September 2015 ENews

So many updates! Changes! Happenings! What’s New? Check them out!

Titanic Museum to Exhibit Titanic Bandmaster Wallace Hartley’s Violin

One of the most treasured Titanic artifacts, the violin of Bandmaster Wallace Hartley, will be on display for a limited engagement at each of the Titanic Museum Attractions in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. and Branson, Mo.

Titanic Museum Attractions has announced that it has secured worldwide rights to exhibit the Wallace Hartley Titanic Violin, which sold at auction for more than $1.7 million in October 2013 by the renowned British auction house Henry Aldridge & Son to an anonymous European collector.

After the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912, Hartley and his band performed on the deck of the ship while passengers lined up and boarded lifeboats. It is rumored that “Nearer, My God, To Thee” was the final hymn Hartley played on the violin before he and all seven band members perished alongside 1,500 passengers and crew.

“In my 20 years as an auctioneer, I can honestly say I don’t think any other article has made people show as much emotion as this one,” said auction house director Andrew Aldridge.

“RMS Titanic bandleader Wallace Hartley’s violin has become the iconic symbol of the Titanic saga. Found strapped to his body after the sinking, it was returned to his wife-to-be, only to be lost to the world until it resurfaced almost a century later. Now, for the first time since an unnamed owner took possession of the violin, visitors to the Titanic Museum Attractions will be able to experience for themselves, the overwhelming sense of emotion it evokes,” said Mary Kellogg-Joslyn, co-owner of the Titanic Attractions.

The violin underwent an extensive authentication process prior to auction, which confirmed it is the violin recovered with the remains of Wallace Hartley ten days after the Titanic sank. Its auction price was the highest ever paid for a Titanic artifact.


Let's imagine it's 1905, and you are visiting Yellowstone. You arrive by train and disembark at the end of the Northern Pacific Railroad's line to Yellowstone: Gardiner Gateway. You step off the train and are awed by the grand, newly constructed stone arch framing the north entrance to the Park. From there, you board a stagecoach to pass under the Roosevelt Arch and begin your adventure in Yellowstone.

Now visualize a present-day trip to Yellowstone. You arrive at the Park's north entrance, but this time by car and your experience is quite different. You encounter frustrating traffic jams, and what you don't find is a problem too: available parking spots, pedestrian walkways, restrooms, or a safe place to stop and admire the Roosevelt Arch.

For well over one hundred years, visitors have traveled to the town of Gardiner, Montana to enter Yellowstone National Park. Today, Gardiner—population 900—plays host to more than 700,000 annual Park visitors.  Yet the downtown area was developed to accommodate a much smaller number of visitors, traveling by train and stagecoach instead of automobile. After several years of planning, the Gardiner Gateway Project kicked off this past spring. The multi-year undertaking will involve the construction of pedestrian walkways and viewing areas, visitor parking, a welcome center, educational exhibits, and an amphitheater at Arch Park for community events. Improved signage, lighting, and green spaces will further enhance safety and enjoyment.

More than 15 federal, state, local, and non-profit groups, including the Yellowstone Park Foundation, have agreed to work together to fund the project and help revitalize the Gardiner Gateway. The Foundation has committed $2.7 million in funding for this project.

Let's flash forward to the year 2018.  You arrive in Gardiner and promptly find parking set aside for visitors. Spacious pedestrian walkways enable you to stroll the downtown area, admiring the historic architecture, and checking out the local shops and eateries. At the welcome center you pick up literature to help you plan your adventures, then you relax at the viewing area where you get an up-close view of the Arch and take photographs to help preserve your memories. You experience the same awe and excitement felt by the visitors arriving to this gateway a century ago.

ARK Encounter! It’s NEW!

What is the Ark Encounter? The Ark Encounter is a one-of-a-kind historically themed attraction. In an entertaining, educational, and immersive way, it presents a number of historical events centered on a full-size, all-wood Ark, which should become the largest timber-frame structure in the USA. Additional future phases for the attraction include a Walled City, the Tower of Babel, a first-century Middle Eastern village, a journey in history from Abraham to the parting of the Red Sea, a walk-through aviary, an expanded large petting zoo, and so on. It is designed to be family oriented, historically authentic, and environmentally friendly. We also plan for the Ark Encounter to eventually include daily live mammal and bird shows, an extensive interactive children’s area, live entertainment, and many themed restaurants, creative food outposts, and shopping. The Ark Encounter will be one of the largest “green” construction projects in the country, taking advantage of the latest environmental technologies to be good stewards of creation. - See more at:

Why are you building the Ark? Through the construction of a massive full-scale Noah’s Ark, the Ark Encounter will present America and other nations with a reminder about the Bible’s account of the Ark. Many of the same talented team members that built the successful, high-tech Creation Museum are returning for the Ark Encounter. This new project is positioned to become an attraction that will capture the world’s attention.

