Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Zoo Atlanta 411 - September 2014

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

Welcome to the September edition of Zoo Atlanta 411 Have you visited Zoo Atlanta recently? There is always something new to see and do so I encourage you to add Zoo Atlanta to your Fall outings. During our most recent visits to the zoo we checked out several of  the VIP experiences.

Have you ever wanted to feed a Lemur? Or come face to face with a Tiger? Ever wonder what an Elephant feels like? Well the Atlanta Zoo Wild Encounters are the perfect way to make these once in a lifetime dreams come true.

For even more fabulous animal encounters as well as unique tours, conveniences and amenities and more be sure to use the NEW ExpApp to book your VIP Pass experiences. I used the app to book our 4 experiences and was delightfully surprised at how quick and easy it was. Within minutes I had our experiences booked and received our confirmations. Animal encounters and tours range from $13 per person - $150 per person (zoo admission is separate). You can purchase tickets to encounters and tours the day of your visit, but it is highly recommended you purchase them in advance because space is limited and they do fill up. Experiences last 30 minutes to 1 hour.

VIP Pass Experiences and Amenities Include:
-Lemur Wild Encounter
-Elephant Wild Encounter
-Tiger Feeding
-Personal Gorilla Experience
-Bird Tour with Curator
-Guided Zoo Tour
-Skulls and Bones Galore Tour
-Giraffe Feeding Fast Pass
-Advance Single or Double Stroller Rental
-Advance Scooter Rental
-more coming soon...

*Note tours and feedings are only offered on certain days of the week. 

The app can be accessed from iPhone and Android Smartphones.

My daughter is very passionate about animals and it has always been her desire to own a horse and animal rescue when she is older. However after attending 4 of the VIP experiences at Zoo Atlanta she is now considering becoming a Zoo Keeper. If you are passionate about animals or have a child that is passionate about animals the animal encounters and VIP tours are a terrific way to encourage those passions while creating special memories that will stay with you long after you leave the zoo. Plus by attending a wild encounter or tour you are helping the zoo with conservation efforts!!!

Here are some pictures and a video of our 4 encounters. The children both said the Bird Tour with a Curator was their favorite. Mine favorite is a toss up between the Bird Tour with a Curator and the Tiger Feeding.

Bird Tour with Curator
James Ballance takes you behind the scenes for an in-depth look at some of the zoos diverse bird collections. He is an amazing guide and is very passionate about his job. During our tour we got to pet the baby flamingo's which are one of the zoo's newest arrivals (only 1 month old). We also got to feed the Giant Hornbill's and several birds in the Living Treehouse.

Elephant Wild Encounter
Go behind-the-scenes and meet one of the zoo's 2 African elephants, Kelly or Tara. You will come nose to trunk with an elephant and get to touch their skin, feel their ears, and feed them. You will also learn about the important conservation efforts being made to save these magnificent creatures from extinction. Did you now that over 100 elephants are killed per day? Visit 96 Elephants to find out what you can do to help.

Lemur Wild Encounter
Go behind-the-scenes to meet and feed the famous residents of the Madagascar. In this up-close-and-personal encounter you will meet either the black-and-white ruffed or ring-tailed lemurs and get to hand feed them. During our encounter we also had the privilege of hearing why lemurs are referred to as the Banshees of the Rainforest (check out the video)!

Tiger Feeding
Join a Carnivore Keeper and a Sumatran tiger for a totally unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience. Not only will you learn how the tigers are trained, but you will get to feed them too! Note the tiger feeding and keeper talk can be viewed by all zoo visitors, however if you want to be only 2 feet away from them and feed them you will want to purchase the VIP Experience.

Video Montage:

Upcoming September Events and Programs:
September 3 and 6 - Adventure Cubs - Creatures Quarters

September  6  - Fall Educator Appreciation Day (homeschoolers may attend this event)
September 6 - Members Only Night
September 7 - Grandparents' Day
September 10 - Homeschool Academy          
September 13 - Jazzoo                                              
September 13 - Family NightCrawlers - Partyin' With Pandas 
September  24 and 27 - Stroller Cubs - Full of Feathers 
September  26 - Deluxe NightCrawlers - Groovy Great Apes 
September  27 - Cub and Boy Scout Day

From now through the end of September take advantage of the 6th Annual SWAMPtember Saving Event. 20 Metro Atlanta attractions are participating this year!

