Fountain of Youth St. Augustine Coupons & Information Guide

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Photo of The Fountain of Youth Entrance
Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is the place to go to see what life must have been like for the earliest inhabitants who lived along the salt water marshes of what is now St. Augustine.  Artifacts uncovered by archaeological digs on park grounds shed light on the Timucua, Native Americans who occupied the region around 2400 B.C., and the first Spanish settlers who came ashore in 1565.  These discoveries led to the installation of the park’s historically accurate, life-sized outdoor exhibits which tells their story.

Historical Weapons Demonstration
There’s a lot to see on a self-guided walk through the 15-acre waterfront park.  Some exhibits are static displays – Archaeology Exhibit, Timucuan Dugout Canoe & Owl Totem and  Menendez Settlement Field,  the site of the first Spanish settlement. Others, the Blacksmith Exhibit, Cannon Firing, Historical Weapons Presentation and Chalupa & Boathouse exhibits, have interesting demonstrations at specific times throughout the day.

Highlight exhibits are self-guided experiences.  Each has scheduled shows throughout the day.  Check the park’s schedule for times.

Photo of Timucuan Village of Seloy
Walk through the Timucuan Village of Seloy.   On-site digs in the area have found evidence of the presence of the Timucua. The principal chief of the St. Augustine region in 1565, when the Spanish arrived, was Seloy.  Artifacts and human remains found on-site point to the probability of Seloy’s village on the grounds. See replicas of Timucuan village structures. Step inside a circular palm-thatched dwelling. See a wide variety of implements and ornaments made of bone, shell, stone and wood.

Go inside the Mission Church, a reconstruction of the first mission in the continental U.S. The exact site of the original mission, constructed by Franciscan friars in 1587, is unknown. This archaeologically appropriate site was selected for the rustic church made of local cypress, has coquina shell floors and  a palm thatch roof.

Climb the Watchtower to look out over the marshes all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.  The precursors of lighthouses, these wooden watchtowers where built by the Spanish along the coast for sighting incoming ships in order to provide advance warning of attacks.

Photo of Navigators Planetarium
Navigator’s Planetarium is the place to see how early Spanish and Portuguese explorers made it across the vast Atlantic Ocean without GPS. Understanding how they navigated by the stars using navigational tools such as the astrolabe and quadrant is fascinating.

The 30-foot high Discovery Globe lets you to visually travel the routes early Spanish and Portuguese explorers took on their journeys to and from the New World.  It also shows the location of their settlements and cities.

A visit to Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park would not be complete without taking a drink of spring water from the legendary Fountain of Youth.  The cool water that flows into the Spring House comes from the Florida Aquifer. Legend or real, the mineral-filled water is as refreshing now as it must have been for the explorers landing on Florida’s shores 500 years ago.  After a long journey across the ocean, no wonder they thought it was the Fountain of Youth.

Save 50 cents on regular tickets. Code: SAFOUNTAIN

Save $5 on the Trolley Fountain of Youth Package. Code: FOUNTAIN

How to See the National Mall in 2 Days

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Photo of US Capitol
Most visitors come to Washington D.C.to experience museums, monuments, and memorials. Of course, The White House and the U.S. Capitol also top the list.  The good news is that the best of the best can be found within relatively close proximity to each other along and around the National Mall.  To plan to see the best in 2 days, a brief orientation helps.

The National Mall, a 2-mile long, grassy expanse, is flanked by America’s iconic buildings, remarkable Smithsonian museums and moving memorials.  Just off the mall, there’s more to see: architecturally beautiful buildings in which the work of the nation is done and numerous other wonderful museums. The Mall is divided into two sections.  The East Mall stretches from the U.S. Capitol on the east end to the Washington Monument on the west end.  In between are spectacular Smithsonian museums. The West Mall begins at the Washington Monument and extends west to the Lincoln Memorial.  Between the two in a park-like setting are the WWII Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and Korean War Memorial.

DAY 1

Start out with an overview tour by trolley, Segway or bike.

Photo of National Mall Segway Tour

First-time visitors may want to consider beginning their visit with an overview tour. The interesting, narrated Old Town Trolley Tour is comprehensive and has convenient hop on/off stops within walking distance of the sites you want to see on and around The Mall.

A more active and more personal way to get an overview is on a Segway or Bike Tour.  Both offer informative, fun tours which are great for families and anyone who likes to be outdoors, see the sights up-close and get some exercise.  Smithsonian Experience by Segway departs for the National Museum of American History on The Mall.  Gliding past D.C. landmarks around The Mall on those odd-looking upright vehicles is an effortless way to check everything out before making your choices. The National Mall Segway Tour, departing from the Foggy Bottom Metro Station a few blocks north of The Mall, is a more expansive 3-hour tour.  It’s entertaining and informative.

