Rob Gronkowski Got His Adrenaline Pumping While Visiting Universal Orlando Resort

Rob Gronkowski Got His Adrenaline Pumping While Visiting Universal Orlando Resort Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the NFL championship-winning New England Patriots, kicked off his Memorial Day weekend at Universal Orlando Resort by getting his adrenaline pumping on Revenge of the Mummy. Based on the popular ÒMummyÓ films, this Òpsychological thrill rideÓ brings riders face-to-face with both physical and psychological fears. Universal Orlando Resort is the ultimate vacation destination and home to two incredible theme parks, four magnificently themed on-site hotels and Universal CityWalk, the one place that is the intersection of dining and entertainment for every member of the family. © 2015 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved Photo by Octavian Cantilli

Rob Gronkowski Got His Adrenaline Pumping While Visiting Universal Orlando Resort
Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the NFL championship-winning New England Patriots, kicked off his Memorial Day weekend at Universal Orlando Resort by getting his adrenaline pumping on Revenge of the Mummy. Based on the popular ÒMummyÓ films, this Òpsychological thrill rideÓ brings riders face-to-face with both physical and psychological fears.
Universal Orlando Resort is the ultimate vacation destination and home to two incredible theme parks, four magnificently themed on-site hotels and Universal CityWalk, the one place that is the intersection of dining and entertainment for every member of the family.
© 2015 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved
Photo by Octavian Cantilli

Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the NFL championship-winning New England Patriots, kicked off his Memorial Day weekend at Universal Orlando Resort by getting his adrenaline pumping on Revenge of the Mummy. Based on the popular “Mummy” films, this “psychological thrill ride” brings riders face-to-face with both physical and psychological fears.

Universal Orlando Resort is the ultimate vacation destination and home to two incredible theme parks, four magnificently themed on-site hotels and Universal CityWalk, the one place that is the intersection of dining and entertainment for every member of the family.

Shawn Mendes Visits Universal Orlando Resort

Teen music sensation Shawn Mendes had an #OMGMoment when he stepped inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando on Sunday, May 24. During his visit, he explored Diagon Alley – and even tried his hand at casting a spell or two.   Later that evening, Mendes performed as one of this year’s headlining acts at Universal Orlando’s 25th Anniversary Concert Series. Universal Orlando Resort is the ultimate vacation destination and home to two incredible theme parks, four magnificently themed on-site hotels and entertainment complex, Universal CityWalk.   HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s15)   © 2015 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Teen music sensation Shawn Mendes had an #OMGMoment when he stepped inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando on Sunday, May 24. During his visit, he explored Diagon Alley – and even tried his hand at casting a spell or two.
Later that evening, Mendes performed as one of this year’s headlining acts at Universal Orlando’s 25th Anniversary Concert Series. Universal Orlando Resort is the ultimate vacation destination and home to two incredible theme parks, four magnificently themed on-site hotels and entertainment complex, Universal CityWalk.
HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.
(s15)
© 2015 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Teen music sensation Shawn Mendes had an #OMGMoment when he stepped inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando on Sunday, May 24. During his visit, he journeyed aboard the Hogwarts Express, explored Gringotts bank, sampled Butterbeer ice-cream – and even tried his hand at casting a spell or two. 

Later that evening, Mendes performed as one of this year’s headlining acts at Universal Orlando’s 25th Anniversary Concert Series. Universal Orlando Resort is the ultimate vacation destination and home to two incredible theme parks, four magnificently themed on-site hotels and entertainment complex, Universal CityWalk.

 

Bicycle Adventures Reveals Why Oregon is Tops for Cycle Touring

Bicycle Adventures http://bicycleadventures.com/, an award-winning Pacific Northwest-based active travel company specializing in two-wheel tours in North America, Hawaii (the Big Island), Spain, New Zealand and Taiwan, is keen on Oregon this summer.

“This state is tops for craft beer, oysters, mountain lodges, quiet bike lanes and scenery spanning both mountains and coast,” claims Todd Starnes, Bicycle Adventures’ owner and president. Permutations of this potable-edible-great-scenery mix show up in both new and tried and true trips, including one itinerary that delves into the 100th anniversary of Crater Lake Lodge where a guest from Florida said, “If I had one last day on Earth, I’d ride the rim at Crater Lake National Park.”

