02
Dec 10

Good Day Sacramento and Good Family Fun!

We’ve just added Sacramento!

A big thank you to Julissa Ortiz and the whole crew at  Good Day Sacramento for inviting me to share Mom Maps on air last week. It was so exciting to see the enthusiastic response from local moms and dads. After the segment aired, Good Day Sacramento invited parents to share their favorite local kid-friendly places on their Facebook page. With more than 50 comments, we have been busy making sure everything gets mapped in Mom Maps so you can find these picks next time you make the trip to California’s capitol.

While in Sacramento, we had a great time visiting the ArtBeast Studio. What a fabulous place for kids to explore a whole range of classes and drop-in creative activities. If I lived in Sacramento, I know this would be a favorite for my family. Mom Mapper Shayla and her daughter Kali came along and took this great video.  Little Kali even had the chance to make her  very first painting! (And do check out Shayla’s blog, Me Turned Mom.)

Sacramento is just the latest city to be added to Mom Maps. We now support 27 metro areas and we’re adding more each week with the help of our growing community of moms and dads who love to share their favorite places for kid-friendly fun as well as the many parent bloggers and family travel experts who contribute to our app. It’s a truly collaborative effort. Together we’ve mapped more than 26,000 kid spots and captured thousands of reviews for parents, by parents. Mom Maps has come a long way since I created this app when my family moved to San Francisco and I was inspired to create a tool to find cool things to do with my two year old.

Thanks to the many Sacramento parents who provided their picks and feedback on their favorite kid spots….  and to you, for joining with me to create this great resource for families!

Happy Holidays,

Jill Seman, Founder, Mom Maps

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Download the Mom Maps iPhone app and take all of our kid-friendly picks for Sacramento (and more than 25 other metro areas) on the go, or search online at www.kidsplayguide.com.


23
Nov 10

Get Outside! Tip Sheet for Kid-Friendly, Cold Weather Fun

Photo by Tony the Misfit (Flickr Creative Commons)

Even when the weather turns cold and wet, there’s no end to the activities and places you can explore with kids. You can, of course, opt for staying warm and toasty by browsing our growing list of indoor play areas on the Mom Maps iPhone app or on the Kids Play Guide website. (Also be sure to check out our recent post: “Kid-Friendly Fun on Rainy or Cold Days: Our Favorite Places to Get the Wiggles Out“.).

If, however, your family is up for braving the elements, this just might be the time to discover a new place to explore. Our community of mom and dad mappers has made it easy to find kid-friendly places for outdoor fun in your area and on the road. Browse the “Parks” and “Playground” categories on our iPhone App or website, and you’re sure to find a great new family destination.

To add to the fun, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite links and resources for winter and cold weather activities. Now bundle up, get outside and play!

  • From The Grass Stain Guru: Try a fall color walk or check out some other ideas from her Fall Play video
  • Try these winter nature activities for kids on eHow
  • Download this free Winter Activity Guide from Nature Rocks, chock full of games, activities and safety tips.
  • Our friend Erin (@AKontheGo) recently shared this great article from Wild Backpacker on Staying Warm While Backpacking the the Coldest Weather
  • Did you know? Winter can be the best time of year from some outdoor activities, like exploring tidepools. Here’s a good round up of theBest Tidepools for Kids in California from Trekaroo
  • If you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area (where Mom Maps/Kids Play Guide is based), ready the rain shield for your stroller and find a great place to a walk on the Stroller Hikes website.
  • We like this list compiled by National Wildlife Foundation/Wildlife Promise on favorite Outdoor Blogs by Parents.
  • Our friends at Fun Orange County Parks have created the first and last resource you need for outdoor fun in Orange County from beaches to parks to playgrounds.
  • For all you Twitter fans, the #PlayOutdoors hashtag is one of our favorites for the best news on outdoor family fun, year round.

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Take Our Skinny Scoop Poll: “When the weather turns cold, what activities get you outside with your kids?”


18
Nov 10

Kid-Friendly Fun on Rainy and Cold Days: Our Favorite Places to Get the Wiggles Out

Do you and your kids find yourselves climbing the walls when the weather gets rainy and cold? Getting the wiggles out while keeping your sanity in tact can be a tall order. So, we’ve compiled a list of fun, kid-friendly, indoor play places to run, climb and burn some energy — from Atlanta to Cinncinnati, Chicago, Seattle and points in between.

