Sun, sea and Shamu

In light of the UK’s recent disappointing ‘summer’ weather, we can be forgiven for looking further afield this year in search of our much needed dose of summer sunshine. Especially since 2012 was the wettest in 100 years. So where better to look than the sunshine state itself, Florida? Boasting sumptuous sub-tropical temperatures and a list of world class attractions, Orlando is the city of choice for many visiting the region. We all know that it only takes a mention of “Disney world” to get the kids jumping with excitement but, if you’re an animal lover like me, you can’t miss the chance to visit SeaWorld, one of the world’s largest sea life parks.

orlando florida

If you’re lucky enough to be paying Orlando a visit this year, you’re best to get in quick and pre-book tickets for Orlando’s top attractions before you leave. Especially since you can make significant savings by booking attractions such as SeaWorld Orlando tickets before leaving the UK.

SeaWorld offers you a chance to lose yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of the sea and get up close and personal with huge range of amazing creatures. Come feeding time you can really become part of their world, as you meet and hand-feed a range of colourful park residents, including playful Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins, majestic sea lions and feisty stingrays.

But perhaps one of the most entertaining features of the park is its live shows. Here you can experience the wonders of the sea as they unfold before you. As you watch the live antics of animals and their trainers you can’t help realising just how incredible these creatures really are and what an amazing bond they share with their keepers. The shows set out to educate inspire and enthrall and they certainly don’t disappoint. But be warned, if you decide to sit in one of the front rows you may come out pretty wet!

For the thrill-seekers out there, the park also offers a range of world class rollercoasters, including Manta, the world’s only ‘flying’ rollercoaster. Manta sets out to let you experience what it’s like to spin, glide, skim and fly just like a giant ray. This monster of a ride sees passengers taunted by head-first, face-down inverted nose dives as they skim across the water on one of the smoothest tracks in the world.

Or how about the Kraken? Inspired by the myth of legendary giant sea monsters said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland, this is a monster-coaster like no other. Consistently voted by enthusiasts as one of the world’s best coaster experiences, this ‘mythical beast’ will lift you higher, drop you longer and spiral you faster than any other coaster in Orlando.

It’s also great to know that the centre is a world leader in animal welfare and conservation, supporting and working with more than 100 environmental organisations worldwide. In an effort to protect wildlife and their habitats, the centre is committed to raising awareness of conservation issues around the world and giving everyone a chance to play their part in helping out. Working in partnership with the state and local federal agencies, the park also trains rescue teams who are on call 24/7 to respond to wildlife crises. The job of these workers range from treating animals victims of natural disasters to caring for those who have been orphaned or injured.

Special Perks of Sunny Florida

A Florida vacation is one of those trips that everyone deserves to experience at least once in a lifetime. The state has something for everyone. Whether your preference is sunbathing on the beach or you would rather attend a sporting event or visit a fabulous theme park, you can do it all in Florida!

disney world
Disney World

Florida Attractions

Besides its beaches Florida is well known for its theme parks – especially for Walt Disney World. This park is actually several parks in one, and it offers countless shows, attractions, rides, and shopping and dining options. In fact, Disney World most people agree you will need to spend several days there. You can find online guides and detailed information about the theme park. People come from around the world to experience Walt Disney World.

Other popular theme parks include Universal Studios and Sea World. There are also beautiful gardens, alligator farms, and many other attractions located throughout the state. No matter what your preference, there is sure to be an attraction that will interest you.

Florida Sporting Events

Florida is a great place for sports enthusiasts. Daytona International Speedway is definitely the place for NASCAR lovers. In Florida you can follow the Marlins at spring training and you can find out what is so exciting about Jai-Lai. Purchase Miami Dolphins tickets to enjoy a memorable night out.  The point is, Florida offers countless types of professional spectator sports.

If you want to take a more hands on approach to sports you can choose diving, surfing, sailing, swimming, boating, or various horseback riding activities or hiking. There are many, many things to do in Florida. Just get out and do it.

Top Florida Destinations

Daytona Beach is well known for the Daytona 500, which is held in mid-February. In May – October sea turtles come to the beaches in the area to lay eggs. Daytona is also recognized for its flea markets, water parks, and fishing.

Miami is unique because the city has beaches, plus it is a short drive from the Florida Keys and from Biscayne Bay. In addition, Miami is the only city that has the Florida Marlins, the Miami Dolphins, the Miami Heat, and the Florida Panthers. It is definitely a great place for those that enjoy watching sports!

Orlando is best known for Walt Disney World, but it is also home to Universal Studios, Discovery Cove, and Sea World. Countless lakes surround the city and not surprisingly, numerous hotels and other accommodations are offered.

Besides its beaches, Tampa is perhaps best recognized for the beautiful theme park called Busch Gardens. The city is also home to the Cracker Country History Museum and the Glazer Children’s Museum.

Florida Weather

Central and northern Florida has a humid, subtropical climate, but southern Florida has a true tropical climate. The days can sometimes be very hot, but an afternoon or evening shower can often cool things down as much as 10 degrees for the remainder of the day.

Because most of Florida has such a wonderful breeze, many people say they do not notice the humidity in the air. However, the summertime temperature can rise well above 90. Could it be that people in Florida are having too much fun to notice the heat?

