The Best Things to do in Zion National Park

Zion National Park is Utah’s oldest and most popular national park, due to its desert waterfalls, emerald pools, incredible hiking trails and awesome red cliff formations. It is somehow equally beautiful and improbable. Perhaps that it why it draws more than three million visitors a year, who come here to hike Angel’s Landing- a knife-edge tiptoe along a serrated mountain ridge, or who come here to explore the canyon floor or the Emerald Pools. Whether you have one day here or a week, we suggest checking out these 7 best things to do in Zion National Park.

7. Take a Horseback Tour

There is nothing like exploring Zion National Park and all that it has to offer by horseback. Choose from a one-hour ride that will follow the Virgin River for about a mile to the Court of the Patriarchs or for a more adventurous day, book the ½ day tour. The ½ day tour will take you around the Sandbench Trail, gradually ascending 500 feet and giving you a spectacular view of the southern end of Zion National Park.

Families can enjoy this gentle horseback ride providing children are over the age of 7 for the 1-hour ride and over the age of 10 for the ½ day ride. No experience is necessary on these rides, making it a unique way for anyone to explore the canyon.

6. Kolob Canyon Trails

It is easy to drive by the Kolob Canyon exit but it is well worth pulling off and not just to use the washrooms at the visitor’s center, but also to go half a mile up the road and explore. It is recommended you visit here during sunset, as the colors are absolutely stunning. There are a few trails here to choose from, ranging from a one-mile round trip hike to one that’s almost 6 miles.

The Taylor Creek Trail is one of the favorite hikes as it is a solid 5 miles that have little ups and downs, making it relatively easy. Hikers will reach the Double Arch Alcove, pass two cabins that are great for photo ops and cross the crystal clear creek several times. If you only have an hour or so here take the Timber Creek trail that is a 100-foot ascent following a ridge to a small peak that looks out onto Timber Creek and the Pine Valley Mountains.

5. Hike the Zion Narrows

It is the most famous backcountry route, a 16-mile journey into skinny canyons along the Virgin River’s north fork, only accessible from June to October. At least half of your hike will be in the river and depending on water levels, the water could be waist height. In saying that, this is no easy catwalk. The total trip takes about 12 hours and is best done over two days, staying in one of the 12 designated campsites deep in the canyon.

Expect lush hanging gardens that spring from the walls, turquoise colored water, dark corners and towering canyon walls. It is important to have the proper equipment when hiking this trail and many outfitters near the park rent it at a fair price. This once in a lifetime trails awaits you at Zion National Park.

4. Visit the Zion Human History Museum

Located just one mile north of the park south entrance, this museum is open to visitors daily from March to November. Here visitors will find permanent exhibits that display the rich human history of Zion National Park. Focusing on American Indian Culture and the historic pioneer settlement, the museum also illustrates the enormous effects of water in Zion.

After all, water is why people have traveled through and settled in Zion and is the creator and destroyer of the scenery that makes Zion so famous. There is a free 22-minute movie that is shown every half hour that provides an excellent overview of the park and a ranger is there to answer any questions. A small bookstore is a perfect place to pick up souvenirs such as maps, posters or books.  Make sure to head to the back patio area of the museum for an incredible view of Towers of the Virgin.

3. Hike Emerald Pools

It is one of Zion’s sweetest signature trails, generously loaded with breathtaking scenery. It is one of the most family-friendly hikes in the park that leads to waterfalls, pools and a dazzling display of monoliths. There are a total of four pools, the lower, middle and upper pools, all which take different trails to reach. The Lower Emerald Pool trail is paved and the easiest of them all, ranging just half a mile long until you reach the lush alcove of the lower pool, where ferns and moss sprout from the mountainside.

The trail actually ducks behind twin waterfalls that spill from the middle pool. There are actually two middle pools, which boast impressive views of Red Arch Mountain, Cathedral Mountain, and Mount Majestic. The trail leading up to the Upper Emerald Pool is more rugged and steep, but worth every step as you get to the secluded oasis of the pool, which is framed by colossal cliffs on three sides.

2. Hike Angels Landing

This strenuous 5-mile round-trip hike provides some of the Zion’s best overall views but you best be in good shape if you want to attempt it. The trail climbs 2.5 miles with sheer 1,500 ft. drops surrounding the very narrow trail; it is actually considered one of the most dangerous hikes in the USA. It is important to note that the hike is often extremely crowded and in some parts, it is so narrow that only one-way traffic is allowed through.

You will want to start this hike early in the morning and give yourself about 3-4 hours to complete it. Expect awe-inspiring views of the park from the top, that is if you are brave enough to complete the last half-mile where the trail becomes even more dangerous and steep. We think it’s worth it, and you will too as you stand on top of the world and revel in its beauty.

1. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive

If there is one thing to do in Zion National Park it is the scenic drive. This drive offers the best overview of the park and can be completed even if you just have one day here. We recommend beginning the drive in the east, making your way through the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel and descending into the Zion Canyon.

It is here where you will be met with a stunning landscape of majestic monoliths, mesas, and other fascinating formations. There are a total of six switchbacks, two tunnels and many pull-offs where you can stop and take pictures. At the Canyon overlook you can get out of your car and walk the one mile round trip trail to view the West Temple and the Towers of the Virgin.

8 Things to see and do in Kotor

It has been rated as one of Lonely Planet’s top destinations to visit in 2016, and this tiny town of Kotor delivers big on things to see and do. Although many who visit here, do so for just one day, we encourage you to take your time exploring the town as you never know what’s around the next corner. From palaces to cathedrals to incredible restaurants, Kotor offers a unique and unforgettable adventure. Make sure not to miss out on these 8 things to see and do in this town.

8. Hike to the top of the Fortress

If you only visit for a short time and have time for just one thing, hiking to the top of the Fortress should be on the top of your list. Start from inside the Old Town and look for the signs that lead to the trail. The very top of the fortress sits 280m above sea level. Make sure, we repeat, make sure you have your camera with you on this hike as the views of Kotor and the bay of Boka Kotorska will blow you away.

The climb is said to have more than 1,000 stairs and you will more than likely be sharing the route with others, but the view from the top is well worth it. Kotor Bay will stretch out before you, in all its glory, framed by fjords and church steeples. Take a snack up with you, sit atop ancient ruins and relish at the moment, that you can never possibly begin to capture on camera.

7. Visit the Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum is situated in the baroque palace Grgurin and preserves the fame of Boka and Boka nay, a must visit for anyone interested in anything maritime related. Kotor’s proud history as a naval power is celebrated in this three-story museum which features a collection of photographs, paintings, uniforms, antique furniture, decorated weapons and models of ships.

There is a free audio guide that will help explain the collection for visitors. Opened to the public in 1900, this museum has seen its fair share of wars, earthquakes, and restoration. See it at its best today.

6. Visit the Sveti Tripun Cathedral

In the very center of the Old Town sits one of the oldest cathedrals in the territory of Europe and a must visit when in Kotor. The cathedral was built in 1166, in the place where are the beginning of the IX century there had been a smaller church dedicated to the same saint. Earthquakes have caused this cathedral to be renovated over the years and today it stands as a beautiful church, restored to look as much as it did when it was first built.

Visitors who go inside will be privy to fabulous decoration, including a stone ornament above the main altar that tells the story of Sveti Tripun’s life. In the cathedral also lies the relics of Sveti Tripun in the coffin made of silver. Throughout the cathedral, there are various gothic sculptures, marble altars, and a silver golden rake. Step back in time and wander through this gorgeous cathedral.

