Baby’s First Vacation: 4 Tips to Help Everything Go Smoothly

WPblog9Regardless of the complaints of some insensitive people, babies have parents, their parents like to travel, and babies can’t really just hang out at home while mommy and daddy are off on vacation. So, like it or not, babies are traveling. But the truth of the matter is that it’s more stressful for the parents than it is for those who complain about it.

If you’re traveling with a baby for the first time these are some tips and tricks that can help your family vacation to Niagara Falls with baby in tow as stress-free as possible.

Pre-Ship Necessary Items

Packing all of the accessories that babies need requires a suitcase of its own, and with luggage fees in place you might wonder how you’ll pack it all. The solution? Send it by mail. Most hotels will accept deliveries for registered guests so go ahead and order that huge box of diapers online or the cans of formula if you use it. The hotel will have the items ready for you and you don’t have to carry anything but what you’ll need for the trip.

Do a Trial Run

If your baby is the type who has trouble sleeping in strange places, do a trial bedtime run before your trip. If you’ll be using a travel crib or a playpen start putting your baby to bed in it up to a week before you go. Don’t worry if things don’t go well at first; even if you can’t get your baby to sleep in the new bed for an entire night you’ve at least gotten them used to the idea, which will make the hotel transition much smoother.

Set Up Your Hotel Room Like Your Home

Many people check into a hotel room, drop their bag, put some toiletries in the bathroom and go. It doesn’t quite work like that with a baby. You’ll need to have specific areas of your room set up for changing, feeding, preparing bottles, and other baby related tasks. Do this as soon as you arrive so you’re ready for anything that arises.

WPblog10Stick to Your Routine

Nothing makes traveling with a baby easier than a routine that resembles the one at home. It requires planning on the part of the parent but it can be done and still leave parents with time to explore. If your baby naps at a certain hour try putting her in the stroller and taking a walk around a park or museum you’d like to see. If baby goes to bed at a certain hour be prepared with jammies, a story, and a bottle. The more your baby knows what to expect the easier it will be.

A family friendly destination like Niagara Falls is the perfect place to bring your baby on their first trip. So book your tickets and hotel room and take the time you need to relax with your new baby.

Fall Activities in Niagara Your Kids Will Love

WPBlog3Fall is just around the corner and for many people it’s the ideal time to take a trip to Niagara Falls. The weather is gorgeous, the leaves are changing color, and as high season winds down great deals on hotels and activities become more widely available.

However, fall in Niagara is especially fun for kids. Aside from seeing the beautiful falls and enjoying activities like the waterpark, there are plenty of seasonal activities that will have your little ones grinning from ear to ear.

If you’d like to plan a fall trip to Niagara Falls these are a few great ways to show your kids the countryside and have some fun at the same time.

Visit a Pumpkin Patch

Niagara is an agricultural region like no other and a portion of its bounty are pumpkins, and lots of them. Pumpkin farms dot the region near Niagara and virtually all of them offer tours and other activities when it’s time to harvest the fall’s crop.

Warner Ranch offers pumpkins of all shapes and sizes and other fall produce like squash and other gourds. Kids can also collect corn stalks and other items to complete their own fall decorations. Warner Ranch is also an active breeding facility for Belgian horses so your kids might get a chance to see one of these gentle giants up close.

Try a Corn Maze

What to do when all the corn is harvested yet the stalks still stand? Why, carve a corn maze, of course! Corn mazes have exploded in popularity over recent years and several sprout up each fall near Niagara Falls.

Located just outside of Buffalo is the Cambria Corn Maze. Two mazes cover twelve acres and are full of twists and turns that will have your kids delighted as they try to find their way out. Sturdy shoes are recommended and rain boots are highly encouraged as the weather can be unpredictable during this time of year. For the very brave they even offer flashlight maze sessions on the weekends.

Take a Haunted Hayride

WPBlog4Of course fall means Halloween and what better way to celebrate than with a haunted hayride in the countryside near Niagara? Several local farms offer haunted hayrides and they vary from the mildly surprising to downright scary so you should definitely consider the level of tolerance amongst your family before you go.

The aforementioned Warner Ranch offers a mildly scary haunted hayride or you could visit Haunt Manor and experience the truly terrifying. The choice is yours but at the end of the night it’s all supposed to be fun so the very little ones and those who scare easily might want to bow out.

Fall is such a beautiful time of year in the Niagara area and it deserves a lot more attention than it gets. Look for hotel package deals, play up Niagara to your kids, and start planning your falls vacation to the falls. You and your entire family will be very glad you did.

