With winter’s essential wardrobe staples of galoshes and snowsuits, it seems hard to believe that spring break and the summer holidays are just around the corner. And while local amusement parks and day camps might seem like the obvious boredom-busters for youngsters, a Wildland Adventures family vacation just might be the ticket to both entertainment and enlightenment.
Having earned the titles of “Family Travel Pro” and “Family Adventure Gurus” by National Geographic Traveler and Adventure magazines, the Seattle-based Wildland Adventures has created all-ages family adventure vacations to just about every destination in the world. And with special discounted pricing for children and teens, parents won’t have to worry about breaking the bank during the upcoming holidays.
To ensure a successful holiday, follow these tips from Kurt Kutay, founding president and director of Wildland Adventures, for planning the perfect family adventure.
1. Walk among the people. Following local footpaths through villages and farmlands opens windows to family life far different from our own. During your vacation, walk through the new land and meet people of different cultures.
2. Capitalize on everyone’s interests. When planning your family adventure, gather around the kitchen table and make sure everyone’s interest and ideas are included in the itinerary.
3. A good family guide is key. The best guides for family trips are parents or teachers who are familiar with young minds so they can deliver age-appropriate, interpretative information. Guides should possess the spirit of a child for fun, discovery and exploration.
4. Build anticipation. Provide pre-departure trip materials that include colorful, age-appropriate information about the destination. Some suggestions are laminated wildlife guides of animals they can expect to see or posters of the rainforest and other habitats they’ll visit.
5. Anticipate a peak experience. Plan activities in a walking itinerary that kids find personally rewarding: come across a waterfall or ruins or climb to the top of a castle or ancient temple. The trick is to make the journey as much fun as the destination.
6. Show the parents a thing or two. Involve activities that allow all family members to participate together – learn about yourselves, discover inner strengths or skills and do things you never imagined. Try out activities that parents might not be as adept as kids to reverse normal roles at home: kids can show their parents a thing or two!
7. Kids leading kids. Plan to invite young people from the local area to join in on the trip. Walking is a normal and daily fact of life in many cultures, and North American kids will more likely keep up the pace with other kids than adults!
Via: Ellen Barone
The universe is a weird place. Here's a look at some of the strangest things in the cosmos.
7. Dark Matter
Scientists think it makes up the bulk of matter in the universe, but it can neither be seen nor detected directly using current technologies. Candidates range from light-weight neutrinos to invisible black holes. Some scientists question whether dark matter is even real, and suggest that the mysteries it was conjured to solve could be explained by a better understanding of gravity.
Until about the early 1990s, the only known planets in the universe were the familiar ones in our solar system. Astronomers have since identified more than 500 extrasolar planets (as of November 2010). They range from gargantuan gas worlds whose masses are just shy of being stars to small, rocky ones orbiting dim, red dwarfs. Searches for a second Earth, however, are still ongoing. Astronomers generally believe that better technology is likely to eventually reveal worlds similar to our own.
5. Gravity Waves
Gravity waves are distortions in the fabric of space-time predicted by Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity. The gravitational waves travel at the speed of light, but they are so weak that scientists expect to detect only those created during colossal cosmic events, such as black hole mergers like the one shown above. LIGO and LISA are two detectors designed to spot the elusive waves.
4. Galactic Cannibalism
Like life on Earth, galaxies can "eat" each other and evolve over time. The Milky Way's neighbor, Andromeda, is currently dining on one of its satellites. More than a dozen star clusters are scattered throughout Andromeda, the cosmic remains of past meals. The image above is from a simulation of Andromeda and our galaxy colliding, an event that will take place in about 3 billion years.
Neutrinos are electrically neutral, virtually mass-less elementary particles that can pass through miles of lead unhindered. Some are passing through your body as you read this. These "phantom" particles are produced in the inner fires of burning, healthy stars as well as in the supernova explosions of dying stars. Detectors are being embedded underground, beneath the sea, or into a large chunk of ice as part of IceCube, a neutrino-detecting project.
These bright beacons shine to us from the edges of the visible universe and are reminders to scientists of our universe's chaotic infancy. Quasars release more energy than hundreds of galaxies combined. The general consensus is that they aremonstrous black holes in the hearts of distant galaxies. This image is of quasar 3C 273, photographed in 1979.
