There’s No Place like the Judy Garland Museum

If you’re planning a trip to Grand Rapids, MN, including a stop to the Judy Garland Museum is a must.

The museum includes the entertainer’s childhood home, the Children’s Discovery Museum, and of course, the Land of Oz exhibit. So, embrace the magic and follow the yellow brick road.

It’s No Longer Just a Dream

A walk through the modest 1920s home where Frances Ethel Gumm, a.k.a. Judy Garland began life’s journey offers a poignant glimpse into the star’s history.

The museum includes an array of memorabilia from Garland’s extensive film and musical career as well as her personal effects. Scripts, personal letters, photos, jewelry, and clothing combine to create the lasting legacy of her career.  

The most extensively memorialized aspect of the museum includes mementos of Dorothy’s heroic journey through Oz. Here, you’ll find the carriage ridden into Oz, which incidentally, once belonged to Abraham Lincoln.

Secure your own legacy and request to have a personal message engraved on the museum’s yellow brick road.

The Case of the Missing Ruby Slippers

When Dorothy’s missing ruby slippers mysteriously vanished from the museum in 2005, the case went cold. It wasn’t until a phone call in an attempt to cash in on insurance money and subsequent FBI sting operation in 2018 that the iconic slippers were returned to their rightful owners. It proves once again that, “There’s no place like home.”

The Children’s Discovery Museum

The interactive exhibits are designed for children aged 12 and younger. Included among the adventures are Treesa the Talking Tree, a dinosaur dig, and Lions and Tigers and Bears exhibit.

The Wizard of Oz Festival

The third week of June every year is set aside to participate in activities that celebrate Judy Garland’s life and career as well as the iconic production of The Wizard of Oz. The three-day festival includes memorable film clips, concerts, and dining.

Learn about Space at the Baikonur Cosmodrome

If you’re interested in space, visiting the Baikonur Cosmodrome deserves a spot on your travel bucket list.

Since NASA’s space shuttle program ended in 2011, American astronauts head to space from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. 

History of the Baikonur Cosmodrome

While the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is now known among space enthusiasts as one of the most-used launch sites for sending astronauts, cosmonauts, and supplies to the International Space Station, it has a far more complicated past. During the Cold War era, Soviets used the location for testing a variety of missiles. At the height of the Space Race, Russian cosmonauts used the site in their attempts to land a man on the moon before the American astronauts. 

Since the end of the American space shuttle program in 2011, American astronauts have begun to use Baikonur as their primary launch point, as it is located closer to the equator than any other reasonable option. Although they are no longer able to launch shuttles out of nearby Cape Canaveral, Florida, NASA still communicates with American astronauts aboard Russian Soyuz rockets and the International Space Station from mission control in Houston, Texas.   

Visiting the Baikonur Cosmodrome

While all travelers with valid documents to enter Kazakhstan may visit the city of Baikonur, tourists can only visit the Cosmodrome as part of a guided tour. Many tours need to be booked several months in advance, and they can last for several days. Visitors will be able to see several museums filled with space artifacts, learn about the history of the Russian space program and its recent collaboration with NASA, tour other parts of Baikonur, and possibly even watch a live Soyuz launch.

Careers in Space

Although the American space shuttle program does not exist at this time, Americans may still pursue careers as astronauts with NASA. However, those chosen to travel to space will need to launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, for the foreseeable future.  

Students interested in working as astronauts, at mission control, or in other positions at NASA should take rigorous courses, attend space camps, and prioritize grades as early as possible. Very few prospective astronauts are accepted, virtually all of them go far above and beyond minimum requirements, and many have pilot or military experience. 

Visiting the Baikonur Cosmodrome introduces tourists to the latest in space travel, what lies beyond Earth, and what the future of space travel may hold. 

Bounce To New Heights At Indoor Trampoline Parks

If you have ever enjoyed bouncing on a trampoline, it’s time to add a visit to an indoor trampoline park to your summer itinerary.

These highly-specialized amusement parks take the concept of the trampoline to new heights. 

What is an Indoor Trampoline Park?

Indoor trampoline parks are the next step up from your typical backyard trampoline. Instead of bouncing in one small area, participants jump on trampolines that fill entire rooms. Some parks also have wall trampolines that provide aerial experiences. Many of these parks host special programs, obstacle courses, and fitness classes, as well.

History of Indoor Trampoline Parks

The indoor trampoline park is a safer and more exciting alternative to a backyard trampoline. Sky Zone, the first chain of indoor trampoline parks, was born out of an attempt to create an extreme trampoline-based sport. While this sport failed to capture the public imagination, the idea grew into what would become the first indoor trampoline park.

Jeff Platt came up with the idea of a trampoline park in 2002, and the first Sky Zone opened in Las Vegas in 2004. Sky Zone currently has hundreds of locations throughout the United States and around the world. It has inspired the creation of other competing franchise trampoline parks.  

Indoor Trampoline Park Safety Guidelines

Jumping in an indoor trampoline park is generally safe for children and adults who are in good health, as long as certain safety guidelines are followed by all participants. However, people who currently have or are recovering from injuries, are pregnant, or have certain health problems should not jump. All participants (or their parents) should sign waivers before jumping. To protect visitors, safety rules are often posted.

Wearing appropriate clothing is one of the most important ways to stay safe while jumping in an indoor trampoline park. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing that won’t get caught in the trampolines and allows you free range of movement. Always remove your shoes before getting on any of the trampolines.

As is true for any area where children of a variety of ages play, parents need to ensure that older children performing more complex jumps play at a reasonable distance from younger children. Some parks feature special areas, hours, or events for both younger and older children. This protects toddlers and babies while ensuring a more competitive environment for teens. Parents should always supervise children of any age and never leave their charges unattended.

Visiting Indoor Trampoline Parks Around the Country

Other than being sure to wear appropriate clothing, no special equipment is required. Some parks may require participants to wear special slip-resistant socks, which may be sold or leased by the park. While participants can generally show up at any time, they should also be aware that some parks admit guests for a specific block of time only. So, check to see if the park you’re visiting has special hours. Most parks can also be booked for birthday parties and other special events.  

Several large chains of indoor trampoline parks, such as Sky Zone, can be found across the country. Sky Zone has hundreds of locations throughout the United States, most of which are located east of the Mississippi River or along the West Coast. Many Sky Zone chains offer ninja warrior courses, parkour activities, aerial jumps, jousting battles, and vertical obstacle courses.

If you’re looking for something new and exciting to do this summer, look no further than the nearest Sky Zone indoor trampoline park. Whether you choose to soar across the room or bounce off the walls, you’re sure to enjoy your time at an indoor trampoline park.