Fallsview Waterpark 101: Know Before You Go

WPBlog1A visit to the waterpark may sound simple. A swimsuit, a towel, and you’re good to go, right? Well, not quite. While those things are essential there are many other items to pack that will not only make your day much more enjoyable but can also eliminate potential headaches.

You’ll want your family to have the best time possible on your visit to Fallsview Indoor Waterpark so in addition to packing appropriately you’ll also want to be familiar with the waterpark rules before you go. Here are some suggestions and some rules that will make your waterpark adventure one that you’ll remember for years to come.

What to Pack

Most people simply wear their swimsuit under their clothes and shed those clothes as soon as they enter the park. While this works for some people, others prefer to put their suit on in the changing room. Fallsview Indoor Waterpark does require that everyone shower prior to entering the water so how you choose to dress is up to you.

For yourself and your children, be sure to pack an extra change of clothes, swim diapers and diaper changing supplies for the little ones, and water shoes or flip flops. The waterpark does supply towels free of charge and offers lockers for small deposit. You can bring a personal towel if you’d like but no hotel towels are allowed.

What Not to Pack

WPblog2Like most waterparks, Fallsview has a list of items that are not permitted in the waterpark. These include outside inflatable devices and lifejackets. The park does provide beach balls and lifejackets to hotel guests and rents these items to day guests, but nothing like pool noodles, water wings, or pool floaties are allowed. Mats and tubes are available for use on the slides but you should also keep in mind that long jewelry, swimsuits with metal buckles, and lifejackets are not permitted on any slide.

Outside food and drink is also not permitted but Planet Hollywood Beach Club is located on-site so you can purchase snacks and drinks easily. If you’ve forgotten any important item, guest services can assist with swimwear, swim diapers, and other essentials for your convenience.

Park Requirements

Safety is of the utmost concern at Fallsview Indoor Waterpark so various rules and height requirements are in place to ensure that everyone has fun but remains safe. Different slides have different height requirements so be sure to check the waterpark’s website to determine what attractions your child can and can’t use. For instance, children less than 48 inches in height can’t use the Extreme Mat Racers slide and anyone over 48 inches can’t use the Jungle Beach area.

As a family-friendly attraction, the waterpark does maintain rules about appropriate swim attire. Please keep this in mind when choosing your swimsuit for your day at the waterpark.

Waterparks are fun for the whole family but being prepared and following the park’s rules not only mean that everyone has a great time but also that everyone stays safe. So grab your swimsuit and join us at Niagara’s best indoor waterpark for a spectacular time.

Water Safety Tips for Your Niagara Vacation

wpblog7When one thinks of Niagara Falls it’s impossible not to think of water. The many rivers and the mighty falls themselves are the epitome of water. It rushes, surges, swirls, and tumbles and the power of this water is a sight to behold.

While there are a few swimming holes in and around the area, most visitors choose to enjoy their water time in the fun and safe environment of water parks. With the multitude of slides, age-appropriate play areas, wave pools, and more, waterparks like Fallsview offer a great way for families to spend a day swimming and splashing to their heart’s content.

While lifeguards are always on duty it’s wise for parents to be prepared with sensible water safety tips and information in the unlikely case that something goes wrong while swimming. These are some of the best ways to help keep your kids safe while they’re having the times of their lives at the waterpark.

Know Your Child’s Swimming Ability

You know your child best and that also means that you know your child’s swimming ability. Yes, it can be hard to tell your child that they’re just capable of taking on some of the more advanced water features in the park, but you can also remind them of the many other options they have to choose from, each of which is more suited to their abilities.

Devise a Watchout Plan

Keeping track of even one child in the water is difficult, but if you’re responsible for more than one child or several it’s wise to devise a watchout plan with your partner, friends, or family members who are with you.

You can take turns playing with the little ones in the wading pool while someone else tends to the older ones. If you have teens that are good swimmers you can even enlist their help. With proper planning you can ensure that everyone is sufficiently looked after while having a great day in the process.

Keep an Eye Out for Hunger, Dehydration, and Fatigue

wpblog8When your children are at the waterpark they’re playing hard and it’s likely they’re going to miss their own feelings of hunger, thirst, and fatigue. Fallsview Waterpark offers ample places onsite for delicious snacks, meals, and drinks so be sure that you remind your little ones to take a drink and have a snack, even when getting them out of the water can feel like pulling teeth.

Additionally, since the hotels connected to the waterpark are so easy to access, it’s not terribly hard to take the littles back to your room for a short nap.

A day at Fallsview Waterpark is one of the best ways to enjoy your vacation in Niagara Falls to the fullest. As one of the premier indoor waterparks in the world it has water features that suit all ages and abilities. Just be sure that you come prepared with basic water safety skills and have everyone ready to assume their watch positions and your day will go off without a hitch and fun will be had by the entire family.

