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US: Wilmington, DE – Lush Brandywine Valley Cycling Grand Prix and Street Fair

Named among the Top 10 criterium bike races in the country by USA Cycling, the Wilmington Grand Prix will celebrate its 11th anniversary May 19-21, 2017. Grand Prix - Closeup-Men's Pro WGP 2014-9577

This international cycling event includes a free six-block street festival, a parade, a bucket-list recreational ride through a dozen world-class cultural attractions, sidewalk cafes, live music, demonstrations and a variety of free family rides and attractions.

The action starts Friday night (May 19) with the Monkey Hill Time Trial, a 3.2-mile race against the clock through Wilmington’s Brandywine Park. Saturday (May 20) will feature two amateur races in the morning, culminating with the Women’s Pro and Men’s Pro races in the afternoon. Sunday (May 21) will see the return of the Seventh Annual Governor’s Ride and the Sixth Annual Delaware Gran Fondo. Last year’s Gran Fondo attracted cyclists from 15 states and three countries by offering them a scenic tour through the Brandywine Valley and some of Delaware’s most-prized cultural attractions. Grand Prix -Men's Pro WGP 2014-9556

You do not have to be a cycling fan to enjoy Downtown Wilmington’s largest outdoor event. Visit website for more information and schedule. Enjoy lunch and watch the races with a table right on the course. This event is held rain or shine.

Location: Downtown Wilmington, 818 Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801
Dates: May 19-21, 2017
Hours: May 19 – 5 pm—8 pm, May 20 – 11 am —5 pm, May 21 – 8 am —5 pm
Tel: 302-655-6483
wilmgrandprix.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitwilmingtonde.com

US: Palm Beach FL – Celebrate Easter in Style at The Flagler Museum’s Egg Hunt

Imagine an Easter Egg Hunt on the grounds of the glorious Flagler Museum…The Gilded Age estate was a 55-room winter retreat built in 1907 as a wedding present for Henry Flagler’s 3rd wife Mary Lily Kenan Flagler. Today, Whitehall is a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public as the Flagler Museum, featuring guided tours, changing exhibits, and special programs.

Children are invited to hunt for more than 8,000 eggs on the Museum’s Lawn and in the Cocoanut Grove. The Museum grounds will be sectioned off into age-appropriate areas so everyone, including toddlers, will have an opportunity to participate.

When the Museum gates open at 9am  children  will be visited by the Easter Bunny. Don’t forget your camera as this is a great photo-op with the Bunny and the grandeur of the museum as a backdrop. There will be an Easter Craft Activity Table, where children can engage in Easter-themed art projects, face painting, balloon sculptures, and play a game of Bean Bag Toss.

The egg hunt begins promptly at 10am. The Easter Egg Hunt for children age four and under will be held on the Southeast Lawn with 3,500 hidden eggs. For kids ages five and older the Hunt is in the Cocoanut Grove with 4,500 hidden eggs.  Look for the golden egg to win a special prize.flagler-museum-easter-egg-hunt

To purchase tickets: flaglermuseum.us/programs/easter-egg-hunt

Photo Courtesy of: © Flagler Museum

Location: Flagler Museum, One Whitehall Way, Palm Beach, FL 33480
Date: Sat, April 15, 2017
Time: Gates open at 9am.The egg hunt begins at 10am
Tel: 561-655-2833
flaglermuseum.us
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: thepalmbeaches.com

US: Palm Beach, FL – Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Flagler Museum

The Flagler Museum invites you to tumble down the rabbit hole and enjoy all the splendor of their “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”.Flagler's Mad Hatter Tea Party

Families are invited to come dressed for Tea on Saturday, March 11th, 2017 at the enchanting ambiance of the Flagler Museum. The morning will commence at 10am with parents and children creating their own festive bonnets and top hats.

Sporting their fashionable masterpieces, parents and children will then be entertained by a  story from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and learn proper table etiquette from the Mad Hatter.

