MOTAT Live Day: Where Else Can You Ride in an APC?

Visitors can ride inside this military vehicle at the MOTAT Live Day in Auckland New Zealand

Sometimes it is the unexpected that turns out to be the most fun. We headed up to MOTAT to see the da Vinci Machines exhibit, and our timing worked out that it was also a MOTAT Live Day, a family friendly event bringing the Museum of Transport and Technology to life. For us, it was an […]

Impressive da Vinci Machines: Traveling Exhibit now in Auckland at MOTAT

A flying machine designed by Leonardo da Vinci in the traveling da Vinci Machines exhibit.

Leonardo da Vinci was a genius who was hundreds of years ahead of his time. Whether you know of him as an artist, an inventor, a designer, an anatomy expert, or a renaissance man, you will probably discover another facet of his brilliance at the Leonardo da Vinci Machines exhibit. Traveling around the world, it is now in […]

Is the San Francisco CityPASS a Good Deal?

Cable Car rides are included in the San Francisco City Pass

I lived in San Francisco for 15 years and it is still one of my favorite cities. This is the first visit that we had a San Francisco CityPASS, and I enjoyed it. While I think most people get it for the museum entries, we loved the unlimited transportation on the cable car or the city bus. We took the […]

Seattle Itinerary: Top 10 Things to Do in a Weekend Visit

The Seattle Aquarium is one of the top 10 Seattle highlights

Located on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle reminds me a bit of our current home city, Auckland. Both are surrounded by water, mountains/forests, and green park lands. The nearby evergreen forests in Washington are massive, thus giving Seattle the nickname of “Emerald City.” To hit the highlights, we have created a Seattle itinerary. We had a Seattle CityPASS. […]

Museum of Flight Connects Aircraft with History ~ Seattle

A Blackbird at the Museum of Flight in Seattle

The Museum of Flight is an unexpected treasure that caught me off guard. Being married to a rocket scientist, we naturally added it to our Seattle itinerary. Upon arrival, I had intended to stay about 90 minutes. Four hours later we were still captivated, learning, and enjoying every moment.  Huge planes hang overhead side by side smaller ones, flight simulators […]

Chihuly Garden and Glass, A Vibrant Must See in Seattle

Mille Fiori at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle Washington

Few places leave me silent and staring. Yet, the vivid colors and fluid shapes of the glass creations at Chihuly Garden and Glass somehow caught me off-guard. The artist, Dale Chihuly, offers, “I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced.” For me, his quote is a better description to […]

Highlights of Chicago in a Day

Picasso sculpture in Chicago Illinios

Chicago is one of my favorite cities to visit, as well as being my city of birth. Loaded with fascinating things to see and do, it is impossible to see all the highlights of Chicago in a day. Unfortunately, that was all we had last month, so we made some hard choices. Dividing the city […]

Photo Tour of the Art Institute of Chicago

Bathers by a River by Henri Matisse

Walking through the Art Institute of Chicago, I find myself repeating the same expressions. It’s either “wow, that is really incredible,” or, “I know that piece,” or “I didn’t know that was here.” With over 300,000 works of art ranging from ancient and Byzantine to modern it covers the full gambit, with incredible masterpieces around every […]

Ocean Sailing – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

Ocean Sailing? In days past, today this boat just goes out from the Auckland Maritime Museum

O is for ocean sailing . . .  or offshore fun. Practical Information:  This is the Ted Ashby, a ketch-rigged deck scow. It sails nearly everyday from the Auckland Maritime Museum. As an island nation, people arrived here via ocean sailing. It’s only in modern times that there are alternative forms of transportation. The Auckland Maritime Museum […]

Stardome Observatory: An Evening Under the Auckland Stars

Zeiss telescope at Stardome Observatory in Auckland New Zealand

It started out as a beautiful clear night, a perfect evening to visit the Stardome Observatory in Auckland. Normally I wouldn’t care about the weather when heading to a planetarium but Stardome Observatory is different. The planetarium show we selected was live and interactive, both the presenter and the audience asked questions of each other. Narrating, he took us […]

Two Powerful War Exhibits in Wellington New Zealand

Gallipoli The Scale of our War at TePapa the National Museum of New Zealand. It is one of two war exhibits in Wellington

War exhibits don’t typically make it onto my list of things to do. However when one is created by Weta Workshop (Lord of the Rings) and the other by director Sir Peter Jackson, these war exhibits suddenly peak my interest. Both are currently on display in New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington. Each is overwhelming […]

Visit Titirangi for the Rainforest, Te Uru Gallery and Great Food

Stairwell with massive rainforest views in Te Uru: Waitakere Contemporary Gallery in Titirangi, Auckland, New Zealand

As we drove along the windy road towards Titirangi, the landscape grew more lush and I wondered why we don’t visit west Auckland more often. Our destination was Te Uru, a contemporary gallery nestled in this bohemian community that sits at the edge of a subtropical rain forest, only an hour from our home. By the time we arrived […]

