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SeaWorld Orlando FL: Snowy Penguin Habitat


To see the funny, waddly, usually snowbound birds in tropical Orlando is quite an experience. Visitors are able to observe them close-up in their natural setting in the new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin exhibit.  

The species on display include Gentoo, King, Adelie and Rockhopper penguins, with a total population of 245 of the critters. They’re all enjoying their Florida digs of more than 6,000 feet designed for running, swimming, yakking, preening and whatever else penguins do in the wild.

To make them feel at home, the area temperature is kept at just below freezing and the ground covered with patches of real snow and ice. For more information, go to seaworldparks.com/seaworld-orlando/antarctica

Airport Tips: Watch your bags at all times! PDF Print E-mail

Cartoon of people with suitcases

A Phoenix man and woman were arrested recently for stealing at least a thousand checked suitcases from the baggage carousels in the city airport during the past year. How could that happen? Imagine the conversation between an airport cop and his boss last June:

Cop: Duh, chief, didja know that more than 500 checked bags have been stolen from our carousels since January. Shouldn’t we do sumpin’ about it?

Chief: Only 500? Nah, not to worry. We wait ‘til them crooks take at least a thousand. Then we gotta think about doin’ sumpin.

Those airport security guys are great at checking shoes and waving electronic wands. But, how could they ignore this obvious in-their-faces crime spree? They never caught on, and it took city cops to catch the crooks in action, then follow them and find their house full of hundreds of empty suitcases.

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Tips: Make holiday road trips more comfy PDF Print E-mail

Flock of turkeys

Here are a few ideas about making things easier if you’re going over the hills and through the trees to grandmother's house by car.

1. Gasoline prices may no longer be the highway robbery they were last year, but you can still expect your friendly neighborhood gas station owners to jack up the price and gobble greedy profits for the holidays. Check local prices before you fill up, or go online to gasbuddy.com, where daily price changes are noted in your area and along your route. To avoid crowded highways, plan to do your driving between 11 pm and 6 am.

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Ready to take the plunge for winter travel? PDF Print E-mail

Polar bear

Personal stuff first: Just as soon as my December retirement party ended, my spouse, I and our packed car hit the highway from snowy, foggy, humid PA and headed 2,000 miles west to always sunny, hot, dry AZ. That winter vacation has lasted every day for nearly 20 years. I’ve no urge to have anything to do with winter except to watch TV scenes of poor slobs slushing and sneezing through snow.

That said, here are some suggestions I have, and have experienced, for nice, warm winter vacations that offer both hot and cold features:

Some family members enjoy winter sports, and I do reluctantly get my snow experience about once every three years. I relax in cozy, warm welcome at Homewood Mountain Resort (skihomewood.com) at the winter wonderland of Lake Tahoe in Northern California.

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Beautiful Cabo San Lucas harbor at sunset PDF Print E-mail

Rock formation in Cabo San Lucas, Baja, Mexico

Taken by single-use $5 camera from stateroom balcony

Submitted by Nancy R, San Diego CA

 
Cruise prices are great, but expect add-ons PDF Print E-mail

Cruise ship with dollar sign

We just returned from an excellent cruise out of San Diego down the Mexican Baja coast to Cabo San Lucas and return. We had a comfy balcony cabin, great food, fun games and Vegas-style entertainment, for about $600 each for the five night trip. All were included in the price. Ya can't beat such a deal!

No real complaints, but if there’s a downside to such bargains, it’s because the cruise extras can be extra expensive. If you’re planning a sailing soon, enjoy the heck out of it, but here are tips for avoiding possible rip-offs:

1. Drinks: You get coffee, tea, juices and lemonade free, but soft drinks and booze are extra expensive. We paid $5 for Cokes and up to $10 for beer and mixed drinks.

2. On our cruise, there were buffet meals, hot dog/burger/pizza stands and the main dining room for sit-down meals, all included. However, if you choose to go to exclusive special dining rooms, an extra fee of $25 per meal is added.

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