Tomorrow marks the start of National Park Week (April 19-27), and to celebrate, the country’s 400-plus parks are waiving entrance fees all weekend long. It’s a big year for the National Park Service, with milestone anniversaries (Yosemite turns 150 this year; Rocky Mountain National Park is 100) and important developments (including major renovations to Yellowstone’s oldest hotel).
Just in time for summer—the most popular season to visit National Parks—Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are increasing service to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Montana. Delta’s seasonal non-stop service will depart from New York-LaGuardia Airport on Saturdays from June 21 to September 27. Meanwhile, United will fly out of George Bush International Airport in Houston on Saturdays and Sundays between June 28 and August 17.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Volcano House reopened in 2013 following a $7 million renovation that preserved the character of the original 1941 design. The rooms have beautiful views: some overlook Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, while others face native Hawaiian rainforest of ohia lehua and koa trees. This 323,400-acrenationalpark is also great for wildlife spotting; more than 90 percent of the plants and animals here are found nowhere else on earth. Cabins from $55/night.
When you're the smallest city park in the world, it doesn’t take much to suffer an epic natural disaster—perhaps a skateboarder who veers wildly off track, or a even a German Shepherd who couldn't make it to the next hydrant.
But Portland, Oregon’s Mill’s Ends Park—just two feet across in diameter—seems to have endured some sort of foul play: Oregon Public Broadcasting recently reported that the sole tree of the petite park, on a median on Naito Parkway, had been removed. "Someone yanked it out," said Mark Ross, of Portland’s Department of Parks and Recreation, to OPB.
Its name is as evocative as the place itself: Lotusland, the eccentric botanical garden in Santa Barbara, California, designed and developed by Ganna Walska, a glamorous, Polish-born opera singer, celebrity, and socialite. Walska, who acquired the 37-acre estate as a private retreat in 1941, was ahead of her time in her use of mass plantings. The result: hundreds of weeping euphorbias and golden barrel cacti that leave an impression of untamed primordial beauty. In the 1970’s, she auctioned off her million-dollar jewelry collection to finance the cycad garden, consisting of unusual cone-bearing plants. Lotusland is full of novelties: otherworldly cacti, whimsical topiary, and brightly flowering aloes and other succulents, not to mention a fern garden, a theater garden, a Japanese garden, and an all-silver-and-blue-gray garden. Per her wishes, Walska’s extravagant creation was opened to the public only after her death—and remains a California legend.
First there was the High Line, an elevated park that brought new life to a rusty, unused-for-decades elevated subway rail on Manhattan’s west side. Well now there’s an idea floating around that would turn the whole concept upside down, literally. A subterranean park created from the long-abandoned Williamsburg Trolley Terminal, on Delancey Street in NYC’s Lower East Side. The station hasn’t been in service, or even used, since 1948.
The brain child of Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, this park—the Lowline—would be the first of its kind, and one of the very few green spaces on the LES. The first reaction people have, aside from fascination, is the more rational, “But how the heck are you gonna get plants to grow underground, away from the rays of the sun.”
I just got back from the classic American family vacation in Yellowstone National Park and, honestly, I can’t wait to go again. In just a few days, we saw wolves, egrets, elk, mule deer, golden and bald eagles, and at least a thousand bison.
But, enough about the wildlife. Let’s talk about Mickey.
No, this isn’t a backdrop from Avatar. These so-called Supertrees are the centerpieces of the first phase of Gardens by the Bay, the city’s $805 million, 250-acre waterfront park. The “trunks” of the 18 soaring trellises (which reach up to 164 feet) will be dripping with Brazilian bromeliads, orchids from Ecuador, and other exotic flora. More highlights: 10 themed gardens, two glass-enclosed biomes, and an aerial walkway from which to take it all in.
Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent.
Opening May 16th, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s new entrance along Washington Avenue is no garden-variety visitors center. Nestled into a hillside in the northeast corner, the 20,000-square-foot building aims to be a seamless extension of the 52-acre landscape, which could have amounted to an empty promise in the hands of a lesser firm. But the New York–based husband-wife team of Weiss/Manfredi delivers.