We’re thrilled to announce that today we are launching Findery for Windows 10!
Just like you’ve always been able to on the website, iOS, or Android, now Windows 10 users will be able to share their experiences and leave notes and photos about meaningful places they’ve found and love, both where they live or where they travel.
The new Windows 10 application opens up the bright new world of Findery to Windows users, allowing them to connect with other travel minded individuals, whether they’re planning trips or just dreaming of exploration. We built the latest app to best utilize the Windows 10 operating system, taking advantage of Cortana’s capabilities and the ease of pinning interesting elements to the Start Menu.
“Findery is for adventurers, travelers, and seekers,” said Caterina Fake, founder and CEO of Findery. “We welcome arm chair travelers, weekend wanderers, and world explorers alike.”
With Findery for Windows 10, you can pin a Findery note or notemap to your Start Menu or ask Cortana “Findery, show me things nearby” to see interesting notes around your location or “Findery, show me the world” to explore over 100 destinations around the world.
Once downloaded, Findery for Windows 10 uses the current location to surface interesting local notes. Not actually traveling yet? Windows 10 users can:
- Wander the world on the app.
- Follow other members.
- Discover places to visit and explore.
At Findery we’re all about people living their dreams of climbing the Eiffel Tower or relaxing on a beach in Costa Rica. Where do you dream of going? Take us with you when you go!
Take a look at where everyone’s adventures took us! We hope these travel stories feed your wanderlusting soul!
We Discovered Slovenia with @HouseofAnais
HouseofAnais took us on a tour of beautiful Slovenia. Showing us quaint towns, incredible hikes, and unexpected caves! The colors pop and the views will make your heart thump at the thought of seeing them for yourself.
We got a taste of Assam, India with @FK
New Findery user FK brought Assam, India to life for us by showing us gorgeous smiling faces of the region’s women and children. Odds are high you’ve sipped the world famous Assam tea at least once in your life, get a glimpse of what makes it so tantalizingly delicious.
We Relaxed in Costa Rica with @TawannaB
You could spend years in Costa Rica and never fully explore the marvels offered by this plentiful and exotic land. Or, like TawannaB, you could just spend a week there soaking in everything possible while getting in some much needed respite self-care.
We soaked up a bit of Italy with @Mbe_Giuseppe
Oh Italy, your food, your wine, your beaches…your language. What don’t we love about you? Mbe_Giuseppe charmed us all September, tantalizing us with stunning sunrises, sunsets, and more, making us fall in love all over again.
We survived an extended family vacation in Spain with @WanderlustLiving
Not all travel is about spas and sipping wine during a breathtaking sunset. Sometimes it’s about enjoying your family and discovering the world with the whole gang by your side, something WanderlustLiving knows a thing or two about. She took us on a fun filled trip around Spain, showing us the best ways to make the best of an extended family vacation.
We journeyed across Europe with @Kristen_Edwards
Kristen Edwards showed us her favorite finds from Iceland to the Netherlands. From art to food and truly fantastic architecture, from surprising laundromats to flower markets, she loves it all and isn’t afraid to show it!
And that, Findery friends, is just the tip of the iceberg! Now that September is over, there’s only one thing left to do: look forward to seeing where October will take you!
I love watching the likes of Midsomer Murders, Emmerdale, or Downton Abbey on TV and dreaming of quaint little English villages and grand stately homes. If you were wondering if it is really is that lovely and thinking of embarking on a grand tour of England, the answer is yes – the countryside is England’s best-kept secret, and experiencing it should definitely feature on your travel bucket list.
The English countryside is best enjoyed in the summertime when villages and towns hold their Saturday farmers’ markets, summer fetes, fayres, and Sunday afternoon cricket matches on the village green. A proper Sunday roast in a traditional pub and an afternoon tea in a cozy tea room after a visit to a castle, gardens or walk on the country lanes should also be on your must-experience list.
From Yorkshire in the north to Kent in the south, you’ll find that the country is made up of medieval villages featuring ivy-covered stone cottages with lush gardens on narrow roads, all centered around a village green or town square. There are even a few deserted medieval villages where the time seems to have stopped, a bit like Bodie Ghost town in California where you can relive the Wild Wild West.
Every English village or town was built with a purpose. You can expect to find something great to learn when you visit any of the medieval destination: a castle, manor, or an abbey, all of which are usually surrounded by extensive grounds and gardens.
