Wildland Adventures Unveils New Trips in Sri Lanka, Costa Rica and Zambia

Wildland Adventures heeds the call of the wild with programs in three exotic destinations during prime times for late 2015 and 2016 travel. The destinations are Sri Lanka, Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula and Zambia.

All three programs incorporate Wildland Adventures’ “Wild Style” travel philosophy that embraces authenticity and meaningful cultural interaction that helps break down barriers and separates travelers from tourists, at the same time contributing to local communities and environmental initiatives.

“While exploring the most wild and primitive places on Earth, we do it in a style that embraces both traveler comfort and authenticity of experience,” explains Wildland founder and visionary director Kurt Kutay. “For example, when venturing into the wilds of Zambia on a walking safari, there is nobody between you and the wildlife except your exceptionally keen and knowledgeable guide whose job it is to allow a safe yet intimate distance without impacting or disturbing the animals.”

To that end, Wildland Adventures is introducing this new line-up of “Wild” journeys…

Wild Sri Lanka is a 15-day adventure that journeys from the island nation’s mountain highlands to its marine habitats, focusing on the 15 percent of the country that has been dedicated to wildlife preservation and protection. Safaris through three different national parks offer guests the opportunity to see leopards, sloth bears and herds of wild elephants. Travel is by energy-efficient vehicles and bicycle, with stays at certified eco-lodges.

Activities include mingling with locals, touring UNESCO World Heritage Sites, night and boat safaris, jungle ruins, a visit to an elephant rehabilitation camp, whale watching, observing newborn turtles at Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery, and biking through coconut and tea plantations. This trip focuses on the local benefits of tourism by working directly with the remote communities visited. The gateway city is Colombo. The per person double rate is $5,086. While there are set monthly departures throughout 2016, Sri Lanka is truly a year round destination for anyone wishing to set up a private itinerary.  See: http://www.wildland.com/trips/asia/sri-lanka/wild-sri-lanka/overview.aspx

Into the Wilds of the Osa Peninsula goes where elusive jungle cats still roam in Costa Rica. This eight-day itinerary ventures deep into the Corcovado National Park, identified by National Geographic as “one of the most biologically intense places on the planet.” Here on the Osa Peninsula hiking through rainforests, kayaking coastal waterways and rivers and snorkeling from pristine beaches showcase rare and exotic species including the elusive puma and jaguar, tapir, herds of collared peccaries, sloth and assorted monkeys, all the while in a cacophony of calls and warbles of myriad tropical birds.

Trip proceeds support research and habitat preservation of Neotropical cats in the Osa. An optional overnight can be arranged in the remote and rustic facilities of the Sirena Ranger Station. The gateway city is San Jose. The per person double rate is from $3,795. Departures in 2015 are Nov. 21, and Dec. 19, 21, 23 and 26. Departures in 2016 are Jan. 9 and Feb. 11, with other dates to be announced. The Wildland Adventures staff suggests that families may want to plan this as a holiday trip. Rates for children 12 and under are $2,995. See: http://www.wildland.com/trips/central-america/costa-rica/osa-peninsula-wildland-adventure/overview.aspx

Wild Zambia Safari is a 10-day active adventure in Zambia that includes an optional night camping under the stars in the wilderness of South Luangwa National Park. Wildland travelers explore with expert wildlife guides the wonders of South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks on foot, by canoe, and in specially outfitted 4×4 safari vehicles. This is where the African walking safari originated. The trip includes a five-mile trek (guest luggage is transported ahead) from Luwi to Nsolo bush camps, tracking game through habitat where wild dogs roam among herds of buffalo, giraffe, elephant and wildebeest. Pods of hippos and noble elephants share river space while paddling the shores of Lower Zambezi National Park. Guests learn to read the sands along the river for signs of lion that may not be far away. Per person double rates are from $7,450. Departure dates are available upon request.
See: http://www.wildland.com/trips/africa/zambia/Wild_Zambia_Safari/overview.aspx

