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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Special Events at the Louisville Free Public Library - Junie B Jones

The Louisville Free Public Library has so much family programming! We want to highlight one of these from this summer to encourage you to look into these events so you don't miss them!

PhotobucketPhotobucketWe went downtown earlier this summer to the Main library to check out Junie B Jones! The event started right on time at 10:30 am and the house was packed!! Louisville is home to some serious Junie B fans! I took my daughter to the event and we both had a really great time. I am always impressed with how well the LFPL staff orchestrates these huge events and there was no exception this time either.

We were pointed into the auditorium as soon as we arrived where it was standing room only! The event was in partnership with Carmichaels Bookstore and one of their reps was introducing the event when we walked in. There were free t-shirts for select people who had a ticket under their seat. After the prizes, the performance began and Miss Junie B came out on stage! She and another character from the book series began a very funny, silly, and lively dialogue! Junie had a big "pink trunk of junk" that she was pulling items out of to entertain the crowd. Everyone in the audience was engaged and laughing the entire time!

After their live theatrical performance, Junie was available to "stamp" kids' books for them. You could have brought your own books, or purchased one from Carmichaels. They were selling for $5-15. It was a great opportunity to support this local bookstore. I let my daughter buy one but we did not stand in the line-it was a very long one! Because of the crowd, Junie was not available for individual pictures. That was a little disappointing but parents could snap a quick photo as they approached her while she stamped the books.

PhotobucketThe library staff had some other fun activities going on such as a coloring/cut/paste station, pin the bow on Junie, a matching bows game hung up on a wall, and some seek'n'finds related to the book series. Outside of the Main doors was the infamous stupid smelly bus! Kids could go in and take a quick little tour, and it made for a great photo op!

All in all, this was a splendid event, especially for kids who really love the Junie B Jones books and that feisty little kindergartener! Click here to check out more fun events at the library!   This was a special event that only took place that one day but we wanted to write about it to encourage you to explore these special events. When special events like this come along, you don't want to miss it!

And support a Louisville local - stop by Carmichaels Bookstore too!

The event was highlighting and celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the publication of the Junie B Jones book series, which you can always find at your local branch of the library!

By guest contributor: Erin

Monday, July 30, 2012

CONTEST! $25 gift cards to Brick House Tavern + Tap

I have never been to this restaurant but from the materials that they sent me and their menu, it is definitely on my list! And, they pretty much had me sold with the photo of the onion soup on their website. I thought it would be a great date night place but they also have a kids meal that's all $5 and under, hmmmm, I may be able to take the whole crew.

Brick HouseWhere is it?  The Brick House Tavern + Tap!

From them: This summer, Brick House Tavern and Tap will tap into the best Louisville has to offer, adding three local craft beers to its list of more than 70 beers, while local bands take the stage Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons at the 871 S. Hurstbourne Parkway location.

The list of local craft beers includes KY Brewing Bourbon Barrel Ale, New Albany Hoptimus and Cumberland Brewing Cream Ale, which join Brick House’s selection of more than 70 domestic and imported beers. Other local favorites include BBC Amber Ale, BBC Bourbon Barrel Stout and Kentucky Ale. Local bands will entertain on the patio Saturday nights from 9 p.m. – 12 a.m. and Sundays from 2 – 6 p.m.

While sipping a local brew and enjoying live music on the patio, customers can also enjoy a wide range of new menu items, specially created for the summer. These new Daily Specials include:

‧ Tuesday’s Seared Halibut, finished with lemon thyme butter over fresh haricot verts and russet thyme sweet potato hash
‧ The Sourdough Pastrami Sandwich, Thursday’s special, features sourdough bread bursting with deli-sliced pastrami, topped with a fried egg and served with skin-on fries
‧ The House Roasted Turkey, served Saturdays, is carved turkey with chicken gravy over Texas toast, corn bread stuffing cakes and apple cranberry sauce
‧ Sunday’s 12-ounce slow-marinated USDA Grilled Ribeye is served with grilled local corn and a loaded spud

Doesn't that sound GREAT!  Well, what would be even better is if you walked in there with a $25 gift card that you won on LouFamFun.net  We have 2 $25-gift cards to give away.  Enter via the form below and watch our Facebook page and Twitter account because we're hooking up with MegabitesLouisville to give you some bonus entry opportunities.



