Wonderland in Toronto

After our unbelievable Legoland experience we knew as parents we had failed miserably. We passed the entrance for Wanderland on our way into mall Legoland and after a quick google search we learned that it was Canada's version of our very beloved Cedar Point. We bought tickets online and headed across the street to try and redeem our birthday blunder for the boy. 

Wonderland ended up being amazing!! The park is beautiful and clean. The people who work there are nice and friendly and the rides were quite similar to Cedar Point although the height limits are much lower. Our 7 year old who can't ride any roller coasters at Cedar Point could ride all but 3 at Wonderland. We had a brilliant time and the day ended up a win for everyone including the earlier bummed out birthday boy.   

We highly recommend Wonderland for all families visiting Toronto.  

πŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺ out of

πŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺ 

The Thompson Hotel Rooftop Pool Toronto

We didn't stay at The Thompson Hotel in Toronto however the Airbnb we rented had rooftop pool access for the win!!Β 

Legoland Discovery Zone in Toronto

The boy turned 10 on July 6th. The Chef and I wanted to do something special for him that he would remember for always so we decided to road trip to Legoland in Toronto. He was dying to go to Legoland and when I was surfing the web (gnarly doode) I saw that Toronto had their very own LL. I google mapped the drive and found the trip to be a little over 4 hours. His birthday was decided. We would be headed to Canada. 

We got up early on our first day in Canada and mapped the car to Legoland. Imagine our surprise when the directions had us turning into a mall. My stomach dropped. Did I not read something right? Was Legoland not in Toronto? Turns out I did NOT in fact read something right. Legoland Discovery Center is in Toronto and Legoland Discovery Center SUCKS.

We walked into the mall all looking confused. How could there possible be rides and legos and all of the amazing things Legoland offers, inside a strip mall? The answer came to us very quickly after we bought our tickets and waited in line to start the 'tour.' We realized that we had been hosed. Legoland Discovery Zone was a glorified Chuck E. Cheese. There were two baby rides (as the boy called them), three lego short films (one was silent? ummm wtf?), and a car building race area. Other than that there was a play area that kids had to wear socks in and if they didn't have them they could buy them for $5 (guess who bought socks? raises hand) and a few lego models as seen above. Twenty minutes in and the boy came up to the Chef and I "Is this it? I mean it's cool and all but it's kinda lame" he said obviously trying not to hurt our feelings. The Chef and I totally agreed and remembered that as we pulled in to the mall for Legoland we saw signs for Wonderland, Toronto's amusement park. The kids went back to playing in the janky beta mall legoland and the Chef & I furiously googled admission prices for Wonderland. Wonderland would save the birthday!

Legoland Discovery Zone was a total disappointment. The only people who should go to Legoland Discovery Zone are kids who are 4 and under. Any kid older than that is going to see that it's a total sham. 

Rating: πŸ”ͺ out of πŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺ

Β 

Ritz Carlton Battery Park

The Ritz Carlton Battery Park is a great hotel for families staying in the city. As ex-New Yorkers we often stay on the lower east side, where we used to live. However the Chef was in town for an amazing event and they put us up at the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park. Even though I lived in New York for most of my 20's I had never really explored Battery Park. I went there once when we went to Ellis Island and I think that's about it. 

We checked in and the first thing that I noticed was how kid friendly the front desk people were to my kids. They got them a Ritz Carlton kid bag that had toys, goodies, and a hotel scavenger hunt. My kids were impressed. After checking in we went up to our room and were very pleased with the size of our suite. Lately I have noticed that hotels have been selling "suites" that are really just a big room with a pullout couch. This was not the case. We had two very large separate rooms and the minis set up camp in theirs and we set up camp in ours. For our family of four, a suite has become a must have aspect of travel. It allows space for all parties involved and can easily make or break a vacation. Since this was a work trip we knew that space between mom and dad and the minis would be important. 

The master bathroom was gorgeous with a huge soaking tub and separate shower. The minis had their own bathroom and a kitchenette. The room itself was spectacular. 

We had a fabulous time staying in Battery Park and it really grew on us as a place for us to stay in the city. Transportation is easy from the hotel to anywhere in the city and the path by the river is easily walkable and filled with playgrounds and fun sights to entertain the kids. I would highly recommend staying at The Ritz Carlton in Battery Park. 

πŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺ out of πŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺπŸ”ͺ

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Get Shorty Giveaway!

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One of my favorite Cleveland events will be here in no time at all!

The 39th Annual Cleveland Film Festival (CIFF) runs March 18 – 29, 2015 and I will be first in line. This 11 day festival is filled with films, Cleveland, and fun! In anticipation of the festival, CIFF is holding "Get Shorty," one of seven events in this year’s Film Feast line-up, which is now in its 12th year.  CIFF Film (and other ARTS) Feasts, sponsored by Hyland, are a way to engage the community, cultivate new film buffs and celebrate the arts, all while promoting the upcoming Festival. Get Shorty is always one of the most popular, and this year the event takes place January 29 at 7p.m. at the beautifully restored Capitol Theatre in the Gordon Square arts district. Before the films, guests will gather next door at the Arcade where they will enjoy an array of food and beverages.

