Visit an eco lodge where adventure is encouraged, eco-friendly practices are in place and community support is essential.
Here are six to consider:
Patagonia Wildlife Safari -
Visit southern Chile to experience a thrilling combo of wildlife and scenery in one of the most isolated regions of South America. Check out an expansive penguin colony near the town of Punta Arenas before exploring the jaw-dropping beauty of Torres del Paine National Park.
Wear yourself out exploring the park, then return to your EcoCamp. You’ll chill in large igloo-shaped tents built to minimize environmental impact while providing a comfortable setting. You’ll be cozy as you plan for your next adventure via candlelight, snug beneath feather comforters.
Rosalie Forest Eco Lodge. Dominica, West Indies.
Explore the volcanic island on foot or on the back of a local donkey. Hike to secluded waterfalls, spend the day surfing or go turtle or whale watching. Later return to your tree house, cabin or cottage, tucked into the rainforest and surrounded by organic gardens. Learn how British owner Jem Winston, uses wind power to provide light and how his reliance on community resources enriches both locals and guests.
Playa Viva. Juluchuca, MX.
Stay in this family friendly, all inclusive, coastal lodge near Ixtapa, where the owners operate an onsite Turtle Sanctuary. Last year, guests helped save and release more than 100,000 baby turtles. The solar powered lodge was constructed with the help of local craftspeople, using indigenous materials. Your family is invited to join the chef for a visit to the nearby farmer’s market. Later, learn how to craft local specialties. Contact: www.PlayaViva.com.
Rosalie eco lodge family travelNature Inn at Bald Eagle. Howard, PA.
Through their every day practices, which include geothermal heating and cooling, solar hot water heat generation, rainwater harvesting, native habitat restoration and the use of rain gardens, guests can look forward to an eco-friendly retreat. The entire family will enjoy the beauty and wealth of activity and wildlife in the area. Look forward to hundreds of miles of trails, paths and trout streams in the Pennsylvania Wilds. You’ll also find a large elk refuge, local artisans and pristine natural beauty. Contact: (814)625-2879; http://natureinnatbaldeagle.com/; www.pawilds.com
The Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
Stay in one of 31 individual chalets, amidst a pristine rainforest that is part of the Danum Valley Conservation Area. From eco-savvy quarters, families can plan for outings that include scouting 300 species of birds, 120 species of mammals and 200 species of plants per hectare. Animals roam freely so be prepared to spot orangutans, pygmy elephants and Bornean hornbills. View the pristine environment from a 1,000 foot long, multi-tiered canopy walk, suspended 85 feet above the ground. Contact: www.tourismmalaysiany.com/
U Shakti 360¢ª Leti . Himalayas, India.
Unplug and soak in the stunning views from your cabin in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. A strong commitment to the local community includes employment of local guides, chefs and porters as well a determination to use traditional building techniques. The company has introduced solar heating and lighting, water reuse programs and created a foundation to foster local renewable energy, education and cultural projects in the community. Hike to your heart’s content and learn about the culture of this spectacular mountainous region.
Contact: 1 (866 )401-3705; www.shaktihimalaya.com.
The importance of tourism, and the incredible rolling tourism dollar, has been recognized by the United Nations as an “official day” since the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) became a UN specialized agency in 2003.
The concept is an important one: "Tourism – Linking Cultures", highlighting the industry’s role in bringing the cultures of the world together and promoting global understanding through travel.
Shouldn't every day be about supporting global understanding through tourism?
I’m all for that!
These adorable young men were there to meet us when we landed in our small plane in the Sepik River region
of Papua New Guinea.
Copyright: Lynn O'Rourke Hayes
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.
Visit America’s historic lodges and find rustic log exteriors, well-worn pine floors, or riverside ambience. Join your family in a walk back through time when you book lodging with a story of its own.
Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood, OR.
Located in Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest, this magnificent lodge was built at the height of the Great Depression by unemployed craftspeople hired by the Federal Works Progress Administration. Completed on September 28, 1937, the lodge has long served as the centerpiece of a mountain playground where families ski, hike, dine, mountain bike, learn about the local flora and fauna and simply enjoy the high altitude natural beauty.
Kalaloch Lodge, Forks, WA.
Visit the complex landscape that is protected within the Olympic National Park & Forest. For bird watching, including the most significant habitat for bald eagles in the lower 48, beach combing, hiking and fishing, there are few destinations where families will find more beauty and opportunity to bond with nature. Consider the Kalaloch Lodge as a cozy home base. Serving up rustic yet charming accommodations, the Lodge offers tremendous views of the Pacific as well as the opportunity to spot puffins, sea otters, seals and a long list of other sea birds. Tap into rich history by asking about the dozens of shipwrecks that have occurred in the area.
Contact: 888-896-3818; www.OlympicNationalParks.com.
Rapids Lodge and Restaurant, Grand Lake, CO.
Located on the banks of the scenic Tonahutu River, this charming lodge has been offering Rocky Mountain hospitality since 1915. Nearly a century ago the doors opened offering running water and electricity generated by a nearby water wheel. Today, guests enjoy the outdoor wonderland that is Rocky Mountain National Park and then return to cozy lodge or cabin rooms and scenic dining overlooking the river.
Contact: 970-627-3707; www.rapidslodge.com.
Clay Hill Lodge. Lyons, OR.
Located on Oregon’s Rogue River, this “off the grid” lodge offers families the chance to enjoy pristine wilderness, hiking, bird watching, rafting and fishing in the country that provided Zane Grey inspiration for many novels. Steeped in history, the lodge has served as base camp for scores of enthusiastic fishermen including Clark Gable, Herbert Hoover, Victor Moore and Ginger Rogers.
Contact: (503) 859-3772: www.ClayHillLodge.com
Garland Lodge and Resort. Lewiston, MI.
Known as the largest log resort east of the Mississippi, this expansive playground is a family favorite for award winning golf, color tours, fishing, and hiking. A blend of old and new, sophistication and rustic charm, the AAA Four Diamond resort complex includes four championship golf courses. Ask about their family-friendly golf and spa packages.
Contact: (800) 968 0042; www.GarlandUSA.com
Tarpon Lodge. Pinelands, FLA.
Open since 1926, this charming waterfront lodge is located 30 minutes north of Fort Myers on Pine Island off Florida's Gulf Coast. Enjoy the local art community, live music, bird watching and picturesque sunsets. Visit pre- Columbian mounds of the ancient Calusa people and paddle through the local waterways. The sport of tarpon fishing originated in Pine Island Sound in the late 1880s so you’ll want to grab a rod and try your luck with one of the local outfitters.
Contact: (239) 283-3999; www.tarponlodge.com.