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Ask the Travel Agent

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Ask the Travel Agent


Q.     We’re planning a trip to San Antonio with our daughters, ages 3 & 6.  What do you suggest?
 
A.     San Antonio is full of fun and interesting sites such as Sea World and Six Flags Fiesta Texas.  Remembering the Alamo, you’ll find exhibits in the chapel and Long Barracks.  Wander among 33 acres of formal gardens, pools, and fountains at the Botanical Gardens.  The Brackenridge park includes oriental gardens, miniature railroad, paddleboats, and a Kiddie Park with a 1918 carousel.  Witte Museum takes a look at the state’s ecology--a thorn-brush landscape diorama, dinosaur exhibit, prehistoric cave painting display and the EcoLab with a butterfly and hummingbird garden.  The Cowboy Museum and Gallery is a full size recreation of an 1870 trail town and the Hertzberg Circus Museum houses great memorabilia.  Natural Bridge Caverns and Wildlife Ranch are fun for the kids as well as SplashTown.  A map leads you along the Mission Trail where you can tour several missions.  The kids will like the short riverboat cruise along the River Walk, full of shops, sidewalk cafes, and cabarets.  San Antonio also has a nice Children's Museum.  For more information call the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau (800-447-3372).


Q.    This is our first time to Hawaii.  We’re going with our  kids, ages 5, 4, and 3 months. Any ideas?
 
A.      You'll find Oahu has many attractions such as Pearl Harbor, North Shore's Pipeline, and the Polynesian Cultural Center.  It also has crowds and traffic.  Maui has the beautiful Haleakala National Park, the enchanting winding road to Hana, and the touristy town of Lahaina, an old whaling port.  I especially like the Big Island, Hawaii, with its amazing Volcanoes National Park, Parker's cattle ranch, and Hawaiian cowboys; also, the black, green, pink sand beaches and tropical Waipo Valley.  The Garden Island of Kauai is very lush, especially on the winding road up through Hanalei to Kee BeachWaimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast are stunning!  All the Hawaiian islands have wonderful beaches as well as the tropical sun--observe all beach safety signs and apply plenty of sun screen!
 
    
Q.    We're a Brazilian family with three children--16, 14 and 5 years old.  We’ll be traveling by car through North Carolina and are interested in learning about the state.  Any ideas?  
      
A.     North Carolina's coast offers Wilmington--a variety of attractions: glitzy Atlantic Beach; Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras National Seashores; Fort Raleigh National Historic Site; and, Wright Brothers National Memorial.  Inland, you'll find Asheville--Biltmore Estates, many museums and historical sites; Mount Mitchell State Park (highest peak east of the Mississippi) and nearby Chimney Rock (magnificent view and 404 ft. waterfall).  In Blowing Rock find the formation Blowing Rock (curious updrafts) and the Tweetsie Railroad.  The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic route through the Blue Ridge Mountains and connects Shenandoah and the Great Smokey Mountains National Parks --both offer a variety of activities and attractions.  There are all types of lodging from secluded mountaintop cabins to Comfort Inn.  Outside of Asheville in the heart of the Smokies and Blue Ridge Mountains is the Waynesville Country Club Inn.  Request more information from North Carolina Travel and Tourism (800-847-4862).

 
Q.     What do you think of Vail and the Manor Vail Lodge for kids?

A.     Vail is a lovely ski resort area--with a great children's ski school!  The Manor Vail Lodge offers just what you need--condominium accommodations, close to ski area, children's activities, heated pools, and free shuttle to Vail.  Call 800-950-8245 or visit their web site for some internet deals (www.manorvail.com).


Q.     What can you suggest seeing in Rome, Italy for kids ages 8,6 and 4?

A.     Your kids will enjoy hearing about the many legends surrounding Rome, especially its origin--find the she-wolf caged statue on the Capitoline Hill steps.  The Colosseum is spectacular as are the stories of its games and battles.  Don't miss the tunnels and animals' cages on the ground floor.  The Pantheon, city's best-preserved monument is awe-in-spiring.  The catacombs beneath the city provide plenty of intrigue.  Museo della Civilta Romana shows a scale model of Rome and the Vatican has St. Peter's Basilica and the splendid Sistine Chapel.  
    The numerous fountains throughout the city are definitely kid pleasers--Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona, Fountain of the Tortoises in Piazza Mattei, Fontana delle Api in Piazza Barberini, Fontana della Barcaccia in Piazza di Spagna; don't forget to throw a coin in the Fontana di Trevi!  
    More fountains can be found at the Villa Borghese, one of Rome's finest parks.  There you can watch a puppet show in the Pincio section, row a boat among swans and ducks at Giardino del Lago, and spot animals on the 30 acres of Giardino Zoologico.  
    Rome’s streets, plazas, and markets are alive with gypsy performers, street vendors, and eateries.  You can picnic at Piazza Campo dei Fiori amid the flower market and local families.  And, at least once, treat your family to a horse-drawn carriage ride--you'll love it!  
    Because your kids are young, I would suggest sightseeing in small doses.  Provide plenty of time to climb ruins, picnic in parks, play in the fountains and enjoy the culture--Italians adore kids!

    
Q.     What about a resort in Costa Rica for my 7-year-old son and me?   
    
A.     A nice all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica is Playa Tambor Beach Resort.  It is located in Whale Bay (Bahia Ballena) on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.  It has a children’s program, too.  The Temptress Cruise off the same coast is very popular with the kids.


Q.     Is the Grand Canyon a good idea for January?

A.     The Grand Canyon is quite spectacular and January offers fewer crowds and cooler temperatures.  The north rim is closed from October-May.  The south rim is open year-round but does get some snow.  Some attractions have seasonal closures. Give the Visitor Center a call for current weather conditions and request a trip planner (520-638-7888).

    
Q.     We are looking for a beach resort with activities/care for very young children on the west coast of Mexico?   
    
A.      These resorts in Huatulco offer children’s programs: Royal Maeva Huatulco, and Sheraton Huatulco Resort.  In Ixtapa, the Krystal Ixtapa, and The Westin Brisas Ixtapa also have kids’ programs.  Hotel Sierra Manzanillo, Plaza Las Glorias Manzanillo, Camino Real Las Hadas and Club Maeva Manzanillo all in Manzanillo offer children’s activities.  In Mazatlan you’ll find Camino Real Mazatlan, El Cid Marina Hotel and Yacht Club, Holiday Inn SunSpree and Fiesta Inn Mazatlan all offer children’s programs.  And, in Cabo San Lucas you’ll find kids’ activities at the Westin Regina Resort, Fiesta Inn San Jose Del Cabo and Marina Fiesta Resort.

Q.     How can a family of 5 on a tight budget see Europe?  What books might you suggest for more information?

A.     You'll find that Europe is more of a bargain during the winter season.  Train travel is the way to get around and  Youth Hostels are a fun and a very economical lodging option.  These books will help with your vacation planning...         Take Your Kids to Europe by Cynthia Harriman; Europe Through the Back Door by Rick Steves;  Innocents Abroad: Traveling with Kids in Europe by Deutsch/Sutherland.


 

Where was Solomon born?


This is Solomon, a new born Humpback whale. He provided hours of entertainment for our group of whale watchers. Where was Solomon born? Click here to find out.

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