Tag Archives: attractions

California Welcomes 2018 with Major Openings and Special Milestones

California will welcome visitors with an abundance of new experiences and special events throughout 2018, with major hotel openings, new theme park attractions and milestone anniversary celebrations all on the horizon.

“California’s dream big spirit is reflected in the state’s continual growth and innovation — and 2018 will be no exception,” said Caroline Beteta, president & CEO of Visit California. “This year is the perfect time to plan an adventure in the Golden State.”

From the openings of beachfront resorts and a seaside roller coaster, to anniversaries celebrating sparkling cider, wine, baseball, art and more, the new year brings new reasons to travel to the Golden State.

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Fall is for Festivals in New Braunfels!

A festival vacation – colorful, energetic, and culturally immersive – is a terrific way to meet locals and enjoy a new experience. In New Braunfels Fall is festival season and the mild temperatures and scenic Texas Hill Country make it a perfect vacation destination. Get away with your BFF or enjoy a romantic holiday with the love of your life. It’s a vacation to remember!

There are art festivals, craft beer pubs and wineries to visit. There’s outdoor recreation like cycling, running, kayaking and stand-up paddling. It’s often still warm enough to float the two fantastic rivers in a tube. Check some of the “festival” fun you can have in the Fall in New Braunfels:

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New Family Friendly Entertainment Destination to Open July 31

OWA’s 21-ride themed amusement park, The Park at OWA, located in Foley, Alabama, will officially open its doors to the public July 21, 2017. Designed as a family fun destination, The Park at OWA will offer each and every guest a unique adventure.

Beginning opening day, guests will enjoy everything The Park at OWA has to offer: 21 rides (including the Rollin’ Thunder); a variety of midway games; quick service dining options; and the Parkside Gift Shop filled with one-of-a-kind Park at OWA treasures. The Park opens at 10 am daily.

Tickets will be available online at VisitOWA.com beginning July 18, 2017 at 10 am. Tickets may also be purchased on site opening day at The Park at OWA Admissions Office. Group discounts and packages will be available and more details can be found at VisitOWA.com.

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The Best Amusement Parks for Families in 2017

Family Vacation Critic, TripAdvisor’s family travel site, has just named the Best Amusement Parks for Families in 2017 – naming the best parks in the U.S., and sharing the year’s newest attractions and highlights for every age group.

“Amusement parks are one of the most quintessential summertime activities for families,” explains Lissa Poirot, editor-in-chief of Family Vacation Critic. “But for those traveling with family members of various ages – including kids-at-heart – finding a park that caters to thrill-seekers and the younger set isn’t always so easy. This list includes parks that successfully cater to both, and those that also have exciting new features for the 2017 season.”

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Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster Now Thrilling Guests at SeaWorld San Antonio

Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster opens to the public Friday, June 16, launching guests into a fun, adrenaline-pounding mission inspired by the heroics of the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team. Named by USA Today as one of the Ten New Cool Rides Coming in 2017, Wave Breaker’s jet-ski style car is the first of its kind in North America. The coaster’s unique design hugs riders in a straddled position as they grip the handle bars and race through a series of high-speed maneuvers, steeply banked turns, and a pair of pulse-pounding launches over water.

“Wave Breaker is an exciting and novel coaster for families to ride together, and adds to SeaWorld’s strong lineup of top-rated coasters,” said SeaWorld San Antonio Park President Carl Lum. “But what truly delights me is that this attraction best represents what SeaWorld is all about – it brings together the best of SeaWorld in one thrilling ride, and carries a message that leaves guests feeling inspired.”


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Guests board Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster in a queue themed with stories from some of the more than 30,000 rescues by the SeaWorld Rescue Team over the past 50 years. Before launch, riders are assigned a mission – a sea turtle, dolphin or sea lion rescue. After the mission briefing, riders grip the handlebars and prepare to race into action covering 2,600-feet of track. The ride launches directly over the water, creating the sensation that riders are racing across the park’s lake. Each rescue mission takes a train of 16 riders through a more than three minute ride, reaching speeds of up to 44 mph and heights up to 61-feet.

“Wave Breaker provides a coaster experience unlike anything in the current theme park landscape,” said SeaWorld Vice President of Theme Park Development Mike Denninger. “While other coasters feature dramatic changes in speed, once you hit Wave Breaker’s first launch you are moving fast throughout the entire ride. When you combine that consistent high speed with the banked and serpentine turns throughout the ride track that is 90 percent over the surface of the water, you get an unparalleled ride experience.”


