Adventuredome in Las Vegas Offers High-Tech Carnival Fun

Bluegreen Club 36, situated near the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, can serve as a home base from which your family can enjoy a wealth of vacation activities. Stay with Bluegreen Resorts and take in a little of the city’s legendary nightlife at one of its glittering casinos, or get back to nature with a day-trip to Red Rock Canyon, Death Valley, the Hoover Dam, or the Grand Canyon. Las Vegas has recently earned a new reputation as a family-friendly destination, which means that there will be plenty of fun activities for everyone in your party.

Try out Adventuredome at Circus Circus, which offers roller coasters and other exciting rides, as well as games, food, and entertainment, all in an enclosed, air-conditioned space. Older kids will especially like the computer graphics-rich 4-D Motion Ride, which will immerse them in a world of thrills, bumps, and jolts based on popular movies such as Happy Feet.

Move through another multi-dimensional experience when you enter the 4-D Special FX Theatre and meet up with favorite cartoon personalities like SpongeBob SquarePants. But be careful: You might end up part of the action yourself, when your vibrating seat gets splashed with water, air, or bubbles. And don’t forget to try out the barrel roll and negative G-forces on the newly opened El Loco roller coaster.

The 200-foot-high, glass-encased pink dome adjacent to Circus Circus on Las Vegas Boulevard offers these and more than 20 other attractions. Since its debut in the early 1990s, Adventuredome has provided families with plenty of alternative ways to have fun. Billing itself as the largest indoor theme park in the nation, it features bumper cars and other carnival rides, along with laser tag, a pirate ship, a rock-climbing wall, and a miniature golf course.

And if you’re lucky enough to be in town during the month of October, you’ll find the place transformed into the Frightdome, complete with a series of custom-designed haunted houses and lots of other ghoulish fun.

Haslam’s Book Store Has Beach Reads – And a Lot More

Visit Florida’s sun-drenched Gulf Coast in the company of Bluegreen Resorts, and you’ll find all the state’s opportunities for outdoor fun within easy reach of your Bluegreen at TradeWinds resort in St. Pete Beach. Take a day trip to enjoy the spirit of Africa at Busch Gardens in nearby Tampa, drive up to Orlando for a magical experience at Walt Disney World, or go swimming, sailing, or water-skiing at any of the area’s sparkling beaches. The Tampa Bay area also offers you numerous one-of-a-kind shops and stores. One that you may not have heard about will be a favorite destination for any bookworm in your family: Haslam’s Book Store in St. Petersburg.

Haslam’s is Florida’s biggest bookstore, with hundreds of thousands of titles lining its avenues of brightly lit shelves. New and used books include both popular and esoteric works, as well as rare books and collectible editions. Children’s books get plenty of shelf space, as do titles about Florida and those by Florida writers. The store, which invites hours – or even an entire day – of browsing, sprawls over most of a city block in St. Petersburg’s downtown.

Haslam’s got its start during the Great Depression, when John and Mary Haslam opened it as a magazine exchange and rental library. Still family-owned and operated, the store has become a beloved community institution and a hang-out for local book lovers of all ages.

Book-signings and other events have brought a wide range of Florida authors, educators, and political figures to the store, including former governor Charlie Crist, and local historians, travel writers, and writers on the state’s natural history. Nationally popular authors who have visited Haslam’s include Diana Gabaldon, James W. Hall, and Robert Macomber.

Perhaps the most famous author associated with Haslam’s is Beat poet and novelist Jack Kerouac, who grew up in Central Florida and was a frequent visitor. Kerouac’s ghost is reputed to still haunt the store, regularly shifting his own books to more prominent locations.

Orlando Hosts World’s Finest Collection of Tiffany Art

Bluegreen Resorts’ two comfortable resorts in family-friendly Orlando, Florida, The Fountains and Orlando’s Sunshine Resort, offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy the theme parks for which the area is famous. Orlando is also filled with theater groups, beautifully curated local museums, and a wealth of other cultural activities.

Explore beyond the typical beaten path by taking the short drive to the city’s suburb of Winter Park, and you’ll find a lively college town with chic restaurants, boutiques, and nightlife venues. You’ll also find the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of stained glass windows, jewelry, art glass, and other works produced by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Situated in the heart of Winter Park’s downtown on North Park Avenue, the Morse Museum is open to the public six days a week, except for major holidays. A typical 90-minute tour will refresh your perceptions and acquaint you with a new perspective on American artistic craftsmanship. At only $5 for adult admission – children under 12 get in free – the museum offers one of the area’s most affordable entertainment experiences.

