Monday, June 29, 2009

Inexpensive Summer Travel the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Mayfield’s Athens Visitor Center Named One of AARP’s Favorite Places

Mayfield Dairy Farms is pleased to announce that its Athens Visitor Center has been named one of AARP The Magazine’s favorite places in Tennessee.

In 2008, AARP of Tennessee polled its 300 state volunteers on their 50 favorite day-trips in the state and the Mayfield Visitor Center made the list.

Visitors from across the United States flock to Mayfield Dairy Farms year-round to take a free tour and learn about Mayfield’s history and products.

Kids and adults alike enjoy seeing how their favorite Mayfield products are made with a fun and educational behind-the-scenes tour at both Mayfield Visitor Centers located in Braselton, Georgia and Athens, Tennessee.

Visitors to Athens can find out how it all began for Mayfield and get to see how Mayfield’s delicious milk makes it from the dairy to the fridge. Better yet, they’ll even get the inside scoop on how delicious Mayfield Ice Creamier is made.

A trip to Braselton gives visitors a first-hand glimpse of Mayfield’s state-of-the-art milk production systems and they can see how Mayfield’s delicious milk is bottled.

At both locations, browse the gift shop for great Mayfield-branded keepsakes. And, of course, be sure to try a scoop of delicious Mayfield Ice Cream at their old-fashioned Ice Cream Parlors.

In Athens, tours run Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday every 30 minutes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except at noon). Tours are every hour on the hour on Wednesday. The last tour of the day begins at 4 p.m. Saturday tours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every hour, with the last tour beginning at 1 p.m.*

Braselton tours run Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday about every 30 minutes and are conducted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The last tour begins at 4 p.m. during the week. Saturday tours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every hour, with the last tour beginning at 1 p.m.*

Tours at both locations are free and parking is available in the visitor center area. Group tours are available and can be pre-arranged.

*Tour times are subject to change

Directions to Athens, Tennessee
From Interstate 75: Take Exit #52 (Mt. Verd, Athens). Turn east towards Athens. Drive 4.3 miles and turn left on Mayfield Lane. The Visitor Center is on the right.

Directions to Braselton, Georgia
From Interstate 75: Take I-285 East to I-85 North. Turn right at Exit 126. Proceed to traffic light and turn left on Broadway Avenue. The Visitor Center is approximately two miles on the left.

About Mayfield Dairy Farms
Founded in 1910, Mayfield Dairy Farms offers a full line of milk, cultured and ice cream products. Based in Athens, TN, the dairy serves nine Southeastern states. Tours of the dairy’s plants in Athens, TN and Braselton, GA offer an inside look into the history, production and great flavor of Mayfield products. To learn more about Mayfield Dairy Farms, visit
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Celebrate the Fourth of July at Callaway Gardens' Star Spangled Beach Party

Callaway Gardens is anxiously anticipating the Fourth of July! Come join us for a great day filled with a ton of fun in the sun and a spectacular fireworks show. Bring the entire family and enjoy a myriad of beach activities including swimming in Robin Lake, playing miniature golf or shuffleboard, picnicking, paddleboats and more.

Children of all ages are sure to be thrilled by the acrobatics of the Florida State University Flying High Circus as they perform at 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. In the evening, you won’t want to miss dancing to the inviting sounds of the Swinging Medallions at 7:30 p.m. or the patriotic fireworks finale at approximately 9:30 p.m.

In addition, Robin Lake Beach offers guests a number of activities for a fee including Iceberg Island; waterskiing and lessons; Trapeze Adventure; a rock-climbing wall; spider jump; and the massive Xcelerator waterslide.

July 4th admission is $25/adult; $12.50/child age 6-12; Children five and younger are admitted for free. Tax is included. Admission includes access to the Gardens attractions from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and the Star Spangled Beach Party festivities at Robin Lake from 7:00 a.m. until the fireworks finale. The Robin Lake Beach entrance is on U.S. Hwy. 27.

The July 4th Beach Party Extravaganza overnight package includes choice of accommodations; July 3rd Beach Party and meal for each person on package; breakfast for two adults per night of stay; free breakfast for up to two children (ages 6 to 12); admission to Robin Lake Beach and Callaway Gardens for the July 4th activities; and use of the Callaway Fitness Center.

On Friday, July 3rd, Robin Lake Beach will have a Beach Party featuring Beach Olympics and Games with Michael Blair from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and an 8:00 p.m. FSU Flying High Circus performance of their new theme show “Spectacular.” A variety of vendors will be available to purchase food.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Panama City Beach, Fla., Named Top Beach by TripAdvisor(R)

/PRNewswire/ -- Panama City Beach, Fla., was just recognized by TripAdvisor(R) as home to one of America's top beaches.