Here’s a sampling of this year’s Oregon bike tour line-up with Bicycle Adventures:

Oregon Crater Lake Bike Tour (http://bicycleadventures.com/destinations/oregon-bike-tours/Oregon-Crater-Lake-Bike-Tour) is a seven-day trip biking on average 45 miles a day. The journey begins in Portland before cycling one of the Top 10 Roads in the West, the stunning Aufderheide Scenic Byway to old-growth forests on the McKenzie River. Oregon’s adventure capital, Bend, comes next, along with craft beers that fortify riders into Crater Lake National Park. Riding the crater’s rim is a 33-mile visual feast that topped Bicycling Magazine’s ‘Dream Rides’ list. Guests stay here at the century-old lodge. But the excitement isn’t over yet. More stands of virgin timber await in the forested wilderness around Rogue River Lodge before heading back to Portland. The per person rate is $3,395 including accommodation, nearly all meals, guide, bike and more. This trip can be tailored to all levels. Departures begin July 5 and continue through Sept. 6, 2015.

Bend Frugal is a six-day tour in and around Bend that can also be thought of as high-desert ‘Bend on a Budget’.  The trip begins and ends in this adventure capital and the average biking per day is 35 miles. Sites such as Crane Prairie, the climbers’ mecca known as Smith Rock, McKenzie Pass – gateway to a volcanic moonscape, Sunriver Resort, craft brew pubs, music and nightlife are wrapped up in a $2,225 per person double rate.  This year’s departures are July 5 and Aug. 2. See: http://bicycleadventures.com/destinations/oregon-bike-tours/Bend-Frugal—NEW!

Prairies to Pines Epic is a new trip this year that offers nine days on bikes departing the athlete-and-brewpub center of Bend and moving east through the other-worldly region of the Painted Hills and John Day Fossil Beds. After tackling the peaks and valleys of the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness, guests relax at Wallowa Lake, known as America’s Little Switzerland. Then it’s back in the saddle through Eagle Cap Wilderness, Hell’s Canyon and into the high pastures of central Idaho.  Think Snake River and Hells Canyon and Payette National Forest and McCall, accomplished in over 100 miles.  Departures are from Boise. Guests average 70 miles a day on bikes. The per person double rate is $3,595, with departures on June 20 and July 5. See: http://bicycleadventures.com/destinations/oregon-bike-tours/Prairies-to-Pines-Epic—NEW!

Oregon Coast Classic  is a six-day tour that can be tailored to all levels of riders with an average of 40 miles biking per day. Miles of craggy coast, glittering water, sandy beaches, and a bounty of oysters are the hallmarks of this journey along the Oregon coast. Antique lighthouses guard jutting headlands; country roads wind inland through ancient forests and valleys laced with dairy farms and sparkling streams. This region is hailed as one of Oregon’s seven wonders. Bicycle from Astoria, oldest American settlement in the West, south along the Oregon Coast Scenic Bike Route to finish in Newport, where fishing boats share the bay with southbound whale pods. The per person double rate is $2,795, with departures July 19 and August 2. See: http://bicycleadventures.com/destinations/oregon-bike-tours/Oregon-Coast-Bike-Tour

The company also offers an urban escape with its Portland Pedaler, four days of biking, coffee and beer in the City of Roses. There are also tours of Columbia Gorge and a classic journey from the Oregon Coast to Crater Lake that includes whitewater rafting on the Wild & Scenic Rogue River.

For more information, availability and reservations contact Bicycle Adventures by phone: 800.443.6060, email: office@bicycleadventures.com or visit online at: http://bicycleadventures.com/.

#1 Advantage of Booking a Self-Guided European Bike Tour

Pioneers of self-guided cycling vacations, Pure Adventures (http://pure-adventures.com/tours/self-guided-tours.php), offers travelers real peace of mind when booking a trip with them. With no minimum number of participants to reach on a trip, this company will never cancel a self-guided departure once booked.

This is one selling point to consider along with a recommendation to look at their “off-peak” spring and early summer cycling and hiking programs in Europe this year.

