What Things To Do In Chicago – Three Museums Within One Beautiful Park

Museums are a big part of what makes Chicago a world class city. What is unique is that three of the city’s museums are tucked within a gorgeous park called the Museum Campus. This park is located in the southeastern section of the larger Grant Park. While the three museums themselves have been around since the 1920’s and 1930’s, the Museum Campus has only been around since 1998.

The park was created after the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive were relocated to the west of the museums area in order to align themselves with the southbound lanes. The Museum Campus, with its three breathtaking museums, offers a three in one type of experience for what things to do in Chicago. Here are the three museums you can visit within the park.

(Photo courtesy of Marco Verch via Flickr)

Field Museum of Natural History

(Photo courtesy of Heather Paul via Flickr)

The Field Museum of Natural History, simply called the Field Museum, is the first museum that you will see when you turn into the Museum Campus from Lake Shore Drive. It is at this museum that you will learn about the nature of the world that we live in and how it has evolved throughout history. The Field Museum is among the largest museums in the world dedicated to natural history.

There are a total of nine permanent exhibits at the museum. Here are a few that I would like to mention here. The most notable permanent exhibit at the museum is Sue, the Tyrannosaurus rex. This is where you can view the skeleton of a T-Rex nicknamed Sue. This is the largest and most complete T-Rex skeleton ever discovered.

The T-Rex skeleton is more than 40 feet long and stands at 13 feet tall from the hips. The skeleton that is on display is about 90 percent of the total skeleton that the T-Rex had. The skeleton is estimated to be about 67 million years old. In the Animal Halls permanent exhibit, you will get a up-close look at the diverse habitats that animals live in.

A few of the sections you can visit in this permanent exhibit include Nature Walk, Mammals of Asia, and Mammals of Africa. Another permanent exhibit to mention is Evolving Planet. Within this permanent exhibit, you can follow the evolution of life on Earth over a period of four billion years.

Fossils of single-celled organisms, Permian synapsids, dinosaurs, extinct mammals, and early hominoids are all showcased in Evolving Planet. The Field Museum has two sets of prices depending on whether you are a resident of the US state of Illinois. The prices for non-residents are $40 for adults, $29 for children aged 3 to 11, and $35 for students and seniors.

For the residents of Illinois, the prices are $2 less than the prices for the non-residents. Those who are aged under 3 will get free admission regardless of residency. The prices mentioned here is for the All-Access Pass which will give you access to just about everything the museum has to offer. You can go here to buy your passes.

Shedd Aquarium

(Photo courtesy of MD111 via Flickr)

Shedd Aquarium is located to the northeast of the Field Museum. This is the museum for you to go to experience an encounter with a wide variety of water-based animals. This museum houses a total of 32,000 animals from 1,500 species. There are a total of 13 exhibits to check out at Shedd Aquarium. Many of those exhibits focus on a particular water-based environment with its own set of animals for you to encounter.

There is an exhibit called Rivers, for example. This exhibit focuses on the animals that originate from the world’s rivers. Clouded archerfish, paddlefish, violet-line piranha, fly river turtle, and lungfish are the species of animals you can encounter in this exhibit. Another exhibit at the museum is called Amazon Rising. The environment that is found in this exhibit is the Amazon rainforest.

When you are there, you can witness the floorwaters rise up to the tree-tops and then recede back to its banks. You can watch how the animals react to this floodwater cycle. Anacondas, arapaimas, and electric eels are among the animals that reside within this exhibit. One more exhibit I would like to note is the Caribbean Reef.

The central theme in this exhibit is the coral reefs from the Caribbean Sea that in some ways resembles an underwater city. You can observe as predators and their prey try to co-exist in a fragile balance. At the foundation, you can watch as tiny colorful reef fishes hide under and swim throughout the stony structures. At the same time, you can watch as the intimidating sharks swim around overhead.

The prices for the general admission to Shedd Aquarium are $39.95 for adults, and $29.95 for children aged 3 to 11. If you just happen to be a resident of Chicago, you can get a discounted admission at $19.95 for adults, and $14.95 for children aged 3 to 11. Admission is free for those aged under 3 regardless of one’s residency. You can buy your tickets here.

Adler Planetarium

(Photo courtesy of yevkusa via Flickr)

Adler Planetarium is the furtherest museum from Lake Shore Drive, being located to the east of both the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium within the Museum Campus. This museum is all about the planets and outer space. Even though there are numerous exhibits you can check out at museum, there are a few I would like to make note of here. The first exhibit is Chicago’s Night Sky.

This is where you can observe the stars that typically shows up in the night sky. You can also learn about the science and research that goes into understanding the night sky and how the stars make an appearance up there. Mission Moon is another exhibit at the museum. There, you can experience what it was like for America to make its first steps into outer space by being the first country ever to put a man on the moon.

In the Our Solar System exhibit, you can learn about the planets, comets, and various other objects that shows up in our solar system. You can feel the surfaces of Moon and Mars. You can also take part in creating a comet in order to see how a comet takes form. I would suggest that you get the Unlimited admission pass to this museum.

This is the best admission pass as it will get you access to not just the exhibits, but also to unlimited shows and the Atwood Sphere experience. The prices for this are $50 for adults, and $39 for children aged 3 to 11. Admission is free for those aged under 3. You can buy your passes by heading here.

With all the three museums being clustered together within the Museum Campus, you can get a three in one type of experience when figuring out what things to do in Chicago. The Museum Campus is lavishly landscaped with greenery and flora. The park also have pathways that seamlessly connects all three of the museums.

Hotels in Chicago

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight while in Chicago, I have your back. Here are two hotels that I would suggest for you to book your stay.

Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile

This hotel is located on North St. Clair Street just east of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. There is an onsite restaurant called Level Two Restaurant at the hotel. There is an indoor swimming pool with a hot tub. If you are looking for somewhere to workout, you can do so at the hotel’s fitness center known as Wellness Center. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites have a luxurious feel to them with modern decor.

They all have Hyatt’s signature Hyatt Grand Beds with luxurious linens. Many of the rooms and suites will offer nice views of the city streets. The rooms come with WiFi, Keurig coffee makers, and mini refrigerators. The suites also have separate living rooms. The average rate for a standard room range from $128 to $442. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile

This hotel is located on North Michigan Avenue right on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. This hotel has a historic 1920’s feel to it. The hotel’s airy lobby has a sweeping staircase along with marble mosaic floors. This hotel has been the receipt for multiple architectural and design awards.

There are a few onsite restaurants and bars including Michael Jordan’s Steak House & Bar, ENO Wine Bar, Center Court, and Tower Lounge. There is an indoor swimming pool which is technically located within the hotel’s tri-level fitness center. There is also a sauna at the hotel. If you are looking for a massage or some other spa service, you can head to Spa InterContinental which is located onsite.

