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SHASTA CASCADE

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.

Feel the Rush at Mt. Shasta Ski Park
The Mt. Shasta Ski Park will be celebrating its 25th anniversary with some new improvements. The park has recently purchased a new Prinoth Bison snow cat to enhance the grooming on the ski slopes to create a better ride down the mountain. From the growing number of visitors to the park, they have also added a third parking lot and have remodeled BC’s Pizza and Espresso Kitchen. Contact: Karen Whitaker, Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, (530) 365-7500, pr@shastacascade.org, www.shastacascade.com.

NORTH COAST

Wine Tastings in Unusual Places – Safari West
The new "Wines over Watusi" Program launched 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

“Ski Lounge” to Open on Redwood Coast
The so-called “Ski Lounge” opened on the Northern California coast in November. Located at the Far North Climbing Gym in Arcata, it will host a cafe, lounge and micropub at a hub of the North Coast’s outdoor adventure community. Besides serving healthy snacks, cold teas and juices, at night it will offer local microbrews in an industrial/modern lounge. The gym is part of the North Coast Adventure Centers, which coordinates many outdoor recreational diversions in extreme Northern California, including redwood canopy tours, beach rock climbing, mountain biking rentals and Humboldt Bay paddle trips. Contact: Richard Stenger, Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau, (707) 444-6634, press@redwoods.info. www.redwoods.info.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

What’s New in San Francisco
A new visitor outreach program to provide insight into the boisterous world of the hundreds of California sea lions that reside at Pier 39 launched this summer. Educators from The Marine Mammal Center and Aquarium of the Bay have begun a new visitor outreach program. Speaking above the barks of the animals, naturalists lead daily discussions from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the important role the animals play to the Northern California Coast ecosystem, explain their crowd-pleasing habits and answer questions. Book an unconventional outing with Carried Away and Experience San Francisco. Owners Vikki Garrod and Dianne Admire describe themselves as “curious” in a good way. A shared penchant for keeping up with the latest and newsworthy translates into carefully curated, personalized outings, designed for guests to experience San Francisco and the Bay Area in a unique way. Outings include The Big Soak, Retail Therapy, Town & Country, City Sampler, Breakfast by the Bay, Sunday Drive (any day of the week), Snacker’s Delight, Hills & Valleys, Urban Legends, Northern Exposure and Champagne Time. Tour in style and absolute privacy, never with strangers, in a new, luxury Ford Flex. Tours can accommodate up to four people and range from two to eight hours, $79 to $499 per person. Custom tours are available with advance reservations required. Contact: Visitor Information Center, San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, (415) 391-2000, vic1@sfcvb.org, www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com.

Berkeley Dining Passport Delivers Great Deals
The first-ever Berkeley Dining Passport rewards diners with discounts and special offers at more than 20 top Berkeley restaurants. A program of the Berkeley Restaurant Alliance and Visit Berkeley (and benefitting the Berkeley Food & Housing Project), the Berkeley Dining Passport rewards culinary travelers as they savor the world, save money and help to alleviate hunger and homelessness. Berkeley Dining Passports are $20 and available at all participating restaurants and additional outlets. Participating restaurants include: Adagia, Anh Hong, Bistro Liaison, Breads of India, Cafe Platano, Caffe Venezia, Cioccolata di Vino, eVe, Digs Bistro, Filippos, FIVE, Henry’s Gastropub, King Tsin, Kirala, La Rose Bistro, Rick and Ann’s, Riva Cucina, Taste of the Himalayas, Thai Delight, Trattoria Corso and Zatar. With offers ranging from free corkage, appetizers and desserts to dollars off and discounts, Berkeley Dining Passport holders have until May 31, 2011 to leverage the savings and have their keepsake-quality passport booklets honored over and over again by participating restaurants. Contact: Dan Marengo, Visit Berkeley, (510) 549-7040, dmarengo@visitberkeley.com, www.berkeleydiningpassport.com.

Cable Car Holiday Lights and Sights Tour
Classic Cable Car Sightseeing is lighting up the holiday season with a special Holiday Lights and Sights Tour of San Francisco. Departing from both Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf, the 1.5-hour cable car tour winds throughout the City to take in many of the illuminated attractions of San Francisco, including the Union Street Fantasy of Lights, Macy’s Christmas Tree and window displays, PIER 39 Christmas Tree, Ghirardelli Square Christmas Tree and lights, Embarcadero Center holiday displays, Fisherman’s Wharf lighted boats and the new Market Street lights. As passengers on this one-of-a-kind tour, holiday revelers will be treated to a complimentary Santa hat to take home, warm blankets for use on the tour, candy canes and holiday music. Tours run daily, November 26 through December 31, with limited tours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Departures are at 5 and 7 p.m. from both Union Square at the corner of Geary and Powell Streets, and Fisherman’s Wharf at the corner of Jefferson and Taylor Streets. Contact: Cory Roebuck, Classic Sightseeing Adventures, (415) 922-2425, ext. 7, croebuck@sanfranciscoducks.com, www.classiccablecar.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.GoCalaveras.com.

