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Chicago’s Biggest Book Fair Is Back July 23-26

Jul 9, 2015
The Newberry Book Fair on July 23-26, Chicago’s biggest annual used book binge, has something for every reader.

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Backyard Vacations

Tinkering at the Exploratorium in San Francisco


I’m at San Francisco’s Exploratorium (www.exploratorium.edu ) which, when it opened in 1969, served as the prototype for museums becoming places for an interactive experience. That continues today as the museum staff work on what the museum will be when it moves to its new digs on Piers 15 and 17 on the Embarcadero in 2013 more
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Six days learning sustainability in San Francisco and Monterey


Ready to play dress up? If you stay in a kids’ suite at the Hotel Diva (www.hoteldiva.com) on Union Square, your little princess can do just that with sparkly shoes, a pink boa, jewelry and a drawer full of “gowns.” If you have a prince, he can play Wii among other things. Whimsical wall art suggests “Keep calm and eat a cupcake” Or “Keep Calm and Rock On.” more
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At the Marine Mammal Center near San Francisco, little miracles happen every day


The 45 member staff and 800-plus volunteers here are responsible for rescuing some 800 animals a year—elephant seals, sea lions, harbor seals and the occasional whale or dolphin. People who spot a stranded or sick animal call (415-289-7325) and the staff mobilizes for a rescue. The center is responsible for 600 miles of Coast all the way from Mendocino south to San Luis Obispo, and since 1975 has rescued over 13,000 marine mammals more
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No place better to learn origins of food than the San Francisco Farmers Market


At a farmer’s market, kids can learn that food in season is more nutritious and tastes better because it is fresh. They can “eat greener” by opting for foods that are local rather than flown or trucked across the country. At the San Francisco farmer’s market, you can taste a kind of pear you’ve never seen or a Quince and ask the farmer how it’s grown. more
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Too hot for you in Pompeii? Try Times Square


f you can’t make it to Italy, you now have an alternative: Discovery Times Square has just premiered "Pompeii The Exhibit - Life and Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius" with Over 250 artifacts – includes some never-before-seen objects and the largest collection of body casts ever on display including a dramatic skeleton collection. more
Backyard Vacations, Cruises & All-Inclusive, Destinations, Disney, Eileen's Blog, Travel Topics | comments


Spring Break is coming — start making your plans for family fun


There's still snow on the ground in many areas of the country but spring break is just around the corner. Should you head for the beaches, mountains, vineyards, ballparks? The choices and deals are endless. more
Backyard Vacations, Beach Vacations, Destinations, Families & Groups, Lodging, Travel Topics, Weekly Column | comments


Take the Kids to Broadway — see Lombardi coach the Packers before there was a Super Bowl


Super Bowl? The Packers? You should see Vince before there was a Super Bowl. The second week in February (Feb. 6 to 10) kids rule Broadway with free tickets (up to age 18, kids can see a Broadway show for free when accompanied by a paying adult) to shows like "Lombardi." There are pre-theater parties, restaurant discounts, parking discounts, special-edition Kids’ Night Playbills and more. more
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Different ways to learn to dive – cold and warm


For our second dive of the day, we head to the Library, so named because it is directly in front of Grand Turk’s tiny library. We dive along the famous Grand Turk Wall that drops 100 feet. It is marvelous-- all varieties of fish and coral. By the end of the dive, holding the dive master’s hand, Emily is hooked and comes up out of the water smiling more
Backyard Vacations, Beach Vacations, Destinations, Families & Groups, Lodging, Parks & Outdoors, Travel Topics | comments


This holiday season, take the kids out to see the lights — they’re everywhere!


Wherever you are this holiday season, take some time to see the lights with the kids. In most cases, it won’t cost anything (except for a hot drink afterward). If your family is anything like mine, you are guaranteed memories that will last for years — though they won’t necessarily be the ones you anticipated. (We still talk about that Chicago “ice kiss” every winter.) more
Backyard Vacations, Destinations, Travel Topics, Weekly Column | comments


Giving the Elves a Hand for the Traveling Family — books, games, gadgets that won’t break the bank


If you were super-organized, you might have squirreled away “surprises” from your last family vacation — those souvenirs the kids wanted but you nixed — and can now present with appropriate fanfare. I wasn’t that organized this year and my kids wouldn’t let me buy even one more ornament for the tree. (“Enough already!” They said in Hawaii and Colorado.) But I’ve got a fall back plan: A photo book for each of them comprised of vacation shots taken over the years. (Hopefully, my picks won’t embarrass them too much.) more
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