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Texas State Aquarium Puts Finishing Touches on Caribbean Journey for Grand Opening

The Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, the Official Aquarium of the State of Texas, is putting finishing touches on its newest experience, Caribbean Journey, in advance of its grand opening May 13. The expansion doubles the size of the existing attraction.

Caribbean Journey’s immersive and interactive exhibits showcase the biodiversity and culture of the Yucatan Peninsula and Caribbean Sea. Guests can expect to see sharks, tropical fishes, birds and reptiles. They can also experience marine themed films in a new, multi-sensory Whataburger 4-D theater.

“Our staff is eagerly waiting to open the doors to Caribbean Journey as we unveil our newest exhibits that bring the world of the Caribbean Sea to life on the Texas Gulf Coast,” said Texas State Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid. “We’re looking forward to sharing the highly interactive, educational and action-packed experience with marine life enthusiasts of all ages.”


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The grand opening of Caribbean Journey advances the aquarium’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education programming and conservation and wildlife rehabilitation programs. It features a new Flint Hills Resources Center for Excellence in STEM Education, which promotes discovery-based learning and advanced digital technology to connect guests to STEM professionals.

The expansion also enhances the aquarium’s ability to educate visitors about wildlife ecology and marine life conservation. TSA currently cares for more than 4,000 animals representing more than 380 species. In 2016, it treated more than 340 injured animals through its Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Program.

In 2016, the Texas State Aquarium attracted approximately 520,000 visitors and projects attendance to increase to 600,000 by next year. The Texas State Aquarium summer hours, from March through Labor Day, are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information and admission prices, visit www.texasstateaquarium.org.


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Aquarium of the Pacific Major Expansion Groundbreaking

The Aquarium of the Pacific, in Long Beach, California, one of the nation’s largest and most-visited aquariums, celebrated its future Pacific Visions wing with a groundbreaking ceremony recently. The 29,000-square-foot, two-story sustainable structure is designed by the San Francisco-based architecture and design firm EHDD. The first major expansion project ever undertaken by the nonprofit aquarium, Pacific Visions, slated to open in late 2018/early 2019, will be the new focal point of the institution and will engage the public with epic ocean stories and inspire them to create a better future for our planet. The main Aquarium building will remain operational throughout the construction phase.

Pacific Visions is designed as a biomorphic structure. Complementing the Aquarium’s existing building, Pacific Visions will have a façade made up of more than 800 non-reflective glass panels covering an area of 18,000 square feet. The Pacific Visions project includes the Honda Pacific Visions Theater, new Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Entrance and front pavilion, changing exhibit gallery with live animals, art gallery, and orientation gallery. The two-story, 300-seat Honda Pacific Visions Theater will include a 32-foot-tall, 130-foot long, 180-degree arc digital projection wall and a 30-foot-diameter floor projection disc to immerse visitors in a virtual ocean environment. The theater will bring to life epic ocean stories, allowing audiences to discover new species, witness the processes and phenomena of Earth’s ecosystems, and grapple with the many challenges facing the natural world. Seats will be wired for interactivity, providing visitors opportunities to explore a range of possible alternative pathways to the future and to discover how our activities will determine the future. All stories will be developed by the Aquarium in partnership with leading scientists, filmmakers, and digital artists.

Pacific Visions will incorporate a range of technologies and media design developed by EMMY award-winning Cortina Productions. Media technology will create rich, dynamic, relevant multi-sensory, multi-dimensional experiences. Interactive technology will create a space where science, art, and nature can blend in a fluid, intuitive way for innovative learning. Digital exhibits using real-time data will enable the Aquarium to address breaking scientific discoveries and current and emerging environmental topics. When visitors leave the Aquarium, they will be able to remain connected and share the experience with friends and family through the Pacific Visions app.


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Outdoor Adventure Awaits in San Antonio this Spring Break

Outdoor fun, theme park thrills and adrenaline-pumping excursions await in San Antonio this Spring Break. It’s not your average town and not your average adventure. Around every street corner and bend of the river there’s history to be made.

