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US: Portsmouth, NH – FREE Weekly Open House at Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses hosts open houses at Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse in New Castle every Sunday from Memorial Day weekend through mid-October (Columbus Day weekend).

No reservations are necessary as tours are on a first come, first served basis. Children must be 42 inches tall to climb to the top, and adults are not permitted to carry children up the stairs. Portsmouth-Harbor-Lighthouse

Visitors get to climb to the lantern room to enjoy the magnificent view and to see the fourth-order Fresnel lens up close. Volunteers will tell visitors about the history of the light station, and there will be souvenirs for sale.

There are 44 stairs to the watch room and a 7-rung ladder to the lantern room. Flat shoes (not sandals or flip-flops) are required to climb the ladder into the lantern room.Lighthouse TourIMG_1886small-620x250

Location: Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse Coast Guard Station,
25 Wentworth Rd
, New Castle, NH 03854
Date:  Every Sun, starting June 3 ’til Oct 14th 2018
Time: 1 – 5pm
Tel: 603-534-0537
portsmouthharborlighthouse.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: portsmouthnh.com

US: Washington, DC – Cherry Blossom Kite Festival

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is one the nation’s most cheerful springtime celebration. The 2018 Festival, March 20 – April 15, includes four weeks of events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit.Cherry Blossom kite-fest

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is kicking off kite season. Held on the grounds of the Washington Monument near 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW in Washington, DC, the Blossom Kite Festival is family-friendly, free and open to the public.colorful Kiteindex

The seventh annual Blossom Kite Festival showcases the creativity of kite makers and skill of fliers from across the US and other countries through a variety of competitions and demonstrations, Rokkaku Battles and the Hot Tricks Showdown. Bring your own kites or children can make a kite at an activity station (while supplies last) to fly on the Public Field. Kites will also be available for purchase onsite.coloringNCBF17-1378-768x511

Photo Credit: National Cherry Blossom Festival

2018 Activity Schedule:

Competition and Demonstration Field

Kick-Off Parade…………………………….…………………………..10:00 AM
Kite Ballets & Demos…………………………………………….10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Adult Kite Makers Competition……………………………….11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Wind Jammers and Wings Over Washington…………….12:00 – 12:30 PM
Demonstrations…………………………………………………….……12:30 – 1:30 PM
Hot Tricks Showdown…………………………………………….1:30 – 2:30 PM
Rokkaku Battle………………………………………………………2:45 – 3:30 PM
Wind Jammers and Wings Over Washington………………3:30 – 4:00 PM
Kite Arch and Awards……………………………………………..4:00 – 4:30 PM

Family Field

Practice Fly for Youth Kite Makers……………………………10:30 – 11:00 A
Youth Kite Makers Competition……………………………….11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Youth Kite Makers Awards………………………………………12:00 – 12:30 PM
Blossom Build-off Competition………………………………..12:30 – 1:45 PMBol Races………………………………………………………………2:00 – 4:30 PM

Location: Grounds of the Washington Monument, near 17th St NW and Constitution Ave., Washington, DC 20006
Date: Sat., March 31st, 2018 (Rain Date: Sun., April 1st, 2018)
Time: 10 AM – 4:30 PM
Tel: 877-442-5666
nationalcherryblossomfestival.org

US: Daytona Beach, FL – Rolex 24 at Daytona – Grueling 24 Hour Endurance Race

Since 1962, racing legends from around the world have come to Daytona to compete in a grueling 24-hour marathon.  The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona is infamously relentless on both driver and machine as sleep-deprived crews perform mechanical phenomenons. From sunrise to sunset to sunrise again, witness as both man and machine are pushed to the limit in this twice-around-the-clock marathon.

Car MotorsportsThe Rolex 24 at DAYTONA, a 24-hour sports car endurance race executed on the track’s 3.56-mile road course, is a perfect battle between machine, driver and time.

