Category Archives: IPW

What’s New In Greater Miami & Miami Beach 

What’s New In Greater Miami & Miami Beach 

Greater Miami and Miami Beach are back in full swing this year, and visitors have more reason than ever before to celebrate life with a trip to experience the city’s culture, dining, beaches, and more. From new ways to get here to new things to do, this cheat sheet recaps some of the most recent highlights making headlines in Miami’s tourism sector.

Miami remains a top destination booked according to Q1 reports, but the city and region are only just getting started. 

New Hotels

CitzenM Miami World Center opens fall 2022, bringing an affordable luxury approach to hotel stays with 351 app-controlled bedrooms, a rooftop bar and fitness center. It joins the almost opened CitizenM Brickell Hotel (June 21) that includes 252 smart bedrooms with a rooftop open exclusively to hotel guests, with a pool, bar, and fitness area.

Among boutique hotels that opened recently, Gabriel South Beach is a newcomer powered by renewable energy. The Balfour brings Art Deco details and a dining scene worth checking out. Meanwhile, the Goodtime Hotel was ranked the 14th best new hotel according to TripAdvisor. Klimpton launched its boutique Palomar Hoteland Marriott did the same with Moxy Hotel, bringing more intimate properties to South Beach. 

AC Hotel Miami Dadeland, South Miami’s newly opened hotel that’s connected to Dadeland Mall, features contactless robot food delivery service in partnership with Cartken and FanFood. Upon check-in at AC Hotel Miami Dadeland, all guests will now be provided with a QR code that directs them to FanFood’s website where they will be able to choose and order from participating restaurants within Dadeland Mall’s Dining Pavilion.

Looking forward, Atwell Suites, a new hotel brand for IHG will open its first location in Downtown Miami in November 2022,  Treehouse Brickell has been announced for a 2025 opening. 

New Routes

It’s all about resuming previous service and starting new routes this year. For example, Sky Airline Peru launched a new flight from Lima earlier this year while Red Air now features a twice daily flight from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

In the U.S., getting to Miami has never been easier. Spirit Airlines rolled out 30 routes to Miami this year. Alaska Airlines also boasts a forthcoming daily flight to Miami this June. American Airlines has seasonal flights between November and April connecting Miami to cities across the country, including Albany, Burlington, Madison, and Tulsa.  

American Airlines also has new international services from Paris, Toronto, Martinique, Chetumal in Mexico, and San Andreas Island in Colombia.

Beyond the U.S., Frontier Airlines recently started a new service from Aruba. Air Transat also launched three weekly services from Montreal. WestJet returned recently with four weekly flights from Toronto and Air Canada resumed its service from Montreal and Toronto, ensuring Canadians have ample access to Miami.

SAS has seasonal service from Nordic cities including Copehnagen, Stockholm and Oslo. Finnair also maintains seasonal service from Helsinki and Stokcholm, while LOT is bringing Polish visitors in three times weekly. Lufthansa resumed its service from Munich. And for North African travelers, Royal Air Maroc brought back its service from Casablanca.

New Transport Options

Getting around Miami is convenient as ever with new services across the destination. The new transportation hub MiamiCentral allows for maximum connectivity with public transit options including the Metromover®, Metrorail®, Metrobus®, and City of Miami Trolley Systems. It will also link with the upcoming Tri-Rail Downtown Miami Link Service, a project through the South Florida Regional Transportation (SFRTA) and partners to extend the Tri-Rail commuter rail service to Downtown Miami. 

Miami Central also links South Florida’s Brightline express train which recently returned to regular service. Brightline rail service is also taking the next step to begin rail service linking Miami and Orlando in early 2023 by running trains without passengers between West Palm Beach and Cocoa starting next week and continuing throughout 2022. The trains in that new 130-mile stretch will be training engineers and conductors on the territory, going round trip once daily. 

On the water, Poseidon Ferry, Miami’s long-awaited waterborne commuter service, resumed hourly trips between Miami and Miami Beach. There are also two anticipated new routes that will be announced in 2022 including Miami/Miami Beach/Coconut Grove and Miami/Bimini/Nassau. 

About the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB): 

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is an accredited, independent not-for-profit sales and marketing organization whose mission is to attract visitors to Greater Miami & Miami Beach for leisure, business, and conventions. For a vacation guide, visit our website at www.MiamiandMiamiBeach.com or call 1-888-76-Miami (US/Canada only) or 305-447-7777. To reach the GMCVB offices dial 305-539-3000. Meeting planners may call 1-800-933-8448 (US/Canada only) or 305-539-3071 or visit www.MiamiMeetings.com. To get further engaged with Greater Miami & Miami Beach, join the conversation by following us on our social media channels at Facebook.com/visitmiami, Twitter.com/miamiandbeaches, Instagram.com/miamiandbeaches and Pinterest.com/miamiandbeaches.

Sustainable Tourism Grows in California 

According to recent statistics, 87% of vacationers care about sustainability when they travel. In California, destinations from North to South have embraced regenerative tourism, offering visitors a host of feel-good travel options.PLAY

Redwood Wonder

The Redwood Forest area in Del Norte County is a natural wonder worth seeing and preserving. With Redwood Rides Adventure Outfitters, visitors can tread lightly with their “leave no trace” wilderness ethics whether mountain biking through the forest, running the rapids on the Smith River or casting a line from an ocean kayak.

Bridge of Hope
The Sundial Footbridge on the Sacramento River in Redding is the first bridge that famed architect Santiago Calatrava designed in the U.S. The bridge links the Turtle Bay Museum to a 200-acre Arboretum. The bridge was designed to not harm the native habitat, with no columns in the river and translucent materials on the footpath to avoid casting shadows on the spawning ponds of the river’s salmon.

