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Sunday, February 26, 2017

5 Beautiful American Cities with Casino's

5 Beautiful American Cities with Casino's
If you’re feeling lucky, it’s time to plan a vacation to one of these beautiful gambling cities. Each of them will offer a unique selection of table games, slot machines, accommodations, shows, music concerts and dining options. Each location has fun attractions nearby that you can enjoy during the day and then hit up the casino & entertainment at night.

Here are 5 Beautiful American Cities with Casino's 

1. Reno, Nevada – Proudly known as, “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno is home to a number of casinos that have a certain small town charm. Expect some of the friendliest casino service that you’ve ever seen, complete with smiles and complimentary breakfast. While it may not have the wild nightlife some gamblers enjoy, if you’re looking for some excellent gaming, look no further.

2. Atlantic City, New Jersey – Ever since 1977, Atlantic City has become the gambling haven of the east coast. It is filled with enough casinos and nightclubs to keep any gambler satisfied for days on end. With a legendary boardwalk and a unique Jersey vibe, Atlantic City has become one of the most famous gambling cities on the entire east coast. If you love white sandy beaches, this is one location you need to visit.

3. Las Vegas, Nevada – World renowned for featuring a unique night life and unrivaled hotels, Las Vegas has become the epitome of a gambling city. With hundreds of Las Vegas hotels to stay at, any type of budget can be accommodated. Each of the casinos, and their attached hotels, have unique themes that propel their own games, entertainment and dining. Some are really upscale while others have a casual vibe.

4. Phoenix, Arizona – Perhaps best known for its scorching hot summers, Phoenix is a surprisingly desirable gaming location. While gambling within the city itself is illegal, there are a number of Native American reservations that surround the city. These reservations feature super-fun casinos that host a variety of games and exciting entertainment packages to thrill you.

5. New Orleans, Louisiana – This legendary center of debauchery wouldn’t be complete without a variety of casinos to choose from. Whether you prefer the bayou or the busy streets, you’ll be right at home with some Blackjack or slot machine action. You'll find upscale accommodations and affordable ones for those of you who are on a tight budget and hoping to hit it big.

While we don't promote gambling as a way of life, it can be fun to get away for a weekend and let loose in one of the casinos. Personally though, I enjoy going to them more for the shows & entertainment while my husband does enjoy sitting down and playing the slots.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Family Fun Day at ZooAmerica in Hershey

ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park in Hershey
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park is an 11-acre zoo located in downtown Hershey Pennsylvania. The wildlife park is connected to Hersheypark, so if you've paid your admission into the amusement park, you'll have access to the zoo. If you have no interest in visiting the amusement park, you can access the zoo via a separate entrance and pay a reasonable admission fee;

Last weekend we had mild weather here in central Pennsylvania and decided to head to ZooAmerica. Our temperatures topped out at 72 degrees (yes, in February), so it was a great day to spend some time at the wildlife park. Luckily for all of us, ZooAmerica is open year-round.
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park - Parrots

We entered the park via the gift shop entrance and started our tour by checking out some snakes, turtles, the alligator, lizards, skunks, etc. that they have on exhibit in an enclosed building. They keep it dark in there, so if you want to use your camera to obtain photos, you'll need to use a low-flash setting. We spent a good 10-15 minutes in this area learning about the various animals & fish they had on display. After we walked out of the building we saw some colorful parrots, which my little granddaughter enjoyed seeing.
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park

ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park - Turtles

We headed to the Desert Southwest Exhibit which is housed in another building and set up to look like the desert. It totally reminded me of the massive land areas located in Arizona and New Mexico. We saw a few owls, turtles, tortoises, roadrunners and other animals that you typically see in the Southwest. They had a few snakes housed in enclosed areas in this building which I totally avoided since I'm not a fan of snakes. We spent a good 10-15 minutes in this building exploring and I enjoyed seeing the desert-dwelling owl and turtles.
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park - Bobcat

