Archive for the ‘family adventure travel’ Category

Vail Resorts to Launch On-Mountain Epic Discovery Summer Adventures

March 1, 2016
Vail Resorts is set to introduce on-mountain Epic Discovery adventures this summer at Vail Mountain in Colorado and Heavenly Mountain Resort at Lake Tahoe.

Vail Resorts is set to introduce on-mountain Epic Discovery adventures this summer at Vail Mountain in Colorado and Heavenly Mountain Resort at Lake Tahoe.

VAIL, Colo. – Want to soar like an eagle? Travel through the forest canopy like a squirrel? Find out if you’re as strong as a bear? See the world through the eyes of a trout? This summer, Vail Resorts is introducing Epic Discovery at Vail Mountain in Colorado and Heavenly Mountain Resort at Lake Tahoe. Epic Discovery provides an on-mountain summer experience, immersing guests in activities which provide big-time thrills, allow them to challenge themselves physically, guide them to explore and better understand their natural surroundings, and ultimately create lifelong memories.

“Epic Discovery will provide an avenue for our summer guests to experience our alpine settings in a new, immersed way, similar to what our ski and snowboard guests experience in the winter,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “Vail Resorts, along with our partners at the U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy, envisions Epic Discovery as a catalyst for helping to foster a lifelong appreciation for the outdoors among a diverse audience of summer visitors to the mountains.””

This new comprehensive on-mountain summer adventure will feature components such as zip lines, canopy tours, alpine coasters, wildlife trail exploration, and interactive, “learn-through-play”  activities, which will debut at Vail and Heavenly in June and at Breckenridge in 2017.

“Epic Discovery offers families the opportunity to learn through play together in the national forest,”” Jarnot continued. “For kids, it will be the ultimate playground in an alpine setting.””

Vail Mountain’s Epic Discovery proposal received final approval from the U.S. Forest Service in October 2014, and the resort began construction the following summer. Vail’s existing Adventure Ridge has already undergone enhancements with the addition of two rope challenge courses, summer tubing, a four-line Zip Flyer, as well as a kids’ challenge course and kids’  zip line.

In June, Vail Mountain, located on the White River National Forest, will debut these Epic Discovery experiences:

  • Game Creek Canopy Tour: The ultimate outdoor experience, this guided tour will immerse guests in the forest habitat with an array of zip lines and aerial bridges as high as 300 feet above the valley floor. Guests will learn about the mountain environment from interpretive guides while working their way through the course.
  • Forest Flyer: This gravity-based alpine coaster allows guests on individual sleds to descend on a raised track through the forest while giving riders full control of their speed.
  • Expanded Trail System: A wildlife exploration trail, featuring mountain flora and fauna and a series of installations that each resembles a different animal ability, such as vision, stride, agility and strength. Vail has partnered with The Nature Conservancy, the USFS and Walking Mountains Science Center to bring interpretive elements to the Epic Discovery experiences and will be contributing one percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue to The Nature Conservancy for forest restoration projects.

Heavenly’s Epic Discovery project, which received final approval on May 14, 2015, has already seen the implementation of several new on-mountain adventures, including a permanent rock climbing wall and kids ropes course and zip line, all located at Adventure Peak at the top of the Heavenly Gondola.

Opening in June, Heavenly’s Epic Discovery will feature:

  • Canopy Tour: Set amongst the pines surrounding the mid-station observation deck of Heavenly’s Gondola, this guided tour will immerse guests in the forest habitat with an array of zip lines and aerial bridges featuring an unfiltered view of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains.
  • Alpine Coaster: This gravity-based alpine coaster allows guests on individual sleds to descend on a raised track through the forest and natural rock formations, with incredible scenic views of Lake Tahoe. Located near the existing summer tubing hill, the alpine coaster will utilize gravity for the descent while giving riders full control of their speed.
  • Guided 4×4 Mountain Tours: Guests will enjoy Heavenly’s stunning view from the cab of an off-roading SUV. These 4×4 tours offer the best of an alpine summer with views of Lake Tahoe, the Carson Valley and Desolation Wilderness.
  • Interpretive Learning: Heavenly’s project integrates a robust interpretive learning component with curriculum created in collaboration with the Forest Service, the League to Save Lake Tahoe and The Nature Conservancy.

Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Epic Discovery proposal to the USFS received its final record of decision on Nov. 16, 2015, and includes adventure hiking zones, plus additional activities including zip lines, canopy tours and ropes courses, all with extensive environmental and interpretive programming. Construction is expected to begin during summer 2016 and will include the following primary activities and enhancements:

Full details on all the Epic Discovery activities at Vail and Heavenly, as well as online ticket purchasing will be available soon online at www.vail.com or www.skiheavenly.com.

Epic Discovery: A Summer Mountain Adventure

Summer in the mountains is taking on a whole new feel thanks to legislation passed in 2011, the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act, and Vail Resorts is the first in the ski industry to submit and implement a comprehensive new summer activities plan to the U.S. Forest Service. Vail Resorts’ Epic Discovery program encourages “learn through play,” promoting environmental education and forest stewardship with numerous fun experiential activities across three different mountain resorts, Vail Mountain, Breckenridge and Heavenly. The Epic Discovery experience will incorporate extensive environmental and interpretive programming that offers guests a unique opportunity to try new outdoor activities, challenge themselves physically, discover an appreciation for nature and create lasting family memories. Each of these new activities will capitalize on the existing summer visitation at each resort and leverage existing infrastructure, creating the opportunity for high-impact and high-return projects. Through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy, a leading conservation non-profit organization, Epic Discovery will complement the eco-discovery experiences across the mountain with scientific content. Subsequently, Vail Resorts will utilize its new “1% For The Forest” program as a means to contribute one percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue to The Nature Conservancy for forest restoration projects on national forest lands.

To learn more about Epic Discovery, visit www.epicdiscovery.com.

Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is a leading global mountain resort operator, operating nine world-class mountain resorts and two urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Perisher in Australia; Afton Alps in Minnesota, Mt. Brighton in Michigan and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin The Company owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Visit www.snow.com.

 

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Four Seasons Safari Lodge Offers New ‘Walk in the Wild Serengeti’; Hosts Serengeti Lion Project Exhibit

July 16, 2014

Stop by the Discovery Centre for a viewing of the new Serengeti Lion Project Wildlife Photography Exhibition, August 1-31 by Serengeti Lion Project researcher Daniel Rosengren.

Proceeds from sales of photos will support the Serengeti Lion Project Research, the world’s most extensive daily mammal monitoring project, which has gathered detailed data on more than 5,000 lions since the 1960s. Rosengren, a Swedish biologist and senior field researcher who is passionate about travel and nature, traded in his globe-roaming bike for a Land Rover in 2010 to study the daily habits of the Serengeti’s lions. The exhibition will feature 40 or more of his most stunning images.

Inspired to follow in Rosengren’s photographic footprints? Visit The Lodge now and be among the first to experience its new Walk in the Wild Serengeti, a transformative 90-minute guided walk where you’ll help install a “camera trap” that digitally records the Serengeti’s majestic animals on the move. Elephants, cheetahs, lions and even notoriously hard-to-spot leopards are known for their cameos.

This guided walk shines a light on the wildlife sanctuary’s most subtle and unusual characteristics. Led by the Resident Naturalist at Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Masai guides and national park rangers, you’ll explore the beautiful landscape of Serengeti National Park as your guides point out animal tracks, interesting insects and useful plants.

Guests can also help The Serengeti Lion Project classify the different animals found in images caught by over 200 remote camera traps that have been set up in the Serengeti by visiting the Snapshot Serengeti website.

The Walk in the Wild and the Serengeti Lion Project Photo Exhibition are among the many innovative experiences undertaken by Four Seasons Safari Lodge and its pioneering Discovery Centre.  Part museum exhibit, part lecture theatre, it’s the first lodge-based conservation research and education platform in Serengeti. Chat with Lodge experts and explore a series of displays, exhibition boards and interactive presentations, or attend periodic talks by guest speakers. Participate in special research projects with local experts closely involved with Serengeti’s wildlife research and conservation projects.

Make your base camp in The Lodge’s two-story great house, with guest rooms and suites that all offer stunning views of the Serengeti landscape.

A more private escape can be had in one of the five freestanding villas. Ideal for couples and families, The Lodge is one of the first on the continent to welcome children ages 8+, a significant milestone for families with young ones and teens. The entire property is accessible via raised wooden walkways making short excursions into the bush not a far venture from the Lodge.