TIP: Find cold and rainy day fun using the kidsplayguide website or the Mom Maps iPhone app. Use our “Indoor Play Area”  or “Museum” categories or try search words such as: “indoor”, “bowling”, “library”, “gym”, “rink”. And…. check out our previous post on Cool Places, Mobile Apps (and more!) for Kids Who Love Science”, for more indoor fun ideas.

Mom Mapper Shalya recommends the “Eco Lake Aquarium and Science Center” in Burlington, VT for some cold day fun!

Atlanta Area

  • Hippo Hop Indoor Playground (Atlanta)  Jump and climb the day away at this inflatable play space.
  • Champion Kids (Marietta) – Indoor toddler (including kids with special needs) play place offering open play, classes, and parties.
  • DAC Kids Pirates Cove (Acworth)- Little pirates can captain a pirate ship, explore the underwater lair of an octopus or play, try the pirate-themed obstacle course. Priate’s Cove offers open play and parties.
  • Little Bears Indoor Playground - Specially designed for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and children with special needs. Lots to keep little hands and feet busy!
  • Coffee Park (Marietta): Indoor Play for the little one and a cup of joe for mom and dad.

Chicago Area

  • Kid City (Chicago, IL) – Drop in play where kids can explore a pretend city: grocery store, post office, home , movie theater, Reading corner, automobiles, and more. Parties too.
  • Family Grounds Cafe (Chicago, IL) – Indoor play area, storytelling, art, games and music activities. Gourmet coffee and espresso, sandwiches, soups, sweet treats and gelato.
  • Hobbitland Ltd. (Chicago, IL) – A bright spot for a cold day. Lots of wooden toys, play kitchen, dress up clothes, art projects, a blocked off area just for crawlers.
  • Fantasy Kingdom (Chicago, IL) – Themed play areas with kid-sized buildings to explore, costumes and other play activities.

Cinncinnati

  • Go and Play Cafe (Mason) – Indoor play for children ages 3-12 and a cafe for the adults.
  • Cherry Grove Lanes (Cincinnati) – Bowling, pool, darts to keep you entertained and (in warmer weather sand volleyball)
  • Recreation Outlet (Milford) - The folks at Recreation Outlet sell premium play equipment and have also created an indoor Play Zone where kids can run, jump and run in a showroom full of play structures, trampolines and basketball hoops. Check out their open play times or plan a birthday party.
  • Krohn Conservatory (Cincinnati) - Dream of sunnier days while perusing an acclaimed collection of more than 3,500 plant species from around the world.
  • Parky’s PlayBarn (Winton Woods) – An indoor, two-story, farm-theme, accessible playground with soft safety flooring. PlayBarn is designed for ages 2-12.

Sacramento

  • Kings Skate Country (Sacramento and Elk Grove) – Roller and inline skating lessons for all levels and open skate sessions, too.
  • Busy Bees Studio (Sacramento) – Classes, day camps, and parties where kids can do yoga, music, dance, fitness activities.
  • Explorit Science Center (Davis) – Hands-on science learnign and fun with interactive exhibits, a Discovery Room, and a Wet Lab.
  • Lasertag of Carmichael (Carmichael) – 2 story, 6,000 square foot laser tag area and arcade.

San Francisco Bay Area

  • SeeSaw (San Francisco, CA) –  A cozy, 800-square-feet play space stocked with toys, books, and games, good tunes are playing. Classes, Free Wi-Fi, and cafe!
  • Habitot (Berkeley, CA): Indoor play for infants through preschoolers. Drop in play, art studio, themed play areas. See Mom Mapper Shayla’s video from her visit to Habitot.
  • Peekadoodle Kids Club (San Francisco, CA): Classes for ages 0-5. Indoor play space features a Victorian house, a cable car, a grocer’s market, and a giant Golden Gate Bridge. A padded infant lounge and a cafe and boutique for mom and dad.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito, CA) – Mixes indoor and outdoor interactive play. Places to crawl, make art and music, model trains, and interactive exhibits for hands on play. Cafe offering lunch and snack basics.
  • Exploratorium (San Francisco, CA) – Full of hundreds of hands-on exhibits that mix science and art.

