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The little book with BIG resources!

Under the sea! Crown Center’s Sea Life Aquarium

We had the opportunity to visit the new turtle shelter exhibit at Crown Center’s Sea Life Aquarium last week.  This large attraction is located at the south side of Crown Center Square at 25th and Grand Blvd.  It shares a building with the Legoland exhibit.  We parked in the main Crown Center parking garage and wandered aimlessly a bit before figuring out where it was and heading over.  We were greeted warmly by the staff, they graciously offered to validate our parking, gave our daughter a turtle crown (which she loved) and they took our picture in front of a green screen.  At the end of the experience you have the opportunity to purchase the picture which has a sea life background superimposed behind it.  These small touches were very nice and create a more personal experience.


Our two-year old daughter really enjoyed what the aquarium had to offer.  She especially enjoyed the interactive exhibit where she was able to touch sea urchins and starfish, and the tunnel which had stingrays and sharks swimming right above us.  The sea turtles were the stars of the show.  The staff had one out and about and allowed children and guests to take pictures with him.  Our daughter was very interested but was too nervous to get very close by herself.  She eventually agreed to take a picture with daddy a few feet away from the turtle.  They also had a video which discussed the challenges and dangers that sea turtles face.


At the end of the exhibit was a surprise playground which our daughter enjoyed immensely.  The playground was great in that it offered enough to do to entertain bigger kids, but also had padded stairs and a slide that were perfect for toddlers.  Too often these types of playgrounds are either too difficult and dangerous for two year olds, or too boring and lame for six year olds, but this one found a good middle ground.


Finally there was the gift shop where you get to see your aforementioned green screen picture, and the other sea life related goodies that they have to offer.  We bought a reasonably priced turtle necklace for our little one and she couldn’t have been more excited.  It will be a nice reminder of a great experience.

Overall, the turtle shelter exhibit at the SeaLife Aquarium is a great option if you are seeking some indoor fun.  I definitely recommend it for those summer days that are just too hot and miserable to spend outside. For more information on the new Turtle Shelter Exhibit, head on over to the Sea Life Aquarium website.


This article was written by mom blogger Holli Ann from It’s An Ordinary Blog. Pictures from this event can be found on the blog’s Facebook fan page. Connect with Holli via Facebook or Twitter for more posts about life, parenting, and adventures with a toddler.

Variety Joins Standees

         Variety The Children’s Charity of the United States has spent the last eighty years empowering the lives of children with special needs.  Variety is partnering with Standees Entertainment Eatery so that local kids ages birth through high school will also benefit from this children’s charity!

Standees Entertainment Eatery will have its grand opening on Friday May 24th.  Standees Eatery is geared toward adults however their philanthropic mission is to the children with special needs in their area.  Standees is proud to be a Variety supporter as well as a supporter of DeLaSalle Education Center and Operation Breakthrough.  Standees will be donating their time and resources to ensure that children with special needs in our area can continue to look forward to new and exciting challenges.

Located in the Prairie Village shopping center Standees Entertainment Eatery combines the concept of casual dining and then a movie. This is a great place for adults to catch up and unwind, with cocktails, appetizers and a menu that will be sure to please a variety of palates.  The three theatres are equipped with comfortable seating that allows you to take your food and drinks right into the movie.

Cindy Rogers with Variety so humbly explained that its mission is to provide children with developmental disabilities equipment and opportunities for activities and inclusion. Movement can be difficult for children with special needs and Variety’s goal is to make “movement” easier for these children.  Variety’s most recent collaborations have lead to an adaptive baseball field in both Independence and Olathe!  These baseball fields offer opportunities for new friendships to be made as well as personalities to shine.

Variety is a volunteer organization and they are so excited to help families in Kansas City.  Please visit www.varietyKC.org to volunteer.  The long time supporter and very thoughtful Fred Pryor ironically used the Chinese proverb, “A little bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives the rose,” while expressing the importance of helping those who cannot help themselves.

Submitted by Shari Jacobs, iFamily Mom Squad



Lights, Camera, Action!

By: Shari Jacobs

My daughter recently finished a month long theatre class in May called, Circus Hilarious at the Coterie Theatre in Crown Center.  She had so much fun pretending to be a lion tamer, a tight ropewalker, an excited clown, and even a sad, scary, and confused clown! The Coterie Acts Theatre School will be offering more exciting summer theatre classes for grades K – 12 beginning in June. The list of classes being offered is long and class sizes are small so make sure to check out all the opportunities at www.coterietheatre.org and www.pembrokehill.org for Pembroke Hill classes.

