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My Travel Bucket List - Smithsonian, Alaska, Yellowstone & Panama Canal

Updated on September 22, 2015
Alaska | Source

Where To Visit Next? My Travel Bucket List

My parents were both teachers when I was growing up, so they had summers off from work. They'd pile the family up in the car, and we'd take road trips around the United States. We spent a lot of time in New Mexico and California, and all the states in between.

When I was 12, my mother, brother, sister and I went to Germany for a month to stay with some military friends. While there, we took a road trip in an old VW bus, visiting castles in France, and touring the countryside of Germany and Austria. Just 2 years later, I became an exchange student, living once again in Germany and touring the neighboring countries.

When I was 19, my boyfriend & I took a bus trip to Oregon to visit relatives for a couple of weeks. We liked it so much, that we stayed 6 months!

Then, in 1994, I decided to become a travel agent. Since then, I've taken a few cruises; partied in Key West, Miami and New Orleans; stayed in Jamaica 13 times; gone to Mexico and Canada, and visited many of the islands of the Caribbean and the Bahamas. I'd guess you'd say I have travel in my blood!

There are still a few places I wish to visit. Believe it or not, most of the are in the United States! Following are my "bucket list" vacations...

Smithsonian Museum
Smithsonian Museum | Source

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

------ Visited June 12, 2012 -------

I've always been fascinated by small airplanes, in addition to space-going aircraft. Whenever there is an air show close by, I attend. Mainly, I wish to tour the aircraft. Watching the planes fly is secondary to actually stepping inside the planes.

I finally made it to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum! There are actually 2 museums. The main one is in the National Mall building in Washington, D.C., and is the one I visited. It has hundreds of planes and artifacts on display, such as the Wright Brothers plane - the 1903 Flyer. There is also the Apollo 11 command module and the Spirit of St. Louis.

In addition to the aircraft and rockets, there are also a number of exhibits, tours and shows. There is an IMAX theater (I can't handle those, so I passed on that one) where you'll actually feel like you are flying! The Planetarium is more my speed, where I can get up-close looks at the stars & space.

The other museum is the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which is located near Dulles Airport. This is the next one I'll visit. There are aircraft on the floor, as well as hanging from the ceiling. Some of the more interesting aircraft are the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, which is the fastest jet in the world; the Boeing Dash 80, which is the prototype of the 707; the Enola Gay; and the deHavilland Chipmunk aerobatic airplane.

This museum also has an IMAX theater - and no, I'm not going to visit it either. It does have a "Wall of Honor" which I WILL visit. It pays tribute to the thousands of people who have contributed to air and space exploration. Can you imagine what life would be like without aircraft and space travel?

I finally visited the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum at the National Mall on June 14, 2012! I was in the company of BikerMinistry, a fellow writer, and we saw so many cool exhibits! After I visit the other one, they will be marked off of the bucket list.

Smithsonian Tour Books

There is so much information out there on the Smithsonian that it takes awhile to sort through it all! However, these two books give an idea of what is inside the Smithsonian, making it easier to plan your trip.

Official Guide to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Official Guide to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Offered by the Smithsonian, this book will tell you everything you need to know about both Air and Space Museums. Great photographs, plus the story behind each exhibit. A recommended reading before your trip!
Best of the National Air and Space Museum
Best of the National Air and Space Museum
A book with amazing photographs and descriptions of the best exhibits at the Air & Space Museum. Written by the curator of the Museum, it contains a wealth of information. Read before your visit, then keep as a souvenir for future reference.

Smithsonian Museum - Have You Been?

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Alaska at dusk
Alaska at dusk | Source


Just about everyone in my family has visited Alaska at least once. My grandparents went a couple of times back in the 1960s, and I can still remember their stories. My parents have been on both an Alaska cruise, in addition to a guided tour. My stepson is a captain on a deep sea fishing boat in Sitka, and both my late husband & my brother have been fishing with him several times. I am always quite envious when they get to go, and I have to stay home to take care of the livestock.

It will be my turn one of these days!

I don't care much about the cruises, at least on the "big ships". I wouldn't mind taking one of the small excursion ships. Those get up close to the glaciers, and go where the big ships cannot. I'd much rather get a rail pass, and ride & visit as I choose. My main goal is to see the bears & other wildlife, and hike the mountains & glaciers. Plus, I'd like to stay long enough to meet the locals, and learn just what they do to survive in a place that is cold & dark much of the year!

Alaska - Have You Been?

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Lower Yellowstone Falls
Lower Yellowstone Falls | Source

Yellowstone National Park

I've visited several national parks of America, but have never made it to Yellowstone. It is America's 1st national park, established sometime in the late 1870s. Home to such wild animals as grizzly bears, elk, wolves and buffalo, it's certain to be a place where you can really enjoy nature!

It's also a good place to go fishing, hiking and bike riding. If you're an active person like I am, then you understand why Yellowstone is on my bucket list. Fishing here in the country is what we do in our spare time, so if I can do it on vacation, it's an added bonus!

I also want to visit because it is home to "Old Faithful", which is the most popular geyser in the world. What's a geyser? Well, it is a hot spring that erupts, spraying boiling water high into the air. Somewhat like a volcano, I would guess. Old Faithful is not the biggest geyser, but it erupts more frequently than most - about ever 75 minutes.

Yellowstone Park - Have You Been?

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Panama Canal
Panama Canal | Source

The Panama Canal

I've never really cared about visiting Central and South America. However, I'd love to go through the Panama Canal just once! While it would be fun on a mega-liner cruise ship, just think how cool it would be on a small boat! Although it takes about 15 hours to go through, which would require a lot of patience, just think of all the other boats you'd see along the way!

Besides... it's the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean, and set in the Pacific, all in the same day!

Panama Canal - Have You Been:

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