As you travel from village to village, you can also expect to find an impressive grey-stone church or two close to the village green or the town square, as well as a tea room, a public house, and a pub. In many old market towns a river runs nearby where you can see houseboats moored along the sides.
All you need to do is decide what kind of hamlet, village, or little town you want to see and take your pick from the selection: those filled with antique stores, the ones hosting summer fetes and cricket, or those filled with lush gardens and cobblestone streets too narrow for cars. In England, there’s something for every taste.
There’s even something for food lovers. Dotted around the countryside you’ll find Michelin-starred gastro pubs, traditional carveries where you can enjoy your meal next to a crackling fire, and quaint floral tea rooms that offer the best clotted cream scones you could ever imagine.
So, go, step into the magic of the English countryside, I guarantee that you’ll feel like you either stepped back in time or into a Masterpiece Theater production. Either way, you won’t regret your adventure.
It’s been exactly one thousand one hundred and ninety three days since my 7-year-old was first diagnosed with leukemia. In June 2012 our lives took a dramatic turn, my role as a mother and a caregiver took on new meaning, and my reasons for traveling solo shifted.
For the first thirty days after my son’s diagnosis, I stayed by his side, refusing to leave the hospital even for a short break. His bed was my bed. His diagnosis was my diagnosis. His bathroom was where I cried daily, wishing I could take the chemo for him to save his 4-year-old body from the violence it was enduring.
The induction period for a cancer patient is both physically and mentally grueling. For the parent of a pediatric patient, the pain manifests in a different way. It’s hard to deal when you’re helpless and have zero control.
When we finally moved back home, my husband and I agreed that I needed a little break. That first trip away revealed to me just how much continuing to travel was necessary for my well-being.
Traveling for Respite
In the first year of our leukemia journey, my soul, my mind, and my spirit desperately needed quiet time to find peace and re-charge. I confess to loving going to the spa, however, my getaways weren’t just about spa weekends. I traveled to several destinations where I didn’t give a single thought to laying in a treatment room. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to turn down a spa day, but it really isn’t my sole motivation for respite travel.
My mother used to say, “When you think you’ve got it bad, there’s always someone who has it worse.” When I travel on my own, I’m able to not only take a deep breath but I’m also able to gain perspective.
Travel teaches you to be Grateful
No, motherhood has not been easy, but when I travel, I’m constantly reminded that others have it much worse. I am thankful that my son has survived. I’m also grateful that I have the good fortune to travel. Many families facing mounting medical bills for cancer or autism (yes, we’re dealing with that too) are limited to weekend visits with relatives.
During my travels I’ve met people who’ve lost children. I’ve flown on planes with moms who looked like they needed a break. I’ve passed by locals selling items on the side of the road. And I’ve chatted with cab drivers yearning to travel the world.
I take note of each of these encounters. They’re reminders to be grateful. Life might not always be pretty, but, through these little moments, I can appreciate what I have. And travel makes me happy. When I return home, I’m more centered, relaxed, and patient.
The challenges are still there. Those don’t go away, but because I practice self-care travel, I can perform like a ball player after half-time, playing hard until I can next catch my breath.
This post was written on behalf of Findery by Tawanna Browne Smith, a consultant and Editor-in-Chief at Mom’s Guide To Travel where she shares travel planning tips while helping caregivers and moms plan and strategize how they can make travel an integral part of their lives for transformation, enjoyment, and respite. You can find more of her notemaps on Findery.
Texas, aka the “Lone Star State,” is an unexpected family vacation destination. The total area of Texas is a sprawling 266,807 square miles, with much to offer visitors of all ages. Whatever you’re looking for – big cities, deserts, forests, hills, or rivers (the Rio Grande, borders Mexico), Texas has it. Plus, it’s possible to cross all of Texas in a week – touring everything from Houston’s Space Center to Austin’s eclectic food truck scene to the Alamo in San Antonio . The very real Texan hospitality, patriotism, and adventure are tangible when traveling around the state by car, making the trip both unique and memorable.
We took a one-week road trip through the state, stopping in San Antonio, Austin and Houston. Here’s what we loved and think you should definitely check out.
Texan hotels cater to traveling families, offering up space, overwhelming hospitality, and comfort.