Wildland Adventures
Kurt Kutay, Founding CEO/President, and Anne Kutay, Vice-President, established Wildland Adventures in 1986. As active managing directors they are continuously refining and evolving their Wild Style of travel. The ‘Wild Style’ is based on an ethic of sincerity, compassion and understanding that breaks down barriers of separation to build lasting intercultural, interpersonal, and environmental bonds designed to enhance rather than exploit the people and places where they travel. By fostering genuine connections to create personalized experiences their travelers, Wildland fosters a growing and vibrant community of enlightened and compassionate travelers. Rated by National Geographic Adventure as the #1 Best ‘Do-it-all’ Outfitter on Earth and Fodor’s as one of the World’s Best Tour Specialists, Wildland Adventures offers more than 150 unique itineraries on 6 continents in 37 countries.

Arizona Your Way – Supported, Self-Guided Cycling from Pure Adventures

Pioneers of self-guided cycling vacations, Pure Adventures (http://pure-adventures.com/), provides October through May self-guided bicycle itineraries in America’s western deserts offering warm and dry conditions that draw top athletes for winter trainings.

Two itineraries include planned routes with must-see highlights as well as advance lodging reservations secured for riders who cycle at their own pace – not at the whims of a group mentality. Top quality bike rentals from hybrid to elite road bikes are available from their extensive fleet; the largest in the Southwest.

With over 300 days of sunshine and incredible scenery, the conditions in this region are perfect for exhilarating road rides, including challenging climbs to beautiful views of the surrounding desert. The ever present Saguaro Cactus is everywhere, but so, too, are the flora and fauna and wildlife that comprise the most diverse southwestern ecosystem in this country.

Scottsdale Arizona Desert Self-Guided Cycling Tour is available Oct. 15, 2015, through April, 2016. The rates start at $1,495 per person double. Road bikes with GPS are available for rent starting at $170 for the Giant Defy. Trek Madone or Specialized Roubaix upgrades are available. This is a moderate-to-challenging six-day itinerary through the Sonoran Desert that begins and ends at Pure Adventures’ headquarters in North Scottsdale, AZ. Riders cover 45-50 miles per day.  Guests lodge at, among others, Saguaro Lake Ranch Resort in one of Arizona’s most magnificent scenic areas, the Tonto National Forest on the banks of the Salt River and made famous by the writings of Zane Grey. Day six of this tour is through the Fountain Hills including a popular KOM ridden last year by Bob Roll during a Gran Fondo.

In Scottsdale and Carefree resort lodging on the edge of the desert offers spa and luxury and fine dining or western night out at one of the local saloons! Rides visit the desert where wildlife spotting is highly likely.  At the end of the tour, the trip finishes with an included use of the recovery suite at Faster®Labs, a unique service for cyclists including 3D motion capture bike fitting, and wind tunnel. Tour guests can use the compression boots, cold plunge, and change before onward travel.

For more details please see http://pure-adventures.com/show-tour/50/Scottsdale+Arizona+Desert+Self+Guided+Cycling+Tour

US – Tucson & Borderlands Self-Guided Bicycle Tour starts in the cycling hot spot of Tucson, AZ, before diving farther south into the land once home to Geronimo and Cochise. These desert mountains (or sky islands) still hold pockets of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in North America. This six-day tour is available from Oct. 15, 2015, to Apr. 30, 2016. The per person, double rate, is from $1,395. Road bikes with GPS navigation start with the Giant Defy at $170 with upgrades to Trek Madone or Specialized Roubaix models available.

The program starts in Tucson. The first adventures are in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area and include accessing rides in the Catalina Mountains. A famous loop through Saguaro National Park East passes Colossal Cave before heading south to Sonoita, AZ. This route is along the foothills of the Rincon Mountains before climbing steadily into the rolling grassland hills of Arizona’s wine region. Winery stops along quiet roads tucked into big mountains advance the route to near the border of Mexico. Esplendor Resort at Rio Rico is an overnight for exploring local lore. This ride is rated fit to challenging with rolling countryside and some notable hills with an average riding distance of 50+ miles a day.

