While your family may be more familiar with the world-famous Disney park and luxury beaches of Florida, the Sunshine State has an even wilder side to it. Yes, Miami nightlife, but also, the plethora of wildlife sanctuaries and rescues. Take the family for a walk on the wild side, visiting resident rescues and National Wildlife Refuges. Maybe you’ll inspire your young naturalist brood to take up a cause of their own.
What may sound more like a school mascot than a National Wildlife Refuge, Florida Panther is actually a wildlife reprieve for endangered species, like the puma. Bring the kids through to see the beautiful big cats and other resident rescues, like Florida Black Bear and white-tailed deer. Sightseeing is kept at a safe, yet interactive distance through the park’s two hiking trails. You’ll feel a lot like a wildlife viewer stalking through the bush, but with all the safety of a zoo.
Pay a visit to the non-profit, donation-based organization Busch Wildlife Sanctuary. This stop welcomes families and guests of all ages to visit rescued wildlife along habitat trails. Your future vets and wildlife caretakers will appreciate the medical side of the tour, as some rescues will be on the mend or in recovery. This is a working wildlife hospital, so every day is different, but there will be plenty of rescued residents and temporary guests.
Watch resident rescued big cats enjoy feeding time and playing together like kittens in an oversized watering hole, cleverly named Catty Shack Ranch. This sanctuary is home to lions, cougars, leopards, tigers, bobcats and Arctic foxes, among many other species. Check in on the resident big cats as they enjoy a safe environment with professional, attentive care, but with freedom to roam and play. The sanctuary is a non-profit, forever home for the cats and never breeds, sells or trades its residents.
Over in Palm Beach County, McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary is home to rescued and rehabilitated birds, tigers, lions, bobcats, panthers, reptiles and many others, but requires an appointment to visit. The exclusivity of this tour is actually a really special experience and, as the resident rescues are like family, some even let guests pet them. Read up on the FAQs before booking.
Zermatt’s colorful ski boutique-lined Bahnhofstrasse, stylish apartment-style lodgings of every description and views of the Matterhorn from every angle make up one of Europe’s most family-friendly destinations — and it certainly does not hurt that it is proclaimed the “world’s best ski resort” by organizations like SnowOnline.com year after year. During the warmer months, meanwhile, you will see many family groups with kids strolling the shopping streets (sometimes alongside a herd of about 50 free-range Valais Blackneck goats around 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.), enjoying fondue and pizza at nearby cafés, and taking advantage of the many hiking and bike trails.
By Hainan Airlines
In a recent survey by Orbitz, 63 percent of millennial travelers said the hotel amenity they'd like to see more of is plants in hotel rooms. The same number said they seek plant-filled spaces and activities on vacation, including parks and botanical gardens.
The movies and cruise vacations actually have a lot in common: fascinating ports of call, making friends with interesting people, new sensory experiences, the constant change of scenery. When you think about it, it’s no surprise many classic comedies and romances are set aboard cruise ships, including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) with Marilyn Monroe, Royal Wedding (1951), An Affair to Remember (1957) with Cary Grant, the more recent and kid-friendly Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, and the long-running television series Love Boat.
Downton Abbey swept into family rooms and show-binging homes back in 2010 and is now resurfacing with a new story — this time on film! For Downton Abbey enthusiasts, this is a highly-anticipated event; for newcomers, this is a great chance to binge the show ahead of the film’s release; and for families looking for any excuse to get away, this is the time to take advantage of CIE Tours lineup of Downton Abbey-themed stops.