Cultural Connections
Learn more about the land and history of the Palisades Tahoe region on a cultural tour led by a member of the local Washoe Tribe. Visitors will learn about natural landmarks, native plants and animals and the Washoe way of life.

Giving Back
Travelers in Visalia that want to really connect to preserving nature can take part in conservation and stewardship volunteer activities with Sequoia Riverlands Trust, dedicated to preserving the nature of the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley. Visitors can help out in the Dry Creek Preserve plant nursery propagating native grasses and drought tolerant plants, or trail maintenance and tree planting crews at Kaweah Oaks Preserve.

EAT

Adkins Family Vineyards

Located in California’s Gold Country, Adkins Family Vineyards is a 100% solar powered winery that is on the path to also becoming a certified organic winery. The boutique winery has 35 acres of vineyards and is known for its Viognier wines.

Go Fish
You’ll know you’ve found Fish when you find the line running out the door. The popular Sausalito seafood spot is known for its fresh, sustainably sourced seafood at both its restaurant and market. In fact, they were awarded the Sustainable North Bay Award to honor their commitment to protecting wild fish populations and helping the local economy by supporting local fishermen.

Sustainable Sips
You’ll feel good about tasting your way through Temecula’s Ponte Winery portfolio knowing that the winery has been committed to sustainable farming and winemaking practices since the mid 1980s. Ponte uses composting, reduced water practices and natural pest controls in the winemaking process and is committed to energy reduction and recycling in all its facilities. The winery was the first in Temecula to achieve the Certified California Sustainable Winegrower (CCSW) designation.

Plotting the Future
The Plot in Oceanside is a plant-based restaurant that has cut its produce and dry goods waste to under 1%, an unheard-of number in the restaurant industry. The Plot focuses on whole vegetables, many of which come from the garden behind the restaurant. Don’t miss the Chicken & Waffles, whole grain waffles, smoky maple syrup, habanero shallot sauce, house cashew butter and crispy-coated fried tofu cakes.

STAY

Iconic and Sustainable

Known for amazing golf, luxury car shows and stunning ocean views, Pebble Beach Resorts are now also making a name for themselves as eco-friendly. Over 75% of the hotels’ energy comes from renewable sources and water conservation efforts include using the high-tech Rain Bird Cirrus irrigation system to water the famous golf courses more sparingly and sustainably. The resort also works diligently with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and others to address incidental golf ball accumulation in the marine waters off Pebble Beach.

For Shore
Located just steps from the iconic Santa Monica Pier and with each room boasting ocean views, Shore Hotel is an eco-friendly hotel that doesn’t sacrifice luxury for sustainability. It was Santa Monica’s first LEED Gold Certified hotel. The pool is heated through solar energy and guest rooms are designed with energy reducing climate systems, low-flow shower heads and enough natural light to eliminate the need for using lots of lighting.

What’s Old is New
Two Bunch Palms might be one of the oldest resorts in Coachella Valley, but it’s one of the most modern when it comes to sustainability. The wellness resort was the first solar-operated hotel in the Coachella Valley and is the only carbon-neutral wellness resort in the nation. In fact, it has a 3.5-acre solar farm on property that not only saves energy, but also reduces the resort’s water consumption by 21 million gallons a year.

Go Green
The Ranch at Laguna Beach recently was rewarded with the highest level of certification in California’s Green Lodging Program. The resort employs a wide variety of eco-friendly practices including grinding used glass bottles into sand for its golf course bunkers and irrigating with reclaimed water, which saves 20 million gallons of water annually. The just-launched OC Tree Collective is helping plant trees throughout the area’s communities, while a new program encourages employees to collect organic waste for composting.  For more about how sustainable travel matters to California visit travelmattersca.com, and for more story ideas and inspirtation visit media.visitcalifornia.com

What’s New in Philadelphia 

PHILADELPHIA (May 2022) – Discover what’s new or coming soon to Philadelphia, including top awards and accolades, new hotels, restaurants, museums and exhibits and more.

Awards and Accolades
Top publications regard Philadelphia as a must-visit destination

Condé Nast Traveler selected Philadelphia for its 2021 Gold List, joining only seven other destinations around the world. Condé Nast editor Betsy Blumenthal remarks that, “there’s really something special about Philadelphia,” citing the sprawling Fairmount Park and the city’s “Italian Market and its small world of vendors, about the mosaics glinting in the sun, the digestible chaos of Chinatown,” as a few of the characteristics that elevate Philadelphia to a destination worthy of the world’s attention. Philadelphia also landed on TIME’s World’s Greatest Places list for 2021, which spotlights the new experiences on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a diverse culinary scene that is “vibrant as ever.” Travel + Leisure also named Philadelphia as one of 11 cities for Must-see Pieces of Public Art Around the World, citing iconic sculptures such as LOVE and Rocky, as well as the work done by Mural Arts Philadelphia and the Association for Public Art.

Additional Philadelphia praise comes from travel guide Frommer’s, which includes Independence Hall as one of their top places to visit, remarking on the tales shared by national park rangers that reveal mistakes, goals, and debates of the Framers and their ability to compromise for the sake of the founding of the nation. Fodor’s Travel likens Philadelphia’s history, culture, and food (and the city’s many pubs) to experiences found in London, perfect for U.S. travelers seeking a global experience in 2022 without leaving the country. Travel + Leisure highlighted Philadelphia’s many diverse neighborhoods and cultural experiences they offer. As voted on by USA Today 10Best readers, the Schuylkill River Trail was named one of the top riverwalks in the nation and the historic Reading Terminal Market was named the best public market in the United States.

