Travel & Tourism
For more information contact: Ryan Bickel, Blank Park Zoo, 515-988-9485 Two Rhinoceros Arrive at Blank Park Zoo PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Ryan Bickel   
Thursday, 06 December 2012 15:51

Des Moines (December 6, 2012) – Two eastern black rhinoceros have arrived at Blank Park Zoo in preparation for the new $4 million Africa exhibit opening next spring.

“Rhinoceros are the perfect addition to the Blank Park Zoo. They are a very large animal that will be popular with our guests. They are also an animal in great danger in the wild as poachers are killing them at devastating rates because of the value of their horns,” said Mark Vukovich, CEO of Blank Park Zoo. “We want to raise awareness about this because it’s possible that within our lifetime these animals will be extinct in the wild.”

According to the International Rhino Foundation, there are less than 5,000 black rhinos left in the wild and less than 30,000 of all species of rhinos.

Blank Park Zoo acquired two black rhinoceros, a male named Kiano and a female named Ayana. The rhinos are part of a breeding program called a species survival plan (SSP), and zoo officials hope they will breed when they become mature. This program’s goal is to maintain a sustainable population of black rhinos in zoos. The male came from the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and the female came from Zoo Miami in Florida. Ayana was born in August 2010 and weighs 1,900 pounds and Kiano was born in October 2010 and weighs just over 1,000 pounds.

Ayana and Kiano are now going through a required thirty day ‘quarantine’ process which helps the animals become accustomed to their new home and keepers monitor their health and stress. Once this process is completed, keepers will begin to introduce the animals to each other.

About Black Rhinoceros (source: International Rhino Foundation,

The black rhinoceros has two horns, with the front one being the larger of the two. They can weigh up to 3,000 pounds and be 5.5 feet tall at shoulder height and up to 12.5 feet long if you include the head and body. The black rhino has a prehensile lip that is well-suited for grasping branches, leaves and shrubs. This is the species’ most distinguishing characteristic. The black rhino lives in Africa, primarily in grasslands, savannahs and tropical bush lands. Female rhinos reach maturity at four to seven years of age while males reach maturity at seven to ten years. Between 1970 and 1992, the wild population of this species has decreased by 96 percent. The term ‘black rhino’ is believed to come about because of the color of the soil the rhino covers itself with while wallowing in the mud. Unlike the white rhino, black rhinos are only semi-social and do not live in herds.


About Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. seven days a week this winter. The Zoo will be closed Dec. 24 & 25, & Jan. 1. Winter Admission rates are $7 for adults, $3 for children under 12, and $6 for seniors and active military. Children two years and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.



2013 Official Missouri Travel Guide Now Available PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Stephen Foutes   
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 14:25

Jefferson City, Mo. — If the approach of winter doesn’t already have you thinking about your summer vacation, the 2013 Official Missouri Travel Guide certainly will.

The Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) has published its 2013 Official Missouri Travel Guide, a carry-along travel-planning tool for visitors seeking information about the Show-Me State’s incredible lineup of attractions and destinations. The cover is an inviting scene showing a couple enjoying a beautiful sunset over the Lake of the Ozarks.

This annual publication offers information on thousands of Missouri tourism assets – from public tours and museums to live-show venues and ziplines – plus lodging options, golf courses, wineries, breweries, campgrounds, canoe outfitters and Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites.

“The Missouri Travel Guide continues to be a popular and useful tool for travelers to enjoy,” says Katie Steele Danner, MDT’s director. “Missouri has a diverse tourism industry, and we’re pleased to share the Show-Me State with future visitors.”

You can pick up a 2013 Official Missouri Travel Guide at a variety of locations across Missouri, including MDT’s seven Official Welcome Centers, MDT’s Affiliate Welcome Centers, local chambers of commerce, and convention and visitors bureaus. Call 800-519-4800 to order a copy of the guide, and you can order online at

In addition to listings of tourism-related businesses around Missouri, the Travel Guide includes color photos and feature stories on Missouri’s vacation regions. Other content focuses on made-in-Missouri products, regional dining options (with many favorites selected by MDT’s Facebook fans), and genealogy-research facilities.

For more information about the 2013 Official Missouri Travel Guide, or to schedule an interview with Tourism Director Katie Steele Danner, please contact Stephen Foutes at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 573-751-3208.