 

10 Tips for Traveling to the West Coast

Traveling to the West Coast of the United States can provide plenty of sunshine, days at the beach and other fun activities for the entire family. Whether you want to travel through Oregon, Washington or the very popular areas of Southern California, there’s plenty to see and do. Here are some tips to help with your trip to the west coast.

wine country, Oregan
wine country, Oregan

West Coast Travel Tips

 

1.  Plan Ahead

The worst thing you can do is not plan for specific things before you take your trip. You don’t want to end up stranded without a place to stay. If you plan to travel through Southern California, check the time of year and book one of the Santa Monica Hotels early. This will save you the stress of trying to find a place to stay last minute.

 

2.  Take a Road Trip

The best way to see all the west coast offers is by car. Many travelers will start all the way up in Washington and travel the coast through Oregon and California until they reach the southernmost part of California.

 

3.  Don’t Skip Wine Country

For the adults, spending a little time in wine country (Oregon and Northern California) will help make the trip more enjoyable. Some of the best wine in the world comes from this part of the country and you don’t want to miss out.

 

4.  Plan for Plenty of Time

There’s so much to see and just one week isn’t enough time. If you plan to travel to more than one destination, make sure you go for at least a couple weeks.

 

5.  Pack Properly

Make sure to pack for the climate changes and potential weather you could encounter. Some areas of the west coast can get very cold or very warm, depending on the time of the year. Look at the weather forecast and plan accordingly.

 

6.  Plan for Disaster

Travel disaster, such as lost luggage or wallets can ruin a trip in a hurry. Make sure you plan accordingly. If you plan to fly, pack some clothes in a carry on and make sure you carry both cash and credit cards separate from each other. It’s also a good idea to keep your ID somewhere other than your wallet. If you lose your wallet or you’re robbed, you need your ID to receive a money transfer and for many other reasons.

 

7.  Choose some Attractions

There’s so much to do in the large California cities and it’s important to know what you really want to do before you travel. Choose a few attractions ahead of time and fill in the rest when you arrive.

 

8.  Eat Locally

One of the best ways to enjoy vacation is with a few trips to local eateries. If you enjoy an alcoholic drink, you can duck into a bar and ask the bartender for a few recommendations.

 

9.  Pack Comfortable Shoes

There’s much to see on the west coast, but you will do quite a bit of walking. Make sure to pack shoes you can walk long distances in, if you want to see more.

 

10. Dealing with Jet Lag

If you fly cross-country, make sure you stay hydrated, wear comfortable clothing, walk and stretch often and avoid any heavy foods. This will help you beat jet lag and really enjoy your trip.

 

When traveling to the west coast, use these tips to ensure you enjoy the experience. There’s much to see and plenty of good destinations to choose from. Take your time and plan the trip many months in advance to ensure you get everything you need.

 

10 things to do with kids in Las Vegas

When hoping on flights to Las Vegas, NV, with your family, it can be a great opportunity to bond with your children and spouse while seeing one of the most popular cities in the world. Not only will you get to see the ritz and famous attractions of Vegas, you’ll also be able to do it with those you love most. Although there is plenty to do for adults, it’s important to keep your children entertained in kid-friendly ways.

M&M world free show

1. Visit the M&M’s World

When going to Vegas, you can hit up the strip and allow your kids to have their fair share of candy by visiting the famous M&M’s World. Here, this two-story store offers dozens of colors of M&Ms with the option of creating your own bag to take home and enjoy. They also have plenty of M&M merchandise which includes purses, games, clothing, and souvenirs.

2. Ride the New York, New York Roller Coaster

Being a kid wouldn’t be the same without going on an exciting roller coaster. The New York, New York hotel has a thrilling roller coaster that wraps around its hotel right on the strip. There’s also a large arcade in the hotel to do afterwards.

3. Go to a Buffet

Treat your kids to an all you can eat buffet, which Vegas is known for! You’ll be able to spend as much time as you want eating the best seafood, prime rib, and dessert in town!

4. The Aquarium at Silverton

Although there is no water in sight in Las Vegas, you can still see the most beautiful and tropical fish under the sea at the aquarium at the Silverton Hotel. Here, the 117,000 gallon aquarium is fun for all ages!

5. Visit the Stratosphere

If your kids aren’t afraid of heights, you can visit the tallest observation tower in the world and be able to see incredible views at 1,149 feet high. If they’re even more brave, they can ride one of the roller coasters at the top!

6. See a Magic Show

If there’s one thing Las Vegas is famous for, it’s their magic shows. Take the kids to see an amazing performance on the strip.

7. Madame Tussauds Las Vegas
If your kids want to see their favorite celebrities all in one place, you can take them to Madame Tussands Wax Museum for lifelike replicas of famous actors and musicians.

8. Circus Circus

Circus Circus is perhaps the most kid-friendly hotel in town! With it’s expansive arcade, fun pink architecture, and Adventuredome Theme Park, your kids will run out of time to experience everything.

9. Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat

The Mirage is the only hotel in Vegas to offer a Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Here, your kids will be able to see bottlenose dolphins and exotic animals firsthand.

10. Nevada Southern Railway

For a fun train ride, your family can ride on an authentic train that once carried cargo for the Hoover Dam.