Philadelphia’s food scene also continues to receive high honors, with Eeva being named one of Eater’s 11 Best New Restaurants in America. Two other restaurants in Philadelphia – Little Nonna’s and Vetri Cucina – made it on Thrillist’s list of 34 Best Italian Restaurants in America. Local chef, poet, and historian Omar Tate and his pop-up, Honeysuckle, received Esquire’s Chef of the Year and Pop-Up of the Year honors in 2020. Chef Tate was also recognized on Time Magazine’s Time100 Next List for 2021. Condé Nast Traveler has included Laser Wolf — an Israeli grill from the team behind the acclaimed Zahav — on their 2021 Hot List, naming the Fishtown eatery as one of the best new restaurants in the world.

Hotels
New hotels are open in Philadelphia, with other properties undergoing renovations

Philadelphia welcomed several new hotels over the past couple of years, including Hyatt CentricCanopy by Hilton, and Guild House Hotel – which was named one of The Best New Hotels in the World by Travel + Leisure for 2022. Several existing properties also received high honors. The Four Seasons (and its spa program) received Forbes’ prestigious Five-Star ranking, as well as a AAA Five Diamond Hotel Designation. Meanwhile, The Rittenhouse was named the top hotel in the mid-Atlantic by Condé Nast Traveler. Other hotels underwent renovations to deliver guests an updated experience, including the Sheraton Philadelphia DowntownWindsor Suites PhiladelphiaCourtyard Philadelphia South at Navy Yard, and Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.

Travelers can also enjoy new hotel options that debuted in 2021, including the Live! Casino & Hotel in the South Philadelphia Stadium District. In Center City, the new Element Philadelphia and luxurious W Philadelphia are now open, sharing a building and 45,000-square-feet of meeting and event space along Chestnut Street, just steps from popular downtown attractions. For more updates on Philadelphia’s hotel community, click here.

Dining
Liberty Point (pictured), Philadelphia’s largest restaurant in modern history, now open on the waterfront

Liberty Point made its debut as the largest restaurant in Philadelphia on the Delaware River waterfront on May 3, 2022. The 28,000 square foot restaurant (25,000 square feet of space outside and 3,000 square feet of space inside) is adjacent to and wrapped around the waterfront side of the Independence Seaport Museum. The giant indoor-outdoor space is able to host up to 1,400 people at a time. The design includes three main levels for food, drinks, and live entertainment, along with smaller sub-levels, a stage for live music, five bars and breathtaking views of the water. Liberty Point is the latest endeavor of FCM Hospitality, who also owns Craft Hall on Columbus Boulevard.

Museums & Attractions
The first major exhibition devoted to Matisse in the 1930s is set to open at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

A visit to Philadelphia in 1930 inspired Henri Matisse to develop a new creative approach and outlook that he would showcase in his work in the later part of his career. Matisse in the 1930s is the first exhibit to ever be dedicated to that pivotal decade in Matisse’s art. The special exhibition was made possible by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris and the Musée Matisse Nice. Opening at the Philadelphia Museum of Art – the only venue in the United States to host this exhibit – Matisse in the 1930s will be on view from October 19, 2022 through January 29, 2023 before traveling to Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris and then the Musée Matisse Nice. The exhibition will invite guests to immerse themselves in Matisse’s work. More than 100 of the artist’s works will be on display, including renowned and rarely seen paintings and sculptures, drawings, prints, and illustrated books.

Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
This spring, the work of Sean Scully, one of the leading abstract artists of our time, will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas will highlight the artist’s unique contributions to contemporary art through his signature stripes and bold experimentation with scale and composition. The exhibition has been expanded to include additional paintings throughout several galleries, totaling more than 100 of Scully’s works. Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas opened April 11 and will be on view through July 31, 2022.

World premiere exhibitions at The Franklin Institute
Harry Potter: The Exhibition invites wizards, witches and muggles of all ages to explore a collection of authentic film props at The Franklin Institute. The groundbreaking exhibition spans thousands of square feet and features 10 distinct areas. Guests can choose their house and wand at the beginning of the magical experience — decisions which will deliver a personalized journey as they encounter the characters, moments, beasts and settings from the Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, and expanded Wizarding World franchises. The magical exhibition debuted in February and will be on view through September 2022. Another world premiere exhibition set to open at The Franklin Institute in February 2023 will celebrate 100 Years of the Walt Disney Company. The anniversary exhibit will celebrate a century of innovation and imagination from the creative empire, while also honoring its founder Walt Disney’s legacy. Galleries and hundreds of Disney artifacts – some never seen outside of the company’s vaults – will be on display. The characters and stories that the Walt Disney Company has brought to life from 1923 to 2023 will also be incorporated into the exhibit.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Franklin Institute are just two of Philadelphia’s vast collection of museums. There are so many more museums to explore throughout the city. For a list of museums that are now open in Philadelphia, click here and be sure to also check out our top can’t miss exhibits.