Ranking third in the U.S. on the just-released 2009 listing, the destination's St. Andrews State Recreation Area was selected based on opinions of millions of travelers worldwide and the expertise of the editors of the world's largest online travel community,

Spanning 1,260 acres in picturesque Northwest Florida, St. Andrews State Recreation Area boasts sugar-white sand overlooking the clear, emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew Bay. The 1.5-mile-long beach has a calm, child-friendly area, offering swimming and snorkeling in a shallow, tranquil pool, protected by jetties. Visitors can take a quick ferry ride to nearby Shell Island for more surf and sun. Hikers and birders, meanwhile, enjoy the park's 1.25 miles of pristine trails with an incredible array of plants and wildlife, including deer, egrets and graceful tropical birds. At St. Andrews, anglers enjoy surf fishing, as well as fishing off a deep-sea jetty and two piers. Concession stands and campsites also are available for lovers of the outdoors.

Panama City Beach also enjoys recognition as a premier beach destination from Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today, The Travel Channel, Southern Living, Dr. Beach and the Clean Beaches Council.

"The destination offers something for everyone," explains Dan Rowe, C.E.O., Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Our award-winning beaches and predictably sunny weather have drawn travelers for generations. Visitors here today discover a wealth of new offerings. From new restaurants, shops and nightlife venues to outdoor concerts, festivals, fishing, golfing, eco-tours and more, there's always something fun going on in Panama City Beach."

Shoppers and culinary enthusiasts here are rewarded at the new Pier Park, located in the heart of town. Spanning roughly one million-square-foot Pier Park serves up soft sea breezes and an array of unique offerings as Northwest Florida's largest shopping, dining and entertainment venue. For marine life lovers, the nearby Gulf World Marine Park delights with animal exhibits and shows as well as opportunities to swim with the dolphins. Little ones marvel at ZooWorld Zoological & Botanical Park, home to more than 250 animals, including rare and endangered species, in a lush, tropical setting. Family attractions abound, including Shipwreck Island Waterpark, one of Florida's largest theme water parks, and Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium, featuring fascinating finds from around the world.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there's world-class fishing, hiking, kayaking and more. Adventurers find plenty of ways to test their skills with Panama City Beach's full spectrum of water sports - snorkeling, diving, parasailing, skimboards, Yolo boards, wave runners and more.

To showcase the destination's many charms, the Convention and Visitors Bureau recently launched a summer-long online video contest, offering $50,000 in cash and prizes, including customized vacations to Panama City Beach. Tapping into the fast-growing popularity of online videos, the contest encourages consumers to post their original works, offering an innovative travel personality twist.

Through July 31, consumers can visit and take a quick quiz to determine their Panama City Beach travel personality: Eco-Seeker, Wave Warrior, After Dark Shark looking for glittery nightlife, Soul Surfer who loves long strolls on the beach, or a leader of the family-friendly Sandy Bottom Bunch. Then, they can produce an original video that showcases their unique travel personality type. The top videos will be showcased for online voting, and five winners will receive $10,000 each in cash and prizes, including five-night vacations in Panama City Beach, customized to suit their travel interests. To date, nearly 2,000 people from around the country have taken the destination's travel personality quick quiz.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites Offer Affordable Star-Spangled Celebrations

Grilling burgers in the shade, watching fireworks over a lake and camping under the stars are just some of the July 4th activities offered by Georgia’s 63 State Parks and Historic Sites. Want to learn about colonial Georgia and our nation’s beginnings? Visit Fort King George in Darien for “Cannons Across the Marsh.” Looking to challenge your sister to an old-timey sack race? Meet up at Unicoi State Park’s “Mountain Style Games.” Or see how far you can spit a watermelon seed at Vogel State Park’s “Independence Day Celebration.”

July 4th weekend is always one of the busiest holidays in Georgia’s state parks, so visitors are encouraged to reserve accommodations early. In late June, several state parks still had campsites available, a few had cottages for rent, and Amicalola Falls had lodge rooms left for the three-day weekend. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-864-7275 or online at

Can’t get away for the whole weekend? State parks welcome visitors to come for just the day as well. For a $5 parking fee, guests can cool off at lakeside beaches, boat across lakes, explore hiking and biking trails, and even fish for their dinner – all for free. Some of the state’s historic forts will showcase America’s history with musket firings, military drills and displays. Historic site admission ranges from $3.50 to $5 per person.

