Monthly Archives: July 2011

The highs and lows of adventures in Maui

I’m not normally the adventurous sort. Sure, I’ll take out a map and find an alternative route if traffic backs up, but I’m not interested in bungee jumping or scuba diving. When my husband planned our first trip to Maui (my first to any Hawaiian island), he received a jam-packed itinerary in his job as a golf and travel writer.

Included in the list of activities were zip lining and snorkeling. We went on the zipline tour first, with Skyline Eco-Adventures in Maui. Everyone receives a water bottle and is weighed to make sure the guides on duty can handle the weight of each guest. Then, the group is taken by large van to the mountain. The van ride is an adventure in itself, bouncing up a bumpy dirt road on the side of a mountain. Part of the wary up, we arrive at a small shack with a large covered porch. Here, we are fitted with helmets and harnesses. We then transfer to another van with larger tires to make the steeper trek deeper into the mountain.

With sweaty palms and a hammering heart, I took my first zip line without looking from side to side, intent on hitting the ramp on the other side without falling. Success!

In the middle of eight runs, we head to an outdoor platform that overlooks a beautiful gorge. Here, we have a great lunch from a local restaurant with locally-sourced items.

As we walk to the platform, the guide tells us how wild boars are common on the mountain and that we should stay still if we hear one. As we hike back to the ziplines, a wild boar is heard and the group all runs and jumps, only to have our guide come out of the bushes.

On each run, they encourage us to try different things, like jumping off backwards or how to shift in the middle for a different view. On the last run, the guide tells us to tuck our knees into our chest so we go faster to make it across the longest run.

When I, the first girl of our group, heads up for my turn, the guide tells me to tuck my knees and he’ll help me with my send-off. Little did I know that I was going to turn into a human helicopter when he spun me like a top. Although my screams could be heard throughout the mountain and beyond, it was a fun, exhilarating ride. I can’t wait to try it again.

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Going in early August – can’t wait to see this!

Disney upgrades, updates California Adventure Park – USATODAY.com

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Making a splash at Sea World

This spring, my family and I headed to Sea World for the first time during a trip to Florida. We’ve been to Disney several times in the past but had yet to hit other Orlando-area attractions.

We hit the park bright and early with our walking shoes on. Shamu was there to greet us and take photos after we entered (OK, not the real Shamu, but the fuzzy one).

The next thing we saw was a rollercoaster where the riders are under the tracks. My conservative, small kids said “no thanks” but loved to watch the people as they rode by.

We decided to keep it low key and headed to the pets show first. Great choice – the whole family loved the talented rescue dogs, cats, rats, birds and pig (and other creatures I’ve left out). At the end of the show, we were able to pet a few of the animals.

We thought the Shamu show (now a new show called One Ocean) would get crowded later in the day so we headed there next. It ended up filling up but we were there early enough to sit in the splash zone. The whales are beautiful and amazing creatures and we were on the edge of our seat the entire show. Luckily, we were on the edge of the splash zone so we only had a few sprinkles, although we did see one of the ushers get drenched.

My daughter’s favorite show was the dolphins. The acrobats with the dolphins had her in love. Even better, we were able to say hi to the people as we were leaving the theater area. My son enjoyed the Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island show with the funny otters and the walrus who makes a big splash.

The highlight of mom and dad’s day, though, had to be the dolphin feeding experience. This was the first time any of us had touched or feed a dolphin. The kids were a bit nervous with a big creature coming towards them and didn’t quite get the “feed with one hand, pet with the other” move down but loved seeing them up close.

Overall, we loved the laid-back vibe and unhurried atmosphere of Sea World. The shows, sprinkled in with a few rides and hands-on activities are a great mix to keep any family entertained.

I can’t wait to head to San Diego this summer and visit Sea World on the West Coast!

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