Teddy Bear Museum and Safari Park in South Korea

South Korea’s Jeju Island is home to the Teddy Bear Museum and Teseum, a safari-themed display of teddy bears and other animals.

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The museum and touch museum or Teseum are part of the Jungmun Tourism complex on the resort island.

South Korea manufactures many of the cuddly stuffed toys enjoyed by children (and some adults) around the world. Teddy bears are always popular in all sizes and colors. They are friends for children and sentimental souvenirs for adults. 

Teddy’s Origin

Most Americans know that the teddy bear was named after President Theodore Roosevelt. The 26th president of the United States was a big game hunter who shot bears and other wild game. He returned from a Mississippi hunting trip without a bear was told that he could shoot a captive bear if he needed an animal to show for his hunting trip. He refused on the grounds that it was not sporting.

A cartoon of his excursion appeared in the Washington Post prompting Morris Michtom to create a stuffed animal and call it a teddy bear. Roosevelt approved and was actually delighted.

The Teddy Bear Museum shows many of the different sizes and shapes of this popular stuffed toy throughout the past century. Antique teddy bears made from mohair and other materials are on display. Early teddy bears were made from natural animal hair and fibers before non-allergic synthetic materials became the standard for stuffed toys.

This museum is open daily from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm.

The Teseum

This is an indoor safari-themed park where children can touch stuffed animals in a jungle setting. This includes a teddy bear in a safari suit and other popular toys including a tiger, panther, and deer. The exhibits show animals in the Amazon jungle, an Aqua Zone with stuffed sea creatures, the Fairy Tale Land with a Teddy Castle, and a Band Zone with musical bears. Children can sit on a sofa with full size stuffed bears for friends or climb over a giant bear.

These are a few of the creative exhibits that will delight everyone. The Teseum is open December through April from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm and May through November from 8:30 am until 7:30 pm.

A visit to the Teddy Bear Museum and the Teseum should be included with your trip to South Korea.

Elafonisi (Deer Island) Offers Pink Sand and Clear Water

Pink sand and beautifully clear blue water greet you on the shores of Deer Island or Elafonisi.

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A nature reserve on the island of Crete, Elafonisi is one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see and it offers plenty of historical importance as well. Let us tell you about one of the local’s favorite spots, Elafonisi beach. 

Where is Elafonisi?

Elafonisi is a small island, located on the southwest coast of Crete, in the Chania region. The city of Chania is only about 75 kilometers away, and you can usually take a bus or a boat straight from Chania city to Elafonisi. Sometimes, when the water is low, you may be able to simply walk to Elafonisi island. In fact, that’s how the island gets its name. Elafi means dear in Greek. Although there are no deer on the island, the Greek people called it that because you could walk out to the island on foot, like a deer. 

Elafonisi Areas of Importance 

The island offers plenty to explore, including several coves and interesting rock formations on the tip of the island. Naturalists love Elafonisis because it’s home to 110 plant species, some of which are very rare. 

Crete is one of the oldest known areas of human civilization, so the island offers lots of history. On the highest point, there’s a plaque honoring the women and children who were massacred by the Ottoman soldiers during the Greek War of Independence. 

5 kilometers north of Elafonisi, there’s the Chrysoskalitisa monastery. According to the legend, the last step of the staircase leading to the monastery is gold, but can only be seen by those who really believe in god. The monastery was built on a high rock and is thought to resemble a fortress. 

No matter if you go to Elafonisi to explore or to just relax, it’s the perfect place to spend the day. 

The Masonic Lodge Museum Fascinates the Public

The Freemasons have always been a mysterious group inspiring whispers and legends.

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Now, you can learn a little more about the fascinating group, and get a little spooked at the same time.

The Masonic Lodge Museum, in Salamanca, Spain, offers an exhibit unlike anything else on earth. It’s full of spooky images, like skulls, blood, and an endless assortment of symbols. You won’t regret visiting this piece of history.  

Why was the Masonic Lodge Museum created?

In 1938, a member of dictator Francisco Franco’s government created the exhibit to scare the public about the dangers of Masonry. Years before, during the Spanish Civil War, Freemasons were outlawed. They built a replica of the freemason’s lodge in Gijón, Spain, and then seized all of the Mason’s paraphernalia from surrounding lodges to expose their secrets to the public. They used the replica to display their seized objects, although it never actually opened to the public until 1993, and that’s what we see as the Masonic Lodge Museum today. 

What can be found in the Masonic Lodge Museum? 

Among the objects displayed are books, medals, jewelry, documents, and ceremonial clothing. Masonic symbols cover the items. Objects with skulls or anything “scary” were given special attention during the time of Francisco Franco, because they would shock the public and drive hate towards the freemasons. Although today these appear as nothing scarier than a Halloween decoration, during their time, it was shocking. 

