Southwest, other airlines take safety talks to new, hilarious heights

Southwest, other airlines take safety talks to new, hilarious heights

Southwest Airlines flight attendant Marty Cobb has gone viral -- just for giving the in-flight safety briefing on a recent flight.

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Las Vegas: Guy Fieri opens restaurant fronting the Strip

Las Vegas: Guy Fieri opens restaurant fronting the Strip

Chef Guy Fieri returned to Las Vegas to open his newest restaurant on Thursday, 24 years after graduating from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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Airfare: JetBlue offers Long Beach-Anchorage round trip for $276

Airfare: JetBlue offers Long Beach-Anchorage round trip for $276

As the tourist season winds down in Alaska, airfare deals to Anchorage heat up: You can get a $276 round-trip fare, including all taxes and fees, from Long Beach to Anchorage.

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Catalina museum exhibit, benefit honor silent star Charlie Chaplin

Catalina museum exhibit, benefit honor silent star Charlie Chaplin

Celebrate the life and loves of actor Charlie Chaplin at an exhibit that opened this week at the Catalina Island Museum, which is toasting the 125th birthday of the iconic silent screen star.

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Number of U.S. travelers going to Cuba is on the rise, report says

Number of U.S. travelers going to Cuba is on the rise, report says

More Americans are going to Cuba, which makes the U.S. the second tourism source for the island nation after Canada, according to a new report. Despite a travel embargo that's been in effect for half a century, 173,550 Americans went to Cuba in January through March.

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New Jersey: Newark airport's AirTrain to shut for repairs in May

New Jersey: Newark airport's AirTrain to shut for repairs in May

AirTrain service at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, which New York-bound travelers use as an alternative to New York's JFK, will be suspended starting May 1 to repair the 6.3-mile rail system. That means you won't be able to hop on the AirTrain to get to a rental car agency or connect with other transit to Manhattan.

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Airport security 'recomposure' areas worked but are disappearing

Airport security 'recomposure' areas worked but are disappearing

Can pictures of flowers and cozy couches tame the traveling beast? Apparently. Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport (DFW) last year tested amenities, including a "recomposure area" at one of its security checkpoints, that were designed to calm passengers by being as welcoming as a nice hotel lobby. The result: Lines moved 25% faster.

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Big Boy steam engine to start journey to Wyoming on April 28

Big Boy steam engine to start journey to Wyoming on April 28

Union Pacific's vintage Big Boy 4014 steam engine goes on the road again April 28, leaving its current waystation near Colton to be towed across Nevada and Utah and then on to Cheyenne, Wyo., by May 8. There, it will be restored for several years.

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Hawaii: Waikiki Joy reborn as Oahu's Aqua Oasis with rates from $108

Hawaii: Waikiki Joy reborn as Oahu's Aqua Oasis with rates from $108

A centrally located Waikiki hotel, renamed the Aqua Oasis, has relaunched after a $2.5 million renovation. Introductory room rates start at $108 a night.

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American stopping LAX-Santa Barbara flights, but bus is still running

American stopping LAX-Santa Barbara flights, but bus is still running

Now that American Airlines is dropping LAX-Santa Barbara flights, the company that has run shuttle service between the two points for three decades sees a prime opportunity.

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Knott's Berry Farm breathes new life into old mine train ride

Knott's Berry Farm breathes new life into old mine train ride

A long-overdue renovation of the Calico Mine Ride will introduce state-of-the-art technology to the first major Knott's Berry Farm attraction while preserving the groundbreaking work of a legendary theme park innovator.

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Deal: Chicago-New Orleans river cruise on sale for $4,999 for two

Deal: Chicago-New Orleans river cruise on sale for $4,999 for two

River cruises aren't just for European ports. Blount Small-Ship Adventures is offering 2-for-1 prices on a 16-day cruise along the Mississippi River between Chicago and New Orleans.

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Santa Barbara: An AKA Beverly Hills suite in an Airstream trailer? Yes

Santa Barbara: An AKA Beverly Hills suite in an Airstream trailer? Yes

Finally, someone has designed a luxury hotel suite with wheels. Long-stay AKA Beverly Hills hotel has created a suite inside an Airstream trailer with leather interiors, full kitchen and bathroom, a bed with comfy linens, and even its trademark Bulgari bath amenities.

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New Yosemite air freshener smells like wild strawberries, but why?

New Yosemite air freshener smells like wild strawberries, but why?

If you want to know what a national park smells like, head to Yosemite National Park and inhale. Maybe you'll catch the sweet scent of lupine or the butterscotch aroma of a ponderosa pine. What you are unlikely to smell is wild strawberries -- unless you buy a national park air freshener.

