An Aquarium exhibit from Down Under

My husband was just trying to convince me that our next big trip should be to Australia (not that I need convincing), saying that for animal lovers (i.e. me and the girls), it’s a continent that offers a whole different array of species than we’re used to. And then I came across this article on the National Aquarium blog.

So don’t get me wrong – I’m still up for going to Australia, but until that happens, I’ll be satisfied going to the “Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes” exhibit at the National Museum in Baltimore, which happens to be right near where we live and not thousands of miles away and is actually one of my favorite places to visit  in Maryland, Washington, DC area.  (Not counting the Arundel Mills Mall Maryland, of course.)

And it won the award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for the best exhibit!

Meanwhile, on another blog that I like to read , I came across another top 10 list for the best aquariums for kids. It’s very similar to my recent top 10 aquarium list, but adds one more that I know nothing about: the Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead, New York.  I like that area for my Long Island Romantic Getaways, but anyone ever been to the aquarium?
Continue reading

Summer Rush Vacations in Still Sunny Cities

Planning your vacation for September? If you planned late in the summer to try and beat the heat, think again—for most of the U.S. the heat doesn’t break until well into September, if not later in October or even November. If you plan on taking your vacation to someplace that’s still hot, you’ll want to make sure that you have activities planned that will keep you cool—waterparks, indoor museums, casinos, and other places loaded with cool water or cool a/c. Here are some examples:

Fun Things to do in DC—Washington, D.C. can stay hot and humid through September, but luckily, you’ll find no end to the number of museums in the area. You’re also not too far from Maryland and there are a ton of places to visit in Baltimore and surrounding areas, like the Allentown Fitness & Splash Park in Fort Washington or Gaithersburg’s Water Park at Bohrer Park. You should have no problem having fun in the sun if you choose, or seeking shade indoors, if you’re end-of-summer vacation is planned for our nation’s capital.

  1. Fun Things to do in San Francisco—Nights will be cooler these days in the Bay Area, but the days can still be hot. Bay Area entertainment flourishes at the end of the summer and Bay Area tourist spots stay heavily populated…pretty much all year round. Museums will provide solace from the sun, as well as fantastic San Francisco restaurants. Raging Waters Water Park is the biggest waterpark in the area if you decide that being in the sun is where you want to be.
  2. Fun Things to do in Manhattan—Humidity plagues Manhattan through the bulk of September. Need indoor ideas? The Museum of Natual History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are enough to keep you busy for a few days, as well as indoor rock climbing in NYC, New York City entertainment (Broadway shows, talk show screenings, concerts, etc.), and tons of air conditioned places to paint your own pottery. Eager to brave the heat? Have a picnic in Central Park or head to New Jersey’s Runaway Rapids Water Park for some last-minute summer splashes.
  3. Fun Things to do in Southern California—It’s always summer in sunny Southern California, but it’s not nearly as humid as it is back east. With Disneyland not to far away and a ton of water parks, you should have no time planning a late summer vacation and finding places to visit in Los Angeles, San Diego, Long Beach, and Santa Monica.
  4. Fun Things to do in Florida—Unless you spend your time in the water at the beach or at a waterpark, you’ll want to be indoors during your Florida vacation—that is, if you plan on heading down to South Florida. The northern parts of Florida can be quite nice in September. To stay cool, visit museums, casinos (there are great casinos in Daytona, Florida and Orlando casino cruises), and indoor waterparks.

If you are reading this too late, check out this fall foliage post or this fall foliage blog or just go to a shopping mall, like Battlefield Mall Springfield or Smith Haven Mall

Continue reading

Top New England Fall Foliage Spots – 2009

New England is poised to put on quite a Fall Foliage display this year – Fall 2009. Hurricane Bill has passed with minor damage – the leaves are still on the trees waiting for the autumn weather to arrive. Its just around the corner – by mid-September, the show starts at the higher elevations.  As in the past, we have to stay flexible – we suggest visiting our friends at Foliage Network for the latest Fall Foliage Reports.  The best fall foliage viewing in the US is in New England (fans of the golden Colorado fall colors may disagree), so we will pick from these destinations for a few weekend “Fall Foliage Staycations” this year:

  • Around Columbus Day more people show up in Vermont than have ever lived there.  Vermont Fall Foliage is truly world-class.  Combined with some harvest festivals and visits to quaint towns and you can’t go wrong.  If the kids are not impressed by the views, take them to Ben and Jerry’s factory of overload them on maple sugar.
  • Maine Fall Foliage is best along the coast.  You get the colorful leaves as well as a rocky coast. Something you will not get in Vermont.
  • If Vermont is too quaint and Maine too far, go for some historic and urban Boston Massachusetts fall foliage, which is also a good idea once the Vermont colors have peaked. Another choice urban spot, on the border of New England is New York City – think Central Park, the Cloisters, the Ice Age ponds of Alley Pond Park and more for some subway-accessible NY foliage.
  • Also bordering New England – Hudson Valley and Catskills Fall Foliage is a great day trip from New York. Try a biplane ride in Rhinebeck or enjoy the views from the Hudson River mansions.

