Tips & Tricks for Attending Generation Beauty

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Happy  Thursday!  With Generation Beauty LA 2017 around the corner.  Tia and I wanted to provide you with some tips and tricks to get the most out of your experience.  We have attended it since the beginning, so we have figured out ways to make the most our of our trip.  We thought that they might work for you as well.

Travel

If you do not live close to the venue and will be making travel plans, I suggest going with friends to split the cost and keep expenses at a minimum.  You can easily split the cost of the hotel and transportation.  Once you get into the city where they are holding the event, you need to think about transportation from the airport.  Depending on where you stay, some hotels might provide a free shuttle, but most won’t.  With that being said, I would suggest using Super Shuttle.

Super Shuttle provides versatile rides for a solo traveler or a big group.  They have many different options to choose from, like shared shuttle, non-stop shuttle, black car, or black SUV.  They offer services in most major cities and some international.  The experience I had using Super Shuttle was great because they are very easy to locate at the airport and get you to your destination in a timely manner.

There’s usually a few of us who get together for Generation Beauty, so make sure everyone’s flights arrive the same time to take a Super Shuttle to the hotel together.  It’s a very affordable option and split between you and your friends- win, win!  This also provides lots of extra room for luggage!  It really is travel made easy.

Attire

You’re going to an almost all day event, but let’s be real..we’re girls!  But, there is no rule that says you can’t look cute, glam, and comfortable.  One of our favorite places to shop is AMI Clubwear.  AMI clubwear has everything from clubwear to cute and casual.  This site is really affordable with pretty great quality items.  Tia and I decided that we wanted to dress up on the first day of Generation Beauty.  We scored some pretty amazing dresses from AMI Clubwear for cheap.

We both ordered some beautiful dresses from AMI Clubwear.  The dresses were made really well, flattering to our body shapes, and they were $12.00!  Crazy, right?

You can also find swimwear, shoes, costumes, and lingerie.  Another great thing about AMI is that they always have some kind of promotion running.  Right now, they are running a 50% off sale and free shipping over $50.  Check out the deals here.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you will be on your feet a majority of the time due to lines and be running from booth to booth.  You will want to wear comfortable shoes.  Believe me, your feet will be hurting.

Now that we got the basics out of the way, let’s get into our tips for the actual event.

Gen Beauty Tips

Here are tips that have helped Tia and I survive and get the best experience we possibly could at Generation Beauty.

  1. Take a look at brands attending the venue and follow them on all social media to save time at the booths.
  2. Come up with a course of action!  Make a list of all the booths/brands you want to check out first.
  3. Bring a portable phone charger, selfie light, and if you’re a vlogger/blogger bring you vlogging camera and business cards.
  4. I wouldn’t suggest bringing a huge purse, because of how much stuff you’ll be carrying.  A crossbody or wristlet will suffice.
  5. Bring a snack and water bottle
  6. Eat something before heading out.
  7. Don’t drive!  The venues are in busy areas with expensive parking.  Save yourself the trouble and Lyft it!  Click here to get the app.  Lyft was also partnered with Ipsy and Gen Beauty SF.
  8. Arrive a couple hours early.  For Gen beauty SF, I arrived at 8:30.  Keep in mind doors usually, do not open till 11.  The sooner you arrive, the better.
  9. If you didn’t get a chance to eat before heading out to the event, then have a friend or yourself run to get coffee and some food.  There are food carts at the venue.
  10. Hit the more known brands first, because their lines will fill up fast.
  11. When you’re in a long line, have one person in your group hold your place in line, while they go check out the smaller brands groups.  Switch off!  This is the best way to work the lines.
  12. Go both days because usually, you’ll get different things.
  13. Sundays are more relaxed and not as crowded. Don’t worry about going all glam on Sunday, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of all the makeovers.

I hope these tips and tricks help make the most out of the next Generation Beauty.  If you see us at any of the events, please do not hesitate to stop and say hi.  We’d love to meet you!

 

 

 

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100 Things To Do In Portland, Oregon Before You Die- Review & Interview with Author Ann Smith

Hi, Friends! I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving weekend. I had a fun-filled weekend with family, playing tourists in our city. Recently, we had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a wonderful book called “100 Things To Do In Portland, Oregon Before You Die.”