This is a great chance for kids to be around other kids their age, make new friends, learn about theatre all while keeping it cool in the hot summer months!  Make sure to check out the class schedule to find out if there is a theatre class that is offered near you.  With a variety of classes and class locations convenience and fun could be just around the corner this summer!

Some of the summer classes offered for the older grades are “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”, “Comedy on Your Feet”, “Advanced Musical Theatre” and even “Fun Effects in Theatrical Makeup”.   For the younger students classes range from titles like “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” to “Summer Term at Hogwarts”!

My daughter looked forward to going to her “Circus Hilarious” class every week and the homework that her teacher assigned kept her excited and engaged!  Parents can visit the final class to watch performances. I was so surprised to see how much she learned, there was a big focus on teamwork and self-expression.  I have to say “Circus Hilarious” was definitely hilarious! The teachers at the Coterie Theatre are professionals, very good with kids and great at communicating with the parents.

Union Station & Science City to Unveil New Touring Exhibition, ‘Alien Worlds and Androids’

Open to Public: Friday, May 24

The limited engagement exhibition features scientific and educational content from Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA and focuses on the search for alien life within and beyond our solar system.

Union Station will host a special media preview event to unveil the latest addition to Kansas City’s Science Center, Science City – an exciting new touring exhibition, Alien Worlds and Androids. Media are invited to explore the interactive exhibit, interview representatives from GES and USKC, and provide their audience a sneak peek of the out-of-this-world exhibit.

Thursday, May 23, 2013: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Science City entrance, inside of Union Station Kansas City, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108

Produced by Global Experience Specialists Inc, (GES), Alien Worlds and Androids addresses the question that has fascinated man for centuries: “Are We Alone?” Through the use of robots, telescopes, space probes and high-tech laboratories, scientists have been studying the possibilities of life existing beyond Earth and what forms may take depending on the environment. In this interactive exhibition, visitors will join scientists in their search for alien life within and beyond our solar system, discover strange alien-like creatures found here on Earth, and learn about the technologies used to explore remote solar systems and extreme environments found on Earth. Alien Worlds and Androids highlights scientists’ studies and findings in nine areas: Are We Alone?, Looking for Life in Space, Alien Life on Earth, Artificial Intelligence and Robots, Robot Space Explorers, Explore the Solar System, The Robotization of Planet Earth, I-Cyborg and The Human Microbiome. Science City at Union Station is the host of the world premiere of Alien Worlds and Androids.

About Union Station Kansas City, Inc.
Union Station Kansas City is a historical landmark and civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. The organization, driven by its mission of science and history education and entertainment, features Kansas City’s science center, Science City; the popular Model Railroad Experience open year round; new Gottlieb Planetarium, one of the region’s largest screen movie theater, live theater, shops, restaurants and home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses. Visit unionstation.org for details.

About GES:
Global Experience Specialists, Inc. (GES), a Viad Corp (NYSE: VVI) company, is a leading marketing agency that produces exhibitions, events, exhibits and retail environments. GES provides a wide range of services, including turnkey official show services, cutting-edge creative and design, marketing and measurement services—all with an unrivaled global reach. GES partners with leading shows and brands, including Spring Fair Birmingham, International Woodworking Fair, CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE, Bell Helicopter, L’Oreal, Warner Bros., and Simon Property Group. GES’ National Servicenter® has been recognized with certification under the J.D. Power and Associates Certified Call Center Program℠ for the past five years, and for the fourth year in a row Ad Age has named GES as one of the “World’s 50 Largest Agency Companies.” For more information, visit ges.com or the GES blog at defyingconvention.ges.com

Flowers & Fun: A Day at Johnson Family Farms

Let’s be honest: Life is busy and no matter what we do, time just doesn’t seem to slow down. That’s probably why they say that we should always remember to ‘stop and smell the roses”. Thankfully beautiful flowers, and the opportunity to take a break and enjoy some time with your family, are in abundance at Johnson Family Farms in Belton. Nestled on 140 acres of land, the location is as vast as it is beautiful and their selection of plants is unparallel to anywhere I’ve seen in the metro area. With nearly five thousand options to select from, Johnson Family Farms is sure to appease the horticulturist in all of us. But that’s not all that the location has to offer. The family friendly atmosphere, play areas, and live animals provide for an enjoyable day out with the entire family.

Last week iFamilyKC hosted a morning out for children and families. The two hour event offered the opportunity to witness, first hand, what Johnson Family Farms is all about. Laid back back and relaxed, it made for a really comfortable experience. Participants were given the opportunity to put their green thumbs to good use by potting either a vegetable or a flower. Afterwards, the children enjoyed a quick snack before heading out to explore the rest of the farm. From the jumping pillow to the pig races (which the farm does daily), Johnson Family has something to offer guests of all ages. My two year old spent a majority of her time playing on the slide and in the old school bus which has been converted to a sand pit. They had a large tunnel area for older children and several animals for the entire family to enjoy.

