The Suitcase Diaries   

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hunger Games Unofficial Fan Tours

Are you a Hunger Games mega fan? Have you ever wanted to go behind the scenes of one of the most popular movies ever made?  With Hunger Games Unofficial fan Tours in Atlanta, you can experience the Hunger Games like never before! You can walk where your favorite characters walked and experience some of what they experienced.

You start your journey at District 12. Watch a recreation of the heroic scene where Catniss comes to the aid of gale as he is apprehended by the peacekeepers. Even better is that you can take on the role of your favorite character and participate in the reenactment. Depending on the group that you are with, this could be hilarious! Learn little tidbits about the challenges of filming in this location as well as funny stories from the people on set. 

After your extensive tour of District 12, you will board the shuttle bus and head to President Snow’s mansion for a grand tour of the tyrant’s home. The scenes at President Snow’s Mansion were filmed at the historical Swan House on the grounds of the Atlanta History Center. This magnificent mansion was transformed into the beautiful home of the evil President Snow. Here you can sit at the president’s desk, at his dining table and address all your subjects on the grand, presidential balcony. There is also an exhibit room to see some of the props left behind from the filming and pictures so that you can see what transformations took place to create the perfect mansion for the president. 

At this point our stomachs were grumbling as we hopped on the bus to head to our final destination, thankfully the gamemaker saw fit to provide us with some sustenance on our journey. We were treated to nightshade berries, roll with goat cheese and basil, nuts and berries, jerky, tomatoes and of course a drink to quench our thirst. Perfect nourishment for us tributes. 

The final stop was south of Atlanta at the International park. This was the scene of the actual Hunger Games from Catching fire. You will see where the Cornucopia was located and got the nitty gritty details of filming in a cold lake in the middle of December.

Next up is my favorite part, the archery lesson! We got instruction in archery and got to spend some perfecting our new found skill with some target practice. 

Next we got back on the shuttle and headed home, sad to be heading home. Our spirits were lifted with a fun game of Hunger Games trivia for the ride back.

Our guides were Tammy, Leigh, Emma and Tyler. They were awesome! They were hilarious and friendly. The tour was good on its own, but they made the tour fantastic!
When we got back to district 12 we were sad that the tour was over but happy to have survived the Hunger Games!

This tour is a must do for any die hard Hunger Games fan, or any movie buff for that matter! Fun tour and great guides made for a wonderful day!

For more information you can visit The Hunger Games Unofficial Fan Tours website and Facebook page.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Year's Celebration Event!

Welcome to the New Years Celebration Event! This event is hosted by Dixieland Mom Product & Travel Reviews and Live, Love...Travel and co-hosted by The Suitcase Diaries. Our Sponsors are: Our World Travel and Sign My Shirt
We are excited to bring you this event for an awesome way to begin 2014!! 1 winner will win a trip for a family of four to their choice of Disneyland in Anaheim CA or Disney World in Orlando FL! 2nd Prize winner will win a custom t-shirt from Sign My Shirt! The Disney trip will include: Family's choice of Disneyland in California or Disney World in Florida. 
6 Night stay at a Disney Resorts Hotel 
Airfare for family of 4 from nearest major airport 
Transportation to and from the airport to the hotel 
5 days of Park Hopper Passes for all family members
Visa Gift Card to cover a few additional items, in the amount of $432! 
ARV will vary depending on destination chosen due to airfare variances.
2nd prize winner will receive:  A Customized Shirt from Sign My Shirt valued at $19.95!  These shirts are simple to create and your friends can sign them online! This would be awesome for family vacations, family reunions, school friends, graduation or maybe as gifts for a newly engaged couple or a Bride and Groom!  This event is open to the U.S. only, must be 18 or older to enter. Void where prohibited. Any taxes are responsibility of winner. There is only 1 (one) mandatory entry, and that is the first task on the Giveaway Tool, all other tasks are OPTIONAL, but the more tasks completed, the more entries you will receive. Winner will be notified via email and has 24 hours to respond to the email. If no response is received within that 24 hour time, winner forfeits the prize and a new winner will be chosen, so make sure you put on your safe list so the notification does not go to your spam box.  Entry is simple, just follow the instructions on the Giveaway Tool below! Good Luck and Happy New Year! 
Disclosure: Dixieland Mom Product & Travel Reviews is not responsible for prize fulfillment. If you have any question please send an email to All entries are optional, if you do any of the tasks you can collect the entries, but if the winner task is a task you did not complete, a second winner will be chosen.
The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. We are not associated with any of the companies named above. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to US, 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Skate Atlantic Station

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of ice skating with friends and family during the holiday season. We have been skating at indoor rinks in Atlanta, but there is something special about skating at an outdoor rink all lit up with festive decorations.

Atlantic Station in Atlanta has a brand new outdoor 10,000 square foot skating rink. This beautiful, track style skating rink is the perfect way to get in the Christmas spirit with your family.

