The first 8 years of a toddler’s life is considered crucial for development. This is the period where they tend to learn the basic yet important things needed for their growth. This includes developing their motor skills, having them differentiate between senses and letting them practice real life activities.
As a parent, one should note that there are proper toys their toddlers can play that can help with early childhood development. Likewise, if you’re someone about to gift a 2-year old a verjaardagscadeau, here are a couple of toys you can give that are fun and helpful for a toddler.
For Fine Motor Skills
Bead Maze A bead maze is a fun toy for toddlers. It encourages them to practice their motor skills and detect color. It teaches them patience as they follow the line with the beads attached. Playing a bead maze toy also helps give them that confidence boost when they’re able to successfully finish the game.
There are many varieties of bead maze toys you can choose from. Remember to pick a sturdy one. Toddlers can get a little frustrated at the start and might throw it around. But with a little guidance from your end, your child will be able to enjoy this toy and learn something new.
There is no limit to imagination. It is especially interesting to watch as your little one builds whatever they can think of just by using blocks. With simple toys such as building blocks, your child will be able to practice their muscle development and hand-eye coordination.
The toy brand Lego is one example. With the blocks given, kids will be able to tap into their imagination and build anything they can think of. Do note that at their age, bigger blocks are better and safer than small ones.
For Sensory Play
Touchbooks are like story books wherein each page has a material where children can feel several textures. This helps in differentiating between rough and smooth, or soft and hard. It awakens their senses of how they feel things. It can also help them describe to their parents certain feelings, enhancing their vocabulary.
A toy xylophone or a piano can be a fun learning experience for your toddler. Not only will they be able to play with it but sound-emitting toys will teach your kids the different tones and pitches a sound can make.
More examples of sound-emitting toys are the microphone and a toy drum set. Children will find these toys fascinating and who knows, you might find a hidden talent for music in their early stages.
For Practical Life Skills
This may just be a common toy but cooking sets are actually helpful in teaching your kids some life skills. For instance, they’ll be able to tell what a knife is for, how to use a spoon and fork and tell the difference between fruits and vegetables.
Teach your kids how to tie their shoelace, zip up their bags and fasten buckles with a busy board. It is a simple board where several skills can be practiced such as tying, fastening, zipping and snapping things close or open. It serves as a great learning introduction for your child before they can start doing it in their everyday life.
These toys are what you need for early childhood development. They’re fun and safe for a growing age such as theirs. It would also be best if you can play these toys alongside your kids so as to guide them and connect with them.
Cats are fantastic pets as they keep themselves clean by licking it all over. But however, they have to pee and poop which can cause a strong smell to prevail all over your house various measures can be taken to prevent your house with all these crap. This can be reduced by using cat litters which are nothing but small boxes in which you cats can be trained to poop. Bad odor can be controlled by using the best odor control litter available in the market. If you own a cat for a few days and do not have an idea on how to buy the best litter box for your pet, then you can find for the litter box with the following characteristics.
the litters for cats must be mixed equally with the litter so that they can be easily removed by the owner. The formulation should be clumped together with the litter which is easy to remover after a certain period. The clumping power of odor control litter is very important when choosing the product. As it is the main factor that makes the litter reduce ammonia and thereby reducing the odor.
most of the best odor control litter of cats comes with the pleasant smell that combats the odor created after your pet poops. This is great as you cannot smell the odor of cats’ excretion during parties and while guests are coming over. You do not have to embarrass your guests coming to home with the bad odor from your cats.
- Minimal dust:
some of the odor control litters can produce dust and can cause harm to your cats. It is common but it should not affect the cat’s respiration and it can also cause damage to human beings. Hence the odor control litters should not produce dust that is allergic to both cats and humans as well.
find the best odor control litter that is made of materials naturally. The cats will not know the toxic substances and chemicals used and there are higher chances of getting into his body. If it is natural, it can also be disposed to the land which will be natural manure to plants. The chemicals used in non-natural litters can cause damage to both the cats and the environment.
