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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: Newburyport, MA – Reptiles, Comedy Juggler, Flash Mob, Drumming and Art at Newburyport’s 2-Day Fest

Celebrate the season at historic Newburyport Spring Festival, a tradition upheld for over 30 years on Memorial Day Weekend.  Enjoy great live music, art, fine crafts, activities for kids, and food from Newburyport’s outstanding restaurants at this 2-day FREE festival featuring entertainment for the whole family -rain or shine. Springfest Group SittingDSC_0022

Sunday -Entertainment
10:30am-11:15am in Market Square -Bryson Lang – Comedy Juggler – audiences will see a family-friendly show and an energetic personality performing inventive and clever routines that mix comedy, audience participation, ball spinning, flying sombreros, ball bouncing, fire-juggling, well-crafted timing, huge spinning bouncing rings, giant Beach Balls, improv, and a few surprises.Springfest Crafters 71

10am, 12pm, and 2pm -Theater in the Open – Flash Mob on Inn Street

Live Music
1pm – 4pm  Live Music in Market Square 617 Band – Covering your favorite party and dance hits!

11pm, 1pm, 3pm – 30 min sets on Inn Street – Zach Field Drum Studio

Art
“Emerging at Any Age” – A group of Newburyport’s finest senior artists from just starting out to artists that have had long careers in art. Gallery will be on Pleasant Street.

Monday Entertainment
Kids Entertainment from 10:30-11:30am in Market Square – Reptile Show
Come and meet some of the friendliest reptiles in New England. Brought to you by Zoo Creatures/New England Reptile, they will teach you about some most impressive animals. From giant snakes to prehistoric lizards, you can learn, touch, hold and hug.

Live Music in Market Square
Eagle in the Attic – Newburyport band performing Springfest Bridge Band 14

Location: Downtown Newburyport, Market Square, Newburyport, MA 01950
Date: Sun  May 28 – Mon May 29, 2017
Hours: 10am – 5pm
Tel: 978-462-6680
newburyport.com/events-in-newburyport/
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: newburyportchamber.org

US: College Park, MD – Try a Flight Simulator at World’s Oldest Continuously Operating Airport

How appropriate to house an aviation museum at the oldest continuously operated airport in the world, The College Park Aviation Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

The first person to greet you is Wilbur Wright -who else? This animatronic man tells you how he came to this airfield in 1909 to teach military officers how to fly. The gallery contains historic and reproduction aircraft associated with the history of the airfield, highlighting the display of unique aircraft and artifacts and tells the story of the airport’s many 1st in flight to today.college-park-aviation-museum

College Park Aviation Museum is family-friendly and filled with hands-on, interactive exhibits for children of all ages. Touch, explore, and sit in the cockpit of their “Imagination Plane“, a 1939 blue Taylorcraft. Fly away in a 1911 Model B Flight Simulator where you can fly over this airport using hand controls and state-of-the-art visuals. Visit their hands-on room to learn about flight and to dress like a pilot.

Look for exhibits on the first US Postal Air flight in 1918 and the first controlled helicopter flight by H. Berliner. The airport runway is just out side the rear glass windows of the museum, so you can watch take-offs or landings as today’s pilots take to the sky. 

Location: College Park Aviation Museum, 1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive, College Park, MD 20740
Hours: Daily 10am – 5pm (Closed Sun, Jan 1st)
Tel: 301- 864- 6029
collegeparkaviationmuseum.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:
visitmaryland.org/city/college-park

Canadian Museum of Nature is Museum of Fun

If you are heading out to Ottawa to enjoy our nation’s capitol, leave some time to explore the Canadian Museum of Nature. It’s the perfect place for all ages of the family to enjoy themselves. The brainy kids (or adults) can soak up extensive details about nature while the playful gang can pull levers or turn knobs in a deep sea sub, IMG_5043learn on many touch screens, or even dance around in front of  the endothermy camera checking out their colorful “hotspots”.

Everyone is awed by the the 19.8-metre blue whale skeleton in the Water Gallery but keeping going further in. All the way in the back are many interactive games for young and old alike: make believe areas for the wee ones, a board game along a wall,  animal jigsaw puzzles on touch screens, word games, etc.  

