Monthly Archives: July 2012

Grand Ole Opry Performances August 3-8

This week at the Grand Ole Opry, as with every week, you are in for a treat of incredible country music talent. The Grand Ole Opry brings newer acts together with more classic names for a show that you’ll never forget, every time. Throughout the next few days, join Diamond Rio, Carrie Underwood, Love and Theft and many other exceptional acts in a truly memorable show.

On Tuesday, August 7, up-and-comer Jana Kramer will be in the Opry Shop before the show signing autographs of her new album. Then she’ll be joined by Vince Gill, The Band Perry, Jimmy Dickens and more on the Opry stage.

August 3 – The Grand Ole Opry

  • Crystal Gayle
  • Amanda Shires
  • The Isaacs
  • The Whites
  • Jesse McReynolds
  • Connie Smith
  • Diamond Rio

August 4 – The Grand Ole Opry

  • Carrie Underwood
  • Andy Gibson
  • Riders In The Sky
  • Jeannie Seely
  • Jean Shepard
  • Love and Theft

August 7 – The Grand Ole Opry

  • Jana Kramer
  • Vince Gill
  • The Band Perry
  • Brett Eldredge
  • Jim Ed Brown
  • Jimmy Dickens

August 8 – The Grand Ole Opry

  • Rodney Atkins
  • Steve Wariner
  • John Conlee
  • Riders In The Sky
  • Greg Bates

…and more!

Stay nearby the show at any of these or other hotels: Guesthouse Inn & Suites Music Valley (0.5 miles away), Holiday Inn Express & Suites Opryland (0.6 miles away), Gaylord Opryland Hotel (0.2 miles away) and Comfort Inn Opryland Area (0.9 miles away).

Natural Bridge Caverns in San Antonio, TX

Go deep into the depths of the Natural Bridge Caverns to cool off from the Texas sun and summer heat. You can take a 75-minute tour down 180 feet below ground to see stalagmites, flow stones, chandeliers, stalactites, soda straws and more. This adventure will be filled with energy, education and exciting experiences. You don’t have to be an avid caver to experience Natural Bridge; the cavern tour is appropriate for all ages. Though even if you are, it’s always a fun memory for everyone who tries it.

In March of 1960, Orion Knox Jr., Preston Knodell, Al Brandt and Joe Cantu – four students from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio – received permission to explore the area of Natural Bridge Caverns. Convinced that there were large, underground passageways underneath the 60-foot limestone bridge, they went on four expeditions. On that fourth trip, they finally got lucky.

The four explorers climbed and crawled through roughly two miles of cavern passages. After their exhilarating discovery and adventure, they climbed and crawled their way back to the surface to inform the landowners of their incredible find. The landowners developed the first half-mile into a passageway for guests from around the world to explore. This half of a mile is arguably the most remarkable section of the caverns.

Now, you can explore the depths for yourself. Find all of the formations from centuries ago, some of which are still growing. Make sure you bring your camera to capture these moments and sights forever!

Natural Bridge Caverns is the largest cavern in San Antonio. It is also one of the largest in the state of Texas.

While you’re on the Natural Bridge Caverns property, try out the Canopy Challenge and zipline. You can also choose to venture further into the cavern, into some darker areas.

Stay nearby the caverns at the Comfort Suites Stone Oak hotel, less than seven miles away, or the Hampton Inn San Antonio-Northwoods, just over nine miles from the attraction.

More Top Activities in the Mount Rushmore Area

If you’re wondering what to do on your trip to Mount Rushmore this year, other than the tour of the landmark, try visiting a few of the other attractions in the area. These three locations are all designed to bring fun for the whole family and for all age groups.

The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs will give you the opportunity to visit a real paleontology laboratory, view some archaeological films and take a tour with your informative guide. The Mammoth Site is the home to the largest mammoth research facility, and gives you rare opportunities you won’t find anywhere else.

