The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 7, 1997 · Page 134
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December 7, 1997

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 134

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Sunday, December 7, 1997
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Page 134
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21 THE PALM BEACH POST SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7. 1997 (Keeping kids happy becoming a priority at many hotel chains The smarter hotel chains, knowing that parents want more than a bored baby sitter, have created extensive kids programs. By Everett Potter 1 New York Times ' I Big hotel chains love to tout I their kids programs, but many ; offer little more than a box of 'crayons, an empty conference rom and a teenage baby sitter to '. keep children occupied. - Others utilize a TV set and a VCR to keep kids hypnotized all day long, oblivious to the world " around them. But there are exceptions. The smarter hotel chains, knowing that parents want more than a bored baby sitter, have created extensive kids programs. Some are chain-wide while others are available only at certain properties. .The best way to evaluate a kids program is to find out the ratio of counselors to children. One counselor for 10 is good, although one to six is better. . There should be dedicated facilities for kids programs, and they should be divided according to age group. Supervised off-property . . . f ts- "a' WKt iff iVt ... home cactus gardens, to design sand paintings and to learn about the Arizona birds of prey. A daylong session, including lunch, is $54. The Westin Kids Club is the feature at Westin Resorts, for kids ages 4 to 12. At Camp Wackatoo at the oceanfront Westin Resort Hilton Head Island (2 Grasslawn Ave., Hilton Head Island, S.C. 29928; 800-WESTIN-l), beachfront activities predominate. Kids get a welcome packet, hat, water bottle and safety kit. The cost of the program is $35 per day, including lunch. Talking to a park ranger on Desert Discovery day, learning French on a computer and negotiating a 165-foot waterslide are the attractions for kids ages 5 through 12 who join the Funicians Club at The Phoenician (6000 E. Camel-back Road, Scottsdale, Ariz. 85251; 800-888-8234), Sheraton's luxurious Scottsdale property. There's a different theme every day, a private kid's clubhouse and a playground. The cost is $58 and includes lunch. There are two Marriott properties with outstanding programs. Shark-tooth hunts, shell collecting and nature hikes keep the Grasshopper Gang busy at the Marriott at Sawgrass Resort (1000 PGA Tour Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. 32082; 800-457-GOLF), near Jacksonville. The program is for kids ages 3 to 12. There are more traditional offerings here, such as volleyball and organized games, but the counselors wisely take advantage of the North Florida shoreline. The cost is $35 per day, including lunch. At Marriott's Marco Island Resort and Golf Club (400 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, Fla. 33937; 800-GET-IIERE) is a designated bird sanctuary and barrier island, where beach-combing, bird-watching, for species like bald eagles, and spotting manatees are part of the daily activities. Beach Bandits is the name of the kids program and runs $29 per day, including lunch. The charge for off-property excursions is $39, with lunch included. Those include Everglades Day, with a cruise on an air boat, and a visit to the zoo at Jungle Larry's Caribbean gardens. What more could a kid ask for? Alanui Drive, Wailea, Maui, Hawaii 96753; 800-HOTELS-l) offers Camp Wailea for kids ages 5 to 12. This program includes nature hikes, island crafts and even hula lessons. There are coral-reef tours, whate-watching classes (when in season) and traditional Hawaiian storytelling. In addition, there's a weekly tour to the Maui Tropical Plantation, where kids learn about Hawaii's fruit and flower crops. Even better, there are cookie-baking classes with the resort's pastry chef. The cost is $35 and includes lunch. Hyatt's Family Camp welcomes the entire family. At the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale (7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Road, Scottsdale, Ariz. 85258; 800-233-1234), for example, Hopi storytellers, a Mexican "vaquero," and Native-American dancers are some of the featured programs. Throughout the day, kids ages 3 to 12 can join Camp Hyatt Ka-china to create their own take- JOHN J. LOPINOTStaff Photographer A great blue heron feeds its young a snake at a rookery in Everglades National Park. Some hotel-run kids programs on Florida's west coast include bird-watching and trips into the Everglades. field trips to desert, shore or parks can make a program really special. Here's a selection of what some resorts are offering their youngest guests. The cost is per child, per day. . The Pointe Hilton Resort at Squaw Peak (7677 N. 16th St., til :.. ocnon. onn T,n Tim 1 iioemx ojiwu, ow-iti-i iii) is This December, We're Introducing a to Holiday Grand Princess" t'tf'JF 10'miles outside of central nix and adjacent to the 16,000-acre Phoenix Mountain Preserve. , , For $45 per day, children ages ; 4 to 12 can enjoy the Coyote Camp Children's Program, which is located at Hole-in-the-Wall River Ranch, a complex of swimming pools and waterslides. Lunch is included. ' Better yet, there are organized excursions into the desert, allowing kids an opportunity to learn 2!5 Dnikirccc rDi nccc ri& Port charqu included. Istanbul to Barcelona ( 1 2 davs 8 ports 3 overnights) 71 398 or 83098 Barcelona to New York (13 days "ports) 91198 front only $2,220! Call 1-800-650-SAIL Restrictions applv Ship's Rg Itosria R. Seller ol Tvl 18427 4 about the local ecology. I . In Maui, the Renaissance Wai- ,ica DCdui ixesuii. (.ooou vvanea ?'lt$ . - . 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