The four-day event begins with qualifying races on January 25, a BMW Endurance race January 26 and the Rolex 24 January 27-28. Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso brings the driver star power to this most challenging race.Motorsports(1)

Schedule of Events:

Thursday, January 25th
9:00 AM
Stadium & UNOH Fanzone opens
9:20 AM – 10:20 AM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #1
10:40 AM – 11:25 AM
Ferrari Challenge practice session #3
11:40 AM – 11:55 AM
IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge practice session #3
12:05 PM – 12:20 PM
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST qualifying
12:25 PM – 12:40 PM
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS / TCR qualifying
1:40 PM – 2:40 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #2
3:00 PM – 3:15 PM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #1 group 1
3:20 PM – 3:35 PM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #1 group 2
3:55 PM – 4:10 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD qualifying
4:20 PM – 4:35 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM qualifying
4:45 PM – 5:00 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship P qualifying
5:00 PM – 5:20 PM
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge practice session #4
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #3

 Friday, January 26th
8:30 AM
Stadium & UNOH Fanzone opens
8:45 AM – 9:00 AM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #2 group 1
9:05 AM – 9:20 AM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #2 group 2
9:40 AM – 10:40 AM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #4
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM
Ferrari Challenge race #1
11:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Carnival Rides at the Boardwalk Experience
12:00 PM – 12:45 PM
Grid opens for fan access to pre-race ceremonies on Pit Road
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
BMW Endurance Challenge At DAYTONA

Saturday, January 27th
6:30 AM
Stadium & UNOH Fanzone opens
7:00 AM
DAYTONA 5K Run & Fun Walk
8:00 AM
Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition Display at the FPL Solar Patio inside UNOH Fanzone
9:00 AM
Stadium open
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
UNOH Fanzone Kids Zone open
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Motorsports Hall of Fame open in Daytona Ticket and Tours building
9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Daytona Rewards stations open in stadium & UNOH Fanzone
9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Grassroots Motorsports Experience located at the Grassroots Motorsports tent along Lake Lloyd
9:30 AM – 10:45 AM
Ferrari Challenge race #2
10:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Carnival Rides at the Boardwalk Experience
10:30 AM
Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition laps
11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Photos with the 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona trophy inside Gatorade Victory Lane
12:00 PM – 12:45 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver autograph session inside UNOH Fanzone
1:05 PM – 2:20 PM
Grid opens for fan access to pre-race ceremonies on Pit Road
1:05 PM – 2:20 PM
Crossover gates open
2:40 PM
START – 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Wine & Cheese Party – Café 24 Activity Zone
6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Taste of the 24 in Stadium Midway Suites
8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Live band on the Main Stage inside UNOH Fanzone
10:30 PM – 12:00 AM
Karaoke on the Main Stage inside UNOH Fanzone

 Sunday, January 28th
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Café 24 Breakfast Garage inside the Café 24 Activity Zone
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Photos with the 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona trophy inside Gatorade Victory Lane
9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
UNOH Fanzone Kids Zone open
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Fanatics merchandise store open in Stadium
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Grassroots Motorsports Experience located at the Grassroots Motorsports tent along Lake Lloyd
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Motorsports Hall of Fame open in Daytona Ticket and Tours building
10:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Carnival Rides at the Boardwalk Experience
2:00 PM
Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition parade begins in UNOH Fanzone
2:40 PM
FINISH – 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona

Photo Credit: Daytona International Speedway

Location: Daytona International Speedway, 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd. Daytona Beach, FL 32118
Date: Jan 25 – 28, 2018
Time: Various – See Schedule Above
Tel: 386-253-7223
daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Events/2018/Rolex-24-At-DAYTONA/Rolex-24-At-Daytona.aspx
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: daytonabeach.com

US: Wilson, NC – Whirligig Festival for Art in Motion, Touch-a-Truck and a Dive Into a Cake

Wilson, NC Exit 121: The North Carolina Whirligig Festival is a 2-day hometown annual arts and crafts festival features arts of the region, including the giant Whirligigs created by late local artist, Vollis Simpson. Like the whimsical outsider art, the Wilson Whirligig Festival,  in Historic Downtown Wilson, is a community celebration of people and art in motion.V. Simpson 2017-10-10_10-52-15

The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park is hosting their Grand Opening the Thursday before the festival weekend, Nov. 2nd starting at 4 pm.

