5 Things to Do During a Weekend in Bloomington

The following article was originally published on viewscenes.co.uk on 4/25/18.

Bloomington, Minneapolis, an ideal place for a family weekend getaway. With plenty of shopping, outdoor recreation, and attractions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Bloomington is a quick 15-minute ride from the Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport. You can easily enjoy activities in the Twin Cities metro area when you stay in Bloomington.

Spend a Weekend at the Mall

You can’t stay in Bloomington without going to its main attraction, the Mall of America. You can make a pit stop at the mall or spend the entire weekend here. Browse merchandise in over 500 shops.

If you book your stay at a nearby Bloomington hotel, you can take a relaxing break and return for more shopping, When you’re ready for a meal, choose from over 50 restaurants inside the mall.

Peruse the Local Attractions

If you’re traveling with little ones, you’ll find several family-friendly attractions near Bloomington. Some of are located in the Mall of America, including the Crayola Experience, Legoland, and Nickelodeon Universe. Creative youngsters can spend the day at The Works Museum, which is a short drive away in Minneapolis. The Works Museum is dedicated to engineering and design. Your children will love the hands-on exhibits and activities.

Enjoy a Peaceful Day on the Water

Bloomington offers a variety of parks and open spaces where you can enjoy outdoor recreation during your weekend visit, including Lake of Isles Park. Spend a relaxing day canoeing and kayaking through the water channels throughout the park. You’ll find plenty of trails too if you prefer walking or biking.

If you plan to spend time at the lake, you’ll find a choice of hotel rooms near Lake of the Isles. Don’t miss the historic Peavey Fountain in the park. The fountain was given to the city of Minneapolis over 100 years ago and creates an interesting backdrop for family photos.

Canoe or Kayak on Lake Calhoun

A water channel connects Lake of the Isles to another favorite Bloomington recreation spot, Lake Calhoun. Enjoy nature walks and water sports around the largest lake in Minneapolis. Book your hotel room near Lake Calhoun for convenient access to outdoor fun.

You may see signs with a different name around the park. The lake is also known as it original Dakota Indian name, BdeMaka Ska, which translates to White Earth Lake.

Appreciate Art

End your weekend in Bloomington with a trip to the area’s art museums. Spend a day wandering through the Walker Art Center’s collection of sculptures and paintings. Since it’s located off I-94 in Minneapolis, you’ll find places to stay near the Walker Art Center. Continue your art tour at the Weisman Art Museum, which features works of art that showcase American modernism.

Your family can spend a weekend in Bloomington, Minnesota, and not worry about running out of things to do. The city offers outdoor water sports, hiking trails, and museums. Mall of America provides a weekend full of shopping and attractions for children.

How to Spend a Week in Long Beach

The following article was originally published on epicparent.tv on 3/17/18.

A weekend in Long Beach, California, is never enough, so you have to make the most of your time. Stick to activities that highlight what Long Beach is all about to enjoy an authentic experience.

Catch a Flick at the Graveyard

What’s better than spending a warm weekend evening watching a movie? Picture watching it in Sunnyside Cemetery, where the Long Beach Cinematheque shows a variety of films. There’s almost always something morbid about the screening, although it’s sometimes subtle. For instance, past movies include both “Harold and Maude” and “Donnie Darko.”

Imagine enjoying a dark flick as you lounge atop the final resting places of the founding fathers of Long Beach. Ghastly, gruesome, and a little glamorous, isn’t it? Book accommodations near Long Beach Municipal Airport for convenient proximity to Sunnyside and other popular points downtown. The walk back to your hotel after the movie is sure to give you a spooky thrill.

Get Around on the Water

To snag an ocean view, zero in on hotels close to the World Cruise Center. Watching the cruise ships leave the harbor is sure to tickle your wanderlust. Long Beach is just the place to indulge your love of the sea, too. Even the public transportation gets around on a boat.

The AquaLink is a one-of-a-kind aspect of the city’s public transport system. After climbing aboard the cutest boat you’ve ever seen, you can hop from Belmont Shore to downtown to the Queen Mary. The best part is that every boat has refreshments — and full bars. You can enjoy a cocktail and a snack as you ride the waves.

Pick a Direction From Terminal Island

Although most of the activity on Terminal Island involves the port, it’s a central point. Four bridges lead off the island. It connects to San Pedro in the west via the Vincent Thomas Bridge, known for its green hue. The Gerald Desmond Bridge links the east side of the island to Long Beach. The Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge connects the island to Wilmington, a northern LA neighborhood. The fourth is a rail bridge known as the Badger Avenue Bridge or Henry Ford Bridge.