Are We There Yet? Save Your Sanity With These Road Trip Tips

wpblog5Aside from the fact that Niagara Falls is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind destination, another of the reasons that it’s such a popular family vacation destination is that it’s just so easy to get to. It’s only a day’s drive from most major cities on the east coasts of the United States and Canada or it can be easily worked into a road trip that incorporates other destinations.

Families have been road tripping to Niagara Falls since cars became a household item but that age old question has always remained the same, even before the days of tablets and LTE.

“Are we there yet?”

Taking a road trip to Niagara Falls with your kids is an adventure but it’s also one that’s bound to have some hiccups. Here are a few ways to keep your kids engaged, happy, and focused on the destination when you still have many miles to go.

Utilize Tablets and Phone

If your kids have their own smartphone or tablets it’s unlikely they’re going to want to give them up for a round of the old-fashioned license plate game. These devices are simply a part of our kids’ lives but you can encourage them to use these items in a Niagara-centric way.

Create a Niagara Falls quiz before you leave and remind your kids that you’ll be asking questions along the way. Devise a reward system that works for your family and then randomly fire off a Niagara trivia questions. Maybe your children will have researched Niagara beforehand or maybe they’ll Google on the spot, but the child with the fastest correct answer wins.

wpblog6Switch Things Up

Instead of letting the kids have all of the “are we there yet?” fun why not switch things up a little bit? Provide each child with a paper map or, if you prefer, let them use Google maps and at various spots along the way ask them, “Are we there yet?”

The kids can then use their maps to determine where they are currently and how far from Niagara Falls they are at that point. Ask them how many miles are left to go, which routes are best according to the map, or what cities or landmarks you can expect to pass along the way. Not only does this help kids engage in the moment but it’s pretty satisfying as a parent to be the one asking THAT question.

Take the Back Roads

If you have time and the inclination it’s always much more entertaining for parents and for children to take the back roads as opposed to the interstates. Small towns, farms, fruit stands and more await you on the back roads to Niagara Falls and you can get a much better feel for the area and its culture. Plus, it gives the kids much more to look at and talk about than truck stops and fast food.

A road trip to Niagara Falls is almost a rite of passage in many circles and is a great way to spend the last bit of summer as a family. Use these tips to avoid the common road trip hassles and get your kids excited about one of the most wondrous places in the world.

Setting Boundaries: Teaching Your Kids About Border Crossings

wpblog3For many children their first international trips involve crossing the border of a neighboring country. For kids from the United States this often means Canada or Mexico and for Canadian tots this generally means the United States. As Niagara Falls encompasses both the United States and Canada, a family vacation in Niagara might mean that your children will cross an international border for the first time.

The concept of international borders is a fluid one and in other parts of the world borders can even change without notice. However, your children might have questions about crossing a border into another country. How does it work? What happens when I’m in another country? What will be different?

If your family vacation to Niagara Falls is going to involve your child’s first border crossing, these are a few ways you can explain the process in simple and easy to understand terms.

What Is My Passport?

For some children their passport is their first form of official identification but they might not know exactly what it’s for or why they need it. If your child is old enough try to involve them in the application process as much as you can.

Explain that a passport shows who they are and where they come from and that this document is very, very important. Without it they won’t be granted admission to other countries.

What Happens When We Cross the Border?

Even for seasoned, adult travelers border crossings can be confusing, especially when one crosses by land. Your child may have questions about borders and what happens when they cross. Without delving too deeply into current affairs you can explain to your child what to expect when crossing the border.

Let them know that border agents are there to ensure that everyone has the proper documents and paperwork. The border agent will ask to see passports and other paperwork. You can explain to your child that you, as the parent, will take care of most of the interaction with the border agents, but they should be quiet and respectful and answer questions if asked. You can also let them know that there may be a line to wait in and they should try to be patient.

What Does It Mean When I’m in Another Country?

wpblog4Travel is a wonderful gift for any child and learning how to be a respectful traveler might be even more important. While the transition from Canada to the United States and vice versa might not seem like too much of a change to a child, it is a great opportunity to discuss how to behave as a guest in another country.

You can explain that it’s important to be respectful of the laws and customs of other countries. You can prepare younger children with age-appropriate books or informative websites about international travel and let older children and teens explore websites on their own. The important thing is to reinforce the fact that they are a guest and should behave appropriately while enjoying their experience.

Travel is a wonderful way to allow children to experience other cultures but it’s equally important for them to understand the mechanics of moving across borders. Utilize these tips with your children during your next trip to Niagara and encourage them to expand their world.