Fewer crowds, weather accommodating active vacations, lavender and poppy fields abloom, lower air fares and the strength of the dollar in Europe become value-added rationales for spring travel, said Loren Siekman, Pure Adventures founder/owner.

“We can accommodate 11th hour reservations for our guaranteed-departure self-guided bicycle trips,” he added. These trips allow one or several family members and friends traveling together the peace of mind that travel plans are in hand before they begin their trip. Flexible start dates for departure mean that clients can travel according to their own schedules; itineraries can also be modified on an as-needs basis.

“You pick who you travel with, a spouse, a child, a friend. You are not lumped together with a group of strangers on self-guided plans,” he said.

Because there’s no minimum number of guests required for a self-guided departure (you can even do it solo if you wish), this translates to no disappointments because of canceled or delayed departures. The staff can even help bail out folks whose trip was cancelled by another tour operator that couldn’t meet required minimums.

He cited an example of a client, Eric of Rockport, ME, whose trip with another company in Spain was canceled on March 29 for travel this spring. The couple had already booked air and pre and post-trip extensions in a particular region.

“They just needed a new trip in between. They didn’t have a lot of time to find a new trip that could work for those exact dates but we accommodated them. On April 13 they booked a self-guided bicycle tour in Spain with us and are traveling May 26 to June 1,” reports Siekman. See the trip they booked: http://pure-adventures.com/show-tour/73/Cordoba+to+Granada+Moorish+Spain+Cycling

Clients can choose varied itinerary options in the dozen or more countries in Europe where Pure Adventures has bicycling and trekking programs. For example, in Spain are, among others, a wine and food focused ‘Gastronomic Catalonia Cycling Tour’ that has been a best seller for 10 years; or a seven-night cycle through the white villages of Andalusia. If people prefer walking, Pure Adventures offers a section of the famous Camino de Santiago de Compostela route that cuts across the La Rioja wine region.

Moving from Spain to Italy brings more opportunities for self guided options both on bicycles and on foot. Great for last-minute planners are self-guided hiking tours of four highly desired regions of Italy: Cinque Terre, the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany and Lake Como. Throughout Italy are options for self-guided bicycle tours as well offered by Pure Adventures.

The self-guided concept emphasizes the freedom to choose travel dates, departures and even “days off” as well as flexibility of pace, duration, start times and dates and special requests. These trips are more affordable than guided trips without sacrificing quality hotels, meals, routes, luggage transfers, orientation and more that the company organizes. Behind the tour is the company’s support through onsite personal orientation, in country bilingual support and transfers.

In addition to self-guided programs, Pure Adventures offers other ways to organize bicycling and hiking vacations: Guided vs Self-Guided vs Supported, Self-Directed, See: http://pure-adventures.com/blog/2014/06/23/how-to-choose-the-perfect-bicycle-vacation/#.VUk4UvlVhHw

For more information on all of Pure Adventures guided, self-guided and supported, self-directed tours, call: 800-960-2221800-960-2221 FREE or 480-905-1235480-905-1235, Email: info@pure-adventures.com, or visit online: http://pure-adventures.com.

About Pure Adventures
Pure Adventures was created to meet North America’s growing demand for high-quality, self-guided cycling tours. Pure Adventures leverages and utilizes local expertise for route development, sites to see, people to meet, where to eat, and shop and experience life as a local would. Pure Adventures award-winning tours are competitively priced and meticulously planned with substantial behind-the-scene support creating a unique combination that makes a bicycle adventure more easily accessible to today’s active traveler.

This company pioneered self-guided tours in Europe in 1994 and recently launched its first itineraries in North America. 2015 tours span Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and now the United States with the introduction of 20 programs in the West.

Pure Adventures was recently recognized with a Best of Travel 2015 award by OUTSIDE Magazine for their California tours that elevated that state to the top destination in the category of Best Road Biking.

Endangered Ring-Tailed Lemurs Born at Busch Gardens

sealifeorlando

Busch Gardens® Tampa recently welcomed three baby endangered ring-tailed lemurs to the more than 12,000 animals that call the park home. First-time mother Canada gave birth to Squirt on March 19, and twins Schweps and Seagramms were born to Ginger on March 27.

