Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic is a small town located in the most eastern part of Connecticut and is known for its historic seaport. Mystic is part of New London County, which includes other family friendly towns and cities ranging from New London to Groton to Niantic down to Old Lyme. The area becomes flooded with visitors in the spring and summer due to its close proximity to the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean. However, there is plenty to do in the “off season” too: food festivals throughout the year, the famous Pirate Invasion in the fall, the arrival of Santa via tugboat and holidays strolls in December, and the popular Mystic Irish parade in March. Recently, my family spent a few days of our April break exploring the area. We had so much fun we could have extended our trip to a few weeks! Lucky for us, the area is less than 90 minutes away, so we can return for day trips any time we wish. Here are some of our favorite spots:

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National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, New York City

Times Square is known for being one of the most popular destinations in the world. There are Broadway shows, the famous New Year's Eve ball drop, dozens upon dozens of restaurants and stores, and now, several family friendly experiences. Recently, I was invited to check out the National Geographic Encounter with my family. I had a feeling the "Ocean Odyssey" would involve a lot of water, but was relieved we never actually got wet!

Opened in October 2017 and covering over 60,000 square feet of space in the middle of Times Square, The Encounter: Ocean Odyssey is described as an “immersive entertainment experience” and truly was unlike anything else we have done. Visitors go “underwater” in the south Pacific Ocean, travel past Hawaii, and end back on land in California. You'll hear authentic sounds from dozens of sea creatures over 200 loudspeakers.

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Crown Center in Kansas City, MO

My favorite, major family trip (to date) was the first one we took in the summer of 2012. We logged 5700 miles in our trusty Chevy Equinox, driving from Connecticut to Phoenix, Arizona and back to Connecticut. On the back end of the trip, we spent a few days in Kansas City, Missouri. And we.loved.it. Love the people. Loved the food. Loved the family friendly places to explore. I blogged about our stay for Kidventurous here, but I thought I would revisit some of these suggestions and elaborate on them. Note: I did fact check as of June 2017.

Today I want to focus on the Crown Center & Union Station area of the city. My suggestion for parking is to go to Crown Center.  There are two parking garages; I would park in the one labeled "Seal Life and Lego Land" which is on the East side of Grand Avenue. You can park on all day and walk to some of our favorite spots:

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