At the Marine Mammal Center near San Francisco, little miracles happen every day
Rescued elephant seal pups at play at Marine Mammal Center near San Francisco

At the Marine Mammal Center near San Francisco, little miracles happen every day

The 45 member staff and 800-plus volunteers here are responsible for rescuing some 800 animals a year—elephant seals, sea lions, harbor seals and the occasional whale or dolphin. People who spot a stranded or sick animal call (415-289-7325) and the staff mobilizes for a rescue. The center is responsible for 600 miles of Coast all the way from Mendocino south to San Luis Obispo, and since 1975 has rescued over 13,000 marine mammals

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The Ice Age has come to Snowmass CO – literally!
Mastadon banner at Snowmass Mountain CO

The Ice Age has come to Snowmass CO – literally!

One day last fall—Oct 14, 2010 to be precise—a bulldozer operator named Jesse Steele, working on the expansion of the Ziegler Reservoir for the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District, discovered a bone. But not just any bone—an Ice Age mammoth bone. That was just the beginning

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Seeing first-hand how snowsports can help improve a child’s life
ABC House snowboard lesson at Bolton Valley 2011

Seeing first-hand how snowsports can help improve a child’s life

These kids may look like any group of young snowboarders decked out in the latest Burton gear. “You can see them stand taller,” Heston said. But looks, as we know, can be deceiving. They can’t afford snow sports or the gear, much less bus fare to the mountain. In fact, some live in homeless shelters, others live in group homes

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When the grandparents lead the way on a family adventure
A family rafting vacation

When the grandparents lead the way on a family adventure

Upping the adventure quotient is exactly what a growing number of well-heeled and fit grandparents are doing to gather their far-flung progeny. They’re sailing in the British Virgin Islands, hiking in Yellowstone, exploring Costa Rican rain forests, bird-watching in the Galapagos Islands, heading to Africa on safari, fishing in Alaska and even studying marine biology in Virginia, typically picking up most of the tab

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Museums all over the country welcome you this holiday season
Remember the Children exhibit at the US Holocaust Museum in Washington DC

Museums all over the country welcome you this holiday season

Wherever you find yourself this holiday season, make time to visit a museum — even if you take in just one exhibit. Museums are a great way to get the gang out of grandma’s house for a couple of hours, especially when it’s too cold to hit the local playground. And if you are a member of your local art, science or children’s museum, you may find that membership gets you in for free.

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Grabbing a Pre-Holiday Break
Gingerbread weekend at Mohonk Mountain House in NY State

Grabbing a Pre-Holiday Break

It’s not wishful thinking — even in this economy. All you need to do is gather the gang at a vacation destination rather than a relative’s house for the holidays. According to American Express, 40 percent of consumers plan to travel this holiday season, most of them staying in the United States. This year, AAA expects more of us to hit the roads and skies for Thanksgiving

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To the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park
San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park

To the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park

We’re riding in a truck on a photo caravan into the heart of the large animal enclosures, which means, as we bump along, we get up close to not only the rhinos (Southern white, as well as greater one-horned) but also the giraffes (try feeding leaves to two giraffes at once!), Springbok, Cape buffalo, ostrich, Defassa Waterbuck, zebras and more.

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DAY TWO — exploring botanicals and turtle nests
Looking for sea turtle nests

DAY TWO — exploring botanicals and turtle nests

It turns out that of all the endangered species of plants in the United States, two thirds are from Hawaii, and this research effort is designed to help these plants once again flourish

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to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Eileen Ogintz as an early human

to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

We're at Hall of Human Origins, the newest exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, now celebrating its centennial year. (It's the most visited of the 19 Smithsonian museums with 7.4 million visitors last year!) It's the most visited museum in the country and has the most visited science museum in the world. It's easy to see why. Even kids who profess to "hate science" can't help but love this 21st-century museum.

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Giving back

This past weekend, I sat on the National Mall facing the Capitol in Washington, DC as Michelle Obama extolled the new graduates of George Washington University to broaden their horizons through travel abroad, working to help those less fortunate wherever they go.

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