Monthly Archives: August 2012

Unique Activities in Washington DC

With the presidential election coming up on November 6, all of this talk about politics can be a bit overwhelming. For a bit of political relief, come see some of the more unique highlights of Washington DC instead of taking part in the usual activities. On September 9, take advantage of the opportunity to see 5 time Tony Award nominee Rock of Ages. This upbeat musical includes spot-on renditions of favorite songs from the 80s. Don’t miss your chance to see this world renowned musical at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.

Mystery Dinner Playhouse

The Mystery Dinner Playhouse in nearby Arlington, VA provides a unique dinner and show experience. Enjoy a mouth-watering four-course meal where your servers are the “suspects” in five different skits. As you dine, you’ll try to figure out who did what with only the subtle hints given by your servers. Be sure to pay close attention, you never know what may be a clue at the Mystery Dinner Playhouse. At the end of the show everyone will fill out a form explaining who did what. The person who best solves the mystery will win a prize! This dinner and show is perfect for every size group, and will provide some comedic aid from all the politics. For more information about the Mystery Dinner Playhouse, click here.

Crime Museum

At the Crime Museum, visitors will see how crime, and the techniques we use to fight crime, has evolved over the past several decades. Learn how DNA testing and more modern technology helps solve current crimes as well as cold cases from the past. There are numerous interactive displays such as a computer hacking station, a high speed chase simulation, test-firing a weapon at the FBI shooting range, and many more. If you love the show America’s Most Wanted with host John Walsh, you will have the opportunity to visit the set of this riveting show. This unique museum is very educational and will give every visitor a better understanding of the criminal justice system from past to present. To learn more about the Crime Museum, click here.

Washington DC City Segway Tour

If you still want to see the traditional sights of Washington DC but want to do it in an untraditional way, try out the Washington DC City Segway Tour. Comfortably cruise on your innovative segway through DC with a very informative guide as you see and learn about attractions such as the White House, Washington Monument, State Capitol, Smithsonian Castle, and many more. If you want to find out more about the Washington DC City Segway Tour, click here.

There are also several hotels in Washington DC perfect for your vacation needs. For more information about lodging in the Washington DC area click here


Come Celebrate Labor Day in Williamsburg

Celebrate Labor Day in Williamsburg where you will find a wide variety of relaxing activities to reward all the hard work done over the years. Labor Day also marks the ending of summer, so this makes for the perfect time to get out one last time for some warm weather fun. Williamsburg has plenty of relaxing and fun ideas for your Labor Day getaway.

Water Country USA

Water Country USA is the perfect place to sit back and relax, or take advantage one of the many exciting water rides before summer comes to an end. If you’re up for an exciting challenge, slip on over to Adventure Isle where you can test your abilities on this fun water obstacle course. If relaxing is your idea of fun, take advantage of the quarter mile long Adventure River where you can float past waterfalls, through caves, and soak up some sun. Water Country USA is only open through Labor Day, so get your tickets today!

Miss Hampton II Harbor Cruise

On the Miss Hampton II Harbor Cruise, see wonderful sights of the Williamsburg area such as Hampton Roads Harbor, Chesapeake Bay, the Norfolk Naval Base, and plenty of other memorable views while on this fully narrated cruise. This great sightseeing cruise lasts approximately three hours, so you will have plenty of time to relax and see the beautiful scenery of the Williamsburg area.

Colonial Williamsburg

Revisit the past at Colonial Williamsburg where you can view how life once was in Williamsburg. Historically accurate buildings, décor, fashion, activities, and more can be seen while strolling over 300 acres. You’ll have the opportunity to visit the courthouse where the Treaty of Paris was read, see the interactive Great Hopes Plantation, tour DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, and many other historical sites while at Colonial Williamsburg.

If you need a great hotel while in the Williamsburg area, consider staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites Williamsburg-Central. This hotel has great customer ratings, and is located close to popular activities in the area. For a list of other great hotels in the area, click here.

Grand Ole Opry Performances August 31 – September 7

On Friday, hear some old favorites from Bill Anderson, tap your toes to the sound of bluegrass from Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, and listen toTennesseenative Mike Snider on the banjo. Saturday is sure to be a hit with country music stars such as Keith Urban, Bellamy Brothers, and Josh Thompson. On Tuesday join Mindy Smith, Due West, and Canaan Smith for one memorable evening at the Grand Ole Opry.