BONUS!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Destination - Myrtle Beach South Carolina

Did you know that Vision Airlines now offers non-stop, affordable flights to Myrtle Beach, SC?  And, they always have specials!  I was so excited to see this in the news because my parents live just south of Myrtle Beach and this will make it easier for us to make shorter trips to visit them!

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When you are in Myrtle Beach, there's so much to do! We went this summer (we drove but will look into flights in the future!) and had a really great time.  We did spend a lot of time simply visiting with my parents so they could enjoy their grandchildren but we also found some tourist things to do.

PhotobucketBroadway at the Beach- Sometimes, you just want to shop! One day, we took a break from the beach and went to this shopping area because my mother read about a Lego workshop on a local blog, go Mom!  It was quite the find! It was raining on and off so Legos were perfect.  This Lego workshop was a traveling (Lego Brickation) exhibit that was there temporarily for the summer but it's an example of some of the programming you can find at Broadway at the Beach in addition to their normal offerings.  We played for over 2 hours!  You can spend a lot of time at Broadway at the Beach with shopping, dining, movies, rides, mini golf and a little spray area for kids to cool off.  On hot days, we like to go there in the evening for after-dinner entertainment.

PhotobucketPhotobucketChildren's Museum of South Carolina - We went to this museum on a rainy day so it was VERY crowded.  That meant that unfortunately, we didn't get to relax and really take in the museum. We did see it all, it's not very big and the kids had a lot of fun when they got the chance to really focus on an activity.  For example, they had a circuit building table that my son really enjoyed. The traffic got lighter at around lunch time so he was able to really get into the activity and build with his father. I was impressed with what he created! They had a ton of activities jammed into a small space. If you go, it will be better to not go on a rainy day, everyone will be there!  It is $8 but you can usually find a coupon in a booklet around town or online.

PhotobucketPhotobucketDinner out in Murrels Inlet - We ate as a family at a place called Creek Ratz.  It is on the marsh walk in Murrels Inlet and such a great spot for family dining. They have a ton of outdoor seating, trees and there's usually entertainment.  The night we went, there was a band playing and the kids could get free face painting. Plus, the food is fresh and well-priced.  Then, after you eat, you can walk all along the marsh walk and enjoy the scenery, look for sting rays or fish in the water, head over by Drunkin Jacks and pick up the baskets and see if you caught a crab and listen to some live music at various spots. It's a family favorite!

The Carolina Opry - My husband and I went on a date night to see the show at the Carolina Opry Theater.  It was a classic show of a mix of music from different decades.  It wasn't the type of show where you get on your feet and dance but it was a fun show and family friendly. We heard country classics, modern pop songs and 50's hits. The crowd was generally a bit older but I could tell that the show producers were trying to make it fun for everyone.

PhotobucketPhotobucketLe Grande Cirque Adrenaline at The Palace Theatre - this was our favorite show! We went on a weekday evening and it was not too crowded.  But, the show was late and our children were tired. I would recommend this show for kids of all ages but maybe try a matinee. For the matinee times, the prices are less expensive too. This show is running through Sept. 28th this year but chances are they will have a show just like it at the Palace Theatre no matter what.

Stephanie

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Winner! Dinosaur World tickets from LouisvilleBestDeals.com

Congratulations to Sarah Ashmore who won the Dinosaur World tickets from LouisvilleBestDeals.com

Sarah, please email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net to claim your prize!