In addition to taking your exploration to an intimate new level during the Wild Walk in the Serengeti, The Kijana Klub offers children their own opportunity to learn about local culture and wildlife through a series of planned activities including short walks in the bush with a Maasai guide and learning basic wildlife research skills such as radio tracking and camera traps.

Other memorable guest experiences include sundowners at the infinity pool while elephants gather at the watering hole below, private romantic dinners in the bush, the Lodge’s celebrated Boma Grill and signature spa treatments featuring Africology spa products at purpose-built Spa.

For more information, visit www.fourseasons.com/serengeti

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andBeyond Introduces ‘WILDChild’ Program to Family Safaris

July 31, 2013

wildchiild-1

andBeyond, a company specializing in luxury experiential travel, is introducing a new children’s program, WILDchild, at the company’s lodges and safari camps throughout Southern Africa and will also be offered at its East African properties from the end of August.

WILDchild is designed to create opportunities for families to engage not only with each other but with their environment, in a new and stimulating way that will change the way they see the world. With a growing trend for multi-generational travel, andBeyond believes in giving adventurous families the reare privilege to see the world through different eyes, encouraging them to grow and learn through unforgettable experiences.

Carefully thought out and presented by rangers trained to share their knowledge in a way that sparks the enthusiasm of even the youngest guests, WILDchild is designed to do more than just keep children occupied while their parents enjoy their safari. While it is essential that the program remains entertaining enough to capture youngsters’ imaginations, it also has a strong conservation message at heart.

“The WILDchild program is just another way that andBeyond is encouraging family travel. We have also provided additional family suites at select andBeyond lodges in South Africa, as well as in Tanzania. Whether at our own lodges and camps or throughout the African countries where we operate, andBeyond has the ability to put together specialized family itineraries designed to help travelers create life-enriching experiences for themselves and their children,” says Jacky Humphries, andBeyond Chief Marketing Officer.

andBeyond’s safari experiences offer the luxury of a leisurely pace, ideal to reconnect and renew relationships among families, as well as to form new connections between the children and the land, animals and people of Africa. Through the relationship created between younger guests and their ranger or guide, the WILDchild program is filled with interactive activities that offer opportunities to learn and discover new experiences and cultures. Deeply rooted in the love for the African bush, it not only creates a series of unforgettable moments for the whole family, but forges strong bonds between the children, our planet and its people.

As part of the WILDchild program, each  young  traveler  receives a WILDchild backpack with a scrapbook and a gift, such as a flash light, a magnifying glass or a compass. Throughout the safari, the family’s ranger helps the child to fill up the scrapbook with notes, drawings, stickers, dog tags and badges that the youngsters earn for completing a series of bush-related activities that are selected for them according to their interests and age. The activities attempt to tie in with the lodge’s environment, as well as the local heritage of the region. For example, children staying at andBeyond Klein’s Camp in Tanzania might be taught how to shoot with a bow and arrow or how to build a fire in the Maasai way. Meanwhile, at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa, they may be taught tracking skills by a local Zulu tracker or set out on a fishing expedition on the Mzinene River.

andBeyond lodges that specialize in children’s programs, creative menus and have child-minding facilities are: andBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge, Ngala Safari Lodge and Kirkman’s Kamp in South Africa; Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in Namibia; Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp in Kenya; Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Serengeti Under Canvas and Mnemba Island Lodge in Tanzania; and Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp, Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge and Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp in Botswana.

The WILDchild program is included in the rate at the lodges at which it is offered. The starting rate is $490 per person, per night at Ngala Private Game Reserve.

Established in 1991, andBeyond has become one of the world’s leading luxury experiential travel companies, designing personalised luxury safaris in 16 African countries, as well as India, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. The company also owns and operates 32  lodges and camps in Africa and India’s wildlife high spots.

For more information, visit www.andBeyond.com.

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Hike in the Footsteps of Painters and Poets This Summer in New York’s Scenic Catskills

July 13, 2013
The view from Sunset Rock, a popular location for Thomas Cole, the father of the Hudson River School, America's first major art movement © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The view from Sunset Rock, a popular location for Thomas Cole, the father of the Hudson River School, America’s first major art movement © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Hit the trail this summer in the Great Northern Catskills of Greene County where the region’s storied history and rugged beauty are best experienced in the wilderness. Discover the land that captivated generations of painters and writers, and enjoy a hiking trip that unites art with nature, and adventure with family-friendly fun.

