From the outside, Blackrock Castle in Cork City, Ireland, appears like any other 16th-century castle in Ireland. Towers and turrets and dark stone, all of the elements expected of a castle, adorn Blackrock, but a visit within promises to surprise all family travelers.
Hidden within the castle is an award-winning science center and observatory. Here, visitors of all ages can explore a wide variety of topics relating to our world and the greater universe. One of the castle’s permanent exhibitions, Ireland in Space, delves into the history of Ireland from the Stone Age onward. This exhibition also explores how Irish scientists contribute to the world of astronomy and space exploration.
One of the coolest aspects of Blackrock Castle is its interactive guided tour through the cosmos. Resident astronomers lead visitors into a tented planetarium dome to reveal positions of stars and planets. Shows last 20 minutes and fully immerse guests into space with specialized software.
The castle’s newest exhibition, Alien Worlds, runs through April 2023. Visiting this exhibition entails learning about how scientists discover different planets and celestial bodies, what they have learned about them, and how scientists continue to search for other forms of life in the universe.
Guests also interested in the history of Blackrock Castle can embark on a guided castle tour, taking visitors through 400 years of history. The tour covers the castle’s beginnings as a fort to defend Cork harbor against pirates, as well as the castle’s function today as a science center with a modern telescope dome. The tour also brings visitors to the top of the tower for beautiful views of the river Lee and Blackrock area.
Blackrock Castle is open Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tickets can be booked online.
The next two seasons see Franklin, Tennessee, come alive with festive events, fun pop-ups and colorful lights. Family travelers planning a trip to Tennessee this fall or winter must make time for Franklin, a city just south of Nashville with plenty of history and festivities awaiting.
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
Mysterious glowing seas? Yes, actually! Through October, Florida’s Space Coast waters within Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River and Indian River Lagoon glow with blue-green bioluminescence — a phenomenon resulting from the presence of comb jellies and dinoflagellates (tiny, single-celled marine plankton that exist in some freshwater locations).
With Halloween around the corner, it’s time to start planning your spooky family travels. Westgate Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort offers a spooky stay in a historical haunted area. While Myrtle Beach boasts its fair share of scares at highly entertaining haunted attractions, the real thrill of frights lies in wait for guests of the resort to brave.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
New England’s fall foliage is legendary, but those six states are not the only ones where colored leaves transform the autumn landscape. If New England is too far for your family to travel this fall, consider these beautiful places that may be closer to home.