A the Journey Museum in Rapid City, you can learn the history of the early people who inhabited the Western Great Plains, who shaped the area into what it is. Collections include the Museum of Geology, where you can touch a real dinosaur bone; the Archaeological Research Center, where you will visit an actual excavation site; the Sioux Indian Museum, where you can listen to the riveting tales of the Lakota peoples; and the Minnilusa Pioneer Museum, where you can explore artifacts from mountain men, military personnel, miners and more.

There’s no archaeological digs at the Pioneer Auto Show & Antique Town in Murdo, South Dakota, but you can find exhibits on Elvis Presley’s Harley Davidson, a 1967 Mustang Convertible, a 1945 Harley Davidson Motorcycle with a side car, a J.J. Case Steam Engine and a Aultman-Taylor Tractor, among many other auto displays. The antique town is filled with old music boxes, toys and other knick knacks you may be interested in exploring.

Each of these three sites will give you the opportunity to explore some of the best of South Dakota. Your vacation should be more than just Mount Rushmore. Make the most of it with these activities.

Explore Memphis Museums

Explore the museums in Memphis and get a more enriching vacation experience. There are three museums that, when you’re visiting the city, you have to stop by. These museums are the National Civil Rights Museum, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Of course, don’t forget to visit Graceland as well!

The National Civil Rights Museum—
This museum, located at the site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, puts on display the important moments in the American civil rights movement. The museum aspires to spread the legacy of the movement and inspire others to participate in efforts to improve human and civil rights globally. Permanent exhibits at the museum include the “Unremitting Struggle” of the earliest slave revolts; “Protest,” which displays the boycotts, marches, sit-ins, workshops and other means to end military discrimination; “Montgomery Bus Boycott,” where there is a model of an actual bus in the museum that displays the struggles of Mrs. Rosa Parks; and the “Birmingham Jail,” or rather a replica of the jail cell.

The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum—
The birth of rock and soul music is displayed at this Memphis museum. There are seven galleries that visitors are able to explore at their own pace. Each of these exhibits brings musical history back to life. Galleries include “Rural Culture” and “Rural Music,” “Coming to Memphis,” “Soul Music,” “Social Changes” and the Bravo Gallery. The Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum was crated by the Smithsonian Institution to tell the story of musical pioneers.

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music—
The legacy of Stax Records spans for over half a century, with artists such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, Luther Ingram, Jesse Jackson, Bill Cosby and Moms Mabley all kicking off their careers with the help of the company. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music opened in 2002 and has been attracting crowds from all over the country to come explore their exhibits, like the temporary “Wattstax: The Living Word.” This forty-year anniversary exhibit relives the concert event that brought Stax Records to the front of the line.

When you’re staying in Memphis to visit any of these museums or other activities, make sure you stay nearby for added convenience. The Rodeway Inn is less than half a mile from Stax, while the Best Western Gen X Inn is under two miles away. The Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis-Beale Street and Doubletree Hotel Memphis Downtown are both within walking distance of the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, and the National Civil Rights Museum is close by the Peabody Memphis and the Sleep Inn at Court Square.

Memphis is filled with music and history, and anytime is the perfect time to visit the city to explore these exceptional museums. If you’ve ever been looking for a reason to visit the area, any or all of these three museums will give you that motive to go.

Talks at The Met this Week in August

This week is bringing a wide variety of art talks to The Met. Everything from Buddhism and aesthetic lifestyles to dogs of the medieval era will be covered throughout the month. Make sure you take the opportunity to visit with experts in any subject you are interested in.

On Thursday, August 2, Alice W. Schwarz, a museum educator, is coming to take a deeper look into the work and style of the French artist Georges de La Tour. This “A Closer Look—Georges de La Tour’s The Fortune Teller” talk will give you the opportunity to look at a beautiful piece of art and dive into the story and the style behind it.

