Category: Travel



Interactive museums are quickly becoming popular throughout the United States. One of the best in the country is the Liberty Science Center, which hosts the largest IMAX Dome theater in the country. The museum opened in 1993 as New Jersey’s first major science museum, and has been popular ever since.

The museum is conveniently located in Jersey City, a city of 240,000 with 11 miles of prime waterfront across from Manhattan; set in a region easliy accessible by millions of residents  by car or Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, which connects to PATH and NJ Transit. It hosts nearly 300,000 square feet of exhibitions and “fun stuff” to do, due to the recent expansion and renewal project of $100+ million in 2007.

The top floor is the recommended story to start on, which hosts an exhibit known as “Energy Quest”: to help teach and explore different types of energy and how to harness them. Also on the floor is a cooking workshop and an exhibit of animals displaying the food chain.

The third floor is undoubtedly the best. It is home to the Communications exhibit, offering skills such as language learning and reading body language, as well as discussing the differences that communication devices have made in everyday life. One can also learn about global health issues and infectious diseases in a different exhibition on the level.

The second floor, which I bypassed, is solely devoted to the biggest IMAX Dome theater of our nation, and from what I’ve heard, is impressive. The first floor contains the Skyscraper exhibition, the largest of its kind in the world, with artifacts from The World Trade Center, an I-Beam walk two floors above, many hands-on activites for younger children, and many videos about the architectural design of famous buildings.

Being the first time I visited the center, I was very impressed, as I expected a very boring museum devoted to nuclear fusion, the periodic table, and lots of other topics that I am not fairly interested in. Take a look at some of the photos I took there..

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There is just one more day until one of the most patriotic holidays in the world. 234 long years ago, Thomas Jefferson and 55 others signed one of the most important documents in American history, the Declaration of Independence. Over the years, traditions have been shared within families, and BBQs have been shared with neighbors. Everyone has his or her own way of celebrating this All-American holiday, whether going to a traditional baseball game or relaxing at home with family and burgers. But one tradition remains popular among the diverse population of our nation: fireworks.

I went out 2 nights ago with my handy-dandy camera to go see some of the colorful explosions famous throughout the land. I got a little bit of help from @ShutterBugGeek’s blog post and got my camera set up to take these wonderful photos for all you readers out there, and I decided to mix it up a little bit and turn it into a wonderful video. Check it out:

If you want to see this video in higher resolution, click this link provided: http://animoto.com/play/70WLrZ01o6iVhYkV0VMRFw?

You can see the photos in my blog sidebar to the right or at my Flickr.

So how do you spend your 4th of July weekend? And where do you like to hang out and watch fireworks? Don’t be shy, feel free to drop me a comment anytime!

Happy Independence Day Weekend,
@alexmaxbir


Top 10 First Class Airlines


I’ve always been interested in first class as a young boy, but ever since I got upgraded to business class on my flight from Germany to New York, I have taken a special liking to this topic. Despite not having been on a first class seat ever, I took the time to research some good first class seats and I have narrowed it down to the ten best.

10. Qantas Airways

This Australian airline offers lounges in Sydney and Melbourne that have a library, a fine-dining restaurant, a business center and a spa that offers massages. Seats onboard are 6.5 feet long, and entertainment is video on-demand (400 channels). The designer silk toiletry kits–Akira Isogawa for men, Collete Dinnigan for women–are stuffed with Payot products. Meals are eight-course affairs. Even in economy class on some of the models, you have a self-serve bar (non-alcoholic drinks).

9. Air France

Air France features seats that feel like they were ripped right out of your den. Sporting side-by-side recliners that fold out into flat beds, these beefed-up seats in the first-class cabin make sure that you and your eight fellow travelers feel right at home. Air France stepped up its first-class offering in response to the new airlines rolling off the assembly line. The cabin reflects the idea of a French work experience, which is to say it’s comfortable and light on the actual work.