One of the most interesting objects is a recreation of the Masonic Chamber of Reflection, used by new members to the group. 

How to visit the Masonic Lodge Museum

The exhibit is located in the National Historical Archive building in Salamanca, Spain. It’s part of the Spanish War Museum and is open all week. The best part of all, it’s free to the public. 

W. J. Beal Botanical Garden: A Natural Laboratory

If you ever visit the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, it would serve you well to visit the thriving and fertile W.J. Beal Botanical Garden at the center of campus.

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In 1873, back when the school was still an agricultural college, the garden was no more than some beds of grasses and clover planted by Professor William James Beal in a valley by the creek. Today, this expansive botanical garden in an area once known as “Sleepy Hollow” offers students and researchers at Michigan State University the opportunity to learn and work in a living, natural laboratory of sorts. 

A Catalog of Life

The numerous beds of plants that comprise the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden are neatly arranged so as to highlight the different ways that humans have benefited from plants over the years. Some beds contain plants with industrial uses, such as those devoted to fibers and dyes, while others highlight medicinal or nutritional purposes, like those for honey and plants with pharmacological benefits.

Each of the categories is explained with clear and meticulous labels which show scientific and ecological information about the plants featured. These labels also explain the human innovations that such plants have helped support. The categorization helps make the gardens into a sort of living library of botany — even the hills around the garden are planted so as to showcase different regional flowers that can be found in Michigan! 

A Place To Learn

While anyone who visits the W.J. Beal Botanic Garden is sure to learn a thing or two about plants, the garden also provides a huge benefit to the university. Students use the garden to further their learning in fields like forestry, botany, veterinary medicine, pharmacology, and much more. Having the garden directly on campus makes it easy for professors to integrate real-life botanical learning into their courses and to give their students hands-on experience in the field. The fact that the garden is free and open to the public is just icing on the cake! 

Grand Central Air Terminal Museum: Aviation History Worth Seeing

Grand Central Air Terminal Museum started as an aviation building.

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Now, it’s a historical museum that is owned and operated by Disney. Located in Glendale, California, it has quite the history. The beautiful building has a mix of Spanish Revival, Art Deco, and Streamline Moderne styles. So, come along and take a look.

The Party that got the Town Talking

It all started with a local businessman that wanted to get the people of Glendale talking. He decided to host a party that required visitors to fly into his estate. This attracted the best of the best pilots and movie stars and encouraged the town to consider building a public airport. Opening in 1923, it was first named Glendale Municipal Airport and was the center of Southern California’s air transportation.

Famous Beginnings

Without LAX around yet, this was the airport of choice, and legendary figures in aviation would use this airport for their flights. Names like Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, and Charles Lindbergh came through the airport. By 1929, new investors had expanded the airport and named it Grand Central Air Terminal. Perhaps one of the more famous flights to take off from the newly named airport was when Lindbergh flew coast to coast on the United States’ first regularly scheduled flight. Before this, passengers would travel all day by air, then train by night multiple times to reach the east coast, which took 48 hours. By the late 1930s, aircraft could make the trip in just 15 hours. The small airport was made even more famous because it was the backdrop for several films. One such film was Shirley Temple’s 1934 hit Bright Eyes

War-Time Changes

World War II saw the airport being used as a defense base and was heavily camouflaged. The runway was lengthened to accommodate military planes. After the war, residents complained of the noise, and the runway was shortened. This made the airport accessible only to smaller aircraft, causing a loss in profits, and it closed its doors in 1959.

Disney Moves In

After it closed down, it was known as Grand Central Business Park, and it opened its doors to businesses to rent space. The Walt Disney Company was one of the first companies to move in, and it eventually came to own the entire business center. In 2013, Disney decided to restore the terminal building to its original glory, and once the project completed in 2015, they reopened the facility. Comprised of private offices and a museum, they were able to house original photographs and artifacts, as well as an educational film to show visiting guests. 

Take a Tour for Yourself

Today, you can visit the museum and learn about its roots. Visitors interested in attending one of their free monthly tours can sign up on their website. What a great way to experience a piece of aviation history!

Planning the Perfect Pub or Bar Crawl

The concept of bar hopping has been around since taverns, night clubs and other after-hour hot spots have been in existence.

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Bopping around from one venue to the next has grown into a planned experience hitting up all the best spots in one extended journey. These pub crawls began in Britain with a number of businesses in close proximity banding together to offer specials for wandering drinkers of adult beverages. The trend quickly spread to the states and began exploding in big cities like New York and San Francisco.

As an organizer of one of these events, planners should prepare to offer their mobile drinking partners the best possible experience when going from pub point A to bar location B, cocktails at club C, etc. Here are some significant suggestions to consider when plotting a course for partiers crawling from place-to-place.