Families looking to find something new to do this September are in luck! 20 Metro Atlanta attractions have partnered together to offer significant savings in the annual SWAPtember event, running September 1 – 30, 2014.  SWAPtember encourages Members of the participating attractions to explore the offerings of other organizations.

Members from any participating attraction can show their membership card at any other attraction and receive $10 off a membership purchase. Some attractions are also offering additional discounts on admission during the month-long savings event.  For full offer details, visit the participating attraction’s web site.

The 2014 SWAPtember participants are:

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
Atlanta History Center | Margaret Mitchell House
Booth Western Art Museum
Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
Callaway Gardens
Center for Civil and Human Rights
Center for Puppetry Arts
The Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Georgia Aquarium
High Museum of Art
Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University
Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia
Museum of Design Atlanta
Oglethorpe University Museum of Art
Piedmont Park Conservancy
Tellus Science Museum
Zoo Atlanta

The otter habitat is open again after being closed for renovations. You can now see river otters and giant otters at the habitat. The two species of otters are rotated during the day so if you plan to spend all day at the zoo you can get a glimpse of both of them.

Did you know?
Everyday there is something exciting going on at Zoo Atlanta, check the calender for details. Activities are also printed on the back of the zoo map. 

Activities Include:
-Public animal feedings (Gorilla, Tiger, Orangutan, Birds and more)
-Petting zoo
-Parakeet aviary (fee for feed)
-Splash fountain
-Wildlife Theater shows
-Keeper Talks
-Fantastic Flights show
-Giraffe feeding (fee for feed)
-and more...

During one of our visits we got to catch the Orangutan feeding. We learned that Benny, Blaze and Pongo are from Sumatra and that they are critically endangered because their forests are being destroyed for Palm Oil. Did you know many of the products we use and foods we eat contain Palm Oil? There is a way you can help though. Visit Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and download the Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping Guide App. Did you know Orangutans are the only apes on the continent of Asia?

Free resources for children:
-Visit my notebooking/journal page for FREE printables to help you enhance your zoo trip like a zoo scavenger hunt, zoo animal journal page and more.
-Visit the Kids Corner on the zoo's website for fun activities, games, crafts and more.

For more information about upcoming events/programs and announcements visit the Zoo Atlanta website.

As a Zoo Ambassador I will try to provide you with an update at the beginning of each month about zoo events and announcements. Be sure to follow me on InstagramFacebook and Twitter for even more updates including photos during our visits.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Georgia Travel Log - September 2014 and A Giveaway

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

We have been super busy lately traveling around Georgia and experiencing some of the newest exhibits and attractions. Because there are so many wonderful things I need to update you on I came up with a brilliant idea (well I think it's brilliant). I am calling it the "Georgia Travel Log." Once or twice a month I will give you an update on several of the newest attractions, exhibits, etc. Most of them will be ones that we actually get to experience that way I can share our personal experiences and show you some personal photos too. I hope you enjoy this edition of the Georgia Travel Log. Please leave comments with information on any other new attractions or exhibits that you know of. Also remember to follow us on Instagram to keep up with our daily adventures!

If you are hosting an upcoming event or promoting a new exhibit or attraction please email me to discuss getting it covered in the next Georgia Travel Log edition.

Stone Mountain - Yellow Daisy Festival:
Get ready for one of the top three arts & craft shows in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine, a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 event and winner of multiple awards by the Southeast Festival of Events Association. The Yellow Daisy Festival takes place at Stone Mountain Park on September 4th - 7th.

Despite its growth from a small arts & crafts show to the four day event that it has become today, the Yellow Daisy Festival Presented by Humana continues to be a big show with a small-town feel. The mission of re-connecting families and friends with fun, shopping, live entertainment and good food has remained constant over the past forty-five years. Multi-generations of mothers, daughters and grandmothers meander the wooded trails together in search of the perfect item.

Yellow Daisy Festival 2014

More than 400 artists and crafters from 38 States and two countries display their works for your appreciation and purchase. Daily live entertainment, Children's Corner activities, and crafter demonstrations throughout the event as well as fabulous festival foods.

Yellow Daisy Festival is FREE with paid parking admission. Vehicle entry to the park is $10 for a one day permit or $35 for an annual permit.

Fernbank Martinis and Imax:
If you are on the search for a fun date night or moms night out then you need to head to Fernbank for Martini's and Imax. I went last month with two of my very good friends and we had a blast. Actually I had so much fun I am attending again this month!