It’s possible to head in every direction, which is why travelers who want to take a day trip or two during their Long Beach vacation should consider hotels near Terminal Island. Rent a car, take a boat, climb aboard a ship, or buy a train ticket and explore what lies beyond the city. You don’t have to go farther than across a bridge, but the California coast is awfully tempting.

Sample Everything at Shoreline Village

As soon as you know the date of your trip, try to find hotels in Long Beach near the shore — and near Shoreline Village, where it’s easy to spend an entire day. Boutique shops offer handmade art, clothing, and jewelry. Cafes and restaurants serve full meals of burgers or seafood and sweet treats. The bars provide the perfect spot to sit, sip, and talk with a breathtaking view of the coast. The Village boasts a carousel, skating, basketball hoops, and skeeball.

How will you spend your weekend in Long Beach?

3 Virginia Beach Attractions The Whole Family Will Love

It can be hard to plan a vacation for the whole family. Often, the kids demand to see things that will bore the adults, and the adults want to see things that are inappropriate for the children. Luckily, Virginia Beach is filled with plenty of attractions that provide the perfect compromise. On your next stay in the area, add some of the following child- and adult-friendly destinations to your itinerary.

Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center

At the Virginia Aquarium, you can feast your eyes on over 10,000 animals living in 800,000 gallons of water. You and your kids can enjoy observing harbor seals, cownose rays, loggerhead turtles, North American river otters, sand tiger sharks, and many more creatures from the great depths. When you’re finished gazing, head over to the Adventure Park, where you can go on an eco-friendly zip line through the trees above a scenic creek.

Make visiting the aquarium easier by booking hotels near the area. That way, you can cut down on travel time and maximize your visit to the center. It’s open every day from 9 to 5 p.m., so you could make several stops here during your vacation.

Ghost Crabbing

Ghost crabbing is just as fun as it sounds. It involves going to the beach at night with a flashlight and a net in hand to try and catch these nocturnal vermin of the sand. You can watch them scurry away, interact with each other, and even chomp down on a meal. Your kids will love the idea of chasing something in the dark, while you and your partner can take that moonlit walk on the beach you’ve always dreamed of.

You can even make a game out of the activity by collecting crabs into a bucket and watching them scramble away, seeing who can catch the most crabs, or seeing who can capture the biggest crab on the beach. Remember to release all your crabs back onto the sand when you’re done playing with them.

iFLY Virginia Beach

Have you ever wanted to go skydiving but lacked the motivation to just do it? iFLY Virginia Beach is a simpler method of the heart-stopping activity that doesn’t involve any planes or drops from miles above the earth. Instead, you’ll be placed inside a vertical wind tunnel that generates 1,600 horsepower, creating a giant wall of air that will lift you off the earth. You can float here and experience a simulated skydiving sensation without even leaving the building.

Because children as young as three can enjoy the experience, it’s an activity the whole family can get behind. Best of all, it’s open every day from 9 to 8 p.m., except on the weekends when it closes at 10 p.m.

Of course, there’s plenty more you and the kids could enjoy on your next trip. The beach and boardwalk have plenty of things to keep you busy during the day. But if you’d like to try something unique, these attractions will definitely hit the spot.

3 Must-Eat-At Seafood Restaurants in Long Beach

A trip to Long Beach isn’t complete without a stop at one of the many seafood restaurants located in town. There you’ll get the freshest fish you’ve ever eaten, as most of the dishes are made with the catches that come in from the docks. While all of these restaurants are focused on seafood, they are all unique. Get a meal at a grill that doesn’t have much in the way of ambiance but is loaded with excellent food. Or, eat right at the docks and watch the fishing boats drop off your next meal.

Crazy Creole Cafe

Looking for something a little spicy? Crazy Creole Cafe has what you’re looking for. It’s an authentic Cajun restaurant that feels as if it was transplanted from the swamps of Louisiana. It’s so authentic that you’ll be left wondering if your food had a drawl before it was cooked. Get yourself a plate of gumbo or have a stomach-pleasing dish of crawfish etouffee. If you’re looking for something that’s rare in California, Crazy Creole Cafe has it in the form of fresh alligator meat.

