Make your way to the dirty south this May for the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival lasting from May 5-8. Begun in 1970 to celebrate New Orleans wonderful jazz heritage, the festival has since become a celebration of all musical styles from blues and hip-hop to funk and Cajun/zydeco. Artists from all genres are on hand to celebrate and you won’t want to miss your chance to see performances by Jeff Beck, Lauryn Hill, Ricky Skaggs and Arcade Fire. In addition to the great music, there are also plenty of vendors on hand selling arts, crafts, collectibles and, most importantly, food.
During your vacation to New Orleans, you may also want to participate in one of the fabulous tours that show you the mystery and magic of such a historical city. Book yourself a spot in the Crescent City Nights Walking Tour, where you will have the chance to dine at a fabulous New Orleans restaurant, have a few cocktails at a local jazz club, then enjoy a cafe au lait and beignet at world-famous Cafe DuMonde. Along the way you will learn about the history and legends that surround the area and maybe get a chance to meet a local who can clue you in on a few little known secrets.
For a more adventurous time, take a Half-Day Airboat and Plantation Tour on Bayou Gauche. These high-speed watercrafts will fill you with excitement as you whisk over marshes and through the bayous of New Orleans where you can catch glimpses of alligators and giant catfish. And as an added treat, you’ll receive a tour of the oldest documented plantation home, Destrehan Plantation, which is located on Old River Road. The tour lasts about five hours and hotel pick up is available so you won’t want to miss your chance to historical New Orleans by airboat.
On May 1, San Antonio will host the Jalapeño Explosion at historic Market Square. This unique culinary experience will feature a Jalapeño Eating Championship Challenge and the Jalapeño Culinary Challenge. The all day event starts at 11:30 am with 12 students from three of the top-tiered culinary institutes in San Antonio demonstrating their cooking skills to see who can create and present the most unique and delicious jalapeño-inspired dish using a mystery ingredient that will provided for them. The Jalapeño Eating Contest will kick off at 1pm and will feature some of the world’s best professional eaters as they attempt to plow through as many jalapeños as they can in eight minutes for a $3,000 grand prize. The event will also feature plenty of live entertainment, jalapeño specialty foods, and jalapeño-themed merchandise. You will also have the opportunity to learn a little history about the jalapeño and other chilies native to Mexico. Find your favorite San Antonio lodging while you are here also.
Don’t forget to make time to visit The Alamo with the Alamo Reflections Tour. Not only will you have the opportunity to see and learn more about this historic mission and its place in Texas history, you will also be taken to other historical missions such as the Mission San Jose and Mission Concepción, the oldest stone church in America. Your final stop on the tour will be the El Mercado, a traditional Mexican Marketplace, where you can buy various items from food to authentic Mexican imports. Combining some of the most interesting and historical sights in San Antonio, the Alamo Reflections Tour is sure to be enjoyed by your entire family.
You and your family might also enjoy taking in a San Antonio Mission baseball game on your visit to Texas. The San Antonio Missions are a double A affiliate team of the San Diego Padres and always put on a good show for their audience. A night at the ballpark provides a family outing with plenty of special activities including T-shirt giveaways, dizzy bat races, dot races, and sumo football. Kids will also enjoy the chance to chase Henry the Puffy Taco around the bases or get their picture taken with the Mission’s mascot, Ballapeno, a baseball loving jalapeño.
This Mother’s Day, do something Mom won’t soon forget by reserving her a seat aboard the 1880 Train in Mount Rushmore. The 1880 Train is a completely restored authentic steam engine train that takes you on a beautiful trip through the Black Hills of South Dakota from Keystone to Hill City and back. On May 8, Mom will be treated like a queen as she enjoys champagne, a yummy treat, a delectable dessert and an Old West style shootout. Make sure to stop by the gift shop before or after your journey to buy Mom a Wooden Whistle or Solid Brass Christmas Ornament commemorating her special day. You can also make lodging reservations in Mount Rushmore as well.
While staying in Mount Rushmore, you will want to visit The Journey Museum for what is sure to be an eye-opening and educational experience. The Journey Museum tells the story of the people who first shaped the area’s history and the scientists who study the Western Great Plains region. You will have the opportunity to explore the past in a fascinating and interactive way at the Museum of Geology, Sioux Indian Museum and the Archaeological Research Center. There is also an extensive collection of Sioux arts and crafts within The Duhamel Collection of Native American Artifacts.
