Video: History Lesson in Belfast

Michael and Mariana speak with Protestant loyalist about "the Troubles."
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A Journey Through Time

Every city, state and country has historic sites that tell a story, whether it’s as significant as the signing of the Declaration of Independence or as simple as the childhood of a famous author. And when you connect with those stories, you can truly connect with your destination.

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Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Johnson Space Center

Johnson Space Center

Think you have the right stuff? Find out at Johnson Space Center, a 1,621-acre complex where NASA astronauts and international partners train for space missions. Take a tram tour past sites such as Historic Mission Control, where NASA once monitored space programs. Plus, see a full-scale replica of Space Shuttle Adventure’s mid-deck and flight deck (pictured). 960 1280

Space Center Houston   

Texas State Capitol

Texas State Capitol

When the Texas State Capitol was unveiled in 1888, it was billed as the “Seventh Largest Building in the World.” It’s still pretty spectacular: Surrounded by 22 acres of grounds and monuments, the capitol in Austin, TX, has nearly 400 rooms and over 900 windows, making it the largest state capitol in the US. 960 1280

iStockphoto   

Congress Avenue Bridge Bats

Congress Avenue Bridge Bats

Bats, bats and more bats. Every spring, hundreds of thousands of mostly female, pregnant Mexican free-tailed bats migrate north to give birth; the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge in downtown Austin is their favorite hangout. See this spectacular sight for yourself -- it’s the largest urban bat colony in North America. 960 1280

iStockphoto   

Cowboys Stadium

Cowboys Stadium

Go Cowboys! Venture inside the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, and prepare to be wowed: With a seating capacity of 85,000 spectators, it’s the third-largest stadium in the NFL. It’s also home to the world's largest column-free interior and the fourth largest high-def video screen. Plus, it’s the world’s largest domed structure. 960 1280

Reuters   

Houston Rodeo

Houston Rodeo

A cowgirl races around the barrel at a rodeo. Check out heart-stopping action like this at the Houston Rodeo, the world's biggest live entertainment and livestock exhibition, held each March. The annual 20-day show attracts between 60,000 and 150,000 people each day. 960 1280

iStockphoto   

The Alamo

The Alamo

Remember the Alamo! Visit the Alamo, a Roman Catholic mission and fortress of yore near modern-day San Antonio that saw 13 days of battle between Mexican and Texan forces in 1836. Each year, more than 2.5 million people visit the 4.2-acre complex, which endures as a dramatic symbol of Texas’ independence from Mexico. 960 1280

iStockphoto   

San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk

Talk a stroll along the San Antonio River Walk, a lively pedestrian walkway along the banks of the river lined with shops, bars and restaurants. Or glide along in an open-air taxi. Quieter stretches of the river walk await along its northern section, known as Museum Reach; a river taxi stop is located here, near the San Antonio Museum of Art. 960 1280

istockphoto   

Texas State Fair

Texas State Fair

Get ready for 24 days of excitement … and lots of fried food: deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried s'mores, deep-fried pork ribs, deep-fried peanut butter… did we say “fried”? But first, hop aboard this 212-foot-high Ferris wheel, the largest in North America, at the Texas State Fair -- a tradition since 1886 that takes place every fall at Dallas’ historic Fair Park. 960 1280

iStock  

Schlitterbahn

Schlitterbahn

Splish-splash, plunge into fun at Schlitterbahn, a family-owned-and-operated waterpark with several locations throughout Texas. Take your pick: the 26-acre Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, the 15-acre Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark on South Padre Island, and in summer 2013 Schlitterbahn Cedar Park, an entertainment resort eventually slated to span 95 acres. 960 1280

Schlitterbahn  

Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas

Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas

Don't leave Texas without tearing into a rack of BBQ ribs. The place to go is Lockhart, TX. Billed as the “Barbecue Capital of Texas,” this small city 25 miles southeast of Austin is home to 4 major barbecue restaurants (including Kreuz Market), which attract roughly 250,000 BBQ-lovers each year. 960 1280

Dennis Sabo  

SeaWorld San Antonio

SeaWorld San Antonio

What kid wouldn’t love this? Find these adorable bottlenose dolphins at SeaWorld San Antonio’s Dolphin Cove. The 250-acre marine mammal park, oceanarium and animal theme park is the largest of the 3 waterparks in the SeaWorld chain; it is also home to the world’s largest marine-life park. 960 1280

Nan Palmero, flickr  

Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country

In a state second only to Alaska in size, take time out for a Texas day trip to a place refreshingly … small. Kick back in the tranquil town of Fredericksburg, TX. Located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, the town still retains the personable touch of its early settlement days, in 1846 by 120 German immigrants. Explore quaint shops like this, big on small-town charm. 960 1280

Kenny Braun  

Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon

Put your pedal to the metal with a mountain-bike trek through Palo Duro. Known as the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” this sweep of rock and mesa walls in the Texas Panhandle is the second largest canyon in the US. For more natural wonders, head south to Big Bend National Park, the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert in the US. 960 1280

Kenny Braun  

South by Southwest

South by Southwest

The largest music festival of its kind in the world, South by Southwest attracts more than 2,000 performers each year, playing in 100 venues. Recent headliners have included Lee Ann Womack and Lucinda Williams, along with conference guests like Al Gore, author Neil Gaiman and … Grumpy Cat. 960 1280

