Archive for the ‘Activities for Kids’ Category

Miami Offers Year-Round Perfection

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Miami, Florida is one of the world’s most popular vacation spots visited by tourists from all over the world – and for good reasons. From beautiful beaches to perfect warm weather year-round, this city has countless unique attractions you simply can’t miss. If you’re looking for a place that will keep you entertained, Miami promises never to have a dull moment. From sunrise to sunset there is something for everyone!

 

South Beach is the pinnacle of Miami. Day or night, July or December, it doesn’t matter when, it matters where. These aqua blue waters and white sand beaches provide the best place to catch a tan along Miami’s luxurious coastline. Ocean Drive offers a variety of shops, galleries, and nightlife that could turn your average stroll into a shopping spree, or an extravagant evening. Just one look at the art deco style buildings of the Miami skyline and the beautiful nature that surrounds it is enough to make anyone fall in love.

 

Food in Miami is top notch and guaranteed to fit any budget or lifestyle. The local Latino diners and high-class restaurants will leave your mouth watering for more. Eat like the locals do at a Cuban restaurant like Versailles or get dressed up and have a nice evening at Prime 112. Miami is home to countless flavors where you can broaden your palate and enliven your senses daily.

 

Located right near the Everglades, Miami is perfect for nature lovers, animal enthusiasts or those who want to experience the unique ecosystems of Florida. Take an airboat ride and see if you can spot some gators, turtles or iguanas, or camp in the Everglades RV Resort. For more natural beauty, you can also check out the many parks and botanical gardens Miami has to offer!

 

 

Miami is known for its variety of art and unique architecture. The Wynwood Arts District is without a doubt a sight to see. It’s home to over 70 art galleries, local shops, electric bars, and one of the largest open-air street-art installations in the world. There are art tours, gallery walks, food tastings, you name it. They also have block parties with live music and many other forms of entertainment. It’s a great place to celebrate a holiday or a day of art, entertainment, and fun!

 

Miami is home to many top-notch professional and college teams. If you’re a football fanatic you can catch a Dolphins game. You can also have some classic fun at a Miami Marlins baseball game, see a hat trick on ice at a Florida Panthers game, or you can shoot some hoops at the American Airlines Arena and watch the Miami Heat play. There is also a rumor that Miami may be getting a professional soccer team too!

 

Miami is the place to be for Florida festivals. Art Basel Week, Fashion Week, and Miami Music Week are some of the big hitters, but they only scratch the surface. You may want to check out some technology at Tech week or relax with some Caribbean tunes at Kaya Fest. Speaking of music, Miami is a music lover’s paradise with live music festivals of a variety of genre all throughout the year.

 

With the many sights to see and things to do, Miami is sure to keep you busy all year long!

 

For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit www.greataupairusa.com. Families can call 800-604-2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative.  Au pairs can call 1-775-636-8302, or contact us on Skype at greataupair.com.


Tampa, Florida – Treasure Awaits!

 

Why choose between the big city and the beach when you could have it all with a year in Tampa! With its vibrant nightlife, year-round warm weather, and coastal location, Tampa is a fantastic place for a new adventure. Whether you love to shop, try new food, immerse yourself in art, or attend one of the seven musical festivals held in this city every year, Tampa will not disappoint!

 

 

Busch Gardens:

Are you a thrill-seeker? If so, you have to visit Busch Gardens! With its live shows, animal encounters, and the best roller coasters in Florida, Busch Gardens is sure to be fun for everyone! As one of the top amusement parks in the country, it might be worth grabbing an annual pass so you can visit Busch Gardens and it’s nearby waterpark, Adventure Island!

 

Tampa Riverwalk:

Take a walk down this completely pedestrian pathway to the Florida Aquarium, the Tampa Bay History Center, the Tampa Museum of Art, or any of the exhibits on display year-round! You could even stop by the Straz Center for Performing Arts to see a Broadway play or Musical! There’s so much to do and see, it couldn’t possibly be done in just one day!

 

 

Gasparilla Pirate Festival: 

The Riverwalk is also home to one of the largest parades in the United States! Put on your pirate costume and be one of the hundreds of thousands of attendees that flock every year to the water for its Parade of Pirates, film festival, arts festival, road race, and live music festival. Likened to Florida’s version of a New Orleans Mardi Gras, this is a celebration you won’t want to miss.

 

 

Clear Water and Warm Beaches:

It’s always beach weather in Florida! Being so close to the coast, Tampa residents can head to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country with just a short commute. With options such as Fort De Soto Park, recently named one of the top 25 U.S. beaches, Clearwater Beach, and Caladesi Island, you’ll almost have trouble deciding which is the best location for a bit of sun bathing or water sports.

 

 

What’s Your Favorite Animal? Tampa Has It! 

 Animal-lovers will feel right at home in Tampa, where there are so many options for up close and personal encounters! Feed a giraffe right out of your hand at the Giraffe Ranch, or visit the Serengeti without leaving the comfort of Florida at the Safari Wilderness Ranch. Tampa is also famous for its manatees, who will swim right up to wave hello!