The Clay Studio opens state-of-the-art facility in South Kensington
The Clay Studio‘s new state-of-the-art, 34,000-square-foot, four-story home in South Kensington is the first-of-its-kind ceramic arts facility built from the ground up in the United States. Established in 1974, The Clay Studio is a non-profit arts institution dedicated to promoting and creating ceramic arts through artistic, educational, and community programs. Visitors to the building at 1425 North American Street will be greeted by The Clay Studio’s Inaugural Exhibition Making Place Matter. The exhibit features work by Peruvian-born artist Kukuli Velarde, American-born, Massachusetts-based artist Molly Hatch, and Egyptian American artist Ibrahim Said, now based in North Carolina. Through the use of clay, each artist explores the idea of place with regard to personal history, cultural heritage, and social justice. Making Place Matter will be on view through October 2, 2022. Also on view, artist Nitza Walesca’s Mi Herencia, Mis Raices… My Heritage, My Roots.. is inspired by the artist’s indigenous Puerto Rican, Taino heritage. A South Kensington resident herself, she creates innovative vessels based on traditional forms and adorns them with Taino symbols. Mi Herencia, Mis Raices… My Heritage, My Roots.. will be on view through May 29, 2022.

Outdoors
Recreational updates continue along the Delaware River waterfront

The central section of the Delaware River Trail was completed in Spring 2022 and offers a protected lane for biking, walking, jogging, and running along the eastern side of Columbus Boulevard. Stretching from Spring Garden Street to the north all the way to Washington Avenue to the south, this section of the trail now connects and adds to the accessibility of top waterfront destinations including Race Street Pier, Cherry Street Pier, Spruce Street Harbor Park, and Penn’s Landing. The trail is just one part of a larger project being undertaken by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, which will eventually include a new park spanning interstate 95 at Penn’s Landing as well as the transformation of “Graffiti Pier” in Port Richmond into a recreational park.

10 New Orlando Experiences for Summer 2022 

ORLANDO, Fla. – As one of the most sought-after destinations in the U.S., Orlando maintains its popularity as one of the top places for summer vacationers and promises an array of new experiences for visitors planning their next trip to the Theme Park Capital of the World. In addition to new attractions at Orlando’s theme parks, the destination is offering up even more new adventures ranging from a new golf entertainment venue from Tiger Woods to an alcohol-free speakeasy concept.

“Orlando is ready to welcome summer travelers with unforgettable new experiences,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO for Visit Orlando. “Whether you’re a theme park expert or a first-time visitor, there’s always something new to discover in Orlando with a variety of new hotels, unique restaurants and one-of-a-kind attractions to explore and create new vacation memories.”

Continuous updates on what’s new in Orlando can be found at VisitOrlando.com, the official visitor information source for the destination. On the website, visitors can also make an appointment for a complimentary, personalized one-on-one Vacation Planning Service with one of Visit Orlando’s vacation planning experts for advice and guidance on building the perfect itinerary.  

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic RewindEPCOT‘s first “other-world” showcase pavilion opens May 27, featuring a new storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees to focus on the action, including the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.
  2. Ice BreakerSeaWorld Orlando‘s first launch coaster features four launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch with a 93-foot-tall spike with 100-degree angle, the steepest vertical drop in Florida.
  3. Aquatica Orlando‘s newest water slide, Reef Plunge, offers eye-catching translucent cutouts and rings with twists and turn though 330 feet of fiberglass. A vibrant array of marine life, Commerson’s dolphins, leopard sharks and a variety of other cold-water fish are also part of the new dynamic habitat.
  4. PopStroke, a golf entertainment venue created in partnership with Tiger Woods, will offer a menu of handhelds and pizzas to enjoy from the indoor-outdoor dining room overlooking two 18-hole miniature golf courses. PopStroke even has an app to automatically keep track of scores on the course and is set to open in May at Waterford Lakes Town Center.
  5. Take a short drive to explore Orlando’s local neighborhoods and experience The BANDBOX – Orlando, Central Florida’s first alcohol-free speakeasy cocktail tasting lounge and vintage shop, will open this summer at Ivanhoe Village in Downtown Orlando.
  6. Immersion at London House, a new boutique restaurant by Chef Rikku Ó’Donnchü, features a tasting menu-only concept with a sensorial dining experience focused on science, climate change, sustainable farming and zero waste, where texture, scents and sounds are as important as taste.
  7. The New York Beer Project, set to open this summer in Winter Garden, will resemble an indoor beer garden complete with a gastropub, sidewalk bistro and up to 20 craft beers on tap.
  8. Three-time James Beard Award semifinalist and “Top Chef” contestant Chef John Tesar has brought his concept Knife Burger to the JW Marriott Orlando. Featuring a slightly more expanded menu than the original Texas location, the poolside restaurant offers classic, high-quality burgers as well as seafood burgers and salads, all made with the finest ingredients.
  9. The Tuscan-inspired, 126-room ette Hotel Orlandoopens in June near Disney World. Focusing on wellness as an alcohol-free property, the hotel offers culinary experiences in partnership with Michelin Star Chef Akira Back, along with The Spa at ette, with services for everyone from the modern minimalist to the unruly naturalist.
  10. AC Hotel by Marriott Orlando Lake Buena Vista will offer a state-of-the-art, 24-hour fitness facility, inventive chef-tailored dining and signature cocktail service. The property is set to open June 2022.

About Visit Orlando

Visit Orlando is The Official Tourism Association® for Orlando, the most visited destination in the United States and Theme Park Capital of the World®. Visit Orlando connects consumers with every segment of Central Florida’s travel community, whether for a vacation or meeting. Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks — as well as refreshing water parks, outdoor thrill rides, activities to connect with nature, and a dynamic dining and entertainment scene — Orlando is welcoming to travelers of all ages. With 450 hotels, visitors have choices that span multi-acre resorts to themed boutique hotels. Orlando’s trusted theme parks, attractions, hotels and businesses have developed comprehensive safety measures and worked closely with medical experts to create safe travel experiences. Find more information at VisitOrlando.com.

