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Opportunities to explore cool places are all around! See what fun places we found during our summer staycation with kids in Montgomery County, PA.
I know you know this by now – we LOVE traveling. I remember when I was pregnant with Lily, I worried that having a kid would mean less traveling. I have to laugh at that sentiment now because here we are, 10 years later, and our traveling has only increased after the kids were born. We have gone on some epic road trips over the years, taken some amazing cruises, and had these kids in dozens of states and a handful of countries.
I am always on the lookout for our next destination – I just never expected it to be so close to home.
Have you ever gone on a staycation? A staycation can mean a couple different things (for example you could sleep at home or sleep at a hotel), but at its core, it means that you use your travel time to explore areas relatively close to your hometown.
A Staycation Has Many Benefits!
Less travel time – When you choose a getaway close to home, you spend less time in the car driving to your destination.
Discover local gems – How cool is it to discover a cool place close to home that you never even knew existed?!
Boost local tourism revenue – When you spend your hard earned money locally, you are helping to support local businesses.
Less prep – Fewer boredom busters to pack for the kids in the car since the trip isn’t super long, less clothing to pack if you are only going to be away for a couple of nights.
Less vacation time used – This may or may not be true for you, but for us, usually when we travel locally, we are away from home fewer nights. There is no extensive travel/time in the car to use up our precious vacation time. This means that we can get away for a bit but that Bob uses up fewer of his vacation days from work. (Which of course means we can travel more! LOL)
I hope you will pop over to my Instagram page and check out my pictures from our summer staycation! I plan to archive the Stories that I posted so you can still access our many many videos that we took during our stay.
Where We Stayed
We spent the night at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Valley Forge/Oaks. This hotel is conveniently located near all major shopping venues, attractions and restaurants in the Valley Forge/Oaks/King of Prussia, PA area. It is super close to everything from Valley Forge National Historical Park to the King of Prussia Mall, iFly and the Valley Forge Casino.
This hotel was a great place to spend the night! Our room and many other rooms in this hotel have undergone an extensive renovation in the last year. Our room was a 1-bedroom suite that included a kitchenette, living room area, and a whole lot of room to sprawl out. We loved the 24 hour coffee in the lobby, the complimentary breakfast and the super friendly staff!
Did you know there are more than 70 hotels in Montgomery County? There are so many great options for your Staycation, no matter what area of the county you’d like to explore.
Save some money when you stay in Montco this Summer!
When you book a hotel package through Montco’s site this summer, you will not only enjoy some savings on your room, but you will also receive this deal-stuffed coupon book. Inside the book are $250+ in coupons that will save you money at area restaurants, attractions and stores!
First Stop: American Treasure Tour Museum (Oaks, PA)
To be honest, I’m not even entirely sure how to describe American Treasure Tour Museum. But I can sum up our feelings in one sentence: you have to check out this place! ATTM is a massive collection unlike anything you have probably seen before. Warehouse-sized room after room hold countless treasures – treasures by the thousands. What you will see is one (anonymous) man’s collection of things that he has put on display for the public to enjoy.
It’s part nostalgia, part pop culture, part… INCREDIBLE. One half of the museum is explored on foot. For the other half, you hop on a guided tram car tour and get to see all of the treasures!
Music, automobiles, carousels, holidays, toys… all of this and more are represented in this most unique of displays.
All ages are a great fit for this museum because it appeals to so many different time periods and interests. Let me know what your favorite item on display is!
Lunch: The Hub Restaurant (Oaks, PA)
We stopped for lunch at The Hub which is located inside Arnold’s Family Fun Center. This open and inviting casual restaurant offers a variety of tasty apps, burgers, salads and other menu items.
Service was great and we HIGHLY recommend the crab nachos! YUM!
We liked the variety on the menu and Bob loved the option to substitute his burger bun for a gluten-free bun.
Second Stop: Arnold’s Family Fun Center (Oaks, PA)
Located in the same complex as American Treasure Tour Museum, we have passed Arnold’s Family Fun Center a few times over the years but had no idea what was actually inside the building. When we started to plan our Staycation, we decided that AFFC looked like a fun stop for the kids and figured that an hour or two max was how long we would be there. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that we were at Arnold’s for just over FIVE HOURS! FIVE!!
