Family Travel (Cool For Adults Too)

Swimming With Whale Sharks

Now, now, NOW!

Our captain is yelling while gesturing to us to hurry overboard. Overcome by his sense of urgency, we jump flippers first off our boat into warm Caribbean waters. There’s a second of disorientation. Then the water bubbles created by our fall dissipate and the view out of our snorkel mask clears. And what a view it is: the wide open mouth of the world’s largest fish heading directly towards us.

We are swimming with whale sharks off the coast of Isla Holbox, Mexico. Our trip was all arranged using Pay With Points, available through American Express Travel. Our challenge from American Express: to turn 150,000 Membership Rewards Points into a trip for two with WOW factor.

Being underwater, staring directly into the enormous mouth of a whale shark an arm’s length away—that’s a memory-making travel experience with no shortage of WOW.

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The Water Cube Gets Happy Magic

You may remember the Water Cube as the venue for the swimming events 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. The exterior of “The Cube,” with its translucent walls that seemed as though they were made of giant living skin cells, became one of the iconic images of the games.

The Water Cube received a lot of press at the time of the Olympics. But what most reports (including Spot Cool Stuff’s own review) left out was that the building was not designed to permanently host of swimming competitions. From conception, its real intended purpose was to be a water park.

Recently the Water Cube’s original destiny was fulfilled with the opening of the Happy Magic Watercube. (Yes, somehow “water cube” got truncated to one word during the transition). In doing so, the place where Michael Phelps once set world records in swimming is today setting the record as the world’s largest indoor water park.

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A Visit With Indiana Jones
and the Adventure of Archaeology

Fans of Indiana Jones and lovers of ancient history, grab your whip, put on your Fedora hat and head to the Montreal Science Centre this fall. That’s where you’ll find Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology, a cool museum exhibit that merges film fiction with actual archaeology.

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The World’s Steepest Roller Coaster

Any self-respecting world-class roller coaster enthusiast has to visit the Fuji-Q High Land at least once. The amusement park—in Yamanashi, Japan, almost literally in the shadow of Mt. Fuji—is home to many of the planet’s best rides.

The self-assigned goal of the Fuji-Q High Land park: To build a roller coaster every five years worthy of a spot in The Guiness Book of World Records. Thus far, the amusement park has achieved that goal:

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Take A Fantastic Voyage
Through the Human Body

Your kids can bounce up and down on the rubber tongue

Sure, you could learn about inner functionings of the human body by reading an anatomy book. Or you could learn the Spot Cool Stuff Way: By walking through a giant 35 meter (115 feet) tall replica of the human body at the Corpus Science Museum in the Netherlands. Intrigued?

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Bangkok’s Robot Restaurant

The day may come when machines overthrow the human race and our robot overlords force us mortals to serve at their will. Until then, we can suggest going for a meal at the Hajime Robot Restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.

At the Hajime robots not only serve food to customers but also dance for them. (This makes the Hajime Robot Restaurant is the only establishment in Bangkok that has a tagline promising to “serve your every need” and that features dancing waiters and that’s also child-friendly).

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The World’s Best Candy Stores

This store is as close as you can get to a real-life Willy Wonka experience without wrangling some umpa lumpas and opening a shop yourself

Travelers with a sweet tooth weakness, do not proceed any further in this post. What follows is Spot Cool Stuff’s selection of the 6 most interesting-looking, diabetes-inducing candy stores. A trip to any one for these shops (well, except for the last one) is likely to result in a sugar overdose. Ye be warned.

Note: These are all primarily candy stores. We’ve reviewed our favorite chocolate stores in a separate post.

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Discovery Cove: Orlando’s Un-Theme Park

A vacation to Central Florida often leaves people feeling like they need another vacation. That’s especially true after traveling with children to Orlando’s crowded, mayhem-filled, nickle-and-dime squeezing theme parks.

Spot Cool Stuff’s suggested remedy: Spend a day chilling out at Discovery Cove.

At Discovery Cove won’t find yourself standing in line for rides. There are no rides.

You won’t find yourself amongst a mob of other vacationers. There is no mob — Discovery Cove requires reservations and the number of guests allowed in is strictly limited.

And you won’t pay again and again for extra fees, incidentals or even food. Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive park.

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