Extreme Airshots  

Rio Grande Valley

Rio Grande Valley

If it’s bird-watching you’re after, head to the Rio Grande Valley. Situated in the southernmost tip of South Texas, the valley is home to more than 500 bird species, including many tropical bird species -- found nowhere else in the US -- that don’t stray far from the tranquil Rio Grande River (pictured). 960 1280

Kenny Braun  

Billy Bob’s Texas

Billy Bob’s Texas

Texas and honky-tonk go hand-in-hand, and the place for all the boot-stomping action is Billy Bob’s Texas. This country-and-western nightclub in the Fort Worth Stockyards, near Dallas, bills itself as the “world’s largest honky-tonk -- and with more than 127,000 square feet, that’s no exaggeration. 960 1280

jahborgs, flickr  

Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo

If you’ve got kids, they’ll want to see this zoo. Spanning 106 acres, the Dallas Zoo ranks as the largest of its kind in Texas. It’s also the oldest (established in 1888), with an impressive list of exotic creatures: Find them in the “Giants of the Savanna,” an 11-acre expanse home to giraffes, impala, zebras, lions, cheetahs, elephants and more. 960 1280

Perry Quan, flickr  

Debris at Japan's Sendai Airport
Debris at Japan's Sendai Airport

Debris at Japan's Sendai Airport

In March, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake shook Japan and triggered a tsunami. At the Sendai Airport in Natori, Miyagi, Japan, the tsunami washed debris inland, including a private plane. The quake was also responsible for destabilizing a power plant in the region. 960 1280

Getty  

Texas Wildfires

Texas Wildfires

Emergency crews battle one of the most destructive wildfires in Texas history. The fire claimed 2 lives, destroyed 1500 homes, burned more than 45 square miles around Bastrop and created a smoky haze over Austin, 25 miles to the west. 960 1280

Getty  

Tornado damage in Joplin,MO

Tornado damage in Joplin,MO

A tornado rips through a neighborhood in Joplin, MO, killing more than 120 people on May 25, 2011, making it the United States’ single deadliest tornado in 60 years. 960 1280

Getty  

Arizona Wildfires

Arizona Wildfires

A massive Arizona wildfire spread over 400,000 acres of land, including a portion of the Coronado National Forest. The fire destroyed 29 homes, and at one point, 10, 000 people were evacuated from the area. 960 1280

Getty  

Car submerged after Christchurch Earthquake

Car submerged after Christchurch Earthquake

A car is half submerged in water and thick mud after a 6.0 magnitude earthquake and a 5.5 magnitude earthquake strike Christchurch, New Zealand, on June 13, 2011. 960 1280

Getty  

Chilean restaurant covered in Volcano Ash

Chilean restaurant covered in Volcano Ash

After lying dormant for more than 50 years, Chile's Puyehue volcano erupted in June. Thick ash covered homes and this restaurant. Thousands of residents were evacuated. 960 1280

Getty  

Washington National Cathedral damage from Earthquake

Washington National Cathedral damage from Earthquake

A 5.9 earthquake shook the East Coast of the United States on August 23, 2011, causing damage to the Washington National Cathedral, in the nation’s capital. Although the epicenter was located near Mineral, VA, residents in southern Ontario, Canada felt the quake. 960 1280

Getty  

Stranded men on flooded road after Hurricane Irene

Stranded men on flooded road after Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene’s powerful 85-mph winds cause major damage in the Caribbean and on the East Coast, including North Carolina, where several roads were completely washed away, stranding travelers. 960 1280

Getty  

Turkey earthquake damage

Turkey earthquake damage

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake wreaks havoc in Van, Turkey on October 30, 2011. More than 600 people were killed and at least 11,232 buildings sustained some damage. On November 9, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hits Van again, causing 40 deaths and hundreds of injuries. 960 1280

Getty  

Tropical Storm Lee washes out bridge

Tropical Storm Lee washes out bridge

Tropical Storm Lee hits the US Gulf Coast on September 1, 2011, causing major storms and heavy rainfall in south Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle. Rains caused significant flooding and damage in these areas. 960 1280

Ruhrfisch, Wikimedia Commons  

Arizona Dust Storm

Arizona Dust Storm

A major dust storm sweeps through the southern portion of the southwest Arizona, including Phoenix, on July 5, 2011. Triggered by thunderstorms and high winds, the storm causes flight delays and sparks numerous reports of power outages. 960 1280

Reuters  

Thailand Flooding

Thailand Flooding

In July, floods strike Thailand, killing nearly 400 people and disrupts the lives of more the 2 million people. This photo, taken in November, shows residents using boats, make-shift rafts or traveling by foot, through flood waters in northern Bangkok. 960 1280

Reuters  

Arkansas Dead Birds

Arkansas Dead Birds

A few unexplained events happened this year, including thousands of blackbirds that fell out of the sky in Beebe, Arkansas. Stress from New Year's Eve fireworks may have caused the deaths of up to 5,000 birds. 960 1280

Reuters  

Travel Channel Explores History

US Fleet Week Events

Take a tour of armed warships and witness the amazing aerobatic skills of the Blue Angels. Check out our list of US Fleet Week events this year.