Guests will be able to see the lively baby lemurs in the Edge of Africa area of the park in June as the animal care team continues to introduce them to their new habitat. Check out the Busch Gardens YouTube channel now for a first look!

These births come as a result of recommendations from the Ring-tailed Lemur Species Survival Plan through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Ginger and Canada arrived at Busch Gardens from the Duke Lemur Center in 2013. Spike, the sire of all three babies, came to the park from the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in 2004.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, ring-tailed lemurs are the most endangered mammal group in the World due to habitat destruction, hunting and the exotic pet trade. The SeaWorld® and Busch Gardens® Conservation Fund contributes to the Duke Lemur Center’s SAVA Conservation Project in Madagascar, where awareness about alternative farming practices and reforestation help restore lemur populations.

Busch Gardens is owned and operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™, a leading theme park and entertainment company that delivers personal, interactive and educational experiences that blend imagination with nature. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ also is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a worldwide leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for one of the largest animal collections on the North American continent and has helped lead advances in the care of species in zoological facilities and in the conservation of wild populations.

This Company Takes Family Travel in Peru to Perfection

Vaya Adventures (http://www.vayaadventures.com), the expert in designing premier bespoke vacations in South America, announces a Peru itinerary inclusive of experiences and activities specially arranged for families while taking in the highlights of the country.  As no two families are alike, the itinerary can be tailored to match a family’s activity level and interests, both before and during the trip.

Vaya’s Peru Active Family Adventure can be scheduled to depart on any day of the year (except in February when the Inca Trail is closed) for the convenience of family schedules. The per person rate, based on a family of four, for the nine-day program is $4,185 (with discounts for 12 and younger). This covers all accommodations, breakfasts, lunches on full-day tours, transfers, all guiding, excursions and entrance fees.

The trip starts in Lima with an overnight (flights often land late in the day and Lima can be just a stopover if the family prefers to limit time in this huge metropolis).  This city has some surprisingly fun family options.  Vaya Adventures can arrange a family boat trip out to the nearby Palomino Islands for viewing penguins, sea lions, dolphins and marine birds.  Bike tours along the coast in Lima are an alternative to traditional city tours. Surfing lessons are another possibility, as the adjacent coast is a renowned surfing area.  Evenings bring the Magic Water Circuit, a massive series of fountains with a light show that’s a hit with travelers and locals alike.

A short flight to Cusco introduces families to the fascinating lore and history of the Inca Empire and to special activities that bring the local culture to life and reveal how Peruvian families live, work and attend school. Four nights in the Sacred Valley provide time for a leisurely introduction to the region’s ancient and modern culture with guided hikes, mountain biking excursions (with options for varying abilities), one night of first class camping, a zipline adventure and a Via Ferrata rock climbing experience. Paddle boarding and kayaking are added options.

Accompanied by a private, home-grown English-speaking guide, visits will also be made to local families’ homes, the Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary (with local species such as llamas, condors, pumas, and monkeys), and the Sacred Valley Honeybee Project (where kids can put on the bee protection suits and see honey being made). A lunch visit to a primary school will allow a family to interact with kids of diverse backgrounds; from indigenous roots to the children of expatriates living in the area.

A night of camping on Lake Piuray is a family highlight with options for kayaking and paddle boarding (activities kids can enjoy with no prior experience) past terraced hills and forests fringed by snowcapped mountains.  Easygoing biking and hiking in the surrounding hills are other options.  Once ashore families will experience a “Pachamanca,” a traditional Andean-style, cooked-in-the-ground feast. This offers a fun and engaging way to experience an ancient Andean culinary ritual.  The evening is spent camping under the stars on the shores of the lake.

Leaving the valley, families board the train to Machu Picchu, disembarking at Kilometer 104 to hike the last few hours along the Inca Trail, through the cloud forest sparkling with birdlife and orchids.  Arriving at Intipunku (Gate of the Sun) gives the first dramatic glimpse of Machu Picchu. Tonight, families overnight at one of the finest hotels in Peru, the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.  Here children may visit the hotel’s Inkaterra Spectacled Bear Project that recovers bears negatively affected by human impact and reintroduces them into natural habitat.

