Groupon Coupons: Save with Travelocity

Did you know booking through a hotel’s website direct may not always give you the best deal? Over the past couple years hoteliers have been busy pushing that the best deals can be found on their own websites, and most of the time that is the case. However, we discovered a simple tool for using Travelocity to score us a better deal on hotels at our local amusement park, Cedar Point.

The discount website Groupon has started a new coupon program, teaming with major retailers to offer additional discounts and promo codes to save you money!

Take for example, Travelocity, a great resource for comparative shopping for travel.

Travelocity-Logo

Trying to book a hotel at Cedar Point, one would traditionally head to their website and book directly, and because they are not part of an associated major hotel program, finding discounts is few and far between. However, a quick comparative shopping using the Groupon Coupons partnership with Travelocity shows we can save as much as 20%.

Please note: This is a sponsored advertisement.

4 Great Activities with Kids in Detroit

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We recently took advantage of an IHG Points Break hotel stay for only 5,000 points per night at the Farmington Hill, Michigan Holiday Inn Express. This made for a perfect opportunity to spend a short weekend away as a family and take in some of the activities within the region. While we initially planned this trip to maybe do one or two things, we ended up finding 4 Great Activities with Kids in Detroit plus have a list of many more places to go in the future.

Detroit Zoo

First up was the Detroit Zoo. It had been a number of years, 2011 to be exact, since our family made the pilgrimage up to this zoo. While I recall fond memories of the animals encounters at the Detroit Zoo, we were also excited to finally get up there since we knew the new food service manager who has been creating great, fresh new meal options at the park.

We visited on a chilly Saturday morning, and after bundling up for our visit, found the park nearly empty. With so few guests in the park, it provided the perfect opportunity for the kids to take their time throughout the exhibits.

While I remember the polar bear/sea lion exhibit being my favorite in the past, this visit allowed us to see the new Penguin Center. The exhibit allowed up close encounters with the penguins, as well as undersea views. Also be sure to pay attention in the walkway down to the lower level, as the experience is “chilling.”

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We also had the opportunity to try some of the food at the Arctic Cafe. The cafeteria style restaurant offered a wide variety of freshly made food options that really step up the game of quality. Guests can enjoy everything from freshly made-to-order salads, secret recipe hand breaded chicken tenders, and our personal favorite, the custom crafted mac and cheese, which was amazing!

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Outdoor Adventure Center

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When looking for things to do around Detroit, one place that struck our fancy was the Outdoor Adventure Center in downtown Detroit. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources bought an old warehouse, and after an extensive remodel, brought the outdoors in. The building is packed full of fun activities for families to experience, which is especially helpful during the winter months.

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The idea being to show the guest the many activities one could do outdoors in the state of Michigan. Guests can experience what it is like to sleep in a yurt, see and try your hand at the many different types of fishing, climb a multi-story tree and explore the canopy, walk behind a two-story waterfall, touch the many furs of animals in the region, and even ride virtual snowmobiles and four-wheelers.

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What was even better was the Outdoor Adventure Center is spectacularly affordable. Our $19 family visit provided a couple hours of fun for the boys and interesting exhibits for the parents.

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We need to get one of these back in Ohio!

Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum

For several years we have been hankering to visit Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum up in Farmington Hill, Michigan. The museum was said to be packed with intricate details that would spike the curiosity of the littlest minds. However, as our lives got busier, Marvin’s fell off our radar.

170304 Detroit (9) Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum

As we were driving to our hotel in Farmington Hills, we just so happen to drive past a shopping center and see this strange neon sign in between the buildings, and it was so out-of-place, it sparked our interest. As we peered closer into the sun-drenched horizon, we realized what we were looking at for the first time. We were staying across the street from the amazing Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum.

I felt like a kid in a candy factory, as the sight of Marvin’s meant we were finally going to experience this masterpiece of mechanical history. While we did not plan this adventure, we soon learned why is must have been destiny to make this pilgrimage to Farmington Hills.

Marvin has collected the most magnificent, historical mechanical machines on the planet. As amusement and theme park bloggers for the CPFoodBlog.com, we often see various attempts at mechanical machines, but they never quite live up to the experience. Cedar Point, for example, has a whole museum full of several old mechanical machines, but none of them work, and the magic is lost.

That is where Marvin’s is simply marvelous! All of his machines work! The museum is free to get in, and everything works off of quarters. Normally I am not much of an arcade money swallowing connoisseur, but Marvin’s could gladly empty my wallet.

