Blast on the Bayou You might not think the world needs...

TRAVEL SMARTS

July 02, 2000|By Tricia Bishop

Blast on the Bayou

You might not think the world needs another theme park, but a new one in New Orleans could be music to the ears of jazz fans.

Jazzland Theme Park, about 20 minutes outside the city, features 30 rides and attractions divided into jazz-related categories -- among them a Mardi Gras section where it's always Fat Tuesday, and Jazz Plaza, where events and performances reflect the spirit of the Big Easy.

Thrill seekers will not be disappointed, either, with rides such as the Sonic Slam, which plummets riders to the ground from 185 feet in the air, and the Bayou Blaster, which launches riders up 185 feet before dropping them in a free fall.

For more information, go to www. jazzlandthemepark .com or call 504-253-8000.

CLOSER TO HOME

For a taste of jazz closer to home this summer, check out these festivals:

* The Big Gig: Norfolk, Va., July 8-23, 804-643-2826

* Jazzfest 2000: Wind Gap, Pa., July 16, 610-253-5781

* Jazz Down by the Riverside: Calvert County, Sept. 9, 301-769-4818

FINDING THE LOCAL DELIGHTS OF D.C.

Hoping to attract visitors beyond Washington's traditional monuments and into the city's neighborhoods, the DC Heritage Tourism Coalition went so far as to draw a map.

Last month, the coalition, which is dedicated to boosting Washington's economic development through tour-ism, launched a "Beyond the Monuments" initiative, complete with a blueprint that highlights Washing-ton's lesser-known treasures. Brookland's Dance Place, the major venue for area avant-garde dance, and the Duke Ellington mural along U Street, are two neighborhood attractions.

To pick up a free copy of the Beyond the Monuments Map, stop at any Washington metro station, or call the visitor information center at 202-328-4748.

Unwanted noise sent far, far away

While the roar of airplane engines has a certain reassuring quality because it means they're working, the noise can be tough on the ears. Last month, Bose Corp., makers of high-quality audio equipment, introduced the QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Canceling headset.

The headphones monitor background noise via microphones in the ear cups and produce "opposite" sound waves that cancel the whir of unwanted noise without getting in the way of things you want to hear, such as speech or music (you can use the headset with your CD player and radio).

The headset costs $299 and can be found online at www.bose.com or by calling Bose at 800-650-2673.

Don't bring back a pest

If you're returning from overseas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends these tips to prevent bug, plant and virus invasions, which can be devastating to U.S. ecosystems:

* Declare all agricultural products on the form given to you at the U.S. Customs office. If you don't, and you're caught, not only could you bring in a foreign pest, but you'll be fined $250 on the spot.

* If your pets traveled with you and have any wounds, have them treated before leaving to kill any bacteria or infestation.

* Check the list of approved products before you go, so you don't buy anything you can't bring back.

Complete traveler information is available online at www.aphis.usda.gov or by calling 301-734-8645.

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