Where will The Ark Encounter be located? The Ark Encounter will be located on I-75 in Williamstown, KY, about a 40-mile interstate drive south of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio

The National Museum of Toys & Miniatures reopens

The National Museum of Toys & Miniatures located in Kansas Cityreopened on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015. The museum was closed for 18 months as part of $8 million in renovations.

 The museum, unveiled an, $8 million renovation, displaying about 21,000 miniatures & many of its 51,000 toys in reworked displays and a better climate-controlled environment.

It was a painstaking changeover that required each piece to be individually wrapped, labeled and put into one of Kansas City’s limestone cave storage facilities for safekeeping. That process was later reversed.

The miniature collection of co-founder Barbara Hall Marshall and toy collection of Mary Harris Francis now have been augmented to take visitors through a world of nostalgia.

“In addition to the historic, our patrons clearly told us that they wanted to see the toys they grew up with,” said Cassie Mundt, community development coordinator for the museum. “So we’ve added iconic toys from the ’50s, ’60s and other decades up to about 2000.”

Malissa Knapp of Parkville, visiting with her family, said the old toys presented an opportunity to say, “Look, here’s what your grandmother played with.”

 “The people who have been here before are saying that they really like the engaging nature of the new exhibits,” said museum director Jamie Berry. “It’s more of a multigenerational experience with more things that people can touch and interact with.”

The newest miniature display, known as a fine-scale miniature, is an Art Deco jewelry store completed in 2011. It was commissioned by co-founder Marshall in honor of the museum’s 30th anniversary.

“It’s a beautiful period reproduction that gives us a chance to experience what that era looked like,” said visitor Suzanne Rush, who came from Farley, Mo., with her two granddaughters, who had faces pressed to the glass display case. “It’s just remarkable.”

Most of the miniatures are quality works made on a 1-to-12-inch scale, but some pieces are as small as 1 to 48. Some of the artists do patent research to help their replicas of furniture, machinery or toys to be as exact as possible.

 “We have the world’s largest and finest collection of miniatures, with many of them one-of-a-kind pieces commissioned by Barbara Marshall,” Mundt said, adding that “several other museums with collections like ours have closed in recent years and the pieces have gone into private hands, so our collection is more important now.”

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The Year is ENDING!

Make sure you do not miss this unique opportunity to discover and celebrate Christmas in 7 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES! (No passport required!

Old Fashion Christmas Dec 1-6th Best described a wonderful worldly experience!


SPACE STILL AVAILABLE & Early Registration Savings thru OCT 1st!!!
Visit Omaha NE-a hidden gem in the holiday season where you experience a Brazilian Gaucho welcome supper, Christmas in Germany with meal & entertainment, French luncheon and presentation, a Victorian Christmas experience, Boys Town Irish Christmas, a Greek Christmas Dinner, Southern Style luncheon, Gingerbread on Parade, the Ethnic Holiday Festival, the performance of A Christmas Carole & much much more.


Florida-JUST RELAX! Jan 12-29th
You will have the opportunity to enjoy 5 days on the Gulf side & all at the same property! We also have some rare treats for you along the way. While we spend a full day in Nashville, we have arranged a private session with John Carter Cash (the only child of Johnny & June). He will share stories and songs plus you will have the opportunity for autographs and photos!

Texas Tenors in Concert Mar 4-5th
With their Emmy Award winning PBS special now airing across the country, and Billboard chart topping albums, it’s easy to see why The Texas Tenors are quickly becoming America’s favorite new tenors. Since their whirlwind debut five years ago on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, The Texas Tenors have accumulated a long list of awards, accolades excited fans and we have tickets to this concert!

Highway 101 June 3-15th
One of those favorites that we are asked to repeat! Outstanding scenery, San Francisco City tour, Alcatraz, Dune Buggy ride along the beaches of Oregon-just to name a few of the highlights of this early summer adventure!

MN Quilt Tour June 8-11th
In 2016 this annual event takes place in St Cloud and based on the reviews from our maiden outing in 2015 we just have to offer this again! How much fabric does a motorcoach hold????

OH Canada-My Canada-EH! JULY 5-9th
In celebration of 10 years at the helm of A&B TOURS-come with me on a short tour just across the border. This tour features 2 nights in Regina SK and 2 nights in Winnipeg. Come see the Royal Mounted Police, polar bears up close, horse racing, the stories behind the stories of these two prairie province capitals.

Mystery Tour Aug 17-20th
Let the guessing begin!

New Ulm-Octoberfest OCT 7-9th
It’s new! It’s FUN!

Lots more to be announced! And we are always open to put together a tour just for your group! Churches, garden groups, fraternities-we create-you enjoy!

See you real SOON!

Facebook-join US Now

If you have not been following us on Facebook-now is a great time to do so. We have been having so much fun with pictures from the past! Talking about upcoming tours and welcoming new friends to our group. You can be as active as you want or simply observe ---- it is wonderful fun either way!



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