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Select Traveler Guide 2016

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52 be. Omaha is a city where visitors can find international f lavors and intercontinental attractions that highlight Indian, Irish, German, Greek and Latin cultures. The state's global cultural inf luences are on full display dur- ing TAP's 12 Countries Without a Passport tour, one of its most popular in the Midwest. With more than 1 billion followers, Hinduism is the third-largest religion in the world, and some of those followers live and practice their faith in Omaha. The city's Hindu community first bought a building in 1993 as a place to worship and then spent several years raising money to build a traditional Hindu temple that was completed in 2004. Groups can tour the bright-white building, which is adorned inside and out with intricate hand-carved religious figures, or visitors can book one of the temple's event spaces. George and Sarah Joslyn were native Vermonters turned Nebraska entrepreneurs, but their massive limestone mansion, complete with a circular turret, looks like it belongs on the green velvet of the British Isles. The four-story, 35-room Scottish Baronial mansion was completed in 1903 and cost about $6 million in today's dollars. During a guided tour, visitors will see the home's intricate details, including stained glass, mosaic tile and wrought iron. In midtown, St. John's Greek Orthodox Church will host groups for authentic Greek meals. The church also organizes Omaha's Original Greek festival, which showcases Greek culture through homemade cuisine, live music and folk dancers in full Greek dress. At El Museo Latino, a Latino art and history museum, groups can take a folklorico dance class with the Chomari Ballet Folklórico Mexicano dance company or arrange for a performance. The German- American Society event hall is decorated to resemble a traditional German beer hall and hosts private events and parties. PACIFIC COAST: CIRCLE OREGON AND THE ROSE FESTIVAL Craggy shores and crashing waves, redwood forests and windswept dunes make the dramatic coastline of central Oregon both lush and stark, welcoming and wild. Groups can explore the state's scenic sites and attend a famous annual event on TAP's Circle Oregon and the Rose Festival tour, a West Coast bestseller. In the coastal city of Newport, the Oregon Coast Aquarium gives both front-of-house and behind-the-scenes tours, and the aquarium can arrange animal encounters for groups. During a visit with a seal or a sea lion, the animal will plant a kiss on visitors' cheeks or lips — beware the fish breath — or guests can get up close with a giant Pacific octopus at its enclosure, where they can touch its tentacles and even feed it a crab. Groups can also dine in a room where a glass wall offers views into the 1.3 million-gallon Passages of the Deep tank and f loor- to-ceiling windows look out onto the Yaquina Bay estuary. If looking at it isn't enough, Marine Discovery Tours takes passen- gers onto Yaquina Bay while a naturalist guide narrates about oyster farming, sea life, shorebirds and the bay habitat. Passengers can even take turns driving the boat and pulling in crab pots. The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area covers 40 miles of the Oregon coast from Florence south to Coos Bay. But the impressive expanse and height of the windswept dunes is difficult to grasp without get- ting into the nitty-gritty, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy the sand. Both Sandland Adventures and Sand Dunes Frontier offer group tours in large 20-person dune buggies that deliver quite a thrill when they come over the top of a tower- ing sand dune. At Sand Master Park, a 40-acre commercial sandboarding park in Florence, visi- tors can learn sandboarding — which is similar to snowboarding, except it's on sand — go sand sledding and build sandcastles. Courtesy Eugene, Cascades & Coast SANDBOARDING ON OREGON'S DUNES TripAdvisor's 2016 Travelers' Choice Top 25 Museums in the U.S. NEWSEUM.ORG 555 PENNSYLVANIA AVE., N.W., WASHINGTON, D.C. LOUDER THAN WORDS: ROCK, POWER AND POLITICS Coming Jan. 13, 2017 The Newseum and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame partner for a one-of-a-kind exhibit that explores the power of rock to change attitudes about patriotism, peace, equality and freedom.

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