Tag - family-friendly

Code Ninjas – Kids Coding Program

With STEM fields continuing to grow, both parents and children alike are looking for effective and fun ways to join the movement.

As a technology savvy family we love that our girls want to learn more about coding. For Christmas Miss A got a coding robot that she loved figuring out how to make move, spin, and turn. We can see both our girls love for figuring out how things work and that not only includes things they can touch but also things in the computer world. It’s pretty inspiring to see their curiosity.

Entrepreneur David Graham created Code Ninjas for Children ages 7-14 to learn how to code in a fun, non-intimidating way — by playing and building their own video games with peers in a social environment.

In addition to coding, children gain skills in robotics, math, logic, and problem solving. The game-based curriculum and welcoming atmosphere enables kids to have fun, while parents see tangible results.

If coding wasn’t fun enough Code Ninjas is taking it one step further. The program is set up in martial arts style with different belt levels for children to work on, a fun belt color bracelet allows them to check-in for their twice-weekly hour-long sessions.

The Greater Charlotte area is now home to two Code Ninjas locations – Fort Mill, SC and Concord, NC. We had the privilege of visiting the NEW Concord location and meeting with owner Anjali Dighe who is one of the most passionate business owners I have met.

Whether it was finding the perfect school for their son, being part of organizations that encouraged growth and development, or how they are adding personal touches to their Code Ninja programs to bring learning to life, it is very clear that the Dighe family values learning no matter what form it takes.

As they open their doors at the Concord location and prepare to open in Ballantyne, Meyers Park, and Chapel Hill, {for starters} there is one thing that shines through, Anjali’s commitment to excellence.

In speaking with her she was excited about the Code Ninjas program that features Scratch programming, Java Script, Roblox, Python and so much more. Seeing the world with a different set of eyes is very important at this Code Ninjas location and their senseis (the name appropriately given to Code Ninjas instructors) who work with students.

One thing I thought was very fascinating and a great touch to the Code Ninjas program is that in the upper levels students learn how to create, develop, and even market their own apps. Kids are not only learning how to code but so many great life skills; perseverance, consistency, business ethics, creativity, and the list goes on.

We are so excited at the opportunities and love that Code Ninjas is giving the community something different and very valuable in this technologically focused world.

If you haven’t checked out Code Ninjas and live in the North Carolina area request more information or come visit codeninjas.com. If you’re not in North Carolina never fear Code Ninjas are quickly popping up across America as we speak – Locations Near YOU!

 

 

Thanks Code Ninjas Concord for letting us visit and play, we can’t wait to come back again soon.

Family Friendly Holidays in Charlotte

Having lived in Charlotte for 10 years, our family has been able to create memorable holiday traditions. We also love that new activities and creative events that are popping up each year. Here are some of our favorites that we wanted to share with you!

 

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Holidays at the Garden

This destination is one of our favorite must-visit locations during the holidays {and other times of the year too}. If you are looking for a family tradition, Holidays at the Garden is an event where you’ll be able to make memories for years to come.

Children will look forward to filling out their passport when they complete fun holiday-themed games located around the garden and parents will love the beauty of the lights and spending time around a fire with their family.

With light features changing each year everyone in your family is bound to find a favorite, or two. While the stunning lights may be what brings you to Daniel Stowe this time of year, the live music, fairy village, and ambiance of roasting s’mores over the fire will keep you coming back year after year.

There are several food and snack options there are including food trucks, beverage bars, and of course it wouldn’t be the holidays without some amazingly sweet goodies. This year Sproutycakes Bakery greeted us again with a huge array of Christmas yumminess.

{Check them out: Sproutycakes Facebook and tell them we sent you, you can thank us later.}

While you will definitely want to bundle up, DSBG has done a great job of creating warm spaces for your family whether it’s the roaring fire pits, or the warmth and beauty of the Orchid Conservatory.

Additional activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, visit with Mrs. Claus, and Capture the Magic with Santa. *Some pre-registrations and payments required, please check the website for details.

To check out more details or purchase tickets online at a discounted rate for Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens head HERE.

 

Carowinds

WinterFest

WinterFest is an all-new immersive holiday entertainment tradition, opening select evenings through December 30th.

WinterFest transforms the park into a winter wonderland adorned with more that five million holiday lights, a beautiful 70-foot Christmas tree and festive décor displayed throughout the park.

These words and picture alone do not do the park justice, they really went all out and several park goers outside of our party were in awe.