5. Spend a night at Palazzo Radormiri Hotel

This historic hotel is the perfect place to spend your nights while you explore the town of Kotor and surrounding areas. What was once a noble ship owner’s family house has been turned into a beautiful hotel. In 1979 a devastating earthquake destroyed all but the walls of this residence and with the help of an architect the family restored the ruin and rebuilt the villa to create an intimate boutique hotel.

Things to enjoy while staying here include the balcony on the main façade, said to be one of the most beautiful in the area, the seafront garden, relaxing courtyards and swimming pool. Rooms are beautifully decorated, service is impeccable and the amenities are plentiful. Do yourself a favor and make sure to spend at least one night here.

Via booking.com

4. Take the Hop-on/Hop-off Tour

Kotor has an awesome open top hop-on/hop-off tour bus. It doesn’t drive through the walled city but it does drive all the way down the road to the next largest town of Perast. This is a great opportunity for visitors to learn more about the history and take in the incredible landscape. Make sure you get off at Risan and explore the small excavation site which charges a meager admission price to pay for the work they are doing.

Discover the remains of a Roman house that dates back to the 2nd century A.D, with a guide that leads you through it. Perast is the last stop on the tour bus and make sure you stop and get off to walk around this pedestrian only town. Is here where you will find Baroque palaces, a slew of beautiful churches, Orthodox structures and a total of nine defensive towers!

3. Visit Our Lady of the Rocks

Hop on a boat and ride out to the man-made island Our Lady of the Rocks. How this man-made island came to be is interesting. According to legend, the islet was made over the centuries by local seamen who were said to keep an ancient oath after finding the icon of Madonna and Child on the rock in the sea in 1452. After each successful voyage they took, they laid a rock in the Bay and eventually over time the islet began to emerge from the sea.

The first known church was built in 1452 and taken over the Roman Catholics who in 1632 built the church that now stands presently on this islet. The interior of the church is simply spectacular and is not to be missed. Lavishly decorated with works by Tripo Kokolja, 68 painting in total, as well as from other Italian artists. Adjoining the church is a charming museum and it well worth the meager admission price. Go with a local guide to get the real authentic experience.

2. Dine at Galion

If you really want to treat yourself in Kotor make sure to head to the sophisticated seafood restaurant, Galion, located just five minutes walk from Old Town along the coast. The restaurant is set in an old stone building complete with a glass-and-steel terrace extension that overlooks the bay and gives sensational views of Kotor’s medieval walls.

Funky modern furniture, chilled-out music and a superior menu featuring such items as homemade gnocchi and octopus salad are what you will find here. Enjoy the friendly service, charming atmosphere and excellent wine, all for an excellent price.

1. Explore Old Town

It is by far the most famous part of Kotor, where history, culture, and tradition are preserved. A slew of monuments including churches, palaces, and cathedrals, all done in medieval architecture are found here. Combine those with narrow cobbled streets, town squares, markets, ancient walls and more. The walls that surround this Old Town may just be the most impressive feature, standing at 20m high, 10m wide and running 5km long.

Over a thousand years old, these walls are completely preserved and downright impressive. Old Town is also loaded with a number of stylish gates and stairs that provide the perfect photo opp. Wander through the streets and discover the friendly locals, boutique shops and a charming atmosphere that will make you want to stay even longer.

 

12 Best Museums to Walk Among Dinosaurs

If you ever had the inkling to come face to face with a dinosaur, now is your chance. Although there are not any Jurassic Park theme parks as of yet; there are plenty of museums where you can get a more realistic idea of where dinosaurs came from and how they evolved. From China to New York to the land down under these 12 awesome museums give you the chance to walk among the dinosaurs, each offering their own unique spin on exhibits and displays.

12. Jurassic Land, Istanbul, Turkey

Part education and part entertainment, this is the closest you will come to living out your Jurassic World fantasies. Your journey here starts at the museum which features bones and eggs from millions of years ago and takes visitors through the history of dinosaurs with incredible exhibits. The science center is among the favorites and informative guides take visitors through, talking about the incubation units and introducing them to the moving realistic looking dinosaurs.

There is a great digging workshop for kids and after excavating they will receive a certificate. The 4-D theatre is suitable for all ages, although if you have really young kids it may be scary. This interactive film takes visitors a ride to Dinosaur Island and be prepared as you may just want to watch it again and again. Part museum, part amusement park, this is best suited for families with kids.

Via istanbulkesfi.com

11. Iziko Museum, Cape Town, South Africa

You won’t be heading here to see dinosaurs such as the famous T-Rex or Stegosaurus; instead, you will find prehistoric beats from the Karoo Region. This museum caters to visitors who want to learn more about the less known dinosaurs and their cousins that inhabited the continent. The dinosaur hall is where you’ll find a permanent exhibition called Stone Bones of the Ancient Karoo.

Here visitors will find ancient lizards, huge crocodiles and a cast of the most complete skeleton of Heterodontosaurus found to date. Make sure to check out Kirky the dinosaur, arguably the cutest dinosaur in the history of South Africa. The Museum houses more than one and a half million specimens of scientific importance and you will want to explore more than just the dinosaur hall here.

Via fireflyafrica.blogspot.com

10. Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, Colorado

Although this museum is quite small, it delivers an awesome experience for those looking to learn more about dinosaurs. The center features an awe-inspiring display of dinosaurs, prehistoric marine reptiles, pterosaurs, and fish of North America’s late Cretaceous period. Graphics and life-restoration sculptures are used to help visitors imagine these animals in real life.

What is so cool about this museum is the fact that you can see right inside the working fossil laboratory through the glass windows. This is a great museum for kids as it is not so big they will get tired and there are plenty of activities for them such as a fossil dig box, activity stations, and two short movies. Visitors will definitely want to take advantage of the tour that is included with admission as they run about an hour long and are highly informative.

Via The Dinosaur Stop

9. Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany

Besides housing an extremely large collection of bones excavated from Tanzania, 250 tones to be exact, this museum is also home to the tallest dinosaur on display in the world. The Brachiosaurus dominates the first gallery, standing at 41 feet, 5 inches tall. Also on display at this museum visitors will find the impressive Kentrosaurus, a spiky lizard that lived in the Upper Jurassic period.

What might be the most impressive here though is the Archaeopteryx fossil, thought to be the best-known fossil in the world and provides the link between birds and dinosaurs. One of the most interesting things this museum has done is install Jurascopes that allow visitors to bring the dinosaurs to life.

Via YouTube

8. Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta

This museum is home to the permanent exhibition “Giants of the Mesozoic”, where a battle between giants is taking place. The world’s largest dinosaurs are shown here in a predator vs. prey situation and replicate the badlands of Patagonia, Argentina, where the largest dinosaurs in the world were unearthed. This exhibit features the Giganotosaurus, a dinosaur that is comparable in size to the T-Rex, as well as the Argentinosaurus, who scientists claim is the largest dinosaur ever classified.

Visitors will want to look up as more than 20 pterosaurs are shown overhead. Other notable features in this museum are the pterosaur and dinosaur tracks, remnants from an Araucaria tree, a fossilized crocodile, and additional fossil casts. It should be noted that all the fossils are cast replicas of the original specimens as the actual fossilized bones remain in Argentina, where they are considered a national treasure.

Via Expedia

7. Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Science, Brussels, Belgium

The most important pieces in the museum are definitely the 30 fossilized Iguanodon skeletons, discovered in 1878 and helping to make the dinosaur hall Europe’s largest museum hall completely dedicated to dinosaurs. This museum is not just fascinating to walk through though, it actually offers an incredible amount of education through the interactive exhibits including the details of the fossilization process and dinosaur digs.