August 31 – The Grand Ole Opry

  •  Bill Anderson
  • Mike Snider
  • Kristen Kelly
  • Sunny Sweeney
  • Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

September 4 – The Grand Ole Opry

  • Keith Urban
  • Bellamy Brothers
  • Josh Thompson

September 7 – The Grand Ole Opry

  • Mindy Smith
  • Due West
  • CanaanSmith

…and more!

The Best Tour Options in San Antonio

The best way to “Remember the Alamo” is to take a tour of San Antonio. The city is filled with history, and you can experience it all with these exciting, unique, fascinating, educational, entertaining and memorable tours. Whether you prefer to travel by trolley, helicopter or carriage, there’s a sightseeing excursion for you.

The Alamo Trolley Tour will take you to some of the most historical and culturally-rich places in San Antonio, including Hemisfair Park, the Tower of the Americas, the River Walk, La Villita, Market Square and, of course, the Alamo. You’ll travel by a recognizable red and green trolley, listening as your guide relays tales of the past. The tour lasts approximately an hour and is led by San Antonio locals who will bring to life the history of the city and create an incredible connection between you and the area.

Take to the skies for a brief overview of the city’s sights with the San Antonio & Alamo Helicopter Tours. The tour may be quicker, but you’re never sold short on excitement and beautiful sightseeing opportunities. Look below to see the Alamo, the San Antonio Zoo, the River Walk District, Quarry Market and more. There are a few options to choose from, like the Hill Country Tour, which will fly over Westin Golf Resort and Lackland Military training base, and the Ultimate Helicopter Tour, which will give you more time in the sky.

If you prefer a more classic mode of transportation, the Travis Park Carriage Tour may be the option for you. You’ll climb into a horse-drawn carriage that will take you through the streets of Travis Park. This landmark was once a part of the Alamo and is named after Colonel William Barrett Travis, the commander of the Texas troops during the battle. The beautiful and tranquil area is a respite in the middle of a busy city.

The Travis Park Carriage Tour is the perfect tour option for a romantic date. Another option you have is the San Antonio Wine Tour, which will not only give you a different kind of look on the San Antonio and Fredricksburg area, but will also allow you to indulge your taste buds in flavors from three different wineries. The tour lasts about a half a day and is an exceptional option for those looking for a little romance in San Antonio.

All of these tours and more are available. If you’re looking for a unique trip to the city, any or all of these tours will bring you one step closer to your dream vacation.

Stay close by at the Hyatt Place San Antonio North Stone Oak, just under two and a half miles away from the San Antonio Wine Tour; the Quality Suites Alamo Dome, less than three miles from the helicopter tours and featuring an outdoor pool and a hot tub; or the Crockett Hotel, a historical and elegant building with an outdoor pool, located within walking distance to the start of the Alamo Trolley Tour and the Travis Park Carriage Tour.

A Very Scenic Vacation in Mount Rushmore

If you’re looking for some scenic activities while traveling in the Mount Rushmore area, there are plenty to choose from. Visit the incredible structure with one of two exciting and picturesque tours. Climb aboard a classic, 19th century train and travel through the beautiful Black Hills. The possibilities are endless in Mount Rushmore.

With the Mount Rushmore Grand Legends Tour, you’ll get the opportunity to see the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Custer State Park, the Crazy Horse Memorial and more. You’ll also get to ride an 1880 Train to get a more personal feel with the history and culture of South Dakota. See the magnificent and massive faces of four of our nation’s presidents. Drive on the Iron Mountain Road, with pigtail bridges and views of the Black Hills that will take your breath away. All of this and more is available with the Grand Legends Tour.

The Mount Rushmore Audio Tour won’t just allow you to see the spectacular sights, but will also give you the chance to listen to a handheld audio box on a self-guided tour. Take your time at the monument as an audio guide relays narrations, music, interviews, sound effects and historic recordings. You’ll even get to hear from Gutzon Borglum, the creator of Mount Rushmore, as well as members of his family, American Indians and workers. Along the way, you’ll get to stare out at some of the most unbelievable views in the area.

For a truly incomparable sightseeing experience, take the 1880 Train: A 19th Century Train Ride Tour. This opportunity will give take you through the Black Hills, winding through the countryside on a smooth and powerful steam engine. You can depart from Hill City or Keystone on this roundtrip ride. Along the way, you’ll see historical sites such as Tin Mill Hill, Kennedyville, Addie Camp, Good Luck Tungsten Mine, Battle Creek, Etta Camp, Holly Terror Mine, Blue Bird Mill and much more.

Any of these exciting activities will give you some of the most beautiful views of South Dakota. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to get a truly scenic trip.