Known as the father of the Hudson River School of Art movement, Thomas Cole was a British expatriate who made the Catskills his home, muse and artistic study. Follow Cole’s artistic journey through the Catskills and experience far-reaching summit views and cascading waterfalls that are as pristine as they were when Cole painted them nearly 200 years ago.

His namesake peak, Thomas Cole Mountain, is the fourth highest peak in the Catskills, with panoramic summit views and multiple scenic overlooks. Located in the Blackhead Range Wild Forest, Cole can be hiked in tandem with Black Dome and Blackhead, making for the perfect Catskill Mountain day hike. The trailhead is located at the end of Barnum Road, just four minutes drive from the Sugar Maple Center for Creative Arts in Maplecrest.

Arts History and Hiking in the Great Northern Catskills

This summer, experience a series of self-guided, multi-faceted hiking excursions with Mainly Greene, a collaboration of four arts organizations in the Great Northern Catskills. On July 20, join Mainly Greene’s “Art on the Move” tour of the Catskills with the Catskill Pass as your guide, and check out some of the Hudson River waterfront’s top attractions, restaurants and shops. Download the Pass here and follow the enclosed map to receive special discounts at participating attractions, including the Port of Call Restaurant, Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Riverview Marine Services.

Kid-Friendly Hikes in Greene County

Summer in the Great Northern Catskills of Greene County offers untold adventure in the great outdoors. Find ample hiking options throughout the region, including kid-friendly hikes such as:

  • RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary in Catskill offers a tranquil hiking experience along two miles of hiking trails. Trek by swampland with diverse birding habitats and glimpse Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles and water creatures such as beaver, otter or muskrat. The Sanctuary offers leisurely walking experiences, picnic spots and paddling opportunities along RamsHorn Creek.
  • Cohotate Preserve in Catskill offers two miles of hiking along the Hudson River waterfront. Perfect for families with small children, the loop winds around a pond, providing scenic wilderness and river views.
  • Catskill Escarpment Loop in Haines Falls offers a moderate hiking circuit looping nearly five miles through some of Greene County’s prettiest scenery.  Highlights include Kaaterskill Clove, Sunset Rock – a favorite spot of Hudson River School artists – and Inspiration Point. Part of the 21-mile Escarpment Trail, this shorter loop offers a great day hike in the Catskills.

Awaken to Adventure in the Great Northern Catskills of Greene County, offering some New York’s most far-reaching summit views and scenic hiking trails. For more information about hiking in the Catskills and to start planning your Greene County vacation, visit www.GreatNorthernCatskills.com.

Greene County is located in the Great Northern Catskill Mountains and the verdant Hudson River Valley.  The region is home to five of the 10 highest Catskill Peaks and the Catskill State Park and is known as the nation’s first wilderness. Greene County is renowned as the home of Thomas Cole’s Hudson River School and the inspiration for Washington Irving’s literary legend, Rip Van Winkle, and was named in honor of American Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene. This 705,500 acre wilderness offers diverse year-round outdoor recreation and celebrated cultural events.  Find more Catskills packages at www.GreatNorthernCatskills.com. 

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Family Holiday Jungle Safari Offered by The Lodge at Pico Bonito, Eco-Lodge in Honduras

October 2, 2012

Spot Vibrant Toucans, Sleek Jaguars, and Elusive Hummingbirds

Let your kids discover their inner explorer on an exciting and educational family adventure through the pristine Honduran rainforest this holiday season. For the first time ever, the highly-acclaimed Lodge at Pico Bonito, perched at the base of Pico Bonito National Park, will be offering a Family Holiday Jungle Safari complete with a guided-scavenger hunt that is sure to provide your children with jungle book thrills.

Uncover spellbinding rock formations, marvel at jaw-dropping waterfalls and catch glimpses of elusive jaguars, keel-billed toucans, vibrant contingas and endangered emerald hummingbirds on the ultimate bonding vacation.

From guided night hikes to exhilarating white water rafting, your children will revel in the natural wonders of the unexplored rainforest with the added excitement of an inspiring, learning competition.

Family Holiday Jungle Safari

From November 1, 2012 through January 5, 2013, The Lodge at Pico Bonito will offer the groundbreaking Family Holiday Jungle Safari – a six-day, five-night package and naturalist scavenger hunt with a grand prize the entire family can enjoy.

