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WHAT'S NEW IN CALIFORNIA THIS FALL?
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Central Coast

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Unveils New Ride
A new Haunted Castle ride utilizes nearly 10,000 square feet of basement space at the boardwalk. In a unique design twist, riders load at boardwalk level, then spiral down backwards into the basement. Riders glide through dimly lit rooms filled with spooky special effects. The location of the new Haunted Castle has been home to a number of haunted rides over the years, starting with “Dante’s Inferno” in 1931. Bucking economic forecasts and amusement industry trends, the boardwalk’s nearly $9 million Haunted Castle project includes new basement space, new game and retail space at the boardwalk level, and additional administrative office space on the second story. Contact: Guest Services, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, (831) 423-5590, guest.services@scseaside.com, www.beachboardwalk.com.

Go Zipping at Roaring Camp
Zip up to Roaring Camp Railroads for its newest attraction in eco-experiential travel: two very different guided canopy tours of the redwood forest. Known for its train rides, guided walks and bike rides through the redwoods, Roaring Camp is offering another view, high in the forest canopy. One sky-high adventures takes visitors from tree tower to tree tower via cable zip lines at heights nearing 150 feet. A softer, but no less exhilarating adventure, guides visitors over elevated footbridges and platforms. One viewing platform measuring 300 square feet promises a picturesque venue for small group lunches. Guides relate interesting facts about the forest and local ecology throughout both experiential tours. Public contact: Eric Lynberg, Roaring Camp Railroads, (831) 335-4484, info@roaringcamp.com, www.goziproaringcamp.com.

Sunset’s Savor the Central Coast Weekend September 30 to October 3
The inaugural “Savor the Central Coast” weekend event kicks off with a special night at San Luis Obispo’s famous Thursday night Farmers Market. The weekend fun continues with a very unique winemaker’s dinner in San Luis Obispo’s Mission Plaza and Sunset’s Wine Awards Dinner on Friday. Saturday and Sunday, guests play throughout the county with several exclusive Culinary and Harvest Day Tours, and spend time at the Savor Pavilion on the Historic Santa Margarita Ranch, which will be center stage for all the restaurants and wineries from throughout the Central Coast. The finale is at Avila Beach with a concert and fireworks show. Food Network chef Tyler Florence will charm his way into the hearts of foodies as the official celebrity chef of the event, and will provide cooking demonstrations and host book signings both Saturday and Sunday. Media Contact: Visitor Bureau, SLO County, (805) 541-8000, carrie@sanluisobispocounty.com, www.sanluisobispocounty.com.

Central Valley

Delta Discovery Cruises from Stockton Marina
Delta Discovery Cruises, a family-owned business, has expanded operations to include the City of Stockton. The newly acquired vessel, Island Girl, is a luxurious 149-passenger motor yacht and is now based out of the Stockton Waterfront Marina. Public and private cruises include a delicious champagne brunch, scenic lunch and sunset dinner cruises. On board is a full bar with liquor, wine, beer, sodas and juices. Delta Discovery Cruises also offers many themed events aboard the Island Girl, including Caribbean nights with live music and Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre shows. For local baseball and hockey fans, there will be special Meet the Players cruises. Stockton’s many waterfront festivals will include historical and scenic cruises aboard the Island Girl.Contact: Heather Ingram, Delta Discovery Cruises, (925) 252-9300, deltacruises@gmail.com, www.deltadiscoverycruises.com.

Yolo County Visitors Bureau Releases Winery Guide
The Yolo CVB is excited to announce the release of its new Winery Guide & Map. The guide features vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms throughout Yolo County. Travelers can visit www.yolocvb.org to download the map.

Crocker Art Museum Hosts Free Grand Opening Celebration October 10
Celebrate the grand opening of the new 125,000-square-foot Teel Family Pavilion with entertainment for children, families and adults. The all-day art festival will kick off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with community and museum leaders. Highlights of the day’s festivities include a global arts block party with food, beer and wine; a creative community center with hands-on art activities and performances by regional dance troupes, bands and puppeteers; as well as artist demonstrations, roaming street performers and living history interpreters, swing and salsa dance. Contact: Crocker Art Museum, (916) 808-7000, cam@cityofsacramento.org, www.crockerartmuseum.org

Deserts

Palm Springs Air Museum Hosts Ending of World War II Celebration
A four-month long series of special lectures, films and flight exhibitions will commemorate the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II at the Palm Springs Air Museum November 6 through February 26, 2011. World War II veterans are honored at each Saturday program and are most of the featured speakers. The series of Saturday programs on the 65th anniversary is included with regular admission to this aviation museum that houses more than 28 flyable vintage aircraft, within 75,000 square feet of exhibit and hangar space. Media and public contact: Ann Greer, Palm Springs Air Museum, (760) 778-6262, ann@palmspringsairmuseum, www.palmspringsairmuseum.org.

