Have you ever thought about selling it all and taking your family on a very, very long road trip?
Each year, scores of families choose to expand their geographic horizons by learning a new language in another country or seeing as much of the planet as possible while circling the globe.
It's blue skies and beach time!
Shining brightly in the Bahamas, Atlantis is an uber-hip resort that retains a genuinely hospitable attitude toward families. During a recent visit, I joined my niece Keara and nephew Morgan for beach games with other hotel guests.
You guessed it.
We were on the Blue Team!
These exhibits, tours and thrill rides will make for fun and adventure-filled family travel memories. Here are five to consider:
1.Indiana Jones Exhibit, Montreal, Canada.
The National Geographic Society and Canadian production company X3 have teamed up (with the cooperation of George Lucas) to create the 10,000 square foot, Indiana Jones Adventures in Archaeology interactive exhibit. Premiering now through September 18, 2011 at the Museum of Science in Montreal, kids of all ages will be mesmerized by the wealth of enchanting items that make up the expansive collection. See your favorite Indy film props and set designs made available by Lucas Films. Embark on an interactive tour that explores the compelling myths of the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant. Children will enjoy the interactive quest game that tests their skills while they move throughout the exhibition. Consider opting for the handheld multimedia guide that allows visitors to skip sections and spend more time where their interest is most intense.
2. The Ride. New York, NY.
Board the super-sized tour bus, which uses stadium-style seating facing the sidewalk, to provide participants with a wide angle view of the streetscape. During its first summer season, expect high-energy tour guides, street performers, and plenty of surprises. The 4.2 mile, 75 minute trip, which showcases the pulsing city from Times Square to Grand Central to Central Park, is part theatre, part comedic improv and part informational tour. The experience continues to evolve and on any given day may include jugglers performing on the sidewalk or a “businessman” who suddenly breaks into song and dance while standing on the street corner. The Ride departs from the Marriott Marquis at Times Square.
Contact: 866-299-9682; www.experiencetheride.com.
3. Disney’s California Adventure, Anaheim, California. Fans of Disney movie heroine Ariel will want to check out the Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Disney’s California Adventure theme park. Its opening in Paradise Pier was part of a five year, $1.1 billion expansion of this park that includes other new attractions and an evening program. The musical, underwater adventure begins when guests board a car resembling a large clam shell. The adventure is inspired by the major scenes and popular songs from the movie.
Contact: (714) 781-4400; http://disneyland.disney.go.com/
4. Alabama Adventure, Bessemer, Alabama.
This southern, family-friendly theme park features super-soaker BuzzSaw Falls. Cool off as you plunge five stories through a watery chute and finish with a splash that drenches riders and watchers. The theme park offered a prize to the consumer who came up with the best name for the new ride. The winner chose to remain anonymous and the prize, which includes full season pass privileges, has been donated to the local Ronald McDonald house. Ask about the park’s concert series and the Family Four pack savings.
Contact: 205-481-4750; www.AlabamaAdventure.com.
5. Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana.
Junior theme park goers were the focus of $5.2 million worth of new projects at this 100-acre Midwestern Park. Visit Splashland where body slides, shallow pools and other water play facilities will delight toddlers and young school age children. A sleigh ride, Rudolph’s Round-up, located in the park’s Christmas area, is custom designed for young children to ride with older park goers. Also: free Wi-Fi hot spots throughout the park.
Contact: 1-877-Go-Family; www.HolidayWorld.com.
Each year, AAA predicts that millions of Americans will travel this holiday weekend. While this three-day stretch often serves as a grand opportunity to spend quality family time, how often, during our road trip or beach time, do we recall and honor the origin of Memorial Day?
Here, find some background about the origin and birthplace of this important day:
On May 5, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic established Memorial Day or Decoration Day as the national day to decorate the graves of the Civil War soldiers with flowers. Major General John A. Logan appointed May 30 as the day to be observed. Arlington National Cemetery had the first observance of the day on a grand scale. The place was appropriate as it already housed graves of over 20,000 Union dead and several hundred Confederate dead. Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant presided over the meeting.
The center point of these Memorial Day ceremonies was the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion. Speeches were followed by a march of soldiers' children and orphans and members of the GAR through the cemetery strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves. They also recited prayers and sang hymns for the dead.
Even before this declaration, local observances were being held at various places. In Columbus, Miss., a group of women visited a cemetery on April 25 1866, to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers and the Union soldiers who fell at the battle of Siloh.
Many cities in the North and the South claim to be the first to celebrate Memorial Day, but Congress and President Lyndon Johnson officially declared Waterloo in New York as the 'birthplace' of Memorial Day in 1966. It was said that on May 5, 1866, a ceremony was held there to honor local soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War. Businesses were closed for the day and residents furled flags at half-mast. It was said to be the first formal, community-wide and regular event.
In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by Congress, who designated the last Monday in May as the day for its observance. Many states observe separate Confederate Memorial Days. Mississippi observes it on the last Monday of April, Alabama on the fourth Monday of April, Georgia on April 26, North and South Carolina on May 10 and Louisiana and Tennessee on June 3. In Tennessee, the day is named as 'Confederate Decorations Day' while Texas observes 'Confederate Heroes Day' on January 19. In Virginia, Memorial Day is better known as 'May Confederate Memorial Day.'
However, you choose to mark the day, let us honor those who sacrificed for our freedom.
It’s easy to allow financial stress, busy schedules and a hectic lifestyle to get in the way of putting dates on the calendar. Here are seven reasons to flag a family vacation as a top priority:
No one is getting any younger.
Not you, the grandparents, or your children. Family life is hectic and it can be difficult to carve out time to even plan a vacation, let alone take one. Yet, before you know it, the kids will be otherwise
Take a break from work, school and routine. Add a healthy dose of sunshine or snow, or better yet, both, as a quick-fix remedy for those eager to explore. Here are eight great ways to recharge.
Road Trip. If you’d like to cover some country with your kids consider teaming up with the folks at Tracks & Trails. They create custom, self-drive RV vacation packages that take the guess work out of an adventure-
A favorite trip among sports enthusiasts is a tour of baseball’s hotspots. Pick the ball parks of your choice and then enjoy the competition, camaraderie and of course, the hot dogs!
( Can't fit in a road trip? Plan for next year and meanwhile stream Brad Pitt's film Moneyball, which pays homage to the sport and is a favorite of serious baseball fans. )