Archives for June 2011

CityPass Recognized by International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA)

In May of 2011, the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) announced that it would recognize CityPass as a Silver Level Global Partner. As one of the leading organizations in the LGBT tourism industry, the membership of CityPass among IGLTA’s partners is an important step in both generating business through new markets for CityPass as well as extending an understanding and welcoming hand to all travelers who wish to see some of the best sights in 11 top cities at a discounted price.

Golden Gate Bridge

IGLTA partners with every tourism facet from airlines to hotels to travel agents and tour offices. It has been around since 1983 with the sole purpose of uniting businesses in the LGBT tourism industry with one another. Recently, they have expanded operations to help identify for the LGBT community those individuals and organizations who want to reach out to the ever-expanding LGBT market.

CityPass, as an active tourism option in both New York and San Francisco, has always been in the market for LGBT tourists and the Silver Level Partnership is merely a formalized step in reaching a market they have always embraced. As San Francisco Travel’s CEO, Joe D’Alessandro explained recently, the addition of an IGLTA membership, particularly at the Silver level and above, is a formal commitment to the LGBT travel market. CityPass is expressly pledging to make the LGBT travel experience in any of its 11 cities a valuable and warm one.

CityPass was founded in San Francisco in 1997 and has since expanded its market to New York, Chicago, Toronto, Boston, Hollywood, Seattle, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta and Southern California. Its passes are valid for 9 days (this is extended to 14 days in Southern California) and allows users discounted access to up to six of each city’s best attractions.

The Statue of Liberty and Manhattan

CityPass is known for allowing its users VIP entry to most of its sights and its versatility is unique in the travel pass industry since online purchase, though easy, is not necessary. All attractions that accept CityPass also sell them.

Geocaching in New York City – A New Way to See the Sights

Ever heard of geocaching?  Started in England over a decade ago, this high-tech treasure hunting game has really taken off in recent years with the proliferation of smart phones and GPS devices. “Cachers,” as they are called, range in age from infants to adults and use handheld GPS devices, a series of clues, as well as coordinates to find treasures, or caches, hidden outdoors. Though generally thought of as a rurally-based activity (many caches are hidden in parks, preserves and off of mountainous walking paths) geocahing is popular everywhere in the world, including New York City.

With organizations like the Metro New York Caching Society along with literally millions of people walking the streets on any given week, New York is a ripe concrete jungle full of hidden treasures you never thought were there. Whether you’re an experienced cacher and frequent poster on forums, or a newbie looking for a great way to walk around New York on your next visit, geocaching in the Big Apple may be a great option for you.

However, aside from the regular rules of always leaving something of equal or greater value that that which you take from a cache and making sure to sign the log book and register your Travel Bugs online, there are additional precautions and considerations that you need to take when caching in New York. Here are the two most important to note:

  1. Remember the buildings
    If you are used to relying on your GPS coordinates to help you find a cache, it is important to note that the sheer number of really, really tall buildings in New York can often block or distort a signal. For those not willing to give up the crutch of the GPS, finding parks and other more open areas is a great first choice. More daring cahcers or those who know the city a bit better may be willing to use coordinates as merely a guide and then let the clues do the rest.
  2. Beware the muggles
    As any good geocacher knows, those who do not participate in our little game are called muggles. Since New York is so populous, the added element of appearing discrete is even more important when caching in the city. There have been incidents when a bomb squad was called because a muggle found a cache and there are a lot of people, especially in more crowded areas that will get suspicious and nervous if you are hunting around too much. It is therefore even more important that cahcers in New York practice discretion and respect that a lot of people will not understand what it is you are doing, even the police.

Geocaching in New York City is an amazing way to spice up an already diverse vacation. The added benefit of walking in some of the amazing parks peppered around New York as well as the additional adventure of avoiding the muggles while you cache can really add to the fun for the whole family. Geocaching is definitely a great option for all those looking for a little more adventure in the City that Never Sleeps.

5 Must See Family Attractions in Houston

Houston is a great city to visit with the whole family. Part of planning a great vacation in Houston is knowing which attractions you should visit. Here is a list of five of the most popular attractions in Houston that are well-worth your time to visit and enjoy.

lunar car

Space Center Houston

What better way to get the kids’ imaginations going than with a visit to Space Center Houston? You’ll get to see the Space Center’s amazing collection of artifacts and spacecraft models, the Astronaut Gallery with real astronaut suits, and the Living in Space module where you’ll learn what it’s like to live on a space shuttle. This is one experience that no kid (or adult) will forget.

Downtown Aquarium

Houston’s Downtown Aquarium is more than an aquarium, it’s a full underwater adventure! Not only do they have all sorts of aquatic life, but they also have exhibits that include alligators, turtles, rainforest frogs, and the white tigers of the Maharaja’s Temple. As you can see, this is one aquarium that stands out from the rest.

The Children’s Museum of Houston

The Children’s Museum of Houston was recently named the #1 best children’s museum by Parents magazine – and it’s no wonder! If you have kids this is one museum you have to take them to. Some of the fun exhibits include the math adventure Cyberchase, FlowWorks where you work to fill an 18-foot cauldron until it tips over, Invention Convention, and many more.

Houston Museum of Natural Science

This museum has it all: dinosaur skeletons and other amazing fossilized remains, seashells like you’ve never seen before, and a the fascinating Hall of Gems and Minerals. Another interesting exhibit is the Wiess Energy Hall. Here you can explore how oil and natural gas are used in the different kinds of energy we use today. You won’t be disappointed in what you see at this museum.

Houston Zoo

Do you or your kids like elephants, primates, snakes and frogs? Then you’ll definitely enjoy a visit to the Houston Zoo. One of the great things about this zoo is that they have several areas that are geared towards children. For example the John P. McGovern Children’s Zoo and the Kipp Aquarium.

As you can see, Houston has plenty to offer for any family. And honestly, we’ve barely scratched the surface of all the different attractions that you can visit. Even if you just visit the different Houston museums and aquariums, you’ll have plenty to talk about when you get back home. To see the best that Houston has to offer, make sure to pick up a Houston CityPASS.