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Editor’s Note: For additional press information or high-resolution downloadable images, 
please visit VisitOrlando.com/media.

Game Changer: Bell Bank Park Powered by Legacy Sports Usa Opens in Mesa, Arizona 

Bell Bank Park created a new sports universe when it opened in Mesa, Arizona this past January, hosting youth sports clinics, college showcases and professional athletics – including Olympic development teams. The indoor-outdoor facility features a 5,000 seat Outdoor Stadium, 2,800 seat Indoor Arena, (35) Soccer/Lacrosse/Football Fields, (57) Indoor Volleyball Courts, (8) Baseball and Softball fields, (20) Basketball Courts, (41) Pickleball Courts, (12) Beach Volleyball Courts, Obstacle Course Racing Park, (22) Futsal Courts, Gymnastics Center, Dance Studio, Cheer Center, Sports Performance Center, Family Fitness Center, Wellness Center, and Kids Play Center.

Upon arrival, guests approach Miller Lite Way which features a 400-foot Vegas-style zip line. The shaded corridor then leads guests out to the 2.7-acre TIXR Great Lawn which is open to the public year-round. The park is even home to a new e-Sports Center and arcade with 70-plus games on display. The Gaming Center at Bell Bank Park features everything from traditional skeeball, air hockey and cranes, to immersive VR experience rides, multiplayer cooperative and competitive titles, and more. Soon, the area will have a full concession area, private rooms and facility booking, as well as the long-awaited esports programming, including leagues, camps, and tournaments. 

“It is hard to fathom such an all-encompassing facility, but we have it. Mesa now boasts 3 million square feet of turfed fields and more multi-sport courts than you can count,” said Visit Mesa Sports Director Lance Fite. “As a family traveling with young athletes, Mesa checks all boxes.”

Not to be missed is The G.O.A.T. restaurant and bar, creating a fresh focal point of the dining experience at the park. The restaurant provides a gastro pub experience through its elevated, made-from-scratch pub fare, with more than 40 beers and a full spirits menu. Size is everything at Bell Bank Park, and The G.O.A.T. is now one of the biggest restaurant-bars in the Phoenix area with over 100 TVs making it an excellent spot to catch a game while enjoying a cold beverage with friends and family and indulging in delicious food. 

Bell Bank Park will also be creating festivals and signature experiences for residents and visitors alike. Already host to national touring acts, most recently, the park became the official event site of Arizona Craft Brewer’s Guild beer festivals bringing even more excitement for the legions of craft beer fans in the region.

For more information or to explore the park online, visit www.BellBankPark.com.

MEDIA CONTACT: 

Michelle Streeter, Chief Communications Officer, Visit Mesa 
Direct: 480-682-3638 Toll-free: 800-283-6372 x345 E-mail: Michelle@VisitMesa.com

Travel Nevada Identifies Best Places to View 2022’s Astrological Events in the Silver State 

Against a backdrop of International Astronomy Day on May 7, Travel Nevada has mapped out the five biggest astrological events of 2022 and the best places to see them in Nevada so that stargazers and explorers can plan their next sky-viewing trip. International Astronomy Day is a day dedicated to natural science and viewing the wonders in the night sky, something that is especially enjoyable in Nevada thanks to its significantly low light pollution. The state is home to some of the last true dark skies in America and one of only seven Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world.

There are several stargazing hotspots in the Silver State, so professional and amateur astrologers really can’t go wrong wherever they set up their telescopes. However, to help travelers get a truly stellar experience (pun intended), Travel Nevada has paired this year’s major events with some of the state’s most awe-inspiring locations: 

  • Total Lunar Eclipse & Strawberry Moon at Great Basin National Park – Two of this year’s lunar events, the Total Lunar Eclipse on May 15-16 and the Strawberry Moon on June 14, offer out-of-this-world viewing experiences for aspiring astrologers. Travelers can view both events at Great Basin National Park, designated as one of the darkest places in the Lower 48 by the International Dark Sky Association. This National Park is also considered one of the quietest parks in the U.S. with the lack of big crowds, low light pollution, and Nevada’s second tallest hike-able peak.
  • Five Planets for the Viewing Eye at Massacre Rim Dark Sky Sanctuary – From June 18 through June 27, travelers can view Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn assemble a perfect line through the night sky. To view the line of planets in the best way possible, visitors can travel to the Massacre Rim Dark Sky Sanctuary. This sanctuary is one of seven in the entire world, receiving its Dark Sky title in 2019 by the International Dark Sky Association, and is located on the northwestern edge of the Silver State. Locals say during a moonless night, even the stars can cast shadows at this epic stargazing spot.
  • Perseid Meteor Shower on the Sunset, Stars & Champagne Train – Have you ever wondered what 150-200 meteors per hour looks like in the dark, clear sky? Then look no further than the Silver State, as the entire state of dark skies will have the Perseid Meteor Shower on full display. This celestial event, starting on July 17 and going through August 24, also aligns with Nevada’s prime-time Milky Way viewing season, where the cloudy, silvery streak across the sky is clear to see. Travelers can relax and enjoy these otherworldly events in the open-aired, interstellar constellation locomotive known as the Nevada Northern Railway’s Sunset, Stars & Champagne Train. Each ticket includes a glass of champagne and a variety of viewing pleasures from East Ely Depot in eastern Nevada to the Steptoe Valley.
  • Great Basin Astronomy Festival at Great Basin National Park – Stargazers can make plans now for this 3-day festival, Sept. 22-24, at Great Basin National Park. By day, travelers can explore the park’s alpine lakes, peak-bagging trails, ancient pine coves, and extensive cave system. Then by night, they can learn why locals say, “Half the Park is After Dark,” as Dark Sky Rangers lead presentations and guests can gaze up at the Milky Way with telescopes and learn from the region’s astronomical experts.