In San Antonio, check out Hotel Contessa, the only luxurious, all suites hotel to be found in the city, or venture further out to for an exquisite Mediterranean experience at the Hotel Eilan Resort & Spa.
In Austin, a must visit is the JW Marriott, a centrally located hotel, that has on-site restaurants, a tremendous view of the city, and a short walk to Congress Avenue Bridge, where the bats fly nightly at dusk; or venture further out to the Sonesta Bee Cave Austin, a unique hotel overlooking rugged hills and rolling terrain in the Hill Country.
In Houston, Four Seasons Houston offers elegance, amazing service, and truly caters to kids’ whims, giving them juice, space snacks, and space suits upon arrival; Omni Houston is another solid option for families.
The Great Outdoors
Within Austin’s Zilker Park’s 358 acres lies Barton Springs Pool, a warm pool that measures three acres in size, and is fed from underground springs, ideal for year-round swimming. Visit the nearby UMLAUF Sculpture Museum, a charming garden full of sculptures of mothers with their children displayed on four well-landscaped acres. The garden offers a waterfall and streams and has trails and path for kids to run through. At the end of a long day of sightseeing in Austin, Lake Travis in the Hill Country is a great place to catch the sunset. If you’re staying nearby, a morning hike to soak in the view is a great way to start the day.
In San Antonio, visit Schlitterbahn, a water park 45 minutes outside the city center. Every local swears it’s one the nation’s biggest water parks, featuring four miles of slides, chutes, water coasters, water playgrounds, pools, lazy rivers, and more. On a warm day, there is no better option to cool kids off.
Educating the Kids at State Museums and Historical Sites
In Austin, the Bullock State History Museum is a great place to learn the history of Texas and a trip to the Texas State Capitol, the 2nd biggest State Capitol in the U.S., is a “must-do,” to see the offices and chambers of the Texas Legislature and the Office of the Governor. Stop by the Driskoll, the oldest operating hotel in Austin, to see a piece of history in the making.
You can’t visit San Antonio without a trip to the Alamo, a shrine to the men who died defending the mission in 1836, but before you visit the actual place, pique your kids’ interest, by catching the IMAX movie, “Alamo…The Price of Freedom” at the adjacent AMC Rivercenter 11.
While you’re in San Antonio, stop by the Witte Museum, a science and natural history museum with interactive, hands-on activities, an outdoor area, and climbing rock wall. Houston’s Museum District is the proud home of the nation’s sixth largest art museum, offering guests 300,000-square-feet of space dedicated to paintings, sculptures, costumes, photography, and textiles dating back to the antiquities.
Spending Fun-Filled Days at Texan Attractions
There is no shortage of great Texan attractions to visit. If you’re in Houston, you’ll definitely want to spend a whole day at Space Center Houston, the official visitors center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. It truly is a bucket-list experience. The center features a multitude of permanent exhibits, attractions and theatres, as well as a tram ride through the actual offices where astronauts are trained and where you can see the actual space shuttle and rockets used over the past 50 years.
San Antonio’s River Walk is nearly 15 miles of winding passages along the river that can be viewed by a stroll or boat ride and is also a must do. It’s literally the largest urban ecosystem restoration in the nation and it’s quite a spectacle and a great place for any stroll (or stroller, for that matter)-loving family. A good way to get orientated to both the city and the River Walk is by jumping on one of the cruises that offer interesting background and a historical context to the area. The cruises run all day and tickets are quite affordable, particularly for young kids.
Indulging in Tex Mex Cuisine
Hands down, one of the best things about Texas is its food. Prepare to become real foodies by indulging in food trucks in Austin’s Barton Springs and at local restaurants like Polvo’s with its own salsa bar, Torchy’s (“Damn good tacos” is their slogan and it says it all), Shady Grove for homemade guacamole, Gourdough’s for the donut experience of a lifetime, or Curra’s Grill where they make margaritas from avocados.
In San Antonio, head to Mi Tierra, located in the very busy Market Square, with its massively sized restaurant, Christmas lights, a big bakery, Mexican singers, and big plates of chips and queso.
Houston also has its fair share of Tex Mex offerings. Don’t miss Molina’s on Washington Avenue where you’ll find high quality, inexpensive cuisine, at this 75-year old restaurant where they really knows how to treat a family. Choose from specialty dishes such as enchiladas, tamales, fish tacos, chalupas, pollo con mole, tilapia, redfish, or more.