How to Get Your Kids Involved in Planning Your Niagara Vacation

wpblog1Planning any vacation takes time and care and while a trip to Niagara plans itself in many ways, there are still many boxes to check and reservations to secure. Of course the parents or guardians are generally in charge of the trip planning as they’re the ones with the credit card, there are ways to involve children and teens in the planning as well.

Most kids are excited to travel and learn more about new places but some might not know very much about their destination or the mechanics behind putting a trip together. However, with a few simple prompts and some creative ideas you can get your children involved in the planning of your upcoming trip to Niagara Falls, which will have them even more excited.

In addition, this can help children feel more in control of what’s to come and help them feel closer to the family. Here are just a few ways to get your kids involved in planning your trip.

Allow Children to Choose Activities

Pleasing everyone while on vacation is a daunting task. Again, as parents generally do the bulk of the planning it can be hard to ensure that each activity interests everyone and in some cases a child may feel left out. If you allow your children to see the activities available in Niagara Falls and let each child choose what they’d like best you can avoid hurt feelings later.

Again, depending on your child’s age and computer skills, let them do their own online research. For instance, if you have a budding paleontologist on your hands let them search for geologic history sites or museums in the area. Teens can choose activities that might give them a bit of freedom during the trip as long as it’s within your parenting parameters. Regardless, allowing your kids to be active in choosing their own activities gives them a sense of responsibility and inclusion.

wpblog2Bring Out the Maps

For some younger kids it can be hard for them to discern exactly where they’re going as it related to the place they live. Without spatial reference of some sort any place they’re not familiar with can just seem like “away” and they might not have any idea where “away” is. This is when you bring out the maps.

Online resources like Google Maps are great places to start. Depending on your child’s age and computer skills you can ask them to put in your home address and the address of your hotel in Niagara Falls, then get directions. This way they can see just how far or near it is, the different ways to get there, and the places in between.

A family trip to Niagara Falls is always going to be on that you all remember for a lifetime. Giving your children the tools they need to become involved in the planning aspect not only shows them that you value their opinions it also sets them for a lifetime of travel and adventure. What could be better than that?

Vacation Mishaps and How to Deal With Them

wpblog18While it’s rare there is always the chance that things can go wrong when you’re on vacation. Usually it’s nothing more than minor issues that can be cleared up with just a few phone calls or emails, but on occasion things go wrong that need much more attention.

It’s not terribly likely that you’ll deal with anything more serious than sunburn or a favorite toy that goes missing. However, if you do find yourself in a situation that needs immediate attention you can rest assured that many people in the hospitality industry in Niagara are well-versed in these types of problems and how to deal with them.

These are a few of the things that could go wrong while you’re visiting Niagara Falls, and how to deal with them quickly and efficiently so you can get back to having fun.

What to Do If Your Child Gets Sick

The last thing you want is for your child to get sick on vacation but it does happen. If it’s something minor like a cold or allergies there are numerous pharmacies that can supply you with the over the counter medications that you might need to have your little one back on their feet in no time.

If it’s something more serious be sure to contact your hotel concierge right away. These professionals have intimate knowledge of all the services in the area and can point you in the right direction to a pediatrician’s office, an urgent care clinic, or a hospital emergency room. The concierge will even be happy to call ahead to alert the office of your situation and arrange transport.

What If You Lose Your Passport

Losing a passport is a traveler’s worst nightmare, but if you take the proper steps this problem can be rectified relatively easily. First of all, be absolutely sure that you take paper copies of the information page of each family member’s passport with you, and email copies to yourself for added assurance.

wpblog19Contact your local embassy as soon as possible. Again, your hotel concierge will have the appropriate phone numbers and email addresses to put you in touch with the right people. There are several passport agencies in Buffalo County if you’re on the American side of the falls.

However, if you’re in Canada, the nearest US consular office is in Toronto, which is about two hours by car from Niagara. Bring your paper copy of the lost passport and any other official identification with you to expedite the issuance of a new passport. In some cases you can be issued a temporary passport to allow you entrance back into the United States, then you can apply for a regular passport when you return home.

Most vacations go off without a hitch but sometimes things go wrong and you simply have to deal with them as they arise. Preparation is more than half the battle so be sure that, before you leave your home, you’re armed with all the things you may need to deal with any problems that may arise. This way, you’ll have more time to enjoy your time in Niagara Falls despite any mishaps.

Toddlers and Teens: How to Please Both in Niagara Falls

wpblog15Families come in all different shapes and sizes and most families have children that are close in age. However, families are different and you may have children in preschool and high school, all at the same time.