Everyone, don't forget, you can get discount tickets to Dinosaur World by clicking HERE

The Forecastle Festival - the family perspective

PhotobucketIt was with quite a bit of in trepidation that my husband and I set off to Forecastle with our two children (a 5 year old and a 15 month year old) in tow. We had talked about going to a one of the large scale music festival since our daughter was born 5 years ago. Music was our first love and we spent much of the first years of our marriage together going to concerts and festivals and it was something we did not want to lose when we decided to grow our family. But when it came down to it the idea of spending three days in an open field, left to Mother Nature’s will, loud music, port-a-potties and festival food as well as trying to keep the kids happy without toys was a little scary. Each year came by and each year we said to each other maybe next year.

This year’s Forecastle Festival line up came out in early spring and when I saw that My Morning Jacket was headlining and children 6 and under are free, we decided to do it. The festival being in Louisville was perfect and the new policy that lets weekend ticket holders come and go from the festival as they please allowed us to feel in control, and perhaps the children could go stay at their grandparents for the night and we could go back to see the headliners without them.
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We bought our tickets in the first tier price (the earlier you buy tickets, the cheaper they are) and we ended up paying around $100 each for our weekend passes.

Mother Nature looked after the forecastle crowd. The ridiculously high temperatures felt around the region over the past few weeks had blown through, the storms in the area came in the morning before the bands began to play and we had a weekend of overcast skies with times of brilliant sunshine and a cool breeze flowing across Waterfront park and the river could be felt at all times.

The festival is set up with 5 stages, within easy walking distance to each other. Each one has port-a-potties and vendors with food and drink nearby. Camelback sponsored fill your own water bottles within easy access of the stages, unfortunately the water was not cold. We decided to take a deal from one of the vendors: a large lemonade for $10 with 10 free refills. This was totally worth it, ice cold fresh squeezed lemonade, not overly sweet or tart, just simply refreshing and the deal allowed us to drink all weekend. We were pleased to see many local vendors: Comfy Cow was selling ice cream, Val-U-Market had drinks, snacks and food, North End Café was cooking burgers etc... The options for food were plentiful and ranged from typical fair food to healthful smoothies, cheese trays, and veggies and hummus.

PhotobucketWhen the sun came out, we found plenty of shady places to cool off. The interstate goes right over the festival grounds which provides a large shaded area. An art installation called the “Ghost House” was inside a large air conditioned tent allowed the children to escape the heat completely. However we preferred most of the time to go close to the river and feel the breeze from the Ohio and when things became to much we found a welcome retreat in the Louisville Village area of the festival. A local organization called SPROUTS had set up a shaded kid’s area. Here we found musical toys, coloring pages, modeling clay, spray bottles filled with water, a diaper changing area, face paintings. The ladies of SPROUTS were wonderful and the children really enjoyed the homely feel of this area.

PhotobucketThroughout the day, of course there were many wonderful bands, the children enjoyed dancing, blowing bubbles, hula hooping and playing with beach balls. We moved from stage to stage and were able to enjoy a large variety of music styles. A big thank you must go out to the Squallis Puppeteers and the March Madness Marching Band, who truly made this weekend for the kids. The Squallis Puppeteers had a very large selection of huge puppets ( 7 ft or so high) walking around the festival, hugging, and dancing with the kids. The March Madness Marching band was a huge hit with their zany outfits, crazy moves and infectious music. Both of these groups added a lot of excitement to the weekend.

The festival grounds were kept amazing clean with volunteers walking around picking up any trash on the ground all day, the port-a-potties were the cleanest we have ever experienced at a festival, or just about anywhere.

PhotobucketWe had a truly wonderful time at Forecastle. We saw many bands and stayed for the majority of the festival. We didn’t stay for the headliners, we chose instead to get the kid’s home for bed and crash ourselves, and honestly I don’t feel as though we missed out on anything.

The festival could certainly improve on its family friendliness by perhaps in the future having more planned children’s activities or maybe even a kid’s stage area with performances for children (Squallis Puppeteers, are you up for this?). But as festivals goes, Forecastle was very accommodating to families and we will certainly be returning in the future.