You won’t want to miss visiting the National Presidential Wax Museum in Keystone, South Dakota. The museum displays life-sized, life-like replicas of every one of the American presidents for a patriotic journey through our nation’s history. While you are there, stop by the gift shop, which is considered an attraction on its own. The store offers museum-quality souvenirs of everything presidential including a wide variety of collectibles, fine porcelain, sculptures and presidential china.
If you are looking for something unique to do while visiting New York City, why not head to the Bronx Zoo for a fun and educational adventure your family won’t soon forget? The zoo has hundreds of animals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects for you to visit and plenty of exhibits you can spend hours viewing including the Butterfly Garden, Congo Gorilla Forest and Astor Court and Sea Lion Pool. The Bronx Zoo is open year-round although some rides and exhibits are open depending on the weather. If you are interested in visiting the zoo multiple days, you can make reservations for our New York lodging.
For a different kind of adventure, head to Lyndhurst, New Jersey where you can ride the roller coasters to your hearts content at Six Flags Great Adventure. Guests will find an endless amount of things to see and do with areas including Wiggles World, Looney Tunes Seaport, Main Street and Fantasy Forest. There are also plenty of show and dining options for your family to enjoy.
You don’t want to go to New York and forget to sample some of the city’s world-famous pizza so make sure to book your reservations for A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour. This four hour guided tour will take you throughout Brooklyn where you will sample pizza from various restaurants and learn fun and interesting facts about the food that has taken America by storm. On the tour you will also have the opportunity to many points of interest and landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island, Keyspan Park and Trump Village. So bring your camera and your appetite because you will definitely need both on the A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour.
What better way to see the Smokies than during the Wildflower Pilgrimage now through May 1. As the dark hues of winter begin to fade into the vibrant colors of spring, take the chance to get outdoors and experience the unique flora and fauna of East Tennesee. Since 1951, the Wildflower Pilgrimage has offered more than 150 programs for visitors including instructional walks and guided hiking tours that focus on the endless varieties of trees, shrubs, mosses, flowers and everything in between. Guests will also have the opportunity to attend demonstrations and lectures by skilled botanists and wildlife experts. If you plan on visiting Gatlinburg – Pigeon Forge this Spring, you won’t want to miss this annual event!
While in area, keep with the nature theme and stop by the Rainforest Adventure Discovery Zoo. This wonderful attraction features a simulated rainforest ecosystem with interesting animals like giant tortoises, ringtailed lemurs and venomous snakes. You will surely enjoy strolling through the rainforest and admiring the 25-foot waterfall while awe-inspiring tropical birds fly overhead.
For a more nautical adventure, head to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies where you can see more than 10,000 aquatic animals from around the world. Spend some time in one of the many exhibits, such as the Ocean Realm or Shark Lagoon. For those really adventurous souls, drop by Touch a Ray Bay where you will have the chance to mingle with these gentle, smooth-skinned creatures. On your way out, don’t forget to drop by the Cargo Hold Store for any last minute souvenirs or gifts to commemorate your trip.
Take part in the great 34th Annual Bellevue Community Picnic, starting in Bellevue outside of Nashville on May 21. The event is perfect for adults and children alike as a host of gourmet cuisine, exciting rides and attractions and entertainment will be yours to take part in. The incredible event will feature many vendors for visitors to interact with, offering all kinds of arts and crafts to purchase and take home. About 15,000 people are expected to attend, and to mark the finale of the event, an enormous fireworks display will take place after the sun goes down, lighting up the Tennessee sky! To prepare for this great event and remain close by to other attractions, you can reserve your Nashville lodging.
Experience the open air of Tennessee with other attractions as well, including the Nashville Trolley Tour, which will take you to many of the top landmarks of historic Nashville. View famous architecture like the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium and the Tennessee State Capitol. In addition, your old fashioned trolley will travel by Historic Second Avenue, Bicentennial Mall and the Parthenon. Look for famous country music stars as well – you may see your favorites walking along Music Row!
If you’d like to walk a little bit yourself, you can do so with the Nashville Unpublished Walking Tour, providing you with a realistic, unbiased look at Nashville’s history. Listen to stories that have never been publicized about famous Nashville legends such as Patsy Cline, Elvis, and Johnny Cash. Also, you can find out about your favorite historical war heroes like Davy Crockett, Andrew Jackson and Daniel Boone. One of the most glamorous stories your guide will share with you provides the background of a Confederate spy named Fannie Battle, who started the city’s first daycare after returning from the war. To mark the highlight of your trip, you’ll be able to participate in a “Behind the Scenes” look at the Ryman Auditorium!