Embracing Austin’s Eclectic Side
In Austin, be prepared to explore, and make sure your kids are ready for adventures. You’ll fall in love with breakfast tacos, hear music in the middle of the afternoon, swim in natural and man made water holes, catch the sight of 3,000,000 bats flying over your heads, indulge in salsa bars, try on cowboy boots while shopping on South Congress Avenue, hike in the Texan Hills, and gaze at the city from the middle of Lady Bird Lake. The highlight for your kids will probably be spending time in Graffiti Park, a massive playground with surreal art.
Sightseeing with a City Tour
Texas can be hot, and Austin is no exception, so opt to please the kids and take an air-conditioned tour. AO Tours Austin meets you in a Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van equipped with dual AC, driven by an enthusiastic tour guide who takes you on a 30 mile, 90 minute tour of the city. The tour covers Downtown, South Shore, Historic Austin, 6th Street, shopping, West Austin, State Capitol complex, and University of Texas campus. Another great way to see the city is via Live Love Paddle, a tour service that specializes in kayaking tours down local rivers, during the day or at night, with the option to view the city’s famous bats’ night time fly over. Guides are patient, interesting, and calm – perfect for kids.
In San Antonio, take a ride around town on Alamo Trolley, a hop on/hop off tour, starting at the Alamo, and going past sites including Mission San Jose, Mission Concepcion, Market Square, and the Institute of Texan Cultures.
Keeping the Kids Happy
In San Antonio, allow the kids to indulge in a tour of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, the Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Guinness World Records Museum and Tomb 3D Adventure Ride and Arcade.
Grab a CityPASS in Houston for a huge discount on attractions and check out the Children’s Museum of Houston in the Museum District. For several hours, your kids can conduct science experiments, invent things, climb a three-story tower and use fake ATM machines.
You could spend endless weeks trying to take in all that Texas has to offer. Don’t even try. Just come back again and again to experience old favorites and make new ones.
This summer, our family spent five weeks traveling around Spain. The four of us visited Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Valencia, and Barcelona, spending about a week in each city. Now, we are not exactly new to the whole extended family travel situation, but, nonetheless, even for us, traveling with kids for five straight weeks has the potential to become both irritating and exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, this trip was pretty incredible and filled with unforgettable family memories, but we definitely experiences our fair share of frustration and chaos all while enjoying lots of family bonding time.
So how do you travel for five weeks without losing your collective minds?
Here are a few things that kept us sane.
We rented an apartment in each city through Airbnb. When traveling with kids for extended periods of time, apartments come in handy and enable you to buy groceries, make small meals, stock up on snacks for the kids, and do laundry along the way. I have also found that renting apartments usually put us in a neighborhood with local coffee shops, grocery stores, and fruit stands, all of it out of the way of the hectic tourist areas and main streets. A few of the apartment owners gave us detailed maps and suggested restaurants beloved by locals. It helped us enjoy a more authentic city living experience than we would have experienced at a hotel.
Give the kids their own money
We decided at the beginning of the trip that each child would get a set amount of money to spend over the five weeks we were in Spain. My kids are 8 and 10 and we feel that this taught them how to budget, save, and think before they spent their money. It also curtailed the begging and pleading for souvenirs! My daughter quickly divided her money by five so she knew how much she could spend in each city. Then if she did not spend the allotted amount in that city it would roll over to the next city. The kids even pooled their money together once to buy a toy to play with. To make the money even more valuable to them, we made sure it wasn’t a simple handout. They earned the cash by writing a report on all five cities before we left for our trip.
Embrace a new schedule
When you’re traveling with kids, it’s critical to take into account your surroundings and plan accordingly. Depending on what part of Spain you’re in, you have to adjust your schedule based on the heat. As one local told me “The only people walking around Spain in the summer from 2 – 7 are the tourists.” In the South of Spain, where it is the hottest, everything really does close up for afternoon siestas, because it’s truly sweltering. There we found that our day had to be split in two, we would plan to do something in the morning, go back to the apartment for the afternoon then head out again at night to do something else. But, once we were in Barcelona, where it was cooler, things did not close up and we did not need to take advantage of siestas. Instead, we would sleep in and start our day much later. We often started with Barcelona’s popular brunches around mid-morning and then stayed up really late.