Photo of DC Bike Tour

Bike tours are ideal for active visitors.  Washington D.C. Monuments Bike Tour takes you around The Mall and Potomac Tidal Basin.  At each memorial, your guide shares the monument’s interesting history and anecdotes. Time is allowed to park the bikes to explore the monuments on your own. Bike the Sites Capital Tour goes by the most popular sites in and beyond The Mall.  Both 3-hour bike tours depart from L’Enfant Plaza.

Select 2 of these Museums on The Mall.

Exploring the vast collections of two massive and compelling Smithsonian museums takes at least a half day.

A perennial favorite of all ages is the National Air Museum.  Flight. Space. Our Solar System.  The Universe.   This is where the history of man’s quest to explore the skies is on exhibit, and the future of flight and space exploration is explored.   Hundreds of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets and flight-related artifacts are all here, in 23 astounding galleries.

To experience what makes America American, put the National American History Museum on your list.  From coast to coast and spanning 3 centuries, the museum’s compelling exhibitions and experiences cover all aspects of American heritage – social, political, cultural, scientific; military, sports, music, art.  The ingenuity of everyday American life on display is a entertaining eye-opener.

The massive Natural History Museum has something for everyone.  It houses everything from the biggest mammal to the smallest insect and everything in-between. Exhibits focus on human origins; the development of cultures; ancient and modern mammals; birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects and sea creatures; rocks, gems, fossils and dinosaurs.  Kids love it – especially a replica of a North Atlantic right whale and the insect zoo.  The full-size reconstructions of human species throughout the ages is an attention grabber, and the mythical power of the Hope Diamond in the gems and minerals collection intrigues. Young teens get into making scientific discoveries in the interactive centers

While many of the grand art museums in D.C. have incredible holdings of magnificent art through the ages, the modern and contemporary art inside the distinctive cylindrical Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden focuses on the future.  Featuring outstanding international modern and contemporary art, it also provides a national platform for the art and artists of our time. This forward-thinking approach has made it a favorite of young adult visitors.

Get great White House photos.
Photo of the White House
The best place to see and photograph the White House is from the fence looking towards the South Façade.  A short walk away from the Washington Monument, the South Façade is the oft televised location of events on the South Lawn which stretches to the columned, curving South Portico. The Rose Garden, where important addresses take place, is on one side of the portico. The lawn is where the annual Easter Egg Hunt and other events take place, and where the presidential helicopter takes off and lands.

Cap off the day with a breathtaking evening experience.    

The monuments and memorials glowing white against the night sky is spectacular. There are three great  to enjoy this special experience.  See the stately monuments and moving memorials as you listen to the stories surrounding them in the comfort on Old Town Trolley’s Monuments by Moonlight’s 2.5-hour tour.  Active visitors may prefer the 3-hour Monuments by Night Bike Tour, an up-close, leisurely way to explore the glowing monuments around the National Mall and Potomac Tidal Basin.  Or, spend an enjoyable evening gliding past many sites around the city, including the memorials, on a Segway Night Tour of Washington D.C. 

DAY 2

Visit the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Visitor Center.

As the meeting place of the nation’s legislature, the iconic United States Capitol is a symbol of America and representative democracy. To take a tour of the Capitol, making reservations in advance is recommended but not required.  Keep in mind it’s a popular place. If you want to try your luck, get to the underground Visitor Center before it opens at 8:30am to queue up for same-day passes available at the Information Desks. During peak spring and summer months, same-day passes are limited.  If you don’t luck out, the huge Visitor Center has interesting special exhibits and films about the Capitol Building and the work of Congress.  It also has food service and gifts shops.

Don’t miss the best museums just off the National Mall.
Photo of the Newseum
Not far from the Capitol, the Newseum is a dynamic, engaging and interactive visitor favorite.   Seven levels, 15 theaters and 15 galleries are packed with exhibits exploring journalism past and present through the five freedoms of the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. It’s an important interactive experience for anyone, especially families with teenagers and young adults.

Photo of International Spy Museum
The International Spy Museum nearby is a place to delve into the shadowy world of international espionage.   The collection of espionage artifacts on exhibit is the largest in the world. Stories of individuals and their missions are highlighted, the impact of the undercover world on historical events explored.  Younger family members have fun being a spy, adopting a cover, breaking codes and testing spy skills.

 

 

 

 

How to Choose Best New York City Harbor Cruise

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Spirit of New York Lunch Cruise

In a city of superlatives, a cruise around New York Harbor should not be overlooked. Take a break the fast NYC pace and see the City from the water side.

Cruise vessels of all shapes and sizes offering tours around New York Harbor, give visitors multiple choices. While cruise types vary in style, price and experience, they all offer incredible views of the iconic skyline, the Statue of Liberty and the famous bridges.