Have a fun fallstaycation!  Save some vacation time for ski season.
Continue reading

Top 12 places to play Golf

I need to thank Jon for reminding me to do this. A few months ago I reported to you about public golf courses ranked 13-24 according to Golfer’s World magazine and since they’ve finally posted their top 12, I’m ready to pass them over to you. I find it strange that there are no New England golf courses represented on this list. In fact, the only one from the East Coast at all is number six, Kiawah Island Ocean Course in South Carolina, which I’ve been to, and which truly is worthy of it’s placement there. I’m just surprised there aren’t more East Coast chart toppers.

Anyways, enjoy the list, and hopefully I’ll make it to all of these, one day so I can give more first hand experience…

  1. Pacific Dunes – Bandon, Oregon
  2. Links at Spanish Bay – Pebble Beach, California
  3. Pebble Beach Golf Links – Pebble Beach, California
  4. Bandon Dunes Golf Resort & Course – Bandon, Oregon
  5. Whistling Straits Golf Club – Kohler, Wisconsin
  6. Kiawah Island – Ocean Course – South Carolina
  7. Shadow Creek – North Las Vegas, Nevada
  8. Kauai Lagoon Golf Club – Kiele Course – Lihue, Hawaii
  9. Reflection Bay Golf Club & Course – Lake Las Vegas, Nevada
  10. Spyglass Hill Golf Club – Pebble Beach, California
  11. Troon North Monument – Scottsdale, Arizona
  12. Red Sky Ranch – Wolcott, Colorado

Looks like I need to start planning some vacations to Vegas Pebble Beach, and Bandon, Oregon
Continue reading

Most Visited Memorials

A great way to learn about our presidents and other important political and historical figures and events in the U.S. is to study the places that memorialize them. I’ve been to many of these places and have pictures and brochures, so when we get to one of these events/people in our classroom learning, I make sure to pull out the relevant info so the kids can see what these people have left behind physically, as well as the significance of their actions and lives. I came across this slideshow on Forbes Traveler and figure that the kids should at least be familiar with the most popular memorial sites in the States. So here they are for you to enjoy as well!

  1. Arlington National Cemetery – Arlington, Virginia (4,000,000 visitors) – Commemorates the lives of 300,000 veterans from the American Revolution through the current war in Iraq.
  2. World War II Memorial – Washington, D.C. (3,547,583 visitors) – Commemorates the sacrifice and celebrates the victory of the WWII generation.
  3. Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Washington, D.C. (3,538,479 visitors) – A memorial that honors the lives of Vietnam veterans and those who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
  4. Korean War Veterans Memorial – Washington, D.C. (3,208,690 visitors) – A memorial to those who fought and died in the Korean War.
  5. Gettysburg National Military Park – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (1,702,764 visitors) – Commemorates those who lost their lives during the bloodiest and most important battle of the Civil War.
  6. USS Arizona Memorial – Pearl Harbor (Honolulu), Hawaii (1,539,986 visitors) – A memorial to the sailors killed on the USS Arizona ship during the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces.
  7. Valley Forge National Historic Park – King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (1,230,618 visitors) – Important military camp during the American Revolutionary War.
  8. Minuteman National Historic Park – Concord, Massachusetts (1,093,352 visitors) – The historic site of the shot heard around the world and memorial for those who fought in the Battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution.
  9. Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park – Georgia/Tennessee (923,061 visitors) – Commemorates the sites of two major Civil War battles.
  10. Fort Sumter National Monument – Sullivan’s Island – South Carolina (792,933 visitors) – Commemorates those who lost their lives in the first battle of the Civil War.
  11. Vicksburg National Military Park – Vicksburg, Mississippi (787,831 visitors) – Site of the 47 day Battle of Vicksburg in the Civil War.
  12. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine – Baltimore, Maryland (610,599 visitors) – The birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner and an important military site during the War of 1812.
  13. Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park – Virginia (478,109) – Burial ground and memorial for those who lost their lives in the Civil War.
  14. Guilford Courthouse, National Military Park – North Carolina (447,469 visitors) –A museum commemorating one of the most hotly contested battles of the Revolutionary War.
  15. Shiloh National Military Park – Tennessee (344,438 visitors) – Site of Civil War battle and burial ground.

Test your kids. See if they know why these places are important! (If they’re in my class now, they’ll know by the end of the year…)
Continue reading

Free things to do in LA

I’ve got some college buddies staying with me for the week. Two are unemployed, one is engaged, and the other is just a cheapskate, and they’ve never been to Los Angeles before. So they want a complete tour of LA…for free. Fortunately, they’ve got me as their guide and I know the ins and outs of the city and how to have packed days without spending a dime.

Continue reading

Winter Golf Resorts

Just because it’s cold and nasty out, it doesn’t mean you need to put away your clubs until the sun shines hot again. Sometimes a bit of a challenge—but who says that makes it less fun?—winter golf can still be your #1 form of exercise, entertainment, and social time. People in the Northeast or Midwest tend to forget that the rest of the country just does not get as cold, so we just need to get a little creative about where we play. (i.e. Places like Boston or Minneapolis just may not make the cut.) When in doubt, just go to Hawaii.

MSNBC ran an article last year about America’s 10 best winter golf resorts, and I think you’ll find the info to still be quite up-to-date and helpful. Here are the ten they recommend:

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.