- Choosing for multiple cats:
the best odor control litters can be chosen by the cat owners keeping in mind of the other cats also. Getting the cat litter for multiple cats can save you a lot of money but choosing them must be liked by all the cats.
the paper-based litters are very useful in absorbing the total moisture to the bottom of the box. This makes it odor-free and they also have scents which reduce the smell coming further. The pellets inside the litter box will completely absorb the moisture and will expand in size. This will layer up to the top of the box and can be removed easily.
- Using silica gel:
the silica-based litters are the best odor control litters as they are made of sodium silicate which is processed with oxygen and water. They have tiny pores on their outer surface which will absorb more water content from the solid litters. Most people misunderstand that these are harmful to their cats. They are not and litters with crystalline silicate are harmful.
the odor control litters you buy must be lesser weight. They are biodegradable and hence no harm can be caused to the cat as well as to the environment. Unlike clay litters, these types can absorb three times more liquid. It clumps like many other litter types and helps us to remove the wastes easily.
There are many companies that offer the best odor control litter for cats and other pets. But it must have certain factors like affordable cost and 100% natural in order to work properly. They must be made of natural produces so that it will not cause any damage to cats if they ingest them by accident. So before choosing the best odor control litter for cats, they should be natural, biodegradable and useful to cats for safe littering.
Memorial Day ceremonies and other activities are planned in Raton, Springer and at Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park near Angel Fire as veterans who sacrificed their lives at war, as well as those who served their country and returned home, are remembered this weekend. In Raton, the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1793 has organized the annual ceremonies at each of the city’s two cemeteries. The Monday ceremony at Mount Calvary Cemetery (on Red River Road just west of South Fifth Street) will begin at 8 a.m. Monday, to be followed by a ceremony at Fairmont Cemetery (on Sugarite Avenue between Washington and East Boulevard streets), expected to begin about 8:45 a.m. The ceremonies are to include presentations from the VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Elks Lodge, and United Mine Workers of America.
Following the ceremony at Fairmont Cemetery, the VFW will host a free community breakfast at the post home (106 Park Ave.)
Prior to the ceremonies Monday, volunteers will begin at 6:15 a.m. setting up flags around the Tourist Information Center at South Second Street and Clayton Road. They will then move on to set up more flags on the county building lawn (230 N. Third Street) and nearby in front of city hall (224 Savage Ave.). All volunteers are welcome to help set up the estimated 200 flags, as well as take them down that day at 4 p.m.
In Springer, flags will be placed at the cemetery beginning at 6 a.m. Monday, with a Memorial Day service planned there at 10 a.m. On Saturday, the holiday weekend gets underway with an open house at the Santa Fe Trail Museum (516 Maxwell Ave.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park near Angel Fire will hold its annual Memorial Day activities during the long weekend.
Vietnam veteran and author Jack McLean will present a talk and sign copies of his book, Loon, on Saturday from 4 to 5 p.m. and again Sunday from 2 to 3 p.m. A prisoner of war/missing in action presentation is scheduled for Saturday from 3 to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 2 p.m. The presentation will provide information from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, which has a mission of trying to achieve the fullest possible accounting of all Americans missing as a result of the nations’ past conflicts.
The remaining schedule of events at the memorial:
Sunday: 11 a.m.-noon — Sandra Wasko-Flood, founder of Living Labyrinths for Peace, will discuss the history of the project and how it is used in healing programs for veterans. People will be able to walk a labyrinth nearby; 6-7:30 p.m. — candlelight vigil featuring speakers from veterans organizations.
Monday: 8:30-9 a.m. — Taos Pueblo shows how it pays tribute to its warriors as singers and drum songs will honor veterans; 9-9:30 a.m. — flag march in which volunteers carry a 40-by-60-foot U.S. flag from N.M. 434 and U.S. 64 to the memorial (volunteers can meet at the starting intersection at 8:45 a.m.); 9-11 a.m. — Ride to Pride, a Las Vegas, N.M.-based group, will be on site with a couple horses to talk about equine-assisted therapy programs for veterans and their families; 11 a.m. — Memorial Day ceremony.
Planning a destination wedding is one way for a couple to lessen the time it takes to plan the wedding. With destination weddings, the majority of the work is done by the staff and others at the destination. While these weddings are sometimes thought to be more expensive than a local wedding, there are some financial reasons why the destination wedding might be the best choice for your needs. As is the case with any wedding, planning ahead is the key to pulling off a successful destination wedding and getting to enjoy the accompanying honeymoon.
