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Philadelphia : Seasonal Attractions and Halloween

Friday Sep 26, 2008
Philadelphia City Skyline - Courtesy

Philadelphia City Skyline - Courtesy

The City of Philadelphia is the largest and most populous city of Pennsylvania State. It is also the fifth largest metropolitan area of the United States. With roots of American history entrenched in this city it has always been an important place, both politically and socially, to keep rising in prominence since times immemorial. Philadelphia has played centrestage in American History and this is evident by the well maintained historic portions of the city to this day.

The city actually showcases the story of the Great American Independence through its carefully preserved Historic District. Many art museums and galleries reflect the glorious past of the city that draws millions of tourists from all over the world. Philadelphia has more public art than any other city in America. Home to many monuments and galleries, many of these participate in the First Friday event when the Old City remains open late into the night.

Philadelphia Museum of Art - Courtesy

Philadelphia Museum of Art - Courtesy

All along from the Avenue of the Arts on Broad Street to Benjamin Franklin Parkway down to the Center City, Philadelphia is going to bursting with prolific cultural attractions. Right now the Philadelphia Museum of Art is showcasing Tibetan Ritual Art of rarely-seen Tibetan-Buddhist ritual images and implements. The exhibit will be on through November 3, 2008.

Two outstanding concerts are scheduled this coming season. November 16th will have Che-Hung Chen and Friends present an ensemble featuring violinist Paul Arnold, cellist Efe Baltacigil, and pianist Natalie Zhu in a program of Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Schumann. The Philadelphia based Wister Quartet will present a program featuring works by Mozart, Debussy, and Dvořák on January 18, 2009..

In between the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society has performances that you can can enjoy if you like classical music. Acclaimed pianist Simone Dinnerstein on October 24, 2008 would have her recital with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. The Prism Quartet is to present a saxophone concert on November 21, 2008 featuring jazz and popular musical works. Soprano Bonita Glenn and Pianist David Lofton make an eagerly anticipated return to Philadelphia for their operatic performance on December 19, 2008.

Philadelphia Longwood Gardens - Courtesy /

Philadelphia Longwood Gardens - Courtesy

Enjoy Philadelphia in the glorious Fall season. With the air getting crisper by the day watch the foliage change color. The upcoming harvest season is to herald the festive times ahead. The city is all set to celebrate the line up of autumnal activities that are to rev up the spirits of residents and tourists, who return again and again to experience its unique spell. Yes its the season to satiate your senses while here. Philadelphia attracts you every time.

Longwood Gardens are to celebrate fall colors with giant pumpkins, unusual gourds and live concerts from September onwards until November 23. Landscapes aglow with shades of yellow, orange, purple, and red trees will have the famous chrysanthemums blooming in the huge conservatory. You must find the time to take in as much of Longwoods 300 acres as possible where long walks in the redolent air full of colors everywhere will keep Philadelphia ever alive in your memories.

If you are interested in an unusually colorful and dramatic regatta then the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Festival is for you. Philadelphia’s annual celebration of an ancient Chinese tradition is on – all day long on October 4, 2008 when festooned boats in brilliantly colored dragon heads and tails with paddler-teams would be competing in full force. The picnic area along the riverfront is where you should be to be part of the fun and festivities.

Celebrations also begin on October 10 and 11, 2008, with two big events. The Mural Arts Program’s 25th anniversary that kicks-off its anniversary year with a Birthday Bash celebration at City Hall. Followed by Muralpalooza the next day that is a family-friendly celebration with painting activities, crafts, fun games and of course lots of murals. To be held in front of Ben Franklin High School at Broad and Spring Garden Streets it will feature several mural dedications throughout the city.

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade - Courtesy

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade - Courtesy

Not to be missed is Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Parade starting from Market Street to amble down Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The enchanting atmosphere will have you reveling as the procession goes on to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Joining you would be an entourage of popular characters from Sesame Street and Disney in floats and giant balloons. You will enjoy joining in with the Grand Procession thats a great visual delight. Just grab your kids and head out for an early holiday treat.

Halloween gets taken very seriously in Philadelphia. Elvira, famed Mistress of the Dark would be in Philadelphia to tour the city. The Haunted Halloween Bash would be a good place to party the night away. But actually Perfect for Halloween would be the Eastern State Penitentiary thats to be a fitting backdrop to haunted attractions like Terror Behind the Walls, Intake, Night Watch, Lock Down, 13 Rooms and The Experiment. Be sure to find safety from these sinister attractions by logging on to Downtown Philadelphia hotel site that would offer you a safe haven when the nocturnal pranks are over. Philadelphia’s the way to go this Fall for a season of festivities like no where else.

