Don’t let the winter darkness get you down: The sun may be more elusive this time of year, but there are still plenty of bright spots to travel to over the coming months.
Slip into the dark forest at Cougar Mountain in Whistler, British Columbia, for a magical Vallea Lumina Winter Journey. This illuminated night walk experience was created by Montreal’s multi award-winning Moment Factory. For an hour, storytellers lead guests on a journey that follows the story of two imaginary hikers from the past searching for a mythical, enchanted valley marked by falling stardust. Participants are delivered to the night walk via a complimentary shuttle from Whistler Village, then move though a landscape of lighting and sound effects. The walk, on a mostly level surface appropriate to families, is available from Nov. 28 each night until April 2020. Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are served before the experience begins.
After 12 years, the Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights display is back. LED lighting transforms the zoo with animal sculptures, animal lanterns and animated sculptures. This year’s show takes place on dates in November and December, with supplementary activities that include roaming carolers 5–9 p.m., a holiday train, an exhibit of ice carvings and plenty of hot cocoa, roasted marshmallows and holiday-themed souvenirs.
If you love holiday music, head to Deland, Florida, where the Stetson University School of Music is preparing its annual Christmas Candlelight Concerts. The Stetson choral tradition is more than a century old, and this year’s show will include “Glow” by Eric Whitacre; “And the Glory of the Lord” from Handel’s “Messiah;” Mack Wilberg’s arrangement of “The First Noel;” “Gloria” by Randol Bass; and John Rutter’s arrangement of “Silent Night,” sung by several choirs as they light candles during the grand finale. Performances take place at Lee Chapel in Elizabeth Hall and the First United Methodist Church of Orlando.
The annual LUX Helsinki event takes place in Finland’s beautiful capital city Jan. 4–8, 2020. This magical light festival transforms the city and its buildings with large-scale light installations created by artists from around the planet. There’s no fee: Visitors are free to wander (and wonder) at will.
In Austin, Texas, the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa will charm guests with its annual Holiday Lights Stroll. The resort will become a glittering wonderland of twinkling lights — 3,000 in total — and larger visuals created by 150 programmed floodlights that cycle through festive laser effects. Guests can enjoy the show while savoring specialty hot cocoa and freshly made donuts. While Santa’s official arrival aboard a Texas Longhorn will be in time for the lighting of the lobby’s grand tree Nov. 30, he’ll also be making additional appearances throughout the holidays at his on-site North Pole Workshop.
Corpus Christi, Texas, might just be the perfect Texas spring break destination for family travelers. With nine beaches, more than 100 miles of sandy shores, and new and notable attractions sprouting up, there’s too many reasons not to skip this Texas city this spring.
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.
Student and youth travel marketplace StudentUniverse recently released the results of its annual The State of Student & Youth Travel Report. The report details trends of Gen Z travelers, many of whom participate in family travel.
Family travelers looking for outdoor sports in winter but feeling discouraged by the increasing ticket prices at mountain ski resorts can find a more economical way to enjoy the snow in Vermont. Although traveling along a level trail through snow-covered forests may not have the thrills of mountain skiing, it has pleasures of its own, and at a much cheaper price tag.
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.
LEGOLAND New York Resort is about to make it easier for family travelers to move throughout the park this summer. The Minifigure Skyflyer, opening this summer and a first for LEGOLAND Resorts, offers an interactive new way to travel between themed lands.