MOTAT: Hands-On Transport and Technology Fun in Auckland

Steam house that drives the pump room at MOTAT, Auckland, New Zealand

MOTAT, New Zealand’s Museum of Transport and Technology is much more interesting than I remembered it to be. Aside from special events like Halloween, or my recent visit to the Aviation Dispaly Hall (MOTAT 2), I hadn’t been to the main MOTAT museum in years, not since my girls were little. So, when it came to […]

Aviation Display Hall of MOTAT Brings NZ History Alive

This Tiger Moth biplane designed by Geoffrey Havilland greeted us as we entered the Aviation Display Hall of MOTAT in Auckland New Zealand

Airplanes never did it for me before I visited the Aviation Display Hall of Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) this week. What I found incredible about the aviation display is that it brought history alive with an element of reality found in the stories, often told by listening to recordings of actual pilots. […]

Penguins, Sharks, Sea Life: Kelly Tarlton’s in Auckland

Kelly Tarltons SeaLife Aquarium

Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium was the first place we visited when we arrived in New Zealand over 12 years ago. Despite being tired from the long flight we were looking forward to seeing penguins and riding the moving sidewalk through the world’s first acrylic tunnels allowing stingrays, sharks, and other southern ocean marine life […]

Nautical History at Auckland’s Maritime Museum – #AtoZ

Nautical History at Voyager, Auckland Maritime Museum, New Zealand

Being an island, New Zealand has a long nautical history. From the arrival of the first Polynesian people through today, much of New Zealand life revolves around the sea, especially here in Auckland where it is said that one in four people have a boat. The Voyager Maritime Museum is one of my two favorite […]

Auckland Museum’s Māori Collection – Auckland #AtoZ

Maori storehouse for preserving food called Pātaka, at the Auckland War Memeorial Museum in New Zealand

As we start our journey through AmaZing Auckland from A to Z, there is no better beginning than the home to our local history, the Auckland Museum. Located in the central city, on a dormant volcano, the museum is home to an impressive Māori collection, as well as extensive history of the flora, fauna and […]

Find South with Stars: Things I Learned at Carter Observatory in Wellington, New Zealand

New Zealand's largest refracting telescope is in Carter Observatory, Wellington, New Zealand

From the big bang to space exploration, Carter Observatory in Wellington took us through time with colorful exhibits. Sarah and I visited during our recent mother-daughter adventure. We went on Saturday night in hopes of seeing the  refracting telescope at work. We were tired after a morning Walk Wellington tour and a visit to the […]

Sarah’s Sunday Snapshots #27 – Hobbit Movie Costumes

Glamdring - elvish sword of Gandalf the Grey

Last week while at a waterfront cafe in Wellington, New Zealand mum and I came across a glass case containing the costume of Legolas from the Lord of the Rings (LoTR). Me, as a huge LoTR fan, became extremely excited when we found out that there was a whole trail of Hobbit movie costumes scattered about […]

Dangerous Duties: Dangers of the Sea at Auckland Maritime Museum

Climbing up the mast of the Breeze at Dangerous Duties and the Voyager Maritime Museum in Auckland

This past weekend the Voyager Maritime Museum in Auckland had a special open day dedicated to the most dangerous duties at sea.  The highlight for my teen was getting an opportunity to climb up the rigging on the Breeze. There were many different rescue boat and life boats present. Thinking about spending any time in one […]

Cork Trees in Portugal and a Cork Museum in Spain

Harvested cork waits to be collected outside Evora Portugal

Cork grows on trees. As we drove though the Alentejo region of eastern Portugal, I was surprised to make this discovery. Cork trees lined the road. In the nearby town of Evora, a huge variety of cork products are available for purchase ranging from bags and hats to postcards. This added to the mystery of the […]

Samoa Highlights: Top 10 Things to Do (And Driving Tips)

Samoa Highlights

Adventure is around every corner on beautiful Upolu, the main island of Samoa. While we came for a break, we found our selves stopping to swim into a cave, jump into a trench, feeding turtles and visit an author’s home.  Upolu is the main island of Samoa and home to it’s capital city Apia.  Despite our […]

Sarah’s Saturday Snapshots #3 – Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, Samoa

Robert Louis Stevenson Museum

Over the past week, mum and dad took us for an awesome vacation in Samoa. While there, we visited the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum. He is the author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and over sixty other novels, poems, and short stories. A large collection of his original belongings still reside in his house, and I took […]

Land Shark Spotted in Auckland (A bit of Shark Bus Humor)

Shark bus

Last time we were up in Auckland my daughter captured this shark bus photo: Land Shark! It is for Kelly Tarlton’s Sealife Aquarium, one of the top tourist attractions in Auckland, and possibly all of New Zealand. We haven’t been there since the first year we moved to New Zealand as we are locals now. […]

Central Park New York: The Met and Natural History Museums

central park

How much can we do in a day in Central Park? I guess that would depend on how well we can read a map. We were up, showered, dressed, ate a delicious breakfast, and out the door rather quickly. In typical New York style, we stuck up an arm and within seconds we had a taxi. “American […]