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Orlando : Midsummers Dream Vacation

Wednesday Sep 17, 2008
Lake Eola Fountain, Orlando Symbol - Courtesy

Lake Eola Fountain, Orlando Symbol - Courtesy

I remember vividly the flight I took to Florida’s Sanford airport located in Orlando that had been my first trip to America. Orlando’s warm climate endorsed the trip out of England that was to focus on fun and fun alone. As it turned out, the extremely fulfilling pleasure jaunt left indelible impressions on my family. Endless hours had been spent on the internet gathering all sorts of information. The place has an estimated 52 million tourists coming over every year and has the second largest number of hotel rooms in the US. Certainly the most essential thing was to book comfortable accommodations and organize conveyance to make our trip pleasant. Thanks to Downtown Orlando hotel site we were able to have a truly gratifying experience.

It was Walt Disney World Resort that attracted us here in the first place. Located in Lake Buena Vista it lay about 20 miles south of Orlando city. Aware of it as a venue giving unparalleled joy to visitors for more than two decades, I knew the twins were in for a blast. Seriously, the entertainment here was beyond imagination and we had the time of our lives. My kids went all over with excitement at the many attractions here that included Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Typhhon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. I have never quite forgotten the look on on their faces as they were led on from one excitement to the other. And to speak the truth their merriment rubbed on to us making us laugh out loud together.

SeaWorld Orlando, next on our to-do list had numerous zoological displays and marine animals besides the amusement park with roller coasters and the famous water park. The marine adventure park is located 10 minutes south of downtown Orlando. Stretching across 200 acres, it has exhilarating rides, remarkable animals and some great shows. Best of all is the fun in the water that gets you twisting, turning and splashing about in SeaWorld’s water coaster or Journey to Atlantis. Many amazing shows are part of the activities here like North Pole on Wild Arctic, Odyssea and Pet’s Ahoy. What my children loved particularly was the Happy Harbor area that had rides like Shamu Express and Flying Fiddler. It was amazing and I could just see the adults having as much fun as the kids.

Universal Orlando turned out to be a multi-faceted resort comprising of the Studios, Citywalk and the Islands of Adventure theme park. Universal Studios offers an assortment of attractions, activities, rides and entertainment for all ages. This movie and TV based theme park allows you to go behind the scenes and experience life on the sets. You get to see Spider-Man, Shrek, Nicktoon, Dudley Do-Right’s and Popeye along with the incredible Hulk. The CityWalk had us enjoying shopping and dining around the celebrated 30-acre entertainment complex. Its well known as Orlando’s hottest spot for dining, shopping and entertainment offering a unique environment full of amusement for everyone. We had a great evening with lots of add ons that were all around us. Honestly it was not possible to do it all at one go.

The Orlando Science Center was an altogether great experience allowing kids to learn from scientific experimentation. Live turtles and alligators greeted us upon arrival. What took our breath away was the large publicly accessible refractor telescope that had us seeing the stars, planets, moons and even other galaxies! The twins learned about different foods that do good to the body but what they thoroughly loved was putting together the human skeleton at the Body Zone. The Measure Me exhibit got them to test their strength, flexibility, and agility. Dr. Dare’s Laboratory had them experimenting with computer guided simulations. They got acquainted with Florida’s diverse ecosystems at NatureWorks. This amazing venue with 10 exhibit halls across four floors also houses the largest movie screen thats 8 stories tall. Even the adults were in for a good learning.

The Orlando area besides having a wide variety of tourist attractions is also a busy center for conferences and conventions. The Orange County Convention Center is the country’s second largest in square footage. Even though Downtown Orlando is several miles away from the main tourist attractions it attracts tourists as many activities happen around here. The central business district is the most recognized and urban region of downtown. Containing a number of highrises its best known landmarks are the Bank of America Tower, Orange County Courthouse, The Vue and SunTrust Center Tower. Also spectacular is the 18,000 seat Amway Arena that hosts the Orlando Magic NBA team and Orlando Predators Football league team. Downtown Orlando has a vibrant nightlife, with over 40 bars, restaurants and nightclubs within a three or four block radius. Exuberance appeared to be a way of life here.

Downtown is interspersed with beautiful parks livening up the place. The best known is Lake Eola Park considered Orlando’s Central Park and is the favorite venue for local events and festivals. The iconic fountain set in the center of the lake is a scenic landmark that illuminates the nightscape of the lake with its green lighting. We enjoyed the swan boat rides on the lake as much as the circular recreational pathway stretching round the park. The children’s playground had my kids going absolutely berserk enjoying the open spaces to their hearts content. As did my wife at Pointe Orlando with its stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues, where my better half immersed herself in the offerings. As for me I enjoyed the continual feasting in the many restaurants located here. The landscaped tropical promenades, open air seating, playful fountains, and magnificent architecture unwinds you completely.

Orlando had us driving around along lovely beach bound roads providing a delightful break -of-sorts from the variety of theme parks located here. Passing by Kennedy Space Center we were content to let go of NASA’s space complex tour. Maybe the next time we were here. Actually we were more intent on enjoying the beaches for the chance to soak up some sunshine and relax in the ocean waters. Yes as I look back it all comes back to me – a very good family vacation that the twins loved to distraction.

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