For more details please see http://pure-adventures.com/show-tour/100/US+Tucson+&+Borderlands+Bicycle+Tour+Self+Guided

The rate for each itinerary includes a personal orientation with a local coordinator upon arrival to go over the route book, set up the bikes and get pointers from local experts; accommodation with breakfast for five nights; luggage transfers; detailed road book with maps, cue sheets and suggestions for visitation and site information as well as restaurant suggestions; pre travel documentation and information; pre and post travel assistance and travel planning. Lunches and dinners are usually on-own.

In addition to self-guided programs, Pure Adventures offers other ways to organize domestic and international 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: 800-960-2221 or 480-905-1235, 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. 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.

Guests Create Their Own Wine at BLEND by Chateau Ste. Michelle on Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam

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Wine connoisseurs and novices alike can experience the art of winemaking at BLEND aboard Holland America Line’s new ms Koningsdam when the ship debuts in April 2016. In collaboration with Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington State’s oldest and most acclaimed winery, the intimate venue will enable guests to blend their own wine and enjoy it at dinner or in the privacy of their stateroom.

BLEND — the first of its kind for Holland America Line and the only purpose-built wine-blending venue at sea — will have a tasting table that accommodates 10 guests who can create their own blend from a selection of five barrels of single-vineyard red wine. In addition to participating in the blending process, guests also will learn about wine from the ship’s wine expert, who leads the blending session.

“At the core of every Holland America Line cruise is our desire to offer unique, immersive and innovative experiences, and BLEND by Chateau Ste. Michelle is all of those things and more,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “The BLEND experience on Koningsdam is designed to appeal to everyone, and it will be exciting for our guests to create an exclusive wine tailored to their personal taste that they can enjoy onboard with our exceptional cuisine.”

After viewing a welcome video by Bob Bertheau, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s winemaker, guests will learn interesting information about the history of Washington wines and winemaking, examine soil samples, and see how different vineyard sites impact the flavors and style of the wine. The Cellar Master also will instruct guests on what characteristics, flavors and nuances to look for in the wine from each barrel.

Guests then sample the five unique wines, featuring such varietals as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot from the winery’s Cold Creek and Canoe Ridge Estate vineyards, and make tasting notes on what they like about each. The blending begins in a graduated cylinder, with guests determining how much of each wine to include in their personal bottle.

After the personalized wine blend is put into the bottle with a stopper, guests will be able to create their own label to add a personalized touch. The wine will then be sent to The Dining Room or another restaurant, where it will be waiting for the guests to enjoy with their evening meal. Alternatively guests can take the wine blend to their stateroom to enjoy at their leisure.

The wine blending sessions will be held daily for a fee, and reservations are required.

About Chateau Ste. Michelle
Founded in 1934, Chateau Ste. Michelle pioneered vinifera growing in Washington State and has been producing classic European varietal wines under the Ste. Michelle label since 1967. The winery combines an ongoing dedication to research with a commitment to classic winemaking traditions. The winery owns 3,500 acres of vineyards in the Columbia Valley of eastern Washington, including Canoe Ridge Estate and Cold Creek, which are LIVE and Salmon Safe certified as environmentally sustainable. Chateau Ste. Michelle enjoys winemaking partnerships with two of the world’s most distinguished vintners — Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany’s Piero Antinori and Eroica Riesling is a partnership with the Mosel’s Ernst Loosen.
For more information about Holland America Line and Koningsdam, consult a travel professional, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit hollandamerica.com.

Long Island’s Chamber of Horrors is an Economic Asset for Local Communities

Engaging talent, businesses and resources in cities across the nation, seasonal haunted attractions are proving to be valuable assets for the business community in the month of October.