170304 Detroit Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum

Every square inch from floor to ceiling had amazing, historical things to look at from carnival banners to old amusement park props. The museum was simply amazing! Over the years Marvin had collected some of the most amazing old mechanical machines known to exist. However, what gets even better was that if Marvin could not find what we wanted, he had it custom made. Simply fantastic!

170304 Detroit (10) Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum

I was SOOOOOO glad to have experienced Marvin’s with my family, and it was probably the highlight of the trip! I could spend hours inside Marvin’s looking over all of the old artifacts. Marvin’s is the prize jewel of Detroit!

Henry Ford Museum

Our family loves historical villages like Williamsburg, and often finds ourselves up at the Greenfield Village, part of the Henry Ford complex in Deerborn, Michigan. However, it is less often that we go into the Henry Ford Museum. So before wrapping up our trip and heading home, we decided to make a day of it at another museum.

170305 Detroit (1) Henry Ford Museum

The Henry Ford Museum is quite different from when I was a kid on our many family outings to the museum. Today the Henry Ford Museum is packed full of kids activities and exhibits throughout the facility. What used to be rows of machinery and historical technology over the decades is now an information driven experience to help drive curiosity in kids minds.

The most notable change I noticed was the classic car collection. As a kid I remember it being just rows and rows of vehicles, which I always had an interest in, but my little legs just could not take…another…step. Today the cars have been rearranged in multi-level platforms and a more user-driven experience to tell the historical past of the cars we love today.

170305 Detroit (2) Henry Ford Museum

Of course a visit to the Henry Ford Museum would not be complete without a picture with the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and a trip to the hot dog diner next door.

Summary

While we originally booked our Points Break hotel stay for a quick and relaxing getaway, our family trip to Detroit was packed full of some amazing activities that really gave us a fun weekend together!

The Farmington Hill, Michigan Holiday Inn Express was also a great, new hotel that was ideally located within an easy drive to all of our above activities.

170304 Detroit (1) Farmington Hills Holiday Inn Express

The Holiday Inn Express had a really good free breakfast that had some of the best sausage gravy and biscuits I had ever eaten at a hotel.

The staff was exceptional and friendly!

The room was large and reminiscent of our favorite hotel, the Hotel Indigo we stay in next to Disneyland.

Of course we could not go without mentioning the pool, which is a critical to a fun stay for our family.

Favorite 4 St. Louis Parks for Kids

Visiting St. Louis is a lot of fun, and this Ohio family has made the trek three times to visit a friend and take in some of the best offerings around the city. We already knew there were lots of great museums that are absolutely FREE, but we often find ourselves needing to get the kids outside to get some energy out. So we often make it a point to search out amazing parks that offer playgrounds.

Please find below some of our family tested favorites parks around St. Louis.

Edgar M. Queeny Play Center

Address: 550 Weidman Road, St Louis, Missouri

Most intriguing on our list of playgrounds to visit around St. Louis was the Edgar M. Queeny Play Center. The reason why is the focal point of the playground is a stone pyramid with pipes going through it that kids can run and play through.

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After visiting the Queeny pyramid, we felt like we were playing a game of Super Mario brothers as we transcended into the pipes in search of coins.

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While Queeny Park does have some standard playgrounds too, obviously the fun part was climbing the unique structure.

Faust Park Playground

Address: 15185 Olive Boulevard, Chesterfield, Missouri

Faust Park is located on a historical site featuring relevant buildings from the area. In addition to the St. Louis Carousel and Butterfly House, the park also features a great playground.

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Kids can climb rock walls and climb the various structures complete with some great long slides.

While onsite, be sure to walk over to the Butterfly House, even just to see the outside, where there are giant caterpillar and butterfly structures. You can even peer into the Butterfly House and see tons of butterfly up against the glass.

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Turtle Park

Address: Across from St. Louis Zoo at intersection of Oakland Avenue and Tamm Avenue

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A truly unique and fun play area is Turtle Park on the opposite side the freeway of the St. Louis Zoo. This park features several oversized recreations of various turtle species that guests can climb on for perfect photo opportunities.

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Lafayette Park Playground

Address: 2023 Lafayette Ave, St. Louis, MO 63104

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Lafayette Park boasts several different play structures that provide the perfect opportunity to get outside and run. We actually spent a great deal of time playing tag thanks to a fun structure and soft, padded surface beneath the playground.

While we are sure there are other great St. Louis Parks for Kids, these are the ones we have spent some time at and really enjoyed the various interactions of nature, structures, and each other.

What are your favorite St. Louis playgrounds?