When you are planning a destination wedding, you need to find a wedding consultant or planner in the destination area that specializes in working with couples from out of town, especially if you are from out of that state or country. Most places require you to meet certain residency requirements. This is something an experienced wedding planner can help you with. An alternative to this is to get married on a cruise, as cruise ships usually offer weddings that don’t have residency requirements.
Financing the Event
According to Smart Money, destination weddings are often less expensive than traditional weddings. The magazine attributes this to the fact that certain colleagues, family members, and friends may feel obligated to attend a local wedding. However, a destination wedding provides an easy “out” for those people. As such, you won’t have to pay for food and other expenses for that person.
When the requirements to have a wedding at your preferred destination seem to be daunting, there is an alternative to tying the knot there. Before you leave on your trip, you can get married by a justice of the peace in your hometown. Once you are at the destination, you can still have your “show” wedding complete with the wedding party, decor and gown. Your guests will never be the wiser unless you tell them.
I spend a fair amount of time reading other sites these days. In fact, my reading of printed books and other publications has dropped dramatically since I started using Google Reader and subscribing to a number of new RSS feeds from various sites. 90% of these feeds are from blogs, plus I read a number of news sites directly. Periodically I also check out Digg and a few other social networking sites to see what the latest popular news is. I would venture to say I am a fairly high volume consumer of online articles.
Through the course of this reading, most of the sites I frequent have user interaction in some form or another; mainly in the form of user comments or forums. There are times when the user comments on an article can be as interesting and informative as the originating piece, which is particularly true when dealing with some of the photography sites I frequent. Even in the least controversial of topics there can some that participate seemingly for the sole purpose of stirring up trouble. Today I was a bit analytical on these type of users.
I have written previously about Online Trolls and the admonition not to feed them. Though similar, the angry user is a far more dangerous species. Trolls typically try to get the confrontations going simply for their enjoyment and out of a complete abundance of time on their hands. A troll has nothing better to do and their sad, pathetic lives revolve around deriving some childish pleasure from making some ridiculous comment that will obviously inflame the others on the site. Usually, these types just go elsewhere in search of their needed attention if you ignore them, hence the advice to not “feed the trolls.”
With the angry commenter, you are never quite sure of their motivation, but you are sure of their passion. An angry user will never back down from their position in an argument, no matter how clearly the community has been rebutting them. If logic fails, the user will resort to name calling, swearing and other childish behaviors in the continual need to somehow feel like they have come out ahead. Truly this is like a child who lacks the mental maturity to have a rational debate and have the ability to concede when an opposing viewpoint is proven to be truer in the context of a specific discussion.
Of course, not all and perhaps most online conversations are not based on topics that have a definitive right and wrong answer. Most discussions revolve around matters of opinion, which of course are the flocking grounds of most visitors looking to express what they know is the way things are but is in the end simply their strongly voiced opinion. Opinions are powerful things, and discounting someone’s heartfelt stance is typically all the spark needed to get a raging fire going.
Take a look at any site like Digg, Slashdot and any other active forum of public commenting and you will see that seemingly the majority of people posting are those looking for some head-to-head debate. Some approaches in intellectually, but many (I hesitate to write most, but many qualifies) simply like to throw out a quip and see where it goes. The downside of this is that most comment threads veer quickly off topic, leading to worthless conversations that are unrelated to the reason I clicked through to the discussion, so I leave.
Comments are popular because they invite interaction that leads to site loyalty and users revisiting the site “ but in some cases when commenting systems are frequented by these angry users, it drives away many of your more silent regular users. Depending on the nature of the site, for every comment made, there can be tens if not hundreds or more of users that choose to read and not comment. That is the case with this site. Very few choose to comment, but there are many other visitors to the site according to the traffic logs. That’s ok, commenting is not for everyone. Most of the sites I visit I am not an active participant unless something really strikes me.
So in the end, I think the angry commenter can be both a good and bad thing to a site. The angry tone can drive away some of your more silent regular visitors, yet in some discussion, it can engage the more resilient ones and create an atmosphere of active discussion. Angry users of like minds also tend to band together, and that band of not-so-merry users can be your biggest advocates one day, and another day move their growing power to work against you. Walking that tightrope can be a difficult task.
