Penguins at SeaWorld Orlando
I'm standing on a rickety bridge some 50 feet above a roaring river; the bridge spans more than 100 feet. Ferocious Nile alligators -- more than a dozen of them -- loll on the riverbank below.
Am I terrified? No. I'm also not in
Wild Animal Trek takes "adventurers," just a dozen at a time, accompanied by two well-seasoned guides, on a bush walk and truck ride through the most remote areas of
Having been on safari in
For those heading to
-- Get up close and personal with the alligators at
-- Dive with 30 varieties of sharks at SeaWorld Orlando (www.seaworldorlando.com), or become a trainer for the day (
-- Take a VIP Tour at
-- Have lunch with an astronaut (
-- Take your foodie to La Coquina Chef's Table in the chef's kitchen at the
-- Get your own private sliming at
-- Take your junior fashionista for a Personal Fashion Stylist package complete with shopping tour at
Of course, none of these opportunities comes cheap. The price for the Africa Trek is
"A number of our guests were telling us they wanted to go deeper, get closer to the animals," explained Colglazier, adding that this three-hour experience is designed to do just that, stopping at places no one else does, getting the CD of photographs (yes, that is you and your family in front of the giraffe! Crossing the net bridge! "This is a way to push the edges of what the park is supposed to be."
I don't think even the most jaded kid would get bored. When were you ever 20 feet from a grazing giraffe in his own territory, not in a zoo? Besides, we're decked out in special vests (everything must be tethered or in pockets) and sport cables that hook us to a system of safety harnesses while going over those bridges or looking over the edge of the river, all to keep a misstep from turning into a tragedy. This is
Wild Animal Trek may be the first place where families feel they can have a bonafide adventure with the security of knowing they are "safe at Disney World." And this excursion can seem a bonafide bargain when you figure you didn't fly thousands of miles and pay for a traditional safari.
Besides the antelope and gazelle, Watusi cattle and waterbuck live out on a Savannah, painstakingly recreated here, that stretches 800 square miles. (Considerable animal research goes on here as well.) We met one researcher who is studying why a group of male hippos is uncharacteristically living together in a small area. On our bush walk, we passed a real hippo skull and were calmly hurried along when one of our guides spotted an animal up in a tree. This is their home, after all.
When we finally sat down at what could only be described as a bush camp (it looked a lot like the ones I stayed in on safari in
This is definitely one for the memory books.
Pass the mess kit, please.
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It's vacation and the teens are awake and ready to roll before 8 a.m.! The 22-year-old White has come down to Grand Cayman, his parents and sister in tow, to inaugurate Skate Cayman an 11-week summer program
Taking the Kids Camping & the Great Outdoors
Just being in a tent is an adventure for young kids, says Nancy Ritger, an Appalachian Mountain Club naturalist who has camped with her three teens since they were bab
Whether you want to learn to dive with your tween or snorkel with your kindergartner, teach your grade-schooler to sail or fly on a trapeze, you'll find plenty of opportunities at Caribbean resorts -- at prices that are surprisingly affordable.
Kids on a Plane! 5 Fixes for Unruly Junior Passengers
Kids on a plane. No four words incite more acrimonious debate among air travelers. On one side, you have childless customers who just want a little civility while they're locked inside a pressurized aluminum tube. Talk about oil and water.
Children in First Class: 3 Suggestions for the Kids 'Up Front'
The overwhelming number of travelers I spoke with said kids should be able to fly in first class if their parents could afford to pay the freight. But they were quick to add that they expected the children to behave.
(c) 2011 EILEEN OGINTZ DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
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