Monthly Archives: December 2013

Meet the New Residents at the Nashville Zoo

While you’re next in Nashville, make sure to stop by the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, where you can learn about some of the world’s most fascinating creatures. But things have just gotten more fascinating!

Australia’s most famous residents have made their debut in a new habitat at the zoo. This habitat, Kangaroo Kickabout, features 4,500 square feet of naturalistic Australian landscape and gives guests the opportunity to enter the home of 17 red kangaroos via a winding path through the middle of the habitat. The Kickabout also includes four triton cockatoos, a subspecies of the sulfur-crested cockatoo found in New Guinea and its surrounding islands.

Facts about the Red Kangaroo:

  • Red Kangaroos are the largest living marsupials and the largest native mammals in Australia.
  • Males and females are considerably dimorphic, both in size and color.
  • Males grow up to a height of 5.5 feet with a tail nearly 4 feet long. Females average 3 to 3.5 feet tall with a tail length of 26 to 33 inches.
  • Red Kangaroos also vary in color from red brown to gray. Males have richer coloring, and females are often more gray.
  • Adult Red Kangaroos are distinguished from other kangaroos by a black and white patch on the side of the muzzle and a white stripe extending from the corner of the mouth to the base of each ear.
  • These kangaroos have powerful hind legs and have been known to reach a running speed of 40 miles per hour.
  • They can leap as far as 26 feet in length and nearly 10 feet high.

While you’re at the zoo, make sure to check out the other displays. From the Flamingo Lagoon to the Unseen World of the reptiles, amphibians, insects, and birds who all have the ability to hide from predators using specific behaviors, you can enjoy a wide array of exciting animals!

Enjoy the Warmth in San Diego

It may be winter in most of the country, but there are still a few places where you can take a warm and sunny getaway! Fly out to San Diego, California, for a fun trip to one of the sunniest places in the country, and enjoy a few exciting outdoor activities under the hot sun!

1920s Open Cockpit Biplane Flight

Soar over the California coastline in this 1920s biplane for a gentle ride, and experience the exhilaration as the wind blows past your face! With the flight options, you can spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour up in the air, and you can fly low over the San Diego beaches, inland lakes, golf courses, and green vineyards.

La Jolla Sea Caves Kayak Tour

In sunny California, you won’t want to miss this awesome and popular kayak tour of the La Jolla sea caves and ecological reserve, which boasts an amazing array of scenery and wildlife you can’t find anywhere else in San Diego. Keep an eye out for birds, sea lions, dolphins, and even orcas as your knowledgeable naturalist helps you learn the basics of kayaking and tells you about the wildlife all around you. Although no experience kayaking is needed, it is required that all guests be able to swim, and be prepared to get wet!

Tijuana City and Shopping Trip from San Diego

You can even get a little warmer with a trip from San Diego down to Tijuana for a city and shopping trip! This day trip to Mexico is perfect for bargain shoppers, lovers of Mexican cuisine, and curious sightseers – and it’s only a short drive from San Diego! See the major attractions in the city, travel down the main streets, and see statues of President Lincoln, Cuahutemoc the Aztec King, and other figures of Mexico. Have a tasty meal with true Mexican cuisine, and enjoy an afternoon of bargain shopping on Revolution Avenue.

Explore the Ripley Attractions in Myrtle Beach

Experience one of the wackiest and most interesting vacations of your lifetime with a trip to Myrtle Beach, where you can visit not only Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, but also four other Ripley attractions!

Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum

Join Ripley’s on a journey through the strange, the bizarre, and the downright unbelievable at the Believe It or Not Museum! The building looks like it was cracked by a hurricane, but inside, you can enjoy a roller coaster built from more than 30,000 matchsticks, a vampire-killing kit, and more! This museum features the largest collection of the odd and unusual from all corners of the world. You can see a genuine shrunken head, see how you measure up to the world’s tallest man, and pet a six-legged cow!

Ripley’s Moving Theatre

For a 3D moving experience, take a trip to Ripley’s Moving Theatre, which offers a multi-sensory movie experience complete with hydraulic seats that move and vibrate to help immerse you in the action! This experience allows you to feel each and every bump, turn, and dive as part of the movie.