Death Valley Adds Bike Rentals and Tours
The Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park has introduced bicycle rentals at the Ranch at Furnace Creek, as well as guided bicycle tours featuring van transfers to and from the start and finish locations, light snacks and beverages. Rates for rentals are $34 for a half day and $49 for a full day. An introductory rate of 20% off is being offered. For a limited time, guests of the resort also qualify for a complimentary one-hour ride. Rates for the guided tours are $99 for the Hell’s Gate Downhill Ride and $79 for the Artist’s Drive Ride. The Hell’s Gate Downhill Ride begins 22 miles from Furnace Creek, with guides providing a thorough orientation to the bicycle and associated safety equipment. The ride is 10 miles long and incorporates significant elevation changes. The Artist’s Drive tour begins approximately 10 miles from Furnace Creek. This ride is for the experienced rider and requires moderate cycling skill and physical endurance. While much of the ride is downhill, there are steep and winding ascents and descents along the route. After an orientation, participants will tour 9 miles through canyons with vertical walls on each side and will take a break at Artist’s Palette, followed by 7 miles of riding with the tour ending at Badwater Road. The bikes and rider will then be transported back to Furnace Creek Resort. Contact: Furnace Creek Resort, (760) 786-2345, www.furnacecreekresort.com.

Gold Country

New Mark Twain Exhibit Opens at Angels Camp Museum
Mark Twain’s short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” leaped Twain and Calaveras County into fame. Today, Mark Twain is especially celebrated in Angels Camp, where there are numerous sculptures, statues and events honoring the author. The most recent tribute to Twain is a new permanent, core exhibit at the Angels Camp Museum. The exhibit highlights how the author came to stay in Angels Camp, the 88 days of his stay here and how his famous short story came about. Quotes from Twain, who was also known as “the Wild Humorist,” can be found throughout the exhibit. Visitors can also view letters that Twain wrote during his travels. The new exhibit details Twain’s talent and how his writing marked the beginning of a new kind of American literature. Contact: Lisa Mayo, Calaveras Visitors Bureau, 1-800-225-3764, lisa@gocalaveras.com, www.gocalaeras.com.

Wine Bike Tours in Murphys
There’s no better way to tour the vineyards near the charming town of Murphys than from the seat of a bicycle. As guests pedal past the gently rolling hills and pastoral vineyards of Calaveras County, they enjoy a refreshing sensory experience that simply cannot be achieved from a car. The group is led by GetOnYourMARK owner and cycling coach Shelley Marenka and provides the chance to visit wineries you otherwise might miss, and talk directly with the owners and winemakers. Each tour group enjoys a catered gourmet picnic lunch, served overlooking the vineyards or on the wine tasting grounds. The pace of the bike tours is catered to recreational cyclists. With a casual pace and frequent stops, the emphasis is on enjoying the scenery and having a great time with friends. Wine tasting and a gourmet lunch in historic Murphys follows the vineyard cycling adventure. Contact: Shelley Marenka, GetOnYourMARK, (209) 890-6244, getonyourmark@gmail.com, www.getonyourmark.com.

High Sierra

First-Ever Lake Tahoe Restaurant Week September 5-12
Lake Tahoe Restaurant Week puts the spotlight on High Sierra fine dining, giving local food aficionados and visitors an opportunity to enjoy three-course, prix-fixe menus at more than 30 participating restaurants, both new and established favorites, throughout the Lake Tahoe region for $20, $30 and $40 per person. Many of the dining establishments taking part are located in charming and historical venues, and their chefs regularly employ local, seasonal and organic ingredients as part of their menus. The inaugural event kicks off Labor Day Weekend, Sunday, September 5, and runs through Sunday, September 12, taking advantage of Tahoe’s idyllic fall weather, which lends itself to changing foliage hikes and pristine kayak adventures on the country’s largest alpine lake. Contact: Pettit Gilwee, Pettit Gilwee Public Relations, (530) 583-2138, pettit@gilweepr.com, www.tahoerestaurantweek.com.

Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education (ESICE) Releases CD
The Roadside Heritage® Project and  ESICE have produced an audio program showcasing the cultural, natural and scientific heritage of the eastern Sierra Nevada. The program includes interviews with historians, scientists and long-time residents. This most recent CD release is currently available for free at museums, chambers of commerce, and visitor centers in Inyo and Mono County. The website, www.roadsideheritage.org, complements these efforts by offering free downloads of all the audio stories, as well as interactive topo maps of the region; science videos about obsidian, mineralogy and volcanoes; along with stories by local Native Americans and podcasts made by local students. Media and public contact: Jan Rhoades, Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education, (760) 873-9855, jan@esice.org, www.esice.org.

North Lake Tahoe Hosts Quicksilver Stand-Up Paddle Board Race Series
Dubbed the largest flat-water stand-up paddle board venue in the world, Lake Tahoe has added another distinction to its list as the host of the 2010 Quicksilver Tahoe Stand-Up Paddle Board Race Series. The series, which began in May, concludes with the Tahoe Fall Classic on September 26 when participants paddle 22 miles from Camp Richardson in South Lake Tahoe, across the country’s largest alpine lake, to Kings Beach on the North Shore. Visitors can also get into the act with free on-water stand-up paddle board demonstrations hosted at the event. Contact: North Lake Tahoe Visitors Bureaus, (888) 434-1262, info@gotahoenorth.com, www.gotahoenorth.com.

Inland Empire

New Tasting Room Opens in Old Town Temecula
Lorimar Winery announced the grand opening of its tasting room in Old Town Temecula next to the Old Town Temecula Community Theater. It offers a relaxing atmosphere with premium wines and a friendly well-trained staff. While a Tuscan-style winery is being built a few miles away in Temecula Valley Wine Country, the tasting room is open and bursting with activity in a charming brick building located in the center of Old Town Temecula at Front & Main Street. Complementing the Lorimar tasting room experience are numerous nearby boutique shops, antique galleries, live theater and world-class restaurants. Contact: Lawrie Lipton, Lorimar Vineyard & Winery, (951) 240-5177, lawrie@lorimarwinery.com, www.lorimarwinery.com.

Temecula Valley Winery Opens Doors
Temecula Valley’s newest winery, Monte De Oro, recently opened its doors. Monte De Oro Winery is Temecula Valley’s first natural gravity flow winery, offering a 180-degree panoramic view of the Palomar, San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountains. Designed to be a state-of-the-art facility, the winery houses a 9,000-square-foot underground barrel room and an 8,500-square-foot hospitality facility, featuring a 32-foot-high main tasting room, two special event/VIP tasting rooms, an upscale wine gift shop and a gourmet kitchen. Media contact: Carolyn Fittipaldi, Temecula Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, (951) 491-4085, carolyn@temeculacvb.com, www.visittemecula.org. Public contact: Ken Zignorski, Monte de Oro Winery, (951) 491-6551, info@montedeoro.com, www.montedeoro.com.

Los Angeles

Dive Immersion: Your Chance to Dive in an Aquarium
For the first-time ever, general certified divers are now invited to dive into the Aquarium of the Pacific. Guests can journey into the warm, 350,000-gallon Tropical Reef Habitat to meet more than 1,000 tropical fish up close and personal. In this two-and-a-half-hour experience, they get a personal behind-the-scenes tour of the dive program, a dive in the aquarium’s largest exhibit, a certificate of completion, souvenir towel, use of an underwater camera and a memory card of photos to take home. All equipment is provided, and an RSVP is required. A minimum of an Open Water certification from a nationally recognized scuba certifying agency and a picture I.D. are required and must be brought with guests on their diving day. Contact: Aquarium of the Pacific, (562) 590-3100, aquariumofpacific@lbaop.org, www.aquariumofpacific.org.