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New Zealand: Prince William and Kate go for white-water thrill ride

New Zealand: Prince William and Kate go for white-water thrill ride

What did they do with baby George? The official trip that brought Prince William and wife Catherine to New Zealand this month took a turn for the adventurous Sunday when the couple hopped on a jet-boat journey down the Shotover River.

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Denver: Pot-loving 420 Rally this weekend, but beware at airports

Denver: Pot-loving 420 Rally this weekend, but beware at airports

If you're celebrating Easter this weekend in Denver, you might also ingest a bit of the city's pot-celebrating 420 Rally that has been expanded to a two-day event this year.

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Passover: TSA plans safe travels for matzo and religious items

Passover: TSA plans safe travels for matzo and religious items

Passover begins at sundown Monday (today) and the Transportation Security Administration is assuring fliers that its officers will be sensitive to carry-on items associated with the Jewish holiday.

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In D.C., a new show of old national park posters

In D.C., a new show of old national park posters

A new art show in Washington, D.C., spotlights national park posters from the Depression years, including the frothy falls of Yellowstone, the jagged mountains of Glacier and the native ruins of Bandelier National Monument.

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Deal: SLS Las Vegas Hotel to open in August, offers rates from $109

Deal: SLS Las Vegas Hotel to open in August, offers rates from $109

If you love being the first to sleep in a new hotel, this deal checks you into a hot new hotel as Las Vegas temperatures start to cool.

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Carlsbad: 6 places for women's spa weekends, starting at $299

Carlsbad: 6 places for women's spa weekends, starting at $299

Relax, breathe deep and head to Carlsbad, Calif., for pampering time devoted to women. The California coastal town launches its second Women's Wellness Weekends at six hotels this May.

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That favorite belt? Leave home without it when going on a trip

Question: On March 7, I flew to Sacramento from L.A. for an overnight trip. I packed light — just a dress, belt, shoes, sweats, nightshirt, a bag of toiletries and my iPad. When I arrived at my hotel and opened my bag, there was a notice that the Transportation Security Administration had gone through my luggage. When I was getting dressed, I noticed my belt was missing. I had carefully packed it in the see-through zipper compartment of my suitcase, as I didn't want it to fall out. It was my favorite belt, old, vintage, worn and funky. I guess someone at TSA liked it because they just took it. You can imagine how infuriated and violated I felt. If someone took my iPad it would have been more understandable, but an old favorite belt?

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Ireland: First-timers' tour includes airfare, car

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Gear: Spy camera disguised as a remote can shoot video and stills

This is sneaky: What looks like a typical car remote is actually a spy camera. Swann’s HD RemoteCam has a tiny lens and microphone at one end, a key chain at the other, and, on top, a power button and a record button masquerading as “remote control” buttons.

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Las Vegas: Comedian George Wallace to end 10-year run on the Strip

Comedian George Wallace is about to end his 10-year run on the Las Vegas Strip. He has announced that his show will go dark later this month.

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Web Buzz: Dealscoopr.com tracks deals at your favorite destinations

Here's a website that can help you keep tabs on travel deals for your favorite destinations around the globe.

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Letters to Travel: Brazil and slavery

Vincent Bevins wrote that, "São Paulo was built by immigrants from Italy, Japan, Portugal and Lebanon, among others..." ["Culture by Day, Partying by Night," March 30]. That is quite an interesting tidbit about the place that received the majority of the slaves shipped to the Americas. I suppose they are the "among others."

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Fine dining in Monticchiello, Italy

La Taverna di Moranda in Monticchiello, Italy, is our favorite restaurant in the Tuscany and Umbria region. After eating there for the first time, we made a reservation for a second night. When we returned two years later, we stayed nearby just to be near Monticchiello. We had the Florentine steak twice and the lamb twice. Both were amazing. The restaurant is very romantic; it looks like a wine cave.

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Reader photo: Nap time's over in Palm Desert

Rina Evans and her husband, Mark, in January visited the Living Desert in Palm Desert. The botanical garden and zoo exceeded Rina's expectations; she was particularly impressed by the zoo's animal population, which includes bighorn sheep, giraffes, camels, weaver birds and hyenas. They were lucky to watch this cheetah as it awoke from a nap, which Rina captured mid-yawn. The Cypress resident took this photo with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200.

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Air New Zealand's black Dreamliner flies in the face of convention

Talk about flying in the face of convention. Whereas many planes use a white or light color scheme, a newly painted Air New Zealand 787-9 is a study in black--a stunning study at that.

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Airfare: Round-trip ticket from LAX to Athens is $759 on Aeroflot

Traveling in shoulder season and off-season, when fewer tourists frequent favorite destinations, will almost always save you money. Case in point: this round-trip fare from LAX to Athens.