Long Beach Fish Grill

Long Beach Fish Grill is a no-frills diner that puts its efforts into the menu instead of the interior decor. You won’t find bread and circuses at this restaurant, and seating is a bit utilitarian. Long Beach Fish Grill is all about making good fish and sides. The quality of the fish and the flavors of the ingredients are what make this a must-eat seafood restaurant. Get a fish or shrimp taco, tack on some sides, and put it together with one of the many craft beers or wines on offer. Not in the mood for alcoholic beverages? There are gourmet sodas available to slake your thirst and complement your food without the buzz.

Berth 55 Fish Market and Seafood Deli

Don’t let the name or appearance of Berth 55 fool you. This is the place in Long Beach for the freshest possible fish. It’s located right on Queen’s Wharf and situated in a warehouse-type building. Operating since the early 1970s, Berth 55 cooks fish and shellfish as it comes off the boats. You need to stay in a hotel that’s close to the Queen’s Wharf if you want to get the freshest fish possible. You can pick your fish out of the deli and have it cooked for you, or take some with you to grill on an outing to nearby Catalina Island. If you’re looking for shellfish, be forewarned that they make you pick your catch out of the tank yourself with a pair of tongs.

These are the most popular seafood restaurants to eat at while in Long Beach, but not the only ones. Look around a little to find one that covers all your bases when it comes to the type of fish and seasonings that are your must-haves. You won’t have to look hard, thanks to the wide variety of seafood restaurants in Long Beach.

3 Authentic Wild West Experiences in Wyoming

Wyoming is one of the few places left in America that hasn’t been transformed into an urban oasis. With miles of stunning natural beauty, this state makes the perfect destination for a serene break from the daily hustle and bustle of your life. The next time you need a reprieve, pack your bags and leave the stress behind by embarking on a trip to some of these Wild West attractions in Wyoming.

Spotted Horse Ranch

Immerse yourself in nature at the Spotted Horse Ranch near Jackson Hole. This picturesque retreat is the perfect place to do a little fly fishing or go on a hike through the rolling hills. If you’re a fan of hunting, you can even go on organized trips for elk, deer, moose, sheep, black bear, antelope, and mountain lions.

Of course, Spotted Horse is most known for its Appaloosa horses. These animals were originally bred by the Nez Perce Indians for their stamina and endurance in the treacherous terrain of the Rocky Mountains. Today, you can ride one of these creatures through the ranch, along the river, and even up a few mountain peaks.

While there are accommodations here, you can find better deals if you search for hotels near Spotted Horse Ranch. This will free you up to take a day- or weekend-trip to the ranch while still being close to town.

Old Trail Town

If you’ve ever watched an old western movie, you know the unique look and feel of a Wild West town. To experience that today, head down to Old Trail Town in Cody. This lifelike recreation will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. All of the buildings in the complex were original structures and furnishings from other towns in the Frontier West. They were disassembled and moved to this location in order to preserve the heritage of the region.

On a visit here, you can peruse original cabins that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid used to hide while they were on the run as well as grave sites of various Western heroes. Tickets are just $9 for adults and $8 for children.

Town of Sheridan

While Sheridan isn’t exactly an authentic Wild West town like Old Train Town, it still carries the history and the vibe of this time period. When visiting here, you can see the highest concentration of Indian War battle sites in the entire country, including Connor Battlefield and Rosebud Battlefield. The biggest battlefield in the area is the Little Bighorn National Monument, where 263 U.S. soldiers died fighting against an army of several thousand Indians. Ft. Phil Kearny is also nearby and was an important landmark on both the Bozeman and Oregon Trails.

If war doesn’t excite you, there’s still plenty of activities to enjoy. Take a ride through the historic district in town with the Koltiska Horse and Carriage Company, spend a night at one of the numerous guest ranches around the region, or watch bucking cattle at the Sheridan WYO Rodeo.

As you can see, Wild West attractions abound in the rugged wilderness of Wyoming. Create an itinerary now to make your next trip one you’ll never forget.

4 Things to Do in Virginia Beach

The following article was originally published on visitmonaco.tv on 1/9/18.

Virginia Beach is an affordable destination for anyone seeking a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. Vacationers flock here to enjoy the sandy beaches, pristine water, and countless attractions. The next time you’re in town, consider some of these nearby things to do during your stay.

Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center

Take a break from the sun and heat by stopping by the 800,000-gallon Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. This series of water-focused exhibits lets you observe over 10,000 animals by walking on nature paths and marshlands.

For a little more fun, check out the Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium, which provides an eco-friendly zipline through the trees. Climb up through various platforms to get a bird’s eye view of Owls Creek below.

