Venice isn’t just a city on the water, it’s a city in the water. While the city seems to serenely float upon its network of canals, it takes a huge team of engineers to keep the canals flowing smoothly and to manage the floods that come with rising tides. For an up-close look about the behind-the-scenes team that keeps Venice running the way it should, see this video, thanks to the Smithsonian Channel.
Pandas are one of the most specialized mammals in the world, having evolved into animals that eat only bamboo. Adult pandas must eat about 40 pounds of bamboo each day to get the nutrients they need, which means that they are completely dependent on a bamboo-rich habitat to survive. These days, their habitat is limited and it is hard to find a panda in the wild. This video, courtesy of the Smithsonian Channel, gives us a glimpse of a rare wild panda sighting.
One of the many highlights of our Classic China and Tibet tour is a visit to the Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Chengdu, China. If you’re looking for something a bit closer to home, check out our PandaCam, from the Smithsonian National Zoological Park here in Washington, D.C.
If you were free to follow any animal through the wild, which one would you choose? Please share.
Each summer, the Spoleto Festival USA brings the world’s top performing arts talent to Charleston, South Carolina, for a few weeks of unparalleled opera, music, theater, and dance. This year, Poland’s Leszek Mozdzer, one of the best-kept secrets of the keyboard world, graced the festival with his distinctive and original sound.
Ready for more? We’ve got Orchestra Prime seats all set for you for the 2011 Festival. In fact, this tour is part of our upcoming one day sale. Call 877-338-8687 on August 25th between 9:00am and 5:00pm ET and save $100 on this, or any of our land tours.
One of the many things we pride ourselves on here at Smithsonian Journeys is to highlight the amazing and beautiful World Heritage Sites that can be found on our tours. These special sites go through a lengthy and specific process to finally be named on this list. Today, 890 sites have made the cut: 689 are listed as culturally significant, 176 are natural sites, and 25 are mixed properties. Ha Long Bay, which we’ll visit on our Journey Through Vietnam, is one of them.
Ha Long Bay literally translates to “Descending Dragon Bay” which makes one wonder where such a name originated. The story originates as a local legend when the Chinese were invading Vietnam. To protect the people of the region, the gods sent a family of dragons. But instead of fire, the dragons spit out jewels, pearls, and jade that began to make up the islands that blocked the invaders, and as a result, the country of Vietnam was created. After the battles were over, the dragons weren’t interested in leaving. Instead, they chose to remain for some sightseeing on Earth and eventually made it their home. Ha Long is where the Mother Dragon chose to settle down, while her children comprise the other islands nearby where they could wiggle their active tails violently and freely.
Today, about 1,600 people call Ha Long Bay their home in four fishing villages. Because of the landscape and the nature of their occupations, this community is unique because it is made up of floating houses and markets. Unfortunately, there haven’t been any dragon sightings recently.
Which legendary mythical creature is your favorite? Dragons, fairies… maybe Pegasus? We want to know!
The stunning Cliffs of Moher are the most visited site on Ireland’s rugged west coast, drawing more than one million visitors each year. More than 20 species of birds make the Cliffs their home, including Atlantic puffins, gulls, hawks, and ravens. One of the best ways to see the cliffs is from above, like in this video from the Smithsonian Channel.
If you’ve never visited this part of the world, you’ll want to go in the Spring. Click for more information.
England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland are full of fascinating ancient sites. Which is your favorite? Please share.