Ripley’s Aquarium

Step out of the sunlight and into a whole new world filled with aquatic life at Ripley’s Aquarium, where you’ll be surrounded by a 750,000 gallon tank as you glide through a world that is home to 10-foot long sharks, piranhas, and other sea creatures! With 87,000 square feet and 1.2 million gallons of salt water, the aquarium is home to over 6,000 fishes.

Marvelous Mirror Maze

Walk through the Marvelous Mirror Maze, a location that has hundreds of mirrors that span from floor to ceiling for a challenging trip through the building. Spanning over 2,000 square feet, the maze has paths that lead to dead ends and surprising corners and even crazy circles, and it’s even more confusing with the lighting and sound effects!

The Haunted Adventure

This Haunted Adventure offers the fright of your life as you experience art animatronics, high-tech special effects, and live actors for a varied time of scares! Hear yourself scream at every turn of your journey inside the dark building, and feel your heart race at the thought of what might be lurking in the next darkened corner!

New Year’s Eve Activities in Sunny Orlando, Florida

Orlando visitors this New Year’s Eve will find countless opportunities to ring in the New Year! No matter if you plan to celebrate with that special someone or the whole family, Orlando has something for everyone this New Year’s Eve! The following list of activities will be held in the Orlando area:

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Guests can rock in the New Year with Mulch, Sweat and Shears, the resident landscaping rock and roll band. The Mulch, Sweat and Shears New Year’s Eve Spectacular will feature sets of classic rock and roll, special effects, a DJ spinning dance tracks and a fireworks display. The party starts a 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 and will feature a countdown to a midnight celebration to kick off the New Year.

Universal Studios Florida
Ring in the New Year at midnight on Dec. 31 with a special New Year’s Eve Cinematic Spectacular show featuring some of the hottest music from 2013. In addition there will be a family fun dance party beginning at 9 p.m. at the Music Plaza Stage with live music from local band Switch.

CityWalk
Guests can experience non-stop entertainment at Eve, Universal CityWalk’s new New Year’s celebration. Eve will feature unique party zones, each featuring their own entertainment and signature drinks, access to six different clubs with live music and unlimited gourmet cuisine. Partygoers can celebrate all night on Orlando’s biggest dance floor – built just for this event – in front of the CityWalk Plaza Stage. When midnight strikes, guests will kiss 2013 goodbye with a champagne toast, a pyrotechnics display and special effects.

SeaWorld Orlando
Enjoy added fun on New Year’s Eve as SeaWorld stays open until 1 a.m. and features additional entertainment. From a DJ spinning Latin-style tunes at The Waterfront, to top 40 hits playing at Wild Arctic and local pop/rock artists Project DJ Slam performing at The Christmas Market, there’s plenty of music in the air. And the night wouldn’t be complete without fireworks lighting up the night sky. Kick off the New Year with a bang while watching an extended fireworks extravaganza during Holiday Reflections: Fireworks & Fountains Finale immediately following the last Winter Wonderland on Ice show.

Legoland Florida
Legoland Florida gets the New Year’s party started early with a Countdown to Kids’ New Year’s Eve that features nightly fireworks over Lake Eloise Dec. 26 to 30. Watch a fireworks display with special viewing glasses that turn ordinary fireworks into millions of exploding Lego bricks. The whole family can enjoy a family-friendly party with Kids’ New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31. Kids get to rock out in Miniland USA with a live DJ Dance Party that’s sure to get the whole family moving. This grand finale features a live-action show, a Lego fireworks display, and a chance to watch the Brick Drop at just the right time for kids, midnight KST (Kid Standard Time) – otherwise known as 7 p.m.

For more information about Orlando attractions, things to do, and places to stay be sure to visit http://www.vacationsmadeeasy.com/OrlandoFL/

Celebrate the Beginning of the New Year in San Antonio

SeaWorld San Antonio always has awesome holiday events, and it’s no different for New Year’s Eve! If you’re already in the area, make sure you check out the New Year’s Eve Twilight Party there at SeaWorld, where you can ring in the New Year with SeaWorld’s brilliant shows, rides, and exhibits!

The Twilight Party is a fantastic party that accommodates families and is appropriate for children! Celebrate the end of one year and the start of the next as you race down the tracks on exciting roller coasters, get splashed by Shamu when you sit in the Splash Zone, and learn more about the incredible aquatic animals in any of the park’s exhibits.