The hotel’s rooms and suites have a classic feel paired with contemporary furnishings and designer lighting. At least sone of these rooms and suites will offer breathtaking views of the Magnificent Mile. At the least, you can expect to have WiFi, mini refrigerators, and coffee makers in your rooms and suites. All suites will also have separate bedrooms and living rooms.

The royal and presidential suites will also have their own dining rooms and butler’s pantries. The average rate for a standard room range from $168 to $456. You can check out the booking options and/or browse some photos by going here.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited all three of the museums located within the Museum Campus in Chicago? Feel free to drop a comment below.

Things To Do In El Paso, TX To Soak In The Desert Beauty

El Paso is located in the far western portion of Texas. One thing that makes the city stand out from the rest of the US state of Texas is its breathtaking desert landscapes. In fact, El Paso resembles the southwestern US states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada far more than it does the rest of Texas. If you are an outdoors person who is looking to take in the scenery that it has to offer, here are a few things to do in El Paso, TX.

(Photo courtesy of Ron Reiring via Flickr)

Franklin Mountains State Park

(Photo courtesy of Alex Derr via Flickr)

Franklin Mountains State Park covers a great deal of north central El Paso. This is the largest urban park in the United States at 24,247 acres. This urban park is home to El Paso’s highest mountain peak, North Franklin Peak, which stands at an elevation of 7,192 feet. If you are skilled at hiking, you can hike up to North Franklin Peak in order to have a sweeping view of El Paso.

The urban park contains over 100 miles of trails for hiking or mountain bicycling. The plants at the urban park are native to the north Chihuahuan Desert of which El Paso is located. These include lechuguilla, sotol, ocotillo, yuccas, and cacti. Franklin Mountains State Park is the only place in Texas where the southwestern barrel cactus plants can be found.

Wildlife observers with a pair of eagle eyes will want to be on the lookout for mule deer, squirrels, coyotes, and one of the elusive mountain lions. Bird watchers will want to head to the bird blind in the Tom Mays Unit section of the urban park. There, you can observe various species of birds including golden eagles, ash-throated flycatchers, calliope hummingbirds, and pyrrhuloxia.

There are a total of over 100 species of birds who live or visit the urban park. If you are seeking a scenic drive, you can go on Texas Route 375 which snakes its way through the urban park. This highway is also known as Woodrow Bean Transmountain Drive. There is an entrance fee of $5 to the urban park for those who are aged 13 and above. Those aged under 13 can enter for free.

Also, if you would like to spend a night at the urban park, there are a total of 14 campsites located in the Tom Mays Unit section. Just be aware though that there are no water or electricity at any of the campsites.

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site

(Photo courtesy of Sgt. James Avery via Wikimedia)

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site is located on Hueco Tanks Road Number 1 in northeastern El Paso. This is a state park filled with impressive history. A long time ago for a few thousand year, people would flock to this site because of the rainwater that was pooled inside natural ruck basins known as huecos.

Today, the huecos are the signature natural features at this state park. They still trap rainwater into them and keep them there for a few days to a few months at a time. That turns the huecos into oases for water.

The state park contain impressive rock markings that were left by the ancient people who once came there for the trapped rainwater. The rock markings date back thousands of years. Rock climbers, in particular, will appreciate the state park because it provides ample opportunities for them to rock climb.

In fact, this state park is widely regarded as one of the best in the world for bouldering because of the granite-like igneous material that the climbing rocks are created from. Once you reach the top of the rocks, you will be treated to a variety of breathtaking views including the huecos, the low mountains, and the desert floor.

There are a couple things for you to be aware of. Three of the four section of this state park can only be visited with a tour guide. These sections are West Mountain, East Mountain, and East Spur. The only section that can be visited without a tour guide is North Mountain. Even in this section, only 70 people can be there at a time.

The reason for all of this is because the many rock markings located throughout the state park are fragile and can easily be damaged if not treated with care. I would suggest you to make a reservation to ensure that you can visit the state park when you arrive. In order to do so, you can go here. The entrance fee is $7 for adults and those aged 13 and up. Entrance is free for those aged 12 and under.

You can also visit the state park’s onsite interpretive center which is located inside a historic ranch house. You can learn about the park and its history there. A gift shop is also located onsite.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

(Photo courtesy of CarlCarlsonIV via Wikipedia)

If you are willing to drive around 1 hour and 45 minutes east of El Paso via US Highway 62, you will arrive at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The national park is home to the highest mountain peak in Texas, Guadalupe Peak. The peak stand at an elevation of 8,749 feet. The national park is home to the world’s most extensive Permian fossil reef.

There are over 80 miles of hiking trails in total at this national park. There are four main trails I would like to note here. The first trail is the Devil’s Hall Trail. This trail is about 3.8 miles long round-trip. The main highlights of this trail are the natural rock staircases and the hallway formed by steep canyon walls. The second trail to note is the Smith Spring Loop.

This trail is about 2.3 miles long round-trip and goes around in a loop. On this trail, you will hike through landscapes that change from desert scrub to riparian vegetation. The third trail is called the McKittrick Canyon Trail. The length of the trail varies depending on which branch of the trail you are looking to hike, but it ranges from as short as 1.1 miles to as long as 7.6 miles round-trip.

Overall, this trail will have you hiking through riparian vegetation, stream crossings, and along the bottom of the canyon before setting you on a climb to McKittrick Ridge. The fourth trail is the Guadalupe Peak Trail. This is the longest and most challenging trail. This trail is about 8.5 miles long round-trip and will have you hiking all the way to the top of Guadalupe Peak.

You will hike through a conifer forest on this trail. If you manage to make it all the way to the top of Guadalupe Peak, you will have mind-blowing views of the overall desert landscape stretching to the west and south. If you wish to spend a night at this national park, there are two campground to choose from. They are Pine Spring and Dog Canyon.

There is an entrance fee of $10 for those aged 16 and above. Those who are aged under 16 can enter the national park for free.

These are the things to do in El Paso, TX if you are into the outdoors. You will be able to take in the natural beauty of the desert during your time in El Paso.

The Hotels In El Paso

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at during your El Paso visit, I am happy to help you out with that. Here are the two hotels that I would suggest you to stay at.

Ramada by Wyndham El Paso

This hotel is located at the intersection of Gateway Boulevard East and Lomaland Drive in El Paso. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you are hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Julio’s Mexican Food, Teppanyaki Grill & Buffet, and Whataburger. There is an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. You can do your workout at the hotel’s fitness center.

All of the hotel’s suites come with WiFi and kitchenettes. The average rate for a standard room range from $66 to $85. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Hampton Inn & Suites El Paso/East

This hotel is located on Gateway Boulevard West in El Paso. There is complimentary breakfast and a snack bar at the hotel. For the hungry, a few nearby dining options include BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Five Guys, and Corner Bakery Cafe. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center available at the hotel.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, microwaves, and coffee makers. The suites also have wet bars in them. The average rate for a standard room range from $126 to $241. You can go here to book your stay and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you been to any of the parks in El Paso in the past? Feel free to leave a comment here.