After we came out of that indoor exhibit we followed the suggested route markers and came across the adorable river otters (while they're adorable, they do have a foul odor LOL), a few bird species and one of our favorite animals to see on this particular trip...the bobcat! The last we had visited, he/she was napping but this time around...he was wondering around and putting on a show for us!
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park

As you walk around the wildlife park you'll find a lot of great areas that you and your family can stop for family picture-taking. We counted at least 5 of these designated areas and if you have children along with you, I recommend taking advantage of them. The photograph above shows my granddaughter posing in one such area located in the park.
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park

ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park

The next area that we visited was called the Bear Experience and in this particular exhibit you'll find the ZooAmerica black bear and brown bear. They live together in a very large and expansive exhibit! In one area of the exhibit is their swimming pool with a plexi-glass wall. You can stand right up against the wall and see the fish swimming around and if you're lucky, you'll catch the bears playing in the pool and trying to catch the fish! On the day that we were there...the two bears were out, but not playing in the pool since it was February.
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park

The photograph above shows a good portion of the Bear Experience exhibit and I was standing over on the other side of the park to take the photograph. I wanted to give you a good glimpse of how massive their "play area" was and to give you a broader view of this area in the wildlife park.
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park - Prairie Dogs

One of my granddaughter's favorite animals to see during our visit was the Prairie Dogs! Oh my gosh, they have a LOT of prairie dogs running around in this one exhibit. I seriously lost count once I hit twelve and they were all out basking in the sunshine and hunting down some food. If you ask me, they reminded me of over-sized rats and under-sized groundhogs! While they're cute...they sure do like to dig a lot of holes and tear up the property.
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park - Deer

ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park

If you love deer and elk, they have those on display at ZooAmerica too. There was one particular deer that followed us from one end of their exhibit to the other end. I'm not sure if he thought I smelled good or if he thought I had some food on me to give to him. Regardless, he got right up along the fence and left you get nice photographs of him which was pretty cool to see.
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park - Snowy Owls

I have to admit...I'm an owl lover and have collected owl items for over 30+ years, so every time we visit any type of zoo...I'm looking for owls! On this particular trip we viewed the Barn Owls, Snowy Owls, Screech Owls and a few others. The reason I'm mentioning this is because if you adore owls, you'll appreciate all of the different species you'll find at this particular wildlife park.

We really enjoyed spending 2 1/2 hours visiting ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park located in Hershey Pennsylvania. It's a small and cozy zoo and great for an afternoon outing with the family. If you're looking for big safari animals, you won't find those here! It's a small zoo and only features animal species that you'll find right here in North America.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What's HOT in Branson Missouri in 2017

What's HOT in Branson Missouri in 2017
Back in 1998 and 1999, I had the pleasure of living in the beautiful state of Missouri. One of the things I loved about Missouri and the St. Louis area is that there was always something to go out and see & do. There were always a ton of shows, concerts, art festivals, sporting events, street fairs, etc. going on. Those activities are on-top of the traditional tourist venues that are held all over the state. With that said, I never had the opportunity to get down to Branson, but it's definitely on my travel bucket list. Here's what's HOT in Branson Missouri in 2017.

PRESLEYS’ 50th ANNIVERSARY

The Presley Family opened Branson’s first music theater on June 30th, 1967. In 2017 they will celebrate their 50th Anniversary in their original location. This is a truly amazing accomplishment in the entertainment industry, especially to be in the same location. Two original members of the show, Gary & Steve Presley still perform nightly in the show. There are now fourth generation Presleys performing in the show. The family originally performed in caves in the Ozarks before building their theater on Highway 76.