 AUTHORS

100 Things To Do In Portland, Oregon Before You Die” was written by Ann Smith and Allison Symonds, who wanted to give readers a glimpse of what Portland has to offer.

Ann is an Oregon native who has lived in Portland since the early 2000’s. She also owns a local PR company called A.wordsmith PR in downtown Portland. Being centrally located, Ann knows all the wonders this city has to offer.

Allison only moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2014, but it didn’t take long for our wonderful state to win her over.

100 Things To Do In Portland, Oregon Before You Die

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I, myself, have lived in Portland since 2000, but have yet to experience everything the city has to offer. Honestly, I was not even aware of many of the experiences highlighted in this book. Fortunately, I do now.

 

 

This book is perfect for anyone, whether you live here or are just visiting the area. It has a suggestion for just about anything one could need, from food and entertainment to culture and shopping. The authors also provide tips for some of the attractions, such as when to visit (in order to skip lines) and what to order from certain eateries. Fortunately, many of the activities contained within the book can be done year-round. 

 

MY EXPERIENCES

My family and I have decided to try and make it a point, each month, of picking at least one activity from the book to gain a new experience or revisit a previous one.  Keep in mind, though, that not all of the activities are appropriate for children – so use those as opportunities for a date night with your partner, or just a night out with friends.

GO WILD:

 

The Oregon Zoo is a must-see for any visitor, no matter what time of the year. My kids and I had not visited the zoo in a while, but took the opportunity to do so last month. The zoo offered free admission to everyone on that day, and it was pretty packed – but very much worth the visit.

**On the second Tuesday of every month is a discount day**

EAT ON THE STREET:

One thing Portland is known for is the abundance of food carts. It’s no wonder then, that they are also the first activity in the book. With over 600 food carts to choose from, you are guaranteed to find something you like.  My fiancé and I are avid foodies, yet we have barely scratched the surface. We have some go-to favorites, of course, but with so many options available we began making it a rule to try a new one each time we have a food cart date. Anything’s PASTAble and The Grilled Cheese Grill are just a couple of our favorites.

**Anything’s PASTAble closed down this month, with the hopes of coming back in the spring of 2017**

GET INSTAGRAM-WORTHY SHOTS:

Visiting Tom McCall Waterfront park is probably one of my favorite things to do. Many things happen at the waterfront – getting great pictures, riding KERR bikes, visiting the Saturday market, or even taking a jog.  No matter the time of year, though, there’s always a beautiful view.

TASTE PORTLAND’S BEST DONUTS

This is a controversial topic depending on who you are talking to. Many will say Voodoo Doughnuts have the best. Others will say Blue Star Donuts. Voodoo Doughnuts are nostalgic and creative, but I also love heading to the little mom & pop donut shops – like Sesame Donuts or Donut Land. Donut Land is a newly discovered favorite, recommended by Ann herself. Her favorite donut is the cinnamon crunch donut; and speaking from personal experience, it does not disappoint! The doughnut itself was fresh and soft on the inside and had just the right amount of crunch on the outside.

These are just a handful of the attractions and experiences the book has to offer. The book even offers “activities by season,” and I can’t wait to take part in some of these seasonal recommendations.

Interview with Ann Smith

I also had the honor of interviewing Ann herself on the book research, writing process, and some of her Portland favorites!

– What was the inspiration behind creating the book?

I was fortunate to have been contacted directly the publisher, Reedy Press, which is based in St. Louis.  They were looking for someone to write a Portland-focused book and a former colleague of mine (from my time in St. Louis) sent them my way.  How could I say no?!

–  Did you find the writing process to be long? Or was it quick once all the research was complete?

For me coming up with the list of 100 items was the easy part.  In reality, we could have filled many more pages! The writing process was supported heavily by my co-author Allison Wofsey Symonds who made sure that we stayed on course and within the deadlines.

-The book is full of amazing activities with a wide range of options.  How did you narrow down your list?

The narrowing down part was hard!  Like I said we could have easily come up with hundreds of more great suggestions for things to do in Portland. To come up with the list I started by brainstorming my favorite things in Portland and then had a larger meeting of the minds with everyone on my team at work.  It was important to me that the book didn’t just include my favorite things as that wouldn’t be a very well-rounded list!