 

 

 

Flicks & Food Trucks Festival: 

Looking for something relaxed, fun, and free? Go grab a bite and see a movie at the Flicks & Food Trucks festival held every month on the 3rd Thursday! Take part in America’s food truck craze with your friends and try something new from one of the gourmet food trucks. As you can see, Tampa has something to offer for everyone!

 

 

For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit www.greataupairusa.com. Families can call 800-604-2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative.  Au pairs can call 1-775-636-8302, or contact us on Skype at greataupair.com.


San Diego – Amazing Hidden Gem of California!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

With its miles of glorious beaches, ideal year-round weather and countless cultural and historical attractions, San Diego is one of the most visited cities in the world! If you’re on the fence about where to spend your program year, here are some of the top reasons to choose San Diego.


Balboa Park:

Like no place else in the country, Balboa Park offers a magnificent combination of art, architecture, history and agriculture all in one park. From wonderful concerts featuring the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ, The Spreckels Organ, to tours through science, art and history museums, a day spent in Balboa Park is an unforgettable experience.

 

Coronado Island:

On the beautiful island of Coronado, you’ll discover a charming collection of shops, art galleries, fine restaurants and fun eateries surrounded by tree lined walkways, swaying palms and sparkling ponds. Across the bay is one of the best views of downtown San Diego. Developed 130 years ago as a haven for the rich and famous, this oceanfront community maintains an air of luxury. Admire the mansions, Duchess of Windsor Cottage and the Museum of History and Art, which highlights the relaxed and enriching atmosphere on the island.

 

Torrey Pines State Reserve:

Named after the Torrey Pine tree, this reserve is just north of La Jolla and is a lovely place to see indigenous wildlife in its native environment. With more than eight miles of trails, you can explore the serenity of Torrey Pines in the same atmosphere as the first settlers to California. Take a hike to Blacks Beach, popular with surfers. The Torrey Pines Gliderportoh is the only place on the west coast for visitors to go paragliding and hang-gliding.

San Diego Zoo:

One of the world’s most famous zoos, the San Diego Zoo offers hours of fascinating entertainment for people of all ages. Of the several thousand animals that live in the zoo, you’ll have an opportunity to see everything from Giant Pandas and Polar Bears to the Tasmanian Devil and African Wild Dogs—and so much more. The many hundreds of species include rare amphibians, birds, mammals, reptiles and insects that come from all over the world and are cared for in their natural habitats. As you walk through the lush pathways and thriving gardens that frame the zoo, keep in mind that much of the flora are exotic plants and vegetation. Spend an afternoon or the whole day and gain an understanding of the many beautiful animals that inhabit our world.

 

Gaslamp quarter: 

The heart of downtown San Diego is the historic Gaslamp Quarter. It’s a fun and busy area where you can find: shops, galleries, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, theaters, sporting arenas, conferences, concerts, Comic-Con and more. Head towards Horton Plaza’s outdoor shopping mall to find the likes of Macy’s, Victoria Secret and Claire’s or enjoy the baseball game at Petco Park.

 

Children’s Pool Sea Lions:

Another famous San Diego attraction is Children’s pool where you can observe seals and sea lions in their natural habitat. Silly, loud, ultra-lovable, and a little smelly, they are sure to bring a toothy smile to your face. Sea lions are often compared to being the dogs of the sea for a good reason. After all, they are smart, playful, and newborns are even called pups. They capitalize on San Diego coastline as prime real estate, colonizing rocky and sandy beaches during nesting season.

 

Beautiful Beaches:

San Diego is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. There are 70 miles of shoreline and a diverse selection of beaches to explore. If you like surfing, you’ll be in heaven; if you prefer getting lost in your thoughts on a secluded sandy stretch, you’ll also be in heaven. From La Jolla and Mission to Coronado and Pacific Beach, there’s a beach for you in San Diego.

 

For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit www.greataupairusa.com. Families can call 800-604-2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative.  Au pairs can call 1-775-636-8302, or contact us on skype at greataupair.com.

 


Washington, DC: Au pairs love our nation’s capital!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

 

WA 1If you love gorgeous rivers and forests, awe-inspiring historical monuments, and vibrant metropolitan culture, then the Washington, DC area is where you want to be.

 

There is no shortage of things to do with children any time of year, not to mention a diverse range of leisure and nightlife activities for young adults.  The greater metropolitan area consists of downtown Washington DC, which is surrounded by several cities, including Arlington, VA, and Bethesda, MD.

 

WA 2One of the most popular attractions in the DC area is the Smithsonian Institute.  With 19 museums that cover a wide range of subjects from art to space exploration, you are bound to find something exciting for both you and the kids.  Keep in mind that most of these museums are HUGE, so plan on spending a couple of hours at each.

 

 

WA 3Spectacular national monuments spread throughout the city are a “must see” when visiting the nation’s capital.  Some of the most popular sites include the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial Wall and the Jefferson Memorial.  A great way to see the monuments is to take a guided tour.  You will learn many interesting facts about US history, and be free from having to navigate congested city traffic.

 

WA 4

 

Another great choice for a daytime activity is to visit the three houses of government, the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and the Supreme Court.  These are all impressive feats of architecture and offer an informative window into the history of the nation.