Martini's and Imax happens every Friday night (except holidays) from 7pm to 11pm. Live entertainment begins at 7:30pm.. This fun event is one of the most unique “culture and cocktail” opportunities in Atlanta. Guests enjoy special cocktail menus, small plates, live entertainment, dancing and a chance to see a film on the biggest screen in town, Fernbank’s IMAX® Theatre. This popular event, the first of its kind in Atlanta!

The night my friends and I attended we saw the Great White Shark IMAX, read my review here. After the IMAX we headed downstairs to the party! We grabbed our very tasty adult beverages, I opted for an Island Sparkler. There is always a full bar with a wide selection of specialty cocktails, craft beers, wine and more (menus change monthly). Drinks average $6-$8. After we grabbed our drinks we found a seat so we could relax and chat. There were plenty of seating options available. The night we attended a great band called Georgia Floods was providing the entertainment for the evening. And when we worked up an appetite we headed out to the Happy Belly Food Truck for some fresh, wholesome food. Prices on the food ranged from $4-$10 and the food was absolutely amazing. There are also several games on the terrace like Cornhole and Ladder Ball that you can join in playing too!

Visit my friend websites Almost Supermom and The Diva Beautiful.

There are some awesome nights coming up in September and October like Totally 80's Night, Adult Halloween Party Night and special evening hours of the new special exhibit Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear.

General tickets for Martinis & IMAX are $13 for adults, $12 for students and seniors with ID and $8 for Museum members. To enjoy the atmosphere of the event without seeing a film in the IMAX® Theatre, there is an $8 cover charge for non-members. Purchase tickets online or by calling 404.929.6400. Please be aware that some shows do sell out and may not be available. View cocktail menus, live entertainment schedule, VIP policies and more here.

More Details:
Fernbank Museum of Natural History and the 5-story-tall Rankin M. Smith Sr. IMAX® Theatre are located at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. Call 404.929.6400 or visit the website to purchase your tickets. The film will be shown daily through September 18th. IMAX tickets are $13 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, $11 for children 12 and under and $8 for museum membersExtended show times available Fridays during Martinis & IMAX. Don't forget to download the Official Fernbank App before your visit.

Walker Stalker Con:
Are you a Zombie fan? Do you love the Walking Dead as much as my husband and I do? Then you need to add Walker Stalker Con to your October calendar.

Zombies will be taking over the Atlanta Convention Center at Americas Mart on October 17-19, 2014. Special guests include some of your favorite performers, actors, musicians, and artists like Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln, Emily Kinney, Irone Singleton, Paul Wesley and more. The exhibit floor will be open all three days and will feature games, toys, comics and other memorabilia for true fans of zombie, horror and science fiction. View the full even schedule here.

Tickets for the event start at $35 for general admission. Children 10 and under are FREE with adult paid admission.
Image courtesy of Walker Stalker Con.

There is a new magical convention coming to Atlanta and just in time for Halloween. Two geeks from Atlanta designed a unique Southeast convention dedicated to the use of magic in books, films & other media. If you are a fan of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Supernatural, Charmed, Mary Poppins, Wizard of Oz, fortune telling, magicians and other magical elements then this is the event for you. The convention is dedicated to highlighting the importance and use of magic in our literature, entertainment and imaginations.

CONjuration takes place in Atlanta at the Marriott Perimeter Center on October 31 - November 2, 2014. Convention tickets are just $40 for all 3 days ($50 at the door) or $20 for Friday and Sunday tickets and $25 for Saturday tickets. Children 10 and under get FREE admission per paying adult. 

Do you want to win 2 tickets to this family friendly, magical convention? Then enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post.

More Details:
Taking advantage of the need in the southeast U.S. for a stable, annual, magical, fantasy convention experience; the creators of CONjuration, Chris Seckinger and Angela Hammond, have designed this convention as a means of increasing the experience and enjoyment of our attendees and guests. According to Chris Seckinger, “CONjuration will be a haven for images of all types and an enchanting experience for everyone involved! We are creating a convention where geeks that truly love magical fandom can come  together, meet others like them, and have a blast by taking part in a variety of events.” CONjuration will have trick or treating, wandering entertainers, panel discussions, classes and crafts, vendors and artists, costume contest, gaming, guest speakers, a tea party, a formal ball, quiz shows, charity events and much more. The convention has been designed to have something for everyone. 

World of Coca Cola - Discount:
With the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games coming up Aug. 28 and Aug. 30, the World of Coca-Cola is hosting Fan Days for football fans. Now through Oct. 15, fans can text “WOCC” to 66937 to get two tickets for $25 – a total savings of $7 from regular adult admission.