Start by picking the right vessel for you. Choices include large, multi-level, sightseeing cruising yachts accommodating several hundred passengers, ferry boats running on regular schedules, luxury sailing schooners carrying from 49 to 12 passengers, majestic tall ships, U.S. Navy-issue rigid inflatables, replicas of 1920 luxury yachts, and go-fast boats.

Next, choose your cruise experiences. Whether you are looking for a daytime narrated sightseeing tour, a romantic sunset sail, happy hour tour, thrill ride, or a cruise with comfortable indoor spaces in which to enjoy good food, music and dancing, there’s something for everyone.

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How to Choose the Best Key West Water Sports

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Catamaran Tour in ocean in Key West

Of all the things to do day and night on the tiny island of Key West, visitors are drawn to getting out on the crystal-clear water, glimmering in shades of light turquoise to deep blue. Although visitors want to be on the water, not all want to get in it. In Key West, there’s something for everyone on the long list of water adventures. Choosing the right one for you is easy from this list of the best Key West water adventures and experiences.

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How to Choose the Best San Francisco Bay Cruise

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California Sunset Sail at Golden Gate Bridge

Seen from the big bay, shoreline views of the “City by the Bay” stretch forever. The San Francisco skyline rises up and around an active waterfront, Alcatraz has an eerie vibe, and Angel Island is inviting. Passing under Golden Gate Bridge soaring overhead is an unforgettable moment. Photo ops of the pristine hills of Marin Headlands dipping down into the bay and picturesque Sausalito nestled into them, are unbeatable. To the east, Bay Bridge curves over the bay and, from the west, fog billows in unexpectedly.

See it all on one of many boat cruises. The way to choose the best San Francisco Bay cruise is to decide how you want to see it. See it by ferry, catamaran, RIB, sailboat, luxury cruising yacht, go-fast boat or fishing boat. Each experience is unique. Pick the one that works best for you.

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Niagara Falls Scenic Views

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Upper Niagara River & Rapids

To say that Niagara Falls has scenic views is an understatement. The Falls are not only breathtakingly beautiful, to feel the immense power of the endless volume of water as it makes its way to the precipice, to drop, boiling and churning white into the gorge below, is mesmerizing. The cool thing is that there is no shortage of awesome scenic places from which to experience this natural wonder.

Three waterfalls collectively make up Niagara Falls which spans the border between Canada and the U.S. Horseshoe Falls is on the Canadian side; American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are on the U.S. side. Be sure you bring your passport, a must if you plan to to visit both sides at the Rainbow Bridge border crossing.

Both sides have jaw-dropping views. Canada has a long, clean panoramic view of all three falls; the U.S. has multiple closer views. Niagara Falls Ontario is larger, more commercial and more crowded. Niagara Falls New York is more natural and wooded, thanks to the establishment of 400-acre Niagara State Park in the late 1800, encompasses the shoreline along Niagara Gorge and American Rapids, and includes Goat, Green, Luna and Three Sisters islands.

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Choosing The Best Nashville Museums For Your Vacation

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Johnny Cash Museum

If you are planning a visit to Nashville, you are undoubtedly going for the dynamic music scene. To mix it up a bit, you may want to know what else makes Nashville tick. The answer lies in its museum choices. To help you decide which of the best Nashville museums to visit, take your pick from these choices:
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Best Philadelphia Outdoor Activities for Summer Vacation

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Philadelphia Skyline

Philadelphia’s numerous parks and outdoor spaces have fulfilled the vision of its founder, William Penn, to build a “greene countrie town.” Outdoor attractions, urban parks and extensive wilderness park systems offer wonderful summer vacation experiences for all ages and all levels of activities.
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Most Scenic Views Of San Diego

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San Diego Skyline from water

San Diego’s scenic coastline and inland views venues are spectacular. Whether accessed by foot, car, trolley or boat, dramatic vistas are everywhere.
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Honolulu Scenic Views

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Oahu Grand Circle Island

The dramatic beauty of the Hawaiian Islands landscape is epic. Through the islands that make up the unique archipelago, scenic views are spectacular.

Along the coastline of Oahu, the most popular island and the location of Honolulu, jagged cliffs punching down into the sea, expansive crescent-curved beaches and crystal clear water are awesome.  In addition to magnificent coastal panoramas, the color and beauty of dense tropical forests, plunging waterfalls, verdant valleys, and gigantic waves rolling in like glassy curls in to surfers’ favorite breaks, are spellbinding.

From the cosmopolitan glam of Waikiki’s over 150 hotels and 1,000 restaurants lining a 2-mile stretch of gorgeous crescent beach, to the wild beauty of North Shore, the opportunities to experience the diversity of Oahu’s natural beauty are endless.
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