– Is there an activity or place that did not make the cut, but deserves an honorable mention?

Most definitely.  I keep thinking of additional experiences that would have been great in the book.  Darcelle XV as one of the city’s most iconic performances; What’s the Scoop for great (and fun!) ice cream; and Wildfang for girl-power clothing.

– How long did the research process take?

Not long, really. We already knew something about every place on the list and for those needing a little more research, we dug in as we went along.

– When it comes to Portland and donuts, people automatically think Voodoo Donuts.  What donut shop is your favorite?  If any. 

I actually live out in Tualatin and my absolute favorite donut shop is Donut Land, located in a non-descript strip mall out there.  If you go, you must try the cinnamon crunch donut!

–  Portland is also known for food carts.  Is there one food cart that is an absolute must try?

It’s impossible to pick just one!  I work downtown so my go-to carts are in that area.  Chez Dodo on the corner of 4th and SW Stark; I highly recommend the chicken curry over Chef Shyam’s world-famous pan-friend noodles.  I’m also a big fan of Tito’s Burritos on the corner of 3rd and SW Washington; three asada tacos for less than $5! And while you’re in the neighborhood, visit El Pilon on SW 2nd and Oak.  Their handcrafted Colombian arepas, empanadas and patacones are unbelievably good.

– Using the activities in the book, what would a day in Portland look like for you?

Get a jump on the day by taking in an early-morning ride at Burncycle. After a quick shower, head out for breakfast at Waffle Window on Hawthorne Blvd.  After breakfast stroll down Hawthorne and check out some of the vintage shops for something uniquely Portland.  From there we can head out to the Columbia Gorge for a day hike at Multnomah Falls. Stop at McMenamins Edgefield for some tots and a pint of Ruby ale.

After a mid-day bite, head back toward town. Swing by the Adidas employee store in North Portland and pick up some new swag for half price before heading to the Pearl District to meet up with friends for a swanky cocktail at Teardrop (look for the extra-large ice cubes) before a fun evening of tapas-style Peruvian fare and the infamous Sacsayhuaman (aka Sexy Woman) drink at Andina.  If you still have energy after all of that, catch some live jazz at the nearby Jimmy Mak’s before calling it a day.

-Do you think there is a “thing to do” that Portland is missing, but should consider having?

I lived in St. Louis for three years so would advocate for major league baseball and frozen custard!

-Do you see a second book in the making?  If so, would you consider expanding to activities in Oregon as a whole?

Whew, I don’t think so, but you never know! I’m from southern Oregon originally so would love feature activities across the state if there’s ever a book number two.

 

If you intend on visiting Portland or are currently living in the area, I highly recommend picking up “100 Things To Do in Portland, Oregon Before You Die.” As a Portlander myself, it has opened my eyes to so many great things the city has to offer, just waiting for me to find and experience. I would like to thank Ann and Allison for giving me the opportunity to work with them, and for providing all of us with so many ideas of how to experience Portland. My family and I will continue to enjoy many new adventures with the help of their book.

 

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Aloft SFO

Hi loves! It’s been awhile since I have had some travel posts or traveling for that matter, but a few weeks ago I was able to attend the first Generation Beauty San Francisco.  For those of you who have never been to the bay area, let me tell ya- it’s busy!  When deciding on where to stay, I thought I needed somewhere centralized and a somewhat different than where I usually stay.  I did a lot of research on areas to stay, amenities, etc.  I found Aloft SFO.  Aloft is close to the airport with shuttle services to take you to areas in the vicinity.  If you have never heard of Aloft hotels, they’re part of Starwood Hotel and Resorts.  Starwood Hotel and Resorts offer a great rewards program.  To find out more about it, you can go here.

16-11-04-12-48-12-200_photoAloft hotels are very modern, trendy, and chic.  I found Aloft SFO to be a rather large property with lots of communal areas.  Upon arrival, the staff were very friendly and accommodating.  They provided information on Filipino restaurants and must try desserts shops in the area.  What can I spoke say, they spoke my language! An extra bonus to staying at Aloft was the security this hotel offered.  My room was located on the 4th floor, and to gain access, you needed to have a key card.  A little relief knowing that you have to be a guest of the hotel to get to the upper floors.  The rest of the grounds looked up-kept.  You can chill in the lobby, play a board game, have a drink at the bar, or if you are lucky- catch one of the live shows offered at Aloft SFO.

