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Kiwanis bucket list

Jack Brockley | May 31, 2019

Moonbows, such as the one at Cumberland Falls, are rarer than the sun’s rainbows.

Among the benefits of working on Kiwanis magazine are the opportunities to meet wonderful people, witness incredible acts of service and discover spectacular sights. So, when someone suggests we list our favorite “Kiwanis attractions,” we find it difficult to make a mere list. But here are some recommendations for your bucket list.

The Vulcan statue glows beneath an aerial fireworks display. Photo by Meg McKinney

Vulcan
Location: Birmingham, Alabama 

He’s 56 feet tall, a Roman god and the world’s largest iron-ore statue. Impressive though he may be, Vulcan used to be a rusting heap. In the 1930s, the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham rescued Vulcan and placed him prominently atop Red Mountain, where he became a local icon. 

“It’s like the Statue of Liberty is to New York City,” says Birmingham Kiwanian Tom Thagard. 

For its 100th anniversary, the Kiwanis club chose Vulcan as the center of a vast community-improvement project that would include trails, parks, bike lanes and a lights how starring the iron man himself. 

Before you go, visit visitvulcan.com.

More than 30 varieties of roses decorate the arbor and grounds of the Stanley Park Rose Garden.

Stanley Park Rose Garden 
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia 

During Kiwanis International’s 2013 convention in Vancouver, British Columbia, attendees spent breaks in the schedule by wandering through nearby Stanley Park, which is widely known for its flower gardens. One of the best displays, the Rose Garden, was established in 1920 by Vancouver Kiwanians. 

The sloping landscape is arrayed with more than 3,500 rose bushes and an arbor draped with climbing roses and clematis. 

The park’s website recommends scheduling visits between June and October for peak rose season and March to May for its flowering bulb displays. 

While you're at the garden, walk over to the Malkin Bowl. Nearby you’ll discover the Warren G. Harding Memorial. Harding was the first U.S. president to visit Canada. Shortly after, he died. Kiwanians from both Canada and the United States contributed funds to build the memorial.

The original Kiwanis Trail wooden bridge was built in 1927. It contained nothing but natural timber, 1,200 trees having been used. Contrast this with the replacement concrete bridge show below.

The Kiwanis Trail
Location: Corbin, Kentucky 

This concrete bridge replaced a large wooden structure that had been built by the Corbin, Kentucky, community, led by their Kiwanis club.. There once was a time when you couldn’t get to Cumberland Falls from Corbin. Or so legends say. Motorists in those new-fangled contraptions called automobiles could hear the rushing water, but they simply were on the wrong side of the Cumberland River and a heavily forested, steeply hilled terrain. 

On July 10, 1927, members of the Corbin Kiwanis Club modified a Model T Ford and embarked on a daring trip through the wilderness. The journey took eight hours. When they returned home, they arrived with the idea to build a road to the falls, including an impressive trestle that required 1,200 trees. 

Truly a community effort, 200 men and women built the trail in about two months’ time. The road was accepted as a highway in 1931. Much of the picturesque drive today from Corbin to the falls is along the same route, which passes the entrance of Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

You may want to arrange your visit according to the lunar schedule. Cumberland Falls — also called “Niagara of the West” — is one of only a few places in the world where conditions give you a chance at seeing a moonbow. 

Kiwanis Monument 
Location: Tawas, Michigan

The pyramid-shaped Kiwanis Monument includes stones collected from throughout the state of Michigan and displaying the names of individuals and Kiwanis clubs that supported reforestation of the Huron-Manistee National Forests. Any GPS app will estimate that you can drive east from Michigan’s Westgate Welcome Center and Overlook near Hale and reach Lake Huron in about 30 minutes. That’s fairly accurate but not likely, because about one-third of the way along the River Road Scenic Byway, you’ll want to stop near Monument Road, get out of your vehicle and gaze across a panorama of beauty: the Huron-Manistee National Forests. 

Among pines and hardwoods, you’ll discover a tall stone pyramid topped by a tall letter “K.” There, a plaque reads: “Kiwanis Forest 1928-1929 Planted Cooperatively Michigan District of Kiwanis International and the United States Forest Service.” 

Kiwanians donated 7 million seedlings which were planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of a reforestation project. “Today the forest they planted covers nearly 10,000 acres,” reports the Oscoda Township website.


Dancers leap during a Fiesta Noche del Rio performance. Photo by Carlos Javier Sanchez

 

Fiesta Noche del Rio 
Location: San Antonio, Texas 

The Riverwalk is beautiful. It’s like Chicago’s Magnificent Mile with shops, restaurants and hotels. But instead of North Michigan Avenue, this commercial corridor has the peaceful San Antonio River flowing through it with trees arching overhead and flatboats cruising beneath arched pedestrian bridges. 

The jewel of this passageway — the heart of its Spanish character — is on exhibit most Friday and Saturday evenings at the Arneson River Theater. There, from June through August, the Kiwanis Club of San Antonio presents “Fiesta Noche del Rio,” treating audiences to a cultural tour that travels through Spain, Argentina, the United States and Texas. 

“We have audience members from New York tell us this is just as good as a Broadway show,” says the show’s director, Elizabeth “Lisa” Sanchez-Lopez. 

Before you go, visit fiestanochesa.com

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