On this site, I hope most users find our topics enjoyable, often humorous and non-offensive. If a particular post pricks your conscious to where you think we have “gone too far” then perhaps you can take a moment to look inward and see if there is more truth to the topic than you would like to admit. I strongly believe that we all only have the right to laugh at others when we are willing to first laugh at ourselves. If we can commit to this simple belief, we can find much more to laugh about and have more fun each day.
Gold’s rebound from the biggest decline in more than three decades is sparking a revival in exploration – and for one Brazilian focused-miner it’s worth the risk of crossing paths with jaguars.
Beadell Resources Ltd. hired armed guards earlier this year to protect its exploration team in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil after they stumbled across the largest of South America’s big cats.
“Shareholders have gone from rewarding companies for doing no exploration, no expansions and cost reductions into rewarding companies for value-accretive exploration,” Beadell’s Managing Director Peter Bowler, said in an interview in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, at the annual Diggers & Dealers conference. “About 70 percent of our shareholders would prefer us to drill, drill and drill.”
Producers from Gold Fields Ltd. to Northern Star Resources Ltd., who both attended the conference, are boosting exploration budgets that were trimmed as companies sought to cut costs amid gold’s 28 percent tumble last year. The mood mirrors comments last month by Rio Tinto Group Chief Executive Officer Sam Walsh who noted renewed investor appetite for spending.
“At some point you have to recommence spending, and in difficult times you’ve got to understand how to prioritize that spending,” said Roric Smith, vice president of discovery and chief geologist at Sydney-based Evolution Mining Ltd. “If you don’t replace your reserves, you’ve got a go-out-of-business strategy.”
Beadell rose 8.6 percent to 0.505 cents in Sydney trading, while Northern Star rose 5.5 percent.
Exploration work will accelerate over the next 6 to 12 months, according to MinEx Consulting Pty, whose clients include Newmont Mining Corp., the second-biggest gold company, and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the third-biggest.
Beadell has allocated as much as $15 million for exploration in Brazil this year, up from $12 million in 2013, and may add funding, if teams in Brazil and in Australia make discoveries, Bowler said. The Perth-based company’s geologists encountered the jaguar when they were looking for deposits near their Tucano mine in Amapa state.
“That was enough to sharpen their senses,” said Bowler on Aug. 5. “We do see jaguar tracks in the morning around the mine site quite regularly.”
Spending on gold exploration in Australia, the second- biggest producer, fell in the three months to March 31 to A$81.7 million ($76.4 million), the lowest quarterly total since March 2000, according to the country’s Bureau of Statistics.
The exploration budgets of some companies remain constrained. Barrick Gold Corp., the biggest producer, allocated $200 million to $240 million to exploration in 2014, compared to a 2013 budget of $230 million to $250 million, according to its annual report. Newmont also has trimmed spending on exploration, though Chief Executive Officer Gary Goldberg says it remains a critical task.
“You’ve got to be constantly adding to reserves and resources around existing mines, but also out and looking for other things,” Goldberg told reporters today in Melbourne. “It’s the least expensive way to acquire a new asset.”
AngloGold spent $34 million in the three months to March, compared to $92 million in the same period a year earlier, according to a May filing. “The level of exploration that we’ve got now isn’t something that we’d be satisfied with in the long term,” AngloGold Executive Vice President Planning and Technical Graham Ehm said by phone from Perth in a July 31 interview.
Gold investor demand showed signs of rebounding in July with holdings of BullionVault customers rising to a record after gold rallied 10 percent in the first half. Gold, which traded at $1,307.12 at 3:50 p.m. Sydney time, rose 10 percent in the first half and may rise to $1,400 by 2017, Citigroup Inc. said in a July 13 report.
Johannesburg-based Gold Fields has increased its Australian exploration budget to A$55 million from A$25 million last year and will probably raise it again next year, Executive Vice President for Australasia Richard Weston said in an interview. Northern Star, which has more than doubled this year, has allocated A$50 million in 2014, compared to a previous annual budget of about A$10 million.