1. Vacuum Energy
Quantum physics tells us that contrary to appearances, empty space is a bubbling brew of "virtual" subatomic particles that are constantly being created and destroyed. The fleeting particles endow every cubic centimeter of space with a certain energy that, according to general relativity, produces an anti-gravitational force that pushes space apart. Nobody knows what's really causing the accelerated expansion of the universe, however.
Planning a trip to Australia and have no idea what to see while you’re there? For your entertainment and information, I present to you the Seven Wonders of Australia.
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu is the premier national park in Australia and offers some of the most stunning displays of wildlife you can find on the continent. Saltwater crocodiles can be found all over the park, as well as kangaroos and wallabies. In addition to stunning rock outcrops and wildlife, Kakadu some of the oldest aboriginal artwork in Australia. Many of the rock drawings date back over 20,000 years. Kakadu was location for many of the scenes from the movie Crocodile Dundee.
Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) is probably the best known natural icon in Australia, and no list of the Seven Wonders of Australia could be complete without it. The iron content in the rock makes its colors change through the course of a day from bright to dark red. Sacred to the local aboriginal Pitjantjatjara people, it is also of great cultural significance as well as natural significance. Often overlooked, nearby Kata Tjuta is actually higher than Uluru, but has been eroded into several pieces.
What says “Australia” more than Sydney harbor? Maybe a kangaroo holding a boomerang and beer in the outback, but that’s about it. The center of Australia’s largest city, Sydney Harbor is home to the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. You can take a ferry across the harbor, walk across the top of the Harbor Bridge, have tea in the Opera House, and take a stroll in the nearby Royal Botanical Gardens.
Bungle Bungles/Purnululu National Park
Had this list been created 30 years ago, the Bungle Bungles might not have been listed. Having come to the world’s attention only in the mid-1980′s, the bee hive domes of the Bungles make Purnululu National Park the premier attraction in the Kimberly region of Western Australia. Difficult to get to, what makes the Bungles fascinating are the unique erosional features which are unlike anything else in the world.
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is so big, the scope of it can really only be appreciated from the air, or even better, from orbit. By far the largest coral reef system in the world, the Great Barrier Reef extends over 2,600km (1,600mi), almost the entire length of the coast of Queensland. It is usually on any short list of the natural wonders of the world. There are plenty of places you can experience the reef, the most common of which are Cairns and the Whitsunday Islands.
Giant Eucalyptus Trees of Tasmania
Tasmania is the most unspoiled wilderness in Australia. In addition to its pristine beauty, it is home to many unique species of plant and animal including the threatened Tasmanian Devil. The most dramatic of all the things in Tasmania is the Eucalyptus Regnans, the giant eucalyptus tree. Also known as the Swamp Gum, Mountain Ash or Tasmanian Oak, it is the largest flowering plant and hardwood tree in the world and is second only to the redwood tree in height.
The Great Ocean Road
One of the greatest drives in the world is the Great Ocean Road on the southern coast of Victoria. Carved by thousands of years of battering by the Great Southern Ocean, the sandstone formations of the Great Ocean Road are truly stunning. The Twelve Apostles, London Bridge, Lord Ard Gorge are just some of the significant erosional features which can be seen on the drive near the town of Port Campbell.
The born of baby in any family is sign of happiness, these babies are in normal condition, but in Nepal a baby born which attracts the hole world due to its strange look which is totally different from any normal baby.
You will find some of the cases or images below disturbing in nature. This compilation is not for light-hearted people.
1. Frog like Baby : Anencephaly
In 2006, this bizarre-looking baby was born in Charikot, the headquarters of Dolakha district, attracting a huge number of onlookers to witness the astonishing sight. The neck-less baby with its head almost totally sunk into the upper part of the body and with extraordinarily large eyeballs literally popping out of the eye-sockets, was born to Nir Bahadur Karki and Suntali Karki at the Gaurishnkar Hospital in Charikot.
The baby suffers from a cephalic disorder called Anencephaly that results from a neural tube defect that occurs when the cephalic (head) end of the neural tube fails to close. Children born with this condition lack the forebrain which is responsible for cognition i.e thinking. The remaining brain tissue is often exposed—not covered by bone or skin. There is no cure or standard treatment for anencephaly and the prognosis for patients is poor. Most anencephalic babies do not survive birth, accounting for 55% of non-aborted cases. If the infant is not stillborn, then he or she will usually die within a few hours or days after birth from cardiorespiratory arrest.