Seattle Area

  • REI Seattle Store (Seattle, WA): The motherlode of gear—plus a mountain bike test trail, gear-testing stations, a 65-foot climbing wall and more hands-on fun
  • Lynnwood Bowl & Skate (Lynnwood, WA): The name says it all… a roller rink and 24 lanes await you.
  • Kidz Bounce (Issaqhah, WA): 12,000-square-foot indoor play space that features two play rooms and more than a dozen inflatables, including obstacle courses and 35-foot slide
  • Shankz Black Light Miniature Golf (Olympia, WA) – What kid wont love a little glowing 3-D mini golf in a jungle, underwater or prehistoric setting. Party room available as well.

Washington DC

  • Great Kids Village (Columbia and Silver Spring)- Drop in play time and day care, classes, cafe, and parties.
  • Adventure Park USA (New Market Maryland) – Arcade, Laser Tag, Indoor 4-level “Prospector Playground”, climbing wall and other attractions.

Other Everyday Places

… and don’t forget about some of the everyday places that can offer entertainment when the weather gets grim. Libraries get crowded on rainy days, but are free and fun.

And while shopping at our local IKEA recently, my 3 year old had a blast checking out the room vignettes, trying out ALL the chairs and testing out the kids toys scattered throughout the store. (They also have a supervised play area for preschoolers and older, where kids can play while you shop.) A nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt to cap off the visit, made for one happy camper! IKEA store finder.

Looking for more kid-friendly fun from parks, to playgrounds, museums to indoor play places and restaurants? Kids Play Guide has got you covered rain or shine! Click over to www.kidsplayguide.com and browse our growing list of more than 25,000 kid spots or take Mom Maps on the go with our iPhone app. It’s quick and easy to map and review your own favorites, too.



09
Nov 10

Featured Mom Mapper: Road Trips for Families

So how did we find the more than 24,000 kid-friendly places mapped in our Mom Maps iPhone app? We’ve been building  a vibrant community of parent Mappers who love to share their favorite picks and places for outdoor and indoor play, learning places, family dining and more. We’d like to introduce you to Road Trips for Families, and in particular, their “Feed Me” and “Geocaching” editor, Julie Henning. Julie is also the creator of the the very handy Milwaukee Love Kids and Madison Loves Kids iPhone apps.

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Road Trips for Families brings you travel information and advice from real families who love to hit the road every chance they get. It’s a great resource for planning your next family road trip because you’ll find expert itineraries, information on what’s along the way, gadgets — plus a whole lot more. Julie’s specialty is dining out with kids — and as a mother of three she can appreciate that this is no small task, especially when you’re on the road. You need convenience, clean bathrooms, and a place to burn off energy—not to mention prices that don’t break your travel budget on the first day. Julie loves to venture little off the beaten path to find and share unique, family-friendly restaurants that feed your appetite and your sense of adventure . She’s also a great resource for geocaching, “the nation’s high-tech treasure hunt”.

We’re proud to team up with Julie Henning and Road Trips for Families to map some of their favorite roadside attractions and kid-friendly destinations. So now you can take Road Trips for Families’ kid-friendly travel picks and recommendations “on the go” using the Mom Maps iPhone app (or browse online at www.kidsplayguide.com.)

Follow Julie and Road Trips for Families

  • www.roadtripsforfamilies.com
  • @RoadTripsEditor (Road Trips for Families on Twitter)
  • @roadtripsfeedme (Julie Henning on Twitter)
  • Facebook: Road Trips for Families
  • Find out more about Geocaching

28
Oct 10

Cool Places, Mobile Apps (and more!) for Kids Who Love Science

If you have a budding Einstein at home, or just love to learn about the world around you, here are some of our favorite kid-friendly places, mobile apps and other cool resources that will appeal to the scientist in us all.

20 of Our Favorite Kid-Friendly Places for Hands-On ScienceBrowse these and lots more kid-friendly places for fun and learning online at Kids Play Guide or take it “on the go” with our Mom Maps iPhone app. Check out reviews from other parents and share your own.