1939 Delivery Truck
Image courtesy of World of Coca Cola

Atlanta History Center - The Big Read:
The Atlanta History Center - in partnership with the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System - presents the Atlanta Metro campaign, The Big Read. A program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, The Big Read is designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. The Big Read is the largest reading program in American history and a multi-faceted initiative uniting communities across the nation through great literature. This is the Atlanta History Center’s fourth time participating in The Big Read.

The Atlanta History Center selected Luis Alberto Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North for the 2014 Big Read and encourages the public to get involved by reading the book, attending free programs, and promoting the initiative in their community.

The Big Read launches on September 3, 2014, with a variety of free programs, including a ‘Taste of Mexico’ kick- off party, a keynote lecture with Luis Alberto Urrea, a StoryCorps event, dedicated discussions and lectures at various Atlanta-Fulton Public Library locations, and a film festival.

Into the Beautiful North is written by award-winning and best-selling Mexican American author, Luis Alberto Urrea. Urrea has written numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In his third novel, Into the Beautiful North, Urrea transcends the "us against them" discourse of immigration and writes with compassion, complexity, and humor about the people and places caught up in the border wars. The U.S.–Mexico border is not just a line on a map; it is a dream-like destination and departure point, surrounded by desperation and expectations. Urrea invites us to think of the border as more than a stark divide between nations: he reminds us that it is a place of convergence here meaningful conversations, and even love, between cultures begins.

In conjunction, younger readers are encouraged to participate in The Little Read for pleasure and enlightenment. Tots can read along to I Love Saturdays y domingos by Alma Flor Ada. While middle school ages will surely be swept up by Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan.

Whether an avid reader or simply making up for lost time, everyone in Atlanta can take part in The Big Read. Read alone, read to another, join a book club or discussion group, and discover what happens when all of Atlanta reads the same book.

Register today at BigRead@AtlantaHistoryCenter.com to participate and receive information, updates, and program details. For more information, call 404.814.4000 or visit www.AtlantaHistoryCenter.com/BigRead.

I hope you enjoyed this edition stayed tuned for more Georgia Travel Log updates!

Now time for the giveaway: 
One lucky winner will win 2 tickets to CONjuration.

Only the first entry is mandatory. Other entries are optional and give you extra chances. This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook in any way. The winner will be posted on the blog and will be emailed. Winner must reply within 24 hrs with their contact information or another winner will be chosen. Prize will be mailed via me.

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Labor Day Deals and Steals

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It's been awhile since I shared deals and steals with you...I blame it on very busy Summer! But this weekend is Labor Day weekend and that means really awesome, amazing deals just in time for a new homeschool year.

Educents an amazing educational deal website is offering my readers an additional 10% off all purchases. Just use code Kathys10 at checkout to save. 

Extra 10% Off
Groupon is having an amazing deal on the Roku Streaming Stick - $44.99 + 2 months of FREE Hulu. We absolutely love our Roku. Plus enter code LABOR10 to receive an additional 10% off.

What's In The Bible is offering FREE shipping + and additional 20% off all orders with the code LABORDAY. DVDs range from $12.99-$14.99.

CurrClick Labor Day Style Sale

CurrClick publishers are offering huge discounts plus an additional 10% off at checkout. Stock up on curriculum, unit studies, live online classes and more.

Back to School 40% off Everything Sale EXTENDED!

Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett has extended their 40% off  deal through Labor Day. Now is the time to stock up and save! All of the unit study titles are 40% off now through Labor Day. So your entire purchase will be 40% off with the sale prices shown in your shopping cart. No coupon code necessary!
You can even Bundle Your Savings with our other Back 2 School promos:
  • Buy any 8 unit studies in August and get one FREE in September! Buy 12 unit studies in August; get TWO free in September!
  • Or, buy any 5 unit studies in one purchase, and get a $5 coupon to use on a future purchase!*

Homeschooler's Unite - Go See Dolphin Tale 2 On September 12th and Download Your FREE Curriculum

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

You may remember me asking you to go see Dolphin Tale back in 2011? Well thanks to homeschoolers all over the country flocking to see Dolphin Tale in theaters we caught Hollywood's attention! And it is because of us that Dolphin Tale 2 was able to be produced! If you haven't see Dolphin Tale you really need to. You can read our review here.

