Monthly Archives: June 2008

Celebrate Ozarks Culture With Branson, MO and the Ozarks Empire Fair

This July 25 through August 3, Branson travelers will be treated to the bright lights, amusement rides and carnival food as the Ozark Empire Fair descends upon neighboring Springfield, MO. The Ozark Empire Fair is the largest celebration of its kind in the area, offering live concerts, livestock competition, rides, games, food and much more over the course of its ten days. If you plan to be in Branson during the Ozark Empire Fair, you’ll definitely want to make the short visit north to Springfield to see what all the excitement is about, and even if you hadn’t planned a visit to the Ozarks, it’s still not too late to put plans in motion to visit during this always lively time of the year.

Of course, the Ozark Empire Fair isn’t the only carnival-style offering in the Ozarks. Branson’s Celebration City theme park can also offer a time of bright lights under the Ozark moon, carnival games, live shows and theme park-style thrill rides as well on a nearly nightly basis. And best of all, each night is capped off with an amazing laser and fireworks display.

Those that would prefer a more traditional theme park outing complete with the surroundings of 19th century Ozarks culture are sure to find interest in Silver Dollar City. Billed as a sister-park to Celebration City, Silver Dollar City showcases authentic artisans and unique crafts stores, a forested setting and all of the charm of the Ozarks along with live shows, thrill rides and the always delectable assortment of theme park food. Whether you’re looking for a day of shopping and sightseeing or a non-stop time of action, you can find both at Silver Dollar City.

Celebrate the 4th of July With the Music City Independence Day Concert!

Don’t limit your 4th of July celebration to a few snakes and sparklers this year! Instead, celebrate with live music, southern cuisine and one of the more impressive fireworks displays in the nation with the Music City Independence Day Concert. Each year, Nashville goes all out in celebrating our nation’s independence, and it certainly shows as crowds reaching upwards of 100,000 routinely show up for the festivities. This year’s event will be held at Riverfront Park and is set to include music from The WannaBeatles, Barry Scott, Phil Vassar, and many more. Of course, the highlight of the evening is undoubtedly to be the always impressive fireworks display that is set to be accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.

If you’ll be turning your visit into a full-blown vacation, you may also want to look into possibly visiting the Grand Ole Opry. Since its humble beginnings in 1927, the Opry has been the singular showcase for country music talent in the United States. From its golden years with Minnie Pearl, Hank Williams and the rest to its continued success with artists such as Alan Jackson and Dierks Bentley, the Grand Ole Opry is, simply put, country music. Whether you’re a country music fanatic or can’t even place the name Garth Brooks, the Grand Ole Opry is an immersive experience that not only represents country music, but Nashville as a whole.

Imaginative Vacation Ideas in Gatlinburg, TN

The Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee may offer more than enough natural beauty to make any stay in the area magical, but nature isn’t the only artist at work in the Gatlinburg area. If you’re looking to truly take your imagination to its limits you’ll find a variety of attractions and shows in Gatlinburg – Pigeon Forge that can easily place visitors in a veritable trance through their unique design and stunning presentations. Whether you’re looking for a traditional magic show or interactive experience, you’ll find it all waiting amidst the charm of the Smokies.

WonderWorks

Located in Pigeon Forge, WonderWorks offers an interactive setting of both education and amazement. Throughout your journey through this unique attraction you’ll have the opportunity to experience an earthquake, step into the eye of a hurricane and even take a rest on an authentic bed of nails. And while WonderWorks is designed to stimulate the minds of children, adults are sure to find a variety of exhibits every bit as interesting to them as they are to the little ones. If discovery is on your vacation agenda, then visit WonderWorks where the entire family can discover together.

Magic Beyond Belief

If you’re looking to discover magic while visiting Gatlinburg – Pigeon Forge you’ll be hard pressed to find a more decorated magician than Terry Evanswood at Magic Beyond Belief. Terry’s performance alone will be more than enough to assure the audience of his illusion prowess; though having been awarded the Merlin Award by the International Magicians Society certainly doesn’t hurt his credibility, and ensures audience beforehand that they’ll be seeing a consummate performer. From simple sleight-of-hand to large-scale productions involving tigers, magic is on full display in the Smokies with Magic Beyond Belief.