If you have not gone on a Segway Tour while visiting a city, I highly recommend it, especially if you’re traveling with kids! These tours truly saved us; the kids didn’t complain about walking, instead they happily lead the way. We did our first one in Granada, with Play Granada, whose guides took our kids out to train them and make sure that they were both tall enough and mature enough to handle the Segway. We loved it so much we did it again in Sevilla and in Barcelona. (Please note: Barcelona does have a slightly higher age limit. My son was unable to go.) Segway Tours were something the kids looked forward to and ended up probably being their favorite thing about the whole trip!
Divide and Conquer
The family that splits up, stays together. A little known secret of family travel is that you don’t all have to do everything as a family unit everyday. My husband and I have been practicing this parenting philosophy for years and it is even more useful when traveling. When the sibling fighting starts and you just can’t take the bickering anymore, split the children up. Usually this meant one of the kids would do some shopping with me and the other would do some geocaching with my husband. We even ate breakfast at separate tables once, on purpose. The added bonus is that it gives each parent a little one-on-one time with each child.
Technology & Social Media
Now hear me out, because I know there’s a lot of negative press about screen time, technology, and social media for kids. I believe that there are positive and creative uses for all of it and I can never forget that it’s technology that actually allows my family to work and move about the world whenever we want. Technology allowed my daughter to keep in touch with her friends all summer, which gave her some comfort, engagement, and fun. She would Facetime with her friends and literally give them a virtual tour of the apartments we rented, text her friends and talk about what she did or saw that day, and started to get more creative with her photography to post photos on Instagram*.
One day, when our kids were complaining about all the walking, we bought them each a $20 Penny Skateboard and had them ride all the way home. It was the best $40 we spent all summer and I wish we had bought these at the beginning of the trip. They stopped at every empty alley and courtyard to ride them and, poof, there was no more complaining. It took us two hours to get back to the apartment. My husband and I were able to sit on park benches to relax, bask in the sun, and enjoy our environment. I was able to go into some shops without them pressuring me to hurry up. Best travel find ever.
Check yourself into a Spa
Just because visiting a luxury spa isn’t on the ‘10 must see things to do in Sevilla’ brochure, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth finding one. In the middle of our trip I must have started showing signs of travel fatigue, because my husband found a spa and Arabian bath house for us to visit. It was pure genius and I fell in love with him all over again. He went in the morning and I went in the afternoon; we tag teamed staying with the kids. A little pampering totally revived and renewed my travel spirit.
Coffee, Wine and Gelato
Three things that should never be underrated when traveling anywhere with kids is coffee, wine, and some form of ice cream. Coffee shops are a safe haven for parents to get some much needed alone time. Wine helps calm your nerves when everyone is getting on your last one. Gelato exists on every street corner for a reason – to bribe your children. Good behavior, visiting a museum, or being nice to your sibling earned my kids points towards their daily scoop of gelato. Don’t make me take away the gelato.
Our family has been going on extended travel trips for years and we prefer it this way because we find that we can really settle in and experience a place without being stressed about packing all our coveted experiences into too short of a time frame. When you have lots of time at hand, you can also take a travel day off without feeling guilty about wasting a day. No doubt about it, this type of travel is easier on the kids and less stressful for the parent!
This post was written by Andrea Fellman of Savvy Sassy Moms and Wanderlust Living. Follow more of her travel adventures on Findery!
*Please note: Each social media platform has their own terms of services in regards to what ages children are allowed to be before opening an account. Please use your own discretion when proceeding.
For years, whenever we had a free day to spend together as a family, either my husband or I would say, “What do you want to do?” To which the other would respond, “I don’t know. What do you want to do?” After a lengthy search online and/or the careful perusal of travel books, we’d finally decide on a fun local activity. Only by then, it was usually too late to go anywhere because all the venues were about to close. Sound familiar?
This even happens to us when we’re on vacation. Fact is, sometimes families need a break from sightseeing and would rather spend the day doing something different. In case you’re a San Francisco local or just visiting with your kids for a while and need a couple good ideas, here are some of our favorite places. Maybe this post will spare you from wasting away some of your precious free time. Each of these establishments offers interactive and educational exhibits that will keep parents entertained just about as much as the kids. (Please note: Suggested ages are estimates and are only meant to be a guide.)