We loved how the park was divided into different themed areas from Charlie Brown’s™ Christmas Town to Jingle Bell Boardwalk, the ever-so-sweet Candy Cane Lane, and who can forget Celebration Plaza where it all kicks off.

WinterFest activities include a nightly tree lighting, live holiday shows and strolling performers, up to 16 family rides, a special holiday menu, a live nativity and 38-animal petting zoo, falling snow, and so much more!

Additional activities include taking a picture with Santa at St. Nick’s Pics*, decorating cookies with Mrs. Claus*, creating take-home keepsakes at Sally Brown’s Christmas Crafts, , skating on Snowflake Lake* and horse-drawn carriage rides*. *The activities listed may require advance ticket purchase or ticket purchase on-site.

The PEANUTS™ gang, and wonderful winter characters are all decked out in Holiday Spirit {except for Scrooge} and the joy is pretty contagious. With the help of some cheerful elves, Miss C and other excited children, wrote a letter to Santa at the North Pole Post Office.

 

Our family loved the singing and dancing featured in Charlie Brown’s™ Christmas Spectacular, and it was a great way to warm up the entire group, not to mention a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. All through the park is festive, live entertainment both indoors and outdoors.

If you’re anything like our coaster-loving family, you’ll want to take advantage of some extra ride time this season. With up to 16 rides, including Afterburn there’s sure to be a ride for family members of every age and thrill level.

Carowinds’ hasn’t forgotten the holiday treats. There are 20 new menu items just for WinterFest, including Turducken burgers, gourmet mac and cheese, gingerbread-eggnog and chocolate-peppermint funnel cakes, and homemade hot chocolate. {Buy your souvenir mug and get free refills on your day of purchase and $1 refills for return visits.}

Who would have thought, shoppers can browse for gifts at WinterFest too. My favorite section are the booths by local vendors at Artisan Alley. If you’re looking for stocking stuffers, or ugly sweaters, the park has those too!

**Don’t forget, guests can visit WinterFest once for free when they purchase a 2018 gold or platinum season pass.

Otherwise, grab your advance-purchase tickets, and check out all the details at carowinds.com.

Billy Graham Library

Christmas at the Library

If you’re looking for a faith-based Christmas tradition Billy Graham Library is rich with history. Parking and admission are FREE. The library is known for it’s year-round Journey of Faith that creatively tells the journey of Billy Graham {this may be a feature you want to save if you have pre-school aged children}. During the holidays the library comes alive –literally– with a delightful live nativity.

Enjoy the sleigh bells jingling while you take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the library grounds {for an additional fee}, or make your reservations for Christmas Dinner and enjoy time with your loved ones.

We loved hearing the different carolers and musical groups that were featured while drinking a hot cup of cocoa. We haven’t been this year, but in previous years the only thing that was a little let down was the food selection and taste. You may want to consider dining out before or after your visit.

Find out more details about your upcoming visit to Christmas at the Library.

Founders Hall – Uptown Charlotte

Leonard Bearstein Orchestra


The Leonard Bearstein Orchestra is located in uptown Charlotte at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Building. This is a fun event to attend, especially if you have little ones. This full animatronic orchestra perform from on the hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. With the exception of Christmas Day.

Founders Hall also has some restaurants, places to grab a quick bite or coffee, and shops if you are planning on making the visit a longer trip.

**Occasionally, a regularly scheduled performance may not take place due to a special event in the hall. As a parent it’s always good to have a back up plan just in case. I always recommend 7th Street Market, ImaginOn, and the Light Rail.

Head here to view the schedule: Bearstein Orchestra

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Speedway Christmas

Speedway Christmas is definitely one of the must-visits if you haven’t been or if you are new to the area. Surprising to me, I’ve found that people either love the experience or don’t. My family personally really enjoys this Charlotte Holiday event, but if you have anyone who doesn’t like being in the car for an extended period of time they may not enjoy this selection as much. {We haven’t used it but have heard that the fast pass to skip the line is worth the additional fee.} There are several days and times that the speedway is less busy and lines are shorter.

We like to go on a day we feel will be less busy, but also one that still has the Christmas Village experience. In the past the village has had an opportunity to visit Santa, purchase Holiday gifts from local vendors, and enjoy yummy food and treats.

In a previous year we’ve enjoyed the nativity/Bethlehem experience and our girls always love the petting zoo filled with a variety of adorable animals. Often times there will be additional activities for an extra charge like carnival and horse rides.