See my complete review on Trekaroo!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"A Christmas Story" Museum

Ever since I was little "A Christmas Story" was a Christmas tradition. My brother would watch it over and over again during the holidays. Funny thing was I never got sick of it. Now that I have my own family we have created the tradition of making homemade popcorn and watching it after Christmas dinner. It is something we look forward to every year.

Imagine how happy I was when we found out that there was an "A Christmas Story" museum and display right next to the hotel we were staying at in Hammond, Indiana. It was a major event (hehe)! It was a must that we check it out.

The museum is located in the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, Indiana and admission is completely free.

Outside there is a statue of Flick, taking on the triple dog dare! Poor guy is still stuck to that pole.

Inside there are several displays that recreate the best scenes from the movie. Of course there are many tributes to "the lamp".

Don't forget to visit Santa mountain to get a picture with the big guy himself. Don't worry, you get to go down the slide on your own, no help from Santa's foot on this mountain.

On the weekends they play the movie in their 100 seat theater at 2:00 & 4:00.

All throughout December they have special events and activities, such as mommy's little piggy pie eating contest, ugly lamp contest and the Oh Fuuuudge! relay race.

While you are there make sure that you check out the Christmas trees that are decorated by local business and charities.

The gift shop is fun to walk though to see all of the one of a kind "A Christmas Story" merchandise. Too fun!

This is a must see and best of all FREE attraction in Northern Indiana.

Links to follow:

"A Christmas Story" museum website
Follow "A Christmas Story" comes home on Facebook

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Stone Mountain Christmas

I have lived in Atlanta for 9 years and have never been to Stone Mountain, so when I had the chance to go to Christmas at Stone Mountain , I jumped at it. I was so excited to able to take my youngest girls on a special date with just the 4 of us.

When we arrived, the girls could barely contain their excitement, the park is literally decked out from top to bottom in one of the most beautiful displays of lights I have ever seen. Every tree and every building are covered in lights and really are simply breathtaking.

The girls we starving by the time we got there so we headed straight for dinner in the Campfire Grill. The Campfire Grill is a lodge style restaurant, is is very cozy and reminded me of camping, in fact the tables are called campsites and your servers are camp counselors. While we were eating, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, the abominable snowman, the Snow Fairy and Santa Clause all stopped by to visit. The girls were excited to spend some time with some of their favorite Christmas characters.

After we had our bellies full, we took some hot chocolate to go and headed out to explore this magical place. We were headed towards the Sing a long train, but were immediately distracted by a glass blowing demonstration. There was a woman behind glass making the most beautiful glass Christmas ornaments. I loved that she explained everything she was doing to us. I learned so much and the girls were fascinated the whole time.

The sounds of parade starting had us dashing outside to get good seats for the Christmas Parade. The parade had appearances by Santa and Mrs. Clause, the abominable snowman, Rudolph and, of course. the Snow Fairy. There we also dancers and other people dressed up as toys, singing and dancing to our favorite Christmas carols.

When the parade ended we headed to the Polar Express 4D experience. We were met at the gate by Sharyn. Sharyn gets her own shout out, she was one of the highlights of our visit. She made such a big deal about my girls and made them feel so special. She knew everything about the park and bestowed all her knowledge on us so we wouldn't miss a thing. Thanks Sharyn!! The Polar Express 4D experience was nothing short of amazing. It was a complete sensory experience based on one of our favorite Christmas books and the girls and I wanted to ride it over and over again.

After we had gone on the Polar Express several times, we headed to the Sing a long train. I have to confess that I was disappointed in this attraction. It was the only thing about our visit that was just okay. The train takes you through the woods that surround Stone Mountain, and I'm sure during the day it is beautiful, but we were there at night and the only thing we saw was darkness. There were a few light displays along the way, but nothing like I expected. We stopped about halfway through the ride to watch a show about the story of Christmas. The show was good if you had the right seat on the train, if you didn't pick the right train car, you were stuck standing up in the train car and getting very close with your train mates while trying to see the performance. I did enjoy the sing a long. It was a lot of fun to hear voices singing Christmas carols in unison as we chugged along on the train.

When the train ride was over we decorated giant cookies and had our pictures taken with Santa and then the Snow Fairy.

Our last stop was to see the show Toyrific! It was a hit! The show is about a group of misfit toys that must save Christmas. The acting was great, my girls were fascinated and giggled throughout the whole show. So fun!

There were several other little things that made this night so fun for us. There were carolers that walked throughout the park, they were lovely and made for a complete Christmas experience. We also enjoyed the man with the bubble cart, he did a fantastic job of entertaining the kids with his magic bubbles.
The night ended with the Snow Fairy flying into the park and making it snow (so cool!!) followed by a small fireworks show.
We had such a great time there, I know that we will be visiting next Christmas for sure. This may be a new tradition for our family.