About the Missouri Division of Tourism
The Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) is the official tourism office for the state of Missouri dedicated to marketing Missouri as a premier travel destination. Established in 1967, the Missouri Division of Tourism has worked hard to develop the tourism industry in Missouri to what it is today, an $11.2 billion industry supporting more than 279,000 jobs and generating $627 million in state taxes in Fiscal Year 2011. For every dollar spent on marketing Missouri as a travel destination in FY11, $57.76 was returned in visitor expenditures. For more information on Missouri tourism, go to

Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB - Night of Luminaria is set to glow in downtown Galena PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Celestino Ruffini   
Monday, 26 November 2012 14:33

December 15 event transforms the city into a winter wonderland

GALENA, Ill. – Watch Galena come alive with the glow of thousands of luminaries on this special winter night, Saturday, December 15. Take part in this Galena tradition by helping to set out luminary bags during the day or assist in lighting the candles before the spectacle begins. Later in the evening, relax and enjoy the magical winter wonderland scene as night falls. It is a must see event!

Night of Luminaria is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and romantic visions of the year. From Galena's Main Street to the hills overlooking the park, all of town will be glowing. Enter a land of enchantment on this night when you see more than 5,000 candle-lit luminaries on streets, steps and sidewalks.

Whether you drive the streets of Galena, walk the sidewalks, take a trolley or enjoy a carriage ride, you’ll be amazed at the sights. Walk through Grant Park on Galena’s eastside or take in a gorgeous view from Prospect Street as you look across downtown Galena.

Local businesses offer extended hours of operation on this night, so take advantage of it and wrap up your holiday shopping. Afterwards, warm up as you enjoy a candlelit dinner at one of many local restaurants.

For further event information, visit, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 815.777.9050. Additional area offerings and visitor information may be found at the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau at or by calling 877.464.2536. While in town, visit the CVB’s Old Train Depot Visitor Information Center at 101 Bouthillier St. (corner of Park Avenue) for on-site assistance and countywide information.

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Governor Quinn Reminds Travelers to Think of Safety First PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Ryan C. Woods   
Monday, 26 November 2012 14:24

Police will be Out in Force Across Illinois to Keep Roads Safe, Cracking Down on Impaired Drivers and Enforcing Seat Belt Laws

CHICAGO – November 21, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today reminded Thanksgiving holiday travelers to think of safety first while traveling on the state’s busy roadways this weekend. Millions of drivers are expected on state highways over this Thanksgiving holiday and Illinois transportation and law enforcement officials are mounting a statewide crackdown to bust impaired drivers and make sure drivers and passengers are buckling up on every trip.

“Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to be with family and friends and take stock of our blessings,” Governor Quinn said. “But it’s also a time when roadways can be more dangerous. That’s why everyone who is traveling during the holiday week should remember to buckle up each time, and never, ever allow an impaired driver to get behind the wheel.”

The statewide “Drive to Survive” crackdown, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) Division of Traffic Safety, involves Illinois State Police (ISP) and nearly 300 local law enforcement agencies across Illinois. The campaign focuses on the deadly nighttime hours when data shows more vehicle occupants die in crashes than during any other time of day. Due to this trend, late night motorists throughout Illinois will see roadside safety checks, seat belt enforcement zones and other police saturation patrols looking for seat belt law violators and drunk drivers.

Traffic safety officials are also concerned about the high number of people who die unbuckled during nighttime hours. Studies show that an average of less than one-third of occupant fatalities are restrained properly using seat belts between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. During daytime hours, seat belt usage increases substantially, with 62 percent of vehicle occupant fatalities properly restrained. This lack of belt use means far too many people are dying on Illinois roadways, particularly during nighttime hours when alcohol often is involved.

IDOT and the Illinois Tollway are also reminding drivers to focus on the road at all times and that it’s illegal to text or check email while driving in Illinois.

During the 2011 Thanksgiving holiday eight people died in traffic crashes on Illinois roadways over the five day period and 839 were injured. Of the eight individuals who were killed, four died in crashes where at least one driver had been drinking.

Statewide, year to date, 854 people have died on Illinois roadways, according to a provisional count maintained by IDOT.

For more information about IDOT’s traffic safety enforcement campaigns and safety data, please visit


Last Chance! Register to travel to Germany with GAHC by December 1st! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by GAHC   
Monday, 26 November 2012 14:22
Dear Friend,

We would love for you to go to Germany with us here at the German American Heritage Center! But we need your registration by December 1st for our August 2013 trip!

Trip Details
Visit our website for more information:

Travel Agent Contact:
Blue Horizon Travel
Linda Meadors (309) 912-4888

Don't Hesitate! Call Today!

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