Chicago – Willis Tower

Willis Tower

Chicago is known for their deep-dish pizza and wonderful sights to see and a great way to see the beautiful of Chicago is from the tallest building in the city. Willis Tower, formerly know as Sears Tower is open for visitors to ride to the top in an elevator for a view and if you dare, you can take a step over the edge in a glass box.

Willis tower is a 108-story, 1,451-foot high skyscraper. At its completion in 1973 it was the tallest building in the world, passing the Twin Towers of New York. It is currently the second tallest building in America and the eight tallest freestanding structure in the world.

wilis tower

The sky deck is located on the 103rd floor (1,353-ft). It offers spectacular views spanning four states on a clear day and interactive exhibits. My favorite part was the Ledge, a four-foot wide glass box hanging off the side of Willis Tower. It took a few test steps before I was able to get my whole body out into the box and look down, but it was worth facing my fear.

The best time to visit the tower is right at opening or sunset. Arrive 30-45 minutes prior to sundown to get the best experience. Prices are $19 for adults, $12 for 12 to 4 with 3 and under are free. Active duty military are also free.

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Christmas Tree Lane – Fresno, CA

Christmas Tree Lane 4

Christmas Tree Lane

Christmas Tree Lane located on Van Ness Blvd between Shields and Shaw Ave in Fresno, California is celebrating its 92th anniversary, making it one of the longest running holiday events in the Nation.

The tradition that has become Christmas Tree lane was started in 1920 when a single tree was lit in honor of a child who died. Since 1920, there have been two years when it was closed 1940 (wartime restriction) and 1972 (energy crisis). Each year more than 100,000 visitors come to see the lights of Christmas Tree Lane.

Christmas Tree Lane

As a child growing up one of my favorite things to do was to ride down Christmas Tree Lane. Sometime during my high school days the organizers began closing Christmas Tree Lane to car traffic two nights a year, closing for foot traffic only. This is now my favorite way to celebrate the annual holiday event. Being a military family means we are often not home to celebrate Christmas Tree Lane, but if we are able to make it home for Christmas it is a definite must do.

Christmas Tree Lane 1

This year Christmas Tree Lane will open the 2nd of December with the annual walk night (the other walk night will be Dec. 10th) and will run through Christmas Day, December 25th. This is a spectacular event and one of the best parts is that it is a free event. Donations are accepted, but not required. If you live anywhere close to the Fresno area it is worth the trip to see. I think every family has a special holiday light display they visit every year. Where do you take your family?

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Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Columbus Zoo

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is one of the best zoos in the Nation. Jack Hanna became the director in 1978 and has been working to transform the zoo from cages and pens to the interactive exhibits that exist today. The Zoo has more than 10,000 animals, a train, educational displays, holiday lights and more. There are six sections of the park Australia and the Islands, Congo Expedition, Shores, Asia Quest, North America, Heart of Africa. In the winter the Australian section is closed off because off the cold climate, but there is still plenty to see all year round.

Columbus Zoo

My favorite, it really is hard to pick just one, but I would have to say the polar bear exhibit was amazing. It has a number of different viewing areas and you can even go below and see the bears in the water. When we visited the bears were very active and it was fun to see them climbing around and playing. Another thing I really enjoyed was the Aquarium. There were beautiful fish to see, but the best part was the large tank where the manatees were located. I loved the Africa section of the zoo, there were so many different animals to see, ranging from large elephants to baby tigers and huge bats.

Columbus Zoo

There are so many different animals to see at this amazing zoo. It is really hard to see everything in just one visit. If you are planning a visit to the Columbus Zoo make sure to check out their website. It is loaded with information on how to make your trip a successful one.

Make sure you check out the events calendar page to ensure you don’t miss any of the fun. Beginning November 17th there is a holiday lights display called Wildlights that last through the Holiday season.  The Columbus Zoo even offers summer camps through out the summer.

While you are traveling through Ohio you may want to stop in Dayton for some free family activities.

Check out more of Amanda’s adventures at her blog: Airman2Mom

pinkEpromise Giveaway

pinkepromise giveaway

 

Okay, okay, this giveaway doesn’t necessarily have any thing to do with travel unless you need a fancy bracelet for date night on a cruise ship. But maybe you do so I wanted to give you the chance to enter this pinkEpromise giveaway. Or maybe you could wear it to add extra sparkle to dinner out on your honeymoon. Or maybe you have special Christmas travel plans that require a little black dress. Ok so everything IS related to travel!

pinkEpromise Giveaway!

Looking for a stunning bracelet to wear to all you holiday parties? Look no further. Enter our pinkEpromise Giveaway for a chance to win this Swarovski Austrian Crystal Bracelet. With 5 rows of crystals this bracelet is stunning and will make you  sparkle whether you or wearing jeans or your favorite LBD. This bracelet is normally $89.99 but you can get it at pinkEpromise.com for only $19.99. Sign up for deal alerts so you won’t miss any hot deals like this one.
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This giveaway ends on 11/21/14. Good Luck! If you win I hope you have a great destination to wear this stunning bracelet! If not you should plan one.

Gina

Cincinnati Riverboat Sight Seeing Cruise Along the Ohio River

Cincinnati Riverboat cruiseAn amazing way to see the city of Cincinnati is to take the BB Riverboat’s Historic Sight Seeing Cruise up the Ohio River. The tour company is based out of Newport, Kentucky, right across the river from the Cincinnati Red’s baseball stadium.

My husband and I took this tour on a cold rainy day in April a few years back.  Since we had booked our tickets in advance we made our way to the station, not expecting a very enjoyable trip. As the afternoon came so did the sun. The clouds melted away and made for a perfect afternoon steamboat (paddleboat) ride up the Ohio River.

Cincinnati Riverboat cruise

Along the way the Captain shared his wealth of knowledge of the many different sights that could be seen from the ship. Some spots told stories of Cincinnati’s history, while others showed how much the city had changed. The floodwalls on the Kentucky side showed how the city was preparing for the future and a baseball stadium on the Ohio side showed the modern day appeal of this beautiful city. Did you know one out of every four steamboats built in America where built in Cincinnati? So much history is packed into this 1.5-hour tour. And they even open up the Captain headquarters for tours during a portion of the trip.

Cincinnati Riverboat cruise

This is a great adventure for families. There are options for various tours. Some include lunch or dinner from a buffet style and others just include a journey up the river and back. Tours are reasonable priced, but the best deal for families would be ones that do not include a meal. Prices are $20 for adults and $12 for children 4-12.

If you would like more information check out their website here. While you are in Newport, KY check out all the other attractions you won’t want to miss.

To see more of Amanda’s adventures check out her blog here.