Christmas at Stone Mountain runs from November 9th – January 1st on most days (please check their website for a complete schedule). Tickets are $28 for adults and $22 for children (ages 3-11).

Disclosure: This review is based on a complimentary visit to Christmas at Stone Mountain. I received no other compensation and these opinions are entirely my own. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Adventure Science Museum in Nashville

We visit the Adventure Science Center at least twice a year; we usually use it as a rest stop when we travel up to Indiana so the kids can get out and stretch their legs a bit. The museum is on the small side, but is a great place for children to explore and learn. Some of the exhibits include:

Space Chase-

The Adventure Science Center recently renovated their entire space wing and planetarium. They did a fabulous job. The moonwalk exhibit, where you can test the laws of gravity in space, is a a family favorite every time we go.

You can also walk through an imaginary galaxy all lit up with nothing but the brilliance of stars. Wander through our solar system and discover the relationships between the planets and their moons, this place is full of information. Learn how much you weigh on Jupiter or Saturn, and why we have seasons.

Adventure Tower-

The adventure Tower is a large multilevel tower in the middle of the museum. It is a multi sensory experience in earth science, creativity & innovation, sound & light, air & space, health and energy. All the activities in the tower are designed to give the kids a hands on experience in all things science. In the tower you can lift a car, crawl through the human heart, dance on a giant keyboard and much more!


After the tower we usually end our visit at everybody’s favorite exhibit, BodyQuest. BodyQuest is a fabulous journey through the human body. Learn about the heart, brain, and digestive system in a fun and very hands on way. I mean very hands on, when learning about the digestive system your kids will take the same journey that food takes through your body, culminating in a slide that toots as you exit (sadly this is the highlight of the visit for everyone, including my husband!)Never thought I would hear myself say "Go down the fart slide, it will be fun!" Keepin' it real folks, keepin' it real.

In my opinion, BodyQuest is the best exhibit in the museum. Where else can your kids perform surgery, spin until they fake throw up, and walk into the human brain? Every time we go the kids (and even me!) learn something new.

The only thing that I don't like about this museum is that it doesn't have an area for younger kids. It has become less of a problem as my kids get older, but it really should add an area for kids 4 and under and a baby area.

If you are looking for a fun way to sneak in some learning, this museum is perfect!  We have been there 8 times in the last 4 years and the kids still ask to go so it must be pretty good.

The museum is located close to downtown Nashville. They are open daily from 10-5. This museum has great parking and is reasonably priced at $13 for adults and $11 for kids aged 2-12. You can purchase a combo pass to get the planetarium show as well. The combo pass is $16 for adults and $14 for kids age 2-12. I highly recommend getting the combo pass, as the planetarium is definitely a highlight of this museum. There are also memberships available starting at $55 and some include free or discounted admission to over 300 museums nationwide, very much worth the price of the membership, especially if you are a traveling family like us.

Links to Follow:

Adventure Science Center's website
Follow Adventure Science Center on Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Titanic Museum Pigeon Forge - Thanksgiving and Christmas Events

Are you looking for something fun to do with the family? A one of kind experience? Then check out the upcoming events at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge. Be sure to read my review about the Titanic Museum.

Titanic Thanksgiving Fireworks
Photo credit: Titanic Museum

If you need a last minute family activity for tomorrow night you won't want to miss the amazing Thanksgiving Titanic Firework display to Kick-Off Black Friday. The show starts at 7:30 pm over the giant ship!

Titanic Thanksgiving Fireworks
Photo credit: Titanic Museum

If you cant make the Thanksgiving Firework display then take your little Princess or Prince to meet the Titanic Fantasy Princess. The Titanic Fantasy Princess brings new holiday magic to Pigeon Forge. She will greet little boys and girls and help make their holiday dreams come true. She will be making live appearances from 1 pm - 8 pm on all days except the ones noted on the website.

Titanic Thanksgiving Fireworks
Photo credit: Titanic Museum

Or perhaps you can swing by on a Saturday night in December to see the SNOW in the Smokies. Real snow will be coming off the bow of the Titanic every Saturday night in December at 7:30 pm. The snow is part of the Titanic's, "Christmas in Winter Wonderland" which is dedicated to honoring and celebrating the lives of the 2,208 passengers and crew of the Titanic.

Stop by the Titanic Museum in November or December to experience the magical sights and sounds at the Titanic Museum. Christmas Trees, garlands and lots of lights will adorn the already beautiful museum. It will be an experience your family will not forget.

Photo credit: Titanic Museum

Have a special someone who loves all things Titanic? Then you must make a trip to the The Titanic Gift Shop is open every day and free to the public. There are hundreds of unique Titanic Christmas gift ideas and collectibles. You can also check out the Titanic store online.

Disclosure: Free complimentary tickets to the Titanic Museum will be received in return for sharing about these events.  I received no other compensation and these opinions are entirely my own.