Highlights include:

• Scavenger Hunt – During daily hikes led by expert instructors, your entire family will learn about everything from the native birds and endangered species to flora and fauna and geological rock formations. Following the hikes, you will embark on a scavenger hunt with your “Pico Bonito Scavenger Hunt” booklet in hand – checking off various bird species, reptiles, flora and fauna that your guide confirms you spot.

At the completion of the offering period, The Lodge at Pico Bonito will award the family with the most confirmed sightings 20% off a stay at the property between April 1 and December 20, 2013.

• Family Picnic at the Unbelievable Falls –Savor sightings of pumas, jaguars, spider monkeys and over 420 species of birds on an educational trek culminating at a spectacular double-drop waterfall. Take a refreshing dip in the sites irresistible swimming hole before enjoying a family picnic at the base of the unforgettable natural wonder.

• Early Morning Trip to the Observation Tower – Awaken with the jungle and experience a cacophony of sounds as hundreds of exotic bird species herald the start of a new day. On your guided hike you will discover Pico Bonito’s secret spots that make the property a paradise for birders. The journey culminates in a trip to the property’s three multi-story observation towers where your family can take in the jungles astounding scenery from above.

• Night Hike to Spot Reptiles – Search for nocturnal reptiles and amphibians guided by flashlight and the experienced eyes of your guide on an excursion that is sure to bring your children’s adventure fantasies to life.

• Whitewater Rafting – Enjoy a day of family bonding as you paddle away on an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip down the Rio Cangrejal, a world-class whitewater destination.

Rates include two adults and one child and start from $1,069 for a standard cabin for the period of November 1 through December 20, 2012. From December 21 through January 5, 2012 rates start at $1,405 for a standard cabin. Each additional child is $560 for a standard cabin or $669 for a standard plus cabin. Package includes a full daily breakfast. Additional costs include taxes and gratuities. Cabins are subject to maximum occupancy restrictions. Holiday Season has a minimum stay requirement of five nights. The Lodge is accessible from major American gateway airports. For further info visit www.picobonito.com or call 888-428-0221.

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Palm Beach Zoo Offers Two Chances for ‘Family Night Owls’ Overnights

June 13, 2012

A Eurasian Eagle Owl. The Palm Beach Zoo is offering two opportunities this summer for families to be night owls, too, overnighting in the zoo (photo by Keith Lovett).

The Palm Beach Zoo is offering two special “Family Night Owls” overnight programs to be held on Saturday, June 30th and Saturday, July 21st.

Family groups are invited to explore the Zoo after hours and participate in unique encounters with nocturnal animals such as bats, owls, fennec foxes, and many others. The evening will include a guided flashlight tour of the Zoo, a pizza party, and Zoo-themed games and activities, as well as a Continental breakfast the following morning.

The “Family Night Owls” program is designed for children ages six and over, accompanied by at least one parent. Activities begin at 6:30 p.m. on each Saturday evening and end at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. The cost is $35 per person for Zoo members and $45 per person for non-members.

For more information about this program visit www.palmbeachzoo.org or send an e-mail to education@palmbeachzoo.org. The Zoo’s Education Coordinator can be reached at (561) 533-0887 Ext. 229.

Travcoa Offers a Family Luxury Safari Featuring the Best of Kenya

March 20, 2012

Travcoa, the world leader in luxury travel, is offering a custom-crafted multi-family luxury safari to East Africa this summer. The exclusive14-day “Kenya: African Family Adventure” will be led by Travcoa Travel Director and professional photographer, Kymri Wilt. This Escorted Journey highlights the breadth and mystery of Kenya’s unspoiled frontier, and Kymri has personally crafted the itinerary and hand-picked luxury lodges and camps which embody the iconic African safari experience. From superb wildlife viewing to enriching cultural interactions, there is something special for all ages to enjoy – a wonderful way for parents and grandparents to share exceptional and inspiring experiences with their children and/or grandchildren.

“There is no greater gift a family can share than the gift of travel,” stated Jerre Fuqua, President of Travcoa. “It’s rare for a family vacation to engage passions and interests across generations – from grandparents to teenagers. But the mere mention of the word ‘Africa’ piques the curiosity of both young and old.”