By guest contributor: Jennifer 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Things to do this weekend in and around Louisville July 27,28,30

July is coming to a close, make it a good one!  

Photobucket I had so much fun last weekend at the Westport Village Summer Concert Series!!! We got ice cream at the Comfy Cow, the place was packed (but not overwhelming) with people dancing and having a blast.  I highly recommend it!  It's every Friday at 7pm.

There's something new this weekend, the New Cut Road Trolley Hop. This is a great way to explore South and Southwest Louisville. It stops at places like Iroquois Park, Jefferson Memorial Forest and the new Southwest Library.  And, this weekend there's Kentucky Music Weekend that you can do in tandem with the Trolley Hop and a family canoe day at Jefferson Memorial Forest.  Saturday could be a very eventful day of exploring thanks to this new trolley hop!

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Iroquois Park

And, don't forget to hit those sales for school supplies and stock up for the kids at the Salvation Army! Get your tickets to the Family Fun Derby City Magic show on August 6th: details HERE

These are my picks, but check out more options on the calendar and have a fabuLOUs weekend!
Stephanie


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Family Fun Night at Derby City Magic - School Supply Drive for Salvation Army Louisville

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I've got a magical idea for you! Affordable fun in cool AC with lots of laughs, prizes and an opportunity to help local families!

Come and enjoy this great show with LouisvilleFamilyFun.net readers!  Just $6 a ticket or $20 for 4 tickets with the codes in the flyer. Click the flyer to read more about the acts and purchase tickets.  Derby City Magic tells me that these three performers are among the favorites - one of which is Steve-o the Magician, a great sponsor of this website! The show is at the Comedy Caravan.1250 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204 August 6th, starting at 7pm!

  There will be snack and beverages for purchase at modest prices but this is not required.  When you arrive, we'll collect the school supplies. One entry per new packaged item from the list (backpack is 5 entries)! Bring as many supplies as you want, hit those sales - I already have!!   These supplies will be taken over to the Salvation Army of Louisville and given to the families there. What a special thing we can do to get these kids ready and excited for the new school year.

During the show, we will randomly select winners for great prizes from

Thank you for helping us help The Salvation Army of Louisville, visit them on Facebook to keep up with their needs and how they are helping families!  http://www.facebook.com/TheSalvationArmyLouisville

See you there!
Stephanie


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review of Short Cuts 4 Kids

PhotobucketPhotobucketIf your kids are like mine, haircuts can be somewhat traumatic for all involved. That’s why I love taking my kids to Short Cuts 4 Kids in Springhurst. This kid-oriented salon has everything you need to make the haircutting experience fun for your kids and stress-free for you.

They have a fenced-in play area with books, toys, a play house, and all kinds of video games for the older kids. But the magic comes at haircut time- they blow bubbles to amuse the little kids and they can turn on any show from Insight’s On Demand menu. Perhaps the best thing about this salon is the many different vehicles kids can choose for their haircutting experience- anything from a ladybug car to a motorcycle to a Barbie Jeep.
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PhotobucketThe staff is also experienced with kids, and this, in combination with all the perks of this kid-friendly salon, makes for a fun and stress-free haircutting experience. My kids even ask to hang around to play after they are done getting their hair cut. They have a great first haircut package, which includes a certificate, photo, and a lock of hair. As an added bonus, they offer adult haircuts for the mom or dad on the go.

Short Cuts 4 Kids is located at 3800 Springhurst Blvd., across from the entrance to Tinseltown. They can be reached at (502) 327-6611. They are open Monday-Friday 10-7 and Saturday 9-5. They are closed on Sunday.