The ending is as divine as the start,  culminating with a Gilded Age style tea lunch in the Museum’s Café des Beaux-Arts, designed in the style of a nineteenth-century Beaux Arts railway palace. Families will be delighted with an assortment complete with dainty tea sandwiches, traditional scones, and sweets.Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Space is limited, advance purchase is required. To Buy Tickets: flaglermuseum.us/museum-store/mad-hatter-tea-party

For those of you unable to make this charming event, fortunate for you that the Flagler Museum offers an afternoon tea each day, which features an array of delicacies and refreshments reminiscent of the elegance of entertaining during the Gilded Age. Don’t miss the chance to treat yourself to a a selection of gourmet tea sandwiches, traditional scones, and sweets complemented by the Flagler Museum’s own Whitehall Special Blend™ tea, and served on exquisite Whitehall Collection™ china. Hours: 11:30 – 2:30pm Tues – Sat, 12 – 3 pm on Sun

Photo Courtesy of: © Flagler Museum

Location: One Whitehall Way, Palm Beach, FL 33480
Date: Sat., March 11, 2017
Time: 10am
Tel: 561- 655-2833
flaglermuseum.us
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: thepalmbeaches.com

US: Perryville, MD – Try Your Luck in Perryville

If you like to dip your toes into casino waters, head to the Hollywood Casino Perryville, the first gaming facility to open in the state of Maryland. Smaller in size, not too noisy  and a friendly atmosphere makes for a pleasurable experience.

With over 850 slots, there is a good mix of classic favorites and some of the newest technology. including the Ellen (Degeneres) video slot machine. There are also 20 tables highlighting classic casino games. They also offer off-track betting.

If you’re like us and prefer to do a little shopping instead of trying your luck, step inside the Rodeo Drive Gift Shop for a good selection of Maryland souvenirs, collectibles from Hollywood’s classic movies , unique gifts and souvenir Hollywood Casino items.

As for eats, the Celebrity Bar and Grill, casual dining venue, features a variety of entrees each with its own special flair. Celebrity Bar and Grill offers FREE live entertainment every Saturday night and weekly trivia contests and karaoke nights.

Guests must be 21 Years or older to enter the Casino, restaurants and shops.

Location: Hollywood Casino, 1201 Chesapeake Overlook Pkwy, Perryville, MD 21903
Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Tel: 410-378-8500
hollywoodcasinoperryville.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: seececil.org

US: Portland, ME – Take in the Beauty of Autumn With a Ride Aboard the Pumpkin Train

Autumn is a beautiful time of year on the coast of Maine. Enjoy the season with a visit to the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum and a ride aboard the Pumpkin Train.

Children can explore the museum , which offers a children’s play area with train tables, coloring activities, dress-up like a conductor, and child-size train station and train to climb in and the featured activity where you can paint a miniature pumpkin to bring home as a souvenir to commemorate the day.

All visitors are treated to complimentary hot cider and cookies as they travel along Portland’s waterfront. The train ride lasts approximately 40 minutes and travels 1.5 miles (3 miles round trip).  Train crew and/or museum docents are  aboard with historical and site information and providing a narrative throughout the ride. Both open air cars and enclosed cars are available.pumpkin-train-ride

Celebrate the beauty of autumn with a ride aboard the Pumpkin Train. It’s fun for the whole family and even family-friendly pets on a leash are welcome to this leisurely way to enjoy the scenic Eastern Promenade of Casco Bay. Trains operates rain or shine.

Location: Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum,
58 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101
Dates: Oct 22nd & 23rd, Oct 29th & 30th
Time: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm, Trains on the hour 10am-3pm
Tel: 207-828-0814
mainenarrowgauge.org/pumpkin-train
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitportland.com

US: Fayetteville, NC – Human Foosball Tournament Raises Money for Foundation

It’s a game that you rarely think of playing outside a five-by-two foot space. It incorporates skill, concentration and hand-eye coordination. It’s foosball, the tabletop-size game that has a household presence but with an entirely new approach.

