The final space shuttle mission continues ahead of schedule this week, as the crew of Atlantis make their temporary home in space inside the International Space Station.
Last week we had the pleasure of traveling down to Paradise Island in the Bahamas to check out the grand opening of the Atlantis Resort's new kids club courtesy of JetBlue, Atlantis and LEGO. During our stay, we explored the resort's heart-pumping water park, tested out some of the latest technology, toured aquariums, and swam with the dolphins. Check out the highlights here!
It's better in the Bahamas! As we hunker down for six more weeks of Winter, a Caribbean getaway sounds like heaven. Many island hotels are offering last-minute deals to escape from the cold, but how do you know if one is right for your family? As guests of Atlantis, JetBlue, and LEGO, we got an inside look at what the resort is doing to accommodate families.
A beautiful and expansive resort, Atlantis is situated on picturesque Paradise Island, a 40-minute drive from the Nassau airport. With four distinctive rooming options, we were situated in the Royal Towers, the resort’s original accommodations, where a standard room with two double beds provided plenty of space (and gorgeous views) to spread out and relax. While I would have loved to stay in the more luxurious and hip Cove area, it has a strict "no children" policy, which is probably best given its outdoor bars and gambling.
Atlantis’s water park, Aquaventure, has 141 acres of water slides, lazy rivers, pools, and sprinklers that are second to none. Three of the resort’s 11 pools are designed specifically for kids, with zero-barrier entries, in-pool jungle gyms, and ample lifeguards. Most of the park’s 18 water slides are for kids over 48 inches, though there are a handful created with lil ones in mind (you wouldn’t want your little ones on the bigger slides — trust me!). But if your tyke is anything like mine (and the dozens of others I observed), the rapid river ride, The Current, is perfect.
To hear about our favorite parts of the resort, as well as the low points, read more
A Bahamian adventure wouldn't be complete without a taste of the local cuisine. During our trip down to the Bahamas, courtesy of Atlantis, JetBlue and LEGO, we headed into the AKA Culinary Adventure ready to cook up some local conch, or something tropical. Unfortunately, the class chefs had something a bit sweeter in mind, but we still walked away with a souvenir taste of the resort.
Housed in a state-of-the-art kitchen inside the Atlantis Kids Adventure, the Culinary Adventure offers kids 6-12 years old the opportunity to work with the resort's own chefs to cook up crowd-pleasing dishes. During our class, the chefs first demonstrated the melting properties of sugar to create a candy seascape. The students were then invited to participate in creating chocolate versions of the candy art. Showing the kids some fun tricks of the trade (by pouring melted chocolate over a cup filled with ice you can create a piece of chocolate coral) we were able to make a masterpiece of our own. Future classes ($45 for two hours and $65 for three) will work with chefs from the various restaurants at the resort, creating the meatballs from the Italian restaurant and wontons from the Asian one.
My child was a bit too young to fully appreciate (and sit quietly) through the demonstration portion of the class, but it did give me an opportunity to check out all of the cool and colorful cooking utensils the instructors had on hand, some of which I came home and ordered!
The Bahamas is a place where families go to get away, but it's also cool to stay connected. When Atlantis, JetBlue and LEGO invited us to be their guest at the resort, we were surprised by all of the new gizmos in their kids club.
As we mentioned, the club is for kids only and parents aren’t allowed past the check-in counter. Each lil vacationer is given a GPS-enabled wristband that is worn throughout their stay and allows the staff to easily locate children when their parents come to pick them up, and when they leave the AKA site for group outings.
The Performance Room’s interactive projected floor games (dodge ball, fish catching, soccer goalie, etc.) and iWall games will keep even the youngest visitors on their toes, but it was the Arts and Crafts Room’s iTables and iWall that had us hooked. Much like an iPhone, the tables are loaded with apps for various age groups. The scribble-like app allows kids to color in Caribbean-themed coloring pages, the "fish tanks" are filled with virtual fish that scurry away when a lil hand touches them and the Whac-A-Mole-like Sea Scoop game teaches older kids about water conservation as they clean up the garbage-littered beach. The “create your own treasure map” game (which can be printed out) was a clear winner in my 3-year-old's book.
To read more about the technology at the resort and see photos, read more
Have kids, will play! We recently spent some time down in the Bahamas courtesy of Atlantis, JetBlue and LEGO. The main purpose of our trip was to attend the grand opening of the resort’s Atlantis Kids Adventures (AKA). Nestled between the pristine beaches, inviting waterslides and attractive aquariums, the 8,000 square foot kid space is nothing short of a wonderland for 3-12 year olds. The kids only club (no parents are allowed beyond the check-in counter) blends traditional camp activities like arts and crafts and dodge ball with state-of-the art technology, in a modern space that has something for everyone. Staffed by an energetic team, the AKA allows visitors to pick their own guided “adventure” during their stay.
AKA’s youngest club-goers (all lil ones must be potty trained), will love the Imagination Station’s fully-stocked grocery store and life-sized Victorian dollhouse. Its Wizardology reading room is filled with adorable pods for kids to cozy up with a favorite book, while a talking tree "reads" books aloud. There is also a performance room with a dress up area (complete with photographers that snap pictures to show off to mom and dad later) and interactive projected floor games (dodge ball, fish catching, soccer goalie, etc.) and an arts and crafts room where tots can complete both digital and live projects.
It might be hard trying to pry your older child's hands off of all of the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers that line the Game Room. Mac stations fill the Computer Room allowing kids to safely browse the web and compete in online games against other club-goers. And the Arts and Crafts Room is filled with projects specifically designed for the more mature crowd.
To see where the club could use some improvements and how much it will cost you, read more
Pack those bags and don't look back! Last week we had the pleasure of traveling down to Paradise Island in the Bahamas to check out the grand opening of the Atlantis Resort's new kids club courtesy of JetBlue, Atlantis and LEGO. All week we will be reporting back on what we saw and how it might be suitable for your family. Today, we start with our trip down to the island resort and a few things to consider when booking a flight with tots in tow. Airline travel is not what it used to be, so seeking out an airline that caters to the littlest travelers in your group will make the flight that much more enjoyable for everybody. Here are our five tips for choosing such an airline.