“Companies have got their businesses back into shape and they are now starting to look to the future and get back out into the field,” said MinEx Managing Director Richard Schodde. “The good news is that the costs of drilling services are cheaper now then they were a year ago, so you can get more bang for your exploration buck.”
The cost of exploration activities including drilling and the testing of samples has reduced by as much as 30 percent in the past year, according to Peter Bradford, Chief Executive Officer of Independence Group NL, which collaborated with AngloGold on the 2005 discovery of the Tropicana project, in Western Australia, which began production in September and may hold as much as 7.7 million ounces of gold.
Independence Group, which has gained 53 percent this year in Sydney trading, may seek to invest in or acquire advanced exploration projects held by smaller companies with dwindling cash reserves, according to Bradford. “People just don’t have the money of their own and need to progress projects, or run the risk of losing tenure, so we are directing more dollars to that,” he said.
New Jersey offers a wealth of Italian restaurants, and many of them provide the opportunity for diners to bring their own wine or beer to enjoy with their meal. Enjoy authentic Italian cuisine, and then explore the streets of Westfield, Princeton or Hoboken for a delightful evening.
Theresa’s, a bring your own bottle Westfield landmark, is recommended by the prestigious Zagat survey and is featured in the New Jersey Monthly. They offer pasta made fresh every day. Diners are invited to bring their own wine or beer to enjoy with dinner. The dinner menu includes a wide selection of antipasti, including crispy calamari, crusted fresh mozzarella and stuffed artichoke. Salad specialties are arugula and roasted pears with gorgonzola cheese and spiced walnuts and baby spinach salad. Homemade pasta choices include penne with broccoli rabe, and dinner entrée offerings are pistachio crusted salmon and asiago chicken. Diners can enjoy exploring the streets of Westfield with its upscale shops after a meal at Theresa’s.
47 Elm St.
Westfield, NJ 07090
According to the Trenton Times, La Mezzaluna in Princeton is a “charming and unpretentious” restaurant serving authentic Italian food. The restaurant is located on Witherspoon Street in the heart of historic Princeton and within walking distance of the world-class university. Lunch and dinner is served daily. Specialties of the house include a spinach, apple, watercress and walnut salad with a berry vinaigrette; fettucine with smoked salmon, artichokes, mushrooms and grape tomatoes in garlic olive oil; and hazelnut and walnut encrusted rack of lamb in a mustard demi glace.
25 Witherspoon St.
Anthony David’s is highly rated by Zagat for its Italian cuisine, brunch, outdoor dining and tasting menu. The restaurant started as a gourmet market, take-out and catering facility and developed into a popular Hoboken dining destination. Although Anthony David’s is considered a BYOB restaurant, an arrangement with a nearby wine merchant will have your wine order delivered to your table within minutes. Traditional Italian dishes with American flavors are offered on the menu. Selections include pan roasted Chilean sea bass, grilled lamb tenderloin and crispy duck breast. This Hoboken Italian BYOB serves brunch daily and dinner from Tuesday through Sunday. Hoboken’s bustling Washington Street is nearby for a walk after dinner.
111 Tenth St.
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Writing about mice ugly little rodents is not on my priority list, but given the time of year when mice are looking for a warm place to hide I think it might help my readers in some ways.
I live in the middle of orchards and vineyards so mice population around our home is pretty large.We have been in a process of remodeling and renovating our home so I’ve been facing little rodent problems for over a year now.
Few months ago we finished our home renovation and I’ve been told by my hunter-gatherer-protector husband that my mice problems are over…..house is completely sealed and there is NO WAY for any mice to come in unless we leave the doors open for a long time.
Well, few weeks after my husband left town (and is not due home till December) my pantry was attacked and lots of food damage was done…..never mind the fact that when I opened my eyes after my morning meditation I saw a mouse sitting on top of my curtain rod starring at me with those little creepy eyes.
So this is the way I see it……either my kids have very bad door closing habits or my husband was WRONG!!!….Personally, I know it’s the second one….
….and this is how I know….
….after catching 5….yes, 5 dirty disgusting mice in period of two weeks I decided to call in the professionals (well, I had hubs do it long distance to give him the satisfaction of still being the man of the house)….and they found not ONE, but…….TWO little tiny holes for mice to attack my home and ravage my pantry.
