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Family-Friendly Winter Break Destinations




Winter break and the time around the holidays is a great time to plan a family-friendly trip. Your kids have some time off school, and you may have time off work as well. Whether you’re going someone for Christmas, New Year’s or a little of both, there are great destinations that work well for families in winter.

Some of the best include:

Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are affordable destinations with a lot to offer during the holiday season. Along with being in the beautiful smoky mountains and hopefully getting some snow, some of the holiday events in the area include:

  • The tree lighting ceremony at The Island, which is a shopping and dining complex located in Pigeon Forge.
  • Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas features four million lights and holiday-themed entertainment. It’s often ranked as one of the best Christmas events in the country.
  • The town of Pigeon Forge does Winterfest, with more than five-million lights twinkling throughout the area.
  • The Titanic Museum Attraction features a Christmas and Winter Celebration.
  • There are also many holiday-themed dinner shows during this time of year, and there’s the Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival.


Chicago isn’t as well-known for its holiday festivities as New York, but it tends to be less expensive and a great alternative if you want a big city winter break.

If you go to Chicago in December or on your kids’ holiday break, you can Christmas Around the World, which takes place at the Museum of Science and Industry. There’s also Illumination: Tree Lights at Morton Arboretum, and the Chsitkindlmarket.

You can ice skate at Millennium Park, or ride to Polar Express which is at Chicago’s Union Station.

New York City

It’s difficult to beat New York City during the winter holidays. Whether you go before or after Christmas, it’s truly an amazing experience. There’s the Rockettes at Radio City, the New York City Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker, the Rockefeller Center Tree and holiday markets throughout the city including Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, and Union Square.

You’ll have to fight the crowds, but for many families who visit the city during the holidays, it’s well worth it.

While NYC is an expensive city, there are a lot of things you can do and see that are free like the famous department store windows.

The Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville

The Gaylord Opryland Resort is a destination in and of itself. Located in Nashville, this massive hotel and convention complex puts up beautiful winter and Christmas-themed decorations.

It’s also a kid-friendly destination, and their ICE display includes ice carvings, snow tubing, and ice skating.


If you want to go somewhere warmer over your winter holiday, why not Miami?

Miami and South Florida are great during the holidays, including for families.

Holiday-related options in Miami include a visit to the Festival of Trees at Deering Estate or taking in the Miami City Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker at the Arsht Center.

Art Basel takes place in Miami in December, and there’s Santa’s Enchanted Forest at Tropical Park, which is a large holiday theme park. The Miami Lantern Light Festival also takes place and is a celebration of Chinese culture.

You can also enjoy the warm, sunny weather and the beautiful beaches if that’s more your speed for a winter holiday.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a beautiful winter destination, and it’s great if you love skiing and other winter sports. Even if you aren’t a skier or you have people in your family who aren’t, you might still want to consider Jackson Hole.

Examples of things you can do in winter that aren’t skiing include:

  • Winter tours of Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, or the National Elk Refuge. You can see these parks in a new way, even if you’ve previously visited in the warmer months. You can do tours in a heated snow coach.
  • Dog sledding tours are a good way to see wildlife, and you can do a full-day tour that will make a stop at Granite Hot Springs.
  • You can book a daytime sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge.
  • Snow tubing is a way for people of all ages and athletic abilities to enjoy snow sports. There are snow tubing parks at Snow King Ski Area and Grand Targhee Ski Resort.

Finally, Jackson Hole is home to the Aerial Tram, with stunning views of the Teton Mountains, which look especially beautiful covered in snow.

Michelle has been a part of the journey ever since Bigtime Daily started. As a strong learner and passionate writer, she contributes her editing skills for the news agency. She also jots down intellectual pieces from categories such as science and health.

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Applications of Automation in Research and Clinical Diagnostics




Precision counts in the fields of science and medicine. This is particularly true for the basic task of counting and analyzing cells, which is used in both clinical and research settings. The introduction of automatic cell counters, which provide efficiency and accuracy that manual approaches cannot match, has resulted in a notable advancement in this field.

What is Automated Cell Counting?

Automated cell counters are advanced instruments that are made to precisely and swiftly count and examine cells. In contrast to manual counting methods that rely on human vision and a microscope, automated counters use software algorithms and image technology to count and analyze cells. This ensures more accurate findings by expediting the procedure and lowering the possibility of human error.

Type of Automated Cell Counters

There are several types of automated cell counters used in research and clinical diagnostics, each employing different technologies and methods for cell counting. The main types of automated cell counters include:

Image Cytometers: These devices use optical microscopy to statically image cells, which are frequently labeled to detect certain molecules or provide contrast. Cell counting is aided by the automation of image cytometers made possible by digital cameras.
Flow Cytometers: Use a regulated flow of suspended cells to align individual cells for analysis. Staining cells with fluorochromes enables visual characterization of the cells and facilitates high-throughput analysis.
Cell Sorters: Arrange cells according to their electrical properties. Sorting is accomplished by dividing the fluid stream containing the cells into droplets whose electrical charge varies according to the kind of cell and guiding them into various containers.
Time-Lapse Cytometers: Allow for continuous monitoring of cells in an incubator by employing non-heat-generating light sources, such as LEDs, in conjunction with image cytometry to investigate cellular dynamics without causing damage to living cells.
Hemocytometers: A qualified technician, an optical microscope, and a gridded slide with known volume wells are used in this manual cell counting approach. Up until the 1950s, hemocytometers were the norm for counting cells.

These various types of automated cell counters provide effective and precise methods for cell counting and analysis, each with unique benefits and uses in clinical and research environments.


Automated cell counters have become indispensable tools in understanding cell behavior. They are used in various research fields, including cancer research, drug discovery, and stem cell therapy.

One of the key benefits in research is the ability to handle large volumes of data. For instance, in drug discovery, automated counters can quickly analyze the effects of thousands of compounds on cell growth and death. This high-throughput capability accelerates the pace of research, allowing scientists to screen potential drugs more efficiently than ever before.

Moreover, automated cell counters offer the precision required to detect subtle changes in cell populations. This is crucial in fields like cancer research, where understanding the behavior of cancer cells can lead to the development of more effective treatments.

Clinical Diagnostics

The impact of automated cell counters extends beyond the research laboratory and into clinical diagnostics. In medical laboratories, these devices play a critical role in routine blood tests, infectious disease diagnostics, and monitoring patient health during treatment.

For example, in a routine complete blood count (CBC), automated cell counters can quickly provide a detailed analysis of different blood cell types. This information is vital for diagnosing conditions such as anemia, infections, and blood cancers. The speed and accuracy of automated counters mean that patients can receive diagnoses and begin treatment more swiftly.

In the context of infectious diseases, automated counters can detect and quantify specific pathogens or immune cells, helping to diagnose infections quickly and accurately. During the COVID-19 pandemic, automated cell counting technologies were instrumental in monitoring virus spread and patients’ immune responses, showcasing their value in crisis situations.

Challenges and Future Directions

The initial cost of these devices can be high, and their operation requires specific technical expertise. Additionally, different types of cells and conditions may require customized counting protocols, necessitating ongoing adjustments and updates to software algorithms.


Looking ahead, ongoing advancements in technology promise to further enhance the capabilities of automated cell counters. The global cell counting market growth is anticipated at a CAGR of 7.5% by 2032. Innovations in imaging technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are expected to improve accuracy, speed, and the ability to analyze more complex cell characteristics. As these technologies evolve, automated cell counters will become even more integral to research and diagnostics, opening new avenues for scientific discovery and patient care.

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