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That’s especially true for Chamber of Horrors, presented by NY Auto Giant, and the Long Island area, where haunt owner Marty Arominski recruits a temporary staff of more than 50 to help carry out one of the premier haunted attractions in the region.
“We’re hiring specialty talent—actors, make-up artists, set designers. These folks are great at what they do, and providing the opportunity to demonstrate their high-quality skills is a step in helping them get exposure and build resumes,” says Arominski.
Each year, the Chamber of Horrors holds an open casting call and seeks to recruit the best in their area for jobs that are otherwise difficult to come by.
In addition, haunts have also begun to capitalize on their high volume of attendees in a short window by partnering with local businesses in cross-promotion.
“Our haunt has consistently brought in more folks each and every year, breaking the 10,000 mark last season. We buy media, we partner with businesses and we have really unique marketing assets,” adds Arominski. “It’s a privilege to utilize those assets to make a longer term impact in the community that supports us. We make sure businesses have the chance to economically engage with our attendees for high value marketing and advertising.”
Last year, Chamber of Horrors began making concerted efforts to engage with local businesses and brands by offering sponsorships. For the 2015 season, they’ve demonstrated the power of partnerships for seasonal attractions by engaging New York Auto Giant, the region’s largest automotive dealer, as well as brands like PepsiCo’s Dew Kickstart.
Citing the value of thousands of millennial attendees with expendable income, the seasonal attraction is a cash infusion into the tourism-driven area.
“The crowds are late night, looking for food and drinks before and after the attraction. It creates an opportunity to have a good time, and that’s exactly what benefits restaurants, hotels and other local businesses that thrive on recreation,” said Arominski.
Tickets start at $25 and Chamber of Horrors NY is open every weekend in October starting Sept. 25th through Oct. 31st, 2015. Check online at Chamber of Horrors NY for the most accurate information about hours of operation, directions and special discounts. Open rain or shine.
Schedule
September 25th              7PM – 11PM
September 26th              7PM – 11PM
September 27th              7PM – 10PM
October 2rd                    7PM – 11PM
October 3th                    7PM – 11PM
October 4th                   7PM – 10PM
October 9th                   7PM – 11PM
October 10th                 7PM – 11PM
October 11th                 7PM – 10PM
October 12th                7PM – 10PM
October 16th                 7PM – 11PM
October 17th                 7PM – 11PM
October 18th                 7PM – 10PM
October 22nd                9PM – 12AM
October 23rd                7PM – 11PM
October 24th                7PM – 11PM
October 25th                7PM – 10PM
October 28th                7PM – 11PM
October 29th                7PM – 11PM
October 30th                7PM – 11PM
Halloween                  7PM 11PM

West Virginia for Halloween! Zombie 5k, Haunted Trails & Night Zip Line

On 1,500 acres in West Virginia’s southern hills, ACE Adventure Resort (http://aceraft.com/) turns its attention to ghosts and goblins during A Haunted Halloween in the Hills of West Virginia over two weekends of spooky fun: Oct. 23-24 and Oct. 30-31, 2015.

The spine-tingling mischief includes Nightmare on the Gorge Haunted Hike held both weekends. Adults pay $13 and youth $10 for the privilege of exploring an abandoned resort while possibly stirring up some of the ghosts and creatures who lurk in the shadows. Is that banjo music drifting up from the holler?

West Virginia’s New River Gorge becomes a blur as shadows lengthen and people begin to soar like bats on a Night Sky Zip Line Tour through the treetops and moving shadows. Senses leap into overdrive over seven zips and a sky bridge that keeps participants enthralled for over two hours. Adventurers must be 13 years or older and weigh at least 100 pounds (but not over 200). Combine the Haunted Hike with Night Zip Lining for $99 (adults) and $89 (youth).

This late October celebration of ghosts and ghouls culminates in the Oct. 31, 2015, Zombie Run, a fun 5k obstacle course with the undead ready to attack and turn runners into one of their own. The goal is to avoid becoming a zombie by escaping the feeding frenzy and finishing the race.