My knight in shining armor a.k.a Pest Control dude not only filled the holes, but gave me a little mice 101 education.
Common House Mice might not be as bad as other rodents, but having mice in your house is not a laughing matter.
- Mice might not eat a lot, but they can contaminate all the food they come in contact with and cause you to waste lots of food from your pantry (I am painfully aware of this).
- Mice can cause huge structural damage to your home.They can chew through electrical insulation and cause fires.
- Mice can cause contamination of the environment by leaving droppings inside the walls and inside the home insulation.
- Food contaminated by mice is almost 10 times bigger then what they will eat.Therefore throw away even a big bag with a tiny hole.
- Mice and parasites they carry can transmit many diseases like Salmonellosis, Rickettsial Pox and Hanta Virus.
- Bacterial food poisoning occurs when foods are contaminated with infected rodent droppings. Mice also carry many types of tapeworms and roundworms infectious to pets and humans alike.
- Hanta virus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), which causes severe illness and even death in humans is transmitted by several mouse species including the common house mouse.
To reduce the risk of contacting organisms transmitted by mice, you ALWAYS should:
- Clean up mouse contaminated areas by using wet methods which includes disinfectants with bleach
- Always wear gloves when cleaning or handling mice
- Avoid sweeping and vacuuming if possible
- Discard ALL foods that have signs of being nibbled on and food that were open
- If mice droppings were found inside your cupboards disinfect ALL pots and pans and other utensils
Remember, as dangerous and gross as mice droppings might be the invisible (most of the time) mouse urine is much worse for spreading diseases.
There are few things you should to know to keep your home mouse and rodent free:
- Under normal circumstances (not living in the middle of orchard or farm) mice don’t come in unless there is something inviting that brings them in like open doors or garage doors with dog/cat food or grass/bird seeds inside.
- The most effective and humane way to catch mice is simple snap trap.
- Once they in the house mice have the same routine…..they run along the walls and edges always in the same area so place mouse traps along the wall where you see mice droppings.
- Mice prefer food they’ve already eaten. Put in the trap food they gotten into like cereal, pasta, chips….
- Mice love nesting material like dental floss, strings, threads. You can use them as a bait.
- If you suspect mice problem or if you live in rural area it’s a good idea to call Pest Control before winter to make sure there are no ways for mice to get into your home.
There are so many rodent products and traps on the market these days, but most of them are just waste of money.
- Catch & Release traps are useless….it takes long time for mice (if ever) to enter them and the mice will be killed by exposure shortly after release.
- Poison Bags & Bricks are dangerous for domestic animals and children. Also they kill mice making them dehydrated from the inside and likely dying slowly in the middle of your kitchen or room trying to get to water source.
- Plug-In Ultrasonic Mouse Repellent are the biggest waste of money. In my experience they don’t do absolutely anything to keep mice out.
Do you have any other Mice Prevention tips or ideas? I would love to hear them?
Bush pilots, active volcanoes, calving glaciers, wild salmon and king crab: Alaska is a wilderness. From moose in downtown Anchorage to remote fishing in glacier-fed rivers, visitors will find a wealth of adventures awaiting.
Choose a cruise in Prince William Sound, a flight over America’s highest peak or ride one of the country’s great railroads for your holiday. From whale-watching to the Moose Dropping Festival, you are guaranteed a unique stay in the Land of the Midnight Sun’s remote splendor, where backyards in Anchorage have more small planes than automobiles.
While Juneau is the capitol, Anchorage is the hub of Alaska. Itself a destination with the picturesque Chugach Mountains to the east and Cook Inlet and Turnagain Arm to the west, Anchorage has fine restaurants, museums, salmon-watching and downtown salmon-fishing on your lunch hour as well as hikes, glacier walks and wildlife-viewing.
It is also the terminus of the Alaska Railroad, which will take you south to cruises or north to Denali country and Fairbanks (www.akrr.com).
