Disability Help Center - Las Vegas - February 2020

MAKE VALENTINE’S DAY ABOUT FAMILY

For some, a perfect Valentine’s Day means a romantic night out for two. But for others, an exciting day-date with the whole family makes the holiday about celebrating all your loved ones. Here are some great ideas for Valentine’s Day events to attend that you and your kids will love.

ETHEL M CHOCOLATE FACTORY

hotel’s lush 15-acre grounds and is free and open to the public daily. You can snap some fun family photos and see other exotic birds and additional wildlife. You can even watch them feed their resident Pelicans every day at 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a whole lot of chocolate? How about exploring where some of that delicious chocolate is made? Ethel M Chocolate Factory is free and open to the public. It includes a self- guided viewing aisle and kitchen, where you can watch the chocolatiers make hand-crafted chocolates and other treats. Their beautiful cactus garden is also a great place to explore and sit down to enjoy the fresh chocolates you snagged during your tour.

GONDOLA RIDE AT THE VENETIAN

This activity may be considered one of the most touristy things you can possibly do in Las Vegas, but when it comes to Valentine’s Day, it’s an excellent choice for both family fun and a little romance mixed in. Pile the entire family onto an authentic Venetian gondola boat and glide down the Grand Canal inside the hotel. You’ll float beneath bridges, along cafes, and under balconies, and the simulated vibrant streetscape will make it feel as though you really are taking a ride through Italy. It doesn’t get much more romantic than that.

FLAMINGO WILDLIFE HABITAT

Everyone needs a little extra pink in their life when it comes to Valentine’s Day! The beautiful resident flock of Chilean flamingos at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas will give you just the dose you need. Their habitat is located on the

SCIENCE WANTS YOU TO STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES THE BENEFITS OF SPENDING TIME OUTSIDE

In a 2008 survey conducted by the National Trust in Britain, children were more likely to correctly identify a Dalek from “Doctor Who” than a barn owl. Likewise, a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study of 8–18-year-olds in the U.S. found that the average youth spends more than 53 hours a week engaged with entertainment media. These statistics, coupled with growing concerns that children are spending less time outdoors, are leading to terms like “nature deficit disorder” and global initiatives to get kids outside. Why is contact with the outdoors so important? Researchers are answering this question by studying the benefits of time spent in nature. One benefit is that outdoor time helps kids understand boundaries and learn how to assess risk. As naturalist, author, and broadcaster Stephen Moss puts it, “Falling out of a tree is a very good lesson in risk-reward.” Not to mention, time in nature may help improve focus for hyperactive kids. In one national study of youths by the University of Illinois, participants’ attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms were reduced after spending time in a green setting versus a more urban one. This may be due to the fact that natural environments call upon our “soft fascination,” a less exhausting type of focus than what is required by urban environments.

Emotional benefits were discovered too, including reduced aggression, increased happiness, and improved self-esteem.

Beyond just getting outside, the type of contact we have with nature also matters. Visits to nature centers and watching “Planet Earth” are two ways to experience the outdoors. But research points specifically to the importance of

free play in the natural world: unstructured outdoor time when children can explore and engage with their natural surroundings with no curriculum, lesson, or activity to complete. Ever notice how kids are fascinated by the simplest things? A child visits a rose garden, but before they even get to the flowers, they become captivated by a leaf on the ground or an ant crawling on their shoe. Children are born naturalists.

These are the moments we need to recapture. Take a page out of that kid’s book, and as the saying goes, stop and smell the roses — or leaves or ants — with no checklist and no plan, just time spent playing outside.

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