New Orleans Zoo 0116New Orleans CVB

By Merle Rosenstein

After a cold Canadian winter, families long to soak up some sun and get busy on the beach. Here are six super spring break suggestions that families will warm up to.

Family Fun Cajun-Style
New Orleans’ Audubon Nature Institute will please even the pickiest little traveller, with 10 museums and parks including a zoo, aquarium, insectarium, IMAX theatre, park and golf course. At the Audubon Zoo, exotic animals, a water park and a dinosaur adventure keep kids fully occupied. The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas houses sharks, penguins and exotic birds. At the Audubon Insectarium, creepy crawlers and edible insects take centre stage.

At the Louisiana Children’s Museum kids can explore hands-on fun, engaging exhibits and exciting programs – all designed with curious kids (and grown-ups) in mind. Pilot a towboat down the Mighty Mississippi. Shop until you drop in a pint-size Winn-Dixie grocery store. Dine in a five-star, role-play café. Ride a bike with Mr. Bones. Trap your shadow. Stand inside a gigantic bubble. Even little ones have a special space to climb, crawl, hide and explore.

Visit the Louisiana bayou for a wild time on a swamp tour – where local fauna lurk, and alligators, turtles, fish and birds congregate in thick marsh reeds and moss-laden Cypress trunks.

Or head to Mayan ruins-themed Adventure Quest Laser Tag for an arcade, bumper cars and miniature golf.
See the sights aboard vintage streetcars or take a slow ride down the Mississippi on the Steamboat Natchez where kids can visit the steam engine room and listen to melodies from the authentic steam-powered calliope.
For more information visit

talking stick resort tsr_0711Talking Stick Resort
Families Deserve A Little TSR
In the midst of the Sonoran Desert in Scottsdale, Talking Stick Resort offers luxury accommodation with contemporary styling that captures the flavour of Scottsdale and the Southwest. Casino Arizona at Talking Stick Resort takes gaming to a new level with more than 700 multi-dimensional play slots, a non-smoking Poker Room with 47 tables and table games including Blackjack, Casino War, 3-Card Poker, Pai Gow Poker and Let it Ride. The Keno lounge has ongoing promotions and an aggregate payout of $250,000.

Families can kick back at 18 private cabanas complete with 32-inch LCD Hi-Definition television, a personal cabana attendant and complimentary wireless and high-speed internet access. Pool parties include great drink specials as well as music from well-known DJs. The poolside grill, with seating for 30, specializes in handcrafted sandwiches, fresh salads and light appetizers. The cultural centre features native pottery, jewelry and a talking stick, a custom piece from which the hotel gets its name. The art displayed in the cultural centre reflects the Pima and Maricopa ancestry that now forms the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

OUT1582.tucsonTucson CVB
A Natural Choice For Families
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson combines the fun of a zoo with the educational value of a museum and the natural beauty of a garden. Kids can commune with mountain lions, prairie dogs (including some new pups), and Gila monsters. Find more outdoor fun at Reid Park Zoo, Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Kartchner Caverns State Park, and children’s gardens at Tucson Botanical Gardens and Tohono Chul Park.

At the Children’s Museum of Tucson, kids can generate and conserve energy, pretend to be a veterinarian and take vital signs or climb into a fire truck and learn about fire safety.

Families can take part in nightly stargazing at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The Observatory has the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes and is home to 24 optical and two radio telescopes representing dozens of astronomical research institutions.

Valley of the Moon, a fantasy park for children and families was founded in 1926 by George Phar Legler. Kids can explore the enchanted gardens, winding paths, stone fairy houses, tunnels, secret grottos and the Eerie Tower.
For more information visit

OceanResorts300_9462Oceana Resorts
A Memorable Family Vacation Destination
At Oceana Resorts in Myrtle Beach kids can let loose in the sand, float down lazy river pools, pamper their pets, and, most importantly, just relax. Six fabulous hotels in Myrtle Beach including The Anderson Ocean Club and Spa, a luxury destination, are close to dining, shopping and entertainment along the Grand Strand. The Awakening Spa at The Anderson Ocean Club and Spa pampers parents with deep tissue massage, facials and manicures/pedicures. Oceana Resorts offers accommodation to suit all budgets from traditional hotel rooms to fully outfitted suites; ocean-view or ocean-front; standard hotel rooms or luxury deluxe. Families can pick up groceries along the way and prepare meals in a fully functioning kitchen.

Myrtle Beach, called the “Golf Capital of the World” boasts over 100 golf courses and golfers can choose from a variety of special golf packages. The Winter Golf Special starts at US $97 per person and includes three nights of value accommodation at the Atlantic Breeze Ocean Resort, three rounds of golf, deluxe breakfast and lunch daily and two beers at the course. Applicable dates are  November 29 to February 15, 2012.

March 2012 is the 51st Anniversary of the annual Canadian-American Days Festival started by the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce. During this Festival, Myrtle Beach hotels roll out the red carpet for thousands of Canadians with special rates and packages for families.

For more information visit

tradewindsresortsB-teenGBeachTradeWinds Island Grand
The Perfect Family Beach Adventure
When thinking of a perfect place to get everyone together for a beach vacation, think TradeWinds Island Grand on St Pete Beach, Florida.

From parasailing to stand-up paddleboards, there are plenty of adventures for all ages. A Marine Bio-Camp Excursion departs from the beach for a boat ride to Shell Key Preserve – a sanctuary for nesting, wintering and migrating birds. The program is supervised for kids 4 to 11, but teens and adults are welcome to tag along.

TradeWinds Island Grand has just completed a multi-million dollar renovation of all guest rooms. From convenient hotel rooms to multi-bedroom suites that sleep up to 10, all include a microwave, toaster, coffee maker and refrigerator.

The TradeWinds Family Adventure Package is commissionable and offers an exceptional value and includes passes for the High Tide Slide, $100 towards activity programs and crafts, the Gourmet Card for 20-per cent savings on all resort food and beverage, plus daily beach cabana, fitness centre use, self parking, Wi-Fi, tennis and paddleboats.


Lobby LibraryThe Postcard Inn
The Great American Escape
Two years ago the 1950s-era Postcard Inn on St Pete Beach, Florida was remade to create a hip, cool, vibe, transporting guests back to a time when words like ‘groovy’ and ‘dude’ were commonly used. Today it’s considered one of the top 10 Retro Beach Resorts in America with its unique surfer soul. There are boards in all of the custom-designed rooms, and the popular pool cabanas boast their own yards complete with hammocks.

There are no resort or parking fees; Wi-Fi is free; and pets are welcome. Now families can also stay groovy in the Florida Keys with the opening of the second Postcard Inn at Holiday Isle on Islamorada. The Keys location is perfect for fishing and boating.

For more information visit