Thursday, July 26, 2007

Coolest Places to Visit in the United States

By David Dutton

SUMMARY: Discover the coolest places to visit in the United States.

When in the United States, there is an endless list of places to visit and it will depend on your interests, the time you have to spend and how far you wish to travel.

In the state of Arizona, you will find the Grand Canyon. Created by the Colorado River over 6 million years, it is a spectacular gorge stretching 277 miles with widths of between 4 to 18 miles and depths of more than a mile.

California boasts some really interesting places to visit including the infamous Alcatraz Prison, Death Valley National Park, which is the hottest, driest and lowest deserts on earth, The Hearst Castle, J.Paul Getty Museum and the Griffith Observatory, which are both in L.A. Depending on what time of year you plan to visit, Yosemite National Park will offer you something different and a visit to California would not be complete without tour of Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank.

The Mystic Seaport Maritime Museum and the USS Nautilus Submarine Museum makes Connecticut a must stop for those of you interested in the sea and the vessels that traverse under and over the waves.

The Historical Society of Delaware takes up a 500 block of a mall in Wilmington and includes the Delaware History Museum, the Old Town Hall, Willington Square and HSD’s research Library.

High on the list of places to visit in the USA would have to be NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and for over thirty years tours groups have heard the stories of men in space and indeed on the moon. Castillo de San Marcos and the Florida Museum of Natural History are well worth a look as well.

Popping over to Hawaii you can visit the great beaches and many monuments and sights but the one that immediately come to mind is the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

Back on the mainland, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and Lincoln’s Home at Springfield as well as Frank Lloyd Wright's Home and Studio at Oak Park are the interesting points in Illinois.

Lincoln City, Indiana is home to Abraham Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Louisiana boasts the National World War II Museum in New Orleans and Oak Valley Plantation in Vacherie.

In Maine, there is the Maine Maritime Museum and the seashore trolley Museum while in Maryland you can see the Antietam (Civil War) National Battlefield and the Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.

Massachusetts offers a smorgasbord of places to visit including Historic Salem, famous for the Witch Trials, Plymouth Plantation and the Pilgrim Hall Museum both at Plymouth, Paul Revere House, John F Kennedy Presidential Library, Museum of Fine Arts, USS Constitution Ship Museum and The freedom Trail all at Boston. Do not forget Harvard University and Historic Deerfield as well as the National Heritage Museum at Lexington and Battleship Cove at Fall River.

In Michigan there is the Henry Ford Museum at Dearborn and the Gerald R Ford Museum at Grand Rapids.

Missouri is home to the Harry S Truman Presidential Library.

Nevada has the Hoover Dam.

New Jersey there is the Morristown National historical Park and the Thomas Edison National Historical Site.

Places to visit in New York are the Empire State Building, the world Famous Statue of Liberty, Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, National Baseball Hall of Fame, West Point (US Military Academy) and the American Museum of Natural History.

The home of the Vanderbilt’s, Baltimore Estate and the historic Latta Plantation are both situated in North Carolina and South Carolina is home to Fort Sumter.

The United States Air Force Museum is near Dayton, Ohio and in Oregon you can visit the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks.

Steeped in history, is Pennsylvania is home of the Gettysburg Battlefield, National Civil War Museum, Independence Hall, National Constitution Center and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

Mount Rushmore National Park in South Dakota is known the world over and while you’re in the area, there is Badlands National Park and Black hills National forest as well.

In Tennessee there is the National Civil Rights Museum and Texas is the home of The Alamo and NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

In Virginia, there is the Home of Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, Mount Vernon, the Home of George Washington and Stratford Hall Plantation which was the birthplace of Robert E. Lee.

The name Washington speaks for itself, The White House, Arlington National Cemetery, Smithsonian Museums, Lincoln Memorial, and Memorials of Holocaust, WWII and Vietnam Veterans and Ford’s Theatre.

In Wyoming there is the beautiful Yellowstone National Park.

And for the young and the young at heart, one of the most popular places to visit is, of course, Disneyland.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Traveling with Children - Learning Activities for the Road

By Teresa Mills

Traveling with children can be fun as well as very trying. Our family has been traveling with our children since the children were babies. Our children are in their middle school years now, but over the years we have come up with some fun travel activities that keep the children’s attention and teach them something in the process.

While on long trips, it can be very tempting to use the portable DVD player to provide entertainment for your children, and don’t think for a minute that we don’t use that form of entertainment…. for parts of long trips…. but there are so many simple, fun games that you can play with your children that will help make the trip smoother and more enjoyable. Here are some examples of activities that we have used to make travel time smoother.

One of my children’s favorite games is what my husband calls “Toss Ups”. In Toss Ups, my husband simply tosses questions up. For instance, “Who was the first president of the United States of America?” or “If I had 5 apples, and I gave 3 apples to Tom , how many apples do I have now?” Now, as you can see, the questions can be very simple depending on your children’s ages. If you have a larger age span between children, you might toss up general questions to all, but throw in…. Now, this toss up is just for Adam… and then ask a question tailored for the younger child. This game was a huge hit with our children when they were ages two through five, but even now that they are 11 and 13, every now and then we hear – Hey Daddy – give us some toss ups…. Believe me, trying to come up with questions for smart middle-schoolers is tough!!

Lately, we have tailored the game of “Going on a trip” to our family. “Going on a trip” is a fun game where everyone in the car tells that they are going on a trip and bringing something along. That “something” has to begin with the first letter of the person’s name. You keep going along in that fashion until everyone guesses the first letter - first name connection. Now that our children are older, we have adapted that game to a pretty intricate game of logic…. For instance…. “I am going on a trip, and I am bringing an apple, a banana, and a cat.” The next person might then say (if they know the correct connection) “I am going on a trip, and I am bringing a mop, and napkin, and an octopus.” The play continues until everyone gets the connection. In this case, it was that all of the things that I am bringing start with consecutive letters of the alphabet. The person who begins each game selects the connection.

These activities are simple and fun. The idea is for the entire family to be involved and enjoy the thrill of guessing the answers. Each of these activities can be played with just about any age group and best of all, there is no cost involved. Any piece of information can be used in the toss ups game from social studies, science, history, math, or trivia… you name it. The idea here is to have fun with your children and make travel time a little easier.