Sandhill cranes of Nebraska
You don’t need to travel to the African savanna or South American rain forest to see fantastic wildlife. Martha Kauffman, a managing director and scientist at the World Wildlife Fund, said that one of the most spectacular wildlife viewing experiences she’s ever had was in March in the Platte River Valley, when more than 80 percent of the world’s sandhill cranes, more than 550,000 in all, congregate in the area. One way to see the cranes is on the overnight photography tour from the Crane Trust. Visitors spend the night in a photo-video blind that can accommodate two people. Prices start at $250 a blind, and tours run through March 31. Reserve by e-mailing the trust at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New York Times
Playa del Carmen alert
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico has issued a travel alert for the Mexican resort city of Playa del Carmen, where an explosion on a tourist ferry injured 26 people last month. The city is near popular tourist destinations like Cancun, Cozumel and Tulum. An alert posted on the embassy website said that it received information Wednesday about a “security threat” in that city and U.S. government employees are prohibited from going there. It adds that the U.S. consular agency in Playa del Carmen “will be closed until further notice.” The embassy did not specify the threat or say if it was related to the Feb. 21 blast or the subsequent discovery of apparent explosives attached to another vessel. Mexican officials say the city is safe.
Sun Country adds Austin
Sun Country Airlines has announced extended nonstop service this summer from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Austin, Texas, with fares starting at $89 one-way. Delta Air Lines also flies the route. Sun Country’s service will operate from June 15 to Aug. 13 on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. But those off-season dates don’t cover the South by Southwest conventions in March or the Austin City Limits music festival in October, two big annual reason why Minnesotans might head to Austin.
Simon Peter Groebner
Croatia cruise deal
Receive a $500 discount on Central Holidays’ seven-night cruise along the Croatian coast. The Cruising the Adriatic trip from Dubrovnik to Split starts at $998 per person double for the April 28 departure and $1,149 for the May 12 sailing. Add $95 port charges. The voyage on the 41-passenger M/S Prestige includes 14 meals, shore excursions and airport transfers. Book by March 31 (1-800-935-5000; centralholidays.com/Special-Offers).
Tourism slump in Las Vegas
Las Vegas tourism leaders revived the “What happens here, stays here” slogan three months after a mass shooting on the Strip, but gaming revenue and visitation numbers remain depressed. In January, total visitation to the city dropped 3.3 percent, while gaming revenue from the Strip slumped by 8.89 percent, the steepest drop since the Oct. 1 shooting at a country-music festival that killed 58 people. But officials attributed much of the decline to other factors, including the month having one less weekend compared with January 2017 and the shift of the Lunar New Year to February. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said there were nearly 2,000 fewer available rooms in January compared with a year ago because of construction and renovation. Downtown Las Vegas was a bright spot, with gaming revenue up 1.6 percent — a fourth straight month of increases since October.
Los Angeles Times