Photo Of The Day: Santa Monica Pier, Transformed

Santa Monica Pier at night
HarshLight, Flickr

Our friends at AOL Travel just published the latest installment of their Best Beach Cruiser Rides, and it focuses on an 8½-mile journey from Santa Monica to Venice Beach in California. The Santa Monica Pier offers a pretty, scenic view of the Pacific Ocean during the day. But at night? The setting sun combines with bright paint schemes and flashy neon lights to create a feast for the eyes.

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Google Street View Helps Visualize Cool Summer Attractions

As summer blazes on, travelers are looking for cool places to go. A quick escape from summer heat to a water park, beach or lake might be just what they have in mind too. But how about a look first? Google Street View can give us a panoramic view from positions along many streets in the world, including some major summer attractions.

A little warm where you are today? Click on one of these featured attractions for a taste of coolness and summer fun ahead.

Adventure Island is a water park located northeast of Tampa, Florida, across the street from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, featuring 30 acres of water rides, dining and other attractions.

Discovery Cove is a theme park in Greater Orlando, Florida. Guests can interact with a variety of marine animals, most notably bottlenose dolphins. The park is located adjacent to sister parks SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica. In addition to swimming with dolphins, Discovery Cove guests can interact with exotic birds, tropical fish, rays and land mammals.

Santa Monica Pier is a large double-jointed pier located at the foot of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, California, and home to Pacific Park and a family amusement park with a large Ferris wheel.

SeaWorld Orlando
is a theme park, and marine-life based zoological park, near Orlando, Florida, that when combined with its neighbor Discovery Cove and the Aquatica waterpark, it forms a larger entertainment complex devoted to Earth’s oceans and the array of life that inhabits them.

Google Street View was introduced in the United States but can now be seen in 48 countries around the world.

See more Google summer attractions in the U.S. through Street View imagery, and make plans to cool off today.

Wet and Wild in De Palm Island Aruba

[Flickr photo by matheuslotero]

25,000 runners compete in annual marathon

runnersOn Sunday, March 18, over 25,000 runners traveling from all over the planet compete in the 27th annual Honda LA Marathon. Over a million spectators are expected to watch on routes that pass some of LA’s most famous landmarks. Starting in Dodger Stadium then following a route to Santa Monica, live bands and cheerleaders will be at mile markers throughout the race to entertain spectators and motivate runners. The event also features a number of events and new features, both before and after.

The Honda LA Marathon Expo, two days before the event, is the home of Participant Packet Pick-Up for all 25,000 marathon runners. The Expo is free, open to the public, and is held at Dodger Stadium.

The LA Big 5K, is a unique marathon experience and the official warm up race for the Honda LA Marathon. The race winds 3.1 miles and draws thousands of participants, many of whom are gearing up for the marathon the next day.Later that night, runners will gather for the annual Carbo Load Dinner at another landmark along the Stadium to the Sea course: the Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood, located next to Grauman’s on Hollywood Boulevard and adjacent to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Honda LA Marathon Finish Line Festival is the final celebration for the 25,000 marathon runners and their families. On hand will be exhibitors showcasing the latest developments in sports, fitness, and nutrition. The festival is home to the post-race massage area as well as the Family Reunion area, ensuring that all marathon finishers and their families pass through after the race.

This year’s 26.2 mile-long course, called “The Stadium to the Sea,” will pass The Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Sunset Boulevard and Rodeo Drive, then end at the beach by Santa Monica Pier where spectators will be watching on a huge, seaside bulletin board.

How to Run a Marathon: Tips for Race Day

Flickr photo Los Angeles Marathon

Pacific Park at Santa Monica Pier sold for $34 million

Pacific Park, the amusement park at the iconic Santa Monica Pier, was sold for $34 million. The new owners are an Orlando-based real estate company called CNL Lifestyle Properties Inc. While the park’s name may not be familiar, many will recognize it from its appearances on television and in movies like Fat Albert, Cellular, and Jarhead. Santa Monica Amusements will continue to operate the park which attracts more than 4 million visitors a year.

While Pacific Park is a tiny amusement park, I had to see it in person when I visited Los Angeles a few years ago. West Coaster, the park’s sole roller coaster, is short and rather tame. However, there’s a great view of the ocean from the ride’s last helix. Also, I got two consecutive rides for $5, which isn’t a bad deal. Pacific Park is also home to the World’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel.

[Photo credit – Flickr user: hjl]

Related Video: How to Enjoy Santa Monica Beach and Pier by AOL Travel