The adventurous Orlando Carnival will bring in audiences from every region as it begins on May 27 – 29. It’s Orlando’s 27th annual carnival in the area. The carnival provides visitors with all kinds of entertainment, from street parades to colorful costumes to exciting live shows. Visitors will have a plethora of attractions to choose from, and families can bring the children to a special “Kiddies Carnival,” which hosts entertainment just for the kids! Caribbean style entertainment such as steel band music, ethnic cuisine and traditional souvenirs will all be yours during your participation in the Orlando Carnival. If you’re interested in staying for an extended vacation during the Orlando Carnival, you can make reservations for our Orlando lodging.
Several other exciting Orlando activities are awaiting your participation as well, including the Orlando Balloon Adventure, which can hold up to ten passengers and will take you on the ride of your life across the Florida terrain. Experience the cool, open air of the Orlando skies as you float for three hours across miles of beautiful landscape. The operator of the colorful balloon will answer questions you may have about the areas below and will provide you with a safe trip from start to finish. Take your whole family on this incredible, peaceful ride.
After you’ve crossed the Florida landscape in a balloon, you can take an even faster ride with reservations for the Grand Tour, which takes you up in the air via airplane for 30 minutes while your guide narrates. The plane will zoom across the sunlit landscape, going by highlights such as Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Downtown Disney and Universal Studios. You’ll see many smaller businesses, large shopping attractions and several famous golf courses during your trip. Cameras are certainly encouraged, and you can take as many pictures as you’d like!
Silver Dollar City will provide a host of events during the annual Bluegrass and BBQ festival in Branson from May 12 – 30. Visitors can enjoy many of their favorite artists, from the incredible Larry Stephenson Band to the twangy Audie Blaylock and Redline. Award winners Kenny and Amanda Smith and many other musical entertainers will be playing during the event as well. While you’re listening to the upbeat music of these artists, feel free to stop by The House of BBQ and Molly’s Mill Restaurant for a delicious blend of barbecued meats and savory sides! For those who enjoy cooking, you can put your skills to work with a class at the Culinary and Craft School and even take home a few recipes with you. Don’t forget to make reservations for this grand event by viewing Branson lodging options.
In addition to the country entertainment at the Bluegrass and BBQ, you can also find plenty of other venues in Branson for a musical experience, including the New South Gospel. You’ll be introduced to an astounding quartet with a large variety of classic gospel songs and hit country songs that cover bands like Rascal Flatts. Welcome this fun group of four singers as they bring the oldies alive with their trained voices. The production will also provide the hilarious antics of Jamie Hagge who will imitate Mike Patrick and Jim Dandy. This two hour experience is one you won’t want to miss!
If you haven’t quite filled your country craving, you can make reservations at the exciting Sunday Gospel Jubilee, featuring the great music of an entire family of talented singers, including lead singer Max Bacon. This show has a long history of great performances and is always bringing new renditions of classic songs to the stage, so you’ll certainly be entertained the whole way through. Keep your Sunday afternoon free and head to the fine Sunday Gospel Jubilee.
While visiting Las Vegas this Spring, don’t miss legendary 70s and 80s band Foreigner performing April 29 at the 2,000-seat Grand Events Center. Foreigner is best known for their hit songs “Feels Like the First Time”, “Double Vision”, and “Cold as Ice.” Originally formed in 1976, the band has sold more than 70 million albums worldwide.
Another great show you won’t want to miss is Piano! Las Vegas featuring talented musician and world champion pianist Ryan Ahern. Ahern will be seated at the piano and backed by five other talented musicians on a range of instruments. Some of the hits that are regularly featured in the show include “This Love” by Maroon 5, “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis, “Mess Around” by Ray Charles and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. Seats at the show are going quickly, so be sure to purchase your tickets today.
If you’re looking for a dinner and show, become a member of the wedding party at Tony and Tina’s Wedding. This interactive show will give you the chance to participate in a typical Italian American wedding ceremony and kick up your heels at was is sure to be an anything-but-typical reception. The unpredictable event includes a delicious full Italian Buffet Dinner, champagne, tasty wedding cake and upbeat music including traditional Italian songs and great dance music.