Travel in Brief

The National Zoo’s giant pandas, the late Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, play in their yard in Washington in 1974.

WASHINGTON — The National Zoo is celebrating 40 years of giant pandas.

It recently marked the 40th anniversary of the day that the pandas Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling landed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. The pandas were gifts to the United States from China following President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to that country.

The pandas were presented to the zoo officially on April 20, 1972. They were the first pandas in U.S. zoos in modern history. Now 11 pandas are at four American zoos.

Ling-Ling lived at the National Zoo until 1992, when she died. Hsing-Hsing died in 1999. The zoo’s current two pandas, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang, arrived in 2000.

LISSE, Netherlands – Bulb fields along the Dutch west coast have erupted into a kaleidoscope of color as tulips and other flowers burst into bloom.

The most easily accessible fields are mainly found in the coastal strip between the cities of Leiden and Haarlem and are easily accessible by car or train from Amsterdam. Sitting on the top floor of a double-decker train is actually one of the best vantage points to view the broad bars of different-colored flowers stretching over pancake-flat fields.

The fields will likely remain colorful for a few more weeks.


WASHINGTON — Clara Barton’s downtown Washington office, where she led an effort to trace missing soldiers from the Civil War before she founded the American Red Cross, has survived since her death 100 years ago and soon will become a museum, organizers said.

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Md., will lead the effort after signing an agreement with the General Services Administration to open Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office Museum.

Barton’s office is a Civil War time capsule, said George Wunderlich, the group’s executive director. It’s where she hired a staff to help track down the fates of at least 22,000 men in the war. Barton’s office responded to more than 63,000 letters from grieving parents and families.

“She was doing this at a time when women weren’t allowed to do anything,” Wunderlich said. “She bucked the system.”


NEW YORK – New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel is buzzing with thousands of tiny new visitors.

The luxury hotel has installed six beehives on its rooftop with the goal of harvesting honey by mid-summer.

By August, the hotel hopes to host 300,000 bees in total.

The bees arrived in a luxury car. They then were escorted through the lobby to their new home on the 20th floor.

Guests at the historic hotel can tour the hives. Honey will be used in dishes served at the hotel’s restaurant.

The public will be able to help the hotel name the hives in a social media contest.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – State tourism officials have launched the Screaming Eagle trail through eight Tennessee counties. It travels 353 miles through the counties of Benton, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys, Montgomery and Stewart. It is the 13th of 16 self-guided driving tours in the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program.

There are 76 tourism sites, including Fort Campbell, the Loretta Lynn Ranch and Fort Donelson.

The Screaming Eagle Trail takes its name from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell.

BUENA VISTA, Va. – Two Virginia communities are celebrating the official designations as the newest Appalachian Trail Communities.

Officials say Buena Vista and Glasgow are marking the designations after the two communities collaborated to enhance awareness of the trail in their areas.

The designation is part of a program from the nonprofit group responsible for management and protection of the estimated 2,180-mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Wire reports