Many of us did the IHG mail in points promotion that was offered this winter. Looking to burn up some of those 50,000+ points I went looking for IHG waterpark hotel options.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations Orlando – Orange Lake Resort 35,000 points per night or $146 a night. Boasts a lazy river in the twelve acre waterpark and nine restaurants. https://www.ihg.com/holidayinnclubvacations/hotels/us/en/kissimmee/discv/hoteldetail
Holiday Inn Express Brainerd/ Baxter has the connecting Three Bear Waterpark. $225 a night with access to the waterpark. https://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/baxter/bwxbb/hoteldetail
Tags: Florida, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, IHG, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Slide, Waterpark, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Dells
We usually end our working vacation in Minnesota with a night (or at least a stop) at the Ho-Chuck casino in Baraboo. Sometimes we even will stop on the way up to Minnesota to stretch our legs. (Basically Mother- in- Law likes the slot machines.)
We have stayed several times at the casino on Saturday or Sunday nights but this time check in was worse than normal. It was almost an hour from when we arrived to when we were able to enter our room. That is way too long!!!!!
Waiting for drinks at the casino bars took forever! It was a Saturday night, they need to hire some staff to accommodate the thirsty people. I wanted a couple of drinks but gave up after waiting for just one.
When I got my rewards card from the service center (been a year since my last visit so my card did not work) they slaughtered my name even though she had my drivers license when she put the info in.
On the plus side I finished up $40 and Mother in Law was up $100 so we took the money and went to bed at 1:30am.
We had our standard two queen beds in a regular room.
We had one final day in Wisconsin so we spent it in downtown Milwaukee. I had booked us into the Hilton Milwaukee City Center hotel and we had plans to hit the city! Naturally we parked at the hotel and walked the couple of blocks to the public museum.
Friends of ours had told me how fun the museum is, how much their kids enjoyed it and how it was an easy walk from downtown. Having a child the same age I knew she would love this museum! We were really excited it is an ASTC member museum so we can visit for free.
Unfortunately when I get together with my sister we do not always do well with details. It might be a genetic thing but for the life of us we couldn’t figure out how to heck to enter this museum. Every door we tried was locked. It was to the point of being comical, we would grab a door handle, pull, and nothing happened. Really it was just odd, we finally found a door that opened from the courtyard where people were snacking. Once we entered a very dis-interested young man finally helped us with tickets after I stared at him for 2 minutes at the ticket counter. So far not a great start as we couldn’t get in and then we couldn’t get helped with admission. This is a museum, you would think you want people to visit?
On the plus side it was free with our ASTC membership (Association of Science – Technology Centers) so I did not have to pay admission for the three of us. Normal admission is $15 for adults while Children(3-12) and seniors are $11. We only visited the MPM and did not do the Dome Theater Show. Metered parking is free on Sunday on the street otherwise there is parking in a covered ramp adjacent to the museum. (Walking up like we did we missed the main entrance which is from the parking ramp.) Parking in the ramp varies from $5-$12 depending on the length of your visit.
The ground floor is only the museum store, dome theater entrance and admission. Up the stairs there are three floors and amazing exhibits on everything from streets of Old Milwaukee to Africa. I have to say this museum had some of the best exhibits I had seen. We have visited a lot of museums but Milwaukee Public had incredible displays! There was a replica of a European Village, Native American exhibit, Africa exhibit and a rainforest. Very impressive!
We stayed at the Radisson in Menomonee Falls Wisconsin. The hotel is very new with a modern vibe. We stayed here on our hare brained road trip to Milwaukee with Aunt Em.
All three of us were excited to stay here, it was a nice new hotel! And we had not gotten much sleep the night before so we were looking forward to a quiet night. The hotel was nice and quiet with a large pool area with a very large hot tub. Not too many people and we were able to relax.
We had a great night! The next morning was no so great. Three girls with a not user friendly bathroom setup. The very sleek and modern was coming back to bite us. #1 the shower, I love a good hot hotel shower. Its not my hot water and I love the different shower/layouts that we find in hotels. I thought this might be a nice shower, I was wrong! The shower “door” is a half glass partition. It was cold, unless you found a way to have all of you under the hot water the cold draft froze you out. And no one else could be in the bathroom. I love my sister but there was no privacy. #2 the cool sink and counter left no place to put all of our stuff. Three girls have a lot of stuff for the morning. It was a huge pain to not have counter space!
See the black are around the white sink, that is what you have for counter space.
So while it was a cool hotel with a decent breakfast buffet that we purchased in the restaurant I don’t think I would stay here again. It looked modern but it was not very functional for three girls.
After spending the morning at Discovery World we crossed the lawn to the Milwaukee Art Museum. This building looks amazing outside! We did not get the opportunity to see the “wings” open but the building is impressive to say the least! Lunch was quick sandwiches we had stashed in a cooler in the trunk before entering the museum.
We were lucky as it began to pour once we entered the museum. It was fun to watch the storm over Lake Michigan from the museum windows.
Day two of our amazing adventure, or the trip to torture Aunt Em took us to the Discovery World Museum in Milwaukee. The museum is on the shore of Lake Michigan east of town and shares a green space with the Milwaukee Art Museum. We actually parked at the art museum and walked over to Discovery since we planned to finish at the art museum.
For Discovery World we used our ASTC Museum pass for our admission. IF we had paid admission was $17 for adults and children 3-17 are $13. Active military is $10 for them and their family members. Parking is $8 for two to three hours or $10 for three to six hours. I had done some research online but was not sure what to really expect here but my child loved it!
She played in the flight simulator, and with the pulleys.
She laid on a bed of nails and tried to look serious like it hurt.
After our stop at Jelly Belly Visitors Center we had a free weekend in Wisconsin. I love to sniff out places that are off the beaten path if we have time. Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes) is one of those places. The Domes are located to the West of Milwaukee off from I-94.
The domes were completed in 1967 and at a cost of $4.5 million.
Once we found the parking area we were reminded to remove anything valuable from the car. There were signs on the front doors and I think in the parking lot. So don’t leave that GPS hanging from the windshield.
As you can see there are three domes. We started in the Tropical dome.
I am not 100% sure how we go the idea to visit the Jelly Belly Distribution Center in Wisconsin. I must have heard/read/seen something and when Daughter was munching thru a bag of Jelly Belly’s in the car I said “Did you know we could go there?” I say stupid stuff like that a lot and nothing ever happens. By default my phone rang right then and jokingly Daughter said “Ask Aunt Em if she want to go to Jelly Belly?” Daughter was laughing hard and thought she was being silly. Ha, Ha, jokes on her! Aunt Em having no clue what the heck is going on said Yes. So we put together a road trip to Jelly Belly and beyond.
Jelly Belly has a Wisconsin Visitors Center in Pleasant Prairie, I didn’t know where that was but its about an hour from Chicago. Very easy to get to off from I-94. They offer free warehouse tours, a sample pack of Jelly Belly’s on the tour and a very large candy store. Whats not to love!!! Free tour, free candy and it’s Jelly Belly.
Daughter likes to act like we drove for miles and hardly survived the trip. Or she is really, really excited to be here.
A recap of our Apostle Island Ice Cave trip, where we stayed, ate and what it cost for two adults and one child.
Day 1 leaving after work:
Dinner was Wendy’s $14 for the three of us.
Fairfield Inn and Suites Oshkosh – $0 free with Marriott certificate good for category 4 and under. Promo certificate was good through April 2014.
Breakfast included with hotel and lunch was snacks in the car.
Apostle Islands – free but made donation at park. https://stretchingittotravel.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/visit-the-apostle-island-ice-caves/
Dinner was Little Ceaser’s hot & ready pizza with bread sticks $8
Country Inn and Suites Wausau – $ 85 with AAA discount. Needed stay to complete club carlson promotion.
Breakfast was at the hotel.
Green Bay National Railroad Museum – $15.50 total, 1 adult entry free with AAA card. https://stretchingittotravel.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/off-to-green-bay/
Lunch at Kim’s Place in Appleton $20 with restaurant.com certificate https://stretchingittotravel.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/restaurant-com-and-kims-place-17/
Hearthstone home tour – $13 total – AAA members saved $1
Country Inn and Suites Zion, Ill – $0 free with Club Carlson points https://stretchingittotravel.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/country-inn-and-suites-zion-il/
Dinner was hot sandwiches through a local pizza delivery $22.
Breakfast at the hotel.
Drove home before lunch.
We went to Wisconsin recently and I was looking for lunch locations. Groupon did not have anything to offer in the smaller town location we would be stopping in. So I turned to Restaurant.com for a chance to save some money. You enter the zip code of the area you need are going to be dining in. We would be in Combined Locks, Wisconsin. So I searched under the local zip and found 18 dining choices within 15 miles of Combined Locks.
Several choices were out of the way for our drive to Appleton and the other choice that looked good I could not find very much information about. Kim’s Place had a menu that appealed to all of us and was not out of the way on our drive.
Some restaurants offer different certificates with different spending minimums. Kim’s place only offers 1 option, $10 off a min of $15.
We stopped in for lunch and had a large meal. My daughter and I each had a cheeseburger with fries, my Dad had the three piece chicken meal. Then she had ice cream and my Dad had pecan pie for dessert. The total for our meal for 3 was $25 and change. Take off $10 and it was now $15ish plus tip. I will gladly feed 3 people this amount of food for $15!
I did not pay $4 for my $10 off certificate, I never pay full price on Restaurant.com. I look for their sales in emails they send out, I used the code SPRING and my total was $1.20 for my $10 certificate. Also I went thru a shopping portal to earn 11 points on each dollar spent at Restaurant.com.