Escapades: Gardens

Escapades: Gardens

Visiting gardens around the world is a great way to gain insight into the different cultures and aesthetics of the local people. Gardens vary greatly from region to region, featuring both native plant life and exotic flora, displaying the flowers most valued by the people in the area. These gardens are among the world’s most beautiful, renowned for their plants and designs. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town, South Africa Some consider Kirstenbosch the most beautiful garden in Africa, and with its combination of gorgeous flowers and a backdrop of Cape Town’s Table Mountain, it is easy to see why. The garden is a perfect reflection of Cape Town’s natural flora since it doubles as a part of a nature reserve. Set aside by the government in the early twentieth century, Kirstenbosch seamlessly fits with the surrounding mountains’ natural plant life. It is a great look into the natural world of South Africa. www.sanbi.org Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Richmond, Virginia, United States Once the hunting ground of Native Americans, this picturesque region of Virginia was turned into a botanical garden by Major Lewis Ginter in the twentieth century and is now considered to be one of the best gardens in North America. It features beautiful flowers year-round thanks to the mild climate of the southern United States. The site’s 50 acres include a domed conservatory and many themed gardens, including an interactive children’s garden, a rose garden, and a cherry tree walk. With its wide variety of flowers, it is sure to appeal to any garden lover. www.lewisginter.org Gardens of Versailles Versailles, France Dating from the seventeenth century, the...
Escapades: Ziplines around the World

Escapades: Ziplines around the World

Ziplining through the Hawaiian jungle. (Kualoa Private Nature Reserve) Tubing portion of the zipline adventure in Belize. (denAsuncioner) Flight of Gibbon in Thailand. (by Piyatad) The Monster in Puerto Rico. (Eric T. Gunther, cropped) Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. (by Cristophe Meneboeuf) Hawaii is a zipline paradise, with tons of beautiful locations to choose from. At the Kualoa Ranch and Zipline, you can zip through the same jungle that Jurassic Park was filmed in. The ranch also offers ATV tours, movie tours, and more. Visit them at www.kualoa.com/oahu-tours/zipline/. If you love getting on the water, the Jaguar Cave zipline is for you! Located in Belize, this adventure takes you to seven platforms through tropical Mayan rainforests, ending deep within Jaguar Cave. After a short hike, you hop on a tube and explore the cave by floating down the Cave Branch River. Visitors enjoy getting out to climb around inside the cave. Experience the thrill of moving through the Thai jungle in Mae Kampong, Thailand, the first ziplining park in the world. For an afternoon, zip on Asia’s longest single flight—Flight of Gibbon—lasting 2,600 feet in length. The ride will certainly test one’s willpower as visitors cross two sky bridges and rappel two descents during the course. Located in Arenal Volcano National Park in Costa Rica, the Canopy Vista Arenal zipline offers a series of 14 platforms connected by cable lines up to 2772 feet long with beautiful views of rainforest canopies, active volcanoes, and waterfalls. When you’re flying 125 feet above the ground, you’ll be sure to truly experience the vast expanse of nature that Costa Rica has to...
Refuge: Elephant Sanctuaries Around the World

Refuge: Elephant Sanctuaries Around the World

The majority of the human race enjoys seeing magnificent animals, specifically elephants involved in careers including performing in the circus, being displayed in zoos, or traveling. But where do these creatures go when they progress in age or can no longer perform with the strength and endurance they once had? In many countries around the world, elephant sanctuaries and orphanages have been set up for performing elephants to retire. A sanctuary, by origin of the word, refers to a sacred or holy place. Now it is more commonly seen as a haven or place of safety. The organizations providing these sanctuaries create places for elephants and other animals to rest and, in some cases, to be rescued and healed. The goal of the elephant sanctuaries is to make sure elephants are in a comfortable state. Each elephant shelter around the world offers something unique and beautiful: from a shelter with rare Borneo Pygmy Elephants in Malaysia to a combined shelter for elephants and monkeys in South Africa. Due to the animal cruelty that is commonplace in several parts of the world, there are many people who have dedicated their lives to providing refuge and a better life to animals. However, online reviews have made arguments concerning the treatment of the elephants, such as involuntary elephant rides. In some cases, elephant rides are contradictory to the idea of sanctuary and volunteers should research and read reviews on the location. Insider’s Look Jenny Rollins, a student residing in the United States, was able to visit the Elephant Sanctuary in Hartbeespoort Dam, South Africa. She explains, “It was really cool to be...
Toothy Traditions

