At the turn of the century, America's wild bison - which at one time numbered 60 million - had dwindled to about two dozen animals. Strong, sturdy and resilient, they’ve made a comeback, thanks to public and private conservation efforts.
On the range, in refuges and national parks, this symbol of our wildlife heritage is magnificent to observe. Despite their seemingly docile ways, don’t ignore ranger warnings. This large, grass-eating creature has been known to charge the too close for comfort curious tourist.
Snap a shot of this American icon – with a zoom lens:
1.Wildlife Expeditions, an educational outreach program of Teton Science Schools, a nonprofit organization, provides year-round wildlife viewing and natural history interpretation to those interested in a close-up, ethical view of Greater Yellowstone’s wild animals in their natural habitat. Experienced biologists use their knowledge and skills to locate bison as well as elk, deer, moose, bighorn sheep, and coyotes amongst the towering Teton Mountains.
Contact: 1 (888) 945-3567; www.wildlifeexpeditions.org.
2. The National Bison Range, 40 miles north of Missoula, MT, sprawls across 18,000 acres on one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the nation. Established in 1908, it is a scenic home to hundreds of bison as well as 200 species of birds and other native wildlife.
Contact:1( 406)644-2211; http://bisonrange.fws.gov.
3. Yellowstone National Park is home to approximately 3,500 bison, many the descendants of the few who survived near-extinction. Weighing up to 2,000 pounds, you’ll likely spot them in the Lamar and Hayden Valleys. Also, be on the look out near Pelican Valley, the Lower Geyser Basin and in Gibbon Meadows.
Contact: Yellowstone National Park; 1 (307) 344-7381; www.nps.gov/yell.
4. Terry Bison Ranch, Cheyenne, WY: This family friendly ranch offers bison viewing year round in an environment dubbed “the west the way you want it” by its owners. A popular reunion spot, families can spread out into eight cabins, 17 bunkhouse rooms, as well as RV sites on the 27,000 acre spread. Home to nearly 3000 bison, the ranch also features train rides, horseback riding, a restaurant and a Trading Post.
Contact: (307) 634-4171; http://www.terrybisonranch.com.
5. Established in 1901, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, in Indiahoma, OK, maintains a bison herd of approximately 600 animals. The 59,020 acre Refuge provides habitat for additional large native grazing animals, including Rocky Mountain elk, and white-tailed deer. Texas longhorn cattle also share the Refuge rangelands as a cultural and historical legacy species. More than 50 mammal, 240 bird, 64 reptile and amphibian, 36 fish, and 806 plant species thrive on this important refuge.
Contact: 1 (580) 429-3222; www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/oklahoma/wichitamountains/refhist.html;
Segue into adventure by booking one of the more than 200 Segway tours operating around the world. Introduced by American Dean Kamen in 1999, the company announced hopes the electric powered, human transporter would change the way we worked, lived and traveled. Here are five places you can take a guided tour aboard an emissions-free, two-wheeled Segway:
1. Washington DC.
Hop aboard your Segway for a unique tour of our nation’s capital. Consider enjoying the sweet smells and picturesque views of the popular National Cherry Blossom festival from your transporter. Or sign up for “The Lost Symbol” tour and get an insider’s take on the sights and sounds described within Dan Brown’s novel of the same name. Your tour guide will be a member of Washington DC’s oldest Mason lodge and will lead you through a maze of more than 20 historic monuments and memorials including the White House, The Scottish Rite House of the Temple and the Smithsonian Museums on the Mall. Contact: 202.682-1980; www.capitalsegway.com/
Cruise along the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice, people watching from the comfort of your Segway. Take time for a photo stop, capturing the sea-faring surfers, the volley ball matches on the sand and the street performers entertaining on the sidewalk. Wind your way through the canals of Venice, tuning in as your guide lists the famous films that have been made in the area. Enjoy the Southern California sun and the laid back atmosphere of these famed beach communities. Riders must be 12 and over and weigh 100 lbs or more. Contact: 310.395-1395; www.segway.la
Experience an alfresco tour of Puerto Rico’s capital, a city rich in Spanish culture and history. Glide through “The Walled City” and learn why the Spaniards built a series of forts and walls to protect their treasures. The sightseeing tour also includes visits to the Darsenas Square, the Governor’s Mansion and other significant sites in the area. Young people will also enjoy the Fortifications Tour, which provides an inside glide through the San Felipe del Morro Fort. Built in 1540, this hefty fortress offers dungeons, tunnels, lookouts and ramps to intrigue the curious traveler. Contact: 787-598-9455; www.SegwayToursPR.com
Choose to ride at sunset or when the sun is high in the sky. Either way, you’ll enjoy the sea breeze, people watching and the views along the “World’s Most Famous Beach”. Learn about the famous boardwalk, the clock tower, the city’s racing history and enjoy a stop by some of the city’s local hot spots. You’ll get a 30 minute orientation before hitting the streets aboard your high-tech transporter. Contact: 386-239-7158; www.daytonasegsonthebeach.com.