"Homeschoolers made a huge difference for the first Dolphin Tale movie. When our groups and communities showed up en masse to catch the matinee screenings on opening day, we caught Hollywood’s attention, helping make the original film a box office success and enabling Dolphin Tale 2 to be produced.” ~ Homeschoomovieclub.com

So homeschoolers are you ready to unite again? It is not often that homeschoolers can ban together nationwide to advocate an educational, homeschool friendly film. Did you know that the two main actors are homeschooled? Dolphin Tale 2 releases on Friday September 12, 2014 and has been dubbed Homeschool Day by HomeSchoolMovieClub.com!!!! Check with your local theater and find a matinee showing, then get a group of friends together and GO SEE this fabulous movie! Lets create a wave again!

Let me know in the comments if you plan to attend!

After you see the movie you and your children can continue the fun at home by learning all about dolphins and marine biology with the Homeschool Movie Club FREE Dolphin Tale 2 curriculum. Sherri Seligson author of several Apologia books is the writer of this fantastic, comprehensive curriculum. The new curriculum not only presents lessons on dolphins, it also explores careers in marine biology and aquarium life. There are five lessons (2-3 pages each) which are paired with special videos that were filmed at Clearwater Marine Aquarium!!! In addition to the five pdfs and video curriculum, Homeschool Movie Club has also partnered with Classical Conversations to create a Dolphin Tale curriculum for additional learning and fun!

The Dolphin Tale Curriculum is really comprehensive, engaging and most importantly fun. Each pdf lesson contains instructions and activities for elementary to high school-aged students, along with age-appropriate explanations and vocabulary. A dolphin and turtle symbol are used to indicate if the activity is for elementary age children or middle-high school aged children. Here are some of the activities you will find in the pdf lessons - matching, drawing, experiments, coloring, reading comprehension, mapping, art, math problems and more. There is also an answer key provided.

The videos are about 2-3 minutes in length and are filmed at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. David Yates, a homeschool dad of 4, provides detailed information about dolphins and marine biology. You will even get to see some clips of the Clearwater staff in action.

The Classical Conversations Dolphin Tale curriculum contains 71 pages of information on dolphins. It is also very comprehensive, engaging and fun. Biology, Math, Bible, Geography, History, Art, Literature and Language are all covered in this pdf booklet. Each subject is broken up into it's own section making it very easy to navigate and fit in a little of each subject everyday. My daughter loved the art section of course!

*Note you will need to create a FREE account on Homeschool Movie Club to access these files.

About the movie:
Inspired by true events, Dolphin Tale 2  continues the story of the brave dolphin Winter, whose miraculous rescue and recovery—thanks to a groundbreaking prosthetic tail—made her a symbol of hope and perseverance to people around the world and inspired the 2011 family hit movie “Dolphin Tale.” This film reunites the entire main cast, led by Harry Connick Jr., Oscar winner Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, and of course, the remarkable dolphin Winter as herself. Champion surfer Bethany Hamilton, who has been an example of courage, also appears in the film.

It has been several years since young Sawyer Nelson and the dedicated team at the Clearwater Marine Hospital, headed by Dr. Clay Haskett, rescued Winter. With the help of Dr. Cameron McCarthy, who developed a unique prosthetic tail for the injured dolphin, they were able to save her life. Yet their fight is not over. Winter’s surrogate mother, the very elderly dolphin Panama, has passed away, leaving Winter without the only pool mate she has ever known. However, the loss of Panama may have greater repercussions for Winter, who, according to USDA regulations, cannot be housed alone, as dolphins’ social behavior requires them to be paired with other dolphins. Time is running out to find a companion for her before the team at Clearwater loses their beloved Winter to another aquarium.

Watch the Trailer:

Follow Dolphin Tale On Social Media:
Use these hashtags when talking about the movie: #DolphinTale2, #HomeschoolDay2014 & #WinterHasHope

Now check your local theater for showtimes! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

How To Draw A Horse Tutorial

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

Recently WeDrawAnimals.com contacted me and asked if they could provide my readers with a FREE drawing tutorial. As you may recall in my previous post, "Why the arts matter," I am a huge advocate the arts. Since Gwyn adores horses I asked WeDrawAnimals if they could provide a horse tutorial.

WeDrawAnimals.com has over 500 more animals on their website - some common, some pretty exotic. All of these tutorials are FREE. They also have a FREE eBook.

Gwyn and Rowyn would love to see what your children draw. Please share them on our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram or Twitter (@kbalman on Twitter and Instagram).
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