Family Travel (Cool For Adults Too)

The Orlando ICEBAR

You may before have ordered a vodka on the rocks. Well, how about a vodka in the rocks? That’s on offer at what’s literally the coolest drinking establishment in Orlando: the ICEBAR.

Long time readers of the Spot Cool Stuff travel blog already know of the Orlando ICEBAR—we reviewed this bar with the overly-capitalized name in our article about ice bars located in warm places. Inside the ICEBAR 50 tons of ice are carved into counters, lounge chairs and, yes, even the glasses patrons drink out of.

Before and since our visit there we’ve heard mixed reports about it from readers. And so here’s some advice to those considering knocking back a cold one at the ICEBAR when in Orlando.

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Spotting the Spotted Lake

Spot Cool Stuff recently reviewed a selection of landscapes, trees and buildings that resemble scenes from a Dr. Seuss book. If you read that you might be asking yourself Well, what if the good Doctor were to design a lake? That Seussian lake it would surely look like the Spotted Lake, located a little more than a kilometer (and a little less than a mile) north of the Washington state line in British Columbia, Canada.

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One Fish, Two Fish,
Places That Look Dr. Seuss-ish

Anyone who grew up on The Cat In The Hat and Green Eggs and Ham remembers the illustrations of one Mr. Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. Trees with elongated trucks or with improbable collections of limbs. Stark and scraggly landscapes with oddly balanced rocks and unlikely geometric shapes. Architecture with unusual protrusions and awkward angles where no two windows exactly the same. These were some of the hallmarks of the world Dr. Seuss illustrated in his 60 children’s books.

Here’s a look at some places on Planet Earth—places you can visit on your next vacation—that resemble scenes from a Dr. Seuss illustration. So, in the words of the doctor himself . . .


…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!


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Pop-Tarts Store Pops Up in NYC

Facebook has inspired family reunions, renewed friendships, much Scrabble playing—and now a restaurant. Or, a restaurant of sorts.

Almost immediately after Kellogg launched a Facebook fan page dedicated to Pop-Tarts—those thin, frosting-topped, super-sweet, preservative-filled, pasty-like concoctions sold in grocery stores since 1964—company executives became amazed at Pop-Tart Facebook popularity (currently two million fans and counting). So, they decided to open a store dedicated to said pastry-like concoctions.

And where else in the world has enough dignity and class to accommodate the Pop-Tarts brand? New York’s Time Square, of course.

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The World’s Best Toy Stores

There's a hand-carved (!) carousel, 18-hole mini golf course, Kool-Aid waterfall, gourmet fudge shop, vintage toy museum, huge children's book selection, llama petting zoo, puppet shows and, oh yeah, you can also buy toys.

It’s a tough job but someone has to take on the task of finding the world’s best toy stores. So Spot Cool Stuff assigned ourselves.

Here’s a look at our favorite shops for indulging your kids—and your inner child:

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Exploring SF’s Interactive Exploratorium

At most museums exhibits are behind glass cases and velvet ropes and DO NOT TOUCH signs. Not so at the Exploratorium, San Francisco’s interactive playhouse dedicated to the science of psychology and perception.

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Air New Zealand To Offer Lie-Flat Economy Service

These days most airlines are cutting back on the amenities they offer. If they still have amenities to cut back on, that is. Airlines already without frills are resorting to increasing extra fees in their quest to make your flying experience increasingly horrible—Ryanair is even considering charging for bathroom use.

In this race-to-the-bottom environment we’re thankful that a small handful of airlines are working on a novel concept: increasing their level of service. Air New Zealand is chief among them. Starting later this year, on select long-haul routes, the airline will be introducing lie-flat seats in their economy class and improved seats in premium economy.

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Tintin Goes to the Museum

Brussels might be best known as the center of European Union bureaucracy and as the namesake for terrible tasting sprouts but it is also a Mecca for comic book lovers. Cartoons are arguably the Belgian national art form and world-renoun characters such as The Smurfs, Asterix, Blake and Mortimer— and, of course, the Farting Pig—have their origins in this tiny country.

The most influential, and perhaps the most famous, of the Belgium comic characters is Tintin, an inexplicably young journalist with an even more inexplicable of hair who, together with his dog Snowy, explores the world sans visa problems solving mysteries and engaging in swashbuckling adventures. He made his debut in the politically-tinged Tintin in the Land of the Soviets in 1929. From there Tintin’s globetrotting took him to such places as Tibet, the Congo and even the moon.

In the summer of 2009 a new museum opened dedicated to Tintin and his creator, Georges Rémi. The appeal of the museum to fans of comics is obvious. For lovers of travel and architecture there’s lots to like too.

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