2. Two Faced Baby : Diprosopus
Lali was born with two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes – but only two ears. And while she may seem like an oddity to some, her proud parents think she is simply a God reincarnated. Her parents, Vinod and Susham Singh from a village called Saini, said their little girl was “a gift from God”.
The girl is born with Diprosopus or Craniofacial Duplicatiopn - an extremely rare congenital disorder whereby part or all of the face is duplicated on the head as compared to polycephaly in which a baby might be born with two heads, in which one head is a left over of his undeveloped twin.
Doctors who delivered the baby said she appeared to be in good health, and is leading a normal life with no breathing difficulties. They were initially uncertain whether the baby would have normal functions but say so far she is “doing well” and eating from both of her two mouths. She also opens and shuts all four eyes at the same time.
3. One Eyed Baby : Cyclopia
The baby born in Nigeria suffers from Cyclopia (also cyclocephaly or synophthalmia) – a rare birth defect characterized by failure of embryonic forebrain to divide into two orbital cavities for the eyeballs resulting in one eye. Typically the face lacks a functional nose. The cause being related to certain toxins and high doses of anticancer therapy.
4. Tiger Stripped Baby : Harlequin-type ichthyosis
A weird baby is born in Gilgit, Pakistan, this March’ 2010. The baby had a skin disorder whose first case was registered back in 1700s. The baby was kept in ICU after his birth because of his weak and dreadful condition and the parents of the baby have been declared healthy. Soon after the birth of the alien baby, the huge mass of people gathered at the hospital to see the strange child and which astonished the people. Baby had red stripes all over his body exactly like a tiger and had blood red eyes similar to aliens from a sci-fi ALIEN based movie. According to the doctor, there are only 10 percent chances that the baby would survive as the skin disease he is diagnosed with (Harlequin-type ichthyosis) makes him more sensitive towards bacteria to enter his body. This kind of disease is very rare and not been reported since 1700 but now it has captured the interest of people and astounded them to a great extent.
Harlequin-type ichthyosis, a skin disease, is the most severe form of congenital ichthyosis, characterized by a thickening of the keratin layer in fetal human skin. In sufferers of the disease, the skin contains massive, diamond-shaped scales, and tends to have a reddish color. In addition, the eyes, ears, mouth, and other appendages may be abnormally contracted. The scaly keratin greatly limits the child’s movement. Because the skin is cracked where normal skin would fold, it is easily pregnable by bacteria and other contaminants, resulting in serious risk of fatal infection.
5. Two Headed Baby : Craniopagus parasiticus
The nurse holds an Egyptian baby named Manar Maged in a hospital in the city of Banha, north of Cairo. Maged was in a serious but improving condition after the procedure to treat her for craniopagus parasiticus — a problem related to that of conjoined twins linked at the skull.
Craniopagus parasiticus is a medical condition in which a parasitic twin head with an undeveloped (or underdeveloped) body is attached to the head of a developed twin. There have only been ten documented cases of this phenomenon, though to-date there have been at least eighty separate cases of this phenomenon written about in various records. Only three ever have been documented by modern medicine to have survived birth.
6. Outside Heart Baby : Ectopia Cordis
This baby reported in 2009 has a heart located outside his body. He has the birth defect Ectopia cordis in which the heart is abnormally located. In the most common form, the heart protrudes outside the chest through a split sternum. Less often the heart may be situated in the abdominal cavity or neck.
The babies with this condtion have usually a good chance of survival since heart can be repositioned to the appropriate location when surgery conditions are suitable.
7. Baby with multiple Limbs : Polymelia
Polymelia is a birth defect involving limbs, in which the affected individual has more than the usual number of limbs. In humans and most land-dwelling animals, this means having five or more limbs. The extra limb is most commonly shrunken and/or deformed. Lakshmi was a child born in India, she is accepted as Hindu Goddess in India having multiple limbs.
The causes may be several. Sometimes an embryo starts as conjoined twins, but one twin degenerated completely except for one or more limbs, which end up attached to the other twin. Sometimes small extra legs between the normal legs are caused by the body axis forking.