In San Francisco
Children’s Creativity Museum – Best for ages 2-10
Activities of all sorts to stimulate creativity and imagination. My husband, daughter, and I can spend all day in the Animation Studio making clay figures and stop-motion animation. In fact, that’s what we did during our first couple of visits! The carousel outside is $4 per person for two rides, $3 with paid museum admission.
Admission: $12 (ages 3+); Free for ages 2 and under
Exploratorium – Best for ages 8 and up
Hands-on science experiments both inside and outside the museum. Even if you’re not a science nerd, the exhibits here are tons of fun. My daughter loves forming new shapes on a super powerful set of magnets while my husband is mesmerized by the patterns he can make on the spinning stands of sand. For me, I just love it all and I totally feel like a kid running from display to display. The only drawback of visiting the Exploratorium is that it’s impossible to do everything in one visit. New exhibits are always being developed. Discounted admission for locals.
Admission: $29 adults (ages 18-64); $24 seniors (65+), people with disabilities, teachers, students, youth (ages 13-17); $19 youth (ages 4-12); Free for ages 3 and under
California Academy of Sciences – Best for all ages
A combined museum, aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and more under one living roof. Even though we live in the San Francisco Bay Area, we love the Earthquake experience! The meticulously decorated room, audio clips, and shaking really make you feel like you’re back in 1906 experience the great quake in the city. Oh, the rainforest exhibit! We’ll spend hours here just trying to capture photos of all the gorgeous butterflies. Last time, we saw the strangest thing – birds and butterflies sharing the same plate of food. It was so shocking to see that the bird wasn’t even eyeing the butterfly as its next meal. This area is not as humid as you’d expect and all four floors are not to be missed. There is a dedicated area for children ages 5 and under.
Admission: $34.95 adult; $29.95 senior (65+); $29.95 student, youth (ages 12–17); $24.95 child (ages 4–11); Free for ages 3 and under
San Francisco Zoo – Best for all ages
Houses a wide variety of reptiles, insects, birds, mammals, and amphibians. One time, the lion came right up to the plexiglass and was stretching and scratching it. It scared us half to death but it was amazing to see him so close up. Every time we visit here, we’re surprised by how much we enjoy watching the animals, which all seem quite content and well-cared for. If there are any baby animals, make sure to stop by and see them in the nursery. They’re so adorable! Photo opportunities of the animals can be found everywhere and the way the exhibits are set up provide great, clear views. Miniature train ride, carousel ride, and parking are an additional fee.
Admission: $20 adults (ages 15-64); $17 seniors (65+); $14 children (ages 4-14); Free for ages 3 and under
In the North Bay
Bay Area Discovery Museum – Best for ages 0-6
Even the littlest of visitors can climb, build, paint, play, and create here. Paint on the walls in Studio 5, climb at Lookout Cove, or visit simulated ports of San Francisco and Oakland. Some of our favorite photos from my our daughter’s childhood were captured here. Kids can be free to be kids from crafting, to dressing up, to imaginative play! Fab Lab is opening in spring of 2016 for ages 3-10. Awesome view of the Golden Gate Bridge!
Admission: $13.95 general (ages 1-64); $12.95 seniors (64+), babies (ages 6-12 months)
On the Peninsula
Curiodyssey – San Mateo – Best for ages 2-12
Cozy museum offers exhibits that changes, classes, and a small collection of wild animals that have been rescued. The owl and porcupine are a couple of my favorites! There are larger exhibits for both the river otters and the raccoons, giving them plenty of space to play around. They never get boring to watch! My daughter took several homeschool classes here and they were fantastic. Down the hill, near the parking gate, visit the huge playground to get some wiggles out, have a picnic, or stroll along the bay. We make sure to do both if we have time. Parking is $5.
Admission: $9 adults; $7 seniors (62+), students (ages 13-17); $6 children (ages 2-12); Free for infants (ages 0-23 months)
In the East Bay
Chabot Space and Science Center – Oakland – Best for ages 5 and up
Get your fix of interactive space exploration and enjoy one of the many planetarium shows. The Observatory is open for telescope viewing Friday and Saturday evenings depending on the weather. We went on a night when it was kind of cloudy so the domes were closed. Make sure you check the forecast and come when clear skies are expected.
Admission: $18 adult; $15 seniors (65+), students (ages 13-18 or college ID); $14 youth (ages 3-12)
Lawrence Hall of Science – Berkeley – Best for ages 6-12
This is where I used to go on field trips when I was in elementary school and the huge whale we used to climb on is still there! Find out what scientists are working on now and foster a love of science by means of animals, exhibits, movies, and more. As an added bonus, the views outside are simply breathtaking.
