Our feature this week is from Jill Seman, creator of Mom Maps – a navigation app that helps families find kid-friendly spots on the go. Mom Maps supports over 18,000 family fun parks and activities in over 18 metro areas. By teaming up with mom experts and travel bloggers, Jill has fostered an entire community of mom-mappers! Jump start your summer plans with this list of her favorite travel resources and inspirations (original article posted on the Mom Maps blog).
Planning a stay-cation or taking it on the road? Summer is just around the corner and Mom Maps has teamed up with Family Travel Forum and some great bloggers to share hundreds of tips and reviews to jumpstart your travel plans.
I have always loved to travel. Maybe it is all those road trips I took as a kid, but I just can’t wait to go off and explore. My travels have taken me to Borneo, Amazon, Japan, Indonesia, Belize, and all over Europe and the US. The places I have visited have given me a new appreciation for the world outside my door.
Now that I have two small children, my travels have taken me to less exotic locations but have presented some of the most exciting travel challenges yet:
- How to find the nearest bathroom in the moments before the accident happens!
- Getting to the nearest kid friendly restaurant or coffee shop before the kids get too hungry and pandemonium breaks out!
- Finding the nearest park or playground – one with working swings – before the wiggles completely take over!
I began to think about how useful it would be to have some spots mapped out on my phone so I could find them when I am out and about. While building Mom Maps, I discovered a vibrant community of families who have traveled with children and lived to blog about it. These bloggers all are adventurous parents with advice about how to get around with kids. Here are some of my favorites:
Family Travel Forum: Family Travel Forum has served a global network of travelers with children since 1996. FTF brings print and online publications, trip-planning consultation and a vast library of destination research together for some of the most extensive coverage of family friendly destinations around the world. *Mom Maps is proud to announce that we now provide mobile access to Family Travel Forums incredible library of kid friendly activities! For the summer travel season, we logged over 500 locations with reviews from FTF in Mom Maps, so you can get the best access to family travel content from your iPhone. Mom-mapped spots include:
Seattle’s REI: “Kids climbing the walls? Scale a 65’ wall at REI on Yale Ave in Seattle.”
Orlando’s Dinosaur World “Little ones will feel like they’re walking through a prehistoric picture book at Orlando’s Dinosaur World.”
Las Vegas’ Liberace Museum “Take in the jeweled costumes of “Mr. Showmanship” himself at the Liberace Museum.”
Maui’s Surfing Goat Dairy “Eat cheese on Haleakala & feed the goats that made it possible.”
Monterey’s Seal Rock Center “Picnic with seals and otters at the Seal Rock Picnic Center.”
Kelly Tirman:Kelly Tirman is a San Francisco mom who is fond of eco friendly goods, public libraries and the new playgrounds in Mission district. Mom-mapped spots include:
Yoga Tree ” … official volunteer baby holders at every class to comfort any upset babies so mommies can easily focus on their practice…”
Bi-right Creamery “The best creamery in San Francisco partly due to their use of organic and local ingredients”
Giorgio’s “…They also provide balls of pizza dough for the kids to play with which helps keeps the kids entertained.”
Pit Stops for Kids:Amy Whitely has amassed an amazing array of kid friendly attractions along most major highways, hotels, and airports. At Pitstops, you’ll find real parent reviews on all the road-side attractions, restaurants, motels, parks, and airport play spaces you’ll need along the way during your family vacation. Mom-mapped spots include:
Olympic Game Farm “The Olympic Game Farm is a great place to get face-to-face with a wide range of exotic animals…”
Tillamook Cheese Factory “You can take a self-guided tour of the production floor (viewed from above), then sample all the cheese you want (yes you read that right!)”
Umpqua Discovery Center “As you enter the exhibits, you hear the sounds of the river rushing and feel nature surround you”
See Jane Fly: See Jane Fly is a team of time-starved moms, travel junkies, twenty-something trendsetters, on-the-go executives, brides-to-be and seasoned solo travelers are devoted to simplifying travel for women everywhere. They have set out to become the concierge I always dreamed of, and they have gathered a network of travel experts and savvy insiders to help when it is most needed. Mom-mapped spots include:
Santa Monica Surf School “Get in the curl, and go surfing with these laid-back experts…”
Scribble Press “Great activities abound–make books, note cards, holiday cards and gifts with your kid’s art..”
Douglas Park“…duck ponds loaded with quackers who like to be fed and an amazing wet area with sprinklers..”
Travel Mamas: Colleen Lanin, the creator, is the head Travel Mama. She got her start by writing for Babytalk and San Diego Family, and became a regular contributor to 101 Things to do in San Diego. Her site not only presents great family travel destinations, but it contains packing lists and invaluable travel tips like travel/parenting articles, resources, and websites. Mom-mapped spots include:
San Diego Zoo “This zoo is huge … so I provide the location of each recommended attraction in parentheses…”
San Diego’s Birch Aquarium “The aquarium offers a wonderful, low-key alternative to its famous competitor…”
Alisa Shtromberg: I met Alisa through her use of Mom Maps. Alisa hails from the southwest and she blogs about her adventures in Santa Fe and Albuquerque with her son. Mom-mapped spots include:
Rio Grande Zoo “a little oasis in the middle of the desert” (w/ice cream!)
Explore “Here kids can touch, play, and even try to break with just about every exhibit which include toys and science exhibits…”
Slate Street Cafe “My husband and I just discovered this little piece of heaven…”
A Little Yum: Little Yum is a food blog for Kid Food That Adults Will Love. This blog features two moms with a passion for cooking and eating & sharing fun food experiences with their kids in San Francisco. Mom-mapped spots include:
Let’s Be Frank (Marina): “We love their organic, grass-fed beef dogs! They make us (and our kids) want to do the hot dog dance!”
Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream (Mission): “An ever-changing menu of flavors appealing to both ice cream traditionalists (mint chip) and the more adventurous (Pistachio-Bacon!).”
Little Star Pizza (Nopa, Mission): “You can’t go wrong with the daily special which invariably features the tastiest of local, seasonal ingredients.”
Keeps Me Smiling: Lorraine Akemann is a fellow iPhone developer who lives in the Bay Area. She has two children about the same age as my kids and finds great local outdoor activities. She finds hikes and outdoor activities perfectly suited for both adults and young children. Mom-mapped spots include:
Hanauma Bay: “Famous snorkeling spot on Oahu. Amazingly beautiful but also very crowded…”
Kailua Beach Park: “Kids enjoyed mini body surfing in the little waves, and the white sandy beach…”
Mom Maps maps out locations from all the above bloggers and more. We’ve entered 19,000+ kid spots, plus reviews by parents for parents, to keep your family entertained all summer. Download the Mom Maps free iPhone app or visit our website to plan your itinerary ahead of time. During the week of April 26th we’re giving away a $50 Amazon gift card. To enter, just add a review for some of your favorite kid friendly places. YOU can be a mom-mapper too!