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


3 Ways for Kids to Explore Aviation and Travel Locally

Has the latest Disney animated film “Planes” sparked your child’s interest in aviation or travel? In the movie, Dusty, a crop duster, dreams of entering an-around-the-world race. Naturally, he’s qualifies for the flying tournament, which features a variety of planes and race segments around the world. It was a heart-warming story that my son really enjoyed. Besides a fun night of entertainment, the movie has encouraged my son’s interest in airplanes and travel. With back to school hitting high gear, most families including my own can’t jet off to exotic locations but there are a few ways to foster...

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RideSafer Travel Vest, a Car Seat Alternative

Traveling with little kids is complicated; there are lots of things you need to bring to keep them safe and comfortable. When flying I try to pack light and avoid bringing car seats if possible. Unfortunately, it can’t always be avoided, like on a recent family trip that involved renting a car and driving to an Indiana lake resort. I considered renting car seats, but the logistics just didn’t work. Turns out, it was a great chance to try out the  RideSafer Travel Vest I was sent to review. The RideSafer Travel Vest is a car seat alternative that...

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Old Fashioned Family Fun at Indiana’s Potawatomi Inn

Ice cream cones, splashing in the lake and catching lightning bugs make for simple pleasures and fun on Lake James at the Potawatomi Inn, in Angola, Indiana. We recently stayed there for a large (100+) family reunion. Though it was our first time visiting, our family has been holding reunions there for over 40 years! Activities With an overabundance of indoor and outdoor activities and plenty of gathering space to simply catch up or play cards, the Potawatomi Inn is the prefect setting for family reunions or multi-generational trips. Splashing in the lake, digging in the sand and catching lightning bugs at...

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Holiday Inn Express Suites in Scottsdale, Arizona: A Great Family Value

Having had great luck with Holiday Inn Express locations lately, most recently in Flagstaff, that brand was my first choice when I needed to book a quick overnight stay in Scottsdale, Arizona. I knew I could expect a comfortable room with a free breakfast but was pleased to find even more at this location. Spacious Features at the Holiday Inn Express The best feature is that it’s an all-suite location, giving families plenty of room to spread out. The living room featured a sofa sleeper, large desk, television, mini fridge and microwave. I love having a separate living area...

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Bearzona: The Drive-Through Zoo in Arizona

How often does a black bear walk past your car? Probably never, unless you’ve been to the drive-through zoo at Bearizona Wildlife Park. This unique zoo has the standard zoo experience most kids love. They can run around (while killing off some energy) and see animals in typical zoo enclosures. But my family’s favorite part of Bearizona was the drive-through part where we saw arctic wolves, white bison and black bears just outside our car. Other reasons we love it: ·       You can drive through the 3-mile loop multiple times, all day long if you want. ·       We pulled over to watch different...

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Where to Surf in Arizona

Who says you can’t surf in the desert? The Kierland FlowRider opened last year at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s the first of its kind in Arizona and one of the main reasons why I think the Westin Kierland rocks for kids and anyone else that loves to have fun. The Kierland FlowRider The Kierland FlowRider has two jets that push out almost 30,000 gallons of water per minute to simulate a wave. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about falling because the bottom of the FlowRider is similar to a trampoline...

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3 Cool Kid-Friendly Museums in Tucson

Most people avoid Tucson in the summer. It can seem extremely hot, especially if you aren’t used to our “dry heat.” However if you’re adventurous and willing to visit Tucson in the off-season you can score fabulous summer resort rates. Besides hanging out at the pool, you can stay cool by visiting some local museums that are fun and kid-friendly. There’s no shortage of fun and great deals if you visit Tucson during the hot months. Score great deals at local resorts like the Hilton El Conquistador and don’t miss these free, family-friendly ideas in Tucson. Plus check out the fun...

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Celebrate Halloween at Disneyland

When do Jack Skellington, Captain Hook and other Disney villains rule Disneyland? During Halloween Time when The Happiest Place on Earth gets spookier. Halloween Time at Disneyland begins on Friday the 13th (September 13, 2013) and runs through Halloween.  We usually try to plan our annual fall visit to coincide during the Halloween celebration.  Halloween Time includes special attractions like the Haunted Mansion Holiday with Jack Skellington and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. Plus there is the Pumpkin Festival on Main Street with hundreds of unique pumpkins and the Halloween Carnival featuring fun kids activities and Disney villains at Big Thunder...

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Southern Arizona Pumpkin Festivals

With the temperature finally cooling down in Southern Arizona, the last weekend in October is a great time to get outside and enjoy the weather. While we don’t have the same colorful fall foliage as other parts of the country. We do have great pumpkin patch and farm festivals to help inspire our fall spirit! The Marana Pumpkin Patch & Farm Festival, just north of Tucson includes lots of family fun in the price of admission. From jumping air pillows, corn mazes, pig races, and a large kids play area, there’s plenty to do beyond just picking out the perfect...

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Creative Halloween Costume Ideas: Go for a Travel Theme!

Eeek! Only one more week until Halloween and you still haven’t figured out the right costumes. What could be scarier than that? Never fear,TravelingMom is here! These creative Halloween costume ideas are just the ticket for combiing a love of travel and a love of dressing up. Creative Halloween Costume Ideas It’s easy to combine the love of travel and Halloween. Visiting a seasonal haunted house or staying overnight at a haunted hotel are popular options. Amusement parks also get in the spooky spirit: Disneyland and LEGOLAND keep it family friendly while Cedar Point keeps the scare factor high. If you don’t plan on...

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