What Things To Do In Chicago Outdoors

Chicago is an excellent destination to be outdoors. In fact, there are plenty of things to do in the city for those who are seeking the outdoors. So, if you are wondering about what things to do in Chicago that can be done outdoors, then this is for you. Here are some ideas for what you can do outdoors in this amazing metropolis.

Millennium Park

(Photo courtesy of TonyTheTiger via Wikimedia)

Millennium Park is located in the northwestern section of Grant Park just east of Chicago’s Loop area. This gorgeous park has a few features within it that you will want to check out. The first is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. This is a bandshell designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. This bandshell is noted for its curving plates of stainless steel that are above the lush ellipse-shaped lawn.

The lawn at the bandshell is available for you to sit on and have picnics, enjoy the music, or just to soak in the outdoor atmosphere. In addition, there are free music performances taking place on the bandshell’s stage. The second feature you should check out is Cloud Gate. This is an iconic sculpture that is shaped like a giant bean.

It serves as a giant mirror that reflects the surrounding area including the skyline of Chicago’s Loop area. This sculpture was designed by famed British artist Sir Anish Kapoor. Because of its shape, Cloud Gate is given the nickname of The Bean. If you are looking to get wet, you will want to check out the Crown Fountain. It is basically an interactive work of public art and video sculpture.

The Crown Fountain takes the form of a pair of transparent glass brick towers housed on opposing sides of the black granite reflecting pool. Each of these two towers are 50 feet tall. They are used to show the faces of random Chicago residents in the form of LED videos. There is a process in which the water is spit out of the mouths of those who are shown on the screens.

That will get you wet if you stand in the way when the water gets spit out. Another feature you should check out at Millennium Park is the Lurie Garden. It is a beautiful public garden that is home to a combination of perennials, bulbs, grasses, shrubs, and trees. Lurie Garden is divided into two plates. The first of the two is the dark plate.

The dark plate symbolizes Chicago’s history with its shade-friendly plants. A combination of trees provide the shade canopy for these plants. The dark plate has a muted set of colors.

The other plate is the light plate. This plate symbolizes Chicago’s future with its sun-friendly perennials. There are no shade canopy from trees. That way the perennials will thrive in light and heat. The light plate has a bright set of colors. These two plates are divided by a diagonal seam boardwalk.

Buckingham Fountain

(Photo courtesy of Phil Roeder via Flickr)

Buckingham Fountain is located in the central eastern section of Grant Park. The beautiful fountain is very large. In fact, it is one of the largest fountains in the world. The fountain is shaped like a rococo wedding cake. From April to October, the fountain produces regular water shows. During the winter, the fountain is decorated with festive lights.

During the evening, the fountain shows off its stunning colors with the color-light shows. These also happen between April and October. During that period, a major water show will happen for about 20 minutes every hour with a center jet shooting water as high as 150 feet. The fountain itself is surrounded by permeable pavers as well as seasonal plantings and gardens.

Chicago Riverwalk

(Photo courtesy of Ken Lund via Wikimedia)

Have you imagined being in a place where you are at a river that is surrounded by soaring skyscrapers? You will want to head to the Chicago Riverwalk in order to turn your imagination into reality. The riverwalk is located on the south bank of the Chicago River. It goes from Lake Street all the way to Lake Shore Drive for a total of about 1.25 miles.

In addition to soaking in the views of skyscrapers that line up both sides of the Chicago River, you can also go under Chicago’s famous moveable bridges that crosses the river. You can observe the boats, canoes, and kayaks as they navigate the Chicago River.

During your time at the riverwalk, you will witness a variety of birds wandering and flying around. These include mallards, ring-billed and herring gulls, rock pigeons, American robins, European starlings, and Peregrin falcons.

The riverwalk houses coves, cafes, wineries and bars, public art, monuments, and museums. The riverwalk also has beautiful landscaping. The Chicago River is referred to as Chicago’s Second Waterfront.

The 606

(Photo courtesy of Victor Grigas via Wikimedia)

The 606 is located in the northwestern Chicago neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park. This scenic park used to be an elevated railway for the movement of cargo. The park is linear, elevated, and has a trail running through it. So, this is a unique park that you should check out in Chicago.

As this park is elevated, you will be able to seamlessly cross multiple streets without having to watch out for traffic. You will also be able to take in breathtaking views of the surrounding areas from the elevated park. There are scenic lookouts, an observatory, and public art installations on the elevated park. The elevated park will also connect seamlessly to multiple street-level parks. The elevated park is about 2.7 miles long.

These are just some ideas for what things to do in Chicago. But, these are great ways to take in the outdoors while in Chicago.

The Hotels

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at in Chicago, I have your back. Here are the two hotels that I would suggest you to book your stay at.

LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton

This hotel is located on East Wacker Drive on the south bank of the Chicago River. It is housed in a 22-story tower designed in the Beaux Arts architectural style. The tower that houses the hotel once housed the headquarters for London Guarantee & Accident. The tower was built in 1923, but recently underwent renovations for this hotel. This hotel has both a classic and contemporary feel to it.

There is an onsite restaurant called Land & Lake Kitchen. There is a rooftop bar onsite that is about three stories. It is called Tri Level Rooftop Bar and it allows for breathtaking views of the surrounding skyline. There is a fitness center available for your workouts. There is also a sauna at the hotel that you can use.

Some of the rooms and suites at the hotel offer breathtaking views of the Chicago River and the numerous moveable bridges that dots the river. There is WiFi, Nespresso coffee makers, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $123 to $416. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Hyatt Regency Chicago

This hotel is located on East Wacker Drive on the south bank of the Chicago River. This is currently Chicago’s largest hotel, having the most rooms at 2,032 rooms. This hotel houses five restaurants and bars. They are Stetsons Modern Steak + Sushi, American Craft Kitchen & Bar, The Living Room, BIG Bar, and Market Chicago. There is also a fitness center available at the hotel 24 hours per day.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites offers a few types of stunning views. It can be views of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, or general city skylines, depending on which room or suite you get. All of the rooms and suites will have WiFi and coffee makers. The suites will also have separate living and dining areas. You can request a mini refrigerator for a one time fee of $25.

The average rate for a standard room range from $158 to $439. You can go here to book your stay and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you planning on doing anything outdoorsy when you are in Chicago? Feel free to leave a comment below.

What To Do On Mackinac Island Where Vehicles Are Banned

Mackinac Island is an island located in Lake Huron in the US state of Michigan. It is at the point where Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsula sections meet. Mackinac Island is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and history. One thing that makes this island unique is the fact that vehicles are banned from its roads.

That means that the only ways that you can get around Mackinac Island are by foot, horseback, horse-drawn carriages, and bicycles. So, if you are looking for an island destination that will take you back to a time when automobiles didn’t exist at all, then this is the island for you. If you are in search for what to do on Mackinac Island, here are some suggestions.

