Subject: Re: What do you like/dislike about guided tours?
Hi Ziners,

First of all, a very happy fifth anniversary to TheTravelzine!

And since something made of wood is traditional for the fifth anniversary, my message concerns parks, many of which have, well, woods.

When in a national or state park, my husband and I have always elect to take a tour. One usually signs up for these tours upon arrival, as they usually have a cap on the amount of people that may attend, depending on the tour. Tours are free and led by well-informed park docents who do not receive a tip. Of course, one may make a donation to the park, but it is not necessary.

One tour at Theodore Roosevelt Island Park in Virginia, near Wash. D.C., was well attended. It was their Incredible Edibles tour and highlighted the wild edible flora and fauna (bugs and larva) that one could eat if trapped on the island. We took this tour way before the Survivor type shows were even imagined. Needless to say, the children in attendance were quite enthralled (and well-behaved, as a result.)

Last May, we attended a wedding at the Torrey Pines Hilton in La Jolla, CA, just north of San Diego. So, we took a couple of free hours to run over to Torrey Pines State Reserve, which afforded some beautiful views of a canyon against the Pacific Ocean. Serendipity! We got to the visitors' center (one must always start at a visitors' center to learn what there is to see) and found that the daily afternoon tour was starting in just fifteen minutes. Since my husband and I were the only ones to show up, we had our own private trail guide. He told us that we were seeing the park at its best, since spring rains had finally ended a 5-year drought. He gave us a history of the park and identified the exquisite flowers and birds that were in peak spring color. We could ask all the questions we wanted...

Carrie in Bardonia, NY