While you’ve generally got your home routine memorized backwards and forwards, when you travel it can feel like all rules have flown out the window. While you’re likely a pro at potty training while simultaneously dropping another child at the mall for a movie with her friends, add a new adventure in a new city to the mix and all bets are off.

Luckily, if your family or group is traveling with a combination of little ones and teens, Niagara offers a number of activities that appeal to all ages, so you can keep your family together, everyone is entertained, and you’ve got great memories to last a lifetime. These are just a few ways to ensure that happens when you visit Niagara Falls.

Always Have Snacks

Every mom and dad knows that snacks are usually the magic potion to ward off meltdowns from kids of all ages. Even though Niagara is brimming with amazing places to eat and featuring a variety of cuisine to please even the pickiest eater, sometimes it’s the snack from mom’s purse that saves the day. You know your kids; keep a few packages of what they love on hand to tide them over until the next meal.

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

wpblog16There probably aren’t many kids in the world who don’t like to swim, and this holds true for babies all the way up to adults who still think they’re kids. Fallsview Indoor Waterpark offers a number of waterslides that teens will love as well small splash pools for toddlers, and even outdoor hot tubs for adults.

The impressive structure features a view of the falls and also offers the Planet Hollywood Beach Club which is perfect for light meals and drinks. One of the best parts is that the waterpark connects directly to the hotels in the Falls Avenue Resort complex, so getting back to your room for a quick change or cleanup is a breeze.

4D Motion Theatre

Also located within the Falls Avenue Resort is the impressive and always entertaining 4D Motion Theatre. This wholly immersive theatre experience not only features state of the art 4D technology, but water sprays and blasts of air heighten experience and make it feel as if you’re really there.

Currently the theatre offers two shows, “SpongeBob SquarePants 4D: The Great Jelly Rescue” and “The Great Wall of China.” Both films appeal to kids of all ages, and even your teens will be able to recall the good old days when they were fans of all things SpongeBob, even if they might be reluctant to admit it.

Traveling with kids of any age can present challenges, but when you have children that have a greater than usual gap in age this can present some a different set of challenges. Niagara Falls is the perfect destination for families of all types, and parents can rest assured that age appropriate activities are around every corner.

Niagara Falls Souvenir Ideas for Kids

wpblog12Now that virtually everyone has access to a digital camera, whether it’s a phone or a full DSLR kit, making memories during your family vacations is easier than ever. In fact, through the wonders of modern technology, you’re even able to share these memories instantly with family and friends across the world.

However, leaving these memories to languish on Facebook or Instagram might be a great way for parents to remember their visit to Niagara Falls, younger children might not retain the same wonder and joy they felt during their visit. It’s not their fault; they’re little and learning so much that Niagara might just slip through the cracks.

These are some great Niagara souvenir ideas for kids that can help them recall their family vacation, and may even be keepsakes that they’ll carry with them for a lifetime.

A Piece of Art

Art falls under many different categories, but a nice painting or piece of pottery proudly displayed in your child’s bedroom is a great way for them to remember their visit to Niagara Falls. If you choose, you can visit one of Niagara’s many art galleries to select a piece or you can visit one of the many street artists in the area who proudly sell their work. This way their souvenir will grow up with them.

Another way to bring Niagara art home and to make it personal is by paying a visit to Crock a Doodle, the paint your own pottery gallery. You kids can spend some time getting messy with paint but the end result is their own, unique piece of pottery that they will always associate with Niagara Falls.

A Photo Memory Book

wpblog13Instagram and other photo sharing apps like it are great ways to edit and share your photos while you’re traveling, but when you get home these photos can be forgotten as you get back into your daily routine. That’s unfortunate because many Instagram users take great care to edit their photos and the results are usually extremely good.

There are several reputable companies who can take your Instagram photos and print them, then bind them into a wonderful photo album. These photos can also be made into creative collages that can be hung on a wall, or print the photo onto fabric that can then become a throw pillow. The options are almost endless but all serve as a way for your child to remember their Niagara vacation for years to come.

The Ubiquitous T-Shirt

T-Shirts are generally the go-to choice for souvenirs, and kids love them. With their bright colors and eye-catching logos, kids will often gravitate toward T-Shirt stands and immediately choose one or more that they simply can’t live without.

However, it’s likely that you child already has several destination T-Shirts at home, and they grow so quickly that sometimes they’ll only get a few months’ wear from them. However, one clever use of discarded T-Shirts is to carefully cut the logos of pictures from them and combine them together into a keepsake quilt or blanket. Not only does this result in a cozy blanket, but your child can look over the various squares and remember their family trips.