There is also an indoor pool, a couple of lounging areas outside, and a pretty amazing gym.  I would have gotten a picture, but there was always someone using the facility when I was there.

Let’s Talk Rooms:

I stayed in a non-smoking: king bed room.  I love how the incorporated the city in with the decor.  It really works with the room.  The rooms are larger than others I have stayed in, which was great!  What I enjoyed the most, was the bathroom!  

You get a large step in shower with a rain faucet.  Aloft showers did have something I have never seen before- shower and 2-1 shampoo & conditioner dispenser.  There are pros and cons to this, because it saves product and helps with cost.  However, it does take away from taking home the little mini’s most hotels provide.  Normally, I wouldn’t care, but they use Bliss products 😍.  The view was pretty good, but to be honest- I never really got to see it much.

Overall, I really enjoyed my stay with Aloft SFO and definitely plan on staying there again.  It’s a great place for single travelers, couples, and families- on the atmosphere alone.  It’s also pet friendly!  Have you stayed at an Aloft before?  I would love to know if the comments below!

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**This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own**
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Road Trip Travel: Portland to San Francisco and Vista Points Along the Way

Happy Tuesday!  A few weeks back my fiance and I took a mini road trip to San Francisco for the weekend.  We literally wanted to play tourist on this trip, so we took our time on the way down and on our way back, making stops at all the vista/view points we could find.  I guess the view/vista were more on the way back from California, but we did hit one on our way to the bay area.

Hunter Hill Rest Stop:

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It provides a great view of Vacaville, California.  If you look closely at the first picture, you can see Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.  Also, a great place to stop and use the bathroom- cleanest one we encountered.

Benicia Vista Point:

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This view point is kind of tucked away, but you can get some really cool shots of the valley and bridges.  No bathroom, but lots of parking!

Shasta Dam:

This was probably the best stop we made on our drive home.  We got to check out Shasta Lake, the dam, and walked across the dam as well.  On our next visit we plan on checking out the area a bit more.

 Mt. Shasta

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The view point is small little stop off, but the photo opportunities are pretty great!

Well, this is it for my vista/view point stops along 1-5.  If you get a chance, stop by the Shasta Lake Dam.  The views are to die for and activities in the area seem like they would be a lot of fun!

 

 

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My Amusement Park Essentials

Hi loves!  Happy Friday day!  Although, I can’t really believe that it’s Friday already. Labor day really threw my week off, but non the less- I’m glad it’s Friday! Keeping with my travel theme posts, we will be talking about theme park essentials.  My family and I are theme park junkies.  Every vacation we take, we have to at least hit up at least one park.  On our last vacation, we hit up Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Great America in Norther California.  Prior to that visit, we went to Wild Waves and Enchanted Village in Washington.  I started to think about must have items that I need to carry with me in the parks.  Without further a due, here are my essentials:
16-09-07-08-05-44-692_deco.jpgBP. Faux Leather Backpack– $55.00

I would suggest some sort of backpack.  I opted for a purse style backpack.  It isn’t too big or too small, but has a lot of for the size.  I was able to carry my essentials including my water bottle.

 

 

16-09-07-08-06-34-428_deco.jpgI would also suggest a wristlet. It provides easy access to my cards or cash, but also stays attached to my body.  Yes, I am horrible with losing things.  This particular one by Kate Spade, has enough room to carry cards, cash, coins, and my phone- if needed.

 