With Over 200+ vendors, 3 stages of live entertainment, a showcase of local and interactive art,  delicious food, beer gardens, Non-Profit organizations, free Whirli-Kidz Zone, Special events, 5K Whirli-Run, Whirli-Kidz Stage & Choir, Cup Cake Challenge, Photo Contest. New this year is a Ninja Whirligig Warrior Zone where you can meet local American Ninja Warriors, watch them compete and get a chance to test out the course yourself.

Kids Stage2017-10-10_11-00-39

The ever popular cake dive is back, Sun @4pm: witness the festival’s messiest event, a “dive” into a large 10 ft x 10 ft anniversary cake for a variety of prizes.

Touch-A-Truck is a fun event for the whole family, allowing children three + an all access pass to explore, climb and touch city of Wilson trucks and emergency response vehicles. Kids can sit in vehicles, honk the horn and talk with the equipment operators. Horn free hours will be offered throughout the day for kids with noise sensitivity.Police Vehicles2017-10-10_10-59-06

Douglas Street will transform into a space to build, create, and envision. With Brick Scholars, Greenlight, and Imagination Station Science & History Museum. Kids five + will be able to make Lego creations, even a whirligig! Showcase your creation with the onsite photo booth.

It’s a colorful 2-day celebration that sparks creativity in the people of Wilson, so get inspired and take part in the community’s largest celebration. (rain or shine)Logo 2017-10-10_8-27-06

Location: Historic Downtown Wilson,NC 27893
Dates: Nov 4 – 5, 2017
Times:  Sat, Nov 4 -10 am – 5 pm , Sun, Nov 5  noon – 5 pm
Tel: 252-289-9650
whirligigfestivalnc.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: wilson-nc.com

US: Miami, FL – Arts and Culture Festival in Little Havana every Friday

Little Havana Viernes Culturales Abril-15-9Miami, FL Exit 1B: Little Havana is a true reflection of Hispanic culture. As you approach the heart of the neighborhood at SW 8th Street—known as Calle Ocho by the locals; the geographical, historical and emotional heart of the Miami Cuban exile community,  you may feel you’ve been transported to another time and place. Go there for authentic Cuban fare, a strong cafecito, a good Cuban cigar, Latin festivals or a fierce game of dominoes. From salsa-dancing and art exhibits, to a historic movie theater, concerts, Little Havana uncovers a thriving arts and culture scene with a distinctly Cuban flair.Little Havana CraftsVC JAN 2015 (20)

Experience Little Havana by partaking in the Cuban culture at Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays), Little Havana’s popular vibrant art and culture festival, taking place on the last Friday of every month, from 7 to 11 pm on SW 8th Street (Calle Ocho) between 13th and 17th Avenues. It promises to be a fun-filled event for the whole family.

Enjoy live music, dancing under the stars, discover works by local artists and artisans in and around iconic Domino Plaza on SW 8th Street and SW 15th Avenue, contemporary and historic artworks at the many fine art galleries, domino games, cigar rollers, local arts and crafts, all while taking in the flavor and ethnic diversity that Little Havana has to offer.Little Havana FoodVC JAN 2015 (26)

Get the sense of this tight knit community by taking advantage of the Free Little Havana Walking Tour.  Dr. Paul George has developed 12 different tours of the surrounding neighborhoods and this historic walking tour experience brings a unique and different audience from all parts of South Florida. Meet in front of the Tower Theater (1508 SW 8th St.) @ 7 PM, Free, no reservations required.Little Havana Face Painting Viernes Culturales Abril-15-60

Free Trolley Service : The City of Miami takes you for free on the Miami Trolley leaving from the Mary Brickell Village and the Brickell Metrorail/Metromover Station to the heart of the Viernes Culturales festival every 15 minutes, starting at 6:30 pm.