What makes the Get Shorty Film Feast so unique is that the guest, has an interactive role in selecting some of the shorts programming which will be screened at CIFF39. Um, AWESOME. CIFF will show a selection of short films and you cast your vote for each, and the top scorers will be screened at this year’s Festival.  

The CIFF events before the film festival are always so much fun and I am thrilled to be able to giveaway a pair of TWO tickets to Get Shorty! Enter below by January 25th. A winner will be picked by the 25th and you will get to join us at "Get Shorty" for a night a film, food, and fun!

       

David Bowie Is

Last month our family found ourselves in Chicago for the Chicago Gourmet event that the Chef was cooking at. We decided to bring both kids so we could see our Cleveland friends who moved to Chicago last year. We also made it a family trip due to the David Bowie Is exhibit at the Museum of ContemporaryArt Chicago that as huge Bowie fans we knew we couldn't miss.

We bought tickets online (you have to reserve a time slot/day) and headed out. We brought the kids. Both of them are Bowie fans, so much so that they even named an owl that lives at our Natural History Museum, you guessed it, David Bowie. Every time we visit the history museum our first stop has to always be a visit to David Bowie, the barn owl. So we brought the kids. They love Labyrinth and listen to Hunky Dory weekly. How could we not bring them? Welllllllllllll.....Would we bring the kids again? Probably not. But sometimes, as a parent you just gotta go for the culture and hope for the best.

The exhibit is FUCKING AMAZING. Like times a trillion zillion amazing. When you arrive you are given a pair of wireless headphones that tells the listener all about more than 400 objects, David Bowie's archive, costumes, and everything else that is housed at the MCA David Bowie Is. The headphones are magic in themselves because at any time you can move towards one thing and away from another to hear the next found object. The majic headphones also make the exhibit completely silent to the outside world. Guess what's not completely silent to the outside world? You guessed it! Our kids. The Chef and I ended up zooming through the exhibit as about an hour in, the 6 and 9 year old had had enough of The White Duke and ready for some gift shop action. Really though, they were great for such a BIG, CRAZY, exhibit. We danced, we talked makeup and the 60's, and we all collectively agreed upon the fact that David Bowie is a ROCK GOD. 

So if you go and you have kids, leave 'em at home. Lesson learned. If you don't have kids, spend a day there. Or two. There is SO MUCH BOWIE.

The David Bowie Is exhibit is open in Chicago until January 4th, 2015. RUN.


Skip Tulum, Run to the Coba Ruins

While in Mexico last week the Chef and I decided to check out some Mayan ruins. Every tour guide, book, blog, website, or tripadvisor talked about Tulum so we headed there first. I had read about the Coba runis briefly but tossed the idea aside due to it being about an hour further from our hotel. We got up at the crack of down in hopes of missing the tour busses and hit the road. 

We arrived at the Tulum ruins about 30 minutes later, took a wrong turn from the parking lot and drove directly to the front entrance. FYI. This is highly frowned upon and actually quite illegal. Our Spanish is pretty bad and there were no igns indicating the road we were driving on was for pedestrians. Tulum 1, Team Sawyer 0.

We paid the entrance fee, about $20 for both of us, grabbed a map and entered the ancient ruins. We hiked up and found that ruins were laid out over an expansive pece of land and each ruin was heavily roped off. Our dreams of climbing to the top of a Mayan ruin were dashed and although the park was beautiful it didn't match the romantic dream we had both envisioned. We snapped some selfies and decided to leave. We would check out Coba, the ruins 30 minutes into the jungle. 

And thank god we did.

If you have are going to Mexico and want to see, feel, walk on, embrace a real life Mayan ruin, go to Coba. It's in the jungle and it is one of the most captivating places I have ever been. 

 

The Money Museum in Cleveland

 The Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland, Ohio

The Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland, Ohio

 Dollar, dollar bill yo...

Dollar, dollar bill yo...

 Catcher getting his pride on

Catcher getting his pride on

Did you know that Cleveland is home to one of the only 12 Federal Reserve Banks in the nation?  A Federal Reserve Bank is a regional bank of the Federal Reserve System, the central banking system of the United States. There are twelve in total, one for each of the twelve Federal Reserve Districts that were created by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. And this is in OUR downtown. How cool is that?

You know what's even cooler? The Money Museum that is inside The Federal Reserve Bank. You know what's double cooler? It's free!!

Our family loves the money museum. It's fun, it's free, and it's in one of the most stunning and secure banks in the world. Go there now!


 

The Money Museum is located at 1455 E 6th St, Cleveland, Ohio 44114. They also give tours!!