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New Zealand: Waitakere – The Kauri trees of New Zealand

The Kauri trees are endangered so it’s really special when you can go into a forest and see quite of few very old ones. The Arataki Visitor Centre goes to great lengths to preserve and protect them. You can climb up a high trail and see then at the top reaching for the sky. The circular cluster is called The Cathedral.

New Zealand: Waitakere – Ferns of New Zealand

In the trails outside the Arataki Visitor Centre in Waitakere NZ, you can get lost in the sea of ferns.

New Zealand: Waitakere -Arataki Visitor Centre

You can take quiet walks in Waitakere’s Arataki Visitor Centre. These steps lead up and up and up to the treetop Cathedral of ancient Kauri trees. Worth the walk.

New Zealand: Waitakere – Life From Death

We liked it when this sign on an Arataki trail in Waitakere NZ teaches us how dead trees are a life system for other life forms: slaters, cockroaches, millipedes, wetas, spiders live on the decay.

Canada: Sault Ste Marie, Ontario – Black Beaver Falls

At the Agawa Canyon Park, the River Trail will take you to these high roaring Black Beaver Waterfalls. Wooden viewing platforms make it all easy and enjoyable.

Canada: Sault Ste Marie, Ontario – Agawa Canyon Park

After 3 relaxing hours, when you get off the Agawa Canyon train at mile 114, you have opportunities for walks on 3 trails, The Talus Trail, the River Trail or this one: The Lookout Trail goes up 320 wooden steps to panoramic views of the canyon. 

US: Providence, RI – Over 5,000 Intricately Carved Pumpkins and Spooky Nights at the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

A fall tradition at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, is the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, attracting more than 100,000 visitors for this truly “spectacular” event.

Don’t miss this year’s show that includes more than 5,000 intricately carved pumpkins featuring scenes of wizards, fairytales, and the luminaries of great myths and legends, alongside superheroes, and historical figures who changed the world. Revel in the sights and sounds of the season, and celebrate this otherworldly experience. This seasonal art show aims to delight and amaze the whole family, and not to scare anyone. – Tickets on-sale now

You can also experience the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride during the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. From 115 feet above riders enjoy an aerial view of the park and admire the plethora of jack-o-lanterns from above. Get an eagles-eye view over Providence and into Narragansett Bay in comfortable side-by-side seats.

There are also a number of Special Events taking place which are included in the price of admission (with the exception of Spooky Zoo and Boo at the Zoo Family Overnight). Kids and adults are encouraged to wear costumes; masks are not permitted for teens/adults over age 12.

Children’s Fairy Tale Nights – Wed and Thurs, Oct 10th & 11th @ 5:30pm-8pm: Meet beloved children’s fairy tale characters.  Take pictures with Peter Pan, Cinderella, Snow White, Robin Hood and favorite Dr. Seuss characters such as the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch.  As the sun sets, find your favorite fairy tales characters intricately carved on the pumpkins.

Wizarding Nights – Wed and Thurs, Oct 17th & 18th @6pm-8pm:
Wizards and witches get your wands, mount your brooms and fly on over to meet some of the characters from J.K. Rowling’s beloved series.  Before you embark on the pumpkin trail, try a butter beer or a chocolate frog.  Then travel the pumpkin trail, and identify characters and scenes from the wizarding world.

Super Hero Nights – Wed and Thurs, Oct 24th & 25th @6pm-8pm:
Comic book fans might meet Black Panther, Captain America, Iron Man, Spider Man, and the gang, take a photo, and find out how they all save the world.  As the heroes go back out to fight evil, find your hero’s pumpkin on the pumpkin trail.

Spooky Zoo – Sat and Sun, Oct 27th & 28th:
Spooky Zoo is back, offering daytime outdoor autumn activities for the whole family.  Come trick-or-treat (while supplies last)  beginning at 10:30 am on the Treat Trail by the red wolf exhibit. Kids and adults will enjoy a packed schedule of seasonal activities. Activities are free with Zoo admission and all children 12 and under dressed in costume get in for half price.