There are prizes for the top finishers who survive the course and for zombies who claim the most victims. Just like many competitive 5k runs, this event will be professionally timed and everyone will start the race together. Each runner will be equipped with a belt containing three flags. Along the way they will encounter zombies who will try to remove their flags. The goal is to not lose all three but those who do will then become a zombie and cannot finish the race. Those who keep at least one flag and make it to the end have survived. Runners can pre-register for $35 (late registration $40) and zombies are mandated to pre-register at $30. A Halloween Party with live music follows.

ACE Adventure Resort invites guests to come for the whole weekend and offers a Combo Pass with admission to the Zombie Run, access to the Haunted Trail and Night Zip Line Tour for $129 (adults) and $119 (youth). A variety of lodging and restaurant options are also available.

Fall colors at ACE Adventure Resort peak mid to late October depending on the weather. However, the protected depths of the New River Gorge can keep colors longer than usual along the river bottom. Prime foliage viewing is best from secluded overlooks which include the Endless Wall Trail, named the best national park hike in the United States by the readers of USA Today. ACE’s popular New River Bridge Catwalk Tour that takes adventurers under the longest single arch bridge in the western hemisphere spans 1.5 miles on a 24-inch wide catwalk (with railings). The fall colors can be truly spectacular with the right timing (this can be coupled with a raft trip).

Most of the activities that have made ACE Adventure Resort the #1 Outfitter in West Virginia continue through fall as well: zip lining, mountain biking, disc golf, stand up paddle boarding and rock climbing. The adjacent 70,000-acre New River Gorge National River is an option for miles of wilderness exploring afoot and on horseback or fat tire bike. Guests may also enjoy world class fishing on the New River for small mouth bass. Conditions for rock climbing and mountain biking are usually optimal this time of year.

For more information and to make trip and lodging reservations, please telephone (800) 787-3982 or email ace@aceraft.com. Visit the website at www.aceraft.com.

About ACE Adventure Resort
ACE Adventure Resort is the East Coast’s largest mountain hideaway exclusively focused on world-class whitewater rafting along with guided adventures, outdoor sports and activities, lodging, camping and other amenities. The nearby New River Gorge National River is affectionately known as the “Grand Canyon of the East” and features rafting from April to October. The New and Gauley Rivers combined offer over 100 miles of rapids all within 30 minutes of the resort. Both rivers are administered by the National Park Service.  ACE’s passion since 1980 has been to create vacations wrapped around these rivers and other outdoor adventures so that guests can experience “a world of adventure in one place.” The 1,500 acres here encompass both forest and a 5-acre lake plus a series of ponds, a mining-era ghost town and spectacular cliffs for rock climbing, waterfalls and overlooks.

Premier Long Island Haunt Makes STEM Scary Fun

Have you ever watched in wonder as dry ice vaporizes in to cloudy haze? That effect takes places when carbon dioxide transitions from its frozen state, which can only exist below -110 degrees Fahrenheit, to its gaseous state in a process called sublimation where it skips being a liquid altogether.

While the food industry relies on dry ice to store and transport perishables, haunted attractions know that dry ice sublimating in water makes for a spooky witches’ brew with slow, whispy clouds of vapor billowing out low to the ground.
This classic example is just one of the ways that Chamber of Horrors, the famed Long Island haunt hosted at Play it Like a Pro, brings fear, mystery and horror to life for over 10,000 guests each year. The team behind the attraction applies science, technology, math and engineering principles to nearly every aspect of the haunt experience, demonstrated a unique way that STEM fields are present in entertainment.
“Haunts are built on a lot of authentic terror and a horrifying storyline, but we rely on good science to make it a world class experience. We use insights about the human senses from a biology perspective and manipulate those with precise chemical and physical processes to produce top-notch special effects,” said owner Marty Arominsky.
Consider, for example, inhibiting reliability of the sense of sight using strobe lighting to make your surroundings appear as if they’re moving in slow motion. The technology of strobe lights that pulse at a set speed are key to the masters of terror at Chamber of Horrors, as the intermittent illumination in a room otherwise devoid of ambient light forces the brain to merge perceived images.
The resulting effect is feeling trapped in spite of moving or believing that an object or person is farther away than it actually is. The induced panic and sensation of inescapability is just a failure of the eye to differentiate images that get momentarily “stuck” on the retina.
“The strobe effect is an old favorite, one that’s been around for a while, but still mystifies guests. It’s truly just a mastery of blending basic light technology with a carefully crafted ambient setting,” said manager Frank Ingargiola.  
 