ANDY WILLIAMS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER 25th ANNIVERSARY

Andy Williams Moon River Theatre opened its doors on May 1, 1992. Andy was the first non-country music performer to open a theatre in Branson. The theatre’s design reflects the beauty and environmental integrity of the surrounding Ozark Mountains. The 48,000-square-foot structure is set among 16 acres landscaped with rock formations, waterfalls and a stream. It is the only theatre ever to be featured in Architectural Digest. For the interior, it was Andy’s idea to create a beautiful auditorium for live performances along with a lobby area that had a museum-like atmosphere so that he could display pieces of art from his personal collection. Since his passing, Jimmy Osmond has taken over the theatre as a promise to his friend and mentor to keep the legacy alive. Andy Williams memorabilia is displayed throughout the theatre and a wide variety of entertainers grace the stage throughout the year, just as he envisioned.

TITANIC MUSEUM ATTRACTION

Titanic Museum Attraction, honoring James Cameron’s “TITANIC” in celebration of the iconic movie’s 20th anniversary, has a limited engagement new gallery to showcase many, never-before-seen elements from the movie – costumes, set pieces, props, signed scripts and more. March 12-June 13. Titanic Branson looks forward to “TITANIC” re-release in 2017 and to honoring its 20-year anniversary.

SHOWBOAT BRANSON BELLE

Showboat Branson Belle gears up for an even bigger 2017 aboard the 700-passenger paddle-wheeler. An all-new show “Country On The Lake” adds a different genre of music as the noon complement to the popular evening variety show “Celebrate.” Designed as a concert cruise – featuring multi-talented rising country stars performing #1 hits from yesterday’s classic rock to country favorites of today, backed by a live band – it includes tributes to country stars of the ’90s with songs by Garth Brooks and Faith Hill, plus many classic, memorable songs.

THE RUNAWAY MOUNTAIN COASTER

The Runaway Mountain Coaster is a thrill ride that uses the natural topography of the area to have an exciting user-controlled trip for an experience few will ever forget. Riders are seated in individual carts engineered to exacting safety standards. The carts are pulled to the top via a chain, similar to roller coasters. At the top of the mountain, carts are released to travel down the hill, winding in and out and around the hills for a fun and unique experience.

FRITZ’S ADVENTURE

Fritz’s Adventure is a dynamic family attraction that brings the excitement and challenges of outdoor adventure into a multi-dimensional indoor environment. Experience three stories and 80,000 square feet where you can enjoy elements of the world around you that, anywhere else, would be prohibited or discouraged. All ages are encouraged to explore the family adventure together.

HISTORY OF FISHING MUSEUM

The History of Fishing Museum is the largest collection of antique fishing lures, rods, reels, boats and motors entirely collected by one man and his wife. It is valued at more than $4 million. The first lure was bought when Karl White was eight years old. The lure is still in the collection today – almost 70 years later!

CAF AIRPOWER HISTORY TOUR

The B-29/B-24 Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force will bring to Branson the aircraft, pilots and crews from over 70 CAF units across the United States to create the AirPower Squadron – an ever-changing assortment of military aircraft touring together to bring the sights, sounds and smells of World War II aviation history to audiences across the nation. The AirPower Squadron always includes at least one of the two rarest World War II bombers in the world – FIFI, the most famous, flying Boeing and B-29 Superfortress and Diamond Lil, an equally rare B-24 Liberator. Aircraft accompanying the B-29 or B-24 will include other World War II aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang, the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-25 Mitchell, along with an assortment of fighters, trainers and liaison aircraft. September 14-17 at the Branson Airport (BKG).

About Branson, Missouri: Branson is a one-of-a-kind family vacation destination nestled in the lakeside beauty of the Ozark Mountains with dozens of live performance theaters, three pristine lakes, championship golf courses, an international award-winning theme park, family attractions and museums, a Historic Downtown district, shopping galore, a full range of dining options, and a host of hotels, motels, resorts, RV parks, campgrounds and meeting and convention facilities. Less than one day's drive for one-third of U.S. residents with flights to the Branson Airport (BKG) and nearby Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF) Call 1-877-BRANSON for help planning your next vacation, convention or reunion. See more at http://www.explorebranson.com.