CENTRAL VALLEY

“Necessity’s Children: 150 Years of Local Invention” on Exhibit
Taking its title from Plato’s reference to “necessity being the mother of invention,” the Haggin Museum’s special exhibition “Necessity’s Children: 150 Years of Local Inventions,” presents a sampling of the 2,000-plus patents that have been awarded to residents of Stockton since the late 1850s. Some of the most fascinating patents are those that can best be described as “quirky.” Examples include the combination train-boat (1882), the alarm for indicating life in a person buried accidentally (1910), the horizontally swinging barber’s chair (1950) or the golf tee and ball setting device (2000). Caterpillar track-type tractors, computing gasoline pumps, Duraflame logs, Frantz oil filters and asparagus harvesters represent but a handful of the Stockton inventions showcased in this special exhibition. The exhibit runs through February 6, 2011. Contact: Kristen Anema, Haggin Museum, (209) 940-6316, kanema@hagginmuseum.org, www.hagginmuseum.org.

New California State Capitol Museum Exhibit
“A Most Glorious Heritage: The History of California State Parks” runs through September 2, 2011. Since the 1860s, many Californians understood the call to protect the natural heritage they beheld. Their foresight and vision preserved California’s redwood forests, beaches and historic sites before they disappeared forever to development and private interests. This exhibit explores the history of California’s State Parks and the people who devoted their lives to creating and preserving the land and sites we enjoy today. Contact: Visitors Information, California State Capitol Museum, (916) 324-0333, capsched@parks.ca.gov, www.capitolmuseum.ca.gov.

“Tomorrow’s Legacies: Gifts Celebrating the Next 125 Years” at the Crocker
Celebrating the Crocker Art Museum’s 125th anniversary as well as the museum’s new 125,000-square-foot expansion, this opening exhibition, running through January 9, 2011, features 125 promised works of art—ranging from historic to contemporary and traditional to cutting edge—that will one day become part of the Crocker’s permanent holdings. Public contact:, Crocker Art Museum, (916) 808-7000, cam@crockerartmuseum.org.

HIGH SIERRA

What’s New at Squaw Valley USA
Squaw Valley USA is the best place to be a kid and it’s only getting better for the 2010/11 winter season. Squaw Valley plans to transform the Belmont Park into a kids terrain park complete with a snowfort and kid-friendly jumps, bumps and whoopty-doos. Also new for the 2010-11 season, kids can discover Squaw Valley’s mountain secrets with a new kids map designed to lead them on a grand adventure around the mountain. Kids will follow the map through Squaw Valley’s kid-friendly terrain to find fun facts about the mountain’s animals, history and natural habitat. At Squaw Valley, kids 12 and under ski and snowboard for just $12 every day. Squaw Valley USA has also made significant upgrades to the mountain’s culinary services department. The legendary Olympic House base lodge has been remodeled to include an upgraded Bar One (Squaw Valley’s original bar) and completely redesigned menus featuring delicious pizza slices, Asian stir-fry bowls and made-to-order salads and burritos. Squaw Valley is also greatly expanding their night skiing with improved lighting in the Riviera terrain park and halfpipe. Free with any lift ticket, skiers and riders can hit the slopes from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends (9 a.m. to 7 p.m. midweek) during night operations and enjoy other High Camp night activities, such as ice skating at the Olympic Ice Pavilion or an amazing dining experience at one of the upper mountain restaurants. Ccontact: Amelia Richmond, Squaw Valley USA, (530) 452-7111, arichmond@squaw.com, www.squaw.com.

Heli-Guides Helicopter Skiing and Snowboarding Opens in Truckee/Tahoe
Pacific Crest Heli-Guides in partnership with HeliTahoe is offering helicopter skiing and snowboarding in the Truckee/Lake Tahoe area for the upcoming 2010-11 winter season. This will be the first full-fledged helicopter skiing operation launched in the Lake Tahoe region. The helicopter skiing and snowboarding operation will be based out of the Truckee Airport and will access more than 100,000 acres of privately owned lands located along the spine of the Pacific Crest. This is a dream come true to the avid skier/snowboarder, and these helicopters will be able to bring them to terrain that hasn’t been accessed before. The operation will consist of a ratio of four guests per guide and will be limited to a maximum of 16 guests per day. The cost structure will be based upon flight time rather than vertical feet so that guests can base their adventure around what they can afford, with a full day trip starting at $899 per person. Operations plan to open December 15 and extend through April 15, 2011. Contact: Dave Rintala, Pacific Crest Heli-Guides, (530) 550-2252, happy@pacificcrestheliguides.com.

