After gathering apples from our tree for several days, my husband and I made the drive to Kisma Preserve near Mount Desert Island in coastal Maine with one wish: to meet the resident bear. A long-time resident at Kisma, Flipper the Bear has lived at the wildlife preserve since he was discovered (as a youngster himself) playing with a group of small children in a swimming pool. Authorities knew his fascination with people and being around them was likely to be his undoing, and he’s been in his own private section of the preserve ever since. The owners insisted his area include a deep, stone-rimmed pool of his own where he could safely indulge in his passion for swimming whenever he chooses.
The other animals at Kisma are a mix of permanent residents, and animals brought for rehabilitation that will be released back into the wild provided they become healthy enough to survive on their own. The day we showed up with our apples, we met wolves, a llama, a goat, an owl, two macaws and two incredibly sweet and gentle porcupines called Tallulah and Brian who were enjoying some time being cared for at Kisma while they recovered from injuries. Tours are available by reservation.
Just up the road from Kisma is Birdsacre – Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary. This educational conservation reserve was founded by Cordelia Stanwood, a Victorian writer, ornithologist and photojournalist who studied bird behavior and wrote up her field research for scientific publications, including the Audubon Society’s Bird Lore and mainstream magazines such as House Beautiful.
Along with being a forever home to owls and hawks too injured to be released into the wild, the estate includes lovely Woodland Gardens, nature trails, the Richmond Nature Center and the Stanwood Museum, where visitors can wander through rooms filled with Cordelia’s private effects.
Also close to Mount Desert Island, the Acadia Wildlife Center offers Saturday morning conservation-centered education programs for both children and adults. While the center cares for a variety of birds and creatures, they specialize in bats — even bat babies. The center’s website is chock-full of fascinating information kids (and adults) can peruse before a visit: Insectivorous bats are capable of eating up to 1,000 bugs in a single hour, fruit bats are essential pollinators and they’re more closely related to primates than they are to rodents. Note: Reservations for Saturday programs are necessary. Other visits beyond the regular program time can usually be arranged by special appointment.
The Grinch reimaged in intricate ice carvings, superfast indoor snow tubing and a Ferris wheel ride with Santa high above the D.C. area. Sound like fun? You and your family can experience all this and lots more this holiday season at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.
Not a fan of giant cruise ships? This might be the year to put Celestyal Cruises on your radar, especially if your dream family destinations are the Greek Islands, the eastern Mediterranean and, new for next year, the Adriatic.
The sun-soaked beaches and piazzas of summer often come to mind when we envision what makes the perfect Italian holiday. However, there’s something to be said for visiting the country during the off season, as it presents itself as an entirely different place, with unexpectedly delightful new ways to appreciate its dolce vita in the forms of food, wine, art, culture, and sophisticated urban life. This is particularly true in Piedmont (a.k.a. Piemonte), which sits at the top of the “boot” and attaches to France.
By Hainan Airlines
Christmas is always a fun time of year to explore a new city. This year, head to San Antonio for Christmas with a Tex-Mex flair. This Texas city may not get snow for a white Christmas, but there are still plenty of holiday decorations and festivities to create a memorable, family-friendly experience.