Travel Blog Posts by Katie Sagal

Puppy and Cheetah Friends at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

safari park

There’s always some pretty amazing stuff going on at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, but this summer, the friendship between a cheetah cub and a puppy is taking the cake as the cutest thing to come out of the Park. The cheetah cub, Ruuxa, was the only cub born to one of the adult cheetahs at Safari Park. Because he wasn’t born as part of a larger litter of three to five cubs, his mother rejected him. Ruuxa then qualified for the Park’s “animal ambassador” program, which pairs up young park inhabitants with other young animals to create a bonded pair, a relationship that fosters growth and development. At 6 weeks old, Ruuxa was paired with Raina, a 7-week-old puppy, and they’ve been best friends ever since. These cute critters are now about four months old, and their friendship is as strong as ever. They play together, nap together, and train together. With Raina by … [Read more...]

New – Sea Life Park Dolphin Encounter

Sea Life Park

Good news, Flipper fans! Smart Destinations is adding a new bonus attraction to our Oahu family of attractions – a special dolphin encounter at the popular Sea Life Park. It’s a rare, intimate chance to come face to, er, nose with one of the most iconic creatures of the sea – the gentle, playful bottlenose dolphin.  This encounter will be an amazing addition to your Hawaiian vacation, and is sure to be something you’ll never forget. The Sea Life Park Dolphin Encounter is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – so don’t miss out! Sea Life Park is a fantastic local institution chock full of opportunities to encounter both the familiar and the exotic. A particular highlight of the park is the 300,000-gallon tropical tank, filled more than 30 brilliant and beautiful reef species – including indigenous Hawaiian reef sharks. Survey the world’s oceans through a … [Read more...]

Visit the Miami Seaquarium

Miami Seaquarium

What do you think of when you picture Miami? Sunny days, tropical waters, sandy beaches…and an amazing variety of sealife! The Miami Seaquarium is the place to be if you’re looking for aquatic excitement and adventure. From Flipper the world-famous bottlenose dolphin and Lolita the iconic killer whale, to vibrant tropical birds and rescued sea turtles, all the denizens of the Miami Seaquarium have a special story to tell. The Miami Seaquarium is among the country’s foremost aquatic parks dedicated to animal rescue and rehabilitation. Since its founding in 1955, the Seaquarium has been at the forefront of animal rescue efforts in the Atlantic. Their conservation staff members are especially known for their work with manatees and sea turtles, and have dedicated decades to their work with these and other injured or endangered creatures. Many of the animals featured in their … [Read more...]

Visiting The Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo Ticket Discount

Operated by the Chicago Zoological Society, the Brookfield Zoo is an absolute must-see for animal lovers. Larger than the urban Lincoln Park Zoo, Brookfield is home to more than 2,000 creatures – great and small. A visit here is a great complement to time spent at Shedd Aquarium; both renowned centers of conservation and education are sure to delight and inspire kids of all ages. Brookfield, Illinois is a short drive from the heart of the city – just out north of Midway Airport – but you’ll be amazed at the massive greenspace nestled in the heart of the Chicago suburbs. The Brookfield Zoo is organized into several distinct habitats and exhibits that each tell their own important narrative about conservation and the natural world. It’s large enough that we recommend reserving at least half a day to spend in the zoo (and remember to factor in travel time when planning your … [Read more...]

American Museum of Natural History

New York Attractions

Visit a place of wonders, great and small, a place where the past comes alive, a place where science shines – the American Museum of Natural History! This iconic New York attraction is one of the best places in the country for you and your family to explore the marvels of the planet, from pre-history all the way to the modern era. Some highlights of the permanent collection include the Hall of Human Diversity, the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, the Dinosaur Wing, and the Rose Center with its beautiful Hayden Planetarium. Of course, the American Museum of Natural History also runs a number of special exhibitions and shows that rotate throughout the year; here are a few of our favorites currently on display. “Spiders Alive!” – A Special Live Animal Exhibit July 4 – November 2, 2014 Featuring 20 species of live spiders and other arachnids, this exhibit is not for those of … [Read more...]

Miami Labor Day Weekend 2014

Miami Attractions

While none of us are really looking forward to the end of summer, the fun and excitement of Labor Day Weekend can go a long way towards compensating for the return to school and work. From barbecues and picnics to mini vacations, there are plenty of options for how to spend that last, glorious weekend of summer. If you’re going to be in South Beach this Labor Day Weekend, here are a few local events and Miami attractions to check out. South Beach Bike Week August 29 – September 1 For the motorcycle fans out there, the second annual happening of this fun event is filled with everything a bike lover could want. There will be bike shows featuring all the coolest new models, contests for the best biker tattoo, plus a series of concerts, a vendor floor, and many other activities – all held in the Biker Village (between 8th and 10th on Ocean Drive). This is held right in the Art … [Read more...]

Make a Splash at SeaWorld San Diego

San Diego attractions

“Splash” into fun this summer at SeaWorld San Diego! The one-of-a-kind marine park that’s as invested in education and conservation efforts as it is in having fun, SeaWorld is a can’t-miss experience for kids of all ages. SeaWorld San Diego is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, so you can expect all kinds of wonderful and surprising things with each new visit. Marvel at fantastic animal performances, get to know the local populations of marine life, and perhaps make friends with a penguin! Then, hop aboard one of SeaWorld’s thrilling theme park rides, like the high-speed coaster “Manta” and the water ride “Journey to Atlantis.” The most popular show at SeaWorld San Diego remains Shamu’s iconic performance, “One Ocean.” Although the show is actually performed by several different killer whales (none of whom are named Shamu these days), it’s … [Read more...]

Visit SkyDeck Chicago

SkyDeck Chicago

Looking to make your Chicago vacation more exciting? Take a ride to the top of the world-famous Willis Tower and explore SkyDeck Chicago. The observatory deck of the building formerly known as the Sears Tower is located exactly 1,353 feet above ground level – that’s one heck of a view! The 103rd floor is an excellent vantage point for all of your panoramic views of downtown Chicago, greater Chicagoland, and even Lake Michigan. SkyDeck Chicago is a top attraction in one of Chicago’s most iconic buildings and is a must-see destination for first-time visitors.. Of course, SkyDeck Chicago is more than just an elevator ride – it’s also an informative, interactive museum for visitors to learn all about the history of Chicago. Engaging exhibits and historical photographs comprise a comprehensive history of the building itself, from construction to present-day use. Of course, … [Read more...]

Best New York City Restaurants

New York Attractions

It can be intimidating for visitors to New York to decide where to dine. You want to avoid the really touristy stuff, but still find a place you can enjoy and afford. With so many world-class restaurants in a rainbow of cuisines, NYC has plenty to offer diners of all stripes. Here’s a list of our recommended restaurants in New York City, plus a few nearby attractions to help you get a feel for the city and its diverse food culture. Remember, it’s a good idea to call ahead or look online for reservations (if available) for all your dinner plans. Otherwise, arrive early or be prepared to wait. For Families Ditch Plains UWS www.ditch-plains.com 100 West 82nd Street New York, NY 10023 Fresh seafood and creative “beach dining” Nearby Attractions: The American Museum of Natural History, Central Park, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan NINJA New … [Read more...]

Best Chicago Restaurants

Best Chicago Restaurants

Chicago has an excellent reputation for inventive, delicious cuisine that never fails to amaze. Here are a few of our recommendations for the best restaurants in Chicago.  We’ve included a diverse selection of eateries to appeal to a variety of diners, from families with kids to couples looking for something unique and romantic. Restaurants are located in Chicago and are within a short drive or walk from local attractions, so you can stop for dinner or lunch as part of a larger plan. For Families Harry Caray's 7th Inning Stretch www.harrycarays.com 835 North Michigan Avenue Level 7 Chicago, IL 60611                                     Fun, informal American Nearby Attractions: 360 CHICAGO, Water Tower Place Mall, Michigan Avenue Pizzaria da Nella http://pizzeriadanella.com 1443 West Fullerton Avenue Chicago, IL 60614 Neapolitan-style pizza Nearby … [Read more...]