Boo at the Zoo Family Overnight – Sat, Oct 20th and Sat, Oct 27th, 2018:
Snooze at the Zoo for the wildest family overnight adventure in town. The night begins with pizza and ice cream before educators engage you and your children in an owl pellet dissection, program animal encounters, and give you VIP access to the world famous Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. Set up your sleeping bags in the Meller-Danforth Education Center with popcorn and a movie to snooze to. You’ll need your zzzzs before waking up with the animals. A light breakfast will be provided before a morning Zoo tour.

The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular takes place 7 days a week. Take advantage of Value Nights, Mon-Thurs, which will save you a bit of money and are usually less crowded.

 

 

 

 

 

Location: Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Ave, Providence, RI 02903
Dates: Oct 4 – Nov 4, 2018
Times: 6 – 11 p.m. (last admission at 10pm)
Tel: 401-785-3510
rwpzoo.org/plan-your-visit/events/jack-o-lantern-spectacular
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: goprovidence.com

US: Clinton, MD – American History Buffs This Tour is for you

On the night of April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot by the dashing young actor, John Wilkes Booth, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington City. While Lincoln lay dying, his assassin was making his escape into Southern Maryland.

Over the next twelve days, Booth and his accomplice, David Herold, were tracked through the lower counties of Maryland and across the Potomac River into Viriginia. They were finally trapped at Garrett’s Farm near Bowling Green, Virginia, where Herold was taken prisoner and Booth was shot and killed by federal troops. Herold was hanged along with Mary Surratt on July 7, 1865.

 John Wilkes Booth Escape Route Tour – The Surratt Society sponsors tours each fall and spring along Booth’s escape route. Many of the same roads and houses used by Booth are still in existence and are visited on this excursion which is narrated by nationally-recognized authorities on the Lincoln assassination and John Wilkes Booth’s flight.

Follow the trail of President Lincoln’s assassin from Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. to his death near Port Royal,  Virginia. Relax and enjoy the history and scenery on this
12-hour, fully narrated bus tour. The cost is $85 per person ($80 for Surratt Society members). Proceeds go toward the preservation of the Surratt House Museum which was the first stop on Booth’s flight south.

To reserve your spot fill out this form.

Location: The Surratt House Museum, 9118 Brandywine Road, Clinton, MD 20735
Dates: Sat, September 8, 15 & 22, 2018
Time: 7 am –7 pm
Tel: 301-868-1121
surrattmuseum.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitmaryland.org

 

US: Florence, SC – Go Nuts for Pecans in Florence and Snag some Free Swag

April is National Pecan month so why not celebrate by following a culinary trail dedicated to the pecan.

Julie Belle's - White Russian Pecan PieFlorence is home to the South Carolina Pecan Trail, showcasing 17 local restaurants and specialty shops offering pecan dishes or products, putting pecans in the spotlight. From pecan-encrusted grouper to pecan pie martinis, those venturing on the trail will experience a variety of originality.Rebel Pie - Danish Pizza

Pick up a passport at the visitors center, 3290 W. Radio Drive, or any of the participating restaurants to start the journey. Earn a stamp in the passport by feasting on the featured pecan item at each establishment.

Pecan Pie Martini - Victors

Return your passport to the Visitors Center in person or by mail for some sweet Pecan Trail swag. Show up with four stamps, and receive a charming metal nutcracker. Eight stamps will get you a drawstring bag and the nutcracker. Present a fully stamped passport and  walk away with a T-shirt, drawstring bag and the nutcracker. SC Pecan Trail

 

Get your stamps and enjoy tasty pecan offerings at these restaurants and specialty shops:

Block and Vino: Seasonal praline pecan cheesecake; candied pecan brie-stuffed chicken