What’s New at Northstar-at-Tahoe
For the first time, Northstar Resort will serve as host to a Nordic SuperTour event, the premier cross-country race series in North America. Scheduled to take place at Northstar Resort on March 18, 2011, the cross-country race will be spectator friendly, starting and finishing in the Village at Northstar, with participants striding or skating up the mountain in between. Open to all ages, the course distance will be approximately 1 to 1.5k. The demo equipment shop in the Village at Northstar will be expanded in time for the 2010-2011 winter season, giving guests more room to move through the rental process and select the gear they’d like to try. Northstar Resort is also investing in new rental equipment that includes K2 skis, Burton snowboards and Dalbello ski boots. The resort’s Cross-Country, Telemark and Snowshoe Center will also get new Rossignol cross-country ski equipment. Additionally, two new movie theaters are scheduled to open in the Village at Northstar, offering resort guests and members of the community yet another opportunity to relax and rejuvenate with friends and family when they visit the resort. The Village Cinemas will be operated by veteran theater owners Bloomhuff Theatres, Inc. and will be the only movie theaters in the vicinity of Truckee. Contact: Jessica VanPernis, Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, (530) 562-3866, jvanpernis@boothcreek.com

Truckee Railroad Museum Now Open
After much anticipation, the Truckee Railroad Museum opened its doors this summer on National Train Day. Situated right next to the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks and the downtown train depot, the museum is housed in a caboose and features displays of models, historic photographs and artifacts representing the area’s rich railroad heritage. Contact: Lynn Saunders, Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce, (530) 587-2757, lynn@truckee.com, www.truckee.com.

CENTRAL COAST

Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room Opens
Ventura County continues to emerge as a wine tasting region with the new Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room, which opened during the summer in a historic firehouse. The Ojai Vineyard, which has produced handmade wines since 1983, offers more than 20 different varieties of wines at the new tasting room for the visiting public to sample. The Ojai Vineyard works closely with a dozen different vineyards on the Central Coast of California and produces wines from syrah, Grenache, mourvedre, pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and viognier. Contact: Ryan White, Ojai Visitors Bureau, 1-888-OJAI NOW, info@ojaivisitors.com, www.ojaivisitors.com.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY

“Death & Taxes” New Exhibit at the Whittier Museum
The Whittier Museum is proud to announce the opening of their fall season with their new exhibit, “Death & Taxes.” This exhibit is based on the famous quote by Benjamin Franklin, “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” The exhibit opened September 12 and runs through January 16, 2011. The Whittier Museum is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. with free admission. Visitors can experience local Whittier history with docent led tours of the museum’s changing and permanent exhibits. Contact: Myra Hilliard, Whittier Museum, (562) 945-3871, info@whittiermuseum.org, whittiermuseum.org.

New Pavilion at LA County Museum of Art
A new Renzo Piano-designed pavilion is part of Phase II of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s (LACMA) ongoing “Transformation,” a campaign to unify the museum’s campus and expand its gallery spaces. The new pavilion will be immediately north of the $56 million Broad Contemporary Art Museum, which opened in February 2008. The Resnick Pavilion, named after L.A.-based philanthropists Lynda and Steward Resnick, is a single-story, glass and stone-enclosed structure intended to house special exhibitions, freeing up existing gallery space for LACMA’s robust permanent collection. A trio of inaugural exhibits has been announced for the opening: “Eye for the Sensual: Selections from the Resnick Collection;” “Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700–1915;” and “Olmec: Masterworks of Ancient Mexico.” They have been selected to highlight the diversity of the museum’s encyclopedic collection and programming. With more than 120,000 works in its permanent collection, LACMA is the premier visual art museum in the western United States. Contact: Carol Martinez, LA INC., (213) 236-2357, cmartinez@lainc.us, www.discoverlosangeles.com.

ORANGE COUNTY

Family Holiday Activities at the Discovery Science Center
Inside the kitchen, much more is going on than pouring and mixing – it’s science at work! The Discovery Science Center’s holiday festival is filled with festive activities designed to bring families together this holiday season. Hands-on holiday interactives include Kitchen Science Activities; “Science of Snow” Stage Show, featuring real snow; decorating demonstrations; more than 100 gingerbread displays and 3-D holiday maze. The Discovery Science Center will also ring in the New Year early December 31, celebrating with a countdown, ginger ale toast, music, activities and a balloon drop at noon and 2 p.m. Contact: Discovery Science Center Front Desk, Discovery Science Center, (714) 263-3829, contact@discoverycube.org, www.discoverycube.org.

