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Arsenal Island historical getaway
Step back in time and walk through history at the Rock Island Arsenal Island in the middle of the upper Mississippi River. The Arsenal has supplied troops during the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam and Gulf Wars.

From beginnings protecting fur traders in the early 1800s, Arsenal Island now features a museum, Colonel Davenport home, the Mississippi River Visitors Center, the National and Confederate Cemetery, the Commanding General's Residence, tanks and artillery. The Commanding General's residence is the second largest single-family home owned by the US government. Only the White House is larger.

Narrated history of the island can be heard on the Historical Trolley Tours in Downtown Moline, Illinois. Contact Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, 800-747-7800; www.visitquadcities.com.


History comes alive!
The American Revolution is happening again in Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park. Lights of Liberty is a new attraction that brings an important chapter in American history to life for a 60-minute, nighttime sound and light show.

The latest technology reproduces highly charged events leading up to the Revolution told the by real and fictionalized characters from colonial times.

Visitors are immersed in this revolutionary experience as they walk a route through the Park wearing 3-D headsets. Visitors look up at digital images projected onto the Park's historic buildings: Independence Hall, Carpenter's Hall, Second Bank of the United States and Franklin Court, the site of Ben Franklin's home. The audio track will be available in Spanish, German, French, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese and a special "Children's Channel." Contact 150 South Independence Mall West, Suite 714, Philadelphia PA 19106; 215-Liberty; www.lightsofliberty.org.

When fall arrives, Valley Forge National Historical Park becomes a 3,600 acre tapestry of autumnal splendor. If you're already in the neighborhood, call the park's visitor center for help in locating restaurants and hotels and to receive an informative visitor's guide. If you plan to visit the area, call 888-VISIT-VF for a trips and tours booklet, which directs you to thirteen driving tours and two fall foliage tours. Information can also be found at www.valleyforge.org. For up-to-the-minute events call the park's Funline, 610-834-8844 and all other area information call Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau office at 610-834-1550.


Serious fun
Q? What is by day a children's museum, but by night a reception hall for groups of 50-100?

A! The Louisiana Children's Museum, that's what. With more than 150 innovative, interactive exhibits and a 200-seat theater for presentations and meetings, the museum offers an interesting reunion alternative. Keep kids busy exploring the many interactive exhibits, such as the Plasma Ball, Gyromania, Wave Tower or Electric Zone. Let museum staff put you in touch with caterers and audio/visual rental suppliers. Contact the museum at 420 Julia St., New Orleans LA 70130; 504-523-1357; or visit their web site at www.lcm.org.


Great reunion places
The Kutztown (PA) German Festival annually (June -July) celebrates Pennsylvania Dutch culture. New this year will be a display and searching help from the Berks County Genealogy Society for ancestors from this part of Pennsylvania. Extensive records are also available at several area libraries. The Festival is very reunion friendly including special prices for groups of 25 or more. Call (toll free) 888-674-6136 or write PO Box 306, Kutztown PA 19530.

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Convention and Visitors Bureau is promoting Picnic in Our Parks in conjunction with the state's Sesquicentennial from May 22 to Jun 21, 1998. During that time visitors who stay at area hotels will receive picnic baskets filled with edible and non-edible Fond du Lac products. Visitors will be encouraged to explore the area with unique Talking Country Roads cassettes, four pleasurable half-day tours, which you can listen to in the privacy of your own vehicle. You can turn off the tapes and take a hike, picnic, or visit a Clydesdale ranch or cheese and sausage shop (yum). For more information call 800-937-9123.

Note: Historic Galloway House and Village, a turn of the century mansion and farmstead is one of many attractions included on Talking Country Roads tapes from Fond du Lac (WI) CVB.


A great success in a great place
Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, is always a fun-filled destination. That's especially true this year, when Circus World debuts new daily attractions, including Equine Encounter: Visitors are invited to get up close to circus horses The World's Greatest Showmen: a giant screen exhibition on Wisconsin's circus past Circus Playland: new circus-themed activities for kids
For more Circus World information call 608-356-0800.


Halls of game
Sometimes it seems the entire nation has gone sports mad. Especially kids. So on your way to a family reunion or for a refreshing pit stop, or those looking for fun activities at a reunion, consider museums dedicated to the heroes of sport.
For fans of the national pasttime, there's the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, established in 1939. Each year in late July or early August, Cooperstown's population swells for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which includes a game between two major league teams. The museum includes exhibits about the World Series, evolution of the baseball uniform, ballparks, umpires, the baseball card industry, the minor leagues and baseball sheet music.
The baseball hall of fame is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve. For more information contact 25 Main, Cooperstown NY 1326; 607-547-7200.
For those traveling west, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum recently opened its doors in Kansas City. The museum occupies 50,000 square feet, and includes a timeline of historical photographs and artifacts, a movie theater, interactive computer stations, and "Heroes of the Game," a tribute to the stars of the Negro leagues. The facilities also house the Kansas City Jazz Museum. Contact 1601 E 18th St. Kansas City MO 64108; 816-221-1920.
If you'd rather pass, punt and kick, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, is home to some of the most famous names in American sports history. All 189 members of the hall are honored with a bronze bust, an illustration back-lit behind Plexiglas and a brief biography. Members include the likes of Y.A. Tittle, Red Grange and Jim Thorpe. Contact 2121 George Halas Dr NW, Canton OH 44708; 330-456-8207; www.profootballhof.com.
The Midwest is also home to the new College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana, home to past pigskin greats such as Knute Rockne, the Four Horsemen and Frank Leahy. That's not all. South Bend also hosts the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, on whose field figures "Touchdown Jesus," the mural on the campus library picturing Jesus with arms raised, as if to signal six points.
While the pro hall tells the story of the game in modern times, the college hall looks back 2000 years, to when ancient Greeks played a game called "harpaston," in which players tried to pass, run or kick a ball over another team's goal line. Hmm. Sounds familiar. Contact 111 S St. Joseph St., South Bend IN; 800-440-3263; www.collegefootball.org.

source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel



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