Get your tickets and more information here: Speedway Christmas

 

While this is a pretty long list of some of our family favorites, we have others and know that you do too. Please comment and let us know your favorite local areas to spend the holidays with your family. Also tell us if you agree or disagree, we want to hear from you!!

Thank you to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens and Carowinds for hosting us this holiday season!!

Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Field Trip

We received admission for the children in attendance to be able to experience and write our thought about Sea Life. The experiences and opinions in this post are that of MommyBKnowsBest.com and attendees.

 

 

Miss C’s first grade class has been studying the ocean, focusing on different ocean zones, and sea animals. Their most recent project asked them to choose something that lives in the ocean and become an expert on that animal. Children chose sand dollars, blue whales, giant squid, sea otters, and more. They were also challenged to find ways that these animals were being harmed and figure out a way to help them.

Sea Life Aquariums not only help to educate people about sea animals but they too are helping the ocean to thrive. Their motto: Breed, Rescue, Protect is exactly what they do. We felt with the current unit, going to Sea Life for a first grade field trip was the perfect fit.

 

Sea Life has a lot of great offerings for field trips for schools, pre-schools, homeschoolers and many other groups. We were able to learn that Sea Life is part of the largest seahorse breeding network in the world. At the Charlotte-Concord, North Carolina location, Catherine, our guide was incredibly helpful in tips on finding the octopus, and shared with us all about the new turtle shelter.

 

 

Throughout our visit we were able to enjoy talks where we learned in-depth about sea animals living at Sea Life. We even got to see the manta ray and other fish and sharks being fed by a trained Aquarist while Kathy talked to us about methods of feeding and what breeds were in the tank.

 

 

Sea Life offers great group rates, educational workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours whether you’re learning about the ocean and sea life or just looking for a great field trip where kids will learn AND have fun at the same time. Check out their website to find more information on group tickets, field trips, and more: www.SeaLife.com

 

 

5 Fun and Unique Family Eats in Charlotte North Carolina

With the BIG MOVE coming up soon we’ve been dining out a good bit and I’m completely okay with that. It definitely makes for an empty sink and less stressful night.

Luckily we’ve been able to try out a few new family-friendly spots in Charlotte and also enjoy some of our “usual” spots as well. Here’s a quick list of 5 fun and unique family-friendly restaurants in Charlotte, North Carolina:

Top 5 Fun and Unique Family Friendly Restaurants in Charlotte MommyB

 

For the homegrown family:

TRY Earth Fare – If you don’t mind eating in a grocery cafe {which I don’t mind at all!} the Family Dinner Nights at any Charlotte location is ah-mazing! If you head to Earth Fare any Thursday from 4pm-8pm up to 6 kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal, valued at $5.00 or more. This restaurant offers organic, healthy choices for kids meals and just recently added nuggets, and Lil’ C’s favorite pasta salad to their kid’s offerings. Definitely a great place to head for a healthy family meal on a budget. 

 

For the spicy family:

TRY Chuy’s Restaurant – Not all the dishes are spicy, but the decor is guaranteed to brighten up your day. The kids will love the playful design of the restaurant, watching the process of hand-made tortillas, and searching for the “hidden keys” around the restaurant. {We spotted a couple last time we visited}. If your kiddos don’t love Mexican food there are tons of other options on the kids menu that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Don’t forget the drink and food specials for mom and dad!

 

Chuy's Family Friendly Charlotte Restaurant MommyB

 

For the NEW traditional family:

TRY Nan & Byrons – If you want to try something you’ve ordered a million times and have it taste like never before, this is your spot. The cool twist on traditional menu items like their peppadew poppers, beet burger {that’s had rave reviews}, meatloaf, salmon, {I could go on and on} really makes this restaurant stand out. Often places with this vibe don’t offer a kids menu and aren’t super accommodating, but hallelujah, they have a GREAT kids menu with big portions, decent prices AND kids eat free Sunday through Wednesday from 5pm to 7pm. If you’re looking for a new restaurant to try and wanna bring the kiddos {or have to for lack of a babysitter} check it out!

 

Nan & Byron's Family Friendly Charlotte Restaurant MommyB

 

For the culinary family:

TRY Papa Murphy’s – The family that builds a pizza stays together. This cool “take-n-bake” concept features fresh ingredients including in-store made dough and makes your pizza your way right in front of you. The kids will love watching the pizza artists add their favorite toppings and watching it cook at home. The best part is you can order a couple to take home and freeze. They have really cool Mini Murphy kits where the kids can make their own pizzas at home, dessert pizzas, AND a great reading program where they can earn some yummy prizes.