Louis Comfort Tiffany, the son of the founder of the famous silver and jewelry manufacturer, is among the most renowned artists of the 19th and early 20th centuries. A design innovator, he pioneered the development of stunningly beautiful and richly colored effects through new glassmaking techniques. The Tiffany collection forms the nucleus of the museum’s holdings. It includes the artist’s stained glass, mosaics, marble pieces, jewels, and furniture fashioned to adorn the chapel of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. His work at the exposition earned him a reputation as one of the world’s preeminent designers.

The museum includes among its holdings a vast array of objects taken directly from Tiffany’s home in Long Island, New York, which he called Laurelton Hall. The collection also includes a large number of items produced under his direction at Tiffany Studios.

Georgia Marble Festival Offers Beauty, Education, and Fun

Make Bluegreen Resorts’ Golf Club Villas or Petit Crest Villas at Big Canoe your home away from home when you visit the Pickens County, Georgia, area. Situated amidst the North Georgia Mountains, a spur of the Blue Ridge Mountain chain, Bluegreen’s vacation retreats open onto more than 7,000 acres of wooded foothills perfect for hiking, fishing, and horseback riding. You’re also likely to find plenty of local celebrations, festivals, and fairs regardless of the time of year.

Held annually in the fall, the Georgia Marble Festival gives the public a chance to tour the world’s largest open-pit quarries of beautiful natural deposits of marble. For generations, people have used Georgia marble to construct some of the most valued edifices in the American heritage, including the New York Stock Exchange, the inner courtyards of the United States Supreme Court building, the Arlington Memorial Bridge, parts of the Library of Congress, and numerous other famous structures.

When you take the tour of the area’s marble quarries, you will see marble in its natural state, learn something of the history of this stunning natural resource, and view historic locations with ties to the marble industry. A shuttle takes visitors to a check-in point for the quarry tour.

Marble Festival attendees can also enjoy a tour of marble magnate Colonel Sam Tate’s historic mansion, constructed of locally sourced, rare, pink Etowah marble. While in Pickens County, be sure to get a good seat to watch the Marble Festival Parade, which files down the main street in the town of Jasper. The parade features floats, motorcycles, and plenty of civic pride as local schools and organizations create a day to remember.

Four Bluegreen Cities Named Among World’s Best for Shopping

Travelers who stay at any of Bluegreen Resorts’ comfortable, luxurious, and affordable destinations have always enjoyed a high-quality getaway in some of the United States’ most exciting cities and charming small towns. Now, Bluegreen members have the added benefit of knowing that several of these locations offer a world-class shopping experience. This year, Condé Nast Traveler’s “Best Shopping Cities in the World” list includes five Bluegreen Resorts cities among the two dozen chosen by the magazine’s readers. New York City, Charleston, South Carolina, New Orleans, and Chicago made the ranks, joining other vibrant international hotspots such as Paris, Barcelona, and Hong Kong.

Coming in at number 4 on the Condé Nast list, Chicago is home to the Magnificent Mile, a 13-block length of North Michigan Avenue that contains more than 400 of the world’s most fascinating upscale stores, along with close to 300 restaurants, and numerous attractions and glittering entertainment venues. The Wicker Park neighborhood is another hotspot for trendy art galleries, boutiques, theaters, bars, clubs, and more. An evening stroll through Wicker Park affords visitors a stunning backdrop of urban mood lighting and colorful neon signs amidst the hum of the elevated trains and the glittering spectacle that is modern Chicago.

New Orleans’ Magazine Street in the Garden District offers six miles of locally themed antique stores, jewelry boutiques selling one-of-a-kind items, trendy clothing shops, cafes, bookstores, bakeries, and more. For an exploration of some two-dozen charming shops, along with exciting public performance venues, scenic walks, and more, visitors should go to the French Market District, situated along the riverside of the historic Lower French Quarter. The Shops at Canal Place and the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk are among New Orleans’ most popular spots to shop.

Southern charm abounds in laid-back Charleston, but so do plenty of opportunities for shopping. Visitors shouldn’t miss the Charleston City Market, the site of 300 venues for purchasing handcrafted goods, décor, and gift items. The Shops at Belmond Charleston Place offer an upscale shopper’s paradise in the city’s downtown, featuring everything from designer clothing by labels like Gucci to tempting treats from Godiva’s chocolatiers.

Of course, New York City is home to magnificent department stores and iconic brands such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys, and Tiffany’s. However, shoppers shouldn’t forget the wealth of the city’s neighborhood boutiques. Soho is particularly rich in stores focused on cutting-edge fashion, jewelry, and art.