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Guest Post – Travel with Kids in “Magical” Reno

The Roberts family, hosts of the PBS show ‘Travel with Kids”,  spent 5 magical days in Reno – their words, not ours.

The Roberts arrived in the Biggest Little City September 8th, just in time for the Great Reno Balloon Races and the Virginia City Camel Races and so much more! Their schedule was jam-packed with rock climbing, whitewater rafting, horseback rides and glow-in-the-dark golf! And for parents reading this, Nathan and Seamus (the hosts) are 8 & 10 years old! So if you’re planning a family getaway, read below about the family-friendly adventures awaiting you in Reno Tahoe USA.

-September 20, 2010

Magical Reno…I use the word magical because Reno has the ability to transform itself from one thing to another, and just when you think you have it pegged, it changes again. Always enticing you to explore more of “The Biggest Little City in the World”. We started off our production trip to Reno thinking bowling, lots of arcades and fun family activities and maybe a few outdoor experiences. But it ended up as much more than that…a true something-for-everyone, loads of fun family destination!

RocksportDay 1: We started off Reno just how we thought we would. We hit the arcade, played some laser tag, then went to Coconut Bowl and did some glow bowling and glow in the dark miniature golf followed by some go kart racing and indoor rock climbing at Rock Sport. Enough family fun in our first three hours to last a whole vacation. The kids, of course, LOVED it! And we all enjoyed some great family fun time. But I was left wondering what Reno was like on the outside? Were arcades all there was to this family vacation? Day 2 would answer that question.

Day 2: We began the day with an early morning at The Great Reno Balloon Race (Reno’s event calendar is filled with fun family-friendly events: Reno Events ) where we got to go up on a tethered hot-air balloon. The views over Reno were amazing. I never realized how green it is along the Truckee River and the tall, rugged mountains that form lake Tahoe are incredible! After the balloon, we headed to a couple of cool Reno museums: Wilbur D. May Center and The National Automobile Museum, where the kids were revved up to dress up in period costumes and pretend to drive a Model T. But the river was calling us, so in the afternoon, we rented a bike and a boat with Sierra Adventures. After Rafting Truckeeriding bikes down the Truckee River Path to Reno Whitewater Park, we boarded a raft and learned to ride the waves…forward paddle! Paddling through an urban setting was surreal, with tall buildings and urban parks lining the shores…a really unique experience. The small rapids in Reno Whitewater Park provided the perfect combination of adrenaline pumping excitement and safety-conscious fun. If you are looking for a more natural setting, the Upper Truckee cuts through the Sierra Nevada and provides more challenging rapids and beautiful scenery.

Day 3: Northern Nevada is famous for its wild mustangs, but this morning we decided to befriend a couple of their tamer cousins with a horseback ride with Verdi Trails West. The horses were super friendly…Nathan even commented “These are the best trained horses I’ve ever ridden.” The boys had fun trying to pass each other and we all enjoyed the scenery through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. After lunch, we headed to Virginia City for a different type of race…camel races. After exploring Virginia City’s Old West history at the old school house, a cowboy gun show, riding the V & T Railroad (where we actually got to sit in the engine) and then joining the town parade, we headed down to the race track to watch camels and ostriches. Jockeyed by a brave group of volunteer jockeys, the camels speed around a dirt track. Kids get in on the action herding chickens and emu around the track. Nathan and Seamus loved petting the camels, and they even got to ride them during an intermission, but they’re not quite ready for racing them yet. It’s amazing how fast those camels get going…it’s a wonder any of the riders can hold on!

Our days were packed with fun outdoor activities, but what about the evenings? There’s plenty for families then too. One afternoon, we set sail on Lake Tahoe for a two hour tour of the crystal clear waters and pine-tree lined shores of America’s second deepest lake. The scenery is amazing…there’s a reason they say “Keep Tahoe Blue”. The blue waters fade into the distant shore where blue-green pine trees stand guard in front of purple-blue mountains. Another evening, the magic came alive under the Big Tent…at Circus Circus Reno. The kids had a ball playing carnival games and everyone enjoyed the circus acts like Chinese acrobats and JR’s Best Friends, a dog show. The kids even got to participate in the dog show and JR turned a little dog into Seamus! Magic and pets…I don’t know a better combo for kids!

Day 4: Just as I thought I’d gotten a read on what Reno is like, it changed on me again. On our last day, we visited Animal Ark, an animal rescue zoo. The animals at the zoo range from local birds and mammals like mountain lions and black bears to exotic species like tigers. The park has a conservation focus and taught us lots about all the different animals and their environments.

We felt the magic of Reno in so many ways, Old West shoot outs in Virginia City, outdoor fun along the Truckee River and horseback riding through the foothills, plus the magic of stage and lights at Circus Circus and the glittering waters of Lake Tahoe. For more information or to feel the family magic in Reno, visit Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority.

4th of July Festivities in Reno Tahoe USA

Courhouse at NightCan you believe we are officially more than half-way through the year? Time sure flies when you’re having fun in Reno Tahoe USA – and the fun happens 365 days a year here, by the way.

This weekend it’s time to celebrate our nation’s independence, and Reno Tahoe USA is packed with more barbecues, shows and family events than the biggest firework you’ve ever seen! Approximately 34.9 million Americans plan to travel this weekend. We’re willing to bet 33.9 of those wish they were here.

 We’ve put together a list of weekend festivities – from history-making celebrations, to music in the park, to the longest, most spectacular fireworks show in our region – we’re sure to have something for everyone. With daytime highs in the mid-80’s to low-90’s, whip out your red, white and blue – it’s time to get outside!

 ARTOWN – July 4th Weekend Events

Pops at the Ranch with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra

Saturday, July 3, 8 p.m., FREE, Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater, 6000 Bartley Ranch Road, 775-323-6393

To kick off the Reno Philharmonic’s summer concerts, the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra will perform patriotic music to get the crowd ready for the 4th of July weekend. The orchestra is led by Jason Altieri, conductor of the Reno Philharmonic Youth Orchestras and the UNR orchestra. For more information, click here.

SwedenCelebrates Virginia City with the Sigtuna Brass Sextet

Saturday, July 3, 7 p.m., Tickets $7.50 and $15

Pipers Opera House, Virginia City, 775-847-0433

Due to some key Swedish inventions like dynamite, nitro-glycerin and even the match, Virginia City was able to flourish. Alfred Nobel was pleased with Virginia City’s applications of his inventions for mining purposes. The Sigtuna Brass Sextet portrays the experience of those early days in uniform playing instruments and music of the day while celebrating Virginia City and the nation it helped build. For more information, click here.

 Patriotic American Fourth Concert, a Family Affair with MasterWorks Chorale

Sunday, July 4, 4 p.m., FREE, Wingfield Park, 1st St. & Arlington Ave., 775-324-1940

The MasterWorks Choralepresents a 4th of July patriotic and American folk music concert. Special music such as “Stars Spangled Banner,” “When I First came to this Land,” “Oh Susannah,” “Camptown Races,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “Shenandoah”, plus the well-known “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  It’s music and fun for the whole family. For more information on Artown, click here or call the office at 775-322-1538.

Sparks, Nevada 4th of July Extravaganza

The Sparks Marina will be open for swimming from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m., and of course the newest whitewater park in Reno Tahoe USA is open to everyone!

The region’s preeminent holiday celebration and fireworks display – Star Spangled Sparks – takes place on Sunday, July 4, on Victorian Square in downtown Sparks. This 11th annual celebration of family and freedom is highlighted by a 20-minute state-of-the-art pyrotechnic display, framed by the Nugget’s picturesque hotel towers, making the fiery light exhibition the longest and most spectacular show in the region.

The activities start on Victorian Square at 4 p.m., with kid’s rides, multiple food and drink vendors and a National Guard flyover. Fireworks begin at approximately 9:30 p.m. The Legends at Sparks Marina will run a shuttle from the shopping center to the Marina from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

FireworksNorth Tahoe July 4th Celebrations

Gene Hamilton’s BetterRide Downhill Camp to Northstar Resort

Date: Jul 2 (Fri) – Jul 4, 2010 (Sun)

BetterRide is putting on a 3-day downhill mountain bike camp at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort. This is an amazing opportunity to learn from one of the most experienced coaches in the sport. Learn to rail corners like Mitch Ropelato; fly through rock gardens like Graeme Pitts and race like Greg Minnaar. Sign up soon as this camp is limited to 14 riders to ensure the optimal athlete coach ratio! Designed for downhill racers and riders, this Downhill Camp focuses on the core skills that the BetterRide coached pros use, mental preparation and of course, FUN. For more information on costs, rules and registration email betterride@gmail.com or call 970.261.1869.

Tahoe Star Tours ~ War & Love Meet in the Sky at Northstar Resort

Date: Friday, Jul 2, 2010, 8:30pm-10:30pm

Guests interested in taking advantage of the resort’s unique mountain setting which is ideal for star gazing may choose to participate in a Tahoe Star Tour. Led by star guide Amateur Astronomer Tony Berendsen, these evening sky tours take guests on a trip across the heavens. Tours are highly interactive and allow guests to have a hands-on experience at amateur astronomy. Tahoe Star Tours meet at the top of the Highlands Gondola at the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club. From there, guests are escorted to the viewing location on the deck of the Big Springs Day Lodge, located mid-mountain at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort. Proper walking footwear is recommended. There is a cost to participate. All tours include a commemorative flashlight. For more information or reservations, click here.

Free Show! Austin Blues Great Carolyn Wonderland

Date: Jul 2, 2010 (Fri) at Crystal Bay Casino, Crystal Bay, NV, 10:00 p.m.

Carolyn Wonderland is the real deal. She’s an amazing guitar and trumpet musician and can she sing! A dollop of Janis Joplin, a slice of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and a big load of soulful individuality… that’s Wonderland, a seething-hot Texas singer-guitarist. For more information, click here.

Kings Beach’s 2010 Music Series, Kings Beach, CA

Date: Jul 2, (Fri) – Aug 20, 2010 (Fri)

The lineup has been confirmed for the 2010 Kings Beach Music on the Beach series. Local favorites the Blues Monsters will again kick off the series at the opening show on July 2. The ALWAYS FREE music series kicks off Friday, July 2 and runs every Friday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., until Aug. 20 at the Kings Beach State Recreation Area. The Trey Stone Band is slated for the series finale on Aug. 20. For the complete lineup call (530) 546-9000 or click here.

Red, White and Tahoe Blue Tahoe July 2-4 Events! Various Locations in Incline Village, NV

Date: Jul 2, 2010 (Fri)

This weekend event includes festivities during both day and night with all types of patriotic activities – barbecues, pancake breakfast, opening ceremonies, dress up doggie contest and Fireworks on the 4th. It’s fun for everyone! For all of the details, click here.

Run to the Beach: 5K and 10K ~ Starting at the North Tahoe Regional Park

Date: Jul 4, 2010 (Sun), 8:00 a.m.

Run to the Beach 5 and 10k starts at the North Tahoe Regional Park. From the park you have an option of participating in the 5 or 10k distance both of which finish on the “Big” beach in Kings Beach, CA. Kings Beach is a great place to spend your July 4th weekend. Fireworks are scheduled for the evening of July 3rd. For more information, clik here.

Reno July 4th Celebrations

Reno Aces

The Reno Aces return to Reno for July 4th for a four-game run against the Sacramento River Cats. Festivities will start at 2:00 p.m.

Although Sunday’s 6:35 game is completely sold out, fans are welcome to join the festivities on the plaza in front of Aces Ballpark beginning at 2 p.m. The plaza will be home to inflatables for kids, water balloon and potato sack races, a visit from Archie and more.

In addition, the newly-opened Beer Garden at the Freight House District will be holding volleyball and bocce ball tournaments throughout the afternoon. The Harters will play a pregame concert at 3:45 p.m., and a number of Aces players will participate in an autograph session at 4:30 p.m.

Fans are also welcome to view the game and the postgame fireworks show at the Freight House District, located at Aces Ballpark, from inside Bugsy’s Sports Bar and Grill, outside on the Bugsy’s Sports Bar Patio or on one of the more than 30 high-definition flat-screen televisions located throughout the Freight House District. Open year-round and seven days a week regardless of whether the Aces have a game or not, the Freight House District will be one of the premier viewing locations for the much-anticipated Aces Ballpark Independence Day fireworks show.

Grand Sierra Resort, Reno -Centennial Celebration: Johnson vs. Jeffries

Exactly one hundred years ago on this July 4, the whole world was watching Reno, Nevada, in perhaps one of the most important events in American Boxing History. 20-thousand boxing fans from around the world poured into Reno to witness the “Battle of the Century”. (That was 5-thousand more people than Reno’s population at the time!) It was a matchup between Jim Jeffries and Jack Johnson, the first African American to hold the World Heavyweight Championship. Johnson was an intimidating boxer and was considered a pariah amongst white America because of his refusal to live his life according to the bigoted social norms prevalent during 1910.

Now, exactly 100 years later, the city of Reno will honor the legacy of this most famous of fights with a three-day celebration, July 2-4, 2010, featuring boxing celebrities, family members of those involved in the original fight, as well as live professional boxing at the Grand Sierra Resort, which will be aired by Fox Sports Net.

The list of professional boxers includes Reno native and super middleweight Joey Gilbert (19-2, 15 KOs), former Jr. flyweight champion Ulises Solís (30-2, 21 KOs) and undefeated up-and-coming middleweight Brandon “Flawless” Gonzales (12-0, 9 Kos).

Visitors to the 100-year anniversary celebration will have the opportunity to tour the original fight site as well as the locations of both Johnson’s and Jeffries’ pre-fight training camps.

Dates, times and more details about these and other events planned for the Johnson-Jeffries 100-year anniversary celebration can be found here , along with more history of the original fight and information about lodging packages available for the weekend.

RSCC FireworksPeppermill Resort Casino

July 3, don’t miss an exciting night of Rock! Arnel Pineda of “Journey” plays his Love To Rock concert with Rachelle Ann Go and the Ammo Band in Peppermill’s state-of-the-art Tuscany Event Center. Ticket prices start at $48 and are available online or on site at Peppermill’s Information Booth or Hotel Front Desk, or by phone at (877) 525-7469.  Doors open at 7pm.

 Eldorado and Silver Legacy Resort Casino

There’s quite a bit to do at the Eldorado and Silver Legacy for 4th of July weekend. Here’s the rundown:

The Eldorado:
“Shake, Rattle & Roll” – Special Summer Pricing, tickets starting at just $19.95 for adults

Silver Legacy:
Cafe Sedona – All American Burger and Fries, with Soda $6 with beer $8
Bud and Bud Light $2.50 at all casino bars

Co-Sponsored Events:
The Great International Chicken Wing Society Cook Off – July 3-5 on Virginia St.

It’s spiciest, most affordable 4th of July festival to ever hit Downtown Reno—Silver Legacy Resort Casino is hosting the 9th Annual Great International Chicken Wing Society Cook-off on Virginia Street this 4th of July weekend!

From Saturday, July 3 to Monday, July 5 you’ll have a chance to sample the best sauces, taste top-notch wings and watch the best in the business compete for poultry pride. Nearly a dozen restaurants and bars will be on hand to compete, including last year’s defending champ from right here in Nevada, the “Havin’ an Affair” sweet and spicy sauce from Las Vegas. For more information, click here.

Chinese Concert – July 4 at the Reno Ballroom, 8 p.m.

Vietnamese Concert – July 4 at the Pioneer Center, 6 p.m.

Pops in the Park, presented by the Sierra Philharmonic League
Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, Jason Altieri conducting
July 4, 4:30 p.m. Mormon State Park, Genoa NV, FREE
The Reno Philharmonic Orchestra has performed at “Pops in the Park” in Genoa to capacity crowds for over 25 years, and could be a best kept secret in Reno. The Sierra Philharmonic League organizes the family friendly event with clowns, strolling musicians, along with silent and live auctions.