By guest contributor: Maggie

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review of Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt in Clarksville

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Tucked beside Wal-Mart and behind Chuy’s at 1400 Veteran’s Parkway in Clarksville, IN, it would be easy to miss Sweet Frog, a self-service frozen yogurt shop with a large array of toppings. But you shouldn’t. It’s one of the cleanest, brightest little sweet shops around. Customers serve themselves yogurt in a large range of flavors and more than 80 toppings ranging from cereal to candy to fruit. The décor is bright, friendly and fun, and my twin girls, 6, loved it. As a Mom keeping an eye on portion sizes, I appreciated that they had three sizes of cups available – which doesn’t change the cost, since it’s pay by the ounce (39.9 cents per ounce, claims to be cheapest around!). I helped my twins choose the smallest cups, since with larger cups, they tend to create an unholy, inedible, melted mess. I also was extremely glad to see the toppings behind a sneeze guard and small spoons in the bins so the portion sizes stay reasonable. My kids weren’t quite tall enough to reach the back rows of toppings, but there were plenty of workers around to help.


PhotobucketPhotobucketWe also had a glimpse of the Sweet Frog mascot, who came out to say hi to the girls and let us snap his photo. As for the adults, the yogurt was downright tasty, and the toppings were so great it was difficult to choose. The yogurt flavors were wildly imaginative and I enjoyed tasting a few of them. Their classic Dutch Chocolate was creamy and rich. They also had my two favorites: hot caramel and hot fudge sauce to slather on top and make my own turtle sundae. Just to give you an idea, the flavors on display the night we visited were Dutch Chocolate, Peanut Butter, NY Cheesecake, Coffee (no sugar added), Cookies n’ Cream, Pistachio, Vanilla (no sugar added), Root Beer Float, Red Velvet, Banana, Cake Batter, Raspberry Pomegranate, Dulce De Leche, Georgia Peach, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut and Very Strawberry. Flavors are labeled as nonfat or low fat. Owner Ryan Linnehan, who opened the business in April 2012 with his wife, Stephanie, says the yogurt has active cultures and has the official Live & Active Cultures seal from the National Yogurt Association. Not all yogurt does.

Sweet Frog has extended hours during the summer. The shops is closed on Sunday mornings so that the owners and their employees can attend church.

Sweet Frog even has a Kids Eat Free option!  Details >HERE.
By guest contributor: Robyn

Monday, July 23, 2012

CONTEST! 4 tickets to Dinosaur World from LouisvilleBestDeals.com

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  LouisvilleBestDeals.com is a locally owned website and business that offers great deals throughout the year for fun events, shows and other businesses.  They are sponsoring this contest by offering a family 4 pack of tickets to the Dinosaur World! (these tickets have no expiration date printed on them)

 LouisvilleBestDeals.com sells discount tickets to Dinosaur world!!

Good Luck!




Sunday, July 22, 2012

WINNER! Princess Tea at KaZoing!

Photobucket KaZoing! Party and Play Princess Tea is going to be FUN for this lucky winner!

They have tea party dates up until October, so there's lots of time to sign up.
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More details about the KaZoing! Party and Play Princess Teas can be found HERE.

The winner of the contest is LORI PRIDDY!  
Please email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net to claim!

 

GMeals - Affordable, convenient, fresh food for busy families

Here's a great deal for LouisvilleFamilyFun.net readers! Mention that you saw this deal from GMeals on LouisvilleFamilyFun.net and get one free kids meal with the purchase of an adult meal now through August 31, 2012! (Holiday Manor Location only)

Do you have days you want to pull your hair and you still have so much to do? Do you want a little break? Many of us are busy not just with our schedules, but also coordinating our families’ schedules. There is not enough time in the day to do everything. And now you don’t have to. GMeals provides an affordable, convenient way to have a healthier, fresher meal. No more cooking. No more going to fast food restaurants.
GMeals 

We understand you want healthier food. We understand you want to save time. We understand you want to save money. We understand you want to eat well.

PhotobucketWhat are the benefits of GMeals? First of all, it’s delicious! We have gourmet meals like Meatloaf, Garlic Ginger Stir Fry, Southwest Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Blackened Tilapia just to name a few. You can be rest assured that you will get your fill of satisfying your palate, stomach and mind. GMeals is healthier than Fast-Food restaurants in so many ways: Our meals contain no trans fats or added preservatives. They are fresh, fully cooked, never frozen, and cooked in-house by a professional culinary team. In addition, we buy our ingredients from local farmers.