Mr. Six’s DanceCoaster Debuts at Six Flags Magic Mountain
Six Flags Magic Mountain debuted Mr. Six’s DanceCoaster, named after the company’s fun-loving, iconic dancing mascot, during the summer. Located near last season’s newest innovative thrill ride, Terminator® Salvation™: The Ride, Mr. Six’s DanceCoaster is designed for the entire family. The steel coaster is 679 feet long with a 28-foot lift hill, reaching speeds up to 21 miles per hour. A single train, built to look like Mr. Six’s dance shoes, features eight cars where riders sit two across in a single row for a total of 16 riders for the just under one minute ride duration. Colors for the new coaster are in keeping with Mr. Six’s formal attire of black, white and red. Contact: Guest Relations, Six Flags Magic Mountain, (661) 255-4111, www.sixflags.com/magicmountain.

King Kong 360 3D at Universal Studios Hollywood
King Kong 360 3D, a new attraction based on the Oscar®-winning 2005 Peter Jackson film, is Universal Studios Hollywood’s new signature attraction. Riders on the Studio Tour tram are transported, via a darkened soundstage, back to King Kong’s home – Skull Island. The action, which takes place before King Kong ever makes his way to the modern world, culminates in a ferocious battle between the world’s most famous ape and a 35-foot dinosaur. Visitors are thrust in the middle of the action – through the magic of the world’s largest Surround Digital 3D projection system – and feel the tram jolt and reverberate as the 3D battle unfolds around them. Contact: Carol Martinez, LA INC., (213) 236-2357, cmartinez@lainc.us, www.discoverlosangeles.com.

North Coast

Children’s Redwood Forest Reopens
Following a major fire in 2003, the Children’s Forest in Humboldt Redwoods State Park reopened during the summer season. The forest trail is a beautiful and mostly flat three-quarter-mile loop with wide open space underneath the old growth canopy. To access, drive 1 mile north from Myers Flat on the Avenue of the Giants to Williams Grove. From there, cross the summer seasonal bridge over the South Fork of the Eel River to the trailhead. Check in at the park visitor center for weekly guided walks on the trail. Contact: Richard Stenger, Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau, (707) 444-6634, richard@redwoods.info, www.redwoods.info.

Famed Vintner Opens Unique Wine Tasting Room
Mike Draxton, who has produced wines for a number of labels, including El Roy, Heliodoro and Henry Bronson, is opening a tasting room in Geyserville’s Alexander Valley. All of his wines are made from estate-grown or purchased grapes from the Alexander Valley. His new Vintners Signatures tasting room highlights the magic that happens when you combine the right grower, varietal and location with an experienced winemaking team. The tasting room is a unique concept as it features the partnership of grower and winemaker; the wines available for tasting are all the product of small lots from exceptional vineyards in Sonoma and Napa County, hand-crafted to express the unique character of specific vineyards. Contact: Michael Monahan, Vintners Signatures, (707) 857-3300, michael@vintnerssignatures.com, www.vintnerssignatures.com.

Wine Tastings in Unusual Places – Safari West
The new Wines over Watusi Program launches in October to coincide with the grape harvest in Sonoma and Napa Valley. This unique offer includes a private safari for 10 people with one of Safari West’s knowledgeable guides to tour Sonoma County’s Safari West 400-acre preserve, with the addition of a private wine tasting somewhere along the trail. The guide will select a hilltop location where guests will park in the shade under Sonoma County’s live oaks and bay trees, on an authentic African mud cloth, sit back and enjoy select wines vinted in Sonoma, Napa and South Africa accompanied by hand-selected artisanal cheeses. Contact: Aphrodite Caserta, Safari West, (707) 566-3620, acaserta@safariwest.com, www.safariwest.com.

Orange County

“Rocket Lab” and “Tinkertoy: Build Your Imagination” at Discovery Science Museum
Discovery Science Center’s newest permanent exhibit, “Rocket Lab” launched in July. Located inside the museum’s famous cube, this Lab highlights the history and science behind rocket travel. Experience a rocket launch by surrounding yourself by video screens, blasts of fog and state-of-the-art sound effects. Then, explore a new traveling exhibit based on the classic building toy adored by generations of children. The exhibit, “Tinkertoy: Build Your Imagination” runs through September 26 with educational and fun activities inspired by GE’s successful “Imagination at Work” campaign – showing how innovation can positively influence everyday life and create solutions to real world challenges. Contact: Kelly George, Discovery Science Center, (714) 913-5018, kgeorge@discoverycube.org, www.discoverycube.org.