There was so much to do and even after five hours, we still had to drag the kids out of the building. (They would have been happy to stay longer!) AFFC is a great place for the whole family to spend some time. We play laser tag and challenged each other in various arcade games including skee ball and air hockey. Landon rocked the bounce houses while Lily and Bob (who are much braver than me) LOVED the flight simulator.
The kids rode the smaller go karts while Bob opted for the super speedy adult track.
After all of that, we made our way to the bowling alley. We had an absolute blast bowling two games against each other!!
The day that we visited Arnold’s Family Fun Center was SUPER hot and humid outside with tons of storms in the area. Spending the afternoon inside Arnold’s was the perfect way to beat the heat, while having a great time together!
Third Stop: iFLY Indoor Skydiving (King of Prussia, PA)
Some of you may remember our Royal Caribbean Cruise from earlier this year when we had the chance to try out iFLY on the ship. We had such a great experience during that brief amount of time in the tunnel and we are lucky enough to have an iFLY location close to home. iFLY King of Prussia is located right around the corner from the King of Prussia Mall and can be seen from the PA Turnpike.
If you have ever wanted to feel the rush of skydiving WITHOUT the whole jumping-out-of-a-plane thing, you need to check out iFLY. You will want to make reservations for your flight before you arrive. There are a variety of experiences available, from a starter package that includes 2 flights, to packages with more flights, Virtual Reality flights, and more.
When you arrive at iFLY and check in with the front desk, you head back and receive your flight gear. This consists of a jumpsuit, goggles, helmet, etc. Make sure you wear snug lace-up sneakers to your session! You don’t want loose fitting shoes because they will fly right off in the tunnel and turn into projectiles.
After you suit up, you will head to the classroom. Watch a short orientation video and receive a some additional tips from your instructor and then it’s time to head to the wind tunnel.
Such a fun, unique, exhilarating experience!
Fourth Stop: Valley Forge National Historic Park (and Trolley Tour)
Whether you live a stone’s throw from Valley Forge National Historic Park or a long drive away, you need to put this one on your travel bucket list. If you recall anything from your American History class in high school, you just might recall the brutally cold winter that George Washington’s troops spent in Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War. Valley Forge Park is THE REAL DEAL. The Continental Army spent exactly 6 months encamped on this very land. It is not only rich with history from the Revolutionary time period, it’s also a gorgeous park with trails for walking, biking, exploring.
The Valley Forge National Historic Park Visitor Center is currently undergoing a massive renovation and is slated to open in 2020. When you visit the park, you can pop into the temporary visitor center location in the parking lot to chat with a park ranger, shop some merch, or watch a film about the historic happenings in Valley Forge. Make sure if you are visiting with kids, you pick up the latest copy of Patriot Tales – a history themed comic book!! My kids are ALL about graphic novels and they just loved this comic book!
Right outside the temporary visitor center there is a snack stand, bicycle rentals and public bathrooms. This is also the spot where you can hop on a trolley (tickets can be purchased inside the visitor’s center) for a 90 minute guided tour of the park. We LOVED the trolley tour!
The tour is narrated by a very knowledgeable guide who points out notable spots throughout the park. There are two stops on the tour when everyone exits the trolley and gets a few minutes to walk around. The first stop is the area just outside the parking lot with the row of huts that show what housing was like during the army’s winter encampment at Valley Forge.
The second stop will give you the opportunity to walk INSIDE of the house that George Washington used as his headquarters during the 6-month long encampment. This house and the surrounding grounds are THICK with history. Some of the historically significant people who spent time in that house include George and Martha Washington, Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette.
We loved this tour! It was family-friendly, moved you through the park at a nice pace, and it gave visitors a great overview of the park.
After we finished up with the trolley tour, we sat with the kids and worked on their Junior Ranger books. They completed the required pages and were sworn in as Junior Rangers. Great ending to a great day!
Make your next trip a Staycation in Montgomery County, PA!
We had so many positive takeaways from this weekend away-but-close-to-home. I think the best takeaway was the reminder not to overlook a staycation when looking for fun things to do with the family. Day trips, a night or two away, whatever form your staycation might take, they are such a great way to explore the cool museums, attractions, restaurants, etc that are close by.
When you choose a destination that is close to home, you cut out a lot of travel time which gives you more time to explore. (And what’s better than the gift of time?!) If you are at all close to Montgomery County, PA, I hope we have given you some fun ideas of great places to take the family. And if you aren’t local to Montco, put it on your list for future travel – there’s so much to do here!
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