Holland's Keukenhof Gardens—the Largest Flower Garden in the World—Is the Perfect Spring Destination

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Spring is in full bloom, and people are visiting flower gardens around the world to enjoy the season's bounty while it's still here. One of the most famous of these attractions is Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands, and as Country Living reports, it's only open for a brief window in 2019.

Keukenhof Gardens is the largest flower garden on Earth. Located in Holland, just a 45-minute train ride from Amsterdam, it contains 800 varieties of the tulips the region is famous for. The site is also populated with beds of hyacinths, daffodils, roses, and irises. More than 7 million flowers bloom each spring across the 32 hectares of land, making Keukenhof a bucket-list destination for botanical enthusiasts.

As with the spring season, the gardens' run each year is fleeting: After opening for 2019 on March 21, Keukenhof will close to the public on May 19. But it's not too late for anyone wishing to catch the tail-end of tulip season. Adult tickets are available for $19 online, and the attraction is still open daily between 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Holland isn't the only place that's famous for its flowers. A farm in west Michigan boasts an giant lavender labyrinth, and Japan’s Ashikaga Flower Park is famous for it's enchanting wisteria tunnels.

Flower garden in Holland.
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Flower garden in Holland.
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Tulips in garden.
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Flower garden in Holland.
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

[h/t Country Living]

Airlines Are No Longer Allowed to Ban Service Dogs Based on Breed

chaivit/iStock via Getty Images
chaivit/iStock via Getty Images

As the species of service and emotional support animals have become more diverse, airlines have had to make some tough decisions. Birds, monkeys, and snakes have been barred from boarding airplanes with passengers, but even more conventional pets like dogs have been rejected based on their breed. A new rule from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) aims to change that. As Travel + Leisure reports, the agency now forbids airlines from discriminating against service dogs of particular breeds, including pit bulls.

Last year, Delta banned all pit bulls from flying, regardless of whether or not they were certified therapy animals. United Airlines also banned pit bulls last year, along with 20 other dog breeds, including pugs, bulldogs, mastiffs, and shih tzus.

Under the new DOT guidelines, these policies are no longer legal. The statement reads: "The Department’s Enforcement Office views a limitation based exclusively on breed of the service animal to not be allowed under its service animal regulation. The Enforcement Office intends to use available resources to ensure that dogs as a species are accepted for transport."

The new rule applies specifically to service animals, or animals that have been trained to perform a job that's essential to their owner's wellbeing. Emotional support animals, which don't require special training and aren't covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, don't qualify.

Even if a pet is a certified service animal, airlines still have the right to reject them in certain cases. Air travel companies can request documents related to an animal's vaccination, training, or behavior history. If they find anything in the papers that indicates they're not safe to fly, airlines can turn them away on that basis.

In the same statement, the Department of Transportation clarifies which species of service animals should be allowed on flights. Miniature horses are now included on the list of service animals airlines must allow to fly, while ferrets, rodents, snakes, reptiles, and spiders are the only species airlines can ban outright.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

An 89-Year-Old Grandmother Is Visiting All 61 National Parks With Her Grandson

Sunrise in the Smoky Mountains National Park
Sunrise in the Smoky Mountains National Park
SeanPavonePhoto/iStock via Getty Images

The U.S. has 61 National Parks—including several hidden gems—but some people haven’t been to a single one. Until 2015, Joy Ryan was one of those people. Her adult grandson, Brad Ryan, told her about a hiking trip he once took on the Appalachian Trail, and Joy said that in her 85 years, she had never seen a mountain—except on TV—or an ocean. When her husband was still alive, the couple would drive to a lake in Florida, but avoided the coast.

“She told me at that time that she really, really regretted that she didn’t get to do more of that type of thing and have more experiences in life,” Ryan told CBS News. Joy, now 89 years old, lives in Duncan, Ohio, a “two-traffic light town.” She spent most of her life working a minimum wage job and raising three sons, two of whom died young. She’s a leukemia survivor, and in recent years has battled pneumonia.

In 2015, when Ryan was attending veterinary school, one of his classmates committed suicide. To cope with the tragedy and because life is short, he invited Joy on a three-day camping trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, where she finally got the chance to see some mountains in real life. The adventure went well enough that in 2017 it inspired the unlikely pair to start a GoFundMe campaign so they could hit up all 61 parks. Flash forward to 2019, and the duo has visited 29 parks, and counting.

So far, they’ve visited 38 states—Alaska and Hawaii are next—and driven 25,000 miles in the past three and a half years. One time a moose chased them, but according to Joy, of the animals they've seen, a prairie dog is her favorite.

Ryan told the BBC that this time with his grandma has inspired him, and he’s liked looking at the world through her eyes. “It helped me to slow down—the way she would notice the little things like the color of the mushrooms on the ground,” he said. “I was focused on goals, like climbing the mountain, but sometimes it’s not all about the epic views; it’s about enjoying those little moments, too.”

To see where they end up next, you can follow Grandma Joy’s Road Trip on Instagram.

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