Departing July 29, 2012, Travcoa’s “Kenya: African Family Adventure” starts at $11,990 per person. Pricing for children under 16 starts at $9,990. Guests will stay in Kenya’s legendary lodges and tented camps in Nanyuki and discover the world-famous Kenyan National Parks of Meru, Amboseli and Masai Mara. Highlights include visiting the Giraffe Center, the Sweetwater Game Reserve, David Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage, a hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara and interacting with Maasai villagers.

For more information about the “Kenya: African Family Adventure” or to request a brochure please contact Travoca at 1-800-992-2003 or go online at www.travcoa.com.

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Palm Beach Zoo Invites Families for Sleepover

March 12, 2012

The Palm Beach Zoo has announced an opportunity for families to plan overnight adventures at the zoo. The “Night Owls Overnight Adventure” is available to family groups on Friday and Saturday nights by reservation. Dates are March 23, March 24, April 21, and April 28. © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Palm Beach Zoo has announced an opportunity for families to plan overnight adventures at the zoo. The “Night Owls Overnight Adventure” is available to family groups on Friday and Saturday nights by reservation. Dates are March 23, March 24, April 21, and April 28.

Participants enjoy animal encounters, a night tour of the zoo, pizza snack, Continental breakfast and some wild nocturnal activities. This program is designed for participants ages 6 and over, and is limited to a maximum of 30 persons per night. At least one parent must accompany children.

Guests should arrive by 6:30 p.m. The overnight program begins at 7 p.m. and ends at 8:30 a.m. the following morning. Activities include up-close animal encounters, night tours of the zoo, crafts, games, evening pizza snack, and a Continental breakfast. The cost for Zoo Members is $35 per person. Cost for Non-Members is $45 per person.

For more information about this program, e-mail us at education@palmbeachzoo.org or call (561) 533-0887 ext. 229, or visit www.palmbeachzoo.org under Education Programs.

See also:

WHERE TO BE WILD IN PALM BEACH COUNTY

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Asia Transpacific Journeys Offers Family Trips to Exotic Locales

May 26, 2011

With a Cambodian vacation, kids can be an archeologist for a day when visiting the Sambor Prei Kuk area - which could pass for an Indiana Jones movie set if it weren’t so completely authentic. (courtesy Asia Transpacific Journeys).

More and more families are  seeking cultural experiences in exotic locales where they can spend quality time together while expanding their horizons. Traveling to far-flung places in Asia and the Pacific with a family-oriented adventure program through a tour company like Asia Transpacific Journeys broadens everyone’s viewpoint and gives children perspective on their life by developing critical thinking skills and learning about other cultures.

Marilyn Downing Staff, Founder and President of Asia Transpacific Journeys for the Asia and Pacific region, believes that by visiting cultures so different from the American lifestyle children learn about other cultures and traditions early on, which helps them understand that the world is a much bigger place than they may have thought before.

“Our sensitive and seasoned Asia travel guides provide children with insights into the local cultures, religious traditions, exotic plants and animals,” says Downing Staff, herself a parent. “It shapes their attitude towards life.”

Here are their top picks for family trips that are both educational and fun in nature through hands-on learning:

BORNEO – A Wildlife Adventure

On a trip to Borneo, tropical forests lush with wildlife invite moderate trekking through jungle trails, while monkeys howl on the white-sand shores. A visit to Mt. Kinabalu, home to 270 species of birds and more than 70 species of frogs is a great day trip for travelers of all ages. Families can also visit an Orangutan Rehabilitation Center and observe such national treasures as Sumatran rhinoceroses and clouded leopards on night walks and passages over an aerial catwalk.

THAILAND—A Family Adventure

This Thailand vacation, originally developed as a family trip for the American Museum of Natural History, explores the family-friendly country’s cities, hill tribe areas and beaches. Families learn how to become mahouts (elephant caretakers), visit a puppet theatre, ride an elephant among hill tribe peoples and take a bamboo raft trip through the jungle.  The trip is not complete without a stay at one of Southern Thailand’s famed beaches, where families can try sea kayaking and snorkel in the emerald waters.

