One of the iconic landmarks of modern architecture, Philip Johnson's Glass House, will allow self-guided tours for the first time when it opens for the season on May 1. Previously, visitors to the site were required to stay with guides at all times during the 1-2.5-hour tours. Guests who purchase tickets for self-guided tours may now linger on the site at their leisure. Read More...
The modified Boeing 747 that NASA used to transport the retired space shuttles to their final museum homes will be moving to its new home at the end of April. Currently docked at Ellington Field in Houston, carrier aircraft N905NA will travel eight miles down the road to the Johnson Space Center over two evenings on April 28 and 29. Once there, engineers will begin preparing the jet for its debut as the centerpiece of the Space Center's $12 million, six-story museum attraction opening in March 2015.
Aviation and aerospace geeks who want to learn more about the progress of the Space Shuttle Carrier Exhibit and the route of its upcoming transport from Ellington Field to Johnson Space Center should stay tuned to the Space Center and its Facebook page.
The newest way to get an aerial view of the Chicago skyline is via an attraction called Tilt. Presented by 360 Chicago, this "architectural achievement" located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center is a glass and steel platform that tilts outward over the Magnificent Mile, giving up to eight riders the thrill (or scare) of their lives. Admission to Tilt starts at $5 (in addition to the general admission price of 360 Chicago).
File this one under "Things I will never do." But you may enjoy it!
Photo: Tilt, 360 Chicago
Our friends at AOL have mined the many books of Florida writer Carl Hiaasen for some travel wisdom. Should you be traveling to Florida soon, here are a few nuggets to keep in mind (and/or giggle about):
"Even Florida winters could get miserably hot, but a person could adjust. George Graveline had a motto by which he faithfully lived: Always park in the shade." -Skin Tight
"Florida, of all places, you don't rent out vehicles with cheap-ass air conditioners." -Skinny Dip
"'I didn't know the water got so cold in Florida.' 'Just wait until summer. It's like soup,' Sammy Tigertail said." - Nature Girl
Full post at AOL Travel
The gut-busting D-Bat corn dog available at the Arizona Diamondbacks' stadium
This is an exciting time of year for avid baseball fans as they begin to plan their travels around away games and stadium pilgrimages. Here is some of the latest travel news on the baseball front:
Ballpark Food. Each year sees at least one ballpark experiment with its menu options. For 2014, get ready for the D-Bat, an 18-inch long corndog filled with bacon, cheddar cheese, and jalapenos (at Chase Field in Phoenix); bacon on a stick (at Globe Life Park in Texas); and poutine (at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia), among other options.
Visiting 25 Ballparks in 25 Days. Thinking about traveling to several baseball stadiums this season. Mashable has an interview with Matt Weil, a fan who visited 25 ballparks in the span of 25 days in 2013. He offers advice on seeing ballparks on a budget and getting the most out of each stadium experience.
The newest way to get high in Vegas is on the High Roller. At 550 feet high (approximately 51 stories), the High Roller, which opened to the public today, is now the tallest ferris wheel in the world.
The centerpiece of The Linq outdoor shopping and entertainment promenade, the High Roller has 28 glass-enclosed, temperature-controlled cabins, each of which can hold about 40 people. During the 30 minutes it takes for the wheel to make its round, riders can enjoy spectacular, 360-degree views of Las Vegas and the surrounding mountains.
The party potential of the High Roller is evident. Not only does each cabin hold enough for a small gathering, guests can order drinks from the High Roller bar and bring them on the ride. This is Vegas, after all.
Tickets for the High Roller can be purchased online. They range from $24.95 for a timed daytime ride to $59.95 for an Express Pass.
Bern's 2,100-page wine list/Business Insider
Bern's Steakhouse has been a Tampa institution since 1956 and has been considered one of the best steakhouses and wine cellars in the United States for almost that long. Business Insider recently took a photo tour of Bern's wine cellar, which boasts approximately 600,000 bottles of wine, including some vintages that date back to the early 1800s and other rare bottles, such as a $30,000 1947 double magnum of Chateau Latour. For diners with smaller budgets, the restaurant offers 200 varieties of wine by the glass.
The Washington Monument, a symbol of Washington, DC, and one of the most recognized landmarks in the United States, will be open again for tours beginning May 12.
The National Park Service announced that the 555-foot-tall obelisk, which had been under repair and closed to the public since an earthquake in August 2011, will accept visitors on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 1 p.m. on May 12. Visitors who wish to tour the monument on May 13 or beyond can book a reservation online at recreation.gov. Admission is free.
I was very saddened this morning to learn about the death of Matthew Power, a journalist whose work I've admired for a long time. So, while browsing his impressive archive, I decided to put together a few excerpts of Power's U.S. travel and adventure writing. From floating down the Mississippi River from Minneapolis to New Orleans to experiencing zero gravity in a 747 above the Gulf of Mexico, Matt went on adventures that most of us can only dream about. He will be missed.
One of the things I've learned in the high stakes world of international intrigue known as travel writing, locals can be very picky about what tourists call their home. For example, Californians don't like it when you call their state "Cali" -- I learned that the hard way. Getting more specific, natives of San Francisco (or those who have lived in the city long enough* to call themselves residents) really hate it when outsiders call the city San Fran or Frisco.
But maybe "Frisco" isn't that bad? In Making a Case for 'Frisco, writer Peter Hartlaub allows for some leeway in abbreviating the name of his home city. "Pro-Frisco San Francisco currently has two very strong allies," Hartlaub notes. "The Hells Angels and the RBL Posse." But that still doesn't mean that it's ok. "I do think Frisco is a nickname that needs to be earned before it enters conversation...I think Frisco should be reserved for people who live here."
San Francisco is one of the most popular cities in the United States, so it's likely you'll find yourself talking about it at some point. For the ideal pronunciation, Hartlaub looks to a 1995 editorial on the topic: "It's more like SanfrnSISco, all one word minus a syllable."
Read more about the San Fran vs. 'Frisco debate in the comments on Hartlaub's article. (Or don't. Internet commenters can be unreasonable...)
*"Long enough" varies.