Park rangers encourage visitors to bring picnics, but to leave fireworks at home. Sparklers and explosives are not allowed in Georgia’s state parks. For those who want to see fireworks, Georgia Veterans, Reed Bingham and Elijah Clark state parks will offer professional displays this year. Panola Mountain State Park is offering a rare chance to visit at night, offering views of fireworks from across the Atlanta area.

Want more ideas on affordable July 4th activities? The State Park System has these suggestions:

· Dozens of Independence Day events are posted at

· Lakeside swimming beaches are free once visitors pay a $5 parking fee. The largest is at John Tanner State Park in Carrolton, but Hard Labor Creek, Reed Bingham, Indian Springs, Red Top Mountain, Tugaloo, Unicoi and many others have sandy beaches as well.

· Covered picnic shelters and enclosed group shelters can be reserved for family reunions, parties and other gatherings. All offer pretty views, and grills and restrooms are nearby. Reservations should be made in advance for these shelters. Individuals can use picnic tables scattered throughout all of Georgia’s state parks – and many state historic sites – for free.

· Too pooped to pack a picnic? The lodges at Amicalola Falls, Red Top Mountain, Unicoi, Little Ocmulgee and George T. Bagby state parks all feature restaurants.

· Sliding down the rocky shoals at Watson Mill Bridge State Park in Comer is a popular activity for children. Be sure to wear shorts that can resist wear-and-tear.

· Amicalola Falls, Magnolia Springs, Unicoi, Black Rock Mountain, Skidaway Island, Florence Marina and a few other parks have planned old-fashioned “field day” games such as egg toss and relay races.

· Swimming pools at High Falls, Magnolia Springs and Victoria Bryant state parks are open this summer and charge a small fee for the day.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Magician's Fight for Freedom... Aaron Radatz to Perform Death Defying Stunt for All American Weekend July 4 & 5 at Wild Adventures

/PRNewswire/ -- How long can you hold your breath? Magical entertainer Aaron Radatz hopes he can hold his long enough to escape from a wooden packing crate at the bottom of Wild Adventures' lake July 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. FREEDOM: An Underwater Escape has never been attempted in the region, and the death defying stunt is part of Wild Adventures' All American Weekend, which also includes explosive nightly fireworks choreographed to a dynamic and patriotic soundtrack.

Aaron Radatz is the newest star to hit the magic entertainment scene. He is also one of the daily featured shows at Wild Adventures Theme Park this summer. Time Magazine says, "He is THE magical entertainer to see." On July 4 and 5 at Wild Adventures, Aaron Radatz will recreate a death-defying escape made famous by one his mentors, Harry Houdini.

Radatz will be handcuffed and chained by members of the audience and sealed inside a wooden crate, before he is lowered into the Wild Adventures' lake. To up the ante, several small holes will be drilled over the surface of the crate to let the water drain in; making the escape even more dangerous. Aaron will have only three minutes to pick his way out of the handcuffs and chains and break his way out of the box against the pressure of the water. An ambulance, fire truck, and scuba diving team will be on hand to take action if the event does not go as planned.

When Aaron was asked why he would attempt this dangerous stunt he replied, "I love living life to the fullest and taking any challenges it can dish out. Despite the fear I have of drowning, I am prepared to take this challenge and win." Aaron Radatz has been training for several weeks with certified scuba instructors to maximize the amount of time he can hold his breath and his ability to maneuver underwater.

All American Weekend will also include an explosive fireworks show both Saturday and Sunday night, beginning at dusk. Splash Island Water Park, thrill rides, daily shows, attractions and animals will add to this Independence Day weekend and provide a quality family friendly experience for all ages.

Aaron Radatz's FREEDOM: AN UNDERWATER ESCAPE and the nightly fireworks are a free event included in park admission and will take place Saturday, July 4 and Sunday, July 5. Guests can also catch Aaron Radatz at the park Wednesday through Sunday this summer until August 2. To learn more about Aaron Radatz visit his website at

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Old 96 District Hosts Annual South Carolina Campground Cookoff

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Old 96 District Tourism Commission will again host the 2009 South Carolina Campground Cookoff on September 18-20, 2009 at Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area on Lake Richard B. Russell in Calhoun Falls, South Carolina. This event is a partnership between the Old 96 District Tourism Commission and the Parks Division of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. The Old 96 District Tourism Commission is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting tourism and travel opportunities in the counties of Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens and McCormick, South Carolina.