5. San Francisco, CA.
Enjoy the hills of scenic San Francisco the easy way. Wind your way through Fisherman’s Wharf and the Dungeness crab stands. Check out Ghirardelli Square, the Municipal Pier and Aquatic Park. Catch a glimpse of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Don’t miss the National Maritime Museum and listen up as your guide fills you in on the historic ships that have sailed into the harbor. Before long, your crew will be turning heads as you glide through Little Italy on your eco-friendly, self-balancing transporter. Contact: 415-474-3130; www.electrictourcompany.com.
Note: Most tours require children to be 12 years of age, weigh 100 pounds and be accompanied by an adult. Safety instructions and gear are provided.
It is Fall getaway time and Colorado’s color-soaked leaves are begging to be explored 10 different ways this fall. Cast a line in waders next to autumn gold, soar through fiery red treetops on a zip line, take a leisurely scenic drive or saunter through the forest on horseback to experience Colorado’s mesmerizing fall foliage.
Below are the top 10 ways leaf peepers can witness nature’s artistic wonder this fall season in Colorado.
Settle into a saddle on a guided horseback ride in Steamboat Springs to experience Colorado’s fall frontier just like the cowboys. Amble through the Routt National Forest along timeless American West trails popping with vibrant golden, red and orange leaves.
Begin this aspen-laden ride west of Pueblo on Colorado 96. The Frontier Pathways route climbs into the Wet Mountains and descends into the Wet Mountain Valley, passing aspens blazing in autumn color along the way.
Travel through the scenic San Juan Mountains aboard the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Between Durango and the historic mining town of Silverton, this locomotive allows passengers to experience color-drenched aspens that line the free-flowing Animas River and ascend the rugged collection of mountain peaks and striking canyon scenery.
With a summit at 12,095 feet, Independence Pass connects Aspen – a city named for the quintessential Colorado tree – and Twin Lakes, the largest glacial lake in Colorado and is open during early fall. Independence Pass is rife with stunning autumn colors popping on both sides of the pass and ringed with five 13,000-foot peaks.
Fruita’s dirt trails and challenging single tracks wind along huge flattop mesas allowing mountain bikers to discover panoramic views of valleys sprinkled with glowing yellow leaves.
Fall’s cooler climate and artist’s palette of nature’s colors make for an ideal time to take to the air. Float above pockets of fall foliage speckled along the Front Range’s peaks and valleys and throughout Rocky Mountain National Park. Take in colorful views on a hot air balloon ride with Fair Winds in Boulder.
Leaf peep the quaking aspens nestled in Telluride’s box canyon while sailing through the trees. The first and only free public transportation of its kind in the U.S., this gondola connects riders between Telluride and Mountain Village, giving passengers an ever-changing view of the crimson and golden leaves along the way.
Fall’s crown jewel is nestled along Kebler Pass, where a massive aspen cluster of interconnected roots wows hikers with brilliant fall hues. The radiant yellow and red leaves on Kebler create a textured denseness that is unique to this area. Take the hiking trails Kebler Wagon Trail #606 and Dyke Trail #838 for even more leaf peeping opportunities.
The landscape of fiery red, orange and golden leaves will shift as guests soar through autumn-tinted treetops and above deep valleys on one of 14 zip lines throughout the state. Thrill seekers will feel the rush and crisp autumn air as they glide over changing scenes at Zip Adventures near Vail.