 CAMBODIA – Discovering Lost Temples

With a Cambodian vacation, kids can be an archeologist for a day when visiting the Sambor Prei Kuk area – which could pass for an Indiana Jones movie set if it weren’t so completely authentic. A visit to these lost temples will enable families to experience its serene atmosphere together with a fascinating sense of mystery and magic including wild parrots flying overhead. Afterwards, parents and kids should head to Siem Reap to explore Angkor Wat, voted the most beloved UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 and simply a stunning sight for both old and young.

AUSTRALIA – Down-Under Wildlife Discovery Tour

On a trip to Australia, families can explore the country’s eco hotspots, kangaroo to platypus. Wildlife sightings in this naturalist’s utopia co-mingle with hiking, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, and tramping through the World Heritage Daintree Rain Forest.

In Tasmania families can also marvel at the smallest penguin in the world – called the fairy penguin—and rufus wallabies, eastern quolls, brush-tailed possums, wombats and the famous Tasmanian devils.

Asia Transpacific Journeys specializes exclusively in custom journeys and small group trips to the Asia/Pacific region. Founded in 1987, no other company offers such expertise in the region. Its long-standing connections in Asia, outstanding personalized service, and deeply insightful cultural interpretations have made Asia Transpacific Journeys the travel company of choice for organizations such as the American Museum of Natural History, the World Wildlife Fund, the Harvard, Yale and Princeton alumni associations, as well as discerning individuals, their families and friends.

For more information, visit www.asiatranspacific.com or call (800) 642-2742.

Adventure Center’s 11-day ‘Headhunters of Borneo’ Family Trip is guaranteed to hold kids’ attention

May 6, 2011

The days of headhunting are long past, but an overnight stay with members of the Iban tribe – renowned for their blowpipe prowess and headhunting traditions – offers an enlightening look at their ancient customs and ceremonies.  Adventure Center’s 11-day “Headhunters of Borneo,” suitable for travelers ages 7 to 70 (and up), offers a peek into the old ways of this once-feared tribe: learning how to best behave with the Iban so as not to offend, visiting with the Headman (an honor and a courtesy), enjoying traditional dances, and dining on traditional foods (no heads) while sitting on the longhouse floor.  Other highlights include the bustling city of Kuching, the coral islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, guided treks through rainforests and nature preserves filled with exotic wildlife, and a cruise down the Kinabatangan River.

Prices for the nine departures beginning July 24, 2011 and running through 2012, range from $2,973 to $3,061 per person, double (children are slightly less), and cover entrance fees, activities, accommodations, most meals, services of a group leader, and transportation, including domestic flights; optional extensions and international air are extra.  An optional five-day post-trip in Mount Kinabalu challenges guests to ascend Southeast Asia’s highest mountain before spending a day in Kota Kinabalu.

After a day spent exploring the scenic waterfront and cityscape of Kuching, Borneo’s largest city, guests travel to Bako National Park for a trek along jungle trails that are home to proboscis monkeys, long tail macaques, wild boars and monitor lizards, among others.  A stop at the farmers market in Serian is followed by a longboat ride on the Lemanak River to the longhouse of the welcoming Iban tribe.  Travelers have the opportunity to navigate the waterfalls and rolling hills of the Damai Rainforest by sea kayak or on foot before arriving in Sepilok, where visits to the Sukau Rainforest and Orangutan Reserve – one of only three of its kind in the world – offer close-up views of the endangered species.  After the Kinabatangan River cruise guests fly to Kota Kinabalu for a final day of snorkeling around the coral islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, visiting the Sabah State Museum or taking a trip to the colorful local markets.

Adventurers on the optional post-trip “Mount Kinabalu Trek Extension” continue their adrenaline-fueled journey as they ascend through rainforest and swirling mist to the summit of Southeast Asia’s highest mountain.  Rewarded with a panoramic view of the sunrise, they then descend into Kota Kinabalu for a final night of exploration.  The five-day trip is priced at $768 per person, double.

Additional details can be found at http://www.adventurecenter.com/TheAdvTvlCo/trip/fba.  Booking information, brochures and reservations, can be obtained from travel agents; Adventure Center’s visitor-friendly web site, www.adventurecenter.com; or by phone: U.S. (800) 228-8747, Canada (866) 338-8735.

Adventure Center has provided world-class, affordably priced adventure travel experiences with one-on-one advice for more than 35 years.  Adventure Center’s Travel Specialists have personally traveled to more than 130 countries and offer knowledgeable guidance to guests in selecting an “adventure of a lifetime.”