Location: Along Southwest 8th Street from 13th to 17th avenues, Miami, FL 33135
Date: Fri, June 30 2017 (Later 2017 Dates: 7/28, 8/25, 9/29, 10/27, 11/24, 12/29)
Hours: 7 – 11 pm
Tel: 305-643-5500
viernesculturales.org/mainvc/
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: miamiandbeaches.com

Canada – Winter Break Idea: See Wildlife Up Close in Canadian Safari at Parc Omega

If  you’re in the Montreal or Ottawa area,  you are only 1 1/2 hours away from an exciting safari adventure. Parc Omega is the perfect day outing for kids (and folks) of all ages. It’s an 800 hectare park where the animals roam free and you are “caged” in your car. It’s such an easy drive to be able to come face to face with Canadian wildlife: reindeer, elk, arctic wolf and fox, bison, musk ox, turkey, boar, coyote, black bear, and many kinds of deer.IMG_0362

Along a 12-kilometere safari nature route which takes you past lakes, meadows, small valleys, forests and rocky hills, you meander at your own pace. You can pick up bag of carrots at the visitor center (or bring your own), and as you slowly make your way through, you are allowed to open the windows to feed the wildlife. Kids are thrilled that they do not have to be in their car seats here and can flit from side to side of the vehicle to say hello to the animals.

You tune your radio to a station which fills you in on all sorts of information about the species you will be seeing.

  • We learned which males are good daddies and stay around to raise the youngsters and which ones only show up for mating season.
  • I never knew that the musk oxen’s heads are strong as hammers and they butt and knock everything down. Their quarters are specially built to withstand their strength.IMG_5699
  •  You pass by low slung “condos” for boars designed to keep the big predators out.
  • Coming here in winter gives you the opportunity to see how the arctic fox blends into the snowscape.

About 2/3 through, there’s a place to stop,  get out to stretch legs and visit some wooden buildings for bathrooms, gifts, food and hot cocoa. Friendly deer are in the parking area to get a snack too – those carrots – buy lots.

This is one experience that all Canadian families should take advantage of. It’s not only educational and fun, but will bring lasting memories for the whole family.IMG_0369

Location: Parc Omega is a safari park in Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, Quebec, Canada
Address: 399 Route 323 North, Montebello, QC J0V 1L0 Click for map Google Map

Phone: (819) 423-5487
www.parcomega.ca

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US: Lumberton, NC – This Show is Going to the Dogs…and Cats

If you are an animal lover, this show is for you. Popovich Comedy Pet Theater is a family-oriented blend of the unique comedy and juggling skills of Gregory Popovich, and the talents of his furry costars.popovichlyingdown

Featuring European-style circus extravaganza including physical comedy, juggling, acrobats from the Moscow Circus, along with mimes, contortionists and jaw dropping juggling by internationally acclaimed award winner Gregory Popovich. There are more than 30 pets in the show, including highly intelligent dogs, house cats, a variety of birds and a miniature horse, each one has been rescued from animal shelter. The animals show off their dexterity in a variety of unbelievable stunts and skits, including “The Dog Classroom,” “The Amazing House-Cats,” and “The Animal Train Station.”  cat-piggy-back

Popovich, a fifth generation circus performer who learned early on how to develop strong bonds with animals, has rescued a majority of his performers from shelters all over the country, and has transformed them into Las Vegas stars. He is a gold medal winner in Paris, France and a special award winner in Monte Carlo. Gregory and his pets were finalists on “America’s Got Talent”, were guests on TV shows with Jay Leno, David Letterman, Craig Ferguson and was a feature on Animal Planet. Do not miss this opportunity to see this unique family-friendly show featuring this legendary circus entertainer and his furry friends.popovich-carolina-civic-center

Location: Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater, 315 North Chestnut St., Lumberton, NC 28358
Date: Thurs., Feb 2. 2017
Time: 7 pm – 9 pm
Tel: 910-738-4339
carolinaciviccenter.com/event/popovich-comedy-pet-theater/#.WEg1Rn2rHfc
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: lumberton-nc.com

US: Fayetteville, NC – Fascinate-U Where Children Can Be Judges, Respond to 911 Calls, Bag Groceries And Build Their Way To A Good Time

Need a fun place to entertain the little ones for a few hours? Take them to Fascinate U Children’s Museum and Amusement Center.

This children’s museum was designed to be a hands-on experifacinate-u-museumence, all scaled to the size of children,  in which they try to connect young minds to their future through interactive experiences. Children can explore their world the way they learn best-through creative role-playing, and interaction with each other and their environment.

The museum is arranged as a “mini-city” where children can pretend while learning about jobs in the community. Some of their exhibits include: the Farm, the Army Fort, the Fire Station, the Post Office, the Grocery Store and a Stage Area.