Since visiting the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center might take a couple of days, book a hotel nearby to minimize your travel time.

Motor World Virginia

If you’re seeking to entertain the whole family, a stop at Motor World Virginia is a must. This complex of fun provides 11 separate Go-Kart tracks. Ride one of the 250 different Karts to see who will be the winner. For adults, you can satisfy your need for speed on the European-style racetrack dedicated to fast-moving Karts.

Not a fan of driving? No worries, as you’ll also have access to a skycoaster, mini golf, bumper boats, thrill rides, and more. Book a hotel near Motor World so you can stay until closing each night and not worry about a long drive back.

Ocean Breeze Waterpark

While the ocean offers a free way to swim, sometimes you need something a little more daring – which is where Ocean Breeze Waterpark comes in. With over 30 slides and rides, the park offers you virtually endless entertainment options. Best of all, you’ll get free sunscreen and inner tube use while you’re here.

Float in the Runaway Bay Wave Pool for a relaxing bout in the sun or get your adrenaline pumping by tackling the slides on Neptune’s Revenge. Either way, you’ll appreciate having a hotel near Ocean Breeze Waterpark, as you won’t have a far drive after a tiring day of fun in the sun.

Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Spanning 3 miles along the beach, the 28-foot wide Virginia Beach Boardwalk offers myriad opportunities for fun and entertainment. Many people enjoy simply strolling, biking, or rollerblading its length while gazing upon the crashing waves. In the summer, you’ll enjoy live musical acts along 31st, 24th, 17th, and 7th Streets as well as nautical sculptures.

Obviously, staying at one of the boardwalk’s numerous oceanfront resorts is ideal. However, if you don’t have the money to book waterfront hotels, then consider booking hotels near Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. It’s just a short 11-minute ride to the water, and you’ll have the added bonus of being seconds from medical care if there’s an emergency.

No matter what you have on your itinerary, make sure you book your Virginia Beach hotels as soon as possible. That way, you’ll be able to score the best deals on the best rooms. With the savings on your accommodations, you can put more money into your entertainment budget so that your trip is one you’ll never forget.

 

Visiting Seatac, Washington

The following article was originally published on lostintentions.com on January 5, 2018.

You may have never heard of SeaTac before, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it isn’t somewhere you should visit. I have been there a few times now and have always enjoyed each visit as much as the last. So don’t be afraid of booking one of the great SeaTac hotels and enjoying this fine place.

ALKI BEACH

This long strip of beach is actually the place where the first white settlers reached Washington in 1851. Today it is host to many walkers, joggers, beachgoers, and cyclists. The water temperatures are good, and this is the perfect place to enjoy the history of Seattle and soak up the sun and great activities. My favorite parts are the monument to the first arrival of settlers in the area and the beautiful beach scenery that you can enjoy there. I would even consider staying in this part of Seattle because of this beach alone. It is a fantastic base to enjoy the local area.

THE SUMMIT AT SNOQUALMIE

This winter resort is located on the Snoqualmie Pass, and here you can enjoy alpine skiing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing, and much more. There are a number of ski lifts and trails to enjoy. The vertical drops in the area range from huge at Alpental (2,280 feet) to gentler at Summit West (765 feet). This is a must visit if you are heading to SeaTac in the winter months, as there is just so much to see and do for all types of travelers.

MUSEUM OF FLIGHT

Flight is an interesting topic that fascinates me, so the Museum of Flight is naturally a fun way to kill some time by taking a walk through and looking at some of the incredible aircraft. These include Air Force One, the Concorde, and many other fine examples of air and spacecraft. I particularly loved the sections on World War 1 and World War 2, as it was very interesting to see the sheer difference between the technologies in these two wars. Parking is free at the museum, so there really isn’t an excuse not to visit this wonderful museum.

ANGLE LAKE PARK

This beautiful green park is a lovely place to enjoy the local area and is especially nice during the summer months. The lake offers tree lined waters where you can boat, swim, fish, or simply relax by the water with some excellent food and company. The park is also a great place to take in the local events — the biggest of which is the SeaTac International Festival. This is the ideal place to enjoy either alone, as a couple, or with the family.

KUBOTA GARDEN

This is probably one of the best-kept secrets of Seattle and is a beautiful place that you should visit. Located in the neighborhood of Rainier Beach, this beautiful Japanese style garden started off as an unkept swamp that was totally neglected. One of the Japanese immigrants, Fujitaro Kubota, shaped the garden in the traditional Japanese style with stunning waterfalls, bridges, and platforms that are a fine example of a garden that the Japanese would be proud of. This public park is also free to visit, so it’s a perfect place to enjoy some relaxed time while staying in SeaTac.