8. Lufthansa

This airline, ranked eight on the top-10 list, is a star performer on the ground. When fliers arrive at Frankfurt Airport, they lounge on couches and sip drinks while an attendant checks them in. After clearing security, they are led to a lounge where a chef cooks any meal of their choice. When it’s time to board, they are driven to the aircraft in a Mercedes. Comfortable lie-flat seats and efficient service await them onboard.

7. American Airlines

American Airlines has been pushing the envelope in productivity onboard an airline. Introducing what they call the “flagship suite,” the emphasis is on prepping for that meeting in Taipei while in the air. Features like swivel seating that lets you meet face-to-face with coworkers, laptop power outlets at each seat and individual satellite phones you’ll find everything you need to work right from your seat — which also carries an unintended downside. When your company books you first class on one of American’s 777s, you’ll have little chance to sample the spa-like amenity kits.

6. Air Canada

The first-class seats on Air Canada feel quite a bit like a futuristic office cubicle, which in a way could doom us all. With a lie-flat bed, ergonomically designed seats and laptop power and data jacks, Air Canada has entered the list with a completely competent, plush and well-designed first-class experience. The in-flight entertainment is top-notch, with individual armrest screens, three days worth of on-demand video, individual DVD players, and premium news — you’ll never be out of the loop. Hopefully, office managers don’t fly Air Canada too often, otherwise, they’d never be in the office.

5. All Nippon Airways

All Nippon Airways has taken your seat and wrapped it in high, curving walls. Flying then becomes almost a pod-like experience. Everything from your own personal monitor to your slide-out dinner table is contained within your own space. Personal space is something airlines have been shedding at every possible turn, so it’s good to see that All Nippon is building that personal area back into its first-class section. Each pod has all the basics covered for work and play. All Nippon Airways makes sure you’ll be able to make a call on your personal satellite phone while working on your laptop powered by your own outlet. And they make sure you can do so in complete privacy.

4. Emirates

You really have to hand it to the Emirates right now, they are taking outside-the-box thinking to an entirely new level. Want to travel to Dubai and see some of the outrageous architecture they’re working on? Go ahead and do it in style on board Emirates first class, which has taken the revolutionary concept of a private bedroom in air travel and added that touch of ridiculous. In addition to the flat-screen TV and requisite bed, you’ll find that you have your own coat closet, vanity desk and personal mini-bar. If that third gin and tonic has you a bit apprehensive about your flight, you can monitor the whole thing on your personal TV via the series of cameras mounted all over the plane.

3. Cathay Pacific

Seats here become ‘suites,’ thanks to sliding panels that provide total privacy. They turn into 81-inch-long beds and have built-in massagers. Each flier also gets a personal closet to store belongings. Cathay got high marks for its food: It’s one of the only carriers to have rice cookers, skillets and toasters onboard, so parts of meals are prepared fresh, like eggs made to order.

2. Qatar Airways

Flying first-class here means access to a separate terminal in Doha that mimics a five-star hotel with several fine-dining restaurants, a medical center, and a spa with sauna and Jacuzzi. On board passengers get caviar service, full-size pillows, white linen mattresses, Australian wool blankets and Bulgari toiletry kits. The seats are 79 inches long, have 15-inch LCD screens and come with a 23-inch meal table that allows dining for two, just as in a restaurant.

1. Singapore Air

Far and away the best experience possible in any first-class section anywhere in the world; Singapore Air doesn’t just provide a private bedroom, it provides a private suite. It’s not even really a suite, it’s like a flying apartment. Every other offering on the list has a seat that turns into a rather comfortable bed. Singapore decided that was cheating and not quite kosher with the stress of international business. The airline will just give you a comfortable recliner and set it right next to your static bed designed by Jean-Jacques Coste. You get a chair and a bed in the single cabins. If you happen to be traveling with someone, the option of a double bed is available. This is the absolute best experience you can have flying with any other passenger on board with you.

That’s it! Which one of these do you think should be #1? Did I leave out any airlines? Comment below and tell me what you think of my list. Thanks for reading!