Downtown

(Photo courtesy of Mary McGuire via Flickr)

Mackinac Island is home to a charming waterfront downtown on the southern portion of the island. This is where a concentration of restaurants, bars, and shops are located. So, there are plenty of places to go to in downtown. Main Street is the commercial drag through downtown with many of the business being located there.

You can observe the downtown streets as they are bustling with a mix of pedestrians, bicyclists, horseback riders, and horse-drawn carriages. There is one thing you won’t observe on the downtown streets and that is the cars. Remember that Mackinac Island is car-free. You can also observe the ferries as they head in and out of the docks downtown.

Mackinac Island is renowned for its fudge offerings. So, you will want to check them out. There are numerous fudge shops downtown. There are a couple of them I would like to note. They are Murdick’s Fudge and Joann’s Fudge. Murdick’s Fudge is the original fudge maker on Mackinac Island. It has been in the fudge business since 1887.

Murdick’s Fudge still uses the same recipe and old-fashioned fudge-making techniques as it did when it first opened in 1887. Fudges are offered in three-slice and five-slice boxes at this fudge shop and there are 21 flavors to choose from. Joann’s Fudge is a third generation family business owned by the Nephew family.

This fudge shop uses a recipe in which the fudge is slowly cooked in traditional copper kettles over a gas flame. Once a certain temperature is achieved, the mixture is poured onto marble stabs to allow it to cool off for a specific time. The fudge is then hand paddled into loaves. This fudge shop only uses fresh heavy cream and butter in every fudge it offers.

All of its chocolate-flavored fudges use pure ground cocoa beans. Preservatives and powered ingredients are not used in any of the fudges at Joann’s Fudge. At the fudge shop, the fudges are offered in boxes of anywhere from one to five slices. There are 29 fudge flavors to choose from at Joann’s Fudge. So, there are considerably more options there compared to Murdick’s Fudge.

Bicycle Riding

(Photo courtesy of Gsgeorge via Wikimedia)

One of the joyous ways to soak in the beauty of Mackinaw Island is to go for a bicycle ride around Mackinac Island. Even though there are numerous paths on Mackinac Island where you can ride the bicycle, the best path to ride the bicycle would be Michigan Highway 185 (M-185). M-185 is noted for being the only state highway in the US where cars are banned.

The highway travels in a circle around Mackinac Island. For the most part, the highway hugs the shore of Lake Huron. That will ensure that you will get breathtaking views of Lake Huron for most of your bicycle trip. By bicycling on M-185, you will experience a variety of compelling environments from downtown and private Victorian-era residences to lush forests and limestones.

There is one interesting natural formation I would like to point out as you will be passing this during your bicycling journey on M-185. It is called Arch Rock. It is a natural arch made of limestones. It can be found on the southeastern section of Mackinac Island. It stands about 146 feet above the waters of Lake Huron.

(Photo courtesy of Viplav Valluri via Wikimedia)

It is arguably the most iconic natural feature on the island. So, be sure to look out for it as you bicycle along on M-185. You can rent a bicycle for the journey from the Mackinac Island Bike Shop located on Main Street in downtown.

This shop offers a large selection of bicycles grouped into categories such as Island Comfort Special, Kids Mountain, Tagalong, and Burley/Weehoo. The rates varies slightly depending on which bicycle you choose, but they generally range from $8 to $14 per hour.

Fort Mackinac

(Photo courtesy of Drdpw via Wikipedia)

Fort Mackinac is located just north of downtown on limestone bluffs overlooking it. This historic site once operated as a military outpost for Britain and the US. The British built the military outpost during the American Revolutionary War in order to gain control of a strategically important position in the Great Lakes.

The British used the military outpost until after the War of 1812 when they surrendered the military post to the Americans upon their loss during the second war between Britain and the US. The US then continued to operate the military outpost until 1895 when the operation ended for good. Today, Fort Mackinac is one of the few American Revolutionary War forts in the US that are still intact.

At the historic site, there are 14 original buildings in total such as Commissary Building, Post Headquarters, Soldiers Barracks, and Post Hospital. There are a variety of performances designed to resemble what it was like to be there when it operated as a military outpost. These include cannon blasts, rifle firings, and marching soldiers.

There are exhibits throughout all the 14 original buildings that explain everything from military training and battles to medical treatments to family life within the military outpost. The historic site will open for the 2020 season on May 1st and continue until October 25th. The admission prices for 2020 are $13.50 for adults and $8 for children aged 5 to 12.

Those under the age of 5 get free admission. You can buy your tickets here. But, the tickets for the 2020 season aren’t available yet. So, you can check back there as the 2020 season draws near.

The Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House & Insect World

If you are into butterflies and insects, then this conservatory is for you. It is located to the east of downtown. This conservatory houses 1,800 square foot of tropical garden that is filled with hundreds of live butterflies from four continents. The insect world section of the conservatory is home to large numbers of insects from the tropical regions of the world.

The types of insects you can observe include 14″ walking sticks, 6″ centipedes, spiders, and giant beetles. One famous insect you should keep an eye out is Goliath Beetle which currently holds the record for the world’s heaviest insect. The admission prices as of 2019 are $12 for adults and $8 for children aged 5 to 11. Those aged under 4 will get free admission. A gift shop is also onsite.

These are some suggestions for what to do on Mackinac Island. You can reach the island via a ferry. Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry will provide the ferry service. You can leave from either Mackinaw City or St. Ignace depending on which peninsula of Michigan you are coming from. The prices for the fastPASS ticket are $25 for adults and $14 for children aged 5 to 12.

The ticket is free for those aged under 5. You can purchase your tickets here. If you are an auto enthusiast, I would suggest that you also pay a visit to Detroit as there are a few attractions that involve the automobile.

The Hotel

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at on car-free Mackinac Island, I have got your back. Here is a hotel that I would suggest you to stay overnight at.

Grand Hotel

(Photo courtesy of Vyn Raskopf via Flickr)

This hotel is located on Grand Avenue on Mackinac Island. This is arguably the most iconic building on the island. The hotel is famous for its porch which is the largest porch in the world. Many American flags are perched on the porch during the daytime. The hotel is built in the Glided Age architectural style. It sits on top of a sloping hill filled with beautiful gardens.

There are multiple onsite restaurants to choose from. A restaurant of note is Main Dining Room. This is the restaurant that overlooks the hotel’s famed porch. Depending on when you dine there, you may witness the bellmen perform the ceremony of taking down the flags for the day.

For these of you seeking out cocktails, there are plenty of onsite bars to choose including Cupola Bar, Geranium Bar, and The Gate House just to name a few. There are numerous stores onsite selling a variety of products ranging from jewelry to clothing to toys. The hotel is home to the Esther Williams Swimming Pool. The swimming pool is 220 foot long and shaped like a serpentine.

