Karen Heffren, Desert TravelingMom

Karen Heffren, Desert TravelingMom

Karen Heffen is a Tucson native who can't imagine moving but loves traveling outside the desert whenever she can. Naturally with two little boys, Disneyland is a frequent destination for her family. Most often they head to California or explore Arizona but love when they can travel outside their comfort zone! Karen shares her family adventures including DIY costumes, fun cupcakes and social good and at Desert Chica


Best Zoo Experience Ever: Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park

Are you looking for the best zoo experience ever this summer? This Amish family run farm and petting zoo is amazing and should not be missed! With a wide variety of species available and the ability to hand feed almost all of them, it was one of our favorite travel experience last year. Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park While in Indiana last summer for our big family reunion at the Potawatomi Inn, we spent a few extra days in Shipshewana, Indiana to experience a little of the Amish culture. ย The highly rated Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park was our...

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Hotel Review: Blue Gate Garden Inn in Shipshewana, Indiana

I often gravitate towards booking rooms at corporate hotel chains because it helps set my level of expectation. I like budget friendly ย and safe, but also enjoy spacious and luxurious accommodations. Of course that doesn’t mean our stay is always as expected, but I am fairly confident when booking the room. Some places don’t offer many big chain hotels, so you just have to go with the flow and hope for the best. The Blue Gate Garden Inn is a perfect example of booking the unknown and loving the hotel. This summer my mom and I took my boys...

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Mickey’s Halloween Party Costume Ideas and Tips

We may have a couple months until Halloween but now is the time to start planning costumes and buying tickets if you want to attend Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland. Tickets are already on sale and will sell out! Beyond buying your tickets to this after hours event, you need to consider what costume to wear. While costumes are not required, they do make the event extra fun and most guests do participate. Read below for Mickey’s Halloween Party costume ideas and tips. Fall is one of my favorite times to visit Disneyland because of all the Halloween Time...

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6 Fun, Family-Friendly and Free Things To Do in Tucson Arizona

Looking for free things to do in Tucson with your family andย friends? The Old Pueblo offers a few fun options from water and art to live music and history. You’re sure to find something fun (and free) to do in town! 1. San Xavier Mission The San Xavier Mission was established by Father Kino in 1732. A great stop for anyone who appreciates Spanish colonial architecture, art, or history. Watch the 20 minute video prior to checking out the small on-site museum. You’ll learn about the history of the mission, the area, and Father Kino. The church itself is...

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Cafe Rix at Walt Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort

The best place for a late night or early morning bite to eat at the Coronado Springs Resort is Cafe Rix. The grab and go market offers a variety of food and beverages choices to suit everyone’s needs. Cafe Rix at Coronado Springs Resort Cafe Rix is a quick service food spot located at the Coronado Springs Resort, near the lobby and gift shop.ย It’s open early and late making it perfect for both early risers and late night owls. My cross country flight made for a late check in, thankfully Rix Cafe was open to save me from starving...

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Hotel Review: Pop Century Resort at Walt Disney World

The Pop Century Resort is a vibrantly themed Walt Disney World Resort that is a great value for families on a budget. While the rooms are exactly what you’d expect from a budget friendly hotel, the resort does provide some of the Disney magic you’d expect staying on site. Think of Pop Century as a really fun themed Motel 6 with Disney World benefits. ย Pop Century Resort at Walt Disney World Pop Century is a popular value priced resort at Walt Disney World. It’s theme is pop culture fun from the 1950’s through the 1990’s. Located in the ESPN...

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Kids Will Dig The Boneyard at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Need a break from the traditional theme park action at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Check out the Boneyard, a large play area in DinoLand where kids can blow off steam and parents to rest their feet without the lines and crowds. With lively music and interactive features for kids from toddlers to tweens, it’s a hidden gem you shouldn’t pass by. The Boneyard at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The Boneyard is located near the entrance to DinoLand USA, on left side just after you pass under the huge dinosaur bridge. The bridge in fact connects one side of the Boneyard to...

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Family Fun at Spring Training in Peoria

We head to Phoenix a few times a year to check out fun attractions and sporting events. Cactus League spring training is a huge draw for visitors to Phoenix during March. We always gravitate towardsย spring training in Scottsdale but this year we opted toย watch a game at the Peoria Sports Complex in the West Valley. The Peoria Sports Complex is the Cactus League home of the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners, and hosts a game almost every day in March.ย We caught a Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics game on the day we visited. The complex just finished their...

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Hotel Review: Anaheim Marriott is a RunDisney Friendly Hotel

Are you looking for a RunDisney Hotel option at the Disneyland Resort? I recently completely my first RunDisney event, the Star Wars 10k at the Disneyland resort. I found the Anaheim Marriott offered many conveniences for RunDisney participants,including a shuttle right out front, a Starbucks for early mornings and very comfortable beds! Accommodations We stayed in a Deluxe Double guest room and found it to be very spacious. All rooms include new mattresses and luxurious bedding, making them extremely comfortable and perfect after a long day in the parks or long run through the parks. The size of the...

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Hotel Review: Hilton Sedona Resort and Spa in Sedona, Arizona

A visit to beautiful Red Rock Country is must for both Arizona families and tourists alike. The Hilton Sedona Resort and Spa in Sedona, Arizona is a nice, family friendly lodging option in the heart of Sedona. What Works For Families A pool with kid features and water toys made itย a hit with our boys. Suites are available with separate bedrooms, making bedtime easier with little ones. Kids (under 10) eat free at the Grille with adult meal purchase Wifi included in Resort Fee What Doesn’t Work For Families Beyond the pool there are no other kid centered amenities...

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