Irrigating crops, producing electricity, acting as roadways for trade and travel, and even offering a sacred place for worship, rivers are the epicenter around which much of humanity lives and thrives. From the Nile in Africa, which played a vital role in the development of the Western world, to the Ganges in India, considered by Hindus to be the holiest of all rivers, here are 7 of the most important natural waterways on the planet.
Amazon, South America
Beginning in Brazil and traveling through Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean, the Amazon is perhaps the most record-breaking river in the world. It is the largest (2.7 million sq. miles), the widest (202 miles wide at its mouth; 6.8 miles wide along its path) and among the longest (4,000 miles) and deepest (300 feet in some spots). It is also called the "Ocean River" because it boasts the greatest total discharge of all rivers—between 9 million and 32 million gallons per second—which is 20 percent of the world's freshwater ocean discharge.
Caño Cristales, South America
Starting in the Andean foothills of the Amazon rainforest in Colombia, the "river that ran away from paradise" is generally regarded as the most beautiful in the world due to its brief seasonal blooming of colorful bottom-feeding algae. In full glory during late October and early November when the water level is just right, vibrant blotches of reds, oranges, yellows, greens and blues paint its water—turning the surface into a virtual rainbow.
Danube River, Europe
At 1,770 miles long, the Danube is the second longest river in Europe after the Volga. But unlike the Volga, which only runs through Russia, the Danube snakes through Germany, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania and the Ukraine before emptying into the Black Sea. Vital to the settlement and political evolution of central and southeastern Europe, the Danube's banks are lined with castles and fortresses as it was the boundary between so many great empires. Today the lower portion of the Danube is a major avenue for freight transport, while the upper Danube is an important source of hydroelectricity.
Ganges, South Asia
Hindus believe the Ganges River is the earthly manifestation of the Goddess Ganga, and they worship it as the holiest of all rivers. Beginning in the southern Himalayas, the 1,560-mile river flows through China, India, Nepal and Bangladesh before emptying into the Indian Ocean. Many of the practicing Hindus who populate the 52 cities and 48 towns along its banks believe in the river's ability to cleanse them of their sins and liberate them from the cycle of life and death. Pilgrimage sites are particularly significant, attracting hundreds of thousands of worshippers each year, and some people cast the ashes of their dead into the river, believing it will guide the souls of the deceased straight to paradise.
Jordan, Southwest Asia
The Jordan River is both the Biblical and historical epicenter of the Judeo-Christian world. Not only is it where Jesus Christ was baptized by John, but it is also believed to be the scene of a number of miracles, including the crossing from Egypt to Canaan, and Biblical wars, such as the battle between Jonathan and Bacchides. Though part of the river's upper portion is still used for baptisms today, much of it is considered endangered due to domestic and agricultural use.
Mississippi, North America
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America—so large, in fact, that it runs through 10 U.S. states and is divided into two main parts: the Upper Mississippi (from its source in Northern Minnesota to where it meets the Ohio River at the southern tip of Illinois) and the Lower Mississippi (from the Ohio River to the Gulf of Mexico). A major navigational route and settlement hub since the Native Americans settled there, the Mississippi River has been immortalized in American culture in everything from books like Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to the rhythm and blues music of the Mississippi Delta.
At 4,132 miles long, the Nile is the longest river in the world. It also happens to be one of the most iconic. Flowing north through the deserts of Uganda and Egypt, it has been the lifeline of Egypt since the Stone Age, and, to this day, the vast majority of the Egyptian population is settled along its path. It is also one of the main routes of shipping traffic. In fact, the winter winds are so strong that ships can travel against the current using just a sail.
Worried that the economy might put a crimp in your travel plans this year? Never fear: travel doesn’t have to break the bank. Your currency may be depressed, but that doesn’t mean you have to be; there are still many destinations around the world that can be enjoyed on the cheap. If you let the global economic ups-and-downs work to your advantage, adopt some personal austerity measures in pricier destinations, and head towards up-and-coming destinations, you can stay on the road longer for less.
We bring you this bargainous bounty of 7 budget-friendly destinations where you can get the most bang for your buck.