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  1. A good pair of sunnies- Theme parks are usually always in warm climates or only open during Spring/Summer seasons; for this reason a good pair of sunglasses are a must.  I opted to bring my Sunglass Warehouse sunnies ,Canary #65830 tortoise frame with amber lenses, because they are a neutral that can be paired with anything.  I love this style!  They have been my favorite since day #1.  If you don’t know much about Sunglass Warehouse, you can check out my post here.  Affordable & trendy!
  2. Sun Protection- I use to think I was too cool for SPF because I was islander.  You know, that automatically made me immune.  Obviously, I grew up and finally learned how important it is to take care of our skin.  My favorite SPF has been COOLA TRAVEL SIZE SPORT SPF 50 GUAVA MANGO SUNSCREEN SPRAY.  The smell is amazing, it has good wear time, SPF of 50, and is water resistant up to 40 minutes.  If you haven’t tried a COOLA product yet, you should!
  3. Protecting our lips from the sun is something that isn’t really talked about, but if you think about it, our lips are super have super sensitive skin and need protection.  Only fitting, right?  My holy grail lip balm is the MINERAL LIPLUX SPF 30 TAN LINE.  The mineral liplux line comes in array of colors to choose from.  I, myself, am a nude girl, but you can opt for something a little more vibrant.  With an SPF of 30, color selection, and a moisturizing feel; it’s definitely a must have for me!
  4. L’occitane hand cream and refreshing towelettes are my everyday essentials that I have to have in my purse at all times.  To be honest, I keep a hand cream in my purse, desk at work, and one in each car.  If you have not tried them before, then you absolutely need to!  Now, the story behind refreshing towelettes- YOU NEVER KNOW!  You may have an accident or just need a refresher.  I am also a mom, so any kind of wipes come in handy.
  5. I am a huge germ-a-phobe and again, a mom!  Hand santizer anywhere is a must have.  Think about it…You are spending your day touching rides, railings, playing games.  Imagine all the other people doing the exact same thing you are.  You do not know where their hands have been.  Any hand sanitizer will do, obviously Bath and Body Works are cuter and smell amazing!
  6. Who has time to retouch makeup when we’re having fun? Ain’t no one got time for that!!  Especially me. Lip balm and oil blotting sheets are all I need!  Right now I am carrying the BH Cosmetics oil blotting sheets.  They are compact, affordable, and it does the job I need it to do.  You really can’t go wrong!
  7. Phone/Camera for those memorable pictures!
  8. A refillable water bottle.  You will end up saving so much money!
  9. Change- specifically quarters and pennies!  I love hitting up the pressed penny machines for cheap souvenirs.

Alright, that’s it for my theme park essentials.  What do you usually bring with you at on days at theme parks?  I’d love to hear it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Some items received for free for review, all opinions are my own**

 

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Travel Skincare Routine

Happy Labor Day!  I can’t believe it is already September.  Summer has definitely been flying by.  My family and I have been taking advantage of our summer together, by making little road trips here and there.  We do travel often, and I have learned that I like to pack as little as I can.  Through trial and error, I have found some amazing products that not only work, but are great for on the go.

UntitledYES TO TRAVEL FACE WIPES- $2.99         These are not really  a new discovery, but it is a travel essential for me.  I absolutely love Yes To products for everyday use.  I use them at home and on the go.  You can get bulk versions or travel sizes.  If you do not want to spend the extra money to buy the travel sizes, you can always take what you need from your normal packs and put them into a zip lock baggy.. Ta-Da–DIY travel makeup wipes.

My first discovery is a product from H2O+ Beauty. I’ve heard of this brand before, but have never really used the products before until now.  The products that I have had the opportunity to try have been pretty great.

raw-12ELEMENTS ON THE MOVE CLEANSING STICK– $28.00

This clever cleanser is a life saver.  It not only saves space, but is also saves cleansing time- at least to me.  In my pretty little head, I like to think that this product is cutting my cleansing time in half, but in reality it isn’t, because I still take a good minute to cleanse.  It does eliminate the prep time.  The design threw me off at off, because it looks like a deodorant- right?  Because of this design, it makes application/cleanser super easy.    All you do is wet your face, apply the cleansing stick in circular motion until it lathers- rinse your face and the stick..and you are done!  Simple enough.  The smell is nice and refreshing, if any of you were wondering.  I also love that the cleansing stick is infused with pearl extract and coconut oil.  Pearl extract and coconut oil are known to rejuvenate dry skin.  Which we all know I have!   As you can tell, I obviously love this product.  Not only for travel, but everyday use.  Especially, if you are too tired to do your entire routine.  At least wash you face! Perfect for the busy mom or busy women on the go!

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OASIS ULTRA HYDRATING CREAM- $42.00

This product is not overly bulky for travel.  It fits really well in my travel makeup bag; where I keep my all my hygiene, skincare, and makeup for my trips.  I have never tried a gel based moisturizer before, but it made me my skin feel really rejuvenated.  Since it’s still summertime, this moisturizer feels great to put on during a hot day.  Also, very perfect for dry skin, and it adds a bit of a glow.