In addition, they have a toddler room specially designed for children four and under , constructed as a mini-house, where little ones can develop their cognitive skills.

This is a special place that makes learning fun.grocery-store-facinate-u-museum

Location: Fascinate U Children’s Museum, 116 Green St, Fayetteville, NC 28301
Hours: Mon: CLOSED, Tues: 9- 5, Wed: 9- 7, Thur: 9- 5, Fri: 9- 5, Sat: 10- 5, Sun: 12- 5
Tel: 910-829-9171
fascinate-u.com
For Regional Information, Restaurants & Attractions: visitfayettevillenc.com

US: Fayetteville, NC – Incredible Lego® Bricks Exhibit & Holiday Light Show in Botanical Garden

Make sure that you include a stop in Fayetteville to see the NATURE CONNECTS® Art with Lego® Bricks Exhibit at Cape Fear Botanical Garden which lasts until January 8, 2017.

Kids and kids at heart will appreciate this award-winning, record-breaking exhibition, inspired by nature and built by artist Sean Kenney, with over 500,000 colorful LEGO® bricks. The exhibit features  larger-than-life sculptures representing the complex and amazing network that interconnects all living things on Earth.

The sculptures will be displayed throughout the Garden to encourage you to walk by an 8-foot tall hummingbird, go nose-to-nose with a 5-foot bumblebee, admire a 7-foot rose, and watch an oversized koi leap about in the Cypress Pond.

Interpretative panels for each display with feature a message to connect children with the natural world and promote environmental stewardship and conservation. Adding to the exhibit will be activities for all ages, hands-on building stations, and design competitions.nature-connects-art-with-lego-bricks-exhibit

Cape Fear Botanical Gardens also offers some evening entertainment for the holidays:  Holiday Lights in the Garden – where the Garden will be transformed into a sparkling wonderland with thousands of lights illuminating plants, trees, and new exhibits.

Attractions and festivities include a synchronized show of lights and music shimmering over the Cypress Pond, a mile long stroll featuring thousands of lights aglow, photos with Santa on select evenings, S’mores roasting over the fire pit, and free crafts for children. The Garden Gift Shop, brimming with wonderful holiday selections, will be open each evening. nightly until Dec 23rd, Dec 26th – 30th, 5 – 9pm.

Take advantage of their on-line special pricing:.eventbrite.com/e/holiday-lights-in-the-garden-pre-sale-tickets-29281713393

Location: Cape Fear Botanical Garden, 536 N. Eastern Blvd., Fayetteville, NC 28301
Dates: until Sun,  Jan 8, 2017 – *Excluding holidays: Christmas Eve and Day, New Year’s Eve and Day.
Hours: Mon – Sat: 10am – 4pm, Sun: 11am – 4pm *Last Admission: 3:15 pm
Tel: 910-486-0221
capefearbg.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitfayettevillenc.com

US: Portland, ME – Take in the Beauty of Autumn With a Ride Aboard the Pumpkin Train

Autumn is a beautiful time of year on the coast of Maine. Enjoy the season with a visit to the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum and a ride aboard the Pumpkin Train.

Children can explore the museum , which offers a children’s play area with train tables, coloring activities, dress-up like a conductor, and child-size train station and train to climb in and the featured activity where you can paint a miniature pumpkin to bring home as a souvenir to commemorate the day.

All visitors are treated to complimentary hot cider and cookies as they travel along Portland’s waterfront. The train ride lasts approximately 40 minutes and travels 1.5 miles (3 miles round trip).  Train crew and/or museum docents are  aboard with historical and site information and providing a narrative throughout the ride. Both open air cars and enclosed cars are available.pumpkin-train-ride

Celebrate the beauty of autumn with a ride aboard the Pumpkin Train. It’s fun for the whole family and even family-friendly pets on a leash are welcome to this leisurely way to enjoy the scenic Eastern Promenade of Casco Bay. Trains operates rain or shine.

Location: Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum,
58 Fore Street, Portland, ME 04101
Dates: Oct 22nd & 23rd, Oct 29th & 30th
Time: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm, Trains on the hour 10am-3pm
Tel: 207-828-0814
mainenarrowgauge.org/pumpkin-train
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitportland.com