Starling Travel

March 31, 2009

Portland, OR: Kidd’s Toy Museum

Filed under: Oregon,Places To Visit,Tourist Attractions — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Portland, OR: Kidd's Toy MuseumHiding in the heart of the warehouse district of Portland is a museum of toys. Protected behind glass to keep them safe from little hands, lies the childhood of many. A true piece of history is in each toy telling us stories ranging from the late 1800’s to the 1930’s. Ward Jenkins visited the museum with his two children and was surprised at what he found.

They simply don’t have the money or space to have the entire Kidd’s toy collection available to the public. But what is available to view is quite impressive.

A fascinating place. And better yet, it’s free!

Oh, and I have to say this: visiting the museum offered the opportunity for me to talk to Ava about racism. Hadn’t planned on it, but hey, no time like the present.

You can see all of his photos from the visit here:


Kidd Toy Museum
Google Map
1301 SE Grand Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 233-7807

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March 25, 2009

Catoosa, OK: Blue Whale

Filed under: Amusement Parks,Oklahoma,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Roadside attractions that are free to the public are rare indeed. When they come in the form of a giant blue whale, you’ve hit nirvana!

Blue Whale Water Slide

You can learn more about the Blue Whale here:

Emily Elliott took video of the Blue Whale and shared it on YouTube:

Here is what the Blue Whale looks like from above

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Next time you’re thinking of taking a road trip, try Route 66. The Blue Whale is just one of many niceties that you’ll find along this old road!

Via: Twitter / Ash Buckles: RT @problogger: Check out …

March 14, 2009

Austin, TX: Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Places To Visit,Texas — Laura Moncur @ 5:08 pm

This is the second time we’ve stayed at the Radisson Town Lake. We love it because it overlooks the river and Congress Bridge. Congress Bridge is where the largest urban bat colony in North America live. In the summer, huge clouds of bats leave the bridge every evening at dusk.

This year, however, the bridge is quiet and abandoned.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

It’s too cold this year to support the bats, so I suspect they are vacationing a little longer in Mexico. We came to Austin for the SXSW Interactive Festival, so the bats were a secondary attraction.

The hotel swag, however, was quite enjoyable.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The toilet paper origami left a little to be desired.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The towel origami, however, was beautiful.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

I don’t care for Sleep Number beds. They are beds that are filled with air depending on what firmness you want. It took a lot of tweaking to get my side of the bed to feel like a “normal” bed. I guess my sleep number is 45, but I didn’t enjoy finding that out. The Radisson brags about their Sleep Number beds, but I don’t find them pleasant or appealing. It’s more like sleeping on a camping mattress.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

You can see all the photos for the Radisson Town Lake here:

On the whole, our stay at the Radisson has been enjoyable. They charge ten bucks a day per computer to be online in your hotel room, which I find appalling. I guess I’m used to cheaper hotels that try to attract me with free wireless. I like that I can just walk to the convention center from this hotel. I LOVE the view of the bridge, even though this year it’s bat-free. I even love the TGI Friday’s in the hotel lobby. Sometimes I’m so tired that I just need a quiet meal that is familiar. Someday, Internet connectivity will be free at all hotels just like water and televisions. Until then, it’s hit and miss.

March 2, 2009

The Return of Star Trek: The Experience

Filed under: Nevada,Places To Visit,Tourist Attractions — Laura Moncur @ 2:14 pm

When Star Trek: The Experience closed at the Las Vegas Hilton last year, I grieved. Mike and I attended the last week they were open and took a ton of photos.

Star Trek: The Experience August 2008 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

You can see the rest of them here:

It looks like Star Trek: The Experience is coming back to Las Vegas.

Perhaps most impressive, the attraction called Star Trek: The Experience appears also to be coming to Neonopolis. Plans are to retrofit a large amount of space on the first floor to allow for rides, as well as a Trek-themed restaurant and museum.

Journalist Mark Hansel, who writes for In Business Las Vegas, has seen the contracts signed by studio officials, Neonopolis owners and the city of Las Vegas. “I have seen the contract, and I know that the city redevelopment manager met with CBS officials in New York to seal the deal,” said Hansel, who has covered the downtown redevelopment for years for In Business and the Las Vegas Sun. “They are hoping that there will be some sort of premiere event at the time of the movie opening that will be out here. Obviously, the big premiere will be in Hollywood, but they hope to have something out here, too.”

I am so excited for the return of Star Trek: The Experience and I have been scrambling to find the closest hotel to Neonopolis. Suddenly, all those hotels that I wouldn’t think of staying at like The Four Queens, The Gold Spike, Binion’s and Lady Luck are looking like they might be my new favorite places to stay. These have always been the most reasonably priced hotels, but because they were downtown, we didn’t want to stay at them. Now that Star Trek: The Experience will be nearby, they are looking much more attractive.


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