Toothy Traditions

Losing a tooth is a highly anticipated milestone for young kids. Not only does it mean that they are growing, but the event may also involve an exciting cultural tradition. Traditions related to losing baby teeth have been circulating since the Middle Ages, when Vikings paid children for their teeth and the English burned baby teeth to save children’s souls. Throughout the years, these customs have transformed into modern-day traditions around the world. United States, United Kingdom, and Australia In most English-speaking cultures, the loss of a tooth often guarantees a special visit from the tooth fairy. If the toothless child places the pearly-white tooth under a pillow, the nocturnal fairy will appear once the child is asleep to exchange a treasure, usually money, for the tooth. Over the past decade, it seems that the average value of a lost tooth in the United States has increased—the Original Tooth Fairy Poll has charted the increase from $1.60 to $4.36. Spain In Spain, kids also eagerly await gifts in exchange for their teeth. But their gifts come from a friendly mouse, Ratoncito Pérez. The legend began in 1894 when Spanish author Luis Coloma wrote a children’s book to ease the mind of eight-year-old Alonso XIII (who would later become the king of Spain) about having lost a tooth. The book told of the adventures of Ratoncito Pérez, a rodent residing in a box of cookies on a street in Madrid, who would search out the bedrooms of children who had lost teeth and give them presents. The legacy of Ratoncito Pérez has lived on for over a century in many...
Megastatues

Megastatues

Let’s be honest; we love large statues. Whether they represent famous historical figures, religious idols, or even great events, they show our creative human potential. Are you familiar with how many giant statues around the world tourists flock to every year? Check out some of the world’s most famous megastatues! Statue of Liberty, New York City, United States 151 ft (46 m). This statue is likely the most iconic statue in the United States and was a welcome sign to immigrants coming into New York by ship in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Statue of Liberty was a gift to America from France and was designed by Frederic Auguste Barthodli. Work on the statue commenced in 1870, but the statue wasn’t finished until 1886. It is made of copper, which, due to the oxygen in the air, eventually turned the statue to its now-famous blue-green patina. This statue has become America’s symbol for liberty. Virgin Mary, Trujillo, Venezuela 153 ft (46.7 m). This piece was sculpted by Manuel de la Fuente in 1983. It depicts the mother of Christ, Mary, who is regarded as a saint in Christianity. The statue is made of painted concrete, weighing 1,200 tons. It is the largest statue of the Virgin Mary in the world. You can go inside this statue and climb up to four viewing points, where you can catch a great view of Trujillo. African Renaissance Monument, Dakar, Senegal 160 ft (49 m). Designed by Pierre Goudiaby, it was constructed by the North Korea–based Mansudae Overseas Projects between 2008 and 2010. It is made of three-centimeter-thick metal sheets...

Making the Most of Your Bazaar Experience

One of the hardest decisions to make when traveling is how to remember your trip once you get home. The perfect souvenir can help to rekindle the experiences of your trip long after your sunburn has faded and you have recovered from jet lag. However, finding that perfect souvenir can be tricky. One place many people wouldn’t think to look for amazing deals is large markets, commonly known as bazaars. Found in every corner of the globe, bazaars can be indoor or outdoor, open seasonally or year-round. Each bazaar sells authentic specialty products for very low prices that tourists often pass over because they don’t know what to look for or what constitutes a good deal. Check out what a few bazaars around the world are selling to see where you can find high-quality items for economical prices. La Feria de San Pedro Telmo: Buenos Aires, Argentina Next time you take a trip down south, don’t forget to stop at the bazaar of La Feria de San Pedro Telmo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This large open-air market takes place every Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in one of the oldest neighborhoods of the city. After visiting this extensive market in La Plaza Dorrego, you will need to take an extra suitcase home because you will encounter scarves, brass pots, antiques (including old telephones and gramophones), dinette sets, knives, and much more. But some of the best bargains here are for genuine leather goods. The leather belts, bags, and purses you will find here are high quality, often made locally, and very inexpensive. As an added bonus, while shopping...