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Kings Dominion adds new experiences this year

Tumbili coaster rendering, Doswell, Va.
Credit: Kings Dominion

DOSWELL, Va. — Later this year, Kings Dominion & Soak City, located 20 miles north of Richmond, will welcome new attractions. The park is renaming and upgrading its Safari Village area and introducing Jungle X-Pedition. At Jungle X-Pedition, guests will be immersed in a completely transformed jungle experience featuring a brand-new roller coaster, new signature dining location, all-new retail store and more discoveries to come — all richly themed to reflect the adventure of an archeological expedition.

One of these discoveries: Tumbili (toom-bee-lee — the Swahili word for “monkey” — a 4D free-spin roller coaster that uses state-of-the art magnetic technology to control and induce spinning as the riders tumble along the track. Riders will climb aboard and travel up 112 feet on a 90-degree vertical lift hill and make their way back to the bottom as they spin along the triple stacked track featuring two beyond-vertical raven drops.


Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center offers STEAM resource for high school teachers

WANTAGH, N.Y. — The Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center announced the release of Energy & Us, an interdisciplinary high school curriculum dedicated to exploring the relationships between people, energy and the environment. With the beach itself as a classroom, Energy & Us encourages students to think critically about their role in the energy systems and environments that surround them.

Located just 20 miles from New York City, Jones Beach has been a beloved New York State Park for almost a century. The opening of the Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center on the Park’s West End in September 2020 marked New York State’s commitment to transitioning to a cleaner energy future. Exhibits, educational programs, and events at the center showcase landscapes of energy production and consumption — sites where energy sources are extracted and power plants are located; how scientists choose locations for wind turbines and the orientation of solar panels; the energy embodied in building materials; biomimicry; and the transfer of energy in a dynamic coastal environment. The exhibition theme, “the power of nature and the nature of energy,” invites visitors to conceptualize energy and environment as one.


Museum of the Bible exhibit explores mystery of the Shroud of Turin

Museum of the Bible, Washington, D.C.
Credit: © Museum of the Bible, 2016

WASHINGTON — On Feb. 26, Museum of the Bible will open its newest exhibit, “Mystery and Faith: The Shroud of Turin,” exploring the complex history behind the enduring mystery of the Shroud. Few artifacts in the world have stirred imagination, provoked controversy, raised hypotheses — and for some, fortified faith — like the Shroud of Turin. The exhibition runs through July 31.

In “Mystery and Faith: The Shroud of Turin,” all guests, including blind and low-vision visitors, can experience the first interactive, tactile display of a religious icon, using touch and sound to explore the Shroud. Also on exhibit is a full-size replica of the Shroud of Turin created by Lino Val Gandino in Bergamo, Italy, and donated to the museum by Enrico Simonato, secretary of the Centro Internazionale Studi sulla Sindone in Turin.

The exhibition traces the known history of the Shroud of Turin from its first documented appearance in 14th-century France and examines the hypothetical journey it made over the centuries from Judea to France. Touch-screen timelines will help guests understand the Shroud’s movement through time. An interactive animation will allow visitors to turn the pages of a book to see and hear the strange story of the Shroud’s first documented appearance in France.


Soaky Mountain Waterpark to add new dueling water coaster

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — Soaky Mountain Waterpark will add a first-of-its kind water coaster featuring thrilling high-speed surprises taking riders to the edge for the 2022 season.

The Edge rendering
Credit: Soaky Mountain Waterpark

According to Dave Andrews, general manager of Soaky Mountain Waterpark, “Our new water coaster, fittingly named, ‘The Edge’ is going to be a showstopper! It will be perched on the edge of our waterpark, and span two football fields in length. It’s fusing together WhiteWater’s Master Blaster water coaster with their iconic Boomerango. But, we are not adding just one slide, we are doubling it for a dueling thrill!”

In addition to the new water coaster, per guest recommendations, the waterpark will be expanding the decking in two areas of the park and adding 1,000 new seating options. The waterpark is also adding additional large umbrellas to increase the shaded areas around the park.

Soaky Mountain Waterpark opened in 2020 and cost nearly $90 million to construct. It is owned and operated by Wilderness Resorts and Waterpark.

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Courtney Birchmeier oversees the editorial department at Group Tour Media. With half a decade under her belt in the group travel industry, she's eager to connect tour operators and group leaders with new destinations. It's a great day at the office if her dog, a chow/lab mix named "Kiwi," is in tow. In her free time, she enjoys reading (for fun, with no red pen in hand), sampling craft beer (New Holland Brewing's "Dragon's Milk," anyone?) and adding new destinations to her travel bucket list (like Salzburg, Austria).