The pool is located outdoors and is positioned so that you can get a breathtaking view of Lake Huron. There are also two hot tubs and a sauna at the pool area. For those of you looking for a workout, you can do so at the onsite fitness center. There are clay courts for playing tennis and pickleball on the hotel’s grounds. Other onsite activities include golf and lawn games like croquet and bocce ball.

Each of the hotel’s rooms and suites are beautifully decorated individually with its own thematic design, furnishings, and ambiance. They are all designed by famed interior designer Carleton Varney. As a result, no two rooms or suites are the same at this hotel. Out of the hotel’s nearly 400 rooms and suites, more than 40 of them are given their names.

Some of the room and suite names reflect the lives of several American presidents and first ladies while others reflect various historic time periods, decorating styles, and prominent historic figures and events. All of the rooms and suites at the hotel have colorful wallpaper. They all come with breathtaking views of either the lake or the island’s interior.

All of the hotel rooms and suites come with WiFi, minibars, and coffee makers. The average rate for a standard room range from $475 to $1,084. You can go here to book your stay and/or check out some additional photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you planning on traveling back in time by going to Mackinac Island? Feel free to leave a comment here.

New Attractions At Disney World

Disney World is a group of theme and water parks located in Orlando in the southwestern suburb of Lake Buena Vista. They are renowned around the world for their magical offerings. Even though Disney World opened to the public in 1971, it continually undergoes expansion in order to bring new magical offerings in addition to the ones that already exist there.

So, even if you have previously been to Disney World, it may be that you missed out on the new attractions at Disney World, especially those that opened during the past few years. If you are planning a visit to Disney World soon, you will want to make sure to check out these new offerings.

Pandora – The World of Avatar

(Photo courtesy of elisfkc via Wikipedia)

Pandora – The World of Avatar is located within the theme park of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It was built in 2017 and is based on the movie, Avatar. This attraction is home to Disney World’s take on the fictional moon planet of Pandora from the Avatar movie. The unique features of Pandora that you can see at this attraction include floating mountains, alien wildlife, and bioluminescent plants.

There are two major attractions within the Pandora attraction that you will want to experience. The first one is Avatar Flight of Passage. This is basically a 3D flying simulator where you can ride on the back of a Pandora flying creature called a mountain banshee. Once you hop on one of these mountain banshees, you will feel like you are flying throughout the breathtaking landscapes of Pandora.

It is considered a rite of passage within the fictional Na’vi tribe of Pandora for each of its hunters to bond with his/her own mountain banshee once he/she has reached a certain age. The second major attraction within the Pandora attraction is called Na’vi River Journey. This is where you can go for a boat ride through the Kasvapan River of Pandora. You will travel through caves and bioluminescent rainforest.

Along the way, you will observe and hear the exotic plants and creatures on both sides of the river as well as overhead. You will also join the Na’vi Shaman of Songs who will sing a song in the Na’vi language to demonstrate her deep connection to the life force of Pandora. There are also two performances at Pandora that you may want to check out. The first one is Swotu Waya Na’vi Drum Ceremony.

This recreates the Na’vi tradition of performing a drum ceremony in a circle. The second performance is Pandora Utility Suite. This is where a Pandoran conservation scientist, dressed in a mech suit, interacts with guests and educates them about Pandora. A few Pandora themed restaurants and shops are available onsite including Satu’li Canteen, Pongu Pongu, and Windtraders.

Toy Story Land

(Photo courtesy of Jaimie Michaels via Flickr)

Toy Story Land is located within the Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. This attraction was built in 2018 and is based on the Toy Story movie series. There are some things I would like to mention. The first thing is the Character meet & greets where you can meet and interact with Toy Story characters including Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Bo Peep, and Jessie.

You can find Buzz Lightyear near the Toy Story marquee, Sheriff Woody and Bo Peep outside of Toy Story Mania!, and Jessie outside of Alien Swirling Saucers. Then there is the Green Army Men Boot Camp. This is where you can go and participate in a variety of boot camp drills, games, and chants with Green Army Men.

Green Army Men also provide drum performances, using a variety of drums, as the Green Army Men Corps. Another thing to note is Alien Swirling Saucers. This is where you ride in a vehicle driven by one of Buzz’s little green aliens. As you ride around a toy playset of outer space in one of those vehicles, you will get whipped around.

This vehicle ride attraction is themed after the playset that the character, Andy, won at Pizza Planet in one of the Toy Story movies. These are just some things that you should check out at Toy Story Land. There are also two Toy Story inspired restaurants located onsite at Toy Story Land.

The first one, Woody’s Lunch Box, is already open. The second restaurant, Woody’s Roundup Rodeo BBQ, is set to open sometime this year.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

(Photo courtesy of Jedi94 via Wikipedia)

The newest attraction at Disney World is Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This attraction is located within the Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. Galaxy’s Edge was built last year and is based on the Star Wars movie series. The setting of Galaxy’s Edge is the village called Black Spire Outpost which is located on the wild frontier planet of Baluu. There are two major attractions at Galaxy’s Edge to note.

The first one is Star Wars: Millennium Falcon – Smugglers Run. Here, you will ride in a 6-seat motion simulator designed to resemble the iconic Millennium Falcom from the Star Wars movie series. You will be going on a smuggling mission during this ride. Each guest on this ride will be assigned a crew role for the smuggling mission.

The characters Hondo Ohnaka and Chewbacca will make an appearance during your smuggling mission. The smuggling mission is set between Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The second major attraction is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. This attraction will draw you right into the middle of a major conflict between the Resistance and the First Order.

This is done by having four interworking ride systems in combination with Audio-Animatronics, practical sets, projection mapping, and screen-based media. This is one of the most complex and advanced attractions ever designed by Disney.

If you are looking for the iconic blue or green milk as seen in Star Wars, you can buy them at The Milk Stand. If you would like to create and buy your own custom lightsaber, head over to Savi’s Workshop.

You can go to Mubo’s Droid Depot to create and buy your own custom droid. There are multiple other Star Wars themed restaurants and shops onsite at Galaxy’s Edge such as Oga’s Cartina, Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, and First Order Cargo.

These are the new attractions at Disney World that have opened during the past few years. So, you will want to make sure to check them out as soon as you pay a visit to Disney World. You can buy a Standard Theme Park Ticket for $104. That will allow you to visit one theme park within a day.

But, if you are planning on visiting multiple theme parks over multiple days, you will want to go with the 4-day Magic Ticket for $84.69 per day (or $338.77 per ticket). This will give you one theme park per day, allowing you to visit all four theme parks over four days. Either way, you can buy your Disney World tickets here.

If you are looking for additional attractions to go along with Disney World, you may want to check out this post as it walks through some places in Orlando that don’t have anything to do with theme and water parks at all. Also worth noting is that if you drive south for a little over six hours, you will reach Key West which is famous for being the southernmost city in the continental United States.