The First Annual Sugar Arts Show & Competition in Memphis: Calling All Cake Lovers

Memphis is creating an event just for cake-lovers this year with the First Annual Sugar Arts Show and Competition. This event, which will take place from September 4th through the 6th, invites cake designers to compete for the first place prize. Also available during the event is a cake design class. The competition will take place at Agricenter International off of Walnut Grove Road.

This show and competition was created by the West Tennessee Sugar Artists. 280 exhibitors will be partaking in the showcase, presenting their intricately-designed cakes for judging. The competition will take place on September 4, though all the cakes will still be on display through the 6th.

The judges are Bronwen Weber, Geraldine Kidwell and Jay Qualls. Weber is an eight-time Food Network Challenge gold medal winner and a pastry chef at the Frosted Art Bakery in Dallas, TX. Kidwell is a world-renown judge of the Sugar Arts from Kentucky, a multi-talented sugar artist and one of the original members of the International Cake Exploration Societé (I.C.E.S.). Qualls is a celebrity cake designer and the inventor of the fondant fabric, as well as the owner of Jay Qualls Cakes (formerly Maples Wedding Cakes) in Nashville, TN.

Bronwen Weber will also be hosting a hands-on, 3-D “Hound Dog” cake class that will last for two days. Participants of this workshop will have the opportunity to bring home a 3-D cake that they make themselves.

The theme of the event is “Memphis Music.” If you want to get in a little more music while in the area, check out one of the many museums in the area, including the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Music tours include the Memphis Mojo Tour and the Sun Studio Guided Tour.

Did the competition make you hungry? Grab a bite to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe or the Blues City Cafe afterward, and keep with the theme of Memphis Music.

Stay within five miles of the event when you book a room at either the Comfort Inn or the Best Western Suites Memphis, TN. The hotels boast such amenities as in-room microwaves and refrigerators, outdoor pools, complimentary breakfasts and free parking.

Family Programs at The Met

Traveling to New York City this month with the kids? Well, if you’re in New York, you have to visit The Met, but sometimes that can be a little difficult if you’re traveling with children. Museums and kids don’t always mix well together, but The Metropolitan Museum of Art has come up with a solution. They offer a variety of family and kids’ programs that make it easy and fun to visit the museum with your kids.

Storytime in Nolen Library is always a favorite for families. If you have a child or children between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, the Toddler Storytime is the perfect option. If you’ve got kids that are a little older, there’s a Storytime for them as well. Your tots will love participating in the sharing of picture books, while your 3 to 7 year olds will have a blast with the treasure hunt through the museum’s galleries that follows their own, special storytime.

Toddler Storytime typically takes place from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. The Storytime for the older kids takes place from 3:00 to 3:30.

After Storytime, head to the Start with Art at the Met activity. This program is designed to teach kids ages 3 to 7 about a variety of artwork. It shows off different pieces, allows them to sketch their own designs and tells exciting stories that will help them get a head start on art.

Start with Art usually takes place from 3:30 to 4:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays and at various other times throughout the week.

Another favorite family program is the Art Trek. This activity is designed for families with children ages 5 to 12 and takes you on an excursion throughout the museum. Your kids will love becoming art explorers and taking a trip around the world to see all the different styles of art.

Art Trek also takes place on various days throughout the week. Upcoming dates include this Thursday, August 30, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., this Saturday, September 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

All of these activities are free with museum admission and are perfect opportunities for families to explore The Met together.

Stay nearby the museum at the Comfort Inn Central Park West, the Marmara Manhattan or the Quality Inn. Each of these hotels is located less than or just over a mile away from The Met and comes with amenities such as complimentary continental breakfasts, airport shuttles and free parking.

The Annual Shades of the Past Hot Rod Roundup in Pigeon Forge

Start your engines and head to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee this September for the annual Shades of the Past Hot Rod Roundup. This year’s event will take place at Dollywood’s Splash Country and will take place on the 7th and the 8th. The Shades of the Past Rod Run has been around since the early 1980s and has attracted crowds from all over the country to see classics, rods and customs through 1972.

Gates open to the public at 8:00 sharp on Friday morning. From then until 5:00 p.m., the Show & Shine will be taking place at the event site and the Vendor/Swap Meet will take place at the vendor area. On Friday, judges will pick the top twenty-five hot rods to move on in the competition until 11:00 a.m. At 5, the awards will be announced.