Parents will love watching the eight interviews with paleontology experts around the world while kids will have a blast in the paleo lab where they can touch and explore real fossils, along with putting together a life-sized stegosaurus and walking in dinosaur footprints. This museum does an excellent job linking dinosaurs to modern-day animals, making it even easier to understand how evolution works. A win-win in our books.

Via Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

6. Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, Alberta, Canada

This museum holds more than 130,000 fossils and is the only one of its kind dedicated to the science of paleontology. This museum focuses on education, creativity, and fun while opening visitor’s eyes to the fascinating world of dinosaurs. Visitors will want to make sure to head over to the Albertosaurus exhibit where this close relative of the T-Rex is displayed moving across a dry river channel.

This exhibit was the result of scientific evidence collected from a mass grave. The Dinosaur Hall features one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaur remains that have been reconstructed and a favorite of many visitors. A rotating fossil display will enthuse visitors who are looking to see more of the tens of thousands of fossils this museum has. Make sure to make your way over to the Cretaceous Garden and experience what that environment was like and see Canada’s largest collection of prehistoric plant relatives.

Via fortwoplz.com

5. Zigong Dinosaur Museum, Zigong, China

This museum attracts over seven million visitors a year, in part because of its awesome location atop a fossil site. The excellent reputation it holds comes from the life-like exhibits, unique architecture, magnificent burial sites and incredible environment. Visitors here will experience two floors of displays and exhibits. The first floor features the favorite of many, Dinosaur world where 18 dinosaurs of different species and size are displayed.

The first floor is also home to the burial site, the largest burial site for watching spot-on protected dinosaur fossils so far known in the world. The second floor features a treasure hall, a display of all the flora and fauna from that period and displays on the evolution of dinosaurs and species. This huge roc cave-like museum was the first museum in Asia dedicated to dinosaurs and will surely not disappoint visitors.

Via CNN.com

4. American Museum of Natural History, New York

This museum has one of the greatest dinosaur fossil collections in the world and houses two famed dinosaur halls in the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing. The Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs is where visitors will find one of the major groups of dinosaurs, the ones with grasping hands. It is here where you will find the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex and the Apatosaurus. Along with the fossils, there is a slew of video footage and photography exploring the history of paleontology at the museum.

The Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs features the group of dinosaurs defined by a backward-pointing extension of the pubis bone and include such dinosaurs as the Stegosaurus and Triceratops. The museum has actually developed a dinosaur map to go along with the exhibit and visitors can use the app to help plan their way through the exhibits. For kids ages 6-13 there is a special overnight experience that takes place in the dinosaur hall where they can explore the exhibits by flashlight.

Via Citi Bike

3. National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra, Australia

Home to the largest permanent display of dinosaur and prehistoric fossils in Australia, this is where you should head if you want to know anything about dinosaurs down under. The museum actually follows the evolution of life and just happens to put the emphasis on dinosaurs. The favorite part of this museum has to be the dinosaur garden, with its imposing dinosaur sculptures made out of fiberglass and animatronics.

The museum has only been in operation since 1993 and with 23 complete skeletons, and over 300 displays of individual fossils, it is growing and expanding its collection as each year passes. Special experiences here include guided tours, children’s learning events, and fossil digs.

Via ABC

2. Wyoming Dinosaur Center, Thermopolis, Wyoming

It is one of the few dinosaur museums that have its own excavation site within driving distance and the standout attraction is the 106 foot Supersaurus on display, although their claim to fame here is the Archaeopteryx.  Only 12 specimens exist in the world and “The Thermopolis Specimen” is second only to the “Berlin” specimen in terms of completeness, including a well-preserved skull.

Also, there are over 30 mounted dinosaurs including two Velociraptors and a 41 foot T-Rex that is attacking a Triceratops horridus. Walking through the museums means following the time displays which go from earliest life forms to dinosaurs and finally mammals. The dig site can be toured in nice weather and it’s a rare opportunity for visitors to see dinosaur bones in the ground and the actual excavation of them. The real draw here is the chance to speak with actual paleontologists or to join one of the “dig days”.

Via Pitchengine

1. The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago

It has the most famous of all museum dinosaurs, Sue, the largest, most complete, and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton in the world. The original skull weighs over 600 lbs and flashes 58 teeth and she is over 42 feet long and 67 million years old. That is just the beginning of this awesome dinosaur experience here at the Field Museum of Natural History.

The permanent Evolving Planet exhibition takes visitors on a journey through an expanded dinosaur hall where you learn about every major group of dinosaurs, where they lived, and what scientists have learned from Sue. Kids will love the fossil play lab located in the dinosaur hall. Don’t miss the 3-D movie where visitors are taken on a ride through Sue’s life, from hatchling to a 7-ton ferocious beast.

Via Chicago Tribune

10 Things to See and Do in Latvia

Lonely Planet named Latvia as one of the best places to travel in 2016 and it’s easy to see why as this country bursts with sea, lakes, woods and endless opportunities for exploring medieval towns and castles. If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this country offers unspoiled nature to explore, cobbled streets to walk and incredible cuisine to dine on. Discover something different here, whether you want to play in the sand dunes or jump from a cable car naked, it seems like anything is possible in Latvia. Here are 10 suggestions for your next visit to Latvia.

10. Stay at the Baltic Beach Hotel and Spa

The unique location in the dune area makes this hotel perfect for the ideal relaxation getaway. The hotel boasts 165 rooms that boast either a sea or garden view and houses the largest certified SPA center in the Baltic States. Guests won’t go hungry here with their choice of three different restaurants offering elegant cuisine, and a total of three bars.

There are over 400 treatments here to relax and rejuvenate guests and a variety of amenities including a Russian steam bath, old wood sauna, ice fountain, a shower of impressions and an amber bath. The grounds are delightful, the service is impeccable and it will a stay to remember in Latvia.

Via Booking.com’s

9. Visit the Castles

Latvia is absolutely loaded with castles, over thirty of them to be exact and exploring some of them should be high on the list for visitors to this country. One of the first stops should be to Turaida castle where this impressive building rises above the green landscape like a ship built of red brick. Visitors can walk along the castle ramparts and explore the miles of hiking trails on the grounds.

Bauska Castle consists of two parts, the Medieval Castle and Ducal Palace- a rare example of a Renaissance Palace in Latvia. The Medieval part boats a 22-meter-high tower that gives superior views from the top. Cesis Medieval Castle is one of the most significant castles in Latvia as the Livonian Order for several centuries has its center here and Krustpils Medieval Castle is one of the best-preserved castles in Latvia, and both deserve a visit.

8. Visit Slitere National Park

If you are an avid hiker, Latvia has no shortage of trails to choose from and the Gauja National Park is one of the best places to do so. The sandstone outcrops and the caves that are found here are simply incredible. Approximately one-third of all Latvian natural preserves and more than 500 cultural and historical monuments can be found here. The

Ligatne nature trails are the favorite of many as visitors will be privy to all sorts of wild animals including bear, lynx, elk, bison and red deer who have been rescued from all over Latvia. The best part of the time to visit is in the spring when the bird-cherries bloom and the ancient valley becomes almost entirely white.

7. Haggle at the Riga Central Market

When construction was completed in 1930, the Riga Central Market was one of the largest and most modern marketplaces on the European continent. During WWI the pavilions were actually used as zeppelin hangers and now serve as meat, produce, fish and dairy markets. These pavilions are not the only thing that makes this market unique, also present here are old warehouses that have been turned into a hip, arts and entertainment quarter.