Here are just a few ways to live up the great outdoors in and around San Antonio:

  • Kayak the San Antonio River Walk’s Mission Reach
    Explore one of the most notable sites in the world by kayak. San Antonio‘s Mission Reach is the southern stretch of the famous River Walk. This wildflower-lined section connects four of the city’s five Spanish colonial missions which have recently been designated a World Heritage Site.
  • Spelunk at Natural Bridge Caverns
    Explore natural beauty in the recesses of the earth at Natural Bridge Caverns. For first-timers and avid cavers alike, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience hard to forget. Choose from a cave walking tour or opt for the ultimate underground adventure tour where guests climb, hike, rappel and explore caverns that are thousands of years in the making. Towering stone monuments, glistening soda straws and waves of colorful cave ribbons await.
  • Combine views and an adrenaline rush at Skydive San Marcos
    The best Texas Hill Country views just might be 12,000 feet in the air. Take in the scenery aboard a turbine-powered aircraft before diving in with experts from Skydive San Marcos, just north of San Antonio.
  • San Antonio by Trail
    Explore San Antonio‘s more than 50 miles of hiking and bike trails that run through neighborhoods and downtown – connecting parks, hotels and noteworthy spots including Pearl and the San Antonio museum district. Trail stewards are on site to help with questions and directions.
  • Theme Park Thrills
    Playtime in San Antonio means one thing: Texas-sized adventure. Whether young or young at heart, big thrills are plentiful at the Alamo City’s world-class theme parks.

    • Wild Days at SeaWorld San Antonio (March 4 – 26)
      SeaWorld San Antonio’s Spring Break features 250-acres of family fun. For four weekends in March and the entire week of March 11-19, SeaWorld San Antonio hosts celebrity wildlife experts – including TV favorite Jack Hanna – as they explore the wonders of the animal kingdom. Additional special shows include SeaWorld Live, Flying High and all new this year, Texas Untamed, an up-close look at the native wildlife of the Lone Star State. SeaWorld’s water park, Aquatica, will be open and travelers can add in a trip to Discovery Point to swim with the dolphins.
    • Mardi Gras Festival at Six Flags Fiesta Texas (March 24 – April 30)
      It’s a Fiesta Texas-style Mardi Gras Festival, featuring Mardi Gras-themed food, merchandise, park décor and a parade with floats that have been artfully created by world-renowned New Orleans float designers, KernStudios. Six Flags Fiesta Texas is stocked full of rides, shows and attractions all themed around the cultures of Texas, from pulse-pounding roller coasters to gentler options for tots and the White Water Bay water park.
    • Spring Break at Morgan’s Wonderland (March 13-18)
      This 25-acre, ultra-accessible park, designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built to be enjoyed by everyone, will offer special entertainment in addition to its rides and attractions. Included will be “The Magic of Friendship,” a 20-minute interactive variety show in which guests will learn about inclusion and the art of making friends through the power of magic; musical performances; exhibitions by acrobatic dogs; feats of magic; appearances by the theme park’s butterfly mascot Joy; and members of The Wonder Squad, Morgan’s Wonderland super heroes.

While in town, stop by the Visitor Information Center across from the Alamo to grab a map, get more ideas on what to explore and have your San Antonio questions answered. Getaway packages, discounts and more information can be found at visitsanantonio.com.

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Spring Break in New Braunfels

Looking for a Spring Break that’s a great family value? Check out New Braunfels in the Texas Hill Country. No children? Looking for a break from winter with your BFFs or significant other? Enjoy an “under the radar” Spring Break opportunity to celebrate the changing season. There’s a little outdoor adventure, some theme park fun and music and romance waiting for everyone:

Spring Break for Families

Destinations like New Braunfels offer a great Spring Break value for families with younger children looking for a budget-friendly easy to manage getaway.

“Shoulder seasons provide a great opportunity for families,” says Judy Young, the New Braunfels Convention and Visitors Bureau Director. “Resort areas like New Braunfels have the infrastructure. New Braunfels entertains thousands of families during the summer. Springtime offers many of the same attractions. People don’t think about how mild our weather is this time of year – perfect for outdoor fun. And we’re a smaller, easy to navigate and safer place for children.”

Explore these family attractions in New Braunfels and the Texas Hill Country:

  • Water Recreation – People flock to New Braunfels in the summertime for the Comal and Guadalupe rivers and Canyon Lake. Mild spring days see a high temperature averaging 72 degrees February through April. Perfect for kayaking, rafting, and fishing the rivers plus boating on the lake. And, kids will love these water-oriented attractions:
    • Schlitterbahn Waterpark – Blastenhoff is open for Spring Break with great rides like the Master Blaster and The Torrent.
    • Texas Ski Ranch – It’s a 70-acre action sports park with a great cable lake for all levels of water sports enthusiasts. You can wakeboard, ski, snowboard, skateboard and SUP! There’s a beach and a spring-loaded trampoline park, too.
  • Outdoor Fun
    • Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch – Check out ostrich feathers, zebra ears and buffalo noses up close and personal. It’s 450 acres with 500 animals – 40 exotic, native and endangered animal species to see and photograph.
    • Natural Bridge Caverns – See massive, other-worldly formations formed by single drops of water and the slow passage of time. Take on the sky-high Canopy Challenge. Make it through a 5,000 square foot outdoor maze and pan for gems, fossils and other treasures.
    • Stars & Stripes Drive-In Theatre – Create a unique memory. Enjoy a night under the stars at a brand new “Back to the Future” drive-in movie theater!
  • Fun History and Culture
    • New Braunfels Museums – Let the imagination go at McKenna Children’s Museum. Lend-A-Hand Ranch, Destination Space and more provide inspiration. Visit the Sophienburg Archives & Museum. See what traveling by ship from Germany to Texas was like. Check out Heritage Village, the Railroad Museum, and a historic murals “museum” downtown.
    • Historic Gruene Texas – Teach the kids to two-step at Texas’ Oldest Dance Hall like generations of Texans before you. Show them the toys grandparents played with in the antique shops. Have lunch on a giant deck overlooking the Guadalupe River. Stop by the General Store for some fudge or ice cream.
    • Downtown New Braunfels – Take a stroll and delight the kids. There are bakery shops, pizza parlors and fire engine and train museums downtown. Landa Park has a miniature train ride, playscapes and camping/picnicking areas.

Taking a Break with your BFF/Significant Other

Looking for a vacation or long weekend break from winter? No children doesn’t mean no Spring Break! Grab your BFF or SO and go! Enjoy most of the same attractions a family does, plus some unique opportunities:

  • Grown-Up Play In New Braunfels
    • Hill Country Craft Beer Tour – Taste some great craft beer as you explore the Texas Hill Country. Full & Half Day Guided and Shuttled Tours are available!
    • Live Music Dance Halls & Honky Tonks – If you love live music, New Braunfels has a lot to offer: Gruene Hall, Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre, River Road Ice House, Phoenix Saloon, The Watering Hole Saloon, River Hofbrau, and Freiheit Country Store and many more.
    • Wining & Dining – Five million people visit the 51 Texas Hill Country wineries annually. New Braunfels is a great home base for exploring them – including the local ones. Unique, independent restaurants offer dining on the banks of the Guadalupe, tasty Tex Mex, authentic German dishes and barbecue, of course!
    • Wildflowers – There’s nothing like a drive through the Texas Hill Country. In springtime bluebonnets paint the hills reflecting those clear blue Texas skies. Take a camera for some amazing photo opportunities.

For more information on Spring Break in New Braunfels, see PlayInNewBraunfels. Find your perfect hotel in New Braunfels, Texas


On the road? Why not take us with you. All our websites are mobile-friendly. Visit our growing family of exit guides:  I-4 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit along the way!

Celebrate Holiday in the Park at a Six Flags

Tis the season for thrilling roller coasters, millions of dazzling LED lights, and kisses under the mistletoe as Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, the world’s largest regional theme park company, kicks off its annual holiday spectacular, Holiday in the Park.

Holiday in the Park is a treasured holiday tradition featuring intricately-themed lighting displays, holiday entertainment and an expansive selection of specialty food offerings guaranteed to make the season merry and bright for every member of the family.

Signature Holiday in the Park offerings guests of all ages can enjoy, include:

  • A myriad of activities families can experience together including cookie-decorating, ornament-making, and face-painting;
  • Millions upon millions of dazzling lights, choreographed lighting packages and beautifully decorated holiday-themed sections throughout the parks;
  • Towering Christmas trees all lit up and decked out for the holidays;
  • Wood-burning fire pits, perfect for making s’mores and keeping warm and toasty during nighttime visits;
  • A wide assortment of seasonal menu items including flavored coffee and hot chocolate, peppermint and mocha fudge, festive funnel cakes, hot soups and chili served in homemade bread bowls and holiday platters of sliced turkey and chicken;
  • Holiday photo locations featuring Santa, Mrs. Claus, antique sleighs, giant candy canes and life-size nutcrackers;
  • Live entertainment with strolling carolers, choirs and elaborate stage productions;
  • Retail locations brimming with great stocking stuffers like holiday candles, plush toys, scarves and unique ornaments; and
  • Expanded hours of operation means more time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season and create thrilling family memories.

I-10 travelers will find Holiday in the Park celebrations at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California

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On the road? Why not take us with you. All our websites are mobile-friendly. Visit our growing family of exit guides:  I-4 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit along the way!