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Local Treks

Monday, 11 February 2008

Carlsbad Caverns

I have yet to take my son to Carlsbad Caverns, which are about an hour from my hometown.  I have taken other kids, and gone several times as a kid myself.  In fact, whenever I go I turn into a kid again.  I can't wait until my son is old enough for the trip!

Caves are cool.  In this case, I mean that both literally and figuratively.  The best time to visit Carlsbad Caverns is in the summer, so you can also watch the bat storm leave the cave at dusk, but summer can be upwards of 100 degrees here.  Make sure your hotel has a pool, and plan to spend the main part of the day underground.

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Driving to the area is a miniature geology lesson - from your vantage as you descend into the Carlsbad basin, you can clearly see that this whole area was once ocean floor.  If your kids have read

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Thursday, 07 February 2008

Going Public

765px-strafford_pennsylvania_train_station.jpgCities with excellent public transportation have my heart.

For trying to get around cheaply (environmentally, as well as financially), and without a car,  New York, Washington DC, and Philadelphia are fantastic. As  an added benefit, riding the train or subway can be its own form of entertainment. 

Philadelphia's regional rail system, SEPTA, connects all of the first-ring suburbs to downtown with trains that run hourly, and more frequently during rush hours.  The wooden stations (like the one above) that line the tracks on many of the routes are quite beautiful, and many are being well maintained.  Downtown, three major stops - 30th Street Station (the AMTRAK connector), Suburban Station, and Market East - put everyone within walking distance of major attractions like the Please Touch Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Franklin Institute, and more.  Plus, there are zip-cars [...]More

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Bubble, Bubble

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Just about anyone will tell you that admission to an aquarium is a hefty price to pay just to watch air shoot up a tube.

Not my kid.  

The National Aquarium in Baltimore is one of her favorite places on the east coast.  This acclaimed status is not because of the four-story waterfall; the brilliantly designed exhibits that let you stand right next to a school of fish, no matter how tiny you are; the center tanks where hand-sized silver fish and a healthy number of sharks swim around you.  The dolphin show is fun too, she says.  But where do we end up?  Always?  At the rows of transparent tubes near  'Wings on the water,' where rays of all shapes and sizes glide beneath the crowds.  Just beyond, a display features miniature seahorses the size of my little finger.  A few steps away, we can sit by a tank's underwater observation window and [...]More
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