interactive areas for the younger kiddos on the 3 and 4th floor. There was even a carousel on the 4th floor, tickets were $1 per child and with a membership it was free. We were talking about next time starting at the 4th floor and working our way down the next time because the kids were pretty tired by the time that we got to areas that were the best for them.

 photo indy4_zps79df8118.jpgNext on our agenda was the Lego Store! The Lego Store is located in the Castleton Square Mall, and is about 20 mins from the museum. Now I can’t tell you for sure how long it took because my husband went to high school in Indy so we drove past his old house, high school etc.

 photo indy5_zps7df834ae.jpgThe Lego Store: Is located inside of a pretty big mall in Indy, and was everything my little guys could have dreamed of. The walls were lined with boxes and boxes of Lego sets. They had a station where you can build your own mini figure and the back wall was nothing but Lego bricks sorted out by color. When we checked out they gave us a voucher for a free ticket to Lego Land, the next step is to convince my husband that we need to use them and go to Orlando! I will say this, don’t make a special trip just to go to the Lego store. Bricks and Minifigs in Louisville in my opinion has a better set up than the store that we went to

The last stop of the evening was dinner. There were several places around the mall like On the Border, Bucca de Beppo, Panera etc. However, when we go to different places our mission is to find a local restaurant that is not a chain and kid friendly. Believe it or not that is pretty hard to find in Indy. We ended up at a restaurant 15 mins from the mall on the marina.

The restaurant is Bella Vita, it sits overlooking the water, my boys had a great time looking at the boats coming in and out of the marina. The best part is that it felt like it was on the beach and so I felt like I was on a mini vacation.

 photo indy3_zps324f9ed9.jpgAll and all we had a great time, however I would have left earlier and probably gone home sooner. It is very nice that you can drive 2 hours up the road and feel like you have gotten away from it all, even if it is for just a day.

By guest contributor: Allison