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Legoland's most costly attraction yet — an 'undersea' submarine ride — opens

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When SeaWorld San Diego unveiled its now closed Submarine Quest attraction last year, passengers quickly discovered that the closest they were going to get to seeing sea life during the three-minute long ride was a brief encounter with a digital version of a giant octopus in a darkened enclosure.

Not so for Legoland California, which is ...Read more

Florida towns' claims to fame: We're No. 1

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Florida is known for making headlines -- alligators end up in swimming pools, iguanas come out of toilets and people are always in the news for outrageous crimes. And with all the funny stories come interesting titles and nicknames for the cities within.

Here are some Florida towns and cities and what they're famous for.

Apopka: Because of its...Read more

Yosemite National Park offers electronic park entrance passes

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The number of public lands and national parks offering electronic visitor passes and permits is growing.

Yosemite National Park, in California, recently announced that it has joined the YourPassNow program, which offers visitors new digital passes. Yosemite began offering the passes June 21.

Through YourPassNow, those planning to visit a ...Read more

Coachella's siren song attracts chic new resort

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Every year, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and its sister country music event bring hundreds of thousands of revelers to the desert, far from the trendy restaurants, hotels and other attractions in a resurgent Palm Springs, Calif.

Now, a developer group with a celebrity pedigree is building a sprawling 35-acre resort featuring a ...Read more

Go around the world in these 5 Chicago neighborhoods

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The modest "kitchen," if it could be called that, had drawn a crowd.

Under the shade of a white plastic tent, a man and woman bowed over a grill, flipping tortillas. Fragrant smoke spiraled into the air. A cluster of diners stood in the street, eagerly awaiting their prizes.

"Try one of these quesadillas, chica," a man observing the operation ...Read more

The Indianapolis 500 is awesome, but there's a lot more to do in this Midwestern Venice

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INDIANAPOLIS -- It was quite the scene. Thor aka Chris Hemsworth dropped the green flag. Kelly Clarkson sang the National Anthem. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers cheered on his girlfriend Danica Patrick. "Dancing With the Stars" alum Helio Castroneves hoped for his fourth victory -- a feat which would ensure him "legend" status.

Oh ...Read more

Pixar Pier tells a whole new story

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The early days of Disney's California Adventure theme park next door to Disneyland boasted a number of peculiar design choices: a paparazzi-themed family ride, a coaster alluding to reckless drivers on Mulholland Drive and an extreme sports story line to its rafting ride.

Most of the above has been removed or fixed over the park's 17 years. ...Read more

Nantucket's small size belies boundless history, appeal

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The Grey Lady is gorgeous. Just the profusion of giant rhododendron and wild roses cascading over the sand dunes is worth the cost of the hourlong ferry ride south from Cape Cod. But there is so much more to see and learn about on the island of Nantucket, a National Historic Landmark. Its diminutive size (47.8 square miles, in what Herman ...Read more

Everything you need to know about passport renewals

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Are you a U.S. citizen? Is your passport close to expiring? If so, here's everything you need to know about passport renewals.

RENEWING BY MAIL VS. RENEWING IN PERSON

The easiest way to renew a passport is by mail. Fill out a DS-82 form and mail it to one of the two National Passport Processing Centers, depending on which state you live in. ...Read more

Give me a decaf mocca frapaccino — and hold the fish

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A prudent first consideration when trying to understand Seattle is that it is not Athens, Rome or, for that matter, Stratford-upon-Avon. The seed of Western Civilization was planted in classical Athens, blew westward on a storm toward ancient Rome, was miraculously grafted onto stronger roots during the Renaissance in Florence and Siena and, one...Read more

In the Brainerd Lakes area, alone and loving it

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I have just returned from a trip to the Brainerd Lakes area, where I kayaked solo on a lake, hiked along a path (just me and the ticks), and ate dinner with magazines and my smartphone. Around me, families and couples chatted and laughed.

Being alone at a resort could feel strange. For me, it was wonderful.

A few things made it work, and chief...Read more

Jettison the jitters for 'flightseeing' thrills in central Florida

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"Who wants to be the co-pilot?" Evan Frostman asks.

Minutes earlier, Frostman, a pilot for Jones Brothers Air and Seaplane Adventures in the central Florida city of Tavares, had expertly landed his plane on Lake Dora. He now waits as my friend Dennis and I size up the Cessna four-seater. We are standing on the dock of the historic Lakeside Inn ...Read more

Big Sur's Highway 1 southern route to open in late July

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BIG SUR, Calif. -- The entire coastal stretch of California's iconic Highway 1 will re-open at the end of July, restoring a beloved but fragile route from San Francisco to Los Angeles that has been closed for more than a year, the California Department of Transportation announced last week.

Construction on the Mud Creek section of southern Big ...Read more

The pros and cons of buying a timeshare

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While many of us would like to own a vacation home, the cost and year-round upkeep prevent us from turning that dream into a reality. If you're set on the idea of having a home away from home, owning a timeshare might be the best option. However, you need to do your homework. First, you'll need to understand how timeshares work.

When you buy a ...Read more

Following in footsteps — or wagon ruts — of American history on Oregon Trail

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A cold wind from the Blue Mountains carries the scent of sagebrush as it whips your face. Each step stirs dust on the dry path in this high desert plateau in eastern Oregon, where hundreds of thousands of American pioneers walked, changing the course of history.

A roadside sign beneath Flagstaff Hill points the way to this path, where you can ...Read more

A weekend in Wenatchee with rose, Mariachi music, and a farmer who feeds the world

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A pair of large dogs, too old to be bothered with actually getting up, wag their tails in eager welcome from recumbent positions in the foyer. We're early, and Ludger Szmania, co-owner of Warm Springs Inn & Winery along with his partner Julie Szmania, is busy mowing the lawn. These two adorable pups are the first to welcome me and my partner, ...Read more

Disneyland adds blackouts

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Already struggling with crowding problems, Disneyland resort officials have long hinted that they will be forced to add restrictions to deal with the surge of crowds when a Star Wars land opens next summer.

The first attempt at controlling the expected throngs was announced recently as the resort added blackout dates -- thus cutting access -- ...Read more

10 of the best things to do in Seattle

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When it comes to iconic Seattle attractions, the Space Needle and Seattle Great Wheel might spring to mind first, but there is so much more to explore in this Pacific Northwest city. Whether you're looking to eat delicious food, explore the great outdoors or learn about the history and culture of the area, we've rounded up 10 fun things visitors...Read more

Myscha Theriault: Lewes, Del., a uniquely American beach getaway

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If you're looking for a quiet weekend beach getaway that lets you skip the tacky trinket shops and overdeveloped strip in favor of quaint coastal charm, an intriguing history going back to the United States' earliest days and a surprisingly well-developed shopping scene, there's a tiny town in southern Delaware that might be just what the travel...Read more

Luxury log cabins, 'National Lampoon' references make this small Kansas town cool

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An innkeeper, a Swiss banker and a journalist walk into a restaurant in Coolidge, Kan.

That's not the lead-up to some oddball joke -- that's just what happened this month in this little town near the Colorado state line.

Way out in far western Kansas -- that little sliver of the state in Mountain Time Zone -- Coolidge has become a quaint stop ...Read more