Also on Thursday, Mellissa Huber discusses “The Pleasure of Beauty and the Pain of Ugliness: Exploring the Aesthetic Lifestyle.” Huber is a summer museum graduate intern. These interns will be discussing their specialties through August 9.

The Assistant Curator in the Department of Asian Art, Kurt Behrendt, has set up a discussion for August 3, this Friday, to talk about the artistic exchange through trade, military conquest and the diffusion of Buddhism at the “Buddhism Along the Silk Road: 5th-8th Century” exhibition tour.

Other talks you can look forward to include those at The Met’s Cloisters, where experts will discuss “Medieval Dogs.” If you’re a fan of abstract art, there’s a talk for you on Sunday, August 5. If you prefer American art, head to The Met on Tuesday, the 7th, for “Constructing Home.” A more complete list follows.

Thursday, August 2—

  • 11:00 – 12:00: A Closer Look—Georges de La Tour’s The Fortune Teller
  • 3:30 – 4:30: The Pleasure of Beauty and the Pain of Ugliness: Exploring the Aesthetic Lifestyle

Friday, August 3—

  • 10:00 – 11:00: Exhibition Tour—Buddhism Along the Silk Road: 5th-8th Century
  • 11:00 – 12:00: Palace Plaques from the Court of Benin
  • 7:00 – 8:00: Great European Patrons and Collectors

Saturday, August 4—

  • 11:00 – 12:00: When Kingdoms Collided: African Art in the Age of Exploration
  • 12:00 – 1:00: Medieval Dogs (at The Cloisters)
  • 2:00 – 3:00: Medieval Dogs (at The Cloisters)

Sunday, August 5—

  • 11:00 – 12:00: How “Abstraction” in Renaissance Drawing Informs Contemporary Art

Tuesday, August 7—

  • 11:00 – 12:00: An Unlikely Pair—Standing Bodhisattva Maitreya and Marble sarcophagus with the Triumph of Dionysos and the Seasons
  • 3:30 – 4:30: Constructing Home: American Art and Domestic Spaces

If you’re looking to stay near The Met during your trip to New York, there are a variety of hotels in the area. The Comfort Inn Central Park West is less than a mile away, while the Quality Inn, Astor On The Park and the Bentley are all under a mile and a half away.

Each of these talks will give you the opportunity to broaden your horizons, become more knowledgeable on the subject and give you a deeper insight into art. Before or after the talk, explore the museum’s many exhibits. The talks are all included with museum admission, though some have limited seating.

Hazzard Homecoming at Cooter’s Place in Gatlinburg, TN

On August 11-12 at Cooter’s Place Museum & General Store in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, come down for the Hazzard Homecoming event. If you are or ever were a Dukes of Hazzard fan, then you are sure to love this event. There’s a variety of special activities lined up, including guest appearances by some of the cast members of Dukes of Hazzard themselves.

The event is popular with kids and adults alike. All weekend, you can catch some incredibly talented country, bluegrass and rock artists in musical events. There will also be cast autograph sessions, a petting zoo, a water slide, a climbing wall, bounce houses, an American BMX bike stunt, a Hazzard Country stunt demonstration and WWE wrestling both days.

On Saturday, August 11, the gates will open at Cooter’s at 9:00 a.m. Your favorite Dukes will be in attendance signing autographs from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Then, head over to the Country Music & Rockability concert and fireworks.

On Sunday, August 12, gates open a little bit later at 9:30 a.m., with autograph sessions at 10:30-5:00, a gospel sing from 10:00-11:00 a.m. and bluegrass music playing all day. Dr. Ralph Stanley will be joining in with the bluegrass sounds.

Special guests throughout the event include Dr. Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys, Nathan Stanley, Rockability legends Sleepy LaBeef and Sonny Burgess and The Legendary Pacers, The Lewis Tradition, Stella Parton, Mayberry Deputy, Silver Travis, Jerry “The King” Lawler & the Boogie Woogie Man and more.

