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TRAVEL SLEUTH - MEMORABLE BONDING EXPERIENCES
 
(2014 - Spring Issue)

Writer: JANE STOKES



If your family is unconventional, the ideal Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift might be an age-appropriate getaway with just your prince or princess.

When planning your getaway, ask yourself a few questions. What do you and your child have in common? What special interests would you like to develop together? What destinations might help a father better relate to his offspring? Where would a child have the most fun with mother?

The answers obviously differ from personality to personality—and, generally, boys and girls like many of the same things. Here are a few ideas to get you started. 

Mother and Child Reunions

Rock in Punta Cana: Watch your child’s eyes light up with the news that you will soon be vacationing together at the Hard Rock Hotel on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic. Yes, indeed, at this resort the music-themed atmosphere is designed to treat you like a rock star. There are several swimming pools here, for instance, and parents and kids are invited to enjoy the all-day water sports activities on the beach. Your offspring may want to join other kids for a program of fun that includes mini golf, arcade games and scaling the five-metre climbing wall. While he or she is occupied, Mom can hit the spa for a lavish body treatment. After sunset and a tantalizing meal, take in the sensational nightlife with live music performers, themed parties and entertaining shows. And if you are both over 18, continue to rock the night away in the grand Oro Nightclub with its signature lighting, surround-sound, and a hypnotic two-storey wall consisting of 300 individual LED screens, plus the never-ending optics of an infinity-edge bar. hardrockhotelpuntacana.com

Motor to Myrtle Beach: Just a two-day drive from Central and Eastern Canada, this South Carolina magnet promises 60 coastline miles of swimming, surfing, boating, frisbee and volleyball for starters. During March Break alone, Myrtle Beach attracts countless new friends for your child as more than a million visitors flock to the hotels, beach homes, rustic cabins and campgrounds. Golf together on more than 100 acclaimed courses; ride high on the biggest Ferris wheel on the entire east coast; plan some thought-provoking activities at Ripley’s Aquarium, Pirates Voyage, Medieval Times and at the upside-down house called WonderWorks. Take in a Myrtle Beach Pelicans baseball game and, if an occasional shopping spree is Mom’s thing, Myrtle Beach delivers more major stores and malls than any neighbouring locales. VisitMyrtleBeach.com

Showtime at the Shaw: Plan the perfect  getaway filled with theatre, dining, wine-tasting and delightful shopping. From early April through October in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, the annual Shaw Festival is a grand tribute to the era of playwright, Bernard Shaw. This year’s lineup includes The Philandererand Arms and the Man, with several additional shows such as Cabaret and The Philadelphia Story. This is also vineyard country, which gives you dozens of additional options for wining and dining. Go jet-boating, art hunting or play the oldest golf course in North America. And since a visit here is a step back to Victorian times, walk or cycle along shady streets and laneways of chimney-pot cottages where vibrant roses spill over front-garden walls. All along Queen Street, countless pubs, bakeries and sweet shops give you the needed energy to keep on shopping for fine bone china, tartan kilts, cashmere cardigans and coats. And if you’ve never experienced bed-and-breakfast hospitality, this is the place to try it with more than 125 properties represented by the Niagara-on-the-Lake Bed & Breakfast Association. shawfest.com; niagarabedandbreakfasts.com

Experience Paris lights:The singular allure of Paris is defined by emotion. Right away visitors are swept up by the city’s pretty setting on the banks of the river Seine. People stroll night and day motivated by the elegance of its art, music, gardens, architecture, historic sites and medieval villages—and are equally galvanized by the book shops, cafés, fine dining or simply by a riverside picnic basket filled with bread, cheese and wine. Paris has long been a meeting place for poets, philosophers, painters, filmmakers, famous designers and world-renowned chefs, so with emotion filling the air, this experience can be just as rewarding for a parent-and-child getaway as it is for romantic couples. en.parisinfo.com

Time Off With Dad

Get Away to the Bahamas: Many say they always dream about a trip to the mega-sized Atlantis resort in Nassau. This one all-inclusive property delivers a sea of aquatic adventures complete with 20 swimming areas, plus the world’s largest open-air marine habitat, and a 57-hectare water park with both extreme slides and a lazy river ride. The Atlantis resort playground also includes a state-of-the-art climbing centre and a dolphin interaction program. Nearby in the crystal blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, there are opportunities to charter a boat to try your luck at catching sailfish, swordfish, shark, tuna, grouper and more. For accommodation especially suited to families, book either The Reef Atlantis or the Harborside Resort, where your child is sure to meet like-minded pals night and day. atlantis.com

Zip Across Costa Rica: This Central American haven is known for its peaceful history, energized culture, tourism hospitality, as well as its tropical wildlife and 10,000 different species of exotic plants and trees. Costa Rica is also the birthplace of zip lining. If you and your child are into thrills and chills, sign yourselves up, don your helmets and take a 15-minute lesson. Yes, indeed, from a hilltop ledge strap yourself into a harness that dangles from a 900-metre cable, dare to look down at the forest, canyons, cliffs and waterfalls. Then let go to zip across the dense jungle for a kilometre or so, finally landing on another remote ledge to wait for your offspring before proceeding to the next much longer, much higher cable. Stay at the Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo (gateway Liberia), where you share this luxurious 18-hectare property with resident howler monkeys, rare sea turtles and exotic birds as you surf, snorkel, sea kayak, golf, hike, horseback ride or simply relax by one of three shimmering pools. visitcostarica.com

Ride horseback Along the California Mendocino Coast: Specializing in horseback riding vacations in many parts of the world, tour operator Far & Ride Horse Riding Holidays teams you up with a qualified guide for a canter along the deserted Ten Mile Beach through vast cattle ranches and into the towering redwood forests. Novice to advanced riders are welcome. The remarkable redwood ecosystem is also ideal for hiking, photography and nature walks. Kayak on the rivers, cycle along trails, visit galleries, taste authentic California cuisine and fine wines. Then, every evening, relax in this sweet spot to enjoy the performing arts. Accommodation for six nights is arranged at the Hill House Inn Mendocino, known for its sweeping views of the Pacific coastline, spa treatments and massages, and fresh cuisine featured daily, especially in your picnic lunch. farandride.com

Escape to Wonderland:Just north of Toronto, walk through the gates of the three-season theme park, Canada’s Wonderland, and let your imagination guide the way in a fantasyland of family fun. Individual tickets or a season pass gives you a wondrous break from routine and brings magic to children ranging in age from toddlers to teens. Together you are treated to more than 200 attractions and 69 rides including 16 white-knuckle roller coasters plus an eight-hectare water park called Splash Works. Little ones quickly flock to Planet Snoopy to meet their favourite character and become pals with Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang and fly, whirl and swoop in their very own wonderland of thrill rides. It might be different at Dinosaurs Alive, however. Dad’s hand may be needed much more by his little princess or prince as you stroll together among 40 life-sized Jurassic-age creatures, many of which flourished in Canada some 200 million years ago. canadaswonderland.com

 
 
 
 
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