Whether visitors experience the glittering skies during one of these dark sky events or all of them, they’ll depart Nevada with an appreciation for perhaps the other reason it’s called the “Silver State.” 

To further plan your stargazing experience under the darkest skies in the Lower 48, visit Travel Nevada’s newly designed Stargazing page, where you can check moon phases during your trip and even download the perfect playlist to accompany your starry excursion.

EDITORS: for high-resolution images of Nevada’s best stargazing locations, visit here.

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Travel Nevada (the Nevada Division of Tourism) is part of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. It is responsible for promoting and marketing Nevada as a travel destination. Operating within a performance-based budget structure, Travel Nevada is funded solely by a percentage of lodging tax paid by overnight guests throughout the state. For more, visitTravelNevada.biz

Get Outside in California’s Gold Country 

Hiking, biking, golf, rock climbing, water sports, skiing, snowboarding, camping. When it comes to outdoor adventure, the Gold Country has it all! Whether you are an adrenaline junkie or a nature lover, the region has something for everyone.

National & State Parks

California is home to nine national parks and close to 300 state parks. The gem of the National Park System, Yosemite National Park, is situated in the Gold Country with entrances from three counties: Madera, Mariposa, and Tuolumne. Yosemite may be best known for its magnificent waterfalls and breathtaking granite peaks, but the park is full of dramatic valleys, lush meadows, giant sequoias, and a vast wilderness. Visitors can hike, camp, bike, rock climb, raft or  just look up at El Capitan in awe. The state park system offers dozens of options for outdoor recreation including the Auburn State Recreation Area, Marshall Gold State Historic Park, Emerald Bay State Park, D.L. Bliss State Park, Donner Memorial State Park, and Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The terrain of Prairie City State Vehicle Recreation Area varies from flat grasslands to rolling hills to cobbled mine tailings – evidence of the search for gold in the 1800s – which creates exciting trails for motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Hiking & Biking

Yosemite National Park is home to many legendary hikes, whether you have your eye on conquering the summit of Half Dome or are looking for an experienced guide to take you on a multi-day hike through the High Sierra. The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is a spectacular site and hikers can take a five mile hike to Wapama Falls. Submit trails completed in Tuolumne County to earn a virtual badge through Visit Tuolumne County’s Trail Heads Program. On the southern side, the Wawona Meadow Loop Trailtraverses one of the largest meadows in Yosemite National Park. The trail is horse-friendly, dog-friendly, and bike-friendly, too. Hikers and bikers on the Arnold Rim Trail will see breathtaking vistas with panoramic views stretching from Mt. Diablo in the Bay Area to snowy Mt. Lyell on the high eastern slopes of the Sierras near Yosemite. El Dorado County is home to arguably some of the most scenic hiking in the United States. At Sly Parkriders can roll through the Sierra foothills’ diverse woodlands with rewarding downhills on the 6.5-mile loop south of the lake or take the loop around the lake with a flat, double-wide trail suited for beginner and intermediate riders. The Lake Clementine Trail is a gorgeous panoramic hike along the North Fork of the American River that passes underneath the Foresthill Bridge, the tallest bridge in California, and leads to the cascading waterfall of the North Fork Dam at Lake Clementine. Several other hiking and biking trails are located throughout the Auburn State Recreation Area, including sections of the famed Western States Trail that traverses 100 miles from Squaw Valley to Auburn. Hidden Falls Regional Park in Auburn offers 30 miles of multi-use trails with great views for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

The Tahoe Rim Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail are just two of the of the region’s vast trail networks boasting unimaginably gorgeous vistas. You’ll find beautiful hiking throughout the foothills with its rolling hills, diverse vegetation, and wildlife. Just east of Sierra City, the Pacific Crest Trail winds itself across Haypress Creek, then emerges at the Yuba River at Loves Falls creating spectacular waterfalls. The sleepy Gold Rush town of Downieville transforms into a mountain bike mecca with world-class downhill and cross-country trails. Downieville has become synonymous with seemingly endless single-track trails running through heavily forested ridgelines, canyons, and mountain streams and rivers and is the home of the 14-mile, 4000-foot descent of the world-famous Downieville Downhill.

“Down the hill” in Sacramento, bikers flock to the 32-mile paved American River Parkway Trail,  which follows the river from Sacramento through Rancho Cordova to Folsom. For more leisurely exploration, hop on tandem and four-some bikes that are big enough for the whole family in Old Sacramento. Rent a road or mountain bike to explore the trails around Lake Natoma in Folsom or just cruise on an e-bike around town. 

Water Sports

The American River through El Dorado County offers an unforgettable experience for water lovers. Made famous by the 1849 Gold Rush, this is the river where James Marshall first discovered gold. Today, the South Fork is California’s most famous whitewater river. Both the upper and lower sections of the American River promise great rapids and gorgeous scenery. The upper section of the American River quickly becomes a rollicking ride over countless rapids such as Meat-grinder, Racehorse, Triple Threat, and the infamous Troublemaker. The South Fork is an intermediate Class III adventure that’s appreciated by rafters of any age and skill level. The North Fork and Middle Fork of the American River in Placer County offer intermediate-advanced Class III-IV+ adventure with spectacular scenery. In Sierra County, the Yuba River provides great Class 4 and 5 whitewater rafting nearly all summer long. Bass Lake is a year-round vacation spot just 19 miles from Yosemite National Park’s south entrance. Bass Lake offers plenty of activities including swimming, water sports, and boating.