Here visitors can buy Latvian-grown food and homemade products as well as exotic fruits and spices. It is all hustle and bustle here and although it isn’t as easy to haggle with stall owners as it once was, you are encouraged to try your luck. Make sure to check out the outdoor stalls and stands as well as the night market.

6. Dine at Kasha Gourmet

Not quite a restaurant, yet not quite a café, patrons who choose to dine here are the chef’s mercy. Tasty, gourmet and cozy are all words used to describe the atmosphere and experience one has here. Chef Dennis Ivankovs is the man in charge here and with over 20 years of international experience he creates the recipes to be simple and sincere. With a big emphasis on everything being made on site, you can expect the freshest and most local products.

The interior is a splash of light meets dark with metal, wood, and stucco all playing a part, as well as the black and white photos adorning the walls. This isn’t just a place for romance though, kids are welcomed with their own menu and special kids corner with a mini-kitchen. Coming here once is never enough and visitors to Latvia should not miss out on this awesome dining experience.

Via RestoRiga – Restaurants of Riga and Latvia.

5. Visit the Riga Art Nouveau Centre

This museum is one of a kind, in fact, it is the only museum in the Baltics that presents a complete picture of the historical heritage of Art Nouveau. Although it is one of the youngest museums in Riga it has done an absolutely fantastic job recreating the authentic interior of a 1903 home, right down to the door and window handles.

One of the best parts of this museum is where it is located, in the Art Nouveau District which features incredible houses and designs. There are a total of 40% of buildings in the center of Riga which belong to art nouveau, more than any other European city. This designated UNESCO World Heritage Site is under protection now and visitors will be able to enjoy these buildings for centuries to come.

4. Explore Kuldiga the “Latvian Venice”

This perfectly preserved medieval town in the western part of the country is well worth exploring even though the castle is long gone. The city is virtually unchanged, from its centuries-old wooden buildings complete with red clay roofs to its cobbled streets and river that flows through the town. Don’t miss the small waterfalls in the center of town, whether you catch the sunrise in the winter or take a dip with the locals in the summer.

The Kuldiga District Museum is also worth exploring, recently renovated the museum is housed in a gorgeous wooden building complete with views of the Ventas Rumba. The exhibits are spread over three floors and include a replica of a fully furnished home. Also worth checking out when you are here are the Riezupe Sand Caves, the longest underground cave labyrinth in Latvia and can be explored to a depth of two kilometers.

3. Spend a Night in Karosta Prison

It may be one of the world’s most unique hotels, a prison that has been converted into a hotel. According to history, many prisoners died in this hotel, most shot in the head and many consider it haunted. Not only do guests here get to spend the night in a prison cell but they will be treated as inmates.

After signing a lengthy agreement which allows staff to force you to do physical exercise and cleaning if you disobey their orders you are shown to your room, complete with iron bars and not much other than a bed and toilet. Don’t despair though, the service is world-class and if you can’t stomach the thought of eating prison food and sleeping in a cell, there is always the daytime tour you can take.

2. Wander through Slitere National Park

A great way to explore the beautiful landscape of Latvia is to head to Slitere National Park. Sea lovers will enjoy the coastline complete with sandy beaches and long chains of dunes. There are several trails throughout the park whether you are hiking, driving or cycling. Those looking for wildlife can come face to face with rare and protected reptiles such as swamp turtles and copperheads.

It is worth checking out the Slitere lighthouse that is located on the steep slope of the Blue Hills as it’s the second oldest Latvian lighthouse, the highest above sea level and the furthest inland. Visitors can take in the view from the top of the forests, seashore and ships and explore the different floors which feature information on the nature of the park.

1. Adventure Sport in Sigulda

There is no shortage of adventure sports to partake in when visiting Latvia. Head to Sigulda where the opportunities are endless. Visit the bobsled track that was built for the Soviet team and fly down the track whether you visit in the winter or summer.

 Tarzan Adventure Park is a great place to take the kids as there is a ropes course, tube sliding, climbing wall, archery and more; enough activities to burn all the energy out of them. If you are really feeling adventurous though try the Cable Car Bungee Jump where daredevils jump from the cable car that glides over the Gauja River, a jump of 43m that some choose to do without any clothes on.

7 Spanish Attractions Every Kid Should Experience

Spain isn’t just for grownups and whether you live here or you visit, there is no shortage of things for kids to do. From an amusement park on top of a mountain to the biggest aquarium in Europe to a magical fountain; exploring Spain is fun for all ages. Here are the seven Spanish attractions that every kid, and frankly every adult should experience at least once in their lifetime.

7. Tibidabo Amusement Park, Barcelona

The mountain of Tibidabo overlooks the city of Barcelona and offers spectacular views of both the city and the coastline. It also happens to be the site of one of the best kids attractions in the country. Tibidabo Amusement Park opened in 1899 and is one of the oldest still operating parks in the world. Most of the original rides are actually still in operation here. Attractions here include a pirate area, castle and many rides both modern and original.

The journey to this park is half the fun, as you first need to take a train from the center of Barcelona to the Tramvia Blau, which takes you halfway up the mountain. The rest of the way up is by funicular train and expect breathtaking views. There are no “thrill” rides here but expect a friendly atmosphere, plenty of experiences for the little ones and one heck of a Ferris Wheel that overlooks the entire city.

6. Parque del Buen Retiro (Retiro Park), Madrid

It translates into Park of the Pleasant Retreat in English and as the biggest park in Madrid City, it is certainly worth a trip with the kids. This magnificent park is filled with beautiful sculptures and monuments, galleries, a peaceful lake and home to a variety of events. The best part about spending time here is that both kids and parents love to explore the gardens, the lake, and the towering trees.

A favorite activity here is to rent a rowboat from the lake’s northern shore, an iconic Madrid experience that shouldn’t be missed. Throughout the summer visitors will find plenty of open-air cafes to have lunch at, live music to dance too and numerous children’s events that happen. Mingle with tourists and locals as everyone heads here on the weekends to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

5. Madrid Zoo and Aquarium, Madrid

Home to approximately 3,000 animals the zoo and aquarium in Madrid is a favorite amongst visitors with kids. It opened in 1770 and is one of the largest zoos in Spain, along with one of the only zoos in the world to house giant pandas. The exhibits at this zoo include a petting zoo, aquarium, dolphin exhibit and an aviary. There are several restaurants on-site along with a boat and train tour. Favorite animals here include the small group of koalas, gorillas, and sea lions and of course the dolphins. Talks are offered throughout the day but note that these are in Spanish.

Give yourself a full day to visit as there is plenty to see and do and make sure to pick up a map as this place is full of hidden twists and turns, and you won’t want to miss a thing! It is best to avoid coming on weekends as it does get busy and we recommended buying your tickets ahead of time online to avoid any lineups.

4. Barcelona Aquarium

Located in the city’s old harbor, the Port Vell, the Barcelona Aquarium declares itself as the world’s most important marine leisure and education center dedicated to Mediterranean undersea life. Kids will love traveling through the aquarium visiting 35 Mediterranean and tropical tanks that are home to more than 11,000 animals from over 450 different species. The highlight of this aquarium happens to be the immense Oceanarium, the only one of its kind in Europe. The transparent 80-meter long tunnel runs through the Oceanarium where you walk among sharks, morays, giltheads, ocean sunfish and more.

