When thinking of Orlando the last thing to come to mind is probably ice. But each year at this time the Gaylord Palms brings in two million pounds of ice and world renowned ice carvers from China to create a winter wonderland in the tourism center of the Sunshine State. Their ICE festivities have become a winter tradition for many families.
Shrek on Ice
Shrek the Halls
A few months ago I wrote that the Gaylord Hotels and DreamWorks® had formed an alliance, which would bring popular DreamWorks® characters into the resorts. The “kick off” event of the alliance is the spectacular ICE, held at each hotel. At the fabulous Gaylord Palms the theme this year is Shrek the Halls, a magical story told in 4 ½ acres of spectacular ice sculptures. Read More »
Along the Gulf Coast shore, over and bridge and through a tunnel from Mobile, Alabama, sits a memorial to the US Navy and the men and women who’ve served the country as members. The USS Alabama battleship, the USS Drum, and a hangar full of fighter jets and helicopters offers families a day trip that’s both educational and fun.
The USS Alabama, the sixth ship to bear the name Alabama, was in commission as a battleship from 1942 to 1947 and was facilitated heavily during WWII. Today, visitors can walk the decks, climb into the bunks, crawl through the halls, and even step into the gunnery. A self-guided tour aided by signs and a printed handout creates a picture of what life was like for the 2,500 men who would be on board the ship at one time.
A few yards away from the massive battleship is docked the USS Drum, a submarine that could be powered by a crew one tenth the size of the Alabama’s. No print out is needed to guide you through the close quarters of the submarine whose layout resembles that of a shotgun house; one hallway takes you from front to back. Even kids who aren’t interested in ships or machinery are likely to be dazzled by walls covered with gadgets and dials in every shape and size, as will adults who’ve seen The Hunt for Red October and similarly themed war movies. (I challenge you to step into the control room of either the USS Drum or the USS Alabama and not find yourself doing your best Sean Connery impersonation.)
Other sights of interest in the park include a Russian tank used by Iraq to invade Kuwait and US Navy rescue helicopters.
Access to the park is $12 for adults and $6 for children. Parking is $2.
Photo Britt Reints
The National Civil Rights Museum is located in Memphis, Tennessee. More specifically, it’s located at the converted Lorraine Hotel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed on April 4, 1968. Knowing this, I expected a visit would provide a detail history lesson on the life and work of the famous civil rights leader. What I got instead was an in depth look at the history of racism and the civil rights movement in the United States, complete with some of the missteps made by well-known leaders. Read More »
There's a reason those cattle are called Longhorns.
The first place visitors to Fort Worth should head is the Stockyards National Historic District. In the days of cowboys and cattle drives, great Longhorn cattle were gathered from southern Texas and driven north. Fort Worth was the last major stop along the Chisholm Trail before the cattle were driven to market in Missouri.
The Stockyards Historic District may be a bit more tamed than it was in those days, but you’ll get a feel for the lifeblood that built a city. As you wander along the sidewalks you can’t help but notice the Texas Trail of Fame, stars inlaid in the sidewalks sharing the names of those who contributed to the “cowboy way of life”. You’ll find names you know- Stetson and John Wayne, to name just two- and plenty you’ve never heard of but whose names are lore in Texas. Read More »