Product Overview:This rapidly absorbing gel is the perfect combo of rapidly-absorbing and long-lasting. The innovative formula, with Sea Grass and Water Lily extracts, acts as your skin-softening sidekick, giving you a surge of moisture that lasts all day

For me, a minimalist skincare routine has worked best while on the go during my vacations.  My family and I tend to over plan our vacations, because we want to see and do everything.  The extra few minutes help!  Do you do a full skincare routine while on vacation or do you have minimized version?  I’d love to hear your favorite skincare products and routine.

jacki

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Travel Diary- Wild Life Safari, Winston OR

Hi loves!  I hope you all have had an amazing week so far.  Now that all of our summer travels have concluded, I can finally get back on my regular schedule.  Whatever that schedule is, lol.   If you keep up with me on social media, you know that my family and I made a trip down to the Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon.  It was a three and half hour drive to the safari.  I honestly don’t know why we never made it out sooner.  It was so worth the commute and more.

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Wildlife Safari was built in 1972 by Frank Hart.  Frank wanted to build a place in the Pacific Northwest that would help endangered animals.  In 1986, Wildlife Safari became accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Seasons & Hours:

OPEN 363 DAYS PER YEAR!

November 8- March 12

Drive-Thru, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

(Last vehicle admitted at 4:00p.m.)

Village & Gift Shop

10:00a.m. to 4:00p.m.

Closed Thanksgiving & Christmas

March 13- November 7

Drive-Thru, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

(Last vehicle admitted at 5:00p.m.)

Village & Gift Shop March 13- September 1

9:00a.m. to 6:00p.m.

Village & Gift Shop September 2- November 2

9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.

**Keep an eye out on GROUPON, Living Social, and Portland Perks for deals**

If you do not plan on doing any of the encounters, and just doing the drive-thru- give yourself a good couple hours.  Also, admission gets you two drive-thru.  In case you miss an animal.  

Wildlife Safari also offers animal encounters.  You have to at least do one of these on your visit.  The experience is well worth it.  The encounters are $15.00 per person, but check out sites like: Groupon for discounts.  They will not offer every encounter, but you can get some pretty cool ones at a discount.  You can find more information on the encounters here.

My family and I chose the following encounters:

Feed the Giraffes

Lions Up Close

Meet the Cheetah

Lions Up close 

The first encounter of the day was the Lions up close.  As a group, you are driven out to where the lions are kept.  Here you get an up close look at the lions with their trainers.  Trainers provide tidbits about the lions and the pride, as well as the training they go through.  The encounter lasted about 30 minutes.  Totally worth the $15.00 for the encounter.  You do get to see the lions during the drive through, but the view isn’t that great.  Also, depending on the time of day you decide to do the drive through, will determine where the lions will be.  The earlier you go out the better chance you have of seeing of them closer.

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Feed the Giraffe

The giraffe feed is a must do!  You are driven out to where the giraffe’s are.  You are then provided with greens to feed the giraffes.  I would say this encounter took 30 minutes as well.  We got to feed the male and female giraffes on the property.  They seem to just roam around freely.  They will come up to your vehicle, if you’re nearby for an opportunity to get some great shots.  Watch out for those black tongues!

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The vehicle that you take out to the encounter.

As you can see, you get hands on with the giraffes.  The giraffes loved my daughter so much that it attempted to eat her hair, lol.

Meet the Cheetah

With all the animal accidents that have been happening lately, this one was a bit scary to do.  There isn’t a fence keeping the cheetahs from pouncing on you, but they are kept on a leash by the trainer.  They really are just big cats!  In this particular encounters, you get up close and personal- no touching!  But..if you choose, you can get pictures with the cheetah!

Wildlife Safari is also well known for their cheetah breeding program.  Since 1972, 178 cheetahs have been born at the park.  Because of this, this makes Wildlife Safari one of the top breeders in the US.

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Price: $15 per person

4×6 prints of your pictures are available.

$10 for 2 prints and $5 for each additional copy.