Disneyland Resort Debuts “World of Color” and “Silly Symphony Swings”
The much-anticipated nighttime “World of Color” debuted last summer as the first major milestone in the expansion of Disney’s California Adventure park. “World of Color” brings Disney animation to life with powerful fountains that become stars of the show as they create the world’s largest projected water screen by combining hundreds of magnificent fountains, dazzling colors and an all-new kaleidoscope of audio and visual effects. The production is a must-see imaginative journey into the colorful worlds of animated Disney classics such as The Lion King and Pocahontas, along with Disney*Pixar films Toy Story, WALL-E and many more. An all new viewing area offers prime waterside viewing of the show. Also open is “Silly Symphony Swings,” which replaces the original Orange Stinger. Contact: Paul Garcia, Disneyland, (714) 284-6386, paul.m.garcia@disney.com, www.disneyland.com.

San Diego

“Lizards & Snakes: Alive!” Opens October 16 at San Diego Natural History Museum
Small and shy – or big and fierce? Bright as a jewel – or hardly visible? Four legs? Two legs? No legs at all? When talking about lizards and snakes – the squamates – the answer is usually…Yes! This ancient group, whose scientific name is Latin for “scaled,” is more diverse than mammals, and as old as dinosaurs. And they’re almost everywhere: harsh desert to lush rainforest, high in the treetops, and beneath the ground. Whatever the environment, one of the 8,000 squamate species on Earth calls it home. We share the planet, but we often overlook these quiet neighbors. So welcome to the world of squamates, and get ready to be surprised! Contact: Elizabeth Sayles, San Diego Natural History Museum, (619) 255-0192, esayles@sdnhm.orh, www.sdnhm.org.

San Diego Museum Presents New Exhibit
The San Diego Museum of Art presents “Toulouse Lautrec’s Paris: Selections from the Baldwin M. Baldwin Collection” through December 12. Comprised of nearly 100 works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the Baldwin M. Baldwin collection pays tribute to an extraordinary modern artist, and one of the museum’s foremost patrons. Shown together in San Diego for the first time in 20 years, “Toulouse-Lautrec’s Paris” provides a last-look at this first-class collection of paintings, drawings, prints, and posters before the museum begins a campaign to conserve and digitize these important works. Media and public contact: Stephenie Medina, San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, (619) 557-2838, smedina@sdcvb.org, www.sandiego.org.

San Francisco

Wine Excursions with Master Sommelier
Venture off the Meadowood estate and into Napa Valley for a half or full-day wine excursion with Meadowood’s resident wine educator, Gilles de Chambure. Start the morning with a vineyard tour followed by a private winery tour and tasting. At mid-day, break for a casual lunch or picnic. A second winery visit may be added in the afternoon. This guided exploration includes an introduction to Napa Valley’s climate, geography and viticulture. Guests also enjoy a discussion of local history and a current view of who’s who in the world of wine. Contact: Meadowood, 1-800-458-8080, www.meadowood.com.

Shasta Cascade

Paul Bunyan’s Forest Camp Offers New Water Feature, GPS Adventures
Paul Bunyan’s Forest Camp at Turtle Bay Exploration Park sports a brand new water feature thanks to months of hard work from Turtle Bay’s exhibits team and generous donor support. The water feature brings the story of the Sacramento River and California’s “liquid gold” to life for Turtle Bay visitors. The cool, wet, hands-on experience attracts the young and young-at-heart in droves. Visitors can also join the many excited GPS and geocaching enthusiasts with the opening of the new GPS Adventure exhibition.

Gateway Science Museum Opens
Earlier this year, the Chico area welcomed the Gateway Science Museum, located in a chic modern-style building, which also has an interesting and unique landscape surrounding it. Outside, visitors will find five separate eco-regions, including a paleo flora area, riparian zone, buffer zone, delta and northern lower mountain region. These eco-regions contain a variety of trees, shrubs and grasses along with a number of other plant species for visitors to discover. Continuing inside, visitors will find a number of different exhibits that are constantly changing throughout the year. The museum also offers herbarium workshops and summer camps for the public’s enjoyment. Through the combined resources of California State University, Chico, the Gateway Science Museum strives to provide the public with an educational and culturally enriching experience. Contact: Karen Whitaker, Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, (530) 365-7500, pr@shastacascade.org, www.shastacascade.com.

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