ABC to launch “Weekend Adventures” this fall

The ABC television network has announced a new line-up of weekend programming for the fall, with a host of new outdoor and travel related shows on the docket. This three-hour block of programs will include six new shows that will air under the ABC Weekend Adventures umbrella, immediately following Good Morning America in 95% of the U.S. market.

The six new shows that will each occupy 30 minutes of the time slot, beginning with Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown. Each week the show’s well-known host will offer a top ten list of animals that occupy a specific category. For example, the top ten fiercest predators or the ten most colorful birds. The aim of the show is to offer insights and images on some of the magnificent wildlife that occupies our planet.

Joining Jack Hanna will be Jeff Corwin who will host a show entitled Ocean Mysteries, which will take us deep under the ocean to explore the amazing plant and animal life that lives in our seas. Mark Koops, the creator of The Biggest Loser, will produce a show called Agents of Change, which will demonstrate the ability for one person to have an impact on the world around them, while The Delicious Adventures of Claire Thomas sends its host, and her kitchen, to a variety of communities looking for inspiration to create tasty and healthy meals.

Perhaps most interesting of all will be Born to Explore, an adventure travel show hosted by explorer Richard Wiese. The show will send Wiese into Australia‘s Northern Territory where he’ll explore the culture and myths of the Aboriginal people, while giving viewers a breathtaking tour of geography and archaeology that exists in the Outback.

The new shows are set aimed at viewers of all ages, although they will have a slant towards the teenage crowd. They are set to begin airing on September 3rd.

AAA Great Vacations Expo: Andrew Zimmern, Jack Hanna and travel info galore

Last year I went to a AAA virtual travel show. Although it was very cool indeed, this weekend’s in person travel show opportunity–AAA Great Vacations Expo, is a perfect place to scout out travel options for 2009. The fact that it’s in Columbus makes it a no brainer for me. If you can swing it, come.

First off, Andrew Zimmern is going to be there on Sunday. As a Bizarre Foods fan, it will be a kick to see him in person and hear about his behind the scenes travel experiences.

On Saturday, Jack Hanna will be talking about his work with animals. I’m also interested in hearing what Amy Alipio, the Associate Editor of National Geographic Traveler’s “City Life” department has to say. She’s going to be talking about some of the world’s most interesting destinations.

Also, throughout Saturday, there are several offerings that were developed with kids in mind. In addition to Jack Hanna and his animal friends, the Ohio Wildlife Center and other organizations have kid-friendly activities. Sponge Bob is also making an appearance. Check out the event schedule for details. My son is already chomping to go. Sponge Bob to him is what Andrew Zimmern is to me.

In addition to the talks, I’m looking forward to wandering among the exhibitors. Browsing among tables laden with travel offerings is a chance to wander through possibilities.

As a person who likes to check out model homes and RVs for the voyeuristic pleasure, I imagine this weekend’s travel show will be a chance to peek into the various vacation opportunities. Should we rent a house near a beach in North Carolina–or head to a rafting vacation in West Virginia? What’s close to home? How cheap is luxury?

Although I’m not planning on an Alaskan cruise any time soon, finding out the options from someone who plans such trips is appealing. So is finding out about more adventure travel options or traveling green. Both themes are hot themes this year.

I imagine that going to this travel show will be like trying on different outfits to see which one is the best fit. Although many exhibitors are based in Ohio, several have reaches outside the state. I’m looking for those travel deals that are hard to pass up, as well as the ones I haven’t thought of before. For example, at the virtual show, I found out about a company that specializes in cruises on European rivers. Uniworld Cruises will be among the more than 100 exhibitors. As with many of the exhibitors, booking a vacation this weekend means a discount.

After the weekend, I’ll let you know what tidbits I’ve found out–and what Andrew Zimmern is like in person.

If you are planning on going, the event is at Veterans Memorial from Friday through Sunday. Vets Memorial is located on West Broad St., near COSI, the science museum–also a worthy stop. Make a weekend of it. Check out this post on 10 things there are to do in or near downtown Columbus.