Camps & Classes:

Wildlife safari also has some great educational programs.  I was able to meet with two of the program educators and tour the learning facility.  Wildlife safari currently provides junior zookeepers/explorer program, day camps, and an overnight safari adventure camp.  If we didn’t live so far away, I would love to send my daughters to one of the day camps.   The day camps are for ages 4-11, between one to four days a week.  The day camp provides games, crafts, animal encounters, and hands-on activities.

The animals used in for the programs are rescues or animals that used to be pets.  I guess people just didn’t realize how hard it would be to take care of some of these animals, but it’s good to know that they go to amazing places like the Wildlife Safari!

They have a parrot, rabbits, snakes, hedgehog, possum, tortoise, rabbits, ferrets, sugar gliders, and my favorite…the cavy’s!!

How cute, right?  They originate in Patagonia, but somehow they ended up as pets here in Oregon from two different owners.  Again, the owners did not anticipate how much care they needed!

For more information about the day camps or other programs they offer, please click here.

Safari Village

Safari village is the “home base” for the park.  Here you can find guest relations, the cafe, snacks, gift shop, and over 300 animals to view for free throughout the day.

We also did a little jewel/fossil digging….

You can also see the badger in action here through out the day!

Drive-through:

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 The drive through is such a fun experience!  You get to do it from the comfort of your own vehicle or pay for a safari tour.  We did it from our personal vehicle.  We saw everything, but the hippos- who was hiding in his little shelter.

Another fun little thing you get to do on the drive through is the animal feed.  During the Asia stretch, you can pay $5 for a feed cup to feed the animals along the way.

My family and I had an amazing trip!  We are already planning our next visit, because we want to do the other encounters.  There is so much to do at the park to where you could easily make a weekend trip out of it.  I hope you all enjoyed our mini getaway to the park and get a chance to experience it for yourselves!

Wildlife Safari is a non-profit 501 [c] [3] organization operation solely on gate admissions, donations and grants, receiving no state or federal tax funding.  Please consider joining us in our mission to support wildlife.  You can donate here.

**Tickets provided for free for review, all opinions are honest and my own**

 

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Travel Diary- Virginia Beach Aquarium

13230248_235587890153078_8161040321646689088_nHappy Wednesday! Who is ready for the weekend?  I know I am.  My family and I will be taking a mini road trip up to Washington, but…let’s talk about our last activity in Virginia Beach.  We decided to visit the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.  We went to this activity with some family friends.  They told us that the aquarium was a really cool place to visit.

 

The aquarium offers a play area for your little, animals, exhibits, boat trips, adventure park, and more.

The deets

hours:  9-5

Admission Prices

ADULT
(ages 12+)
CHILD
(ages 3-11)
SENIOR
(ages 62+)
COMBO TICKET
AQUARIUM & MOVIE $28 $21 $26
Aquarium $22 $15 $20
Boat $20 $15 $20
Movie $8 $8 $8

You can purchase tickets and download a map here.

Meet A Live Animal

Marsh Pavilion 10-10:20 11:30-11:50 12-12:20 3:30-3:50
Conservation Station Check the Program Board upon arrival for times.
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Family Selfie

We spent a majority of the time checking out all the fishes, reptiles, and a quail.

They also had tons of photo opportunities for you and your guests.

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Our oldest ruined the shot with the peace sign, lol

We spent a lot of time at the tide pool areas.  My “children”, pictured above, were trying really hard to touch one of the sting rays.

In a secondary building you will see sea otters and some other animals, but on the way there you get to see the outdoor marshes and the adventure park.

We didn’t really have time to do the adventure park, but it is on our list for next time.  The obstacle courses looked great for younger kids and adults.  From what I saw, they can start you out as a beginner or advanced for the climb.

Adventure Park General Admission Prices

3-Hour Tickets

Book your climb and reserve your start time online here.

Ages 12+: $55
Ages 7–11: $47
Ages 5 & 6: One free with paying adult [18+]

If you get a chance, definitely check out the Virginia Aquarium and the Adventure Park.  If you have been there already, I would love to hear about your experience!

jacki

 

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Travel Diary- Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Happy Monday! If you couldn’t tell, we are still working on getting caught up on our posts from when our website had the site issue. Playing catch up is difficult!

