Posts Tagged ‘educational travel’

Our Sale Starts Today

Monday, October 25th, 2010

We’re having a sale! Our CALL and SAVE two-day sale starts today and goes through Tuesday, October 26th. We’re featuring a savings of $100 per person or $200 per couple on ten of our most popular tours. Call 877-338-8687 between 9:00am and 5:00pm and mention the CALL and SAVE sale to get your savings. Tours on sale include:

Ancient Civilizations of the Red Sea
Amazon River Voyage

Christmas in Canterbury
Egyptian Odyssey
Egyptian Family Odyssey

Exploring Australia and New Zealand
Grand African Voyage Part I – Madagasacar to Mozambique
, and
Grand African Voyage Part II – South Africa and Namibia by Sea
Guatemala: Land of Eternal Spring

Winter Wildlife in Yellowstone

As a bonus, we’re also featuring a 10% discount on apparel from TravelSmith. Just click to save!


Like saving money? Click here to sign up for our e-newsletter which features secret sales, online-only specials, and new destinations.

Where would you like to go next? Let us know!

Travel Hit List: Japan

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Taizoin Temple Tea Garden, Kyoto. Photo: Daniel Hagerman

Forget the cold, rainy weather, your overstuffed inbox, and that growing pile of voicemails. Take a minute to go on a virtual trip to Japan, where they revere the old, but embrace the new.

Read: Serene temples, beautiful gardens, and a reverence for ancient traditions can be found on Japan’s less-traveled San-in Coast. From Smithsonian Magazine.

Hear: Sakura: A Musical Celebration of the Cherry Blossoms. From Smithsonian Folkways.

Watch: A video of modern Japanese artisans faithfully recreating the painstaking processes of Edo period printmaker Katsushika Hokusai. From the Smithsonian Channel.

Eat and Drink: Become a student of tea and discover the intriguing beauty that is the Japanese Tea Ceremony. From the Smithsonian Journeys Blog.

Check out: Masterful Illusions, an online exhibition of Japanese Prints. From Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries.

Go: Now is a great time to book a journey to Japan.

Join: Smithsonian Journeys is on Facebook. Become a fan today.

Costa Rica: Q&A with Dr. Suzann Murray

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Dr. Suzann Murray is the Chief Veterinarian at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. She oversees the health care of the zoo’s entire animal collection, as well as conservation, research, and training programs. Here, she takes a few minutes out of her busy schedule to talk about the biodiversity of Costa Rica, where she leads our Costa Rica Discovery  tours.

Oak Tiger Butterfly. Photo: Phil Parsons


Smithsonian Journeys: As Chief Veterinarian at the National Zoo, how do you integrate your diverse knowledge of animals to create a memorable learning experience on Smithsonian Journeys tours?

Suzann Murray: I have the opportunity to work with a diverse range of species, from fish to mammals and birds to reptiles. Each species, and in some cases, each animal, has its own adaptations to its natural environment. I enjoy using my medical knowledge of animals as a way to provide some “inside” knowledge to tour members. To me, the diversity of animal life is just fascinating. Having the opportunity to share my knowledge of animal adaptations is a great joy.

Q. Costa Rica is nestled between Nicaragua and Panama in Central America and borders both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. How does this geographic location contribute to the rich biodiversity found in Costa Rica?

A. Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, largely due to its two coasts and mountainous ranges that provide a wide range of topography and microclimates for a huge variety of species. From flatlands close to sea level up to the cloud forests of the volcanoes, the varying habitats are suitable for incredible animal diversity. The abundance of rivers and the access to the ocean and the Caribbean Sea also make it possible for endangered species such as dolphins and sea turtles to call Costa Rica home. Finally, by being so close to the equator, the temperature is in an ideal range to support almost any kind of plant or animal life.

Q. Our trip will visit the Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica’s most well-known volcano, which is considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world. How has the Arenal’s presence impacted the surrounding environment?

A. Arenal produces frequent and moderate eruptions. The course of the lava flow has also changed over the years. In areas of previous eruptions, we will be able to observe the re-growth of secondary forest and compare that terrain to the more lava-covered areas of recent eruptions. The south side of the Volcano is known for its unique cloud forest, and it is also known as a region in which world-class coffee is grown.

Q. What types of animals can Smithsonian travelers look forward to seeing in the rainforest: mammals, birds, reptiles, insects? Are there any endemic species that participants may encounter on this trip?

A. If you are a bird enthusiast, Costa Rica is the place to go. If you are not yet interested in birds, be prepared to join the growing ranks of birders! The sheer numbers and types of birds we will see are truly astounding–from colorful smaller birds such as hummingbirds, flycatchers, and toucans, to larger birds of prey and storks. Some of these birds are found only in Costa Rica. For those who are truly wild about mammals or reptiles, we will look for the impressive howler and spider monkeys, unique sloths, sea turtles, caiman crocodiles, and possibly even the rare dolphin. Whether we are searching in the land, sea, or air–we will be seeing an abundance of wildlife.

What’s your favorite tropical animal? Share below.

Click here for educational travel opportunities in Costa Rica for you and your family.

Dream Vacations from Our Readers

Friday, April 10th, 2009

And the results are in! Thanks to everyone who wrote to us about their dream vacation. Here are a few of our favorites.

The Swiss Alps in Bernese Oberland

The Swiss Alps in Bernese Oberland

“My ideal vacation would include flight for 2 to Frankfurt, Germany, driving a rental car up the Rhine River area to St. Goar, staying in a “Robber Baron” castle Bed and Breakfast along the Rhine River area of the historic Lorelei rock, then continuing the vacation by driving through the Swiss Alps to a tram ride up the face of the mountains to a hotel carved out of a rock precipice. The view would be magnificent!”
Kathleen Leach

“Well, I would like to visit China without the three gorges and the terra cotta army. Several years ago I traveled to China and these two sites were included and I know there are other parts of China that are of great interest and if any travel company can do it, it certainly would be Smithsonian Journeys. I hope Smithsonian will plan such a trip and I am sure there would be many responses.”
Liz Barnett

“I feel the perfect vacation would be to go to a quiet hawaiian island and enjoy the hospitality of the islands with a large feast, beautiful floral arrangements, dancing by the moonlight and Hawain tiki lights. Then to travel to a nearby island not well known and continue on an adventure through this different island with a native tour guide; continue on and swim in and around the island seeing and hearing the sights first hand. In the evening hear tales of the native areas and how the Hawaiin islands became what they are today. On the next day, Climb a volcano mountain with a tour guide or native of the area. The next day to travel in boats around the islands. There are so many islands that have never been seen and this would be awesome to do this.”
Heather Kondrew

Pony in Connemara, Ireland

Pony in Connemara, Ireland

“My dream vacation is to go pony-trekking across Ireland. It should include visits to the National Stud and a race track or horse show. Meals and accommodations should emphasize local cuisine and avoid chains. And how can you tour Ireland without a tour of the Guinness brewery and a visit to the Blarney Stone?”

“Bora Bora, in an overwater villa!”
From one of our Twitter followers

“I would really like to go to the Île-de-France to see all the amazing Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals and learn about their history and the history of this region in France.”
Eileen, VA