Our day was cut short when the rain drops started to fall but we plan to be back over the summer for some family fun and again in the fall for their annual Pumpkin Patch. For more information on Johnson Family Farms, visit them on Facebook or stop by Monday thru Saturday from 9:00am until 7:00pm or on Sunday from 11:00am to 6:00pm.

 Find pictures from this event at It’s An Ordinary Blog. You can follow all of Holli’s blog posts by email or on the It’s An Ordinary Blog Facebook page.

Rockfest and Kids

Keri Nichol


Rockfest is here in Kansas City today and over and over again I hear all the kids wanting to go. Between our kids and various friends the kids range from the ages of 6-16 years old. It makes me think about when the perfect age is for kids to attend concerts. I definitely do not think that all concerts are created equal. I don’t even think I am old enough to go to Rockfest…. (jk).

My 6 year old knows every word to a lot of the Taylor Swift songs. She is a sponge when it comes to music. Her dad listens to lots of heavy metal and rock and she will repeat songs that she has only heard one time. I have always thought that music is food for the soul but it’s the lyrics and lifestyles that I am afraid to expose my young children to. However, what is the point of sheltering them completely from it if we are going to pull up at a gas station or stop light just to hear some person blaring profanity that they call music so loud that my children are forced to listen.

I was talking to a friend who has a 16 year old that wants to go to Rockfest with her Dad and he says that he is afraid to take her because he would end up in an altercation. I never really thought too much about that part of it since my girls are so young. However, I can imagine taking my 16 year old daughter and having some drunken 40 year old hitting on her. I am pretty sure things would go all downhill from there.

I think when my girls get to be teenagers I will begin taking them to concerts that are more mellow like country and some of the more teenage bands. However, I am afraid that Rock and Heavy Metal are going to have to stay for the adults. I am going to have to set an 18 year old age limit on that just because of the element that those concerts draw. I am not saying that they are bad people, we are those people, but it’s just not for children. Anyways, Rockfest just got me thinking about this and I thought I would open the subject up to see what other views are on the subject.

Mothers Day

By: Keri Nichol


There is so much to do this time of year. It is easy to get overwhelmed as you look at the house and realize how badly it needs that spring cleaning, the yard is a nightmare from winter, and you need to decide if the kids will go to summer camp or if you’ll have to hire a babysitter for the summer. As mom’s we want to tackle all these things and seem to let ourselves fall last on the priority list. I wonder if it is coincidental that Mother’s Day falls during this hectic time. As if someone knew that moms were going to need that one day of extra pampering to keep their spirits up.

I am humored at these television commercials and shows that talk about “What Mom’s Want” according to
the latest surveys. Who in the world are they actually surveying because they have never asked me or any mom I know? I don’t need those $75 flower arrangements that will be in the garbage in 2 weeks, or my husband attempting to pick me out a new outfit in the latest style. Can you imagine him coming home with something 2 sizes bigger? What a way to make you feel special. If they asked me, I would tell them I want to sleep until 9 am without hearing the baby screaming for food, kids fighting and husband complaining about not getting to sleep in. I would then love to watch my husband cook breakfast, feed kids and the baby then clean up his own mess. I would sit back in a lawn chair outside and read my favorite new book while my house was being cleaned top to bottom and the laundry was being done too. I don’t mean over filling the washing machine so that it can’t spin out all the water and finding my daughters underwear in my top drawer. I also don’t mean sweeping everything underneath carpet and spraying some good air freshener. I mean really cleaning things like we do every day. Then they could finish off the day with a homemade card and a family dinner not cooked or cleaned up after by me. And all these things are practically free or at least not at any additional cost to the family.

So this year I am a mom to three beautiful healthy children and I would love to have everything I mentioned above for Mother’s Day but I would never give up what I already got. Sure things are insane and stressful most of time but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. So this mother’s day when I get that crazy gift I will be looking at my family and thanking God that I am so blessed Because that is the true gift of Mother’s Day. It is seeing all those little faces that you would die for and them to be happy and healthy another year and know that you had a big part in that. And we will look at our husbands who obviously haven’t a clue but you know stressed out like crazy all DAY trying to figure out what the best thing to get you would be, really does love you and appreciate all that you do even if they are just clueless in showing it. So mom’s know that you are appreciated and enjoy your day of seeing and being with the beautiful family that you have created.