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Arts and Entertainment

Photos: Riding The Historic Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

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From time to time we make our escape from the toils of Los Angeles; though this is a kickass city where there's always plenty to see and do, sometimes adventures await a couple of hours away. Much like we've made some trips to Vegas, another L.A. getaway for decades has been Palm Springs, and we've been doing some exploring.

Featured in several films and television shows over the years, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a pretty stunning introduction to the dynamic desert landscape. It might be 90 degrees on Palm Canyon Drive, but once you get two and a half miles up Chino Canyon in the rotating (yes, they rotate!) tramcar, it's just plain cooler up at the top, from the temperature to the stunning views.

The history of the Tramway is one of perseverance, though you probably won't be thinking too much of that as you ascend on the wires, trying to keep your balance as the circular floor moves slowly around the windowed sides of the tram to afford you an ever-changing view of what lies below.

Keep an eye out for the yellow squares on top of the high towers; it won't look like more than a postage stamp-sized spot, but that's where helicopters landed during construction. "The helicopters flew some 23,000 missions during the 26 months of construction, hauling men and materials needed to erect the four other towers and the 35,000 sq. ft. Mountain Station," elaborates the Tramway's detailed history section.

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In 2000, the tram cars were upgraded, and are now touted as "the world's largest rotating Tram cars." Riding in them is definitely a trip!

Once at the top, you can roam about, settle in for a snack or a full meal, and then, of course, what goes up must come down. It's not cheap, we'll grant; adults ride roundtrip for $23.95, and kids 3-12 are $16.95, and apart from the few minutes you spend on the tram, it's up to you how you spend your time (and money) at the top.

While photos seem to not do the trip justice, we snapped plenty on the rides up and down. Enjoy from your "armchair" and, if you're in Palm Springs and up for it, check it out! [Tickets]

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