If you have read my earlier travel diaries, we took a mini road from Washington D.C to Virginia Beach to visit my in-laws.  The last time we saw them was over five years ago, it was definitely time.  We are theme park junkies, and one theme park we have never been to was Busch Gardens.  We decided to check out Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Our plan was to arrive early to beat the lines, but GPS actually directed us to the employee parking lot.  Do not off of the address straight from the Google page.  We were finally redirected to the park parking lots, but not after waiting in line for a good hour and half.  Busch Gardens did compensate for the wait by giving us free parking.

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Another difficulty we met was with our tickets.  Some tickets were bought from Groupon, because they were running a special.  We were told to redeem at the kiosk, if we didn’t want to wait in line- this was with all the other Groupon purchasers.  After a good 15 minutes of trying to enter voucher codes into these machines, we gave up.  I decided to ask a park employee.  All we had to do was bring it up to the gate.  This was literally my face -_-.  At the time, this situations are frustrating as heck, but they make great stories and memories, lol.

One thing I love about the amusement parks out here are the fact they measure our smaller kids and give a list of all the rides they are able to ride.  I think this helped a lot with my little one.  She is a thrill seeker and loves coasters.  Usually, we have to go up to a ride to find out if she can ride it or not.  If not, then the disappointment kicked in.  I think by knowing ahead of time what rides she could and could not go on, we could just avoid them all together.   My daughter is only 8 years and pretty short, but she was able to go on a lot of roller coasters.

We loved that the park incorporated different countries through out the park.  We had check out everything in England, France, and Germany.  Also, the food was pretty good.  You can find eateries that are dedicated to the country they are located in.  Lunch was amazing!  I am sad that I didn’t get any pictures, but it was really dark in the area we ate because of the show in Das Festhaus .  Dessert in France was pretty good!

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Josephine’s Creamery de Chocolat– They feature chocolate sauce made with Ghirardelli® chocolate!  To Die for!  While eating your yummy dessert, you can sit outside of Josephine’s and watch the riders on the Alpengeist.

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Alpengeist – Inverted Roller Coaster

This is probably the best ride at the park! Runner up would be the Verbolten! This ride does have a height requirement.  My little was not able to ride it, but she was holding out for her top choices!

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Loch Ness Monster

This is a must have ride for the entire family.  If the height requirements apply!

The cool thing about this Busch Gardens, is that they had a bit of everything.  They have the thrill rides for the roll coaster junkies in your group; KIDsiderate attractions for the little’s; Water country USA, for the water park goers; and for the animal lover- an animal area with eagles, parrots, horses, and wolves.

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We didn’t see much of the animals, because we were on a mission to get in all the coasters we wanted to ride.  However, we were able to get some great shots of the Bald Eagle.

If you’re visiting the area, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a must do!  My family and I really enjoyed our time here.  We actually wish we would have had another day to see more of the park.  There’s always next time!

Jacki

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Travel Diary- DC to VA

dc2va

Hi loves!  Back today with another travel blurb from my Washington D.C./Virginia vacation.  We decided to drive to Virginia Beach for the remainder of our vacation, but before leaving we wanted to hit up a few of the monuments we were not able to visit.

One of the monuments we wanted to see was the George Mason memorial.  To be completely honest, I didn’t know who he was until this visit.  For those of you who do not know who he was or what he did.  Here is a little history lesson for you!

George Mason was the author of the Virginia Declaration of Independence.  He was also inspiration to Thomas Jefferson on the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.  Mason was also known for withholding his signature on the United States Constitution, because it did not eliminate slavery and offered no protection from the federal government, in case they became free.


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This memorial was a little sad to see.  The grounds around it were unkempt, garbage everywhere, lawn was overgrown, and the fountain on the grounds was pretty disgusting.  I hope that since my visit, the grounds have been taken care of.

Thomas Jefferson memorial

 

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Vietnam Veterans war memorial

This memorial kind of brought tears to my eyes! So sad to see all the names of the lives lost during this war.

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Last but not least some shots in full tourist mode!

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On our way to see the Capitol State building
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We had to stop at some of the souvenir carts to grab some gear! My fiance and kids in full tourist mode

**Souvenir tip**
Screenshot_2016-07-13-12-12-37Pressed pennies are a cheap and inexpensive souvenir!  You can find press penny locations here.

I hope you enjoyed seeing our last day in D.C.!  We definitely didn’t get to see everything we wanted to see, but there is always next time 🙂

Jacki

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