We’ll skim over the obvious tasks of planning the route in advance, ensuring there’s plenty of food and water available along the way and get right down to the nitty-gritty. 

Mixology and Technology

Although we just mentioned going from a pub to a bar and then a cocktail venue, unfortunately, this isn’t a very good idea. It’s important that plotters of these parties remember mixing different types of alcohol may lead to kneeling before the porcelain potty which is always unpleasant.

When it comes to technology, encourage guests to put devices aside in pockets or purses, but definitely bring them along in case of emergency or becoming separated from the crawl. They’re also great to have on hand for those selfies, videos and pictures of shots or shots of pitchers but shouldn’t be omnipresent as a continuous distraction.

A Theme with a Scheme

Attaching a theme to your traveling party scene is almost paramount for success. For added fun consider putting competition into place or challenge participants in some way associated with the event. Competition and drinking go hand-in-hand when you consider pool tables, dart boards, even karaoke concerts available at these venues as a way for attendees to outshine their fellow attendees. 

Give a Heads Up

Ensure your event is a success by giving the locations a heads up your party is heading for their locations on a specific date, at an approximate time and the number of participants. Tying into the theme concept, when your crawling partners in crime will be consuming a certain selection of craft beers, sipping on cocktails in common or taking shots of a specific brand, this way the venue will have enough of these liquids on hand.

For larger groups, some of these spots may set aside an area for you and your guests to imbibe with pride. Perhaps they’ll bring on extra staff to accommodate your crowd so be sure to tip your server and bartender. Cheers to you and your crew having the best crawl experience possible!

Antiquing: The Art of Exploring Antique Stores

Searching for the perfect addition to your home decor can be challenging and fun,

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and antique shopping is one of the best ways to find a unique item. Antiquing, or the process of exploring antique stores to locate a treasure, can be done nearly anywhere, as most communities in the U.S. have at least one antique or thrift store where you can uncover cool old stuff.

People have almost always collected older items, but the current round of antiquing was kicked off by popular T.V. shows where buyers had their finds analyzed and valued.

You may choose to go antiquing in a group, and hit some of the more popular towns in your area where antique stores are clustered. Or, you may go out on your own to see what you can unearth. You don’t need any special resources to go antiquing, but having a smartphone and internet connection can open up more information about the items you’re looking at, including their age and approximate value.

What’s the Difference Between an Antique and a Collectible?

True antiques are at least 100 years old, and each item usually has some historical background that makes it more interesting. Alternatively, collectible or vintage items are less than a century old and often come from a specific era (think 1950s poodle skirts or 1960s character lunch boxes). Either an antique or a collectible can have great value, or be essentially worthless, depending on condition and whether there is a demand for the item.

Where Should You Go Antiquing?

Nearly every state has stores that sell antiques, but there are certain areas in the U.S. that are better known for antiquing. The Northeast and the upper Midwest have clusters of well-known stores, and there are also some cities in the south, like Clinton, Tenn., or Charleston, S.C., that offer a good antiquing experience. Typically, the parts of the country that are the oldest also yield the best antique items.

The best part about antiquing is the hunt. Along the way, you can find jewels in the rough as well as fun places in the towns where you’re surveying antique stores. Antique shopping can be enjoyed nearly any time of year and can be a fun experience to pass the time or bond with friends and family members.

Nature & Relaxation Meet at Outdoor Yoga

While yoga is a personal experience unique to each individual, taking it to the great outdoors heightens the senses bringing it to a whole new life.

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There’s more to the outdoor yoga experience than you may have realized. 

Where it all Began

Yoga Six tells us that the earliest signs of yoga come from stone carvings found in India dating to approximately 3,000 BC. The practice began as part of a spiritual journey. But what began spiritually has over time become known for its ability to improve physical and mental health. Today the practice of yoga has spread across the entire world. It is now seen by many as a way to lose weight and sculpt the body, live a healthier lifestyle, and lower levels of stress. Different methods and environments including outdoor yoga have been developed in the evolution of yoga. When you walk through a park or take a stroll on the beach, you are very likely to see one or more people enjoying the practice of outdoor yoga. 

How is it Different? 

While most yoga is done indoors, taking it outside is easy to accomplish and provides a lot of added benefits. Sara Panagiotopoulou tells us in Yogi Approved that the fresh air you get from being outdoors allows your body to create more white blood cells, thus improving your immune system. Being outdoors also has a way of putting your mind in a very specific place where you can connect to the sounds of nature as you perform the practice of yoga. This purposeful connection of the body to nature can really help lower stress levels and provide added physical and mental health benefits. 