There are a total of three sections to the aquarium for kids to explore, the aquarium itself which houses all the different marine life, the Planeta Aqua Section where kids can learn more about water, it is here where the lethal fish are kept as well as the penguins. Lastly, there is the Explora! Zone, a fun area where children have access to interactive learning tools, as well as a play area complete with slides. Count on this being an entire day trip.

3. Poble Espanyol, Barcelona

Built at the beginning of the 20th century, Poble Espanyol is a mock village with over 40 workshops showing 21 different types of craftsmanship at work. If you are looking to do something on the weekend with the kids, this is the place to be. Sundays are the best day to visit with the little ones, as there are organized activities and shows to take part in. Bonus tip: Reserve a meal at one of the restaurants inside and gain free entry to the village.

One of the best ways to explore the village with kids is to take part in a Gymkhana activity with the family. It is a treasure hunt throughout the village that gives clues to families as they search for the hidden secrets. Children ages 3-9 must be accompanied by an adult and it is one of the best ways to get the kids involved while here. A specially designed space for education and family fun, family-friendly restaurants on site and a day full of new experiences is something not to miss!

2. Font Magica, Barcelona

It is one of Barcelona’s most popular attractions and promises to wow both kids and parents. The Magic Fountain was designed by engineer Carles Buigas and was one of the greatest successes of the 1929 International Exhibition, later restored for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. It is Barcelona’s biggest ornamental fountain that offers a spectacular display of music, water acrobatics and lights, which generate over 50 kinds of shades and hues.

During the display the moving jets are illuminated and synchronized to the music and lights, creating a magic dance that will enthrall kids. Make sure you head here from Thursday to Sundays as the fountains do not operate the rest of the week during the summer. Wintertime the fountain only operates on Friday and Saturdays with extended hours over the holidays.

1. L’oceanografic at City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia

It is the largest aquarium in Europe and certainly deserves a visit from families of all ages. Visitors will find over 45,000 examples of 500 different marine species including sharks, Beluga whales, sea lions, penguins and manta rays. This oceanographic park is structured into ten areas for visitors to explore and includes a popular dolphinarium. You will need to spend all day here to explore the entire aquarium with sections dedicated to the Red Sea, Arctic, Mediterranean, mangrove forests, and more.

Most of the aquarium is found below ground wherein a series of massive tanks you can watch the animals. The shark tunnel is one of the favorite things about this aquarium and throughout the year they offer the chance for kids to spend the night sleeping under it. Check out the two-level restaurant, which offers superb views into the aquarium.

7 Awesome Things to do with Kids in Alberta

Cowtown, as it’s often referred to, it’s absolutely jam-packed with things for kids and it’s no wonder so many families choose to visit the beautiful province of Alberta. From the epic mountains that offer exceptional glacier lakes and hiking to the incredible zoos and malls, this province offers something for every age. Discover the awesome dinosaur museum, the annual Calgary Stampede and more with these 7 awesome things to do with kids in Alberta.

7. Experience the Calgary Stampede

It is one giant party that takes place every summer and provides enough entertainment for kids to tire them out, both physically and mentally. The Calgary Stampede is for adults too but the big focus is on families here. There are endless rides, midway games, fried foods such as Oreo cookies and chocolate bars, livestock shows, a rodeo, pancake breakfasts and more.

The Stampede Parade is a favorite among little ones as the World Champion Calgary Stampede Showband leads the parade, followed by beautiful floats, marching bands, riders, celebrities and more. Visit the Indian Village, play a couple games of ring toss, get your picture taken under a giant cowboy hat and have fun until the cows come home.

6. Go Caving

Discover the secrets of underground caves when you head to Canmore to dive deep into the Rat’s Nest Cave; a wild undeveloped cave under Grotto Mountain. Discover a cave in its natural state where there are no handrails, no walkways, and no lighting installed. Discover breathtaking chambers of stalagmites and stalactites, lit by only the light on your helmet. There are a few different options depending on the age of your kids.

The Adventure Tour is one of the most popular, with a minimum age of 12 and runs a total of 6 hours long, with 4 hours spend underground. If your kids are younger than that you will want to book the Discovery Tour, a short 2-3 hour tour that includes a catch and release fossil hunting activity, wildlife tracking and a visit to the cave.

5. Travel to Drumheller

It is here where the famous Royal Tyrrell Museum is housed, a museum dedicated to the study of dinosaurs and where children can come face to race with real fossils. The museum features over 40 dinosaur skeletons, numerous kid’s programs and fun hands-on activities including fossil casting. This museum also happens to run a very cool 60-minute guided hike called “Seven Wonders of the Badlands” where the guide will take you through rocks that tell stories, ancient giants and those mysterious popcorn rocks that are seen everywhere.

After spending some time at the museum make sure to head to the Hoodoos- the unique rock formations that are over 70 million years old. They cannot be climbed but feel free to explore the surrounding areas and marvel at these crazy looking rock configurations.

4. Take a Jasper Raft Tour

A unique way to experience Jasper National Park is to take a scenic float trip down the Athabasca River, a designated Canadian Heritage River. Here all families need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride as a licensed guide provides commentary on the human and natural history of Jasper. Navigating the same route used by fur traders over two centuries ago, the guides will do all the rowing for you!

The trip is about 2.5 hours and covers 16km, passing through gentle rapids and calm stretches allowing you to take in the spectacular scenery around you. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as moose, wolves, mountain sheep and bears. This trip is truly designed for families, as anyone aged 2-99 years are welcome. Tours do operate rain or shine and a poncho will be provided if necessary. Enjoy Jasper from a different view and relax while someone else does the paddling and the talking.

3. Explore Lake Louise

Located within Banff National Park, Lake Louise is the perfect destination for families looking to get outdoors. This emerald green lake is absolutely breathtaking to look at and the region has a range of hikes for families. Whether you want an easy lakeside stroll or a steeper ascent, you can find it here. While you are here make sure to take a ride on the Lake Louise Gondola which takes visitors up Mt. Whitehorn offering spectacular panoramic views.

If you are lucky, the kids might just spot some grizzly bears or elk during the summer days. Ascend either on a ski lift, or a closed gondola, best for younger kids. If you have slightly older kids who are more interested in hitching a ride along the lake, make sure to book an awesome horseback tour that will give spectacular views of the colorful lake.

2. Visit the Calgary Zoo

The Calgary Zoo is a magical place, one where kids can come face to face with animals. A place that gets lit up with twinkling lights in the winter and that feature numerous outdoor exhibits in the summer. It is a zoo that took a huge hit during the flood and has rebuilt itself into a family-friendly attraction that is definitely worth checking out. What is nice about this zoo is there is a lot of things to see and do packed into a smaller space, meaning less walking for the little ones.

But don’t kid yourself, there are still plenty of animals to marvel out including lions, giraffes, gorillas, tigers, monkeys and more. And then there is the magnificent Penguin Plunge display. One of the best in Canada, this display gets you so close you could reach out and touch the playful penguins (No touching is allowed though). Watch them as they dive, splash and interact with visitors in this awesome exhibit. Trust us, the line up is worth the experience here.

1. Play at the West Edmonton Mall

The West Edmonton Mall is literally a kid’s paradise, absolutely loaded with attractions that cater to any age of kid (we can’t promise the parents you will ever get your kid to leave here). To start off with, let’s talk about World Waterpark that houses the largest indoor wave pool and more than 17 unique waterslides and play features. Did we mention the simulated surfing attraction as well?

