Tips Of The Trade

If you are constantly checking e-mail and voice mail while you are supposed to be on a carefree, fun-filled vacation–shame on you! However, you can pick up some great ideas while enjoying the time off. The following are some recreation-related tips I learned while on vacation:

How About A Package Plan?

We were fortunate to visit Zurich, Switzerland, and purchase a Zurich Card–a simple concept that allowed us to choose from a variety of recreational possibilities. This one card gave us the opportunity for:

· Free second-class transportation on rail, bus, tram and boat

· Free “welcome” drinks at 18 restaurants

· Free transportation to the airport

· Free admission to more than 40 museums

· Discounts at other museums, the zoo and additional tourist attractions.

As we used the card, I couldn’t help but think how this concept could apply to recreation programs. What if participants could buy a “Fun Pass” that allows them to attend a certain number of classes or special events? Participants might try new activities simply because they are included in the package deal. My family felt like we had to take advantage of all the card offered, so we participated in more activities than if we had just bought a ticket to the zoo or a museum.

We saw the same “package-plan” concept applied while visiting Shenandoah Caverns in Virginia. One flat-rate admission fee covered four attractions. We began with an astounding mile-long tour of the caverns. We really got up close and personal with all the stalagmites, stalactites and bacon formations. Normally, that would have been a great afternoon. With the package plan, we then checked out Main Street Yesteryear, featuring animated figures from window displays around the country.

By then, we felt we were getting our money’s worth, but there was more! A short walk led us to the third attraction–American Celebration on Parade. We saw the huge and incredibly ornate floats used for the Rose Parade, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and presidential inaugural celebrations.

If those weren’t enough, we also visited The Yellow Barn, which featured wine tasting, live musical performances and historical displays. (Check out www.shenandoahcaverns.com for more ideas on offering several programs for one price.)

Could your department offer soccer lessons along with an introductory class in basketball or swimming as part of the package? Young soccer players may find themselves trying a new sport while increasing enrollment in other sports classes. I know of one parks and recreation department that offers a package plan of 10 activities for one price. Participants can choose any six activities from that one list.

Offer A Few Surprises

We took a trip to the Jungfrauhoch–the highest point in Europe–and high it is! The mountain is covered with snow year-round, which we expected as we took the cog-wheel railcar to the top. What we didn’t expect were the “surprises” in store for us. As we passed through several long tunnels in the mountains, the car stopped several times. Small windows had been cut into the Alpine rock, providing amazing views and picture-taking opportunities. Everyone enjoyed stretching their legs to take a quick photo break.

I constantly heard comments such as, “This is so neat that we get to stop and take pictures,” or “They sure know how to please tourists with this photo-stop.”

Once we arrived at the top of the glacier, there were more surprises. People could be pulled in a dog sled by a group of very energetic Huskies while more ambitious types could take a 45-minute hike across a snowy path to a restaurant, or sled down a hill on a snow disc. An ice palace was available to visit along with the Sphinx Observation Tower.

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