Simply Kitchen, a specialty kitchen retailer headquartered in Augusta, Georgia and WACH Fox 57, a FOX television affiliate serving the Midlands area of South Carolina, are the presenting sponsors of the event.

Campers who love to cook are encouraged to enter and compete to become “King of the Campground Cooks!” Participants must be 16 years of age, submit a $40 entry fee and stay two nights at Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area. Contestants may enter one of two categories: main dish or dessert. Food must be prepared from scratch and cooked over a fire of either wood or charcoal.

No gas grills are allowed. Cash prizes of $500, $300 and $200 will be awarded in each category. Applications must be received by August 1, 2009.

Three nationally-known celebrity judges -- Shannon Kohn, Recipe Developer and Food Writer; Annette Thompson, Associate Travel Editor for Southern Living and Charles Mattocks aka “The Poor Chef,” who has recently appeared on The TODAY Show, will crown the winners.

Charles Wood, an award winning banjo player and 1998 Merlefest Banjo Champion and winner of the 1999 Walnut Valley National Banjo Championship, will perform during the Iron Skillet Hoedown on Friday night. Exhibitors will be on hand to demonstrate their products.

For more information about the Old 96 District, visit To enter the 2009 South Carolina Campground Cookoff and view the general rules, visit or call toll free 866.354.0003. For sponsorship opportunities call 864.232.7655, ext. 207.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ohio Getaways That Soar To Great Heights

(NAPSI)-Americans are celebrating the 40th anniversary of one of the great achievements of our time: astronaut Neil Armstrong taking his legendary first steps on the moon.

The occasion has moved many people to take a trip of their own to some of the nation's top aviation hotspots. Here's a look at some popular destinations:

Birthplace Of Aviation

Those interested in exploring the historical roots of aviation have plenty of options in the hometown of Wilbur and Orville Wright. The Wright brothers, who are credited with the first successful airplane flight, grew up in Dayton, Ohio. The city is now home to the Wright B Flyer Hangar at the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport. There, visitors can take a ride in a replica of the Wright B Flyer, which seats two and cruises up to 100 miles per hour.

If you prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, check out the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, home to the Wright Cycle Company. The park also includes Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, containing photos and other displays chronicling the lives of the Wright brothers and another Dayton native, writer Paul Laurence Dunbar.

There's also the Huffman Prairie Flying Field and the adjacent Interpretive Center, also in Dayton. The field is the site where the Wright Brothers perfected the world's first practical airplane and opened the Wright School of Aviation. The Interpretive Center contains additional exhibits that tell the visual tale of the Wright brothers' flight trials.

Fly Me To The Moon

With Ohio being home to Neil Armstrong, John Glenn and more than 20 other astronauts, the state is well versed in space travel. Located in Armstrong's hometown of Wapakoneta, an hour north of Dayton, the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum celebrates the sights and sounds of man's first steps on the moon with the F5D Skylancer and the Gemini VIII spacecraft on display, as well as a moon rock and other Apollo 11 artifacts.

Inside NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, the 6,000-square-foot Visitor Center offers interactive exhibits, including a flight simulator and a launch control center where visitors can conduct microgravity experiments or count down to a simulated rocket launch.

Approximately 60 miles from Cleveland in Warren, Ohio, space enthusiasts can visit the spot where Armstrong boarded his first airplane in 1936-at the age of 6-at the former site of the Warren Airways Airport. The site now boasts a half-scale replica of Apollo 11's lunar landing module sitting on cratered concrete resembling the moon's surface.

History Buffs

The International Women's Air & Space Museum in Cleveland chronicles the lives of women ranging from Connie Wolf, a 19th century balloonist, to legendary aviator Amelia Earhart to astronaut Valentina Tereshkova of the former Soviet Union, the first woman to orbit the Earth.

The largest and oldest museum of its kind worldwide, the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton showcases military aviation history with more than 400 aircraft and aerospace vehicles on display. Key exhibits include past Air Force One aircrafts in the presidential gallery.

An hour south of Dayton is the Tri-State Warbird Museum, a 20,000-square-foot facility dedicated to preserving, restoring and operating World War II military aircraft. The museum's operational aircraft inventory includes the Grumman TBM-3 Avenger, which played a major role in the sinking of more than 60 Japanese ships after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Aviation Events

In addition to Ohio's permanent aviation attractions, the state offers aviation events such as the Vectren Dayton Air Show, Cleveland National Air Show and World War I Dawn Patrol Rendezvous.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Families Flip-Flop To The Beach For Less

(NAPSI)-A terrific backdrop for rich memories does not have to put a hole in your wallet.