Holidays, ElecTRONica Light Up Disneyland Resort
The transformation of the Disneyland Resort during the holidays heightens the magic of the season. Between mid-November and January 2, 2011, Disneyland Resort guests can enjoy seasonal attractions such as “It’s A Small World” Holiday, Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle and Haunted Mansion Holiday. Guests may also visit Santa Claus and his reindeer in Santa’s Reindeer Roundup and view a special holiday parade and fireworks spectacular. Holiday guests won’t want to miss ElecTRONica, the new nighttime dance party now featured at Disney California Adventure Park during weekends and seven days a week during Thanksgiving week and Christmas week. The interactive, digital world of “TRON: Legacy” lights up Hollywood Pictures Backlot with a dance club and live entertainers complete with lasers, glow accessories and the hottest music ever to rock the grid. An authentic recreation of Flynn’s Arcade is a must see. Disneyland Resort hotel guests may book the newest signature suite at the Disneyland Hotel, The Big Thunder Suite. The new suite immerses up to six pioneers in 1,400 square feet of rustic accommodations inspired by the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction at Disneyland Park. The Big Thunder Suite adds to the hotel’s growing portfolio of signature suites that includes the Mickey Mouse Penthouse, Pirates of the Caribbean Suite, Fairy Tale Suite and two regal suites. Each boasts luxurious amenities, sweeping views and a distinct design. Contact: Paul Garcia, Disneyland Resort, (714) 284-6386, paul.m.garcia@disney.com, www.disneyland.com.

DESERTS

Death Valley Visitor Center Renovation
Death Valley National Park is preparing for a visitor center remodeling project. The Mission 66 structure at Furnace Creek will close in mid-November after the Death Valley 49er Encampment. The project is expected to last up to 18 months. During the remodel, a temporary visitor center will be set close to the visitor center and adjacent to the Furnace Creek Ranch and Resort property. Though space will be limited, the park plans to continue providing its full range of services including answering and assisting visitors with their questions and park planning needs, issuing backcountry permits, issuing park passes, and selling books and other educational materials through the Death Valley Natural History Association. The park will also be providing a full range of ranger conducted activities throughout the winter and spring. The project does not affect any of the park campgrounds; they will be open as usual. Contact: Terry Baldino, National Park Service, (760) 786-3279, terry_baldino@nps.gov, www.nps.gov/deva.

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 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. Contact: Ann Greer, Palm Springs Air Museum, (760) 778-6262, ann@palmspringsairmuseum, www.palmspringsairmuseum.org.

INLAND EMPIRE

The Holidays in Temecula Valley
Take a stroll through Old Town for an old-fashioned festive atmosphere with spectacular lights lining Old Town Front Street’s historic buildings and stores. Guests won’t want to miss the Holiday Tree Lighting, the arrival of Santa, ice skating and the Holiday Electric Light Parade in Old Town Square. Explore the new exhibit, the “Science of Santa,” at the Temecula Children’s Museum and frolic in real snow at the Winter Wonderland. Get captivated at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater’s “A Christmas Carol,” the ballet “The Nutcracker” and the Southwest Women’s Holiday Concert. Unwind at The Merc, where visitors can listen to live jazz, popular bands, country and classical music. Contact: Carolyn Fittipaldi, Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, (951) 491-6085, carolyn@temeculacvb.com, www.temeculacvb.com.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration
With special holiday-themed animal shows, an ice skating rink, Santa and more, SeaWorld San Diego is the place to be this Christmas season. During SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, Shamu and friends celebrate the Yuletide season with “Shamu’s Christmas”; “The Polar Express 4-D Experience” at the park’s 4-D theater inspires children and adults alike to believe in Santa; SeaWorld’s prankster-loving pinnipeds (California sea lions) have a hilarious holiday time in “Clyde and Seamore’s Night Before Christmas”; an ice skating rink that provides festive fun for the whole family; and the nightly lighting of Southern California’s largest Christmas tree, SeaWorld’s 320-foot Holiday Tree of Lights, is sure to put SeaWorld guests in the spirit of the season. New in 2010 is “Christmas Tails,” a holiday-themed show featuring the shelter-adopted stars of the park’s “Pets Rule!” show. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration runs on select dates in November and December 2010. Contact: SeaWorld San Diego, SeaWorld San Diego, 1-800-257-4268, swc-swvacations.reservations@seaworld.com, www.seaworldsandiego.com.

 
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