PhotobucketThere is minimal preparation and clean up, so no more washing dishes. Just heat up your GMeals and you’re ready to go. Now you can have your cake and eat it too. Pick up your pre-made GMeals at our Holiday Manor Drive-Thru on your way home today!
2235 Holiday Manor Center
Louisville, Kentucky 40222
(502)426-2109
Monday-Saturday 11am-8pm Sunday: CLOSED
www.GMeals.com
Call (502) 966-3200 for more information about our Meal Plans and Free Home Delivery.

This is sponsored advertisement

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Things to do this weekend in and around Louisville July 19,20,21

How about an arts weekend?  It may be *slightly* cooler this weekend (or did I dream that in my melted brain?) so you can probably enjoy an outdoor concert!

Here is the link to all of the summer concert options, click HERE.
I recommend the Jeffersonville River Stage on Friday night (also great for movies on Saturdays).  If it cools down a tad, these evening events are really nice, good music, kids get so spread out or dance and if you head to Jeffersonville, you get a great view of downtown Louisville.

Starting this weekend, the YMCA of Southern Indiana is presenting Cinderella!  They have multiple dates and times, both evening and daytime so check out this FLYER.  Prices are $12 for adults, $10 for children and seniors.

Of course, there are more options on our calendar above but I thought I would remind people that there are some free and/or affordable options for families to enjoy some music or theater around town!

Have a fabuLOUs weekend!

Stephanie

Review of Habana Blues Tapas Restaurant- Parent's Night Out

PhotobucketPhotobucketTapas is a concept that is well known abroad and catching on in the United States. The idea is that you go from one tapas place to another with your friends and sample appetizer-sized specialties. This is a great thing to do on date night, because you can sit and sample tapas for the evening or you can stop in for a quick snack before a movie. I recently dined at Habana Blues Tapas Restaurant, located at 2813 North Hurstbourne Parkway, Suite 101, near the intersection of Westport Road. The atmosphere is intimate and inviting and the food is divine.

PhotobucketPhotobucketExecutive chef Rafael Hernandez has created some amazing appetizers, and we’re not talking about the same tired loaded potato skins you’re used to. We ordered four tapas to share- Datiles Rellenos, Trio de Hummus, Tuna Tartare, and the Boniato Frito. The Boniato Frito, or sweet potato fries, are served with smoked honey, which you will find you’ll want to drink with a straw. The Trio de Hummus features three kinds of hummus, prepared on site: black bean hummus, roasted red pepper hummus, and traditional garbanzo hummus. The Tuna Tartare is marinated in sesame oil and mixed with crème fresh, sesame seeds, and avocado. Perhaps my faovrite dish from this assortment was the Datiles Rellenos. I’m a fan of anything with smoked honey, so when I’m served goat cheese and chorizo stuffed dates wrapped in bacon and drizzled with smoked honey, I’m in heaven. Top it off with one of the best Mojiots I’ve had in a long time, and it’s easy to see why this is one of my favorite places in town to go on date night.

Habana Blues  has drink specials throughout the week. They also take reservations, which is becoming rare in the restaurant industry. I highly recommend trying out the tapas experience if you’ve never done it before. It can be a fun stop on the way to the movies or a great way to catch up with your adult friends between episodes of Sesame Street.

By guest contributor: Maggie

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review of Kentucky Railway Museum Train Robbery excursions

Last fall my son was very into trains and wanted to ride on one for his birthday. We were happy to read right here on LouFamFun.net about the Kentucky Railway Museum, not far from home, which offers regular excursions in addition to a little museum and an expansive collection of rail cars and engines outside. To make it even more exciting, the weekend we wanted to go when grandparents were in town happened to be a special event, a Train Robbery. We had no idea how much fun it would be and what a perfect celebration my son would have!