Airline Safety Travel Information and Tips

Although airline travel is a safe form of travel, it is always wise to be prepared for all situations and to be knowledgeable on air travel safety. The following common sense travel information and tips for flying safely are easy to remember and put into practice. Choose Nonstop Flights – Most aircraft disasters take place during the takeoff and landing, so the best way to avoid being in an accident is to book less flights.

Nonstop flights will save you time in the long run, but more importantly, you are avoiding the most dangerous parts of the flight. Choose Larger Aircraft – Larger aircraft of over 30 seats are subject to very strict regulations for certification. They also seem to offer better survival opportunities in the unlikely event of an accident. Listen to the Pre Flight Briefing – No matter how many times you have heard it before, pay attention when the attendant gives the safety briefing. Each aircraft type is slightly different and it is worth taking the time out to listen.

Pack the Storage Bin with Care – Heavy luggage is not safe in the overhead storage bins, so if it is difficult to lift up and pack, it probably should not be stored there. It could cause serious injury if a heavy bag fell out of the storage bin onto your head, so make sure to pack your own hand luggage above your seat. Keep Your Seat Belt Fastened – Seat belts that are not too tight will not bother you, so it is a good idea to keep it fastened during the flight. It gives extra protection during turbulence.

Allow the Flight Attendant to Pour Your Drinks – The attendants are trained to pour hot drinks in a crowded situation while in motion, so let them do the pouring for you. It will avoid painful spills. Use these travel information and tips to fly safely when you travel. They are simple to put into practice and will soon become a travel habit that will keep you safe.

Pentagon to Send 4,000 US Troops to Afghanistan

Pentagon is about to send the largest U.S. troops to Afghanistan under the Trump administration.

Cities in Afghanistan are having some big hits for few weeks for the ongoing fight with Taliban and Islamic States. The manpower that U.S. has there isn’t enough to suppress the militants. In order to join the U.S. military and ally the Afghan forces this deployment will cause a significant improvement on the situation. Trump barely speaks about Afghanistan so that action will be leading a big part at his young presidency.
The decision will be announced early in the next week. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be given the authority​ on the deployment and setting the level of troops. Mattis was questioned multiple times by different Senators about his immature decision on military deployment.  

Trump’s​ moves on sending military to foreign countries is far lower than the previous two POTUS. Obama authorized a surg of 30,000 troops into Afghanistan, in total there were 100,000 troops. Bush’s act was resulted more kills on militants after 9/11. Mattis didn’t give any sign on increasing the troops number instead he said “ their defeat will come about only by giving our men and women on the ground the support and the authorities they need to win”. This all indicates an stronger presence of U.S. military in the Afghanistan.

Travel to Walt Disney World Resort

Almost every child has dreamt of travelling to Disney World in their lifetime, so why not plan an amazing family vacation to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. It is the world’s biggest resort that boasts two water parks and four theme parks. The Magic Kingdom Park Magic Kingdom encapsulates Disney with the classic attractions and renowned Disney characters. The fireworks displays spray down over the iconic Cinderella Castle, which is the center of the kingdom with paths leading outwards to seven different lands including Main Street, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, Mickey’s Toontown Fair and Tomorrowland. Travel the length and breadth of these imaginative lands and discover the child within as your children delight over each spectacle.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park Disney’s Animal Kingdom is where conservation is encouraged through entertainment. Over 1,700 animals are spread over 500 acres split into seven different areas that include Oasis, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia and Dinoland. Attractions include parades, petting areas and musicals. Epcot Epcot is the educational side of Disney that highlights technological innovation and the cultures of different nations. It has two sections, namely Future World and World Showcase. Future World focuses on technology in a fascinating manner. World Showcase is made up of a collection of Pavilions that surround the World Showcase Lagoon.

In each Pavilion there are stores, restaurants and interesting features about the eleven represented nations, which are Norway, China, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States making it easy to travel the world in one day. Disney’s Hollywood Studios Disney’s Hollywood Studios features Hollywood behind-the-scenes. It is full of live action shows and includes backstage tours. Newer attractions such as the American Idol Experience are popular with visitors becoming stars for a day. The two Water Parks include Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoonslides with loads of rides and attractions. Walt Disney World is a dream destination to travel to and will create many happy memories for the entire family.