The Hotels

If you are looking for a place to stay overnight at as soon as you visit Disney World, I have you covered here. Here are the two hotels I would suggest you to book with. Both of these hotels are located in Lake Buena Vista southwest of Orlando, so that you can be close to Disney World.

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

This resort hotel is located on Broadway in Orlando. This gorgeous resort hotel is inspired by historic Saratoga Springs, New York during the late 19th century. The resort hotel is designed in the Victorian architectural style. The resort hotel is split into multiple sections. They are The Springs, The Carousel, The Paddock, Congress Park, and The Grandstand. There are two main swimming pools at the resort hotel.

The first main pool is High Rock Spring Pool. This pool is home to gushing waterfalls. It is gorgeously decorated with rocks, boulders, and babbling brooks. It has a 128 foot long waterslide that is built into the rocks.

Also, if you find yourself hungry for a little something to eat, there is a poolside place called On the Rocks Pool Bar. The second main pool is The Paddock Pool. This pool has a 146 foot long waterslide that flows down to the pool from the water tower.

During your time at this pool, you can buy something to eat from The Paddock Grill. In addition to these two main pools, there are three smaller, leisure pools throughout the resort hotel. Along with the pools are multiple hot tubs. There are jogging trails, basketball and tennis courts, and a fitness center available onsite to use. Golfers should check out Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, located onsite.

Those looking for a place to play games can head to Win, Place or Show Arcade and the Community Hall. Campfires and outdoors movie nights are also onsite activities worth considering. If you are looking for a restaurant to dine at and/or a bar for an alcoholic drink, there are multiple options.

The Turf Club Bar & Grill, The Artist’s Palette, and The Paddock Grill are a few options. Senses – A Disney Spa is the place where you can go for massages or other spa treatments at the resort hotel.

There are a few categories of accommodation options. They are Studios, Villas, and Treehouse Villas. There are a wide range of options for which breathtaking views you would like to have, depending on which accommodation option you choose to sleep in. Studios will offer mini refrigerators and microwaves.

Villas and Treehouse Villas will offer full kitchens, living and dining rooms, and separate bedrooms. WiFi will be available in all the accommodation options. The average rate for a standard room range from $358 to $1,178. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Holiday Inn Orlando – Disney Springs Area

This hotel is located on Hotel Plaza Boulevard in Orlando. There is an onsite restaurant located at the hotel known as Palm Breezes Restaurant. If you are looking for an onsite bar to have an alcoholic drink, you can head to Palm Breezes Bar & Lounge. There is an outdoor heated swimming pool and hot tub onsite. There is a fitness center available for you to use 24 hours per day.

All of the hotel rooms are designed in contemporary decor with refreshing earth tones. There is WiFi, mini refrigerators, microwaves, and coffee makers in every hotel room. The average rate for a standard room range from $153 to $294. You can go here to book your stay and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking to check out the new attractions as soon as you visit Disney World? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Things To Do In Louisiana – Plantations Near New Orleans

If you are heading to Louisiana, chances are that you will head to New Orleans. But, if you are looking for something to do outside the city, one of the things to do in Louisiana you may want to consider is to visit the plantations. The state has a reputation for being home to many beautiful, grand plantations. Here, I will focus on a few of the plantations along the Mississippi River to the west of New Orleans.

Oak Alley Plantation

(Photo courtesy of kmoney56 via Flickr)

Oak Alley Plantation is located on State Highway 18 in Vacherie. This plantation is named for the famed quarter-mile entrance that is neatly lined up on both sides with oak trees that are over 300 years old. The plantation was built in 1837 by Jacques Telesphore Roman. The plantation was known for its production of pecans from the trees. The pecan production was mastered by noted slave, Antoine.

The plantation was also known to grow sugarcane. This plantation is designed in the Greek Revival architectural style. There are Doric columns on all four sides of the building. The number of Doric columns is the same as the number of 300-year-old oak trees at the plantation. The building’s exterior walls have a stucco finish to them are are painted white to make them look like marble.

High ceilings and large windows are also notable features of this plantation. There is also a formal garden which was designed in the 1920’s. During your time at the plantation, you can tour the inside of the main residential building which is known as the big house. There will be costumed guides on hand who will walk you through each room of the building and tell you of its history.

An exhibit known as The Slavery Exhibit will tell you the story about how slave labor was relied upon to keep the plantation going. The lives of the slaves who worked at the plantation are also documented in this exhibit. You can also visit the Sugarcane Exhibit & Theatre, located onsite, and learn the details of how sugarcane was grown and processed at this plantation.

You can learn about how the American civil war affected this plantation by heading to the Civil War Tent onsite. The Blacksmith Shop is where you can go and learn about the forging of metalwork that took place at the plantation. You can also wander through the oak trees, visit the 1920’s-era formal garden, and check out the wide pastures where a pecan grove once stood.

The ticket prices for this plantation are $25 for adults, $10 for youth aged 13 to 18, and $7 for those aged 6 to 12. Those who are aged 5 and under get free admission.

Whitney Plantation

(Photo courtesy of anthonyturducken via Flickr)

Whitney Plantation is located on State Highway 18 in Wallace. This plantation was built in the 1750’s by a Germany immigrant named Ambroise Haydel. Ambroise and his descendants owned the plantation until the 1860’s when Marie Azelie Haydel was the last descendant to own the plantation. Sugarcane and rice were the focus of cultivation at this plantation.

The plantation is designed in the raised Creole architectural style and is well known for its decorative wall paintings on both its exterior and interior. It is considered to be one of the best preserved Creole plantations in the area. The main residential building houses seven rooms on each floor along with a full length gallery in the front and open loggia in the rear.

In addition to the main house, there are many outbuildings at the plantation. These include a church, an original kitchen building, a saddle storage shed, a watering trough for mules, a mule barn and feed storage building, slave quarters, and more. During your time at the plantation, you will be learning all about the slaves that worked there and what their lives were like.

The slaves weren’t just limited to growing sugarcane and rice. They did many other things for the master and his/her family. They cleaned the main house. They cooked the meals. They built the outbuildings. They drove them around the plantation grounds. They served as midwives handling the births. These are just a few things that the slaves did for their master and his/her family.

Roles given to the slaves at this plantation were based on their gender. For example, the males would do the gardening while the females would do cooking. Also, each of the master’s children were given a personal female slave to meet their personal needs. There are three memorials at the plantation that honor the slaves who worked there.

The three memorials are The Field of Angels, The Wall of Honor, and Allees Gwendolyn Midlo Hall. The admission prices for this plantation are $25 for adults, $11 for children aged 6 to 18, $23 for students, seniors, and military members, and $15 for those of you who are residents of the parish where this plantation is located. Free admission is for those who are aged under 6. You can get your tickets here.

San Francisco Plantation

(Photo courtesy of Bill Badzo via Flickr)

San Francisco Plantation is located on State Highway 44 in Garyville. This plantation was built in 1856 by Edmond Marmillion. Even though the Marmillion family had success with growing sugarcane at the plantation, all was not well with the family.

