Disney's Animal Kingdom
The second day was spent in the Animal Kingdom park! This was loads of fun. It's like a zoo with rides. Being animal lovers, we really enjoyed our time here. Almost every ride was worth the wait and we were constantly surprised by interesting animals or beautiful birds.Must-Dos: Wildlife express, Everest expedition, Awakening of the tree of life (show), Bird show, Riverboat ride.Tip: Walk to all the animal viewing areas to see everything from river otters to tigers.Eat At: Yak and YetiRank amongst 4 parks: 2nd
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods – FREEThis place should be a National Monument, but there's a reason why it's not. The land was donated to the city with the contractual understanding that it would be designated as a city park and an entrance fee would never be charged. You can drive around the loop and choose to hike as many trails as you wish, if you can find a parking space. It is free, that is true, but if you go to the visitor center, you will be charged to watch their 15-minute film, eat at their café, or buy something from the gift shop. I'm just waiting for them to start charging for parking.
Far away from the chaotic streets of San Francisco lies an island usually called as "The Rock" and houses a prison which anyone will never dare to escape from. This beautiful island of Alcatraz also having a magnificent light house offshore of California is a famous and wonderful attraction of San Francisco. The famous prison and the lighthouse are historical landmarks and engineering marvels in the history of San Francisco and is now maintained by the National Park Service.
Everglades Safari Park
Another thing to cross off the list : Everglades National Park.Count around $45 for the trip, there is lots of different alligator farms / bus tours. I went with Safari Park, pick up from my accommodation.You're gonna look so cute with those orange ear plugs in ! It rained a bit but we saw 3 huge alligators (you can see in the video).After the boat tour you have a little show to attend. FYI - if you wanna hold a baby alligator they ask $5.Question. If you’ve been to this place are you or are you not totally shocked that they sell alligator to eat !?? I don’t know how I feel about that.
Seven Falls – Reopens Spring 2015This is a very popular hike in the area, but it was partially destroyed in the fall of 2013 from flooding. We tried to go but there is no access until the road is rebuilt and it reopens, which is scheduled for Spring of 2015.Trip first published on Life Riding Shotgun
Bandelier National Monument
Bandelier National Monument is located just outside of Los Alamos, New Mexico and makes for a great day trip when visiting nearby Santa Fe. The indigenous people that lived in the area dating back some 10,000 years, enjoyed the rugged arid landscape due in part to the the flowing streams and beautiful canyons. Many of the ruins in Frijoles Canyon have been excavated, studied and preserved. The main loop trail from the visitor center passes by several types of restored dwellings, many of which welcome visitors to explore. There are miles of trails, some are even paved to make a few of the sites more accessible. The highlight of the park for me was the trek to the “Alcove House,” which was about a 4-5 miles round trip, then required a 140 foot climb up a four tier series of ladders. This climb is not for the faint-of-heart. I however find these things extremely exciting. Unfortunately there was some sort of filed trip of kids at the park and I got caught in some pretty good congestion climbing both up and down. Once reaching the top tier you enter a massive cliff dwelling with sweeping views of the canyon below. There was also a kiva (an underground ceremonial structure) at the top, which visitors are allowed to enter and explore.
Waipio Valley Shuttle
Hike time: 30 mins. Waipi’o Valley used to be home to ancient Hawaiian royalty, but is now mainly taro farmers. Sheltered by high cliffs on either side, Waipi’o valley is only about 1 mile long with a stream flowing into the ocean from the privately owned Hiilawe Falls towering 1,400 ft above, making it the highest waterfall on the island. To get there from Hilo, take Route 19 north and turn right onto Route 240 to Waipi’o Valley. There is a car park at the top with a lookout and although there is a paved road allowing access to the valley, it is very steep with a 25% grade and only accessible by 4-wheel-drive. A walk down is usually your only option to access the valley, but well worth the trek. Though many locals use this beach as a surf spot, the current can still be quite strong and it’s best to swim only when the water is calm. It is especially dangerous in the winter months, though still worth the trip because this is the best time for whale watching. You have to be wary of the waves crashing in, I went from knee-deep to waist deep in a matter of seconds and damaged my camera that was (stupidly) in my pocket, another silly mistake of mine. For another excellent view of the valley, cross the river and cross all the way to the opposite side of the beach and head up the steep Muliwai switchback trail leading to Waimanu Valley (an excellent but long hike for the more adventurous). The third switchback is the best photo opportunity with little to no tourists getting in your way, it only takes about half an hour to get this far.