Gawk at the dinosaur fossils or walk amongst the fleshed-out dinosaur creatures for photo ops with kids. In the Vale Earth Gallery swoon over the 1200 gorgeous minerals, rocks and meteorites. Our 5 1/2-year-old couldn’t get enough of the joystick which controls a huge earth or the button to start the volcano.

Sure there’s a full size mammal gallery but the 11, 8 and 5 1/2 year-olds all stayed longer in the small Nature Live space where they oogled the cases of walking stick bugs in different camouflage colors and thicknesses. How many of you have come face to face with a tarantula? Then they listened intently as a docent showed fossils which were indigenous to Ottawa.

If you have time there are two 3D movies, “Prehistoric Planet 3D and Micro-Monsters 3D” (both too scary for the 5 1/2 -year old) but our gang liked the interactive museum more.IMG_5051

The famous Bird Gallery, with  one of the most extensive collections of Canadian birds in the world re-opened June 1. A special exhibit on now is Ultimate Dinosaurs June 11-September 5 and then upcoming is Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly, October 6-April 2 .

A brand new Arctic Gallery will be unveiled on June 23 which is set to explain how the arctic is changing, including plants, animals and people of the area plus scientific research. Outside, three new ecozones will be shown off on June 17 including a woolly mammoths and an “iceberg”.

I’d like to give a thumbs up to the friendly security guards who answered questions informatively and helped to point out nearby bathrooms and water fountains.

Canadian Museum of Nature, a Beaux Arts building, was our first national museum, completed in 1912. Trivia buffs should note that this building  served as home to Canada’s House of Commons and Senate following the fire that destroyed the Centre Block of Parliament in 1916.

Location: 240 McLeod St., Ottawa
Phone: 613-364-4021
www.nature.ca

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US: Burbank – Energy Healing Center

Enjoyed some transformational energy healing at the Elysium Healing Arts Center in Burbank. Marla Phillips of www.adventurewithin.com has a soothing demeanor and “touch” and you come out feeling so much better than when you arrived.
Location: 2907 West Olive Ave, Burbank CA 91505
Tel: 323-697-8719
www.adventurewithin.com

 

Canada: Children Love National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa

Maman the Giant Spider

Maman the Giant Spider

Most people would not think of taking children to an art museum. However, The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa offers Artissimo,  one of the best children’s programs I have come across  – and at an amazingly reasonable price of only $24 for 2 adults and 3 children. They try to teach kids about the art through different senses.

– First up was the creation of Art Buddies, toys (like dolls or animals) which can be found in paintings. These exact reproductions are given to the kids to hold, and then they are pointed to galleries where they can try to find them in a painting. Our Marguerite Charlotte doll had golden curls intertwined with green ribbon, and was holding a little blue bird in her hand.

– Second fun activity was the touch box which the child wears around his neck. They can put their hands in the sides (like a muff) and feel textures inside. Each box relates to a painting which has these textures in it; they have to guess what they are feeling and what in the painting represents it: a feather, lace, fur, picture frame, etc.

– Thirdly, was a real hit for ages 4-10. In Sounds Like Art, they are given headphones which play sounds. In each gallery, they have to find a painting which would relate to that sound: water, a crying baby, horses’ hooves, crackling fire.

The Arts and Crafts Area

The Arts and Crafts Area

For completing these games, the kids are rewarded with collectors’ cards of the paintings.

– Lastly there is an arts and crafts area set up in the most beautiful setting possible – the Great Hall with its soaring windows. While they are creating their works of art, you (and they) can oogle the magnificent panoramic view of Parliament Hill, the Gatineau Hills and the Ottawa River.

The children also enjoyed finding the surprise garden (from above and at ground level), the ceiling water window in the lobby, the “sound sculpture” in the chapel and, of course, Maman, the giant spider outside.  And yes, there is also the fabulous collection of art. We spent 4 hours there easily.

Location: 380 promenade Sussex Drive, Ottawa ON K1N 9N4
Phone: 800-319-ARTS
Hours: Tues-Sun 10-5 (closed Mon Oct 1-Apr 30)
www.gallery.ca  www.beaux-arts.ca