Yellowstone in White

TRAVEL SMARTS

National park offers adventures in the snow

October 19, 2003

The summertime trip to a national park is an American vacation classic. But natural wonders do not disappear with the crowds. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming offers a series of educational vacations called "Lodging and Learning" to highlight its year-round attractions.

This winter's offerings include "Old Faithful Winter Adventure," which includes a ski tour to Lone Star Geyser, wildlife watching, and a trip to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River in a "snowcoach" -- a van-sized vehicle that can traverse the park's snowy roads. Other programs include "Yellowstone for Families," with snowshoeing and animal-tracking activities, and "Winter Wolf Discovery," with wildlife-viewing excursions.

Rates range from $245 for the two-day wolf program to $795 a person for a five-night ski trip, including lodging in park hotels. The programs begin in late December and end in early March.

For more information about the winter programs, call 307-344-2293 or visit www.yellowstoneassociation.org.

WHITE HOUSE AGAIN OPEN TO VISITORS

Visitors can once again tour the White House, if they arrange the visit through a member of Congress and pass a Secret Service security check. All tours were suspended immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks; only a few categories of visitors, such as schoolchildren, military groups and veterans, have been allowed to tour the building since then.

Visitors must request tours through the offices of their congressional representatives and can apply up to six months in advance. The Secret Service checks names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth; those who are approved are notified about a month before their requested dates. Those who are rejected are also notified.

The tours, which are free and self-guided, are scheduled between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Visitors must pass through a security checkpoint; cameras, handbags, backpacks and similar items are prohibited. The route leads past the library and the Vermeil Room, then up the stairs and through the State Dining Room, the Red, Blue and Green rooms, the red-carpeted Cross Halls and the East Room.

Tour officials are posted at intervals to answer questions. A typical visit lasts from 30 to 40 minutes.

The White House Visitor Center is at the southeast corner of 15th and E streets Northwest. Information: 202-456-7041; www. whitehouse.gov / history / tours.

One-stop guide to Harlem

A new Harlem Visitor Information Kiosk provides information about this vibrant New York neighborhood. The staff can help visitors plan trips to such sites as the Apollo Theater, the Studio Museum and the Dance Theater of Harlem. Visitor guides, event listings and walking maps are also available, as well as information about tour companies specializing in Harlem.

The kiosk, in the State Office Building plaza, 163 W. 125th St. at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Information: 800-692-8474; www.nycvisit.com.

Annual migration of turtles, tourists

It's sea turtle nesting season on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. The turtles crawl ashore to lay their eggs and sometimes hatch in full view of curious humans. The phenomenon can be observed until roughly the end of November.

You can check out travel packages to Akumal, Mexico, and other turtle hot spots through LocoGringo.com, a Web site that specializes in travel to the region. Visitors usually fly to Cancun and drive an hour or so to reach the region.

-- From wire reports

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