We hopped in the car and took a pleasant just over an hour drive on I65 and several interesting country roads to get to the train station in New Haven, KY. The regular excursion, shop, and museum have been reviewed before HERE, so I will focus mainly on what made this themed excursion so special.

PhotobucketPhotobucketWe arrived early and were excited to see all kinds of activity happening at the far end of the parking lot- people in period costumes, horses, and a general bustle of preparation.  My son loved the authentic unused ticket window inside and was happy that the people in costumes were in full character by now and interacting with each other and the small crowd. They kindly posed for photos and asked my son numerous times if he was interested in being sworn in as a deputy. Another little boy eagerly accepted, but my son already thought something suspicious was happening so declined.

We still had some time, so walked outside to check out the collection of train cars and engines lined up on nearby tracks, as well as lots of authentic train memorabilia outside of the main building. My soon-to-be five year old really got into examining these cars, including what was on the underside and what made each operate.

PhotobucketThen we went to the platform to watch them ready the train and hear the announcement whistles and messages. We knew from the website that the old steam engine that usually pulls this train was out of commission for some TLC, but loved the fun yellow engine that pulled us too. We chose our seats after walking through every car and settled in for the scenic ride, passing over a couple of bridges and some pretty scenery, mixed in with some country homes and yards. The conductor punched our tickets, an important thing to my son for this to be a real train ride. The characters made the great view and authentic train details almost secondary because they were so much fun and deeply involved in the scenes they created and getting the audience to participate. Before we knew it, 45 minutes or an hour past and we were at our halfway point.


PhotobucketYou can stay on as they turn the train around or exit to watch and take a stretch/bathroom break at the little store. We purchased some delicious biscuits and candy for the return trip- snacks & drinks are allowed except popcorn- and went back outside to watch them turn the train. To our delight, the actors had exited too and put on a great show of arresting the suspected bootleggers (they referred to the stuff in their truck as apple pie the whole time so you do not have to explain this to your kids more than you want to- my son still talks about apple pie months later!). Please note that they use the guns they’ve been carrying and the sound does sound awfully authentic, so if you have very young or noise sensitive kids or just prefer not to be around gun replicas, you might want to skip this part or wait until they are older to enjoy this excursion.

PhotobucketOn the way back, some of the sweet actresses heard we were there to celebrate our son’s birthday and gathered all of the actors and actresses together to sing to him and gave him several bills of recreated period money, which he promptly hid when he caught one of the “bad guys” eyeing it. This became another fun element with the Sherriff talking about it and my son even hiding it from him, who was clearly the leader of the “good guys.” Soon we saw shady looking characters on horseback outside and realized we were under threat of robbery! They even came on board and tried to take actresses as hostages and rob us riders. We realized later, this was a collection for Crusade for Children, so made sure to leave a donation before leaving the station. In the end, the Sherriff and his team overpowered them and we were all safe. We said our goodbyes and thanked them all for making my son’s day so very special. Just when we thought the day couldn’t get any better, they told us to come to the front parking lot after a few minutes once the horses returned because they’d lead the kids on some horseback rides. My son was THRILLED and they even let him wear a hat and hold some weaponry.
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PhotobucketWhile we waited to do that, we were able to take a peek in the back shop at the L&N 152 that would have normally pulled our train and visit the small but really interesting museum, which is loaded with artifacts and has a few interactive features, like a giant chalk board engine to sign, as well as two stocked train tables. My son looked quickly through the exhibits and then played, which gave the rest of us a chance to really read and enjoy the displays. We bought a few small things from the cute little shop, made note of other special events coming up, and then went to a good lunch and ice cream at nearby Short Line Diner which lured us with a great smell from the outdoor smoker. Next, we made a short impromptu stop at Lincoln’s Boyhood Home at Knob Creek not far from the Railway Museum, and even stumbled upon a neat gathering of vintage American automobiles on our meandering way back to the interstate. They cruise the square every 3rd Saturday in Hodgenville. My son loves all things cars too, so this was a wonderful end to a perfect birthday celebration and day trip!

