Theme Parks: The Bucket List

Who hasn't heard an athlete proclaim, "I'm going to Disneyworld!" While activities at the Disney Parks are at the top of many bucket lists, you'll discover family-friendly adventures on all of these trips.

Old Orchard Beach Maine (Photo copyright Stillman Rogers)

Riding the Carousel at Maine’s Old Orchard Beach

Has the merry-go-round at Old Orchard Beach shrunk? I’m sure the horses used to be bigger, so tall that my father had to boost me up to mount them. Apart from the size of the carousel, it’s just like I remember, though – maybe cleaner and not quite Read More

Viewing Atlantis (NASA/Kennedy Space Center)

On a Mission with Space Shuttle Atlantis

Every morning, I wake up looking at a Space Shuttle, a career space worker by my side. The model reminds John of his 33 years with the program. Where we dine with his parents, photographs of launches and astronauts grace the walls. When the sheriff's Read More

The working grist mill at Dollywood was built by hand to resemble mills in the 19th century. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier c 2013)

Immersing in Smoky Mountain Culture at Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

I admit it, I was wrong. I thought Dollywood, the theme park in the Tennessee foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, would be a cheesy tribute to the buxom, big-haired blond country singer and movie star. I imagined over-the-top caricatures and Read More

Big Thunder Mountain Railway (photo by John Keatley)

Riding Rollercoasters at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Slipping into the skinny seat of the shuttlecraft at Space Mountain, I kept hearing the voice echoing throughout the noisy room. "Shuttle preparing for launch. Shuttle preparing for launch." In 1975, the year Space Mountain opened, my sisters and I - Read More

Macaws rescued from illegal trafficking in Bolivia (©Coen Wubbels)

Taking a Break at Biocentro Güembé in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

"Another Inca ruin?" "Again so many hours in a bus?" "Can't we go swimming somewhere?" "More markets? I want to go swimming! Please!" I don't have kids but I can imagine this being a frequent scene between kids and parents on vacation (or Read More

Driving Nascar

NASCAR Driving at Walt Disney World, Florida

It had been at least 15 years since I’d driven a stick shift but when offered the chance to take the wheel of a NASCAR race car -- provided I knew my way around a manual transmission -- I signed on. Driving is like riding a bike, right? And I'm from Read More

Jungle Cruise boat at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Exploring Disney’s Magic Kingdom with Mom

Dusk swept in as the jungle drums were beating and torches flickered along the edge of the boat launch. Mom paused for a photo with a tall tiki. "Send this to Autumn, she'll love it!" she said, as I snapped the image with my iPhone and emailed it Read More

Jamaica bobsled feature crop

Tropical Bobsledding at Jamaica’s Mystic Mountain

I  am sitting in something that look like a bobsled, although instead of running on snow, the contraption hurtles on metal tracks through a tropical forest. With a white-kunckled grip on a handbrake,  I supposedly have control of the speed, but no Read More