Admission: $12 adults; $10 seniors (62+), children (ages 3-18); Free for ages 3 and under
In the South Bay
The Tech Museum of Innovation – San Jose – Best for ages 8 and up
Discover, play with, and understand technology in the many ways it touches our lives. From health advancements to topical exploration, and from internet security to upcoming innovation, these exhibits are sure to get those brain juices flowing. You really have to visit to see how interesting it is for the whole family. At one exhibit, my husband and daughter were even competing to see who was better at shaking the maracas to the beat. I’m a total tech girl so being able to see real-world applications and the inner workings behind such tech is just awesome.
Admission: $21 adults; $16 seniors (65+), children (ages 3-17); Educational IMAX Film is extra
Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose – Best for ages 0-6
Young ones will have so much fun playing with water, blowing giant bubbles, exploring a small-scale city, picking food at a farmers market, and digging for fossils that they won’t even realize that they are learning the whole time. Be sure to make your own cornhusk dolls! I had just as much fun doing this as my daughter. It’s such a great souvenir and the staff is super helpful as you assemble and customize your dolls.
Admission: $13 adults; $12 seniors (60+); $13 children (ages 1-17); Free for infants (ages 0-11 months)
San Francisco Bay Area Bonus
A bonus venue is Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, CA. It’s not educational in nature, but it is a ton of fun for the whole family. Each attraction is based on a children’s story and plastic keys activate storybook boxes with humorous audio recordings. I love all of the bright colors and the moving characters are so adorable. Sometimes my husband and I would prod our daughter to put in her key just so we could hear the story! Toddlers and young school-aged kids will make so many memories there that they’ll want to bring their children in the future. That’s what happened to my parents, what happened to me, and I hope my daughter will continue the tradition one day!
As you can see, there is plenty to do in the San Francisco Bay Area with kids. Be careful visiting all of these places though. After finding out how much there is to explore, your family might not want to leave!
As travel aficionados, we here at Findery can’t exactly hide our love for all things National Geographic, so being included in their “5 Travel Apps To Make The Most Of Your Next Trip” round-up really made our day.
In their words: “Findery has a long list of crowdsourced sightseeing tips in locations ranging from Mexico and Dubai to Nicaragua and New York.”
Why yes, yes we do. Thank you for noticing, Nat Geo!
At first light, I have her all to myself, aside from one lone jogger and a trash collector. I start to feel the lure of Savannah,Georgia, that sweet sickness that the French call le mal doux. I need to sip her slowly, like a dry martini. I take a deep breath and etch her memories in my mind’s eye. Spanish moss hanging from beautiful 250-year-old live oaks, ornate ironworks surrounding mansions, and lounge-worthy park benches in the city’s 22 stunning public squares – this is Savannah, Georgia. When something is this good, you need to sip it slow and put it on your bucket list.
Plunge into Bonaventure Cemetery
Savannah’s allure entangles my senses as I meander aimlessly through her gritty, yet Southern hipster streets. Each corner seems to tell a story and my journey to the Bonaventure Cemetery is no different. My fascination with cemeteries runs deeply through my Southern roots. Stepping foot through the gated archway takes my breath away and captivates me right from the start. I find myself walking down avenues of live oaks with a quintessentially southern gothic look. The cemetery transcends time with its natural cathedrals, tombstones, and sculptural gardens dotted among the civil war heroes that are buried here. They lie near local heroes like singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer and the Pulitzer Prize winning author Conrad Aiken. This cemetery is where Savannah shows her respect.
Reminisce About Savannah’s Romantic Past
Before you visit Savannah, I highly recommend you read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. It is the 1994 New York Times best-seller written seductively about Savannah and immortalized on the silver screen by Clint Eastwood a few years later. It simply radiates Savannah charm and its impact on the city and its visitors has been greater than any other book ever written about Savannah . It’s almost like a Lonely Planet guidebook that takes you to the most interesting haunts around the city and introduces you to its most captivating characters. Featured on the front cover of the book you’ll see the “Bird Girl” statue originally located at the Bonaventure Cemetery. She has since been relocated to the Telfair Museum of Art.