Then there is Galaxyland, the world’s largest indoor amusement park that features more than 24 rides and play areas for all ages. A challenging 18-hole mini-golf course, a professional sized ice rink, an underground aquarium and a bowling alley are just a few more of the exciting things that happen at this mall.

Discovering St. Helena Island: 6 Things To Know

It is one of Britain’s oldest and most remote outposts, isolated in the South Atlantic and more than 1,200 miles from the nearest major landmass. Welcome to St. Helena Island. For decades the only way to reach this fascinating island was to take the five-night journey aboard the RMS St Helena ship, but with the announcement of a new airport scheduled to open in 2016, there will be new ways to reach this fascinating island. This island evokes a sense of wanderlust with its wind eroded desert to emerald hillsides to lush vegetation. The surrounding coastline features 1000 feet high cliffs that have been pounded and carved out by the crashing Atlantic waves. Discover this beautiful island, what to see, what to do and how to experience this magical place.

6. Where to Stay

There are currently three hotels on the island, a number of guest houses and a handful of bed and breakfasts. During the summer months (December through March) the island is at its peak tourist time and booking accommodations in advance is a must. The Consulate Hotel is located in Jamestown and features comfortable and relaxing accommodations in an 18th-century building.

The Farm Lodge Country House Hotel, on the other hand, is spread over 10 acres with lush tropical gardens affording peace and tranquility to its guests. Bed and Breakfasts include the Sleepy Hollow B&B located just outside of Jamestown and Willowdene, an establishment based upon a coffee plantation. Visitors are welcomed to all hotels, guesthouses, and others with open arms on this island.

Via lochielbute.wordpress.com

5. Where to Eat

There are a surprising number of restaurants and pubs to be found on this small island and across the board, the atmosphere is generally informal and children are welcome. Whether you are looking for a coffee shop, take-out or a more sit down formal restaurant, you can find it here. If you are looking for great local fare head to Tasty Bites, a relatively new joint that opened in 2014. Patrons can dine on local produce including meat, fish and locally grown veggies along with snagging some of the best sunset views on the island.

If you are looking to score some incredible coffee head to the St Helena Coffee Shop where owners have been growing coffee on the island for 20 years. Offering light lunches, breakfast and afternoon tea, this is the place to be to snag a great cup of joe. The best part about all the places to eat here is that you will be fully surrounded by some pretty epic scenery.

Via St Helena Tourism

4. Explore Jamestown

Jamestown, the island’s capital can keep you occupied for a few days with all that it offers. To start your day, make sure to head to the Museum of Saint Helena where you can learn all about the islands history and natural history. Located in a 19th-century warehouse, the hours are limited so make sure you check before going. The information is up to date and the installations are stunning. If you are feeling adventurous head over to Jacob’s Ladder, a somewhat misnamed staircase that is said to have 699 stairs.

The ladder is a heck of a climb, the stairs are high and although there are railings, there are no landings for the entire length. You may want to snag a local kid and ask them to teach you how to slide down the railing in order to reach the bottom faster. Other attractions in Jamestown include the Heart-Shaped Waterfall, the post office in which you can buy the most famous exports-postage stamps, the Castle and its gardens and the oldest Anglican Church in the southern hemisphere.

Via en.mercopress.com

3. Golfing

It wouldn’t be a trip to St. Helena Island without golfing on one of the most remote golf courses in the world. The course is unlike others in many ways, starting with the ground conditions. Here you will find fairways that are both weedy and patchy, as well as made up of loose volcanic earth, and double as a grazing ground for goats. The bunkers are compacted sand, a public road crosses four of the fairways and you tee off on the ninth hole in the shadow of Napoleon’s final living quarters.

Via Afristay

2. Swimming

It may come as a shock but there are no actual sandy beaches in which to sunbathe or swim at on this island. In fact, the best swimming is in the south at Lot’s Wife’s Ponds, large natural tide-pools that although can be difficult to get to, are entirely worth the trek. Start off at Sandy Bay, which isn’t actually Sandy and follow the hiking paths. There is also a public pool located in Jamestown that can be used.

Via Tales from St Helena

1. Visit the Country

Leaving Jamestown behind and discovering the country of St. Helena is a must when you are on the island as a ton of awesome things to see and do await visitors. Start off at the St. Helena Distillery which is located in the Alarm Forest. It is here where you will discover White Lion Rum, Midnight Mist coffee liqueur and the islands Juniper flavored gin. Head over to the plantation house where the island’s governor resides to take in the charming gardens, the oldest tortoise in the world and a tour of the house.

Just make sure you book your tour in advance if you want to go into the house. Outdoor lovers will want to check out Diana’s Peak National Park where many of the islands endemic plant species live. Diana’s Peak rises 823 meters above sea level and is actually the highest point on the island, and on a clear day boasts the best views.

Via Saint Helena 15.55 South 5.43 West

8 Things to See and Do in Estonia

Lonely Planet’s 2016 Best of Travel has included the country of Estonia and it’s not hard to see why. Its uniqueness is what sets it apart, although sharing a similar geography and history with Latvia, it’s cultural worlds away. The sparsely populated countryside is drawing visitors from all over the globe to explore its medieval towns, swathes of forests, beautiful national parks, sandy white beaches and incredible museums and galleries. Discover 8 things to see and do in this hot new tourist destination.

8. Visit the Alatskivi Castle

This castle originally dates back to the 16th century and was rebuilt between 1876-1885 by Baron von Nolcken, who was inspired by the royal residence of Balmoral in Scotland. The building is thought to be one of the most beautiful neo-gothic manor houses in the Baltics with its protruding towers with cone-shaped roofs. The surrounding estate encompasses 130 hectares of parkland which is open to the public, filled with oaks, ashes, maples, and alders.

This tourist site boasts a visitors center which gives an overview of the castle and its renovation along with a nature center, museum, and a great restaurant. Visitors will be privy to tour guide services, hiking trails and heritage guides to keep you informed about the surrounding area. Tours take about an hour and opening hours vary, depending on the season.

7. Discover Viljandi

This quaint little town sits in Southern Estonia and happens to be the capital of folk music. The town looks more like a postcard than real life as it overlooks a picturesque lake and is home to the impressive hilltop ruins of the 12th-century castle of the Teutonic Order. Think cobblestone streets, ancient oak trees, and charming locals.

Visit during the last weekend of July to attend the country’s largest annual music festival, during which concerts are held both within the castle and other venues around town. This small town doesn’t just appeal to folk music lovers, but for those visitors who enjoy parks, beautiful views and an atmosphere that feels both ancient and modern at the same time.

6. Visit Saaremaa Island

The territory of Saaremaa has been inhabited for the past eight thousand years, and the people have seen battles and been ruled by many different countries. The only city on this island is home to an intact medieval fortress, which has been turned into a museum where visitors can learn about the history of the city, explore the interior of the castle and learn about torture instruments and dungeons.

Expect to see plenty of stone fences, thatched roofs, and working windmills on this island as this island has retained its uniqueness thanks to its location and isolation. Visitors can stay at awesome spa resorts, explore national parks, visit the meteorite crater or attend one of many cultural events that happen on the island all summer long. It’s hard to stay away from this island for very long thanks to its beautiful views, stunning castle and friendly vibes.

5. Explore Tallinn

Tallinn’s medieval old town is known all over the world for its well-preserved completeness and authentic Hanseatic architecture. Expect beautiful surroundings, a rich cultural scene, an abundance of restaurants and cafes, plenty of galleries and an enchanting atmosphere. Wander the cobblestone streets that are dotted with medieval churches, merchant houses and barns, and warehouses that date back to the 11th century.

