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7 Reasons to Visit New York City This Summer

When the hot summer rays hit New York City, endless summer entertainment opportunities both indoors and outdoors arise. Whether you’re a local looking to escape the skyscraper maze in exchange for some outdoor festivities, or a tourist seeking electric New York summer fun, there are plenty of things to do in New York City during the warm summer months. With a New York CityPASS booklet, you not only get to see the city's best attractions, but you get to see them at your own pace, which means more room for in-between free summer concerts and refreshing ice cream.

1. American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural HistoryAmerican Museum of Natural History

This wondrous museum makes for a memorable visit at any time of the year, filled with curious and awe-inspiring fossils, ceiling-high models of sea creatures, and the extraordinary story of human evolution. With world-class exhibits, spaces shows and films, there’s something for everyone.

For a taste of the great outdoors, check out the immersive cinematic experience of National Parks Adventure, filmed in more than 30 national parks across the country in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service. Robert Redford narrates as world-class mountaineer Conrad Anker, adventure photographer Max Lowe, and artist Rachel Pohl hike, climb, and explore their way across America’s spectacular wilderness vistas.

Another must-see at AMNH: the new Titanosaur, added to the museum’s collection in January 2016 and so new that it has not yet been formally named by paleontologists. It’s an astounding 122 feet long—so long that its neck and head extend out towards the elevator banks, welcoming you to the "dinosaur" floor.

2. Jazz Age Lawn Party at Governors Island

We humans may not have figured out time travel yet, but summer in New York offers the second best thing: a time-hop into the 20’s with a Jazz Age Lawn Party. Talk about a swingin’ summer! Join thousands of others as you dress in your best 20’s getup and dance the night away with classic jazz from Michael Arenalla and the Dreamland Orchestra.

The nostalgic festival takes place August 13th and 14th, and will host several era-appropriate vendors so you can purchase a fedora, derby, or flapper dress and dance in themed garb. Experience New York in a time where extravagant parties were the norm at this fun and fabulous event. Get your tickets here.

3. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Statue of Liberty and Ellis IslandStatue of Liberty

No matter what time of year it is, you can’t say you’ve been to New York unless you’ve had a first-hand look at the Statue of Liberty. No photograph can capture the beauty of one of the country’s most iconic landmarks. In the summer, you can see the waters and skyline more clearly than ever, and you won’t want to pass up the opportunity to see the historic Ellis Island, where between the years of 1892 and 1924, more than 25 million immigrants passed through on the way to making the the United States their new home.

This is an experience best reserved for the warm summer months, and the beauty of the islands and the Statue of Liberty alone will be well worth the trip.

4. Rooftop Films and Fun Galore

If you’re a movie buff but don’t want to spend the refreshing summer months cramped inside an over-air-conditioned theatre, then see a film high in the sky on the roofs of New York City’s most prominent buildings. Rooftop Films hosts a summer series full of unique independent films, documentaries, director Q&A’s, and awesome after-parties. Events travel from roof to roof, so buy your ticket today at www.rooftopfilms.com.

5. Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum

Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space MuseumIntrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

You don’t have to be a Top Gun pilot to see remarkable aircraft up close, nor do you have to be a deep sea explorer to maneuver through an interactive submarine. At the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum, you’ll learn about some of history’s most remarkable adventures into the sea, sky, and space as you explore some of the world’s most innovative and action-worthy machines.

And in the summer months, the museum has a calendar chock-full of amazing and family-friendly activities that are free to join and only require advanced registration. On August 6th and 7th, the museum will host Splashdown!, a workshop that teaches attendees about Intrepid’s role in the Space Race. Or, join Intrepid for a family astronomy night and learn about space travel while you gaze at the bright stars above.

6. Shakespeare in the Park

To be in New York for Shakespeare in the Park, or not to be in New York for Shakespeare in the Park? That is the question. We say, why not see a classic tale of Shakespeare in the heart of New York City, and better yet, why not see it if the tickets are free? Running from July 19 through August 14, this summer's Shakespeare in the Park will cast a contemporary light on Troilus and Cressida, the funny and dramatic story of war, love, and revenge. Join the crowd in this entertaining performance that will give you a whole new perspective on the Shakespeare you read in high school.

7. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of ArtMetropolitan Museum of Art

New York’s Met is recognized across the globe, but the summer events make this classic attraction even more attractive. Melt into art appreciation with the Manus X Machina fashion exhibition, which showcases 170 ensembles from the beginning of the 20th century. Infusing timeless design with evolving technology, it compares and contrasts the fashions made by human hands with those made possible by the invention and continuing innovation of the sewing machine. Spend part of your summer with your artistic side--and don’t forget to see the rest of the Met’s wonderful exhibits!

If your plans are pointing to New York this summer, make the most of your trip by taking a long a New York CityPASS. Experience the city’s most popular attractions, and set the pace for your own NYC adventure with the city’s limitless supply of summer concerts, plays, films, dance parties, and more—there’s never a dull moment in New York.

A Chat With a Georgia Aquarium Dolphin Trainer

Graceful, athletic, intelligent, and full of personality, bottlenose dolphins have long fascinated humans. This spring, Georgia Aquarium launched an all-new At&T Dolphin Celebration that showcases dolphin behavior and their relationship with their trainers. Not just a show, it also incorporates important educational messages. To dive a little deeper, we talked to senior trainer at Georgia Aquarium, Andy Horn.

Dolphin Celebration at Georgia Aquarium

On the relationship created between dolphin and trainer: Building relationships with the dolphins is probably the most rewarding part of our job. Many hours of interaction are spent with each one of our dolphins, learning about their strengths and likes, to help us form a relationship with them built on trust. It is a humbling experience to form relationships with these incredible animals.

Dolphin and Trainer at Georgia Aquarium

On becoming a trainer: My first opportunity to work with dolphins came during an internship at an accredited aquarium after college. I was interested in cognitive research with dolphins. Once I learned about how much we can learn from the dolphins by teaching them behaviors, and how integral the training process is to providing the dolphins an enriching environment and world class care, I was hooked on animal training.

Dolphin Trainer at Georgia Aquarium

On communicating with dolphins: Our dolphin-training program is based on a positive reinforcement system. To communicate with the dolphins we use hand signals, because of their excellent eyesight. A certain hand signal will request a dolphin to perform a behavior they have learned is paired with that signal. We’re able to communicate to the dolphins that the behavior they offer is correct by pairing it with something they find reinforcing or rewarding. Again, this is where our relationships with the dolphins are so important so that we can offer them a reinforcer that continues their excitement and motivation to learn! We use a variety of different types of reinforcement with the dolphins, such as toys, rub downs, ice cubes, or fish.

Dolphin Celebration Show at Georgia Aquarium

On the different personalities of dolphins: Each dolphin has a different personality. The fun part of our job is getting to know each dolphin as an individual.

On love of dolphins: I love dolphins because there are characteristics about them that are so familiar. They are social mammals who learn from one another and pass on what they've learned to their offspring, very similar to us! At the same time there are characteristics about dolphins that are completely alien. I have no idea what it's like to spend minutes at a time under the water, or to have a sense like echolocation! But, I imagine it would be pretty amazing!

Dolphins and Trainer

On what to expect and what guests can learn: What I really hope our guests take away is how amazing the natural world is around us. Sometimes we get so busy in our day to day lives that we might forget that, but I believe that seeing, and learning about the dolphins during the presentation is a great reminder. It is that inspiration that I hope will energize our guests to take action to help our environment and the natural world.

On the difference of Dolphin Celebration from the previous Dolphin Tales show: Of course, the new dolphin presentation features several brand new behaviors from the dolphins! The behaviors feature the dolphins performing in tandem with both one another and with their trainers. "Dolphin Celebration" also highlights the conservation efforts that the Georgia Aquarium has been and is currently undertaking with Common bottlenose dolphins and encourages our guests to take action for the care of our environment.

What else: Everyone come out and celebrate with us and our amazing dolphins at "Dolphin Celebration!" Thank you so much for your support and sharing in our mission “to make a positive impact on the health and welfare of aquatic life around the globe.”

Georgia Aquarium Dolphin Trainers

Thank you so much to Andy and the team at Georgia Aquarium. Check out more from Georgia Aquarium on their blog. Admission to the dolphin presentation is included when you visit Georgia Aquarium with an Atlanta CityPASS and available on a first-come first-serve basis.