Take a Walk in the Park
No visit to Savannah would be complete without a visit to Forsyth Park. There you will see the most alluring water fountain you have ever seen in the United States. Old Southern mansions have been restored and surround the romantic park. The architecture is stunning and represents the imaginative flair of Southern styles made of brick and limestone. There are classic homes, American Gothics and Victorians, on every corner, surrounded by Greek Revival columns. Even the most modest houses have shuttered windows, ornate doors, and wrap-around porches.
Stroll Down River Street
River Street is a busy nine-block waterfront that stretches along the Savannah River. It was once a bustling, gritty wharf, but it has since grown into a flourishing commercial area with galleries, an open-air marketplace, a good selection of restaurants and bars, and not one, but two candy stores. It is also where you will find the Waving Girl monument, modeled after Florence, the daughter of a Sergeant Martus, who was stationed on Cockspur Island between Savannah and Tybee Island. As a child, she was often lonely and would wave her kerchief to the sailors passing by. Over the course of 44 years, it is estimated that she welcomed more than 50,000 ships into the harbor, as she continued her waving tradition.
Take a Fine Home Tour
In Savannah there’s no shortage of fine homes to tour, but be sure you don’t miss out on visiting the Thomas-Owens House, considered one of the finest examples of English Regency architecture in America. It was built in 1819 and occupies an entire block. It features a cast iron balcony, a winding double staircase, and arched storybook windows. You’ll even see, in the slave quarters, a traditional indigo ceiling. Slaves mixed up a paint made of indigo, lime, and buttermilk believed to ward off evil spirits. The result was known as a “haint” blue ceiling; haints are restless spirits of the dead who have not moved on from the world of the living. The indigo ceiling was intended to protect them from being “taken” or influenced by haints. Slaves believed that the ceiling protect the whole house and its occupants from evil.
Admire America’s First Planned City
As America’s first planned city, each street in Savannah leads to a different town square, all of which are decked out with fountains, park benches, and monuments. If we mention this, we also have to mention James Oglethorpe, the founder of Savannah. In 1733, he designed a grid system featuring twenty-four town squares. Today, only twenty-one of the original twenty-four town squares are left. Three were taken over by construction companies and demolished before the ladies of the Historic Savannah Foundation were able to put a stop to the dreadful practice. One of the three destroyed squares was restored to its original grandeur and rebuilt according to its original plan. Despite holding on so tightly to its history, or perhaps because of it, Savannah is a vibrant and progressive destination that is fast becoming one of the top tourist attractions in the United States.
By the end of my week in Savannah, I have no desire to move again. I find myself sitting on a bench in Medford Square, pondering my own Southern past when I notice a historical marker that reads, ‘This is the “birthplace” of “Jingle Bells” in 1850.’ Apparently James Pierpont published this familiar song nearby while serving at the Unitarian Church in Oglethorpe Square. It seems to me, that in Savannah, every square and every house is a museum of sorts; each one collecting the memories of the past. It is as though every acre of land is a romantic tomb preserving our collective Southern past. In Savannah, it is useless to pretend that we are not all connected.
Big news! Findery for iOS is now available in 10 languages.
Findery is a big global product, and it makes us so happy to announce that Findery for iOS is now available in 10 languages! They are English (as it has been, since the beginning), Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, and Spanish. Now you can read notes in any of these languages–and, as always, write in any language at all. You won’t miss out on great notes either, because an auto-translation option is now available so you can convert every note into your preferred language.
How does it work?
If you’ve set the default language on your iPhone to one of the 9 new languages, you’ll receive the appropriate language version upon installing the update. Here is a screenshot of the setting screen from iOS for “Language and Region” where the languages are set.
If a note is in a language other than your preferred language, you have the option of seeing a translation of a note, auto-translated, with just a push of a button. Since these are machine translations, idioms and other expressions may get “lost in translation,” but the gist of the note will be conveyed. Translation services have been getting better and better year by year. Maybe one day we’ll all have a Babel Fish in our ears or apps. This is the first step into the future!
Other new features & improvements
We are always working to improve, so, in addition to the new language support, you’ll find other features and fixes.
+ We’ve added related notes so you can find out more about a place, topic, or Findery member after reading a note. You’ll find these related notes at the bottom of the full note view.
+ A new first-run walkthrough will help first-time users feel at home.
We look forward to finding your notes on Findery!