The Sac State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma, home to world class rowing championships, offers an assortment of watercraft rentals from boats and kayaks to stand up paddle boards and windsurfers. If you don’t have your own, SUPs and kayaks can be rented at many points along the river. Families can enjoy California’s 4th largest reservoir, New Melones Lake –located off Highway 49. This beautiful environment offers endless gorgeous days of swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing, camping, hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. The Folsom Aquatic Center, open year-round, offers aquatic fitness activities including lap swim, lessons, aqua aerobics, and a water slide and kids pool activity area.

Rock Climbing 

Rock climbing is having a moment. Between films like “The Dawn Wall” and “Free Solo” and its inaugural spot in the Tokyo Olympics, it seems like everyone is getting into the sport—or at least watching! Gold Country is home to some of the best rock climbing in the west. Why not take a lesson from the Yosemite Mountaineering School? Guides will get you on the highest—or tamest—peaks of Yosemite National Park. While in the area, a stop at the Mariposa Museum and History Center to check out its newest exhibit that traces the history of rock climbing in the Yosemite Valley. Nearby, Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides provides outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels the opportunity to experience rock climbing in Yosemite National Park, and the surrounding wilderness. Revered for their “Backcountry Gourmet” menus and signature “Alpine Start” coffee, this outfitter offers a first-rate approach to spending time in the backcountry.

In Placer County, Donner Summit is a must-do for climbers looking for quality and variety. This destination features trad, multi-pitch trad, sport climbing, and bouldering. Or head into the Auburn Quarry and scale the limestone cliffs of Cave Valley.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Launches into the Future With Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex Opening Spring 2022 

In an ongoing mission to bring the epic story of the U.S. space program to life, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex today announced a new attraction. Slated to open in Spring 2022, Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex, will focus on the present and future of collaborative space exploration, enabling guests to experience the interstellar travel of tomorrow while celebrating what is happening right now within the space program. It will feature a showcase of NASA and commercial spacecraft hardware with immersive displays, as well as a “journey” through space, unique launch viewing opportunities and more.

The 50,000-square-foot, multi-level attraction, currently under construction in the shadow of the Rocket Garden, will engage and inspire guests through one-of-a-kind experiences, artifacts and exhibits. Featuring a comprehensive collection of modern-day spacecraft, Gateway will offer the opportunity to explore the future of space travel in a way never before possible. Through immersive education, atmospheric effects and a 4D motion theatre, guests will see, experience and feel what it is actually like to travel in space.

The striking façade of the Gateway building is designed to capture attention and spark imagination even before entering. The outside walls are accented with iridescent panels of bright turquoise that will alternate with shades of purple, replicating the constant motion and brilliant colors of the universe.

Upon entering Gateway on the first level, “space travelers” will be greeted with a futuristic design intended to set the stage for their journey. Displayed like massive space sculptures in an outdoor garden, visitors will be surrounded by actual space flown artifacts and full-scale models, placed around the floor and suspended from above to allow 360-degree viewing and interaction. They include:

  • Orion Crew Vehicle from EFT-1 Mission (space flown)
  • Boeing CST-100 Starliner Crew Vehicle (full-scale engineering model)
  • SpaceX Falcon 9 booster, officially known as Booster 1023, which supported two SpaceX missions (space flown)
  • Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser (full scale replica)
  • NASA Space Launch System (scale model)
  • ULA Atlas V and Delta IV heavy (scale model)

As well as offering a “nose-to-nose” view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster, Gateway’s second floor features a 30-foot, floor-to-ceiling Robotic Trail Blazers Wall with interactive, touchscreen displays through which guests can learn about almost 40 different satellites and probes in space. Also in this area will be a HoloTube presentation station where guests can learn about the high-powered James Webb Space Telescope by manipulating holographic imagery, video and animation through a touchscreen kiosk.

Nearby, guests will be transported into the future of space travel at Spaceport KSC, the first and only airport of the future. Upon entering the concourse, travelers will be surrounded by the sights and sounds of a galactic spaceport: atmospheric airport chatter will surround travelers as they peer through windows at distant views of active launches and landings. The main concourse features multiple screens that will showcase destination promo videos and departure and arrival information. Guests will then board their “spaceships” – in the form of a two-story, 4D flying theater – for one of four journeys: Cosmic Wonders, Daring Explorers, Red Planet or Uncharted Worlds. Each distinct destination allows for the possibility of a different experience with each visit.

Gateway’s rooftop will be a versatile space for both launch and landing viewing and hosting special events. Affixed to the rooftop will be a Planewave CDK20 Telescope with a Espirit 100mm triplet deep sky APO Refractor, and an Altair 125mm solar refractor will offer access to some of the sky’s most amazing celestial and solar wonders. The stunning images can then be shared for educational purposes.

What’s New in the Bradenton Area of Florida 

Only an hour’s drive south of Tampa and two hours west of Orlando, the Bradenton Area is an unspoiled slice of Florida people don’t often realise exists. With the perfect combination of wide-open spaces, uncrowded beaches and low-rise accommodations, this is the perfect destination for those looking to unwind when returning to Florida. Recently the area has opened a first of its kind hotel, as well as new restaurants and a revamped pier, ready to welcome international visitors.

Compass by Margaritaville, a brand-new concept in the USA, opened their first property on Anna Maria Sound in July 2020. Offering casual luxury surroundings, stylish guest rooms, a pool, a cocktail bar and stunning views across the water, this is a perfect pit stop for those looking for comfort and style, nestled perfectly in between the beaches and downtown Bradenton.