During their ownership of the plantation, the Marmillion family was besieged by multiple family deaths of the wife and most of the children from a disease called tuberculosis. This plantation is built in the Steamboat Gothic architectural style. This plantation is known for its beautiful paintings of the ceilings and door panels. The exterior of the plantation also resembles a layer cake.

The plantation uses two different kind of columns. The first kind is the brick columns which are found on the first floor of the exterior. The second kind is the fluted wood columns with cast-iron Corinthian capitals found on the exterior second floor. In addition to the main house, there is also a 1830’s-era slave cabin and a 1840’s-era one-room schoolhouse. A gift shop is also located onsite.

The admission prices to this plantation are $20 for adults, $19 for AAA, $16 for military members, and $10 for students aged 6 to 17. Free admission is given to those aged 5 and under. You can buy the tickets by going here.

If you are looking for things to do in Louisiana just outside of New Orleans, you may want to consider venturing a little bit west of the city to check out these beautiful plantations. The grounds at all of these plantations are nice. These plantations are within around an hour drive west of the city.

The Hotels

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at during your visit to Louisiana, I am happy to help you out with this. These two hotels are located in the far west New Orleans suburb of LaPlace.

Hampton Inn LaPlace

This hotel is located on Main Street in LaPlace. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. If you get hungry, a few of the restaurants nearby are Frenier Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar, El Paso, and Mabile’s Restaurant. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center available at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi and mini refrigerators.

The average rate for a standard room at this hotel range from $103 to $234. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites LaPlace

This hotel is located on US Highway 51 in LaPlace. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you are looking to dine out, you may want to consider Frenier Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar, El Paso, and Mabile’s Restaurant. If you are looking to cook out, there are barbeque facilities available outdoors at the hotel. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, coffee makers, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $112 to $197. You can explore your booking options and/or check out some photos by going here.

So, what are your thoughts? Are you looking to check out any of these gorgeous plantations? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Nashville, Tennessee Attractions – Historic Mansions

If anything comes to mind when you think of Nashville, it will most likely be the music. That is because, as noted in this post, Nashville is most well known for its connection to the music, especially country music. But, did you know that the city is also home to some beautiful historic mansions?

At least a few of them served as plantations during the 19th century while others simply served as private homes of well known residents of Nashville. All of these historic mansions are Nashville, Tennessee attractions that you can actually visit.

Belle Meade Plantation

(Photo courtesy of Colin1769 via Wikipedia)

Belle Meade Plantation is located on Harding Pike in Nashville. This historic mansion was built in 1807 by John Harding who was a well known thoroughbred breeder. This mansion served as a plantation for breeding the thoroughbreds during the 19th century. In fact, it was widely regarded as the best thoroughbred stud farm in the United States at the time.

This mansion was once home to Iroquois who was the first American bred thoroughbred to win the Epsom Derby. Another notable thoroughbred, Bonnie Scotland, was also housed there. African American slave labor was used during the 19th century for thoroughbred breeding at the plantation. This mansion is of the Greek Revival architectural style.

Today, tours are offered for the mansion. There will be tour guides there who will show you around as you learn about and immerse yourself into its history as a plantation. In addition to the main building, you will be able to tour the outbuildings including a dairy, horse stable, carriage house, mausoleum, gardens, and a log cabin. A restaurant called Harding House is available onsite.

If you are looking for souvenirs, you can head to the onsite gift shop at the mansion. The admission prices for the weekdays are $24 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $13 for youth aged from 6 to 18. The weekend prices are $28 for adults, $24 for seniors, and $13 for youth aged 6 to 18. Those aged 5 and under will get free admission. You can purchase the tickets to the mansion by going here.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

(Photo courtesy of Jim Bowen via Wikipedia)

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is located on Rachels Lane in Nashville. This was the presidential home of Andrew Jackson who was the seventh president of the US from 1829 to 1837. This is one of the largest presidential homes in the United States. This mansion functioned as a plantation where cotton was grown. As was the case with Belle Meade Plantation, African American slave labor was used at this plantation.

This mansion is built in the Greek Revival architectural style. This mansion is now open to the public for tours. You can check out every one of the rooms at the mansion and learn about the life of Andrew Jackson, his family, and the countless visitors that Andrew received at his mansion. You can also learn about the slave labor that was used to grow the cotton at the plantation.

I would suggest that you go with the VIP Tour option as it is the best way to experience this mansion. An experienced guide will walk you around the main residence building, the grounds, the gardens, and the tomb of Andrew Jackson. You can also check out hundreds of items that belonged to Andrew. Best of all, you will get to go on the balcony to soak in the gorgeous views.

The VIP Tour goes for $50 per person. You can purchase the VIP Tour tickets here.

Belmont Mansion

Belmont Mansion is located on the northern portion of the Belmont University campus in Nashville. This is the largest house museum in the state of Tennessee. This mansion was built in 1849 by Adelicia Acklen who was the widow of wealthy slave trader, Isaac Franklin. She decided to build Belmont Mansion following the death of Isaac in which she inherited his plantations in Louisiana.

After Adelicia built Belmont Mansion, she used it primarily as her summer residence. During her days at the mansion, she was the wealthiest woman in the state of Tennessee. During her days, the mansion included rose gardens, gazebos, and a large collection of animals. They even served as the first public park and zoo for Nashville which was open to the public six days of the week at that time.

Even though this mansion never functioned as a plantation, it still relied on a large number of African American slaves in order to maintain it. The mansion is designed in a mixture of Greek Revival and Italianate architectural styles. In the present day, Belmont Mansion is open for tours to the public.

You can tour the building itself and the grounds and explore the mansion’s history, the life of Adelicia Acklen, and the slave laborers who helped to maintain the mansion. The admission prices are $16 for adults, $15 for seniors, $14 for military members, $11 for college students, $7 for ages 13 to 18, and $5 for ages 6 to 12. Admission is free for these aged 5 and under. You can buy your tickets here.

Cheekwood

(Photo courtesy of Russ Glasson via Flickr)

Cheekwood is located on Forrest Park Drive in Nashville. This mansion once served as the primary residence for the Cheek family of prominent businesspeople who owned and operated C.T. Cheek & Sons and the Cheek-Neal Coffee Company. Both of these companies were based in Nashville. This mansion was built in 1932 and continued to be in use by the Cheek family until the 1950’s.

The mansion was very expansive. In fact, it was expansive enough that the Cheek family could ride around the grounds on their horses. This mansion is built in the Georgian architectural style and draw inspirations from the grand English manors of the 18th century.

Unlike the other mansions that I have listed here, slave labor was never used at this mansion given the fact that slavery was already abolished in the US by the time that the mansion was built by the Cheek family. It is possible, though, that the Cheek family hired housemaids to perform chores at the mansion. This mansion now functions as an art museum and botanical garden that is open to the public.