Choose a cruise
Cruises take off from Whittier and Seward, with Prince William Sound and Kenai fjords the ultimate destinations for animal-watching, calving glaciers, icebergs and spectacular scenery. Don’t worry about missing a whale or bald eagle, the captain will stop the ship (or train or bus) if necessary to allow everyone a good camera angle. Cruises run from two to six hours and have naturalists on board to point out the sights.
Many visitors know Alaska from major cruises from the Lower 48. Ships dock in Anchorage, and cruisers can take trips inland to see Mt. McKinley or Fairbanks.
With the highest percentage of bush pilots around, the chance to book a flight to a remote lodge or to see glaciers or McKinley from the air is irresistible.
Talkeetna, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Anchorage, is the nearest town to Denali National Park and the base of most of the flight-seeing. Pilots get so close that it feels like the wings are brushing the sheer cliffs. Landing at Base Camp filled with climbers waiting to start their ascent is a thrilling option.
With 34,000 miles of coastline and sprinkled with rivers and lakes, Alaska is a wonderland for fishermen. There are five species of spawning salmon that begin in March each year and are followed by trophy halibut. Trophy fish are caught regularly.
Guides offer ocean adventures as well as interior power boats and canoes and kayaks to suit every taste.
Alaska is full of festivals, especially in the summer. Find a full listing at the Anchorage Daily News site, www.alaska.com/events.
Two in particular are world-famous: the Iditarod dogsled race in March and Talkeetna’s Moose Dropping Festival in July.
The Iditarod starts in Anchorage, then again from Wasilla the next day. Nome is where the tired teams cross the finish line nine to 15 days later and offers a great view of the winners and also-rans.
Discover quaint Talkeetna, the gateway to Denali, at the annual Moose Dropping Festival. There is a parade that turns around and passes twice and a chance to win cash with your own personal moose dropping and a festival with Denali as a beautiful backdrop.
Financial difficulties and economic uncertainty can prevent many families from taking their dream summer vacation. However, families can discover plenty of cheap vacation options through careful research. Local entertainment, free museums and service opportunities can contribute to an unforgettable family summer vacation that stays within budget.
Families can save big on recreation but still enjoy a relaxing, entertaining summer vacation by staying in their local area. Save the money you would have spent on hotels, travel expenses and food costs by staying home and discovering the attractions in your own backyard. Coordinate a “Staycation” with popular summer festivals—such as the Ann Arbor Summer Festival in Michigan—to enjoy free classes, shows and activities. Peruse the city newspaper for free summer concerts, low-cost film series and outdoor children’s theatre. Visit at least two of the area’s most popular tourist spots, such as aquariums, zoos, sporting events and museums. Plan one unique activity for a summer splurge, such as an afternoon of horseback riding or parasailing. Enjoy summer outdoor activities through hiking, fishing, canoeing and bicycling.
Families able to drive or snag a cheap flight to Washington, D.C., can enjoy many museums that have free admission. The Smithsonian Museums along the National Mall are some of the most-visited museums in the world. Discover the history of aviation at the National Air & Space Museum through hands-on exhibits and interactive flight simulators. Hours of entertainment await at the Museum of Natural History, where children will squeal in delight over dinosaur bones, mammal representations and famous artifacts (such as the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond). Other D.C. attractions include the newly reopened National Museum of American History; items on display include Kermit the Frog, Dorothy’s red sparkly shoes from “The Wizard of Oz” and Abraham Lincoln’s top hat. An added bonus in Washington, D.C.? The monuments are also free for viewing.
Consider serving others this summer with the family by your side. VolunTourism—a newly coined word that references vacations based around community service—provides the opportunity to make a summer trip meaningful. Head to the Big Easy and work with Hands On New Orleans. Visitors can receive free meals and housing while volunteering in the local community (check with the organization for age limitations). Save on vacation lodging and food expenses and fuel up on emotional fulfillment. Volunteer at St. Margaret’s and socialize with the residents, lend a hand with home-building in needy neighborhoods, plant trees in community gardens or change city lightbulbs to energy-efficient styles.
Are you a family of animal lovers? Spend a summer in toasty Utah at the Best Friends Sanctuary. Take care of more than 2,000 homeless pets—pigs, dogs, horses, birds, bunnies and cats—and help boost their chances of finding adoptive homes. Cheap cabin lodging is available nearby.