Florida's Emerald Coast provides a number of ways by which families can save on warm-weather getaways. Try these tips:

Hit The Web

Search travel and airline web sites for last-minute deals. You can also sign up to be alerted of bargain beach vacations in specific parts of the country.

Frugal Fun

Look to visit affordable attractions while you're away. It can be a fun way to save and see some unforgettable sites. For instance, at Florida's Emerald Coast, you can watch dolphins "dance" at Florida's Gulfarium or splash around at Big Kahuna's Water and Adventure Park for less than you might expect. The area offers a host of affordable and entertaining events, often at little to no cost. (

Here's a look at some of the wallet-friendly and fun activities found in the southern sea towns of Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island:

• For less than $10, families can visit the U.S. Air Force Armament Museum, the Indian Temple Mound and Museum, the Destin History & Fishing Museum, or the Emerald Coast Science Center.

• The area's fun, family-friendly festivals and events include the 4th of July Celebration at Fort Walton Beach Landing, the 17th Annual Emerald Coast Poker Run, Emerald Coast Boat Week and the Black History Arts Festival.

Moneyless Memories

From building sandcastles and bodysurfing waves to watching sunsets and snorkeling for seashells, families make memories at Florida's Emerald Coast for no cost at all.

With 24 miles of sugar-white sands and emerald-green waters, the destination has been voted the "Best Beach Town in the South" for 14 consecutive years by the readers of Southern Living.

It also offers affordable accommodations, from beachfront hotels and a bed-and-breakfast to condominiums and vacation homes. You can learn more at or by contacting the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. at (800) 322-3319.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Universal Orlando Resort Extends Florida Resident Summer Offer Rates to Georgia Residents

Universal Orlando Resort is extending a special opportunity to Georgia residents allowing them to take advantage of the same pricing that Florida residents receive on a two-night vacation package.

Starting at $69 per person, per night, Georgia residents can receive two-night accommodations at a hotel near Universal and 2-day/2-park unlimited admission to Universal Orlando Resort. For only $50 more – a total of $119 per person, per night – guests can upgrade to one of Universal’s three on-site hotels and receive complimentary Universal Express ride access to bypass the regular lines at theme park rides and attractions.

Top Secret: Mission Toy at The Children’s Museum of Memphis

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Children’s Museum of Memphis is hosting the traveling exhibit, Top Secret: Mission Toy, June 13-September 13, 2009. This intriguing exhibition from the Canadian Children’s Museum allows kids to have a unique opportunity to play toy detective with toys from around the world.

We all know that children play with toys because it’s fun, but did you know that toys also help them develop important cognitive, social and motor skills? They help socialize children, teaching them to share, compromise and cooperate with their peers. Many toys also foster creativity and imagination, critical thinking and problem-solving.

Nobody knows toys better than kids. Children don a lab coat and embark on an important mission: to inspect toys from around the world. They use their investigative and playtime skills to check out dolls and balls and secret codes, find out why tops are tops, and how string can be a fascinating thing.

“Toys are an essential part of growing up,” said Richard Hackett, museum chief executive officer. “Toys are often overlooked for their important role in educating and socializing our children.”

Top Secret: Mission Toy shows that toys take many forms and shapes, from simple wooden tops to remote-controlled robots. Toys are an important part of life in cultures around the world - showing that a child’s need to have fun is a universal concept. The exhibit was created by the Canadian Children’s Museum and highlights that museum’s rich collection of toys, interactive devices, games and other activities.

Top Secret: Mission Toy is included with museum admission. For more information, visit CMOM.COM.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Take a Journey to the Center of the Earth™ 4D At Dollywood’s KidsFestSM

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dollywood welcomes the summertime travel season with its seventh annual KidsFest celebration which began June 12 and includes two new entertainment offerings.

“I’m the biggest kid I know, and nobody gets more excited about my KidsFest celebration than I do,” Parton said. “I’m especially pleased about all of the great entertainment that we have for families with children of all ages. I’m calling it our ‘Summer of Adventure’ because there’s something to suit every little adventurer here at Dollywood.”

Dollywood’s Imagination Cinema welcomes the Journey to the Center of the Earth 4D adventure. Brendan Fraser stars as Professor Trevor Anderson who, along with his teen-aged nephew Sean and their mountain guide, Hannah, embarks on an action-packed odyssey. The trio encounters a series of hair-raising close calls only to discover there is just one way out of this incredible quest to discover a lost world.

