Beakman, Lester put fun into science Debuting this...

TRAVEL SMARTS

October 03, 1999

Beakman, Lester put fun into science

Debuting this weekend at Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences, "Beakman's World On Tour" puts a fun twist on science for children and their parents. The exhibit is broken into five theme areas, and each has as hosts the popular television madman, Beakman, and his obnoxious sidekick, Lester the Rat.

"Beakman's Home Place" highlights games about natural selection and physics and offers visitors a chance to conduct science experiments. In "Prehistoric Passage," help Detective Beakman track dinosaurs with paleontology tools or play with a life-size ankylosaurus.

"Jungle Journey" is packed with information about the rain forest and its inhabitants, while "Space Travelers" features a trip to outer space and the chance to compute your lunar weight, experiment with gravity and ponder the possibilities of alien life. Visit "Body Invasion" and try keeping germs from infecting Beakman, or take a computer-simulated ride through the human body.

The show continues through Jan. 2, 2000.

The Academy of Natural Sciences is at 19th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Logan Circle. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and until 5 p.m. weekends and holidays. Admission: $8.50 for those 13 and older, $7.50 children children age 3 to 12, and free for children under 3. Call 215-299-1000.

FOLIAGE PACKAGES FOR NEW ENGLAND

New England is the place to witness the splendor of the changing season, and many places are aiming to please visitors with attractive packages. The Topnotch at Stowe Resort and Spa in Vermont offers guided hikes along trails around the resort as well as luxurious spa treatments. Rates start at $145. Call 800-451-8686.

Inns from Maine to Massachusetts have banded together for the Passport to New England package, which offers a tour through the region with accommodations at the 11 member inns. Among the participants: Applegate Bed & Breakfast, Lee, Mass.; Spray Cliff on the Ocean, Marblehead, Mass.; Stumble Inne, Nantucket, Mass.; the Lodge at Moosehead Lake, Greenville, Maine; Maine Stay Inn & Cottages, Kennebunkport, Maine; Elm Tree Cottage, Newport, R.I.; and Heart of the Village, Shelburne, Vt. Call 800-981-3275 or visit www.PassportToNewEngland.com.

Making airports kid - friendly

A recent poll of 200 8- to 16-year-olds concluded that kids are generally bored while waiting at airports. Asked what they'd like to see installed in waiting areas, they responded: video arcades, personal TV sets attached to chairs and big-screen TVs showing cartoons.

Other suggestions from the survey conducted by a national architecture, engineering and planning firm, HNTB Corp., included: binoculars to watch the planes, tours of the planes and magicians. What they like least about airports: boredom, waiting for the plane, checking in, picking up baggage and worrying about getting lost.

Favorite airport foods are pizza, ice cream, cinnamon rolls, cookies, fresh fruit and vegetables. When asked who they'd like to sit next to during their flight, Michael Jordan, the Spice Girls and Arthur the Aardvark beat out President Clinton, who ranked fourth.

Airline to skip New Year's Eve

At least one airline has announced plans to take a day off to celebrate the millennium. Virgin Atlantic won't be making any trips on New Year's Eve 1999. It says it's not in fear of the millennium bug, but because flights were not booking up. Most travelers will have arrived at their destination by then, and it also gives the staff the opportunity to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime holiday with family and friends, according to a spokesman.

The green links of Northern Ireland

Some of Northern Ireland's best golf courses are featured in a free 40-page paperback,"18 Great Golf Courses." Available through the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the colorful booklet is packed with descriptions, layouts and greens fees. Call 800-326-0036 and choose option 2, or e-mail infousa@nitb.com.

-- Randi Kest

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