Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Jungle ruins, sea life await in Belize ]]> Lead story image

SAN IGNACIO, Belize — The same turquoise waters that lure tourists to Caribbean destinations slosh around Belize’s island chain. But tiny Belize has a major advantage in reeling in the holidaymakers — spectacular Maya ruins tucked away in lush jungle. The nation is home to more prehistoric buildings than modern-day ones, according to its Institute of Archaeology. That ancient appeal draws in backpackers eager for adventure as well as divers ready to gawk at its bustling reefs or plunge into its famed Blue Hole. Belize has all the ingredients for a surf and turf vacation — at least for those … ]]> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 14:42:01 -0600 <![CDATA[ Elvis Presley planes may be exiting Graceland site ]]> Lead story image

By April of next year, the planes named Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II could be gone from Elvis Presley’s Graceland. ]]> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 17:54:00 -0600 <![CDATA[ Immerse yourself in all-things Wyeth this summer, fall ]]> Lead story image

CHADDS FORD, Pa. — A recent review of an Andrew Wyeth show calls his famous painting “Christina’s World” the “best-loved worst painting in history.” But don’t be a hater. Some of us love Wyeth, his work, and well, his entire family — including his father N.C. Wyeth and son Jamie. “Christina’s World” is at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, but fans can immerse themselves in Wyeth world by visiting historic sites and permanent collections in Maine and Pennsylvania, along with museums in Boston and Washington that are hosting special exhibits this summer. Here are the details: CHADDS FORD, PENNSYLVANIA … ]]> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 15:16:00 -0600 <![CDATA[ Keeping Baltimore’s painted window screens alive ]]> Lead story image

BALTIMORE — Baltimore is known for its row houses — modest brick buildings lining sidewalks so narrow, you can see right through the front windows into people’s homes. To add privacy, window screens were sometimes painted over with pictures of idyllic rural scenes: red-roofed cottages with winding paths and ponds with swans. In their mid-20th century heyday, painted screens might have covered 200,000 windows around Baltimore, according to Elaine Eff, author of “The Painted Screens of Baltimore.” “They used to be everywhere,” she said. “It was the coolest thing. Every house might have a dozen painted screens.” Now Eff and … ]]> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 15:18:59 -0600 <![CDATA[ Caesars to close Showboat Atlantic City ]]> Lead story image

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Casino contraction hit Atlantic City for the second time this year, as the parent company of the Showboat Casino Hotel announced it will close the Mardi Gras-themed casino on Aug. 31. Caesars Entertainment said company will shutter the poorest-performing of its four Atlantic City casinos. CEO Gary Loveman said in a statement that the “difficult decision” is necessary to protect the rest of its business in Atlantic City, where it currently owns four of the 11 casinos. “While we regret the impact that this decision will have on our Showboat associates, we believe this is a … ]]> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 14:42:01 -0600 <![CDATA[ Take a stroll in these Istanbul neighborhoods ]]> Lead story image

ISTANBUL — Istanbul, the noisy metropolis on the Bosporus Strait lauded by many a travel ranking, has much more to offer than grand mosques and bazaars. Away from the din of typical tourist haunts, a walk around the neighborhoods of Karakoy, Balat and Kuzguncuk will peel back the surface to reveal the city’s multilayered history, and the lifestyles of those who’ve lived it. And while headlines persist on Turkey’s uneasy political situation, which included a recent government shutdown of Twitter to silence critics, protests have dwindled for now. For tourism, it’s business as usual, with the government counting 35 million … ]]> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 13:30:00 -0600 <![CDATA[ ‘Rock in Rio’ site planned for Las Vegas ]]>

LAS VEGAS — A group including casino company MGM Resorts announced plans Monday to build a 33-acre open-air music venue on the Las Vegas Strip to host a four-day Rock in Rio USA festival beginning in May 2015. MGM Resorts International officials said the “City of Rock” development to be built between the Circus Circus resort and Sahara Avenue would serve as home to what they expect will be one of the largest concert festival events in the world. Rock in Rio began in 1985 in Brazil, where 600,000 tickets for the event last September sold out in four hours, according to … ]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:37:23 -0600 <![CDATA[ Las Pozas a surreal art garden amid Mexican jungle ]]> Lead story image

XILITLA, Mexico — At the end of a long, dirt road in Mexico’s northeast jungle, two spiral staircases appear, leading nowhere amid an ornate concrete structure. Giant concrete fleur-de-lis flank a pathway, and tall bamboo-shaped columns surround a house with no walls. Oversize plaster orchids are in permanent bloom, while a natural waterfall ceaselessly flows down a mountain. This is Las Pozas, a dreamy, little-known garden of surreal art, where sculptures evoke the ruins of ancient Greece but are overrun by exotic jungle plants. It was created by the late Edward James, a British multimillionaire and arts patron who favored … ]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 14:24:01 -0600 <![CDATA[ Disney’s ‘Small World’ celebrating big anniversary ]]> Lead story image