The next morning brings a guided return visit to Machu Picchu to explore the ruins at a personal pace with far fewer people around. Adventurous kids may hike (about two hours roundtrip) with parents to the top of Huayna Picchu towering above Machu Picchu.

An afternoon train returns everyone to Cusco. The next day is spent wandering the streets of this colorful city, exploring its markets and visiting the ChocoMuseo (Chocolate Museum) where families can participate in a chocolate making workshop with sampling of Andean chocolate sourced from the highest quality local cacao beans.

“This trip is designed with children as young as seven in mind, and is targeted to active, curious families,” said Jim Lutz, Vaya’s founder.  “As a person with three kids I also understand the importance of not trying to do too much and making sure everyone gets ‘down time.’  We would customize this program to perfectly suit a family’s ages, interests and activity levels, and it would continue to be customized along the way based on discussions between the family and their private guide.”

Some details on activities:  The Via Ferrata is a style of rock climbing on an established route with a safety system permanently installed, giving people with no experience in climbing the opportunity to move securely through mountain scenery; suitable for children ages 9 and up. The zipline activity gives participants the opportunity to fly over the Andean landscape. The ziplines are a series of 5 separate cables, from 100 to 500 meters in length, for a ride covering 2000 meters. The mountain biking is non-technical over flat ground, with more challenging biking options available for families with more advanced riders.

As with all of Vaya’s trips, the itinerary is completely customizable and will be personalized to a family’s interests and preferences.

For more information please see:
http://www.vayaadventures.com/itineraries/peru-active-family-adventure/

Vaya Adventures offers similar family-focused programs with flexible start dates in Belize and the Galapagos Islands.

Belize Family Adventure is an eight-day program exploring the rainforest, ruins and barrier reef at $3,180 per person for a family of four.

Galapagos Family Adventure is an eight-day program on a 20-passenger yacht from $4,100 per person, with discount rates for children.

Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Tour is for 12 to 15 days from $5,170 per person.

For more information, trip planning, availability and reservations please visit: http://www.vayaadventures.com.

Dragon Fire Grill Opens June 1 at Busch Gardens

0image00

The all-new Dragon Fire Grill™ officially opens on June 1, featuring cuisines from around the world. Located in Pantopia™, Dragon Fire Grill features market-style dining, a wide selection of beverages and brand-new entertainment.

Market-Style Dining

Dragon Fire Grill reimagines the traditional culinary experience with market-style dining, featuring Italian, American, Southwestern and Asian cuisines. The menu includes shrimp lo mein, rotisserie chicken, flatbread pizzas, paninis and more. Dragon Fire Grill also adds to its current beer beverage lineup with national and local craft brews and adds a brand-new grab-and-go station featuring Starbucks coffee.   Plus, the Dragon Fire Pub offers a selection of premium cocktails and frozen refreshments.

Treasures of the Mirage

Guests are invited Busch Gardens’ all-new stage show, Treasures of the Mirage. This Arabian-inspired celebration transforms Dragon Fire Grill into a vibrant dance party with belly dancers and cultural music, creating an eclectic atmosphere for the entire family to enjoy.

                Tribute Bands

On select dates from June 4 to 22, tribute bands bring guests together for a celebration of classic pop, soft rock and blues at the Dragon Fire Grill. Feel the beat with authentic renditions of ABBA, Billy Joel and the Blues Brothers:

                June 4 – 8                            Abbamania, ABBA Tribute

                June 11 – 15                       Turnstiles, Billy Joel Tribute

                June 18 – 22                       The Official Blues Brothers Revue

Experience Dragon Fire Grill’s savory selections and live entertainment this summer with the Ride, Slide & Dine Ticket for just $99. For a limited time, this flexible deal allows guests to choose two visits and two meals to either Busch Gardens or Adventure Island. For more information, visit buschgardenstampa.com.

Plus, be the first to know about new events, special deals and future announcements by following the park’s blog at buschgardenstampablog.com, or “Like” the Busch Gardens Facebook page and follow @buschgardens on Twitter and Instagram.