Clay Pot Coffee Shop: Signature BIG cookie: Southern Maple Pecan Oatmeal Cookie

Dolce Vita: Double chocolate chip pecan muffin

Freeman’s Bakery: Assortment of baked goods, including cakes, Danish pastries

Julian Belle’s: White Russian pecan pie

The Library: Bourbon pecan pie

Rebel Pie Wood-fired Pizza: Danish pizza

Red Bone Alley: Chicken salad with pecans; apple crisp; chocolate chip cookie pie

Seminar Brewing: Pecans Gone Wild smoked brown ale

Struttin’ Turkey: Turkey salad with cranberries and pecans

Top Hat Special-Teas: Top Hat Pecan Scones

Town Hall: Braised oxtail ravioli, local sweet potato puree, espelette-spiced pecans and sage oil

Tubb’s Shrimp and Fish Co.: Sweet potato cheesecake

Venus Restaurant and Catering: Pecan (Belgian) waffle, Southern pecan pancakes

Victors: Pecan pie martini

Wholly Smokin’: Goat cheese salad, features warm goat cheese patty encrusted with local pecans

Young Plantations: Variety of flavored pecans

Location: Visitor Information Center, 3290 W. Radio Drive, Florence Center Upper Level, Florence, SC 29501
Time: Daily 9am – 5pm
Tel: 800-325-9005
visitflo.com

US: Richmond, VA – Mother’s Day Fun or Just Stop and Smell the Roses at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is an oasis on a driving trip – 82 magnificent acres which started life as Powhatanhuntinggrounds and was at one time owned by patriot Patrick Henry.

In 1884, Lewis Ginter, who was orphaned at 17 and later became a millionaire from tobacco and real estate, developed a Wheel Club House here for Richmond bicyclists (now Bloemendaal House). His niece, Grace Arents, developed the gardens, and her original design is still here.

There are more kinds of gardens than we ever knew existed: four seasons, healing, Asian, rose, wetland, azalea and a community kitchen one where they grow food for the hungry. The children’s garden offers up a tree house and an activity center; there’s sidewalk chalk, hula hooping, digging and watering opportunities.  They love the Kids Quest treasure hunt. For walkers, there’s a “walk on the wild side” and a bird trail, and as if all that wasn’t enough, there’s a lush indoor conservatory with exotic plants from around the world.

Featured Events:

A Million Blooms

Until Thursday, June 1, 2017 A Million Bllooms - Flowers -3-28-2017 2-47-04 PM
A Million Blooms is included with Garden admission. A parade of blooms unfurls as the weather warms: daffodils, tulips, peonies, roses and  more.

Butterflies LIVE!

Butterflys @ Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Stephanie Gross 434.962.2019

Until  Sunday, October 15, 2017
Experience the wonderful world of butterflies! Butterflies LIVE! is an indoor exhibit in the Conservatory and is geared for all ages. Get up close and personal as hundreds of tropical butterflies feed, flutter and take flight all around you. Explore their origins, preferred habitats and life cycles.

Butterflys @ Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Stephanie Gross 434.962.2019

Mother’s Day Weekend
May 12, 13 & 14, 2017
Regular Garden admission
A three-day weekend with many opportunities to honor and spend time with mom. Enjoy the popular Butterflies LIVE! exhibit, shopping and dining:

  • The long weekend kicks off Friday, May 12 with National Public Gardens Day.
  • On Saturday, May 13, create the experience your mom would like. Stretch out on quilts in the Louise Cochrane Rose Garden and read favorite books. Explore woodland walks searching for fairies. Get down and dirty with digging activities. Help weave a Maypole, try the hula hoop and chase bubbles! (10 am – 4 pm)
  • Sunday, May 14 is the popular Mother’s Day concert with Glenroy Bailey & Co. (1 – 4pm). Food available for purchase in front of Bloemendaal House. Guests are also welcome to bring blankets or lawn chairs but no outside food or beverage. Activities in the Children’s Garden include “make-and-takes” for mom (10am – 4pm)

Location: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Ave, Richmond, VA 23228
Hours: Daily 9am – 5pm
Tel: 804-262-9887
lewisginter.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitrichmondva.com