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That was a close call. A week ago the administration seemed to be suggesting that White House tours might reopen, which might have been nice for schoolchildren but would have been a disaster for us. Of all the interminable travel news that has come out of the sequestration debate, the administrations's cancellation of White House tours was a delightfully bitchy (read: actually interesting) bright spot.
The tours are scheduled through individual Congressional offices, and so it was the staffers from those offices who had to call back to their districts and explain to little Timmy's mom that his tour was cancelled. Since the White House blames Congress for the entire sequester fiasco, no matter what side you are in the debate, you had to admit that was objectively pretty funny. Losing it would have been tragic. Luckily White House tours are still not happening.
Zoos / Zoo Travel / Fall Travel / Green Travel / Nature Travel / Washington DC Travel / Washington DC / → All Tags
BAM! Last night at 10:46pm the National Zoo in Washington, DC welcomed a new baby panda into the world. We noticed that something was amiss outside Jaunted's zoo-adjacent DC headquarters this morningnews vans were gathering to take pictures and video, because Anchorman is far closer to reality than anyone in broadcast journalism wants to admitand so we investigated.
The result of the investigation was the picture at the top of this post, with the reporters doing interviews with cherubic crotch-dumplings and their mothers, and the news about the baby panda. YouTube video of the birth is embedded below and the relevant Twitter hashtag for updates is #cubwatch. Zoo travel social media completionism, is what that is.
Zoos / Animals / Green Travel / Nature Travel / Los Angeles / Los Angeles Travel / California / California Travel / Washington DC / Washington DC Travel / Maryland / Maryland Travel / → All Tags
Spring is quickly transitioning into summer, which means two things. One, the weather is perfect for outings to the nations' zoos, where you can see baby otters and baby giraffes and baby tigers and - as you're about to read - baby monkeys. Two, those zoos are about to get overrun by screaming children so you won't be able to view any of those animals in peace and quiet (no but seriously, we heart kids).
As usual we've tried to give you parks on both coasts, because people are going on vacation. Also as usual we've embedded a bunch of videos at the bottom, because baby monkeys.
Animals / Nature Travel / Zoos / Green Travel / Washington DC / → All Tags
Washington DC's National Zoo has been having quite a season, first with the acquisition of a rare baby giant octopus and now with the birth of an endangered scimitar-horned oryx. They also just finished sending the internet into collective fits of aww'ing with glamor shots of their new baby clouded leopards. There was already an earlier photo set of the twin cubs on Flickr, taken just after the two were born on Valentine's day. Very cute. But the most recent set is just kind of absurdly adorable. Here's all the details to keep you aww'ing over the cubbies:
Staff have determined that the genetically valuable litter of two clouded leopard cubs born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va. Feb. 14 (Valentine’s Day) are both male. The cubs are now eating up to 88 grams of feline diet, two times per day, in addition to formula... In addition, the cubs now ‘chuff,’ which can be described as a puffing sound and is considered a sign of recognition. They are very playful—rolling around and chasing each other—after each feeding.
Animals / Nature Travel / Zoos / Green Travel / Washington DC / → All Tags
Octopuses being natural and sometimes mischievous explorers, they're a whole lot of fun to watch and a whole lot of work to research. Visitors and keepers at Washington DC's National Zoo will now have the opportunity to do both on a huge scale, as the park welcomes a giant Pacific octopus to its collection of animals. The baby enteroctopus dofleini has already joined a bevy of other species at the park's Invertebrate Exhibit, and can be seen daily.
The two and a half year old is still thoroughly tiny, weighing in at a petite three pounds. Over the next few years, it will grow to up to 13 times its current size, until it maxes out at around 400 pounds. Females, which grow larger than males, can reach arm spans of more than 14 feet. Each individual arm has 280 suckers and can get up to six feet long. At full size, the giant octopus switches from its conventional diet - crabs, small fish, and so on - and begins to feast on pirate ships and the black souls of eternally damned sailors. That's a fact. You can look it up.
Events / Hong Kong / Literary Travel / Washington DC / London / → All Tags
· Hong Kong
Where can you find tables upon tables of discount books in Chinese, Japanese and English? It's a librarian's dream, and ours as well, and it's this weekend at the Hong Kong book Fair. Last year, some 830,000 avid readers turned out to peruse the stacks of 485 exhibitors, and the numbers just keep growing. Technically the fair lasts from July 22-28 and not just this weekend, but of course attending on a weekend means more activities. Buy cookbooks, self-help books and plain old fiction, but you won't find manga here as, according to Wikipedia, that's now become a separate Comics festival.
Kayaking / Boats / Active Travel / Monuments / Washington DC / → All Tags
New York’s Hudson River isn’t the only scenic-but-questionably-sanitary urban waterway getting in on the kayak craze. Boating down DC’s Potomac River yields an inexpensive and crowd-free way to see the Washington tourist sites.
The Thompson Boat Center in Rock Creek Park offers kayak rentals, from $8 an hour/$24 a day for single boats and $10 an hour/$30 a day for doubles. The Boat Center is right in the middle of the city, and with just a few paddles in either direction you’ll sail past the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the Kennedy Center, as well as the picturesque Georgetown waterfront. For a more adventurous day, pack a picnic lunch and stop off for a hike at Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial, the relatively un-traveled, car-free park set on the DC-Virginia border.
The boat center opens at 8 am and in our experience, it’s best to get there before noonkayaks can’t be reserved and are often rented out by early afternoon.
Oh, and as in the Hudson, try to keep your hands out of that water.
· The Thompson Boat Center [Official Site]
· Kayaking Trend Going Strong Into 2009 a> [Jaunted]
· NPR Confirms Kayaks Are the Hotness for 2008 [Jaunted]
While most Washingtonians have been pretty happy with the buzz the Obama administration has brought their town over the last six months, they’ve also been quietly mourning the loss of the city’s most awe-inspiring drinking spot: the rooftop bar at the top of the legendary Hotel Washington.
Across the street from the White House, the hotel’s terrace was indisputably the best spot to wow out-of-towners with a stiff martini and a view stretching miles around. So we’re happy to report the bar is now officially back—and officially a lot cooler in its new incarnation.
The hotel reopened this week as DC’s first W Hotel, and the rooftop space has been reconceived as POV, a sleek cocktail lounge helmed by Sasha Petraske of NYC’s Milk & Honey, which means you won’t see many guests going for that stiff martini anymore. Instead, there’s a fruit-and-vegetable juicing station inside the bar, so you can spike your cocktail with some freshly-made strawberry lemonade. The views, thankfully, are exactly the same.
· POV [Official Site]
· While Kobe Hits the Beach, LeBron Does DC [Jaunted]
· The 'Congress of Cool' Will Convene at W Washington DC Tomorrow [HotelChatter]
[Photo: Starwood Hotels]
Fireworks Travel / Fireworks / New York City / Events / Lists / San Diego / Washington DC / → All Tags
New York City: Along the Hudson Riverfront
This year just happens to be the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson's sailing up the river which would eventually bear his name, and to celebrate this, Macy's is moving their notoriously festive fireworks celebration from the East River to the Hudson. This means that the nation's largest fourth of July display will practically pair up with the Jersey City celebrations, which blast over Liberty State Park, to create one awesome night along the river.
Best viewing of the Macy's display at 9pm will be from the Hoboken waterfront, and Liberty State Park's is obviously best seen from the park. We're going to compromise and hit up the pier jutting out from the Starbucks near the Pavonia/Newport PATH subway station in Jersey City.
When we said DC's favorite film festival deserved a federal bailout, we were half-joking, but it looks like someone heard us, because the Trust for the National Mall has responded to Washingtonians' angry cries all over the interwebs and banded together with sponsors HBO and Comcast to save Screen on the Green.
Visitors to the National Mall won't be out of luck when the museums close this summer after all. The classic film festival will be back, with movies shown on the 40' by 20' outdoor screen every Monday at sunset, from July 20 through August 20.
Screen on the Green kicks off next month with a showing of Steven Spielberg's 1977 sci-fi classic, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
· Screen on the Green shows will go on [Washington Biz Journal]
· The Recession Puts a Kibosh on DC's Outdoor Film Festival [Jaunted]
· Film festival travel coverage [Jaunted]
Celeb Travel / Brad Pitt / Angelina Jolie / Washington DC / Basel / Switzerland / Super World Travelers / → All Tags
Where in the world will Brad Pitt turn up today? That is the burning question on the minds of envious travelers like us this morning.
On Monday, Brad was spotted at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. where Angie is currently filming the thriller Salt. DAR Constitution Hall has welcomed performers ranging from Aerosmith to Duke Ellington over the course of its 80 year history. You can check out their schedule for information about upcoming events.
Yesterday, Brad took a rare solo trip to check out the international art show Art 40 Basel, in Basel, Switzerland. At the exhibit, he seemed particularly interested in a 24k gold Piece entitled End of Knowledge.
Art 40 Basel is taking place through June 14th. Considered the world’s premier international art show for modern and contemporary works, “Art Basel features nearly 300 leading galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa.” Artists represented at the show include both the great masters of modern art and upcoming artists who are creating some of today’s most innovative paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and installations. Art 40 Basel’s website features a full catalog of the artists represented in the show as well as ticket information.
· Brad Pitt Has an Art and Angie Appreciation Week [Pop Sugar]
· Filming Locations For The Week [On Location Vacations]
· Date Night For The Super World Travers in Antibes, France [Jaunted]
[Photo: Just Jared]
Now that the cherry blossoms have come and gone and Screen on the Green is a no-go, it looks like it's back to the classic tourist sites for summer visitors to Washington, DC. First and foremost is the Washington Monument, a zoo of a tourist trap that has led many swearing 'never again.' But, if you can brave the crowds and make it to the top, the view of DC (and almost 30 miles beyond) is really to die for, so it's one of those things that's worth doing once. Luckily, Jaunted has your super-simple guide for how to get to the top: