Water Country USA: The Ultimate Summer Family Vacation

Underwater-photography-kids-GoPro-Hero5We hope you’ll find some helpful tips to plan the ultimate summer family vacation at Busch Gardens VA and Water Country USA.

A trip to Busch Gardens VA was already on our family bucket list.  It’s a popular family destination for New Yorkers, whether traveling by car or by plane.  So when we had the chance to experience Water Country USA (just down the road from Busch Gardens), we knew it would be a memorable way to mark the official kick-off to summer!

After a fun vacation, full of whipping down water slides like an exploding-mom-cannon, hearing chants of “ONE MORE TIME!” on repeat, and waiting at the bottom of rides for my super-enthusiastic kiddos, we have a few helpful tips to share.

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UNLEASH YOUR INNER CHILD: When my kids immediately expressed their love for the Nitro Racer freeway, I’ll never forget the looks on their faces as I hightailed it up the line and then came sliding down like an out-of-control belly-down-mom-torpedo.  And the kids continue to talk about the funny expressions and noises that their dad made while rafting together down the adrenaline-packed rides (“He was more scared than we were!!!”).  In our experience, the kiddos love to see their parents let loose and dive head first into fun.  While many of the rides can accommodate for all four of us, there were plenty of times when my husband and I playfully argued about who could go first.  Bring your inner child; the rides are that much fun!

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Map Out a Plan: With a ton of thrilling rides and attractions, it’s great to have a plan. Our do-not-miss favorites include Big Daddy Falls, Aquazoid, Hubba Hubba Highway, Colossal Curl, Nitro Racer and more.

Our kids are on the cusp of being tall enough for many of the thrilling rides while still appreciating the kid-friendly attractions for ages nine and younger.  If you have little ones, there’s plenty of areas designed for their fun at Kritter Korral, H20 UFO, Cow-A-Bunga, and many others.

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GO FOR THE QUICK QUEUE: The option of purchasing Quick Queue will grant you access to short lines and even shorter walks to the top of a few rides. Although your day will certainly still be a blast sans Quick Queue, the passes spit our kids out of the bottom of their favorite rides faster than we could have imagined.

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DINE IT:  With a bunch of delicious dining options, our group consensus led us to Tex-Mex at Hot Spots Cafe.  The kiddos went for chicken tacos, while my husband and I filled up on salads.  The kids will never let a promised vacation-treat be missed, and there are so many fun options for dessert, other than what I assumed they’d go for (ice cream!). Also, don’t forget to purchase a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated.

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RENT A CABANA:  Elevate your park experience with your own private shaded area to settle in, store your belongings, hydrate and relax.  A cabana rental comes with a private attendant, locker rental, two drinks per person and even towels to take home as souvenirs.   Even though the park is packed with ample loungers and locker rentals, there’s nothing like having a central (and private!) VIP spot to rest sun-tired bodies after the important work of splish-splashing down water slides.

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GRAB A SOUVENIR: While we’re big on choosing experiences over things, allowing the kids to select a small souvenir is a fun way to add to the vacation memories. In addition to every possible water park necessity, all of the shops are filled with fun trinkets galore.  The kids each chose a goodie from Wipeout Gifts and Apparel.  This is also the spot to grab a new suit and cover-up if you need one! They’ve got you styled with options from Roxy, Quicksilver, Salt Life, and more.

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Get in the Picture:  Special vacation memories quickly become an important part of our collective family story.  And while I’m often on the other side of the lens (like a lot of parents), family photos are important! Our trip to Williamsburg VA is certainly one for the memory books. We can’t wait to return!

Win It! The generous team at Busch Gardens VA wants to set your summer off to a fantastic start with a $100 VISA Gift Card Giveaway for one lucky winner.  Entry is simply: Just leave a comment on this post telling us what you’re looking forward to this summer and follow the official rules below.

Entry Instructions:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post (let us know what you’re looking forward to this summer!).

2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#Sweeps” and “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post. Example tweetEnter to win a $100 VISA GC #sweeps via @MarinoBambinos & check out Water Country USA travel tips #SweepstakesEntry http://www.marinobambinos.com/2017/07/water-country-usa-the-ultimate-summer-family-vacation/

3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from SheKnows via the sweeps@sheknows email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 7/13-9/12/2017

Be sure to visit the brand page on SheKnows.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

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Your Own Personal Minion: Meet Minion MiP Turbo Dave + Giveaway

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Who wouldn’t want their own personal Minion (adults included!) to help bring all your mischievous schemes to fruition?  Especially now that Despicable Me 3 movie has hit theaters!  We’re long time fans of WowWee toys, and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at their Minion MiP™ Turbo Dave robot several months ago at TTPM’s spring/summer toy showcase.  It’s no surprise that this fun, intuitive, and hysterical toy earned a spot of the coveted Most Wanted Toys of Summer list.

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Minion MiP™ Turbo Dave is so cool! With over 140 original sounds and phrases he’s packed with endless play.  Turbo Dave is able to respond to hand gestures using GestureSense(TM) technology and can even learn to navigate your kiddo’s room. By downloading the Turbo Dave App, his owner can control their own personal Minion remotely; plan paths for him to self-navigate, add Minion emotions, and even have him interact with other characters and props from the Despicable Me™ franchise.  We love that a coding platform is also included for high-tech programming fun.
When desperate times call for DESPICABLE measures, WowWee’s Turbo Dave can bring in the mischievous fun! 
Check him out in action below and grab this hot toy now for $79.99 on sale at Best Buy, Amazon, Target, TRU and other major retailers.

Win It! Our kind friends at WowWee want to get Minion MiP™ Turbo Dave into the hands of one lucky MB reader! Enter to win via the rafflecopter below (U.S. only) and check back to see if your name pops up as the randomly selected winner!  Best of luck and thanks for visiting.  Happy Summer friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Hello July + Printable Calendar

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Sparklers, fireworks, tons of beach days and that wonderful feeling of an endless summer.  I love July for so many reasons – but the healing power of the ocean always tops my list.  We certainly have a busy month ahead filled with sports camp, surf camp, family celebrations and more – and I almost forgot […]

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The Citizen STEM Initiative Award

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It’s always wonderful to see brands that we partner with investing in our youth.  Recently, The Citizen STEM Initiative Award competition challenged grade nine students throughout the state of New Jersey to create 90-second videos highlighting their favorite aspect of physics. It’s certainly impressive that the winner’s submission, created by Gabrielle Grupenhof from Oradell, New Jersey, […]

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Tackle Family Laundry with LG’s Front Load Washer and SideKick

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Disclosure: Compensation provided in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or the product/service at a reduced price or for free.  Do you struggle with the beast that is laundry in your home like I do? On many days, as soon as we wash, fold and put away a few loads – another heaping […]

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Welcome June + Printable Calendar

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Welcome June, 2017.  We’re ready for the hearty doses of sunshine and bare feet that are just around the corner.  The school year will be wrapped up before we know it and I keep reminding myself that some solid beach therapy is on the way. Yesterday, I grabbed a few beautiful peonies to celebrate the […]

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