The Train Robbery looks to be scheduled monthly through November this year and I highly recommend it. Check their website for more information, fare prices, to pre-purchase tickets, and a calendar of other special events, as well as regular excursions, all of which happen on weekends. They offer several discounts too, so be sure to see if you qualify for any. If my son is still interested when he is old enough, we will bring him back and pay extra for the very special locomotive ride up front with the engineer!

By guest contributor: Angela

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review of YMCA of Greater Louisville

I have been a member of the YMCA of Greater Louisville since March of this year.   We have been visiting the Oldham County branch the most but we also visit the Northeast branch. I get a sense that many of them are run the same way and have similar features.  So far, our experiences over the past few months have been extremely positive.

We have really gotten to know the Kid's Club schedules at each location.  When I need a break and feel like a good workout is in order, my kids and I head to the Y. And, my husband has really set into his weekly workout routine after work and on the weekend with the kids.  Each of the locations are clean and attractive - welcoming.  We have no problems parking and we are personally greeted by friendly people when we check in.  They scan our card and check which family members are present.

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Usually, I drop the kids off at the Kid's Club first.  We sign them in, the staff member scans my card and the kids head back to play.  Typically, there are a few staff members there and kids playing or coloring.  They have indoor climbing and play structures, lots of toys and games and sometimes staff help out with some table activities like coloring. My kids play independently but there are areas for babies and areas for older kids.  My kids look forward to playing at the Kid's Club.

Then, my husband and I head off to the locker rooms to lock up our items.  We bring our own locks.  There's always plenty of locker space and the bathrooms are very well kept.  I also like that they have little stools for the kids to reach the sinks for when they come in with me, hair dryers for people that shower and lots of benches.

I have taken classes and worked out on my own in the wellness areas.  There are so many classes to choose from. I did a core class for a while when the kids were in school.  The instructor was friendly, aware of different ability levels and upbeat. I hope to get back into that routine when the kids go back to school.  I also like just hitting the wellness center. The equipment options are plenty, especially at the Northeast Y, it's quite large.  I love the theater style treadmills!  You plug your headphones right into the treadmill and watch a little TV right in front of you. My workouts go by so fast! While I'm there, I always notice the staff walking around and chatting with people.  And, members are really good about cleaning the equipment after use with the bottles and rags the Y keeps spread throughout the gym. My husband has been pleased with the free weight options and weight machines as well.  I can really tell that he has been more relaxed because he gets in regular exercise time and since the kids like going to the play area, there's really no reason we can't go since we know we have the Y staff to watch the kids!

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When we are finished, we pick up the kids and the staff scans our card again to make sure everything matches up.  Sometimes, the kids and I hit the gym to just run around together and play basketball. Or, if it's during an open swim time, we jump into the indoor pool.

PhotobucketI am excited to bring my son to one of the evening programs they have! I saw a sign about it and it's for kindergarten and up and we can drop him off for some organized fun for a small fee.  Really, the programming at the YMCA locations is endless.  We even had a great season of t-ball for both kids! It's so nice to have a membership and feel welcome at a really family friendly place.

You can learn more about membership options HERE. They have plans for individuals and families as well as financial assistance programs.

Stephanie

Monday, July 16, 2012

CONTEST! Mother - Daughter Princess Tea at KaZoing! Party and Play

PhotobucketIf you follow our Facebook page, you saw me post some photos of my daughter at the KaZoing! Party and Play Princess Tea. We had a wonderful hour and a half of dress up, crafts and snacking.  It was adorable and well organized.  We have a great limited-time discount for these tea parties, INFO HERE, and now, we are giving away a spot!  They have tea party dates up until October, so there's lots of time to sign up.
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More details about the KaZoing! Party and Play Princess Teas can be found HERE.


Good luck!