One of the more involved engineering feats involved in the Chamber of Horrors experience is the creation of ghosts using lighting techniques known as “Pepper’s ghost.”
 
This involves constructing the haunt in such a way that an ultra-clear glass material is set at a 45 degree angle to the audience creating a divide between two scenes. The image behind the glass is then cast in a partial reflection to the audience side, creating a transparent, ghostlike image.
“Refraction, reflection and careful construction—it’s an exercise in introductory physics that defies our desire to make anything we can see tangible,” said Arominsky. “We can create a ghostly projection of some gruesome images.”
Beyond the hard science, the entire haunted attraction is driven by fear—an emotion that triggers countless neurological reactions by releasing a chemical cocktail of dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline throughout the body. The biological and psychological reactions to fear that are very much instinctual and uncontrollable are some of the most critical scientific components at play in the attraction.
Chamber of Horrors actors know that this is where the root of the fear is—the psyche and the conscious mind that can’t quite make sense of the unknown, unexpected and downright unworldly experiences of a world-class haunt.
Chamber of Horrors NY covers 10,000 square feet and is run by 16-year industry veterans.
Tickets start at $25 and Chamber of Horrors NY is open every weekend in October starting Sept. 25th through Oct. 31st, 2015. Check online at Chamber of Horrors NY for the most accurate information about hours of operation, directions and special discounts. Open rain or shine.
Schedule
September 25th              7PM – 11PM
September 26th              7PM – 11PM
September 27th              7PM – 10PM
October 2rd                    7PM – 11PM
October 3th                    7PM – 11PM
October 4th                   7PM – 10PM
October 9th                   7PM – 11PM
October 10th                 7PM – 11PM
October 11th                 7PM – 10PM
October 12th                7PM – 10PM
October 16th                 7PM – 11PM
October 17th                 7PM – 11PM
October 18th                 7PM – 10PM
October 22nd                9PM – 12AM
October 23rd                7PM – 11PM
October 24th                7PM – 11PM
October 25th                7PM – 10PM
October 28th                7PM – 11PM
October 29th                7PM – 11PM
October 30th                7PM – 11PM
Halloween                  7PM 11PM

Nathan’s Famous Brings Taste of Coney Island to Interstate 95 in Perryville, MD

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Smithfield Foods, licensee of Nathan’s Famous pre-packaged hot dogs, announced today that the iconic hot dog brand is teaming up with the Maryland State Police, Maryland Transportation Authority Police and Areas USA at the I-95 Safety Fair on Saturday, Sept. 26.

Nathan’s Famous is bringing its Coney Island-themed mobile unit, complete with carnival games such as pop-a-shot and skee-ball, a miniature three-horse carousel, a Zoltar® Fortune Teller coupon machine, a two-story tall slide and, most of all, Nathan’s Famous Premium Beef Hot Dogs, to the fair at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway Barrack in Perryville, MD.

The free family event will have exhibits and activities that include the Maryland State Police helicopter, antique state police cars, K-9 handlers, seat-belt convincer, face painting and more.

“Nathan’s Famous has always understood the significance of building a stronger community and what the Maryland State Police and Maryland Transportation Authority Police are doing at the I-95 Safety Fair is incredibly important,” said Mike Paribello, Sr. Director of Marketing, Smithfield Foods. “Supporting the communities where our consumers live and work is our passion and we’re excited to bring a little Coney Island fun to Maryland.”

Visit  mdta.maryland.govfor more details on the I-95 Safety Fair.

Nathan’s Famous was founded almost 100 years ago in Coney Island, a popular New York City amusement and leisure destination. Nathan’s Famous prides itself on its great quality, unmistakable taste, and a passion for family fun and community support.