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Texas: Get face to face with U.S. presidents

By Kate Appleton
updated September 29, 2021
blog_presidentialsculptor_original.jpg
Austin Goswick

It's taken sculptor David Adickes six years to carve 18-to-20-foot busts of all the U.S. presidents. They're destined for the new Presidential Park and Gardens at WaterLights, just south of Houston, and were inspired by a visit Adickes made to Mount Rushmore—it left him wishing to get closer to the imposing figures.

The park, which includes interactive features on American history, has room to accommodate each successive president through the next century. It doesn't officially open until September 2009 ($1, free for kids under 12), but six presidential busts—chosen by voters in an online poll—are already on display: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Houston native George H.W. Bush. Drivers on Highway 288 South get a good view.

Crowd-pleaser Barack Obama will soon join their ranks, both as president and park attraction. Adickes is putting the final touches on the Obama statue to be unveiled on February 16, President's Day, naturally.

See footage of the initial park installation below in the YouTube video "March of the President Heads":

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New York City: A gem of a hotel

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Inspiration

Paris: Finding fun in the froid

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Inspiration

This weekend: An icy Alaskan swim is a cabin fever reliever

File this one under "Crazy-But-True." Alaskans young and old will jump into the icy waters off Seward this Saturday, all to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The 24th annual Polar Bear Jump Off is what it sounds like: Participants don crazy costumes (princesses, penguins, Scooby Doo characters, etc.) and leap into Resurrection Bay, which will be roughly 35 degrees Fahrenheit. "Seventy-five percent of the jumpers are returning and have participated five or more times," says Polar Bear Marilyn, the organizer. Related activities include frozen turkey bowling. The turkeys are in place of the ball, not the pins. Strikes win prizes. There's also a karaoke contest, a quilt show, and a costume contest. Get the full schedule at sewardak.org. Seward is about three hours south of Anchorage. Saturday's forecast is calling for snow showers and a high of 23 degrees. But we're pretty sure that won't stop the plunge-takers. Seward Waterfront Park. Watching the jump is free; some activities cost a nominal fee ($4 to $7). MORE Watch a YouTube video of the Jump Off Get more info on Seward at the Chamber of Commerce For more travel blogs, go to alltop.com

Inspiration

How many places will be worth visiting in 2016?

Last Sunday the New York Times came out with its 44 Places to See in 2009. It's an entertaining list—though not as good as ours— but it also got us a little worried. Last year, about this time, the good folks at the Times came up with a full 53 places to visit, which incidentally included the Hamptons of Germany and a point on the Axis of Evil. (Did you go to either? Shoulda gone.) But 2009's it-list has just 44 places, and that represents a 17% decline. Assuming that this rate of decline holds, and I have no idea why it wouldn't, there will be fewer than a dozen places worth visiting by 2016. That means a whole lot of people trying to check into the same hotel, palace, or yurt, depending on where we're all headed. Yet another reason to hop on a plane today.