Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Canada: Toronto, Ontario – Shark Tunnel

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Kids get to climb through a clear tunnel in the shark tank at the Ripley’s Aquarium of Toronto. Sharks swarm around them. Phooey, I couldn’t fit in…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Montreal: Spend a Day at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium and You Can Reach the Stars

Monday, April 29th, 2019

If you want an entire day of intelligent entertainment for the whole family, head to the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium which moved next door to the Olympic Stadium. It’s a perfect activity if the weather is rainy or if it gets really hot in the summer, or any days in between.

The action is mostly in the 2 theaters and it’s quite the deal that your entrance fee covers all the shows. It’s important to look ahead online to figure out how to organize the times for the performances in English or French. You can then manage to get in about 5 shows in one day as most are 20-30 min . In between these, there are some table top games, interactive touch screens and wall displays. Visiting here is the closest you will ever get to rocks from Mars. We also got to see meteorites and learn where they landed.

In the the first theatre where we saw the exquisite Aurorae (Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights), we reclined in the soft comfy seats, It was amazing watching close ups of solar wind and plasma flowing gas on the sun.

The other theatre called Chaos was anything but as the kids got the opportunity to relax on beanbag chairs. The show Aboard the SSE-4801 was kid interactive as they were allowed to shout out answers to the questions of the animator. We learned new things: that Uranus rotates on its side and that there are 88 constellations but we can only see 44 at a time. The kids had fun being allowed to yell “To infinity and beyond”, found out where all the lost socks wind up as well about methane farts. Do you know how many moons Jupitor has? 69

Next up was Polaris which wamore juvenile with cartoony Vladimir the Bear and James the Penguin teaching us how to be a scientist.

After lunch we got to see the newest show, Passport to the Universe, narrated by Tom Hanks. It was a well done and instructive documentary connecting us to our ancestors by showing us we are looking at the same sky today as they did (by simply erasing the light pollution). I was wowed by the knowledge that for each star we can see there exists 50,000,000 that we can’t see. We were taught that stars are born and that we humans are made of “stardust”. Carl Sagan stated, “We’re made of star stuff,” because the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms in our bodies, as well as atoms of all other heavy elements, were created in previous generations of stars over 4.5 billion years ago.”

It was very timely that the video let us peek into a black hole in the same month that the Event Horizon Telescope gave us photos of one. In fact, in the really out-in-space swoopy-designed cafe where you can grab a lunch, there is one section with a wall of changing screen shots of moments in space. Got to see Canadian astronaut David Saint Jacques who is up in Space Station right now – and-  the new photos of a black hole.

Our last video, Secrets of Gravity, used a cartoon kid to try to explain Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. We discovered that a second isn’t always a second and time moves faster on the moon. Einstein famously said, “”Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

The shows at the Rio Tinto Planetarium lets everyone use their imagination. The 8-year-old who accompanied us was excited throughout the day. She said about the planetarium, “You can learn a lot more than you know”.  And we all sure did.

Location: 4801 Pierre de Coubertin Ave
Hours: Sun & Mon 9-6, Tues-Fri 10″30-9, Sat 9-9
Tel: 514-868-3000


Austria, Wattens, Innsbruck: Rainbow Icicles Swarovski Crystal Worlds

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018


Ice of course, has crystals too. But these sparkling icicles have rainbows.



US: Dunn, NC – Celebrating Cotton and Importantly, the Cotton Farmers

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

The 19th annual North Carolina Cotton Festival  takes place in Downtown Dunn on November 4, 2017. This family-fun event draws more than 10,000 people each year and is a celebration of the farmer and in particular the cotton farmer and their contributions as well as the cotton farming and harvesting heritage that plays an important role in the Dunn show

November is peak season for cotton farmers and downtown Dunn was once known as the largest wagon cotton yard in the country. During the festival, the local cotton gin, that until recent years was located in downtown, offers free tours through the gin, allowing you to see cotton production up close and personal. Shuttles are offered from the festival site to the gin every half hour.Quality Equipment

The event covers over 16 city blocks and offers entertainment on 2 stage featuring a variety of music, carnival rides and games, a classic car show -where over 100 antique and custom cars compete for best in show, petting zoo, Kiddie Land, Antique Tractor Show, over 125 vendors showcasing commodities like cotton, needle work, fabric, food and crafts.wilson avenue

FREE admission, lots of downtown shopping at some interesting shops, freebies and family fun for all ages.

Location: Downtown Dunn
Date: November 4, 2017
Time:10am – 4pm
Tel: 910-892-3282
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Canada: Montreal, Quebec – Just for Laughs Sandbox

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Kids playing in the sand in the center of downtown at Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. A square block of sand Is dotted with picnic tables and surrounded by food stalls, from BBQ ribs to foie gras poutine.



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cosmos Tour: Prague Vienna Budapest – First dinner

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

PragueNHDinnerThe first included dinner of the Cosmos tour started with a light beef broth and then a plate with a large bready dumpling  sliced up (a bit of a rye bread taste) and fanned on the plate next to pork with duck gravy and a tasty cooked red cabbage side. The dumplings soaked up the gravy quite nicely.

