Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Traveling to Outer Space

The NASA Ames Research Center in the Silicon Valley in northern California is one of 10 NASA facilities. In its Exploration Center visitors can experience space technology through a high resolution immersion theater and other interactive opportunities that allow children and adults to explore Mars and the rings of Saturn. In a short visit, Alex had an opportunity to see himself as an astronaut and check out a replication of the inside of the Space Shuttle. Alex has logged 100,000 flight miles around the earth at just four years old, it won't be long before he's ready to explore further into our solar system.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Featherdale Wildlife Park

Trains and Coal Cars in Scenic World

Obsessed with trains, freight cars and all things related to railways, one of Alex's favorite stops during his summer trip to Australia was the chance to speed along a railway (as the rest of us held on and screamed for our lives) on one of Aussieland's oldest and fastest rails.
Katoomba Scenic World, nestled in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia is about 100 kilometers west of Sydney. Scenic World offers three ways for tourists to travel across the gorge and to the valley floor 200 meters below if they don't want to hike: the Katoomba Scenic Skyway, the Scenic Funicular Railway and the Katoomba Scenic Cable Car. The Funicular Railway at Katoomba is the steepest in the world using cables to race the cars up-and-down 415 meters at an incline of 52 degrees. It was originally constructed to haul coal in the late 1800s. The acute angle isn't appreciated until you climb aboard the train with seats that lean you far backwards, a chainlinked roof to prvents objects (and people) from being launched and cruise seatbelt free just like the coal cars of yesteryear.

Blue Mountains Australia

About a hour drive west of Sydney, Australia are the beautiful Blue Mountains. Often called Australia's Grand Canyon, the range boasts gorges up to 760 meters deep and the eucalyptus leaves of the forest create the effect of a blue hue over the region. The Three Sisters are the best known rock formations in the region. The three pointed range can be easily enjoyed from the viewing platforms or hikers can take a small footbridge direct to the range. A large part of the Blue Mountains are recognized as a World Heritage Site with seven national parks and a conservation reserve.

Alex skipped the summer weather and the Independence Day activities in the U.S. and instead spent the day exploring this exquisite region of New South Wales instead. A bus tour from Sydney, on one of the coldest days of the year in Australia, allowed us to escape the hustle of the big city and gave Alex a chance to run, jump and climb in the land Down Under. The day was highlighted by the cable car ride giving the best views while brushing the treetops. Alex was ready to ride again and again.