Something new is stirring at Dolly’s Imagination Playhouse where the award-winning Penguin Players debut two brand-new sing-along stage shows. The popular children’s storybooks Llama Llama Red Pajama and Skippyjon Jones join the lineup this year. Llama Llama Red Pajama tells the story of Baby Llama and his mama while teaching audiences that there’s no problem too big for the two of them. Skippyjon Jones is a rambunctious Siamese kitty boy with very large ears and a gigantic imagination to match, and he just can’t stay out of trouble. The much-loved favorite The Little Engine That Could! returns to complete the lineup.

To coincide with the opening of KidsFest, Parton releases a new children’s book entitled I Am a Rainbow in which she explores the rainbow of emotions inside us all. The book encourages children to understand their own feelings while also respecting those of others. Published by Putnam Juvenile, I Am a Rainbow also inspired a new song featured during each Penguin Players performance. Parton also wrote all of the songs featured in the three Penguin Players shows.

The Kratt Brothers make a triumphant return with their award-winning live stage show Creature Adventures starring the Kratt Brothers! Stars of the popular PBS children’s Zoboomafoo television series, Chris and Martin, the original creature adventurers, are back at Dollywood this summer with a cast of their amazing animal friends. The Kratt Brothers take audiences on an exciting expedition to discover some of the world’s most interesting animals on stage at Showstreet Palace Theatre.

The Knoxville Zoo’s animal caregivers are back for a summer of Kamp KidsFest featuring Kreatures, Kritters and Krafts. Open daily, Kamp KidsFest lets guests of all ages get up-close with a variety of small animals, remarkable reptiles and captivating bugs.

Sandscapes, 12-time winner of the World Sand Sculpture Championship, delights audiences as the world’s most amazing sandbox come to life. Sandscapes creates large-scale, three-dimensional sand sculptures. Last year’s design featured Dolly aboard the Dollywood Express steam locomotive.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Celebrate Fishing Week at Georgia State Parks

There's still time to enjoy the end of National Fishing Week in Georgia this weekend.

Kids from 3 to 103 are invited to explore Georgia’s great lakes, rivers and streams in celebration of National Fishing Week, June 6-13, at Georgia’s state parks. With more than a dozen fishing events planned in the week ahead, Georgia’s state parks offer an adventure for everyone – from children’s fishing rodeos to expert fly fishing classes.

No fishing gear? Some of Georgia’s state parks offer a fishing equipment loaner program for free. Georgians interested in angling in the parks can check out a pole, try their luck and return the equipment when finished. Check out for a list of participating parks.

Turn an exciting day of fishing into an overnight adventure under the stars. State park visitors can stay the night in a campsite, cottage, yurt, or hotel-style lodge. What better way to get away from computers and build memories that last a lifetime? Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-864-7275.

Free Fishing Days
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Victoria Bryant State Park - Royston, GA
No license is required for this special day of free fishing. $5 parking. 706-245-6270.

Senior Citizen Fishing Rodeo
Saturday, June 13, 2009
9 AM to 12 PM
James H. (Sloppy) Floyd State Park - Summerville, GA

Ladies and gentlemen 65 and older can enjoy using their skills to bring in the largest catfish. Bring your own bait. $5 parking. 706-857-0826.

Fishing and Boating Blast
Saturday, June 13, 2009
10 AM to 6 PM
Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge - McRae, GA

Kids can earn a GO Georgia Badge by participating in a canoe trip, fishing in the lake, identifying some water dwellers and being creative with some fishy crafts. Stay overnight in the park’s lodge. $5 parking. 229-868-7474.

Basic Fly Fishing Clinic
2nd Saturday of Month (June 13)
10 AM - 12 PM
Panola Mountain State Park - Stockbridge, GA

The two-hour clinic covers equipment, knot tying, casting, safety issues and other tricks of the trade. If time permits participants may stay to catch the "Fish of Fish." Instructors C. H. Brown and Michael Reilley suggest wearing long pants/shorts and hiking shoes, and bringing snacks, water and sun lotion. Georgia fishing license required. Register in advance. $7 - $10 plus $5 parking. 770-389-7801.

Kids Fishing Rodeo
Saturday, June 13, 2009
9 AM
Reed Bingham State Park - Adel, GA

Children 12 and younger can enjoy friendly competition to see who can catch the most or biggest fish. Meet at the Kiddie Ponds on the Cook County side of the park. Kids must bring their own tackle, but the park will furnish some bait. $5 parking. 229-896-3551.