 

 

WA 5Ready to take a break from the hustle and bustle of urban life?  Take a day trip to Great Falls Park and enjoy a variety of outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, cycling, and horseback riding.  Bring the children for a fun-filled adventure, or enjoy some free time and decompress surrounded by the majestic beauty of nature.

 

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Georgetown, Washington DC’s historic waterfront, is a great place to visit during the day or evening. If you love to shop, then you will be in paradise.  The streets are lined with a large variety of retail shops and restaurants of every nationality. Weekends can get pretty busy in Georgetown, so be sure to make a dinner reservation if possible.

 

The sites above barely scratch the surface of all the fun and amazing things to do in the Washington DC area.  It is a highly recommended city for au pairs due to its rich cultural diversity and huge variety of entertainment, culture, education, and leisure activities.  Complete your application today to start your journey.  You may find yourself in this amazing city before you know it!

 

For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit www.greataupairusa.com. Families can call 800-604-2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative.  Au pairs can call 1-512-360-0499, or contact us on skype at greataupair.com.


Twin Cities Minnesota, Ultimate Au Pair Destination

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

 

The twin citieMN bridges of Minneapolis and St. Paul are a Mid-western hot spot!  There is a phenomenal mix of outdoor nature and city activities. The Minneapolis – St. Paul area is second only to New York in artistic activity per capita.  The parks are among the best in the world and the cities are well known for world class shopping and their natural beauty, providing a unique opportunity for au pairs to experience two cities in one.

 

mn jelly

mn mall of AM

The Twin Cities area is well known for exceptional shopping and many award-winning restaurants. The famous Mall Of America with over 500 stores is located in Bloomington, MN (Metro Minneapolis), and is the nation’s largest mall with dozens of restaurants, an indoor amusement park, an aquarium, Legoland and a butterfly garden!  Did I mention that all clothes and shoe shopping is tax free at the Mall of America?

 

If you’re not interested in shopping, go for mn legolandone of the many celebrity events, the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park, or see the psychedelic jellyfish at the Sea life Aquarium. Go through the Mirror Maze the House of Comedy, snorkel dive with the sharks or use the A.C.E.S. flight simulator. You can spend days inside this mall, the Metro transit rail will drop you off and return you safely home.

 

MN state partk

You’ll find Minneapolis to be trendier, and St. Paul to be somewhat quieter, but no less interesting. During the summer you will enjoy the Chain of Lakes, a scenic byway located southwest of downtown, which is popular among athletic travelers who enjoy jogging or boating. You’ll find 13.3 miles of pathways that encircle the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis. People are out enjoying both land and water, while roller-blading across the Stone arch Bridge or paddle boarding down the river. This area is really a gem for natural beauty, having fresh lakes, trails, woods and the Mississippi River.

 

mn mill museum

 

Another interesting attraction in Minneapolis is the Mill City Museum, which was once the largest mill in the U.S. Today you can see how they produced old school flour with period style equipment and railroad cars. Ride the glass elevator from the Mill Ruins park to the top of this iconic museum. Visit the Cedar Cultural Center, which hosts more than 150 concerts, dances and community events every year.

 

MN caves

 

Saint Paul on the other hand has an alluring history of notorious gangsters and whiskey runners that were part of the lawlessness of the 1930’s. The city was once home to infamous bank robbers and kidnappers like John Dillinger, Babyface Nelson and the Barker gang. You can take a tour of where the gangsters once lived and plotted their notorious crimes. The Wabasha Caves are also a great attraction in the Twin City area, these are actual caves that were transformed into an underground speakeasy known as the “Castle Royal.”

 

mn sculpture
The Twin Cities have an abundance of art! A few attractions to mention are the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, one of the largest urban sculpture parks in the country and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The Sculpture Garden is an 11 acre park developed jointly by the Walker Museum and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Within the Sculpture garden you can find over 36 larger than life size sculptures. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has 80,000 works of art that span more than 5,000 years, this is the place to go if you’re an art lover. You can find sculptures, photographs, paintings, drawings, textiles and prints from all over the world. Also worth mentioning, is the Frederick R Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, which is a museum focusing on American art from the early 20th century to the present.

 

mn ice

Please do not fear the cold! The Twin Cities are well prepared for cold weather, having The Minneapolis Skyway System, which is an interlinked collection of enclosed pedestrian footbridges. The road crews are well prepared for snow and removal starts as soon as the snow falls.  There is cross country skiing through the many parks, ice skating and ice hockey, and the city of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival.  What’s more fun than building snow sculptures or enjoying the luminarias in ice sculptures? Join in any number of ski races, fat tire snow biking, crew skiing with 6 men teams on 25 foot long skis or skijoring, which is skiing behind either a dog or horse on a leash! Head Southwest of Minneapolis to the Eden Prairie Ice castles for a magical day. Winter doesn’t slow anyone down in the twin cities. Winter is a wonderland experience in Minnesota.

 

mn dog

For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit  www.greataupairusa.com or call 800.604.2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative & request a free host family application. Au pairs call 1-775-636-8302, or contact us on skype at greataupair.com.