When the sun goes down and the New Year draws ever closer, settle down with your family and prepare to watch the fantastic fireworks display. When the year ends, the night sky will erupt into a beautiful display of color and sounds for a magical beginning to 2014!

Book the Washington DC Attractions Vacation Package

You can enjoy some of Washington DC’s hottest attractions with the Washington DC Attractions Vacation Package, which included four nights in a hotel of your choice, Six Flags America, National Museum of Crime and Punishment, and the Taste of DC Trolley Tour!

Six Flags America

With over 50 rides ranging from thrilling to family, there’s more than enough to keep you and your friends and family entertained during your next DC vacation! Enjoy rides like Batwing, Superman: Ride of Steel, and Mind Eraser, as well as more tepid rides like the Ferris wheel and carousel. Don’t forget to visit the Looney Tunes Movie Town, where you can explore the skies in mini-airplanes, spin around in oversized teacups, or even soar away on a hot-air balloon ride.

National Museum of Crime and Punishment

For a unique experience, visit the Crime Museum, which features a range of displays and interactive exhibits focusing on the history of crime, punishment, and law enforcement from the time of pirates, the Old West, and medieval times through the present with DNA testing and more! You can walk through a life-sized police station, complete with a booking station, a police line-up, a lie detector test, an electric chair, a lethal injection machine, and a jail cell.

Taste of DC Trolley Tour

Take this trolley tour for a convenient and easy way to experience highlights in DC, like the Arlington National Cemetery, US Capitol, WWII Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, Martin Luther King and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorials, and many more iconic locations!

Also, don’t forget your four nights’ lodging at your choice of hotel for a comfortable place to relax at the end of each night to truly enjoy your vacation.

Explore the Musical History of Memphis with the Music Attraction Discount Pass

If you’re interested in music and the heart of rock and roll, Memphis is the place to go! Enjoy historical tours for Elvis fans and more while in the area, or take a stop in a local café for lunch. No matter what you choose to do, Memphis is full of exciting activities!

For one of the best deals in the area, consider getting the Memphis Music Attraction Discount Pass – it’s your passport to the music history of Memphis in one easy ticket! You can gain entry to four of the most popular attractions in the area, including Sun Studio, Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Elvis Presley’s Graceland, and Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

Sun Studio

At the Sun Studio, you can stand amidst the legacy of greatness! This is the location where rock and roll was born when artists like Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others began their careers. Opened in 1950, this studio gained national fame as cutting-edge musicians of the 1950s fused blues and country to create a unique and revolutionary new sound. This famous studio is the only recording studio to be named a National Historic Landmark!

Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum

Created by the Smithsonian Institution, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum’s exhibition tells the story of musical pioneers who overcame racial and socioeconomic barriers to create the music that shook the world. Located on Beale Street, the museum offers a comprehensive Memphis music experience from the rural music of the ‘30s through Memphis’s musical heyday in the ‘70s to its global influence today!

Elvis Presley’s Graceland

Walk in the footsteps of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll at his home in Memphis, Graceland Mansion. This tour will take you from Elvis’s humble beginnings through his rise to super stardom, and you can see how the legend lived and relaxed with family and friends through videos, photos, Elvis’s personal mementos, movie memorabilia, stage costumes, and much more!

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

The story of Stax Records is one of a cultural phenomenon that changed the culture of music forever! What began as a tiny record store in an old movie theater in 1959 grew to become one of the most important music recording studios in the world! The studio then began launching the careers of unknowns who would become icons, cranking out a massive catalog of smash soul hits by the likes of Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, Wilson Pickett, Luther Ingram, Albert King, and doxens of other artists whose influence remains vital in the music of today! Today, the Stax Museum, located at the original site of Stax Records, pays tribute to all of the artists who recorded there with a rare and amazing collection of more than 2,000 interactive exhibits, films, artifacts, items of memorabilia, and galleries designed to keep Stax alive forever.

Fun Mount Rushmore Facts

If you’re planning on visiting Mount Rushmore soon, take a look at this list of fun facts for your trip!

The sculptures of the heads of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt measure 60-foot (18 m). Each President’s head is as tall as a six-story building.

The heads of the Presidents were sculpted by Gutzon Borglum and later by his son Lincoln Borglum together with 400 workers.