Paddle and Cast at Buck Shoals State Park
Saturday, June 13, 2009
9 AM to 12 PM
Smithgall Woods Conservation Area and Lodge - Helen, GA

This is a rare opportunity to canoe and fish at Buck Shoals State Park because the park is not open to the public yet. Canoes, paddles and life jackets are provided. Bring your favorite fishing gear. No live bait allowed. Register in advance. 706-878-3087.

Kids Fishing Rodeo
Saturday, June 13, 2009
8 AM to 12 PM
Vogel State Park - Blairsville, GA

Join kids 12 and younger to fish our stocked trout stream. Prizes will be given to the lucky ticket holders, and families will enjoy watching children have a blast. $5 parking. 706-745-2628.

Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites is one of the top-rated state park systems in the country. With a diverse geographic topography, Georgia’s 63 state parks and historic sites offer adventures in northern mountains, midland swamplands, piedmont plains and along the beautiful Georgia coast.

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Arts Across Georgia

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Savannah's 4th Annual Fiesta Latina

Saturday, the 20th of June, Savannah’s River Street will once again witness a transformation as Latin American Services Organization (LASO) and the City of Savannah’s Office of Cultural Affairs and others present the 4th Annual Fiesta Latina on the Río from 1:00 pm ‘til 9:00 pm. On that day, the hustle and bustle around Rousakis Plaza on River Street will take on a distinctive Latino flavor, with the sights and smells of Latin America and the Caribbean.

“¡FIESTA!” will fill the senses as it is interpreted by the 20 countries that make up Latin America. Live DJ’s and bands will bring the crowd to its feet with the rhythms of salsa, merengüe, cumbia, norteño, bachata, reggaetón and more while regional dance troupes put those rhythms into motion. Featured musical artists include last year’s popular “Serenata Band” from Atlanta, as well as many well-known local and regional artists. A stroll around the perimeter will further awaken the senses with artists sharing their memories of life south of the border – as well as their new lives among us - through stories, art and crafts. Venders will offer typical foods from their countries of origin. Community non-profits will offer information of service to Hispanics and their neighbors.

Manuel Cabrera, president of LASO’s board, “We are grateful to the City for once again conferring this opportunity to present our culture to our neighbors and friends through the Fiesta Latina. Hispanics may be recent arrivals or long-term residents, but we are all proud of our cultural traditions, and look forward to sharing them with others. We are equally proud of our new home, Savannah, and its tradition as a vibrant, welcoming, multi-cultural city. LASO has identified a broad representation of the many facets of Latino Culture: favorites from past years and new artists. We invite our neighbors and visitors to Savannah to join us on the 20th as we celebrate a ‘Fiesta on the River’.”

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Monday, June 08, 2009

New Fishing Area Opens for the Public Near Perry, Georgia

Anglers’ high hopes for more fishing opportunities in Houston County become reality on Friday, June 5th as Governor Sonny Perdue and other state and local officials welcomed the first visitors to the grand opening of the Flat Creek Public Fishing Area (PFA) located near Perry. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division will manage the PFA and its amenities.

“Fishing is big business in Georgia,” said Governor Perdue. “Based on 18,000 annual fishing trips expected at Flat Creek PFA, the lake will generate about $645,000 annually in fishing-related expenditures, resulting in more than $1.3 million in economic activity each year. When other outdoor recreation such as bird and wildlife watching is considered, these numbers double.”

The grand opening of the PFA began with a dedication ceremony in front of the lake and speeches by such notables as Governor Perdue, Senator Ross Tolleson, Rep. Larry O’Neal, former House Majority Leader Larry Walker as well as local officials Perry Mayor Jim Worrall and Houston County Commission Chairman Ned Sanders.

Governor Perdue surprised former DNR Commissioner Lonice C. Barrett by announcing that the lake would be named for him as recognition of all that he has done for the natural resources of the state.

After the ceremony, the speakers moved to the boat ramp service pier and made a ceremonial “first cast” into the water. Anglers were able to head out on the water following the ceremony and test their luck on such species as largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish and redear sunfish.

“This PFA is within a thirty-minute drive of more than 250,000 citizens, many of whom participate in some type of wildlife-related recreation,” said Commissioner Chris Clark “This is the tenth PFA available in Georgia and, of course, will be of great economic value, but will also provide an opportunity for families to get together in a safe, outdoors environment and develop an appreciation of our wonderful natural resources in this part of the state.”

The area offers a 108-acre lake that will provide excellent fishing opportunities for both bank and boat anglers. Anglers 16 years of age or older must possess current and appropriate Georgia fishing licenses. Anglers may use up to two fishing poles and any size outboard motor may be used at idle speed.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Movies on the Beach This Summer at Callaway Gardens®

This Summer Callaway Gardens®’ Robin Lake Beach becomes an outdoor cinema with Movies on the Beach.