Head back Saturday morning to see the top twenty-five cars once again. From those twenty-five, five will stand out and will move on in the competition. Awards will be announced at 4:30 p.m. These awards include the “Southeast Deuce Gathering Awards,” the “Shades Specialty Awards,” the “Detroit Speed & Engineering Modern Muscle Award,” the “Street Rodder Best Ford in a Ford,” the “Best Street Rod,” “Best Street Machine,” “Best Street Cruiser” and the “Best of Show awards, among many others.

Prizes include a ’32 Ford Hi-Boy Roadster and $10,000.

Stay nearby the event at the Creekstone Inn, the Best Western Plaza Inn or the Comfort Inn & Suites at Dollywood Lane. All are just 1.2 miles away from Dollywood’s Splash Country.

If you’re looking for more entertainment while in the Pigeon Forge area, check out the Dixie Stampede show, visit RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo and stop by the Titanic – the World’s Largest Museum Attraction.

Whether you are looking to participate in the Hot Rod Roundup with your own classic, rod or custom, or are just looking to see the cars, this annual event is one you will not want to miss.

Labor Day Fireworks Celebration at SeaWorld San Antonio

Head to San Antonio this Labor Day weekend for a fireworks extravaganza at SeaWorld. You’ll get to wrap up the summer with one final bang with this extraordinary event. September 1 and 2 mark the two days of celebration, so come spend your day on the fast-paced rides, the high-energy animal shows and the spectacular fireworks display to wrap it all up.

The event is included with park admission, and will allow you to enjoy live music and special appearances by SeaWorld characters. The fireworks show will appear over Ski Lake at the end of the night.

Start the day with all of the heart-stopping coasters, like the Great White, where you’ll face 360-degree flips and speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Also, try out Journey to Atlantis, which is part roller coaster, part water ride. If you want to cool down even more from the end of summer heat, Rio Loco is a raft ride that will carry you through a twisting, turning river, complete with sudden drop-offs.

Tune in for a show, like “One Ocean,” the multi-sensory performance that pays tribute to life under the sea. Kids will love “Sesame Street Presents Lights, Camera, Imagination in 4-D,” starring Elmo, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie and all of your favorite friends.

You can also explore the different animal exhibits, like Alligator Alley, Dolphin Cove, Sharks/Coral Reef and Flamingo Cove. Meet the playful birds at Penguin Encounter, where you’re always in for a laugh, or visit Rocky Point Preserve, where the energetic seals and sea lions put on a show with their otter friends.

At the end of the night, head over to Ski Lake, where the night sky will erupt into vivid and brilliant colors. Say goodbye to summer SeaWorld style this year, with this incredible Labor Day weekend celebration.

The Best Western Ingram Park Inn is just under four and a half miles from SeaWorld, and boasts a hot tub and an outdoor pool, as well as microwaves and refrigerators in all rooms. The Rodeway Inn at Lackland AFB / Sea World is just over six miles away and has a free continental breakfast, handicap access and an outdoor pool. Stay nearby the park for added convenience in either of these or other San Antonio hotels.

Get Grossed Out at the Audubon Aquarium

Prepare to be grossed out at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. The newest traveling exhibit at the museum is “Animal Grossology,” where visitors can learn more about some of the nastiest, smelliest, ooziest, slimiest, gassiest, yuckiest creatures around the world. This exhibit will also help teach what it is that makes these animals so important to the animal kingdom and give guests a better appreciation of them.

“Animal Grossology” came to be as a sequel of “Grossology, the (Impolite) Science of the Human Body” exhibit. It is the next generation in the GROSSOLOGY series and was created in collaboration with Sylvia Branzei, the author of the GROSSOLOGY books.

A trip to this exhibit will shed some light on what these nasty, smelly, oozy, slimy, gassy, yucky creatures’ roles are in nature in an entertaining and educational way. Kids will love exploring the different activities, learning what the gassiest animal on earth is, how leeches have been used after surgeries, why the dung beetle is the pooper scooper of nature and what is so important about slug and snail slime.

Take your chance to see these gross animal traits in an interactive manner. Other hands-on exhibits at the aquarium include Parakeet Pointe, where you can feed some of the birds; Adventure Island play zone, where you can become a pirate or an adventurer; and the Hurricane Simulator, where you can feel winds of up to 78 miles per hour.

All of these exhibits and more await you at the Audubon Aquarium. The Grossology exhibit is always a favorite with guests of all ages and allows everyone to participate.

Hotels within walking distance of the aquarium include the Doubletree Hotel New Orleans, Harrah’s New Orleans and Loews New Orleans Hotel.