If you purchase your tickets in advance, you can get a one-day ticket for $20, or get two days for $25. Visit Cooter’s website for more information on how to purchase those tickets.

Stay nearby the event at the Days Inn Rocky Waters, Westgate Smoky Mountain Hotel or Best Western Crossroads Inn Gatlinburg, all less than a mile away from the museum.

August Shows at Vegas Hotels

The month of August brings a wide variety of entertainment to Vegas hotels. From music sensations like Celine Dion to hilarious comedians like Ron White, there’s a show for everyone in Vegas this month. You don’t have to be a guest at these hotels to enjoy the great entertainment, though it does make for a convenient way to spend your Vegas vacation.

Caesars Palace welcomes Celine Dion on selected dates from the 1st to the 19th. Paris Las Vegas hosts the Empire Comedy Club every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Palazzo brings the popular Discovery Channel “MythBusters” to life. There are many other talented stars coming to Vegas hotels this month. A complete list follows.

Caesars Palace

  • 8/1 – 8/19: Celine Dion*

Paris Las Vegas

  • 8/2 – 8/4: Empire Comedy Club Presents: Pete Correale
  • 8/9 – 8/11: Empire Comedy Club Presents: Dom Irrera

The Mirage

  • 8/3 – 8/4: Ron White
  • 8/24 – 8/25: George Lopez
  • 8/31: Jay Leno


  • 8/3 – 8/4: Tim Allen
  • 8/17 – 8/18: David Spade

Palms Place Hotel & Spa

  • 8/5: Rock N Blues Fest with Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Leslie West, Savoy Browns & Kim Simmonds*
  • 8/8: Beck*
  • 8/19: Yes with Procol Harum*

MGM Grand

  • 8/6 – 8/12: Brad Garrett Comedy Club Presents: Darrell Joyce and Michael Somerville

Encore Wynn Las Vegas

  • 8/17 – 8/18: *


  • 8/17 – 8/19: Mythbusters: Behind the Myths Tour*
  • 8/31 – 9/2: Mythbusters: Behind the Myths Tour*

Mandalay Bay

  • 8/18: Colbie Caillat and Gavin Degraw
  • 8/31: Ziggy Marley

The Riviera

  • 8/24 – 8/26: Amy Schumer

Treasure Island

  • 8/31: Whoopi Goldberg*

* Marks those shows that are appropriate for children. All other shows have a minimum age requirement ranging from 13 to 21 and older.

Head over to these hotels for these incredible music, comedy and other shows. They will all provide you with some of the best and most convenient entertainment options in Vegas. For other show options, try Motown Revue – Hitzville – The Show, BeatleShow and the Magic and Mayhem Show.

The Wiggles at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville

The Wiggles are coming to Nashville at the Ryman Auditorium next Tuesday, August 7th, for a spectacular, loveable, hilarious, musical, wiggly performance. This “Celebration Tour” marks the final shows the popular children’s performers, Anthony, Murray, Jeff and Greg, will perform together.

Head over to the Ryman Auditorium August 7th at 6:30 p.m. for your chance to catch these four Aussies performing together. The concert event will not only bring a smile to you and your kids’ faces as all your favorite Wiggles characters arrive on stage, but it will also instill in your little tykes the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The Wiggles have always been strong advocates of fitness and exercise for all ages and bring that to the stage with all of their fun routines and dance numbers.

Dress up as your favorite Wiggles character, bring in a giant, wiggly sign, dance and sing along with the group and yell “Wake up, Jeff!” every time the Purple Wiggle falls asleep onstage. Your kids may even have the opportunity to get up on stage and sing and dance alongside the Wiggles crew. Learn more about this event at the Ryman Auditorium website.

While you’re in Nashville, there are a variety of other children’s activities that you can spend your time enjoying. The Nashville Zoo is always a favorite with every member of the family, while a visit to Europa Go Karts and Golf will bring a whole afternoon full of entertainment. Before the show, grab an early dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, where you can sit among years of musical memorabilia while enjoying a delicious meal.

