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6/4/2014
The Great Lakes Aquarium, an alpine roller coaster, the region's only zoo and a children's museum are just some of the family-friendly attractions in Duluth, the North Shore's largest city. 1) Great Lakes Aquarium Ever wondered what’s below the surface of Lake Superior? Explore the species living in the Great Lakes basin through a variety of interactive exhibits. Watch... More
5/28/2014
Lying face down on a glass window jutting out 1,000 feet above Chicago’s busy streets, I give thanks that I am not afraid of heights. Of course, if I were, I wouldn’t have stepped onto the platform of the new Tilt attraction on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center. But there I stood, toes against the glass, with seven other brave souls gripping metal handles flanking the floor... More
5/21/2014
1) The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium Set on a 10-acre riverfront campus, this attraction highlights the life, culture and history of America’s most iconic waterway via multimedia displays and 12 large aquariums. If you can pry the kids away from building boats at the water table in the River Works section, take in a show at the  3D/4D theater. (563) 557-9545;... More
5/19/2014
The whirl of activity was mesmerizing as we walked into Zaharakos. We heard the thunk-thunk-thunk of old metal ice cream cases opening and closing. Servers dashed by carrying trays loaded with ice cream in old-fashioned clear glasses. In the back room, an organ piped out tunes. “Sit right here,” said our server, Wilma, pointing to two small soda fountain chairs. She... More
5/14/2014
The train’s whistle echoes through the park, and I pick up the pace on my bike, racing to reach the tiny red depot in Peninsula, just 30 minutes south of Cleveland. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad makes its last Bike Aboard! stop in 10 minutes, and I don’t want to miss it. I’ve spent the last hour biking along the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, an 80-plus mile... More
5/12/2014
While most of Holland, Michigan, sat in classrooms and offices on an average Wednesday morning, the mayor and city council were blowing the lid off a civic crisis looming downtown. With only a handful of onlookers nearby, the leaders donned white gloves, bent low over the street, swiped their hands on the asphalt and declared it unacceptably filthy. This set in motion a crisis response that had... More
5/7/2014
1) Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium It’s easy to see why this zoo consistently receives high marks. First, it’s huge. Second, its design lets you commune with gorillas, sharks, snakes, butterflies and all sorts of other creatures. It's also home to the largest indoor desert habitat in the world, capped off with a stunning three-story dome. You don’t have... More
4/30/2014
The wild-eyed stare, bristling mane and yellowed fangs of the taxidermied lion stopped me in my tracks. It wasn’t the beast’s size and ferocity that captivated me, but the idea that this was the first lion ever encountered by millions who visited the Chicago 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Photo © The Field Museum. Likewise, when I came face to face with... More
4/28/2014
I’ll admit it: I’m a roller coaster fanatic. My childhood obsessions always involved wheels, starting with tractors, evolving to trains (like a bunch of tractors connected to each other!) and, finally, roller coasters (like a train that goes upside down!). The bug bit me at age 8, when I braved a rickety coaster called Cyclone in Denver. Since then, I’ve buckled my seat... More
4/25/2014
1) Grand Traverse Lighthouse One of Michigan's oldest lighthouses sits at the tip of the 1,300-acre Leelanau State Park peninsula. Pay the park entry fee and $4 to climb to the top of the restored 1858 structure and wander through a museum for a peek into the life of a lightkeeper. Ghost walks and overnights are also available. (231) 386-7195; grandtraverselighthouse.com 2)... More