Germany: Munich Beer Gardens

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

Hofbrau Park Beer Garden


Play Structure in Beer Garden

It was surprising to learn – and see – that the expression “beer garden” means exactly that. there are huge garden  spaces filled with picnic tables – some have umbrellas or are covered by the trees. Families bring their own picnic food but no beverages. They buy beer from the concession. Some have play structures for the kids to climb on.

There’s even an outdoor beer garden at the Munich Airport.

Canada Ottawa: Museum of History

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

The swooping architecture of the building and jaw-dropping 17 metre-high domed ceiling of Canada Hall are visions you will not easily forget after you have visited the newly named Canadian Museum of History (was Canadian Museum of Civilization), which covers Canadian life from AD 1000 to 2000.

From now until Sept 28, 2014,  you can enjoy the informative exhibit about Snow and the ingenious ways in which  Canadians have adapted to difficult winter conditions, from sleighs to snow removal. You can participate in a fun quiz at the end.

The museum is a playground for all, as the Children’s Museum takes the kids on travels around the world – including a passport to stamp in each country. All kinds of imaginative play from driving a bus, motorcycle, ship or camel to running a shop, putting on a puppet show, living in a pyramid, moving heavy boxes using a winch, or booking a trip can all be tried out.

In the main galleries, visitors see a Viking family arriving in Newfoundland around AD 1000,  discover New France through a farmhouse, inn, hospital, shoemaker’s shop and visit a voyageur camp, a lumber camp, a Métis campsite, British military living quarters and a Maritime shipyard. There’s a stroll past shops  along the main street of a small town in late 19th-century Ontario.

Learn about life in a turn-of-the-century prairie railway station and yard, a Saskatchewan grain elevator, an authentic Ukrainian church, a Chinese hand laundry and a 1920s Alberta oil derrick. You can even sit in Yellowknife’s Wildcat Cafe, the town’s first restaurant and a popular gathering spot for prospectors, bush pilots, miners and trappers.

If you love animals, leave time for the up close and personal movie, Kenya 3-D about a safari through Africa.

Location: 100 Laurier St., Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M8
Phone: 819-776-7000 or 800-555-5621

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

US: Allegiant Black Fri/Cyber Monday $30 or $59 deals

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Allegiant Air taking a cue from brick and mortar retailers, is offering for the first time, doorbuster fares for both U.S. Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday as well as great deals on hotels, rental cars and attractions.

U.S. Thanksgiving Doorbusters – Beginning at 5 am on Thurs, Nov. 28, Allegiant will offer $30 one way fares (including taxes and fees!) on select routes. Only 60 seats are available on each flight at

Cyber Monday Sale – Beginning at 5 am on Mon, Dec. 2,  Allegiant will offer fares as low as $59 one way on select routes. Deep Cyber Monday discounts can save travelers up to 30 percent.

Allegiant’s Cyber Monday deals will include dozens of vacation specials including free nights, free upgrades, and free meals at participating hotels in Hawaii, Florida, Las Vegas and Arizona. Allegiant customers can save with free double car class upgrades at Allegiant’s Alamo locations nationwide.

Allegiant Air is focused on linking leisure travelers in small cities to world-class leisure destinations  operating a low-cost, high-efficiency, all-jet passenger airline. The company has been named one of America’s 100 Best Small Companies by Forbes Magazine for four consecutive years.

“Our customers love a great deal, so we’ve decided to give them something special,” said Rich Winiarski, Allegiant Travel Company Vice President of Marketing. “We are excited to offer travellers even more ways to save on flight, hotels and vacations with our exceptional U.S. Thanksgiving doorbuster sales and deep Cyber Monday discounts. This will be our biggest sale ever.”

History of Tea

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Tea, which is over 5,000 years old, was possibly born in the Yunnan province of China. Legends mention Shen Nung, an early emperor and scientist, who ruled that all drinking water be boiled as a hygienic precaution. One day while traveling, his servants boiled water for him, and just then dried leaves from a nearby bush fell into the boiling water. The emperor drank the brown liquid and enjoyed it.

In 800, Lu Yu wrote “Ch’a Ching”, the first definitive book on tea. He diligently recorded the various methods of tea cultivation and preparation. Zen Buddhist missionaries later introduced his meticulous methods to imperial Japan. One missionary in particular, Yesei, had observed its use in religious ceremonies in China and appreciated its value, and there are records of his findings.

Tea was so highly thought of in Japan that the serving of it was elevated to an art form, resulting in  the Japanese Tea Ceremony. While visiting Japan I was privy thrice to this exacting two hour ceremony while sitting on bended knees – once by a Buddhist Monk in a temple, once by a Canadian Tea Master and once in a private home while dressed in a kimono.

Perhaps one of the first Europeans to encounter tea and write about it was the Portuguese Jesuit Father Jasper de Cruz (in 1560), and around that time a Dutchman named Jan Huygen van Linshoten visited Java. He wrote about his voyage to the East Indies in 1598 and mentioned “cha”, as it was called in Mandarin.

Around 1650 the Dutch under Peter Stuyvesant brought the first tea to America in the settlement of New Amsterdam, later re-named New York by the English

Tags: , , , , , , , ,