NEW YORK — Disney on Friday launched a website to create a global sing-along for “it’s a small world,” marking 50 years since the classic attraction with the unforgettable earworm of a song opened at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. The “it’s a small world” ride became a centerpiece of Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., in 1966, and the famous song still plays in a continuous loop at “small world” rides in Disney parks. The new website,, invites the public to submit videos of themselves singing the song. Fans can also create virtual dolls on the site, mixing … ]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 14:30:00 -0600 <![CDATA[ Dine in fine style while in New Orleans for Mardi Gras ]]> Lead story image

Visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras season? You’ll find pizza, hot dog stands and rolling carts of cotton candy galore along the parade routes, but some of the city’s finest fare can also be consumed along St. Charles Avenue, the main drag for the biggest and glitziest star-studded processions of Carnival. ]]> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 18:59:21 -0600 <![CDATA[ Island hopping made easy — Enjoy Hawaii via cruise ship ]]> Lead story image

ABOARD PRIDE OF AMERICA — A great way to sample the many wonders of the Hawaiian Islands without the hassles of island-hopping by plane — like going through security and carting your luggage on each flight — is to instead take a cruise. My wife and I did just that when we escaped the winter cold to sail with friends on Pride of America, a classy Norwegian Cruise Line ship that sails year-round from Honolulu. We embarked from Honolulu, Oahu, and traveled to the ports of Kahului, Maui; Hilo and Kailua-Kona, also known as Hawaii’s Big Island, and Nawiliwili, Kauai, … ]]> Wed, 29 Jan 2014 17:22:00 -0600 <![CDATA[ Jennifer Hudson, Styx, Lady Antebellum headlining Carnival Cruises ]]> Lead story image

NEW YORK — Back when she was a nobody, long before she blasted to stardom on “American Idol” and “Dreamgirls,” Jennifer Hudson sang on a cruise ship. And on Wednesday, the singer said she would do it again — this time as the headliner for a new concert series on Carnival Cruise Lines called Carnival Live. “I used to work on a cruise ship, a long time ago,” said Hudson before performing at a Carnival news conference in midtown Manhattan. “That’s what I did before I did ‘American Idol.’” Her stint aboard a Disney cruise ship was “my test,” she … ]]> Wed, 29 Jan 2014 16:30:01 -0600 <![CDATA[ Diagon Alley to open at Universal Orlando; requires additional ticket ]]> Lead story image

The new Harry Potter area opening at Universal Orlando Resort this summer, called Diagon Alley, will offer fans a new thrill ride themed on Gringotts bank from the Harry Potter book series, along with more than a half-dozen eateries and shops selling souvenirs like wands. But the location of Diagon Alley will also require tickets for both of Universal Orlando’s theme parks if guests want to see both the new and original Harry Potter attractions. Diagon Alley will open at the Universal Studios park. The original Wizarding World of Harry Potter area, which opened in 2010, is located at Universal’s … ]]> Wed, 29 Jan 2014 16:24:01 -0600 <![CDATA[ Ancient sites beckon travelers to Jordan ]]> Lead story image

AMMAN, Jordan — If you are keen on getting your Middle Eastern fix of ancient sites, sun, mint tea, and falafel, the Arab Spring may have challenged your travel plans. Although tourists have stayed largely safe in the Arab world in the past several years, the turmoil in Egypt, war in Syria and spill-over in Lebanon have kept some visitors away. But fear not. Jordan is a world removed from the instability that has engulfed the region and Jordanians warmly welcome tourists year-round. On a recent visit, my first to Jordan, I found myself falling in love with its tranquility … ]]> Fri, 03 Jan 2014 14:34:06 -0600 <![CDATA[ Vegas ‘Jubilee’ to close for makeover ]]> Lead story image

LAS VEGAS — “Jubilee!,” the campy Las Vegas show with elaborate sequined costumes, chorus boys and, of course, showgirls, will close on Jan. 30 for a complete makeover. The show at Bally’s Las Vegas hotel-casino is expected to reopen with a more contemporary feel in March, under the direction of Frank Gatson Jr. The show opened in 1981 under the direction of choreographer Donn Arden, an old-school showman credited with helping invent the Las Vegas showgirl. Gatson Jr. claims responsibility for developing the hand gesture from Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” music video. He was nominated for a Grammy last year for … ]]> Fri, 03 Jan 2014 17:43:51 -0600 <![CDATA[ In search of Sicily’s best ice cream ]]> Lead story image

SYRACUSE, Sicily — Sicilians pride themselves on their contribution to the world of ice cream. History may not credit them definitively with the invention of the frozen treat, but it turns out that nature allowed them to have ice long before electricity made its way to the Mediterranean island. If you visit Mount Etna, the region’s famous volcano, you can find ice trapped below layers of volcanic ash, insulating it from warm weather. In a region known for its cuisine, the ice provided an option for chilling and preserving food long before modern refrigeration. And within Italy, which already takes … ]]> Tue, 31 Dec 2013 13:42:00 -0600