If you visit during the summer make sure you make your way to the Town Hall Square where it is home to several outdoor cafes, concerts, and fairs. In the winter the town square is transformed into a beautiful Christmas market. Head to the History Museum where you will find a permanent collection entitled “Spirit of the Survival”, an exhibit that traces the history of Estonia over the past 11,000 years with a series of interactive displays. Or head to the Seaplane Harbour Museum, one of Europe’s most exciting museums.

4. Explore Lahemaa National Park

It is Estonia’s largest National Park, sitting at 725 sq. km of unspoiled land featuring coastal and inland scenery. It is here where you will find stony and sandy seashores, pine forests, rivers cut into limestone cliffs, picturesque bogs and many geological, historical and architectural monuments. Exploring the national park by bicycle is the recommended way as the nature trails are truly incredible.

Stop by the visitor’s center in Palmse, look at the forest museum in Sagadi or take part in the activities at the nature center in Oandu. There are cozy guesthouses, remote campsites and restored manors to stay at throughout. Wildlife is abundant here and includes brown bears, lynx, wolves, 222 different types of birds and 24 species of fish. A true wilderness adventure.

3. Estonian Open Air Museum

Located just a short drive away from the city of Tallinn is the Estonian Open Air Museum, a museum that showcases the country’s rural architecture and way of life. This life-sized reconstruction of an 18th century rural/fishing village comes complete with a church, inn, schoolhouse, a fire station, and many farms. The 14 farms in the museum provide an overview of how families from different strata of society lived in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

The museum is open year-round and visitors can buy handicrafts, ride horses and even try traditional Estonian dishes at the tavern. There are traditionally dressed guides throughout the museum to answer any questions and give demonstrations of traditional Estonian dances.

2. Visit the AHHAA Science Centre

This fun and interactive science center has been attracting visitors since 2011 and promises to be a day full of learning and fun, no matter what age you are. This isn’t a place where you spend your time looking at things hidden behind glass, this is an interactive experience, one that starts as soon as you buy your ticket and they scan your fingerprint for biometric access. Expect to take a turn on the cable-riding bike, a photo booth that activates when a rubber balloon bursts, a hoist for kids and much more.

Discover the rooms that house mirror mazes where one can get easily lost, numerous aquariums, large ant farms and more. Head to the Science Theatre where young folks in lab coast cause fires and explosions, all in the name of education. The Planetarium Show costs extra but is definitely worth it as the projector shows stars not only above you but under your feet in a 360-degree display.

1. Visit Parnu

This beautiful historic seaside city is located in the southwestern part of Estonia. It is here where you will find white sandy beaches, shallow waters, concerts, festivals and more. Parnu is often referred to as Estonia’s summer capital and it’s easy to see why. The beautiful beach promenade is the perfect place to walk or rollerskate while plenty of playgrounds and water fountains attract families.

Parnu is where visitors will find versatile architecture, beautiful parks and courtyards, numerous art galleries and centers, handicraft workshops and easygoing locals. There are numerous festivals that take place here during the summer months from music festivals to art festivals. Make sure you book your accommodations and reserve your tickets early if you planning on visiting Parnu during the summer as the number of people increases six times higher in the hottest beach time.

The 9 Best Fashion Museums in the World

Fashion week takes over the world in London, Paris, New York City and Milan twice a year but that doesn’t mean fashion lovers can’t get their fill in the rest of the year. All across the world are incredible fashion-focused museums, some free to check out while others accept a small payment. It is here at these museums where visitors will find one-of-a-kind pieces, a history of shoes, more bags and purses in one spot than you ever imagines, famous articles of clothing, avant-garde fashion and more. From Milan the capital of the fashion world to a UNESCO site in Amsterdam to Italy, there are the best fashion museums in the world.

9. Palazzo Morando, Milan

It wouldn’t be a complete list without a fashion museum in one of the worlds most important design capitals. The Palazzo Morando is housed in the Renaissance palace that was at one point home to Milanese noble families until it was donated to the city in 1945.

It wasn’t until 2010 when the Castello Sforzesco’s costume collection was merged with the former Museum of Milan’s collection that this became one very chic museum. Although you won’t find loads of clothes on display like others, this museum features two separate display areas and includes a collection of clothing, accessories, and uniforms. As a bonus, this museum is free and open to the public.

Via Artribune

8. Christian Dior Museum and Garden, Granville, France

This museum is actually the former childhood home of the famous couturier and now is a place of memories dedicated to the life and work of Christian Dior. Since the year 1997 a temporary exhibit is held each summer who theme is linked to the fashion designs of Dior and his fashion house and since 2010 an Autumn and Winter exhibition presents the museums own collection.

This cliff-top villa houses the designer’s exquisite creations as well as pieces from the fashion houses other notable designers including Yves Saint Laurent and John Galliano. Open 7 days a week from 10am-6:30 pm, this is truly a treat for the biggest of fashion lovers.

Via Le Relais du Louvre

7. Ferragamo Museo, Florence Italy

This museum is dedicated to Salvatore Ferragamo, the inventor of the wedge and the cage-heel, one of the greatest inventors when it comes to shoes of all time. The museum opened in 1995 in an effort to illustrate Ferragamo’s artistic qualities and the important role he played in the history of shoe design and international fashion. Much of his success came from Hollywood Starlets across the pond such as Marilyn Monroe.

The museum is host to photographs, sketches, books, magazines and over 10,000 models that were designed by him until 1960 when he passed away. The shoes are on a biennial rotation and are all works of refined craftsmanship. Visitors can marvel at the incredible display of shoes and step back into a true artist’s mind through the many artifacts displayed.

Via style.corriere.it

6. Costume Institute at the Met, New York City

For anyone interested in costume fashion, there is perhaps a no better place on earth than the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This museum is home to over 35,000 costumes and accessories ranging from the 15th century to the present and representing five continents.

It underwent a two-year renovation between 2012-2014 and has since reopened to the public with one more special exhibitions annually. Fashion-focused tours are available year-round that discuss costume history within the context of the Museum’s collection of armor, textiles, paintings and more with an audio guide. If you can attend the annual gala expect plenty of celebrities and high profile fashion designers.

Via amny.com

5. Museum of Bags and Purses (Tassen Museum), Amsterdam

It is the largest of its kind in the world, a fascinating story that features fashion, art, customs, and history. The museum also happens to be situated in a lovely canal house in the center of Amsterdam and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Canal Ring Area.

On display is the development of bags and purses from the Middle Ages to the present day and this is truly the only place in the world where you will find so many handbags in one spot. Featuring 17th-century-period rooms, the actual Versace bag used by Madonna, over 5,000 bags and purses, a lovely restaurant with a view of the gardens and guided tours, a trip here is well worth taking, especially if you just happen to love bags.

Via Afar

4. Museo De La Moda, Santiago, Chile

This privately operated fashion museum has an incredible permanent collection of Western clothing, particularly from the 20th century and is well known for a few key items. It is here where you can see John Lennon’s jacket from 1966, the cone bra that was designed for Madonna and an evening gown worn by Lady Diana in 1981. There are more than 10,000 pieces in this collection, with only a fraction on display at one time.

Temporary exhibits here are incredible and have ranged from a Michael Jackson tribute to a Mad Men 60’s theme. There are thousands of sketchbooks, photographs, and books on fashion and design that are also available to view as long as an appointment is made in advance. Opened in 2007, this fairly new museum is host to an impressive number of important fashion pieces.

Via juliensauctions.com

3. Museum at FIT, New York City

New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology has given the world incredible fashion stars and its museum is one of the only ones in the city that is open to the public. It hosts rotating exhibits that pull from the school’s impressive collection of one-of-a-kind pieces from designers such as Chanel, Alaia, and Halston. Not only does this museum feature exhibits but also talks, tours, lectures, book signings and fashion conversations with leading designers.

The permanent collection here encompasses over 50,00 garments and accessories from the 18th century to the present, with an emphasis on avant-garde fashion. With three different galleries, a photographic studio, workshop, and conservation laboratory this is one impressive museum. Expect patrons here to be dressed to the nines while they check out the fashion.

Via RueBaRue

2. Gucci Museum, Florence

Guccio Gucci started the label in Florence in 1921 and it is fitting that in 2011 a museum devoted to this designed finally opened its doors. The museum provides a history of the Florentine fashion house, containing a permanent exhibit of the iconic pieces of the brand such as bags, clothes, and accessories.

Along with stunning evening gowns including ones worn by Hilary Swank, amusing exhibits such as monogrammed scuba diving flippers and early-edition monogrammed luggage, there is a contemporary art space which features incredible related exhibits. Black and white photographs line the staircase and a Gucci-upholstered car from the 70’s complete the picture here.

Via Florence Inferno

1. Victoria and Albert Museum, London

It is the world’s largest museum dedicated to art and design and contains an incredible collection of costumes and applied arts from all over the world. It can be overwhelming at times to decide what to look at and taking the one-hour tour is a good way to get acquainted. The collections here range from Indian textiles to painful footwear but for the fashion lovers, heading to the fashion section should be first on the list.

It is here where you will find a 400-year span of men and women’s clothing and one gigantic collection of hats, after all this is Britain. Except for occasional special exhibits, this museum is actually free to visit as well. Check out 17th-century gowns, samurai armor and medieval love rings, all on display here at this incredible museum.

Via evelinakhromtchenko.com

8 Historic Canadian Forts That Still Exist Today

Canadian forts offer a glimpse into the past, built over the last two centuries to defend the young country. Nowadays they stand as a testament to the history of Canada and offer visitors a chance to go back in time. Many of these historic forts have been rebuilt time and time again, in order to give visitors access to them. Beautiful views, fun activities and a great lesson in Canadian history await visitors to these eight historic Canadian forts.

8. Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site, Victoria, British Columbia

This coastal artillery fort was built in the 1890’s, intended to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base. The site is adjacent to Fisgard Lighthouse, the first lighthouse on the west coast of Canada. Visitors here have the chance to tour secret bunkers, military command posts, and original 19th-century buildings.

Hear personal stories of soldiers and their families, explore the nearby tide pools and bring a picnic and spend the whole day here. Known for its breathtaking views, the fort overlooks the beautiful coastline and out into the mountains. Open every day except Christmas, most visitors choose to visit the fort and the lighthouse in the same visit.

7. The Citadel National Historic Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Fort George is the fortified summit of Citadel Hill, first fortified in 1749, the year when Halifax was founded. A series of four different defensive fortifications have occupied the summit of Citadel Hill. While it was never attacked, the Citadel played an important part in the defense of the Halifax Harbor and its Royal Navy Dockyard. The star-shaped structure offers an incredible view of the city and the harbor.

Visitors should plan on taking a guided tour to learn more about the fort’s history from 1749 through WWII. Make sure to visit the Army Museum while you are here to view over 70,000 artifacts chronicling Atlantic Canada’s military history. Visit in July and be a part of the Great Canadian Backyard Campout where you can set up camp inside the walls of the citadel.

6. Fort Chambly National Historic Site, Chambly, Quebec

This imposing stone structure has been guarding part of one of the largest navigable waterways in North America for more than two centuries. It was first constructed in 1711 to defend the colony and three wooden forts preceded the stone fortification. For many years this fort was the main footing of the defensive chain of fortifications along the Richelieu River, which was the easiest route into New France.

The fort was lost to the British in 1760 in The Conquest of New France, captured by American forces in 1775 and finally restored in 1882 by a citizen of Chambly. Today visitors can see a fully reconstructed version of the fort where they can learn more about New France history and culture.

5. Fort St. James National Historic Site, Fort St. James, British Columbia

It was one of the first permanent fur trading posts in the West, built in 1805-1806 and has been rebuilt a total of four times. Visitors here will get a good look at life in 1896 that includes a fur warehouse, storage facility, trade store, and gardens. It displays the largest group of original wooden buildings representing the fur trade in Canada and the story here revolves around the relationships and interactions between the fur traders and Native Peoples of the region.

Its location on Stuart Lake offers fun for outdoor enthusiasts including hiking, sailing, fishing and mountain biking. Special event days happen throughout the year including Salmon Day with its ‘iron chef’ cook-off and Harvest Day.

Via Salmon Trails | Northwest BC Culture

4. Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, St. Andrews, Manitoba

The original Fort Garry was destroyed in 1826 by a devastating flood, leading the Hudson’s Bay Company to search for a higher ground to build the next fort. Thus Lower Fort Garry was built, 32km north of the original in 1830. What makes this fort so significant is the fact that Treaty 1 was signed here.

Visit here from May to September when costumed interpreters recreate like at Lower Fort Garry in the early 1850’s. Original buildings and walls, hands-on activities and original-to-era furnishings are all a part of the experiment. Around Halloween, candlelight tours are offered through the fort, along with hot chocolate around a campfire.

Via National Post

3. Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada, Amherstburg, Ontario

It was formally known as Fort Amherstburg, built in 1795 by Britain in order to ensure the security of British North America against any potential threat of American Invasion. It here where Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh met during the War of 1812 to plan the siege of Detroit. Unfortunately, this border fortification was torn down after the War of 1812. The fort was rebuilt and it’s the second structure that survives today.

Ideally located along the Detroit River, visitors here are privy to some true Canadian flora and fauna including sugar maples, swans, and geese. Throughout the year there are special events such as the haunted fort tours during October and Christmas celebrations that show visitors how soldiers over two hundred years ago celebrated the holiday.

Via Ontario’s Southwest

2. Fortress Louisburg, Louisburg, Nova Scotia

The original settlement was made in 1713 by the French and developed over several decades into a thriving center for fishing and trade. Fortified against the threat of British Invasion during the time of empire building, Louisburg was besieged twice before finally being destroyed in the 1760’s. Luckily for visitors, archeologists have reconstructed the fortress as it was in the 18th century.

Today the site features more than a dozen buildings to explore as well as daily demonstrations recreating life at the fort that includes cooking, dancing, music and military drills. This is more than just a fort to explore, with its three 18th-century restaurants as well as a delicious bakery to explore. One of best things about visiting this fortress is the help you are giving the local economy, which has struggled economically with the decline of the North Atlantic fishery.

1. Old Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Ontario

It is known as Canada’s bloodiest field of battle, due to more than 3,000 troops who lost their lives during the Siege of Fort Erie from August 3rd to September 21st in 1814. The original fort was built in 1764 and was the first British fort to be constructed as part of a network developed after the Treaty of Paris concluded the Seven Years’ War. The fort was first a supply base for British troops, before the War of 1812, a base for troops during the American Revolution and later an important crossing point for the Underground Railroad.

The annual Siege of Fort Erie takes place on the second week of August each year and is most definitely the favorite time to check out this historical fort. It is then that re-enactors from all over North America descend on the fort to re-create the historic battles, complete with plenty of firepower.