  • Jagger Museum and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, HI): stop here on your tour of Volcanoes National Park to learn more about lava, volcanic eruptions and the history of the Kiluea vacano.
  • National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC): a great place to explore mammals, oceans, skeletons, and dinosaurs. Don’t forget to visit the insect zoo!
  • National Air and Space Museum (Washington DC): check out the amazing collection of space craft and historical airplanes (Lindbergh, the Wright Brothers among the most famous)
  • Liberty Science Center (Jersey City, NJ): three floors of interactive science exhibits located in Liberty State Park, including the country’s largest IMAX dome theater
  • Sony Wonder Technology Lab (New York City), a free technology and entertainment experience for all ages
  • Boston Museum of Science (Boston, MA), features a revolving schedule of IMAX films, temporary exhibitions and planetarium shows
  • Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, AL), home to Space Camp, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is recognized as one of the most comprehensive U.S. manned space flight hardware museums in the world
  • Louisville Science Center (Louisville, KY): the largest hands-on science center in Kentucky, with 150 interactive exhibits and activity stations, and a four-story IMAX theatre.
  • Orlando Science Center (Orlando, FL): lots of hands on exhibits for science lovers of all ages
  • Adventure Science Center (Nashville, TN) planetarium, preschool fun, birthday parties, camps, and the “Science Cafe” lecture series
  • La Brea Tar Pits / Page Museum (Los Angeles, CA): take a trip back in time when saber-toothed cats and mammoths roamed Los Angeles!
  • Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center (San Diego, CA): located in Balboa Park, this museum includes San Diego’s only IMAX theater, an observatory and offers interactive exhibits, classes, camps and birthday parties
  • Discovery Science Center (Orange County, CA): over 100 hands-on exhibits to educate and entertain the whole family
  • Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Denver, CO): IMAX, planetarium, workshops, hands-on exhibits — mummies and dinosaurs too!
  • Exploratorium (San Francisco, CA): hundreds of hands-on exhibits that mix science and art, offering a variety of ways to explore and understand the world around you
  • Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose, CA): get hands on with science and technology in the heart of Silicon Valley
  • California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco): the only place on the planet with an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a 4-story rainforest all under one roof
  • Chabot Space and Science Center (Oakland, CA): observatory and learning center focusing on astronomy and the space sciences
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, CA): one of the country’s best aquariums. Check out 200 exhibits, including majestic jellyfish, 2-story kelp forest and local sea otters — all in the heart of Monterey’s historic Cannery Row
  • Hands On Children’s Museum (Olympia, WA): hands-on science fun for younger children, families and school groups. Birthday parties, preschool programs and camps too.

Kid-Friendly and Educational Science Apps for Kids

  • Apps for Learning, from Moms with Apps: a great list of mobile apps that will help kids learn about math, the solar system, animals and more.
  • Star Map, explore the stars with this virtual planetarium
  • BrainPop, learn something new everyday. Great for 3rd to 5th graders
  • Space Images, from NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Other Cool and Kid-Friendly Science Resources


04
May 10

Mother’s Day Round-up!

Our Mother’s Day round-up for kid spots that moms will love too!

CHICAGO for Arty Moms
A world class art collection awaits at The Art Institute of Chicago. Kids and moms alike will love the Thorne Miniature Rooms.

FLORIDA for Animal-Lover Moms
Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens focuses on conservation and features the state’s only an insect zoo.

LOUISVILLE AREA for Simple Pleasures Moms
Huber Orchard and Winery in Starlight, IN offers more mature family members cheese-making demonstrations, wine tasting. The whole family will enjoy pick-your-own produce, a petting zoo and fun hay rides.

SAN FRANCISCO for Sporty moms
Get zen! It’s Yoga Kids offers family classes, mom & baby classes, kids’ only classes, and more.

SEATTLE for Foodie Moms
Let mom settle in with a cup of tea and a sweet treat at The Crumpet Shop at Pikes Place Market.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA for Nature Moms
April showers bring May flowers. Walk in a field of gold at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.

TORONTO for Style Moms
Shoe fanatics will drool over the Beta Shoe’s Museum’s> amazing collection of 12,500 shoe artifacts, including Marilyn Monroe’s read leather pumps and John Lenon’s Beatle Boot.

WASHINGTON D.C. for History Moms
Just outside our nation’s capital, the Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens takes you back in time amidst beautiful gardens and rolling hills