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Tall Ships Festival 2014 will sail into Los Angeles in August

Majestic tall ships will parade through L.A.'s harbor and dock for five days in August for the first time since 2008 during the Tall Ships Festival 2014.

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Panama: Tour highlights the country beyond the canal

The Panama Canal will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its opening on Aug. 15, but there’s much more to see in this often overlooked country than the impressive waterway.

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Tips to protect data and dollars from thieves

Any traveler can get distracted — in fact, it's the rare traveler who doesn't. But when your attention is focused on other things, you may be leaving yourself wide open to theft and data breaches. From stashing your cash to selecting luggage, here are some of my favorite security solutions.

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Washington, D.C.: Take a world tour during embassies' open-door policy

Want to visit Japan, South Africa, Costa Rica and Australia in a day? Go embassy-hopping in Washington, D.C., on May 3 when more than 50 countries open their doors to visitors.

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Marriott tops list of guests' favorite hotel rewards plan

If you like participating in hotel loyalty programs, you’re going to be happiest with Marriott Rewards, according to a study release Friday by J.D. Power.

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Unique roller coaster heading to tiny Anaheim amusement park

A small amusement park in the shadows of Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm will introduce a first-of-its-kind ride in the United States that has already caught the attention of roller coaster enthusiasts.

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Death Valley: Wildflowers appear, despite drought

Drought? What drought? Southern California's sporadic rainfall (and lack of it) this season seems to have been just enough for wildflowers to put on a decent show at Death Valley National Park.

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Las Vegas: What's on the menu for Easter

Easter in Las Vegas inspires many of the city's fine chefs to develop special menus that are full of creative, seasonal offerings available only on April 20. Hoping to indulge on another date? Check ahead of time. -- Jay Jones

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Yellowstone: Explore mud pots and track wolves on this family tour

Yellowstone National Park covers 3,472 square miles in Wyoming and parts of Montana and Idaho -- a lot to explore on a family vacation. The Yellowstone Assn. Institute and Xanterra Parks & Resorts have joined up to offer a tour with kids in mind that breaks down the vast parkland.

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Nevada: Bikers get ready to roll into Laughlin for river run festival

Thousands of motorcyclists will roll into Laughlin, Nev., later this month as one of the West’s largest biker events takes over the town on the Colorado River.

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'Terminator 2' motorcycle, other props stop by Milwaukee Harley museum

Movie buffs and motorcycle fans can conjure memories of a 1991 Hollywood blockbuster -- starring California’s former governor -- at a new exhibition at a Milwaukee museum.

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California: Quiet Mondays at Oceanside mission let you unplug, unwind

Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, the largest of California’s 21 missions, is offering a sanctuary from life’s frenzy during its new Quiet Monday retreats.

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New cruise-like passenger ferry to connect Maine and Nova Scotia

A new passenger ferry will begin plying the Atlantic Ocean route next month between Maine and Nova Scotia, offering passengers a cruise-like experience.

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TripAdvisor travelers choose Istanbul as the world's best city

Istanbul. Turkey, beat out Rome and London as the world's top city in TripAdvisor's 2014 Travelers' Choice Destinations released this week. The city jumped to the top spot despite a corruption scandal surrounding the country's prime minister and high-profile street protests last year.

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Each year, thousands of Native Americans wearing traditional clothing participate in the Grand Entry, seen here in 2013 in Albuquerque. The gathering is April 24-26 this year.

New Mexico: Albuquerque to host the Gathering of Nations

An array of cultural experiences awaits visitors to Albuquerque later this month during the Gathering of Nations.

The gatheringbilled as the world’s largest assembly of indigenous peoples, will welcome tens of thousands of members from more than 700 Native American tribes plus aboriginal people from Canada and beyond.

The first event, the Miss Indian World talent show, will be at 7 p.m. April 24 at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

The April 25 and 26 activities at the University of New Mexico arena are highlighted by the "Grand Entry," during which thousands of people in traditional garb enter the area to the sound of hundreds of beating drums. The parade will be staged  at noon and 7 p.m. April 25 and again at noon and 6 p.m. April 26.

Throughout the event, more than 800 Native American artists and craftspeople will display and sell their wares. Music will be provided by 27 contemporary, indigenous bands. Food vendors will serve Native dishes.

General admission ticketscost...

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Rodeo champion Wes Silcox struggles to stay atop a bucking bull named Showboat during the 2013 contest in Las Vegas. This year's championship in Las Vegas will be April 19.

Las Vegas: It's man versus beast at April 19 bull-riding championships

It will be man versus beast when many of the nation’s best bull riders gather in Las Vegas on April 19.

Starting at 8 p.m. that day, 24 cowboys will compete for $30,000 in prize money during the Tuff Hedeman Shootout (named for four-time world champion