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  • The Smithsonian Life List

Adventure

Ride a Stage of the Tour de France

You may not be wearing the yellow jersey, but taking a bicycle on the world's most famous race is still thrilling

Ski the Vasaloppet in Sweden

For the thrill-seeking sports enthusiasts, few races can compete with this exhilarating Swedish ski race

Hike the Appalachian Trail

For decades, the backbone of the Eastern United States has given much needed respite for thousands of nature enthusiasts

Drive the Road to Hana

The zigzagging road may take long to traverse for only being 52 miles long, but the eye candy alone makes it worthwhile

Great Natural Vistas

Diving Into the Great Barrier Reef

Beautiful beaches and unrivaled underwater views lure lovers of marine life to the world's largest coral reef

Gaze at the Northern Lights

The best reason to head north for vacation is to catch the beautiful aurora borealis

An Illuminated View of Iguazu Falls

A series of 200 separate waterfalls, Iguazu is best viewed when the river is high and the moon is full

The Beautiful and Bizarre Galápagos Islands

Evolution disciples and the merely curious can experience conspicuously adapted wildlife off the coast of Ecuador

Machu Picchu's Ancient Beauty

The "lost city of the Incas" has captivated visitors with its magnificent setting and detailed stonework

Exploring the Amazon Rain Forest

With an ecosystem under siege, every moment in this wild wonderland is one to savor

Take in South Africa From Table Mountain National Park

High above Cape Town, this craggy wildlife preserve provides sprawling views and thrilling hikes

Archaeology and Relaxation in Santorini

The Greek isle, a remnant of a long ago volcanic eruption, has most everything a traveler would want: great food and awe-inspiring scenery

Iceland's Volcanoes

Set atop a tectonic hotspot, the small island is home to breathtaking eruptions and other geologic sites

The Serenity of the Outer Hebrides

Breathtaking views and millennia of history charm guests of these islands off the coast of Scotland

Lose Yourself in the White Sands

The New Mexico national monument is a barren and desolate place with an otherworldly appeal

In the Presence of Gods

The Grandeur of Angkor Wat

The 12th century temple is the worlds largest religious structure and a jewel of Khmer architectural style

The Architectural Wonders of Bagan

Nearly a thousand years after the Burmese kingdom was formed, visitors enjoy panoramic views of the sprawling city

Exploring Ancient Ephesus

Ruled over the centuries by Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, there is much to see of the city's former splendor

The Parthenon's Old World Order (Check!)

After a recent restoration, the center of the Athenian Acropolis and symbol of Western democracy still inspires

Portals into the Past

Ponder the Pyramids of Giza

The ongoing debate about how the pyramids were built is a testament to the brilliance of its makers

Sizing Up the Great Wall

Almost too big to comprehend, the 4,500-mile wall has a lore of its own

Restoring the Taj Mahal

This year, millions of tourists will visit the marble monument—and the Indian government is restoring it for millions more

Guarding Petra

Balancing tourist access and the preservation of the sandstone city may be a tough call

A Glimpse of Old Pompeii (Check!)

Preserved under the volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius are the everyday goings-on of ancient Roman life

In the Cliffs of Mesa Verde

Climb into the Colorado cliff dwellings and imagine what life was like for the Ancestral Pueblo Indians who lived there

The Statues of Easter Island

A riddle of engineering hasn't stopped archaeologists from debating how the giant carved stones were transported around the island

The Mystery of Tikal

An ancient Mayan city, once hidden by overgrown jungle, evokes a childlike sense of wonder

Scale New Heights

Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro

A trek up the world's tallest freestanding mountain takes you through five different ecosystems and offers a stunning 19,340-foot view

The Wild Extremes of Antarctica

The coldest and windiest place on Earth is still largely undiscovered

Navigating the Yangtze River

Dubbed "the wildest, wickedest river," this 4,000-mile-long waterway has played a major role in Chinese civilization

The Grand Canyon in All Its Glory (Check!)

No matter how many times you've seen it, visiting the canyon never fails to take your breath away

Sites and Cities

The Tranquil Zen Garden of Kyoto

With Zen rocks strategically placed in carefully raked white sand, the Ryoan-ji garden evokes peace and beauty

The Louvre's Priceless Masterpieces (Check!)

Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo are just two of the works housed within the walls of this fortress-turned-royal palace-turned-museum

Venice's Timeless Splendor (Check!)

The enchanting city celebrates its Middle Age and Renaissance glory through its art, architecture and enduring spirit

The Resilient Uffizi Gallery

Having survived bombings and floods, the Florence, Italy museum is home to a priceless collection of art

Frank Lloyd Wright's Most Beautiful Work

Fallingwater, a southwest Pennsylvania house designed by the famous architect, allows residents to live within a waterfall

The Ancient Architecture of Fatehpur Sikri

Abandoned for centuries, the Indian site attracts tourists from around the world for its majestic buildings

Berlin, Alive Again

After withstanding world and cold wars, the German city is a thriving metropolis, filled with nightclubs and cultural treats

Antoni Gaudi's Barcelona

The capital's cityscape bears the unmistakable Modernist mark of the Spanish architect in its churches, buildings and parks

Wildlife Watching

Join the Migration in the Serengeti

Hordes of wildlife travel 300 miles across the "land of endless space" in the largest migration on Earth

Costa Rica: Turtles and Birds

Close government watch on wildlife has made the Central American country a must-see for animal lovers

Whale Watching in Newfoundland

Once a home base for commercial whalers, the Canadian province is now a popular locale for spotting the massive creatures

Alligators in the Everglades (check)

 

The swampy nature preserve is home to many of southern Florida's infamous reptile natives


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