The human version of the tabletop classic is remarkably similar to its traditional counterpart, but on a much larger scale. Teams of 6 attach themselves to fixed poles across the field and can only move to the right or left as a team, to move the ball up the field. Teams consist of 2 Forwards, 3 Mid-fielders and 1 Goalie. Watch your favorite table-top game come to life when twenty-four teams  participate in this round robin tournament taking place on the grounds of the Airborne & Special Operations Museum. Human Foosball

Cash prizes are awarded to the top three teams. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase. The tournament raises money for the museum’s nonprofit foundation.

Location: Airborne & Special Operations Museum,100 Bragg Blvd., Fayetteville, NC 28301
Date: Sat, Oct 1,2016
Time: 9 – 5pm
Tel: 910-643-2778
asomf.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitfayettevillenc.com

Canada: Montreal – Just For Laughs Comedy Festival

Why not have loads of belly laughs on your next trip? There are a few ways to cut costs and take in the hysterical Montreal Just for Laughs comedy festival inexpensively. Here’s all the FREE events:

On July  21st, Weird Al Yankovic is doing a free outdoor concert as part of  “The Mandatory World Tour”. The Scène Vidéotron will be presenting various free activites at 7pm every day and shows at 9pm.

The Street Arts Festival has acts performing for free in and around Place des Arts. Starting at 1 pm each day, the colorful Place de la famille le Lait will offer its load of shows and activities including a merry-go-round for kids and all the family

Also for your family entertainment, the Labyrinthe V8 will be open from 6pm during weekdays and from noon during weekends.

Every night from 4pm-3am, the Melting Pot, set on the Esplanade de la Place des Arts, invites party goers to enjoy great music presented by various international DJs.

From July 23rd to July 25th, the Zoofest Festival will take place on the Parterre des artistes. Nicknamed Le Spot, this 3-days outdoor celebration will feature the craziest, funniest and talented emerging artists.

At the Le Mondial des Jeux Loto-Québec set on Maisonneuve Blvd, you can get to play various table games and board games. In the center of the Complexe Desjardins, you are invited to discover and play the latest and the classic video games. Plus, you will have the opportunity to show off your skills in friendly competitions. Kids and grown-ups will also be able to show their talents at the Complexe Desjardins in a drawing contest.

www.hahaha.com
http://mondialdesjeux.com/en/

TICKET DEALS

The best deal by far is the OFF-JFL pass. It costs $49.50 and you get to choose 3 tickets to any of the 100 or so OFF-JFL shows. Also included is that each day from July 22-25, you get an additional free ticket for an OFF-JFL show.

OFF-JFL has a lineup of artists performing at smaller venues where the shows are much more intimate, The lineup this year is absolutely incredible. I really laughed at Ethnic Show headliners Alonzo Bodden, Ahmed Ahmed and Gina Yashere who are on this list.

There are a number of package deals for tickets. There are the tourism packages in which you can stay overnight in a hotel, be right downtown in the midst of all the action, and take in the Gala of your choice starting at only $200 (for 2). There are also multi-show passes available which cuts costs.

Last minute tickets can be purchased at the box office on the corner of Jeanne Mance and Sainte-Catherine.

www.hahaha.com

FOOD

Bouffons! Mtl is a gourmet novelty set on Sainte-Catherine street so festival-goers have the chance to experience a full range of new flavors that will definitely live up to anyone taste buds. Meet chefs, enjoy local products and taste delish dishes from the best food-trucks in the city. The festivities will start at noon every day, inside and outside. For the inside action, look for the Bouffons sign near Clark.

At the Melting Pot on the Esplanade de la Place des Arts, there will be a DJ set every evening and look for the 2 for 1 deal on the burger trio. At Arthur,  during Happy Hour 5-7, you can find 2 for one liquid deals.

www.hahaha.com

 

 

Quebec: Parc Safari is a Good Deal and A Good Deal of Fun

Parc Safari has something for everyone in your family. It is wayyyy beyond a drive around to see exotic animals, though that is an amazing part of the day. The water park, with its three lagoons (one with a waterfall), tube ride, and especially the new sculpturally beautiful splash pad/slide Lagon des dauphins, can be a whole day in itself. This new area offers up 8 water slides and 60 water games.  Here’s a tip: if you go there, keep your eye on the yellow pail of water.