Hotels within two miles of the Ryman Auditorium include the Comfort Suites Airport Nashville, the Hilton Garden Inn Nashville Airport and the Club Hotel Nashville Inn & Suites. All three of these hotels boast impressive features like indoor or outdoor pools, hot tubs, complimentary high speed internet, in-room microwaves and refrigerators, free parking and airport shuttles.

Spend some time with the family this August in Nashville, Tennessee. With all of the great music, mouthwatering food and fun entertainment, there’s always something to do together. The Wiggles concert event is one you will not want to miss. Not only is this group of four members incredibly talented, but this may be the last chance you’ll get to see them all together. Head to Nashville for a memorable vacation everyone will enjoy.

Grand Ole Opry Performances July 27 – August 1

This week at the Grand Ole Opry, enjoy performances by some of your favorite country music stars. Newer stars like Love and Theft will be in attendance, as well as more classic favorites like Ricky Skaggs. The Grand Ole Opry also has two additional shows coming up, one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday.

On Saturday, Rhonda Vincent will be signing copies of her new CD, “Sundy Mornin’ Singing.” On Tuesday, Love and Theft will be at the Opry Store with copies of their debut self-titled album before the show. On Wednesday, Joey + Rory will be signing copies of their new CD, “His and Hers.” All three events are free to attend. The complete lineup of Opry talent is below.

July 27 – The Grand Ole Opry

  • Darryl Worley
  • James Otto
  • Dailey & Vincent
  • Ricky Skaggs
  • Barry Gibb

July 28 – The Grand Ole Opry

  • Rhonda Vincent
  • Troy Cassar-Daley
  • Ricky Skaggs

July 31 – The Grand Ole Opry

  • Del McCoury Band
  • Marty Stuart
  • Lorrie Morgan
  • Love and Theft
  • Ricky Skaggs

August 1 – The Grand Ole Opry

  • Josh Thompson
  • Joey + Rory
  • Aaron Tippin
  • Del McCoury Band

…and more!

Lunch with an Astronaut at the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando

Have lunch with an astronaut at the Kennedy Space Center! You can get a delicious meal, and meet with a veteran of NASA’s Astronaut Corps. Astronauts that are known to participate include Al Worden, Bob Springer, Bruce Melnick, Charlie Walker, Jon McBride, Wendy Lawrence and Winston Scott. They will relay tales of their excursions, from the dangers to the excitements, and how they prepared for their mission.

From July 25th to the 31st, Ed Gibson from the Apollo Skylab will be attending the event. You can visit with him at various times throughout the day for a thirty-minute question and answer session, or choose to have lunch with him. Lunch begins at 12:00 p.m. daily and runs for approximately one hour.

The Lunch with an Astronaut menu includes a starter salad, a variety of entrees from mahi mahi to fried ravioli with parmesan cheese, and a delicious dessert of assorted pies, cakes, cookies, brownies, pudding and Jell-O.

Also at the KSC is a variety of attractions, from tours to the popular Shuttle Launch Experience®, where you can take your own, exhilarating journey of the rush to Earth’s orbit. There is also an IMAX theater that shows space films like “Space Station 3D,” narrated by Tom Cruise and filmed by 25 real astronauts as they discover the newest star in the sky, the International Space Station; and “Hubble 3D,” which is narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio and gives viewers an inspiring look into the Hubble Space Telescope.

There are a variety of hotels nearby the Kennedy Space Center, including the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Orlando, the Sonesta Hotel – Orlando Downtown and the Best Western Orlando West, all within two miles.

Get a truly unique experience this year. The Kennedy Space Center offers a wide variety of activities the whole family will enjoy. You can get the chance to go on your own space adventure, as well as meet up with some of the astronauts who have experienced real space adventures.