These ad­ven­tures will make mem­o­ries that last a life­time

Lexington Herald-Leader (Sunday) - - Living - BY LYNN O’ROURKE HAYES

There are fam­ily va­ca­tions. And, then there are epic ad­ven­tures that may qual­ify as the ex­pe­ri­ence of a life­time. Here are five to con­sider.

1. PLAN A FAM­ILY SA­FARI

Visit north­ern Tan­za­nia’s Serengeti for a wildlife view­ing and cul­tural ex­trav­a­ganza. Home to more than 3,000 lions and 1,000 leop­ards as well as ze­bras, wilde­beests, warthogs and wa­ter­buck, it’s a mag­i­cal sanc­tu­ary best known for the great migration. With the Four Sea­sons Serengeti as your base­camp, choose to ex­plore via half- and full-day jeep tours, walk­ing sa­faris, or from the bas­ket of a high­fly­ing, hot air bal­loon. The ex­cite­ment doesn’t end when you re­turn to the Lodge, where a wa­ter­ing hole, just beyond the In­finiti pool, serves up hy­drat­ing sus­te­nance to ele­phant fam­i­lies on a daily ba­sis. Dine on the ve­randa, with sweep­ing views of the plains, where gi­raffe, eland and topi graze in the dis­tance. Kids can visit the on-site dis­cov­ery cen­ter to learn about Maa­sai history and cul­ture, the sig­nif­i­cance of the Serengeti Chee­tah Project and life in the bush.

Re­lax at the spa, take a fam­ily cook­ing class and be amazed by a live per­for­mance of tribal dance and song of­fered by lo­cal Maa­sai.

https://www.four sea­sons.com/serengeti/; https://www.tan­za­nia tourism.go.tz/des­ti­na­tion/ serengeti-na­tional-park

Con­tact: 2. REVEL IN A EURO­PEAN RIVER CRUISE

Un­pack. Set­tle in and let the ad­ven­ture be­gin. Ex­plore the Rhine, Danube or Seine river val­leys with your fam­ily or multi­gen­er­a­tional group from aboard a lux­ury AmaWater­ways ship. With itin­er­ar­ies crafted to your fam­ily’s pref­er­ences, each day you’ll take part in ac­tive ad­ven­tures or cul­tur­ally im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ences in com­pelling des­ti­na­tions. Well-trained and knowl­edge­able Dis­ney ad­ven­ture guides, paired with lo­cal sto­ry­tellers, com­bine tal­ents to en­sure each mem­ber of the fam­ily gets max­i­mum en­joy­ment from the trip. That may mean en­gag­ing young­sters in evening ac­tiv­i­ties so the adults may opt for a fine din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence or a mu­si­cal per­for­mance. Wan­der through me­dieval cas­tles, sam­ple lo­cal cui­sine, pedal along the river bank and en­joy pri­vate tours and in­sider ac­cess to pop­u­lar at­trac­tions. Ex­pect an allinclu­sive, cu­rated, back­stage pass-style ad­ven­ture through the heart of Europe.

Con­tact:

https://www.ad­ven­turesby dis­ney.com/europe/danu­beriver-cruise

3. EX­PLORE ALASKA

Our sparsely pop­u­lated and end­lessly cap­ti­vat­ing 49th state lures those who yearn for epic scenery, spout­ing whales and glaciers the size of small coun­tries. Ex­pe­ri­ence rugged Alaska via bou­tique yachts and ex­pe­di­tion ships that set sail for ad­ven­ture be­gin­ning each spring. Aboard smaller ves­sels you’ll have mean­ing­ful cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences, find your way to nat­u­ral nooks and cran­nies, opt for hik­ing and kayak­ing and dis­cover rarely vis­ited wilder­ness ar­eas, in­creas­ing the chance for up-close wildlife view­ing. Those who ven­ture to Amer­ica’s last fron­tier will be re­warded with Mother Na­ture in all her glory.

www. Un­cruise.com; www.Wind­star.com

Con­tact: 4. DIS­COVER MIN­NESOTA’S BOUND­ARY WA­TERS

Ease your ca­noes into the pris­tine wa­ter near Ely, Minn., and look for­ward to peace­ful days of pad­dling amid a sparsely pop­u­lated, 1 mil­lion-plus acre ex­panse of wilder­ness. Lis­ten to the waves lap­ping against the shore­line and the haunt­ing lul­laby of­fered by lo­cal loons as you drift to sleep in one of 2,000 se­cluded camp­sites that dot the lake re­gion. Wake to the sounds of birds chirp­ing in the birch trees and en­joy break­fast over a camp­fire. Then set out to ex­plore more of the 1,500 miles of ca­noe routes that criss­cross the wa­ter­ways.

www. bound­ary­wa­ter­sout fit­ters.com; www. Ex­ploreMin­nesota.com

Con­tact: 5. REL­ISH ECUADOR’S GALA­PA­GOS IS­LANDS

Given the is­land’s lo­ca­tion on the equa­tor, air and wa­ter tem­per­a­tures re­main rel­a­tively sta­ble, mak­ing the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands a de­sir­able des­ti­na­tion any time of the year. Within this pris­tine and di­verse ecosys­tem, your fam­ily will thrill to the site of cliff­div­ing blue-footed boo­bies and the waved al­ba­tross known for an elab­o­rate courtship dance that can in­clude 20 min­utes of bow­ing, honk­ing, whistling and bill clack­ing. You’ll want to know about Dar­win’s 13 finches, crea­tures that were cen­tral to the sci­en­tist’s evo­lu­tion­ary the­o­ries. Learn more about the vol­canic is­land’s winged pop­u­la­tion as well as the abun­dance of sharks, sea lions, man­tas and igua­nas via a live aboard ves­sel (pop­u­lar with scuba divers), a cruise or a ho­tel-based tour.

Con­tact:

www.Ex­pe­di­tions.com

LEX­ING­TON PHIL­HAR­MONIC PRESENTS NEW YEAR’S EVE: TANGO CALIENTE!

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 31

Where: Lex­ing­ton Opera House, 401 W. Short

Tick­ets: $25-$75 call: 859-233-4226 On­line: lex­phil.org

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