Besides the safari drive, you can walk around three animal areas. We’re talking 500 animals, folks, in about 60 different species: elephant, bison, deer, camel, tiger, lion, water buffalo, yak, zebra, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, wildebeest, eland, black bear, monkeys, etc.  You can find great scrabble words as you come across the oryx, addax, gaur and onager.  Learning about the animals is fascinating:  giraffes only sleep 20 min a day, swan couples mate for life,  zebras are black with white stripes  (finally found that out!) and Shaka the lion is a movie star, having appeared in the film “The Aviator” with Leonardo DiCaprio.

There is no way you cannot be wowed by the lion and tiger clear glass tunnels which you walk through and are separated by a mere 3 cm.  from these beautiful beasts. Have you ever gone eye-to-eye with a giraffe? Well you can do that here too.

A lovely part about Parc Safari is that you hardly have to put your hand in your pocket once you pay to get in ($113.86  for a family of 4, or under $100 with a CAA discount). They allow you to bring your own lunch, and have endless amount of picnic tables in the shade, grass, and even a sandy beach.  The staff in the parc actually give you the food to feed the bears or monkeys, etc.  You can bring your own carrots to feed the safari animals – it’s so much fun to watch as they chew and crunch right in your face.

If you decide to lunch at Parc Safari, besides your burgers, pizza and hot dogs, you can munch chicken burgers, smoked meat, sausages, waffles, fruit smoothies, poutine (mais oui!) and even grab a beer. It costs about $8-$14 for the restaurant meals and $6-$7 in the cafeteria.

For those who like rides, there are still some retro ones that bring huge smiles (and screams) to both young and old. Where else can you spend a day on all the rides you want, as many times as you want for a measly $3 per person? The few extras in the parc are so minimal: a pony ride is only $4, and one on the camel is $6. The tube ride is a mere $2.  If you want to buy a box of animal food, it’s only a tooney.

Especially endearing is the  “custom spray” tilt-a-whirl ride. You do not have to go high tech to make customers happy on a hot day – all you need is a hose. As you get on this ride, a gentleman ask if you would like to get sprayed as you pass him; you can say yes or no, and even ask for a little or a lot. Where else can you select-a-preference-water-factor on a ride?

On a busy day the 45 min safari adventure can take up to 2 hours. This is NOT necessarily a negative. We must learn to slow ourselves down to the pace of nature. If you are inching along, sitting in the comfort of your air-conditioned car, you get to really take the time to watch the animals live and interact.  Babies are being shown what to do by their mommas, bisons are rolling in the dirt to scratch themselves, animals’ chests are rising and falling as they take a siesta, and yes they’re  peeing and pooing too – still a thrill for the kids. You can feed and even touch some of the species as they come up to visit you at your car window.

And we haven’t even gotten to the six stage shows and eight animal feedings or les Filouminous characters who wander around the park giving hugs.  There is so much to do that you can turn this in to a staycation weekend. Look on their site for reasonably priced 1 and 2-day packages, including an overnight in nearby motels or campsites.

Parc Safari is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year so to celebrate they are having a contest with over $8,000 in prizes. You can win a backyard swing set, a safari package, summer camp at the Cosmodome, and gift certificates and passes. You can go online to fill out the form:  www.clikici.ca/ralleye-safari-2012.php

If you haven’t been to Parc Safari since you were a kid, it’s time to go back. The best deal is that if you add $20 to your admission price, you get a season passport.  Divide that all up into many days of fun and it is really pennies to enjoy this entertaining gem right at our doorstep.

Location: 280 Rang Roxham, St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, QC, J0J 1V0
Tel: 450 247-2727
Summer Hours: 10-5 for the safari, 10-7 for the parc  (less hours in Spring and Fall)
www.parcsafari.com