This subcontinental treat might just be the cheapest place on earth to travel. Bangladesh offers marvellous meals for under US$1, a mid-range hotel room for less than 10 times that. This means that anyone who isn’t a masochist goes up a price bracket or two. You’ll pay a little more to get around the Sunderbans National Park on a tiger-spotting tour – US$150 or thereabouts – but it’s still peanuts, even compared to what you pay next door in India.
Bangladesh is almost disgracefully under-visited. Here, paddleboat is one of the main forms of transport and you can trek, canoe and even surf to your heart’s content with some of the world’s friendliest people for company. The Rocket is Bangladesh’s most famous ferry, running daily between the capital Dhaka and Khulna. First-class river cruising for 27 hours will cost US$15.
As other Central American destinations inflate prices with an influx of travellers, there are still a few good value delights to be found in the region. Nicaragua is somewhere where the careful traveller can get by spending US$15 a day, and midrange comforts can be had for less than double that amount. What you get for your money is nothing short of spectacular: hammock-hanging opportunities on the mythically unspoilt Corn Islands, bar-hopping and live music in colonial León and Granada, and volcano trekking on the Isla de Ometepe. Paying departure tax when flying out of Nicaragua may be the single most expensive thing you do at US$32, and this is usually already included in the price of your ticket.
3. Washington, DC
Lincoln Memorial: free. National Air and Space Museum: free. Capitol: free. Library of Congress: free. White House and State Department: tough to get in, but free. Get the picture? Washington is a city packed with iconic things to do and very few of them ask for an entry fee. If you’re happy to walk and bring your own lunch bag, you can absorb centuries of American history, politics and culture without having to so much as touch a dollar bill all day. DC’s Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens is the only national park in the USA devoted to water plants. It’s free.
The French capital is never going to win any awards for cheapness, but here’s a winning formula that anyone can afford. First, you need a Swiss Army knife. Then stroll into a boulangerie – every neighbourhood has several – and buy a freshly baked baguette for €1 (US$1.35) or thereabouts. Follow your nose to your next stop, a fromagerie, and grab a fist-sized hunk of cheese. Lastly, grab a bottle of wine, nothing fancy, and head for the banks of the Seine opposite Notre Dame or the garden adjacent to Pont Neuf on a sunny day, preferably with a friend or loved one. Zut alors – a Parisian dining experience for under €10 (US$13.50) per person that any local would declare formidable! You’ll find everything for a picnic on Rue Montorgueil in the 2nd arrondissement.
Botswana wants big spenders only and South Africa’s not the deal it once was, so southern Africa bargain hunters should head for Namibia. Well set-up for backpackers, this is still a territory of US$50 or less a day if you’re careful, with an excellent network of local minibuses and tours aimed at budget travellers to go to places public transport won’t. And if you go up a price bracket you’ll eat and sleep well in excellent-value midrange options that bring South Africans flocking over the border year after year. Admission to the Cape Cross Seal Reserve on the Skeleton Coast costs a mere US$3 per person.
The Philippines may be just about to rudely shove Thailand off the ‘best cheap beaches’ perch it’s occupied for the best part of two decades. While travellers argue long and hard about which is cheaper, there’s no denying Thailand is more popular. For those who desire nothing more than to find great, undiscovered beaches, surf the odd wave and eat unique, distinctive food for under US$20 a day, the Philippines has the edge. Add in the possibility of beach camping along the Zambales Coast or in the Bacuit Archipelago and you’ve got the recipe for timeless island hopping that suits any budget. Ferries link many idyllic destinations in the Philippines. Expect to pay around US$5 for each hour you’re on the water.
The Argentine peso is the currency that keeps on giving. In the middle of the last decade, incredulous visitors regularly queried bills for being too cheap after feasting on fine steak and red wine. While not quite the bargain it was during those years, Argentina still offers a terrific deal. Characterful mid-range hotels start at around AR$180 (US$46) per night in Buenos Aires and Patagonia, and half that in other places. Argentina’s gourmet eating houses usually won’t charge more than US$30 a head and you can enjoy wonderful meals on much less. Best of all, you get great quality food, wine, lodging and transport throughout Argentina for your money.
Bounce up and down with some of Buenos Aires’ more raucous citizens at a fútbol (soccer) match. Terrace tickets for Boca Juniors, River Plate and others cost from AR$14 (US$3.60).
Via: Lonely Planet