Each Monday night through August 3, Robin Lake’s sandy beach will be the seating and the stars the backdrop for evenings of family-oriented movies. Projected onto an inflatable, 35-foot wide screen, the movies will be shown with a digital projection system with surround sound.

The movie schedule is:

June 8: Paul Blart: Mall Cop

June 15: Kung Fu Panda

June 22: Hotel for Dogs

June 29: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

July 6: Monsters vs. Aliens

July 13: Night at the Museum

July 20: Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008)

July 27: elf

Aug. 3: Night at the Museum Battle of the Smithsonian

In conjunction with the Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens the season ends with a special showing on Saturday, September 5.

Sept. 5: Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines

Prior to show time, moviegoers will be entertained with music, beach games and more. Showtime will be at dusk (generally around 9:00 p.m.). Guests may want to bring a blanket or lawn chair and a portable AM radio for enhanced sound where they are sitting. The Beach Pavilion will be open for snacks and beverages.

Movies on the Beach is a great way to end a full day of family fun at Callaway Gardens. Guests visiting the Gardens during the day will be admitted to the movies at no additional cost. Day admission is $15/adult; $7.50/child (ages six to 12); children five and younger are admitted for free. The Gardens and its attractions are open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the U. S. Hwy. 27 Beach Gate, movie-only admission is $5 per adult; $2.50 for children ages six to 12; and free for children age five and younger. For pass holders, admission is $4 per adult; $2 for children ages six to 12.

Don’t rush home, enjoy all of the Summer fun at Callaway the next day on an overnight package. The Callaway Gardens Stimulus package starts at only $99 in the Mountain Creek Inn (rates are available in the Cottages and Villas) and, in addition to admission to the Gardens and the movie, includes free golf, tennis, boating and biking.

Be sure to check out Callaway’s additional special Summer attractions including Iceberg Island (fee), a floating water playground, and the Xcelerator (fee), the world’s largest inflatable waterslide, both on Robin Lake. New this year - guests can try flying on the high trapeze outdoors under supervision of the FSU “Flying High” Circus performers on the beach (fee). These are in addition to the beloved traditional beach attractions included with admission -- Chickadee Choo Choo miniature train, paddleboats, miniature golf course, shuffleboard and the FSU “Flying High” Circus, an acrobatic circus with six weekly performances.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The World's Largest Brachiosaurus at The World's Largest Children's Museum

/PRNewswire/ — They lived 145 million years ago, walked on four legs, were three times as tall as giraffes, were as long as humpback whales and weighed up to 88 tons. They were so large that they probably had no predators, so they ruled the late Jurassic world and they are sure to rule The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. An approximately 50-foot-tall, 75-foot-long mother dinosaur will appear to lift the roof of the New Welcome Center, allowing her 30-foot-long child to enter the building. The gentle plant-eaters are among the most widely known dinosaurs in the world. Will you recognize them when you come face-to-face with them?

The three giant Alamosaurs bursting from the Dinosphere exhibit's exterior help get children excited about entering the world of dinosaurs. It is our hope that the addition of the Brachiosaurus to the new expansion will continue to compel children and their families to explore the world of science," said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

Gary Staab of Staab Studios, located in Kearney, Mo. sculpted the two giant Brachiosaurs. They are the largest dinosaur sculptures that his studio has ever created. Staab Studios has permanent displays at museums around the world including the National Geographic Explorers Hall in Washington D.C. and Denver's Museum of Nature and Science.

The six-month creation process began with sketches of the Brachiosaurs, and then a team from the museum worked closely with Staab to create small, highly detailed models. The models were posed and scanned, and then the life-sized sculptures were carved in foam supported by an internal steel armature. A structural coating of polyurea was added to the foam pieces. Then the skin was sculpted and painted so that it would appear to be highly realistic, a hallmark of Staab Studios since it began in 1989.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

The Wild Nightlife in Stockbridge

What are you waiting for? Come on over to the wild side of darkness in Stockbridge!

The Panola Mountain State Park in Stockbridge offers great family fun in the evenings this summer from 7-8:30 pm. On tap this week are the Frog Slog on Tuesday, June 2, where you will search the wetlands on the quest to find frogs and salamanders.

Just in case you need more of the nightlife, come back on Thursday, June 4, for an adventure on the Twilight Hike.

Just $5 per person and $5 parking brings loads of natural fun for the family.

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