Carbondale lies in the heart of the Roaring Fork Valley, home to some of the finest rivers for trout fishing, especially from mid-September to mid-October. The deep blue waters starkly contrast the foliage-lined banks bursting with deep scarlets and golds. Tranquility and a wide variety of water types await fly-fishers this fall with Roaring Fork Anglers.
Nothing says summer like ice cream.
And perhaps that’s why an entire month is dedicated to savoring its sweetness.
Thanks to celebrity chef Todd English you and your family can create classic vanilla ice cream at home ( Think tasty staycation! ). Check out the recipe lifted from his most recent cookbook, Cooking in Everyday English!
Float, fish, swim, sail. It’s all possible when you plan a family lake vacation.
Here a five places to consider:
Yellowstone Lake. Yellowstone National Park. For a different view of this high altitude lake, leave the camper vans and crowds behind and travel across the water via cabin cruiser. Then transfer to a sea kayak or canoe and embark
The Lodge at Chaa Creek. Near San Ignacio, Belize.
Prince Harry chose this remarkable, riverside eco-lodge as headquarters during a visit to the jungles of this Central American country.
Tucked within a 365-acre private rainforest paradise in the picturesque foothills of the Maya Mountains, Chaa Creek provides the ideal home base for your family’s exploration of the Cayo District, a region where cave tubing, archeological sites, horseback riding and zip lining will lure you from the comfort of your palm-thatched cottage or tree-top suite.
While at the Lodge, don’t miss early morning bird watching tours, the hill-top spa, the Blue Morpho Butterfly Farm and the medicine trail where you’ll learn about the native plants that provide globally significant remedies.
Contact: (877) 709-8708; www.ChaaCreek.com.
Tap into the graceful tradition of tea. Here are five special places to consider:
Alice’s Tea Cup. NY, NY. One family’s affection for sharing stories over a steaming cup of fragrant, fresh tea spawned these three neighborhood refuges for tea lovers. Children of all ages are happily perplexed by the nearly overwhelming list of specialty teas as well as temptations like fresh-baked blueberry, raspberry and pumpkin scones,
Are you or someone in your family planning a destination wedding?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) suggests you carefully consider how you might pass through security with carry-ons that might include a magnificent dress, killer shoes, and just the right shade of nail polish.
When it comes to family travel, you might be wondering where to stay that will keep your teens and toddlers smiling?
From manicures to “mocktails”, the options for teens have multiplied significantly in the last decade. Many resorts now offer uber-hip, teen-only spaces, providing a contemporary hang out for dancing, games and music.
Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas led the way with their swanky 14,000 square-foot club Crush.
San Diego’s Hotel Del Coronado’s features the popular, teen-only Vibz.
Headed to Tucson?
Your teens will be all smiles when you check into the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort . They’ll be quick to check out the new Blur lounge where Play Station and “PopTails” are underway.
Can't make it to the spa this month?
Eat healthy now and book a stay later!
Canyon Ranch (Massachusetts)
Quinoa & Endive Salad
1 cup dry quinoa
3 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup carrots, julienne
1/4 cup diced red or yellow bell peppers
2 tablespoons diced red onions
2 tablespoons dried currants (or raisins)
2 tablespoons crushed almonds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped mint
3 ounces Belgium endive
1. Preheat toaster oven to 375°.
2. Rinse quinoa thoroughly. Lightly coat a baking sheet with canola oil spray. Spread quinoa evenly on sheet. Toast for 5 minutes or until golden.
3. In a medium saucepan, over high heat, bring water to a boil and add toasted quinoa. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, toss together carrots, bell peppers, onions, currants or raisins and almonds.
5. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for dressing.
6. Add quinoa and dressing to bowl with vegetables and stir together until well combined.
7. Place 3 endive leaves on a plate and top with 1/2 cup quinoa salad. Repeat for remaining salads.
Makes 16 servings, each containing approximately:
85 calories, 10 gm. carbohydrate, 4 gm. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 3 gm protein, 46 mg. sodium, 1 gm fiber