Finding the Best Places

Just watch this YouTube video on the Yoga with Adriene channel where she is performing outdoor yoga on a beach. It provides the perfect opportunity for peace and tranquility. Those looking for outdoor yoga experiences in cities large and small will have no trouble either. New York City Central Park offers a number of outdoor yoga classes, and Chicago residents even have the chance to do outdoor yoga at a beach setting. One review of Beach Yoga Chicago said it best by writing: “What a wonderful community to be a part of. I mean it’s Yoga on the Beach!” 

Having a Great Time at Karaoke Night

Everybody likes to sing, and karaoke night gives you the opportunity to belt out some of your favorites, with or without friends.

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The term “karaoke” comes from a combination of the Japanese words for “empty” and “orchestra” — meaning, songs without vocals. In the early 1970s, a Japanese drummer invented the karaoke machine that could play these musical tracks, and the experience of singing popular songs in bars became widespread in the 1980s. The singing pastime has become so well-known and popular that people around the world celebrate National Karaoke Week in April.

There’s even a Karaoke World Championships, held since 2003. Last year’s sing-off was held in Helsinki and featured singers from 13 countries.

What Do You Need to Do Karaoke?

Karaoke singers typically fall into two groups: Those who go out seeking karaoke, and those who find themselves at a bar where it’s offered and decide to participate. While some more structured karaoke venues promote the use of costumes and props, most are more laid-back. You don’t need anything except your voice and your courage to perform in front of others.

The host of the karaoke must have the music tracks without voices to play. This used to require a specialized machine that played CDs, but today most karaoke tracks are played via computer and no special equipment is needed. Software services exist that provide the tracks for a monthly fee. Depending on how large your venue is, you will likely need microphones and a sound system to ensure performers’ voices are as clear as possible. After all, listening to others do their best is a big part of the fun.

Choosing the Right Song

With such a wide variety of songs available as karaoke tracks, the toughest part of doing karaoke is choosing what to sing. The best songs for karaoke are well known, upbeat and don’t pose significant challenges like super high notes. Pick short songs that don’t drag on. It’s also best if there are not long gaps without words in the song, so you won’t be standing awkwardly in front of the crowd without singing.

The Weird and Wonderful World of Karaoke

These days, bars around the U.S. compete to see who can come up with the most wacky karaoke options. Some karaoke bars offer private rooms so you can keep your off-key warbling to your own group, while others add live bands, costumes and even strippers to the experience.

Karaoke in all styles is just plain fun. Whether it’s a night out to a full-fledged karaoke bar, a trip to the stage at your favorite watering hole or a fun home party with friends, anyone can have a good time singing.

The Resurgence of the Bicycle

In modern times there has been a resurgence of bicycles as a mode of transportation, resulting in a savings, pocketbook and environment.

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For some, it is a way to get to work. For others, it is either a pleasant afternoon outing or a needed method of exercise. And still, for some, it is a way to accomplish a fete, and/or participate in a competition.

History of the Bicycle

Bicycling has a history dating back to the early 19th century. Known as a Laufmaschine, or running machine, the first actual verified use of a bike came in 1817 and is attributed to Baron Karl von Drais in Germany. It was built of two wheels with a bar between. The rider would walk or run to gain momentum, then relax with his legs on the bar and ride until he needed to rebuild steam.

Some historians believe that a much earlier bicycle concept was drawn by Leonardo da Vinci, with a sketch having been discovered among some of his manuscripts in the 1970s. Others feel it could have come from one of his students, as they did not see the hand of da Vinci to have drawn the rather poor quality sketch, or perhaps it was a copy of a lost work originated by da Vinci. And yet there is also a theory that the “sketch” was actually a doodle by a 1960s monk.

After Drais’ invention of his Laufmaschine, an evolution began from a walking machine to a riding machine with French carriage makers, Pierre Michaux and Pierre Lallement, attaching pedals to the front wheel, and adding a seat to the support beam. The term bicycles was first used in England in 1868 in The Daily News as a description of the French terminology of bysicles.

The Modern Bicycle

Today’s bikes have evolved tremendously into a variety of equipment for transportation, pleasure, and sport including touring and racing bikes. We have seen bicycles built for two, unicycles, tricycles for kids and older adults, stationary bikes for exercise in the home or gym, and more. Cycles are the main transportation in India and China, while Copenhagen is considered the most bike-friendly city in the world.

Cyclist competitions take place throughout the world with one of the most famous events being the Tour de France, where riders spend 21 days of cycling throughout the French countryside over a 23-day period. Cycling in the Olympics dates back to 1896. Four modern-day disciplines are planned for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo including Track, Road, BMX, and Mountain Bike.

If your bicycle is sitting in the garage gathering dust, it is time to get it out and on the road. You’ll find a renewal of a fun form of exercise while charting a path less traveled. But, a word of warning, take it slow and pace yourself. A 10-mile ride absent some shorter warm-up trips is going to inflict pain in those under-used muscles.