 

Papa Murphy's Family Friendly Restaurant Charlotte MommyB

For the healthy family:

TRY Jason’s Deli – If you’re looking for organic, healthy options, this is the family-friendly restaurant for you. They have so many organic choices for adults and children from soups and sandwiches to their well-known salad bar, kids can choose from over 10 food options as well. Dine in and help yourself to their complimentary extras like mini muffins and soft-serve, low calorie frozen yogurt.

 

What’s your favorite fun or unique restaurant in Charlotte??  

 

The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own, I was not compensated for this post but have received complimentary sample food items from the above restaurant.  

Things for Kids to Do at Six Flags Over Georgia

Thank you to Six Flags Over Georgia for accommodating my family in order to obtain information for this blog post.

While we were in Georgia for a blog conference, we decided to stop by Six Flags Over Georgia since it was on the way home. Being that DaddyB is also known as The Coaster Critic of course you can imagine that our girls are also thrill-seekers when it comes to amusement parks too. Although it was a little hot out on the day of our visit, we lathered on the sunscreen and made sure the girls were well hydrated. I had never visited Six Flags Over Georgia, and was excited to see how kid-friendly and family-friendly the park was. If you are looking to visit here are some of the things kids can enjoy at the park, and some things that I think they can improve on.

Six Flags Over Georgia Kids Fun Collage MommyB

Fun kids area – Bugs Bunny World has a very well-rounded blend of rides for the little ones to enjoy. Depending on their height and age, some of them can ride without a parent. Our girls seemed to enjoy all of the rides and although Miss A didn’t get a chance to ride Wile E. Coyote Canyon Blaster {the kid’s roller coaster}, she did enjoy the smaller rides too. The ride operators took care to ensure the children’s safety, and sometimes had to deny admission to children who were too large to safely ride.

Family friendly food – This park definitely has a lot of great options when it comes to family meal time and snacks. From chicken tenders to pizza, really anything kid friendly you can think of they offer. They even have a Johnny Rockets Express, yum! We enjoyed some delicious, refreshing Cold Stone Creamery ice cream during our visit. I loved the pavilions with picnic tables set up for park goers to conveniently use as well.

The park offers a dining pass for Six Flags Season Pass Holders to purchase so they can eat lunch and dinner at the park every time they visit. For more information on their Dining Pass head here: Six Flags Over Georgia Dining Pass

The things I didn’t love so much…

Not super stroller/wheelchair friendly – It was easy to get into the park initially with our stroller {we use a front to back double stroller}, however this park is extremely “hill-y” and hard to maneuver with little children. We’ll just say DaddyB got a really good workout during our visit. I know this isn’t something the park can specifically change, but perhaps there are small changes they can make like designing the paths a different way or creating stroller and wheelchair paths specifically for ease of use. It would certainly make the park day more enjoyable and encourage us to want to stay longer.

Lackluster entertainment – We were able to grab seats for the, “Looney Tunes We Got the Beat” performance in the afternoon. It was nice to sit down, in the shade and prepare to be entertained. Unfortunately, the show was pretty outdated and not as entertaining as I hoped it would be. My girls, who usually love watching similar shows at other parks didn’t really get into the characters {because they have no clue who they are} but hung in through the 20 minutes that the show lasted. I liked that they invited a few children on stage, and the area for the show had plenty of seating, but hope Six Flags Over Georgia considers possibly updating their character choices to reflect newer, more beloved characters and that will in turn reflect the quality of the show.

Looney Tunes We Got the Beat Six Flags Over Georgia MommyB

I also caught bits and pieces of the, “ShenaniGuns! Comedy Wild West Show” and for our family, I didn’t think it was appropriate, a lot of negative talk, name calling {fat, stupid} and some crude kid humor {Bad Boob}. This show is on every hour so when we visit again I would probably just be sure to be in a different area of the park around those times. In my opinion, I’d be okay with Six Flags getting rid of this show entirely, and finding a show that can have fun, wholesome entertainment.

All-in-all this is a beautiful, hill-y, but beautiful park and is well maintained. Six Flags Over Georgia has a lot to offer families in the way of rides, entertainment, and things for kids to do, and will probably be even more fun as our girls get a little older.

Have you ever been to Six Flags Over Georgia? What was your experience? What did you love? What didn’t you like?

This is not a compensated post, however we did receive media passes in order to review this park and amenities. All opinions and thoughts in this post are my own honest words. Your experiences may vary, and if they do I’d love to hear them in a comment below. Thanks for reading!!