Cirque De Chine

Featuring 60 gold and silver award-winning medalists, the Cirque De Chine offers visitors an encompassing look at acrobatics complete with the traditions of China. Acts demonstrated throughout the performance include plate spinning, trapeze balancing, hoop diving and more, while the 2,000 year old culture of China is showcased through the more than 75 different costumes used throughout the show. Those looking for a high-energy time of entertainment, cultural diversity or simply an entertaining show, Cirque De Chine is definitely worth looking into.

Experience Blues on the Bluff in Memphis, TN

This July 19 Memphis will host the Blues on the Bluff. The festival is set to be held on the bluffs along the Mississippi River, and will offer a festive time that puts Memphis’ two biggest draws in the spotlight: barbecue and blues music. Blues on the Bluff is set to showcase numerous local legends including The Bo-Keys, Kenny Brown Band, Robert “Wolfman” Belfour, and Blind Mississippi Morris & The Pocket Rockets. From enjoying the taste of authentic Memphis barbecue and sounds of home-grown blues to immersing yourself in the beautiful scene of the Mississippi River, there’s no better way to enjoy the blues in Memphis this summer than with Blues on the Bluff.

Those interested in attending the event can find numerous lodging options throughout Memphis, TN online.

Of course, if you’re a fan of music you’re sure to find much more than Blues on the Bluff to fill your time in Memphis. Located directly in Memphis, visitors will find the historic Sun Studio open to visitors! Sun Studio is well-noted for the numerous recordings Elvis Presley made in the tiny studio throughout the 50’s, though Elvis is far from the only household name to have graced the legendary Sun Studios. From Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and BB King to newer acts such as U2, Tom Petty and Def Leppard, Sun Studio defined an era throughout the 50’s and 60’s, and has continued to bring in star talent to this day.

Another great way to uncover the musical heritage of Memphis is through the extremely unique Memphis Mojo Tour. You’ll ride in a vintage 50’s bus as you discover the gems of Memphis including Beale Street, Sun Studio, Stax Museum and much more. And the best part is that you’re tour will be guided by an authentic local musician! From gaining insight into the sites of Memphis from a true local with a passion for the music scene to simply exploring all the Memphis music scene has to offer, you’re sure to have a unique experience with the Memphis Mojo Tour.

Explore Native American Culture in the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon area is home to an astounding array of beauty and wonder that can turn any vacation into a veritable adventure. However, along with ancient views of the geological world, travelers can also find a vibrant view of the area’s ancient culture as well. The native beliefs of the Southwest may have dwindled over the years, but there are certainly still a number of both remnants and living societies that are more than happy to share what they have to offer. From exploring ancient petroglyphs and cave paintings to visiting Havasupai villages, you can travel into prevailing customs of the past with a visit to the Grand Canyon.

Indian Painting Safari Jeep Tour

The Indian Painting Safari Jeep Tour takes travelers through Kaibab National Forest and explorers the many stories, art and mere markings left behind. Throughout the tour you’ll learn of a variety of ancient peoples that inhabited the Grand Canyon area, and the meanings behind the many pictures they left behind. Of course, being in the Kaibab National Forest you’ll also be greeted with a wide scope of natural beauty and area wildlife for a complete look into both the past and present of the Grand Canyon.

Havasupai Heli-Hiking Day

Turning from the past of the Grand Canyon’s ancient cultures into how these cultures are faring in the present, the Havasupai Heli-Hiking Day offers a wondrous look at the Grand Canyon complete with a visit to Havasupai Indian village located in the Grand Canyon. You’ll travel by helicopter to the Canyon itself where you’ll descend 4,000 feet into the Havasupai village. Once at the village, you’ll have the ability to browse various crafts, mingle with the locals or even explore the Canyon itself more in depth. More than simply experiencing the Grand Canyon, the Havasupai Heli-Hiking Day offers a glimpse into both the Grand Canyon and its culture.