(Photos courtesy Georgia Aquarium)

The Best Coffee Shops Near Seattle Attractions

For many early risers, a cup of coffee (or two or three) is needed to kick-start the day. When the world needs to wake up and smell the best coffee, it heads to Seattle, the world's coffee culture mecca. Both the café curious and the coffee enthusiasts can satisfy their taste buds when immersed in Washington's coffee city. But with so many shops to choose from, how does one differentiate the best coffee shops in Seattle from the rest?

With a Seattle CityPASS, visitors get to enjoy the best attractions the city has to offer. Conveniently, some of Seattle’s best coffee is located right next to the best things to do in Seattle, leaving more time for exploring the sights. There is simply no way to lose steam in the beautiful Emerald City, so long as you’re filling your energy tank with these top coffee spots in Seattle.

Caffe Ladro

Caffe Ladro has established itself as a Seattle chainlet favorite. Looking for great coffee near the Space Needle and the EMP Museum? With one of its locations just minutes away, Caffe Ladro's high-quality, sustainable-source beans will give coffee lovers the great tasting beverage of their dreams. The original Queen Anne location offers visitors an authentic, warming café experience. Sip on one of the many delectable roasts and enjoy the freshly baked pastries that will make you feel comfy and cozy inside the café on an overcast day. Caffe Ladro is definitely a must on the coffee bucket list, making it the perfect choice when working on your attraction bucket list.

Storyville Coffee Pike Place

The Seattle Aquarium is brimming with magnificent sea creatures from the deep blue, making it a draw for people of all ages. Before you dive into fun, stop by Storyville Coffee for cozy fires and buzzing energy that make any French press or macchiato all the more enjoyable. Revel in the excitement of Pike Place and enjoy the wonderful taste of breakfast essentials, which consist of not only quality-sourced roasts but tantalizing breakfast foods as well. Then head into the cool aquarium warmed from the inside.

Cherry Street Coffee House on 1st Avenue

If you have eclectic tastes and are in the mood for food, head over to Cherry Street Coffee House on 1st Avenue for memorable coffee with a Middle-Eastern flair. Cherry Street Coffee House is a charming little shop that will steal your heart with its delectable dishes and unique vibes. Cherry Street Coffee is only four minutes away from the Argosy Cruises docks, so enjoy a hot coffee before you see the breathtaking view of the Olympic mountain ranges and city skyline from an Argosy cruise boat. Whether you’re stopping in for espresso, a latte, or even a falafel salad, you’ll leave Cherry Street with a smile on your face.

Lighthouse Roasters

Less than ten minutes away from the Woodland Park Zoo, Lighthouse Roasters prides itself on its tasty blends and beans that have both the farmers' and the customers' best interests in mind. Lighthouse has created a community of coffee lovers near and far, inviting all roast fans in for a unique and flavorful blend that satisfies all coffee cravings. Lighthouse Roasters is a big proponent of local art, often showcasing the work of Seattle’s most talented. Stop by this friendly and welcoming shop before a busy day watching animals and learning about conservation.

La Marzocco Cafe & Showroom

At the center of Seattle’s most beloved attractions, including Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pacific Science Center, Space Needle, and EMP Museum, lies La Marzocco Cafe & Showroom, where class, culture, and coffee meet in a trifecta of unique Seattle flavor. World-renowned roasters come to the café on monthly rotation to craft the café’s specialty coffee, so every visit is a unique and tasty experience. The company has been the leader in espresso machinery innovation since the early 20th century, and their superb coffee is a testament to their longstanding success. Don’t miss out on some of the best coffee in Seattle!

No trip to Seattle is complete without seeing some of its most famous attractions and enjoying a taste of its world-renowned coffee, experienced the way it's meant to be: savored sip by sip at a Seattle coffee house before taking in all the Emerald City has to offer!

An Insider's Look at The Met

With over 2 million square feet to explore, 5,000 years of art and 17 curatorial departments with over 2 million works, there’s a lot to see at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. read more »

Insider tips and highlights at the American Museum of Natural History

A place of wonder, the American Museum of Natural History is one of New York City’s most iconic institutions. With so much to explore, it’s hard to see every thing in one day, so we asked for a little guidance. read more »

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