There is also an onsite restaurant called the Pineapple Room. The admission prices for the art museum and botanical garden are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $16 for college students, and $13 for those aged 3 to 17. Admission is free for those aged under 2. You can buy the admission tickets by going here.

These historic mansions are the Nashville, Tennessee attractions that aren’t only gorgeous, but also can be visited as well. Some of these mansions were plantations while others weren’t.

The Hotels

If you are seeking out a hotel to stay overnight at in Nashville, I am here to lend you a helping hand. These are the two hotels that I would suggest you to stay overnight at.

DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville-Downtown

This hotel is located on 4th Avenue North in downtown Nashville. There is an onsite restaurant and bar called 4th & U. There is an outdoor area at the hotel, known as Patio 315, with large lawn games, fire pits, and TVs. Starbucks Coffee is also located onsite. There is also an indoor heated pool at the hotel. You can use the hotel’s 24-hour fitness center for your workout needs.

All of the hotel rooms offer WiFi, mini refrigerators, and coffee makers. The suites will also offer microwaves, stoves, living rooms and dining tables. All of the hotel rooms and suites will also offer breathtaking views of downtown Nashville. The average rate for a standard room range from $180 to $480. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Clarion Hotel Nashville Downtown – Stadium

This hotel is located on North 1st Street in Nashville’s downtown. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. There is an onsite restaurant and bar at the hotel. The hotel offers an indoor heated swimming pool. A fitness center is also available for you to use. Some of the hotel rooms will offer sweeping views of downtown Nashville’s skyline.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $113 to $320. You can book your stay and/or check out some photos by going here.

What are your thoughts? Have you been to any of these gorgeous historic mansions before? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Detroit, Michigan For Auto Enthusiasts

Detroit is a bustling metropolis located in the US state of Michigan. Even though there are many things that you can do during your time there, Detroit is best known for its automobile legacy. In fact, Detroit was where the automobile was invented in the early 20th century. As a result of the auto heritage, there are a few things to do in Detroit, Michigan that honors the city’s legacy as the birthplace of the automobile.

(Photo courtesy of Haljackey via Wikipedia)

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

(Photo courtesy of unknown via Wikipedia)

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is located on Piquette Street in Detroit. This is the birthplace of the automobile. The plant was used by automobile inventor Henry Ford to build the first automobile that was widely available to the public. The first automobile was produced at this plant in 1908. The first automobile was called the Ford Model T which was credited with pushing the mass use of automobiles.

This plant now function as a museum. The building itself still look the same as it did during the Ford Model T days. This is a three-story New England-style mill building with the same metal fire doors. The plank floors are the same as the ones used to assemble the Ford Model T automobiles. The assembling of those automobiles has left a mark on these floors.

During your visit to the museum, you can check out the room, housed inside the building, that Henry Ford used for his office. There are exhibits that focus on the beginnings of the automobile. There are rare cars from the first decade of the 20th century inside the museum. You can view these cars during your visit to the museum and learn about their fates.

The admission prices to the museum are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, veterans, and students, and $5 for those aged 5 to 17. Free admission is given to these aged 4 and under.

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

(Photo courtesy of Jasperdo via Flickr)

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation is located on Oakwood Blvd in Dearborn which neighbors Detroit to the west. This museum isn’t necessarily focused on the cars alone, but there are plenty of things at the museum that will appeal to auto enthusiasts. There is a large collection of iconic cars, racing cars, and presidential limos from across the history available at the museum for you to check out.

You can learn about how the automobiles have evolved over many decades from the overall look of the automobiles to the safety features used in them. There are also demonstrations of how a Ford Model T car was built, at the museum. There are a few exhibits that you may want to spend the most time with.

They are Driven to Win: Racing in America, Made in America: Manufacturing, Driving America, and Presidential Vehicles. The admission prices to the museum are $25 for general admission, $22.50 for seniors, and $18.75 for these aged 5 to 11. You can buy the tickets by going here.

Automotive Hall of Fame

The Automotive Hall of Fame is located right next to the Henry Ford Museum for American Innovation in Dearborn. This museum is dedicated to honoring the men and women who have made notable achievements in the world of automobiles. There are currently over 800 honorees showcased at the museum.

A few of the types of hall of fame inductees include auto racers, engineers, dealers, inventors, and union officials. There are four types of awards given at this museum. They are Inductees, Industry Leader of the Year, Distinguished Service Citation, and Young Leaders & Excellence.

In addition to learning about the inductees and honorees, you will also learn about the contributions that automobiles have made to people’s lives. There are also over 200 iconic cars on display at the museum for you to check out. There is also a design showroom. You will also want to check out the 11-foot high and 65-foot long mural with over 90 paintings depicting the interactions between people and automobiles.

The admission prices to the museum are $10 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, and $4 for those aged 5 to 12. Those aged 4 and under will get free admission.

GM World

GM World is located on Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. This is a gorgeous showroom that fills five floors with showcases of the latest cars from General Motors. Also, throughout the year, there will be a rotating showcase of cars according to the car theme. As of right now, the theme is Eight Generations of Corvette. There are currently eight Corvette cars showcased during this theme.

These are the few things to do in Detroit, Michigan if you are fascinated with the world of cars. There is a good reason why Detroit is nicknamed the Motor City. This serves as a reminder of the city’s storied history with automobiles.

Hotels to Stay At

Are you looking for a hotel to stay overnight at during your visit to Detroit? If so, I am here to help you sort this out. Here are the two hotels I would suggest you to book with.

Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney

This hotel is located on Park Avenue in downtown Detroit. This hotel is housed within the gorgeous David Whitney Building which had been restored to its origins. There is complimentary coffee offered at the hotel. There are plenty of restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. A few of them include Wright & Company, Lafayette Coney Island, and Michael Symon’s Roast.

There is an onsite bar, called W XYZ, with billiard tables. There is a 24-hour fitness center available for you to use. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites have 9-foot ceilings and chic decor. There are sweeping views of Detroit offered from the rooms and suites at this hotel. There are luxurious beddings for you to sleep on in the rooms and suites.

WiFi, mini refrigerators, coffee makers, and bottled water are also offered in all the hotel’s rooms and suites. The average rate for a standard room range from $180 to $402. Feel free to go here if you are interested in exploring your booking options and/or viewing some photos.

Doubletree by Hilton Detroit-Dearborn

This hotel is located on Southfield Expressway in Detroit. When you first arrive at the hotel, you will be greeted with a chocolate chip cookie from a member of the hotel’s staff. There is an onsite restaurant called Grill39. The hotel also has a bar onsite. There is an indoor swimming pool and a fitness center at the hotel. This hotel also has not just one, but two hot tubs for you to soak into.

The hotel’s rooms offer WiFi, mini refrigerators, and coffee makers while the suites also offer living rooms and wet bars. The average rate for a standard room range from $128 to $192. You can head here to book your stay and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you a car enthusiast looking to check out these attractions in Detroit? Feel free to drop a comment below.