Return to the Era of the Shag in Williamsburg, VA

“The Shag” may not be at the forefront of popular culture anymore, but this energetic dance number is far from dead! In fact, Yorktown, near Williamsburg, is holding an entire celebration to the dance phenomenon with Shagging on the Riverwalk. Held every Friday from July 20th through August 17th, Shagging on the Riverwalk offers live concerts featuring a variety of beach music, as well as the chance to get out and shag to your heart’s content. Whether reliving the summer days of your teenage years or discovering this once popular craze for the first time, Shagging on the Riverwalk is a family event that can offer great times for all generations.

Of course, Shagging on the Riverwalk is far from the only trip back in time that you’ll find when visiting the Williamsburg area. In fact, Williamsburg itself can transport travelers to the 18th century with Colonial Williamsburg. This popular historical attraction offers an entire village comprised of the architecture, culture and atmosphere of the 18th century through a variety of unique exhibits and reenactments. From touring plantation settings to witnessing authentic craftsmen at work, you’ll find an immersive experience with all the details covered when visiting Colonial Williamsburg.

Dinner Attractions in Myrtle Beach, SC

While most travelers may not place emphasis on their dining options when planning a vacation it is something you’re going to have to do, so you might as well make it fun. And whether you’re looking for an interesting, laid back area to enjoy a great meal and conversation with your friends and family or an encompassing time of dining and entertainment, the Myrtle Beach area offers more than a few selections that are sure to turn your meals into the highlight of your vacation. Below, we’ve featured a few of the options available in the area to help get you started on planning your next vacation to coast of South Carolina.

Planet Hollywood

At Planet Hollywood Myrtle Beach visitors will find a superstar atmosphere surrounded by movie magic and memorabilia. Pacific coast style is definitely featured inside this Atlantic attraction, offering a trendy scene that will amaze with its flash along. Of course, true movie buffs will be more impressed by the wide range of authentic movie props showcased throughout the restaurant, including Dorothy’s dress from the Wizard of Oz. Whether you’re looking for a happening scene, interesting dining atmosphere or simply great food, the Planet Hollywood should exceed expectations on all three fronts.

Hard Rock Café

Turning attention from film to music, the Hard Rock Café is another great dining option in Myrtle Beach that can provide visitors with much more than a filling meal. Featuring an Egyptian atmosphere, you’ll be greeted upon your visit by a sprawling pyramid structure with sphinx guarding each side of the entrance. Of course, inside you’ll find remnants of classic American music for a setting that any music buff will drool over. From memorabilia from Aerosmith and Guns n Roses, The Who and Frank Zappa to exhibits highlighting Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, there’s something for nearly every music lover at the Hard Rock Café Myrtle Beach.

Dinner Shows

If you’re looking for a more complete time of entertainment during your dining in Myrtle Beach, then perhaps a dinner show is just what you’re looking for. Both Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament and Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede call Myrtle Beach home, and each offer a unique experience and filling meal. With Medieval Times guests will travel to a time of chivalrous knights and stately kings as a jousting competition entertains during your royal dinner. At Dixie Stampede, the Civil War will be at the forefront as the North and South battle it out in a series of races and equestrian arts. And while each offers a completely different scenario, quality entertainment and filling food are slated for both shows.

Take a Bite Out of the Big Apple With NYC Multi-Activity Passes

Due to its shear size and non-stop environment, it can be nearly impossible to take in all that New York City has to offer in just one visit. Even just exploring one of the five boroughs can be a daunting task in one outing. However, things can be made easier on New York City visitors with one simple solution: a multi-activity pass. With just one pass you’ll have in your hands admission to numerous top attractions, sightseeing tours and more throughout the Big Apple. From the huge savings you’ll find to the ease offered by pointing you in the right direction in regards to a complete vacation, there are numerous advantages to using a multi-activity pass. Below, we’ve highlighted a few of the different options offered in the New York City area to help you decide which pass will be best suite your individual needs.