The idea for a Black Hills’ sculpture came from South Dakota State Historian, Doane Robinson. Mount Rushmore represents major symbols associated with the four presidents and the history of the United States:

  • George Washington represents the struggle for independence
  • Thomas Jefferson represents the idea of government by the people
  • Abraham Lincoln for his ideas on equality and the permanent union of the states
  • Theodore Roosevelt for the role of the United States in world affairs

The Mount Rushmore project cost $989,992.32.

Mount Rushmore is largely composed of granite which is durable rock and erodes only 1 inch (25 mm) every 10,000 years.

Borglum was 60 years old when he began working on the Mount Rushmore monument.

The president’s noses are 20 feet long.

For more information about Mount Rushmore, places to stay, and area attractions please visit http://www.vacationsmadeeasy.com/GreaterMountRushmoreAreaSD/

The Newest Biblical Times Theater Production, Coming in March 2014!

Join the Biblical Times Theater in Pigeon Forge for a fun and uplifting dinner show! Their newest show will feature Moses in the story “Moses’ Mountain of God,” an epic story with an epic feast of Biblical proportions!

This unique Biblical production combines live performers with amazing holograph technology and shows the story of faith and miracles as told through the eyes of Moses’ assistant commander, Joshua. The first half of the show has Biblical Times’ award-winning cast as they sing a variety of gospel songs and share their personal testimonies as you are served a seven-item feast! The second half presents a show with original music and holographic technology as you have never seen or heard before.

Take in the same lessons of faith that Israel learned in preparing for the crossing over into the Promised Land, which are the same lessons for Christians in their daily walk. The production, completely Biblically based, is taken from the King James Bible, and the theater has incorporated the latest discoveries about the actual site of Moses’ Mountain of God!

This awesome show will open in mid-March and last through October of 2014! Until the end of February, you can still catch the current show at the Biblical Times Theater called “King of Psalms.”

New Year’s Eve Events in Williamsburg

If you will be in the Williamsburg area this year for New Year’s Eve, there are plenty of options for you to ring in the New Year! Whether you plan to celebrate with the whole family or simply you and that special someone, Williamsburg has something for everyone this New Year’s Eve. The following list of activities will be held in or around the Williamsburg area:

Williamsburg First Night
Welcome to First Night Williamsburg, the place where THE New Year’s Eve Celebration begins! A host of entertainers awaits your presence. A bevy of food vendors are planning menus for your delight. Make your holiday season even more enjoyable and attend a family-friendly, non-alcoholic series of live performances. KIDS SHOW and fireworks for young families will be held at MatthewWhaleySchool from 3 – 7:30 pm. Main Stages light up at 7 pm. Finale Fireworks will once again go off at midnight to bring in another wonderful year and Pachanga will serve as the Finale musical act.

High Noon Year’s Eve
The whole family can enjoy this daytime western-themed New Year’s celebration at the Virginia Living Museum celebrating the Year of the Horse. Come dressed as a cowpoke. Meet Bubbles the Clown and special animal friends from the Teeny Tiny Farm. Make crafts, play games, enjoy fun activities.

Happy Hogmanay
Celebrate the Scots’ greatest day with John Turner, David Gardner, and Cliff Williams as they present songs, tunes, and stories to say farewell to 2013 and welcome 2014. When the 17th-century government mandated the suppression of Christmas celebrations, Scotland turned to New Year’s Eve for its end-of-year frivolity, a tradition that remains strong to this day. Programs and exhibitions at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWittWallaceDecorativeArtsMuseum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

Wine, Wit, & Wisdom—A Tasting of the Stars
In this New Year’s edition of Wine, Wit & Wisdom, discover the history and the developmental process of “Method Champenoise” and how it changed the wine world as we know it. What pairs best with sparkling wine? In this fun, unrehearsed presentation, you’ll sample great sparkling wines and take away a wealth of information.

A Revolutionary Holiday: Victory Ball at the Raleigh Tavern!
Imagine yourself in Williamsburg on December 15, 1781. Congress has proclaimed it a day of celebration in honor of the victory by the allied American and French at Yorktown forces earlier that fall! In Williamsburg a special mass is held and the “Te Deum” is sung. Though wearied by war and longstanding hardships, the people of Williamsburg gather with their honored French and American soldier guests for an emotional celebration of the victory many had lost hope of seeing.

For more information about activities, attractions, and places to stay in Williamsburg please visit http://www.vacationsmadeeasy.com/WilliamsburgVA/