Two stylish new restaurants have recently opened their doors on Longboat Key; with Shore having opened in late 2019 offering an upscale and sophisticated feel right on the water, and Whitney’s having opened early 2020 offering a more laid-back atmosphere with trendy décor and live music nights.

To add a touch of class to any trip, the first luxury beach set up company opened on Anna Maria Island in the autumn of 2020. Beach Suites takes the hassle out of the holiday by having cabanas, tables, games and more all set up right on the beach. Perfect for friends get togethers, multi-generation families or romantic beach break.

The Anna Maria City Pier is back open after almost a three-year closure. The old-style wooden pier has been given a stylish revamp with floor-level lighting and at the end of the pier, a tasty fish restaurant awaits, as well as the perfect spot to reel in a catch.

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature in downtown Bradenton celebrates its 75th anniversary this year with the Year of Light, exploring how visible light shapes our world and how harnessing invisible energy expands our scientific understanding of the cosmos.

Bradenton Area and Anna Maria Island is focused on sustainability and efforts to reduce carbon footprint and the impact of exponential tourism.

Ed Chiles, a local business owner, is prominent proponent for several important sustainability initiatives including All Clams on Deck. Ed’s portfolio includes three local restaurants and two farms, one of which is an underwater farm, from which he sources fresh produce including seafood, for his restaurants.  

All Clams on Deck is a Gulf Coast restoration initiative focused on restoring seagrass and high-density clam sites and oyster beds to conserve the health of the eco system and water quality around Bradenton and Anna Maria Island and the surrounding coastline.

Ed pioneered the initiative to restore Pine Avenue, the mile-long main street at the heart of Anna Maria Island, retro-fitting it to achieve Platinum status, the highest green standard you can achieve in the US, leading Pine Avenue to become known as the ‘greenest little main street in America’.

Love It Like a Local is a continuous, evergreen campaign to educate tourists on how to visit the area responsibly, giving consideration to protecting the sea and coastline, the natural habitats of sea turtles and other creatures, use of multi-modal transport, recycling etc. Tourists are also encouraged to take local classes, such as arts and crafts which help them to experience life in the local community during their visit, learn about the local inhabitants (both human and animal) and feed back into the local economy.

-Ends-

For images please visit this dropbox folder

For more information visit bradentongulfislands.com

For UK media enquiries contact Barry Johnston on barry@goshpr.co.uk

About the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau promotes tourism to Bradenton, Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key through domestic and international advertising, public relations and marketing efforts.  The destination is known for its unspoiled beaches, rich history, the easy pace of island life and a downtown energized with arts, culture and more. For more information, please visit www.bradentongulfislands.com.

THINGS TO DO IN ORLANDO 

Whether it’s a trip for familiescouples, single travelers or a group of friends, Orlando is the perfect destination thanks to wondrous diversity that ensures an unforgettable vacation filled with unique experiences for every visitor. In short, you’ll never run out of things to do in Orlando — and you’ll make a lifetime of cherished memories while you’re at it!

For instance, if thrill-seeking is your style, you won’t be able to get enough of our open-air theme parks, expansive water parks and amazing attractions. There’s a lot more for you to discover, though, including diningshoppingecotourism and other things you won’t want to miss. So, get out and explore it all — there’s no wrong way to experience Orlando!

‘Wind Dancer’ Grand Canyon Excursion with Maverick Aviation 

Depart the Las Vegas Strip and start your journey to one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, the Grand Canyon. Soar over the iconic Hoover Dam while enjoying panoramic views of Lake Mead and the Mojave Desert. Enjoy intimate views of Temple Rock, a unique rock formation on the shoreline of Lake Mead and Fortification Hill, an extinct volcano.

The ground drops away as you enter the Grand Canyon, descend and land 3,500 feet below the rim at a private landing area on Hualapai Indian Territory. Champagne, beverages and a snack box are served approximately 300 feet above the mighty Colorado River. Witness the stunning red rock formation of the Bowl of Fire from the air as you return to Las Vegas.

Conclude your adventure with a breath-taking flight over the Las Vegas Strip and above the mega-resorts. The Wind Dancer is approximately 4 hours (hotel to hotel).

Take a trip to the city made for thrill-seekers Orlando 2022

The heart of Florida is home to world-famous theme parks, Disney delights and exhilarating studios. Venture to Orlando – made for family-fun and grown-up giggles.

holiday to Orlando is an adventure for the senses. Let your laughter out, feel the wind ripple through your hair on rollercoaster rides and watch wildlife with wonder when you arrive in Florida. Orlando is the ultimate hub of excitement, bursting with fly high rides and make-a-splash water parks – with entertainment for everyone. Find fairy tale magic in Walt Disney World, meet the most loveable characters and watch fireworks light up the night over Cinderella’s Castle. Discover the energy of Universal Orlando Resort, with its white-knuckle rides and memorable movie moments.

See the vibrancy of International Drive. Start with Denny’s for a mammoth breakfast of oversized pancakes, then venture through the enthralling upside-down world of Wonderworks. Shopaholics can lose themselves in Orlando International Premium Outlets, with its discounted designers and oodles of frozen yogurt stalls. Or head over to glistening Lake Eola’s downtown, for the colourful Sunday farmer’s market and free yoga on the lawn. If taking a swing on golfing greens is more your thing, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Orlando. Soft sand banks, palm trees and crocs in the water hazards – watch out.

Enjoy different activities every day of your Orlando experience.