The New York Pass

The New York Pass offers admission to over 40 attractions throughout New York City and can be purchased in 1, 2, 3, or 7 day increments to ensure you’ll find just the right amount of time you’re looking for. The American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Zoo, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum are just a few of the many popular attractions offered with the pass; though aside from admission to 40 different attractions, you’ll also find savings on a number of other activities and a 152-page guidebook on all that is offered with the card.

New York City Explorer Pass

If admission to 40 different attractions seems to daunting a task for your next visit to New York City, then perhaps the New York City Explorer Pass is more what you’re looking for. With this unique pass you’ll be able to choose 5 activities to take part in from a list of a dozen options. Activities including Top of the Rock Observation Deck and Museum of Modern Art round out attractions and museums offered, while you’ll have eight different cruises and tours to choose form to help you see the sights of the city.

CityPass

Much like the New York City Explorer Pass, the New York CityPass tones down the shear number of attractions offered while still keeping the quality up for those that simply won’t have the time to visit dozens of activities during their visit. With the CityPass you’ll have admission to the Empire State Building Observatory & Audio Tour, Guggenheim Museum, American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Modern Art and a 2 hour Circle Line Harbor Cruise.

Find the Key to the Windy City With Multi-Activity Passes

When traveling to The Windy City you will quickly find that there is more than enough to offer an entertaining stay whether visiting for a weekend or entire week. In fact, with so much to see and do your major problem may lie in successfully planning an itinerary of your time. Thankfully, things can be made simple with the help of a multi-attraction pass. Offering everything from packaged admission to some of Chicago’s most popular activities and attractions to informative guide books that can easily translate Chicago’s city streets, a multi-attraction pass may be just the thing for those that don’t know exactly what they’d like to do while in Chicago, but want to do it all.

Go Chicago Card

The Go Chicago Card is an encompassing pass that covers 25 activities and attractions in the Chicago area. Ranging from museum admission to sightseeing tours, the Go Chicago Card includes admission to such popular offerings as Gray Line Grand Chicago Tour, The Art Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier attractions and more! Aside from admission to 25 Chicago attractions, the Go Chicago Card also offers savings ranging from 10% to 20% at area restaurants and retailers. And best of all, the Go Chicago Card can be purchased in 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 day increments to ensure your Go Chicago Card experience perfectly fits your vacation plans.

CityPass

If you’ll only have so much time for sightseeing, but would like to hit all the major points, then the CityPass may be your best bet when visiting Chicago. With the CityPass you’ll have access to The Field Museum, Museum of Science & Industry, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and Hancock Observatory & Sky Tour over the course of 9 days. Along with the actual pass, you’ll also receive a helpful booklet that contains vital information on each attraction such as hours of operation, transportation advice and contact information.

Grand Ole Opry Schedule of Performers For June 27 & 28, 2008

Please Note: The Grand Ole Opry does not release final lineups until the Wednesday prior to each performance. This list will be updated weekly as new performers are confirmed and added to the lineup.

Friday, June 27 – Order Tickets

Riders In The Sky
Jimmy C. Newman
Heidi Newfield
Jimmy Dickens
Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
Darryl Worley
Marty Stuart
Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys
Connie Smith
Trace Adkins
T.G. Sheppard

Saturday, June 28 – Order Tickets

6:30 performance

Jimmy Dickens
Connie Smith
John Cowan Band
Jimmy C. Newman
T.G. Sheppard
Julie Roberts
Ray Pillow
Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
Rebecca Lynn Howard
The Whites
Jan Howard
Opry Square Dancers
Sarah Buxton
The Time Jumpers

9:30 performance

Jimmy Dickens
Connie Smith
Rebecca Lynn Howard
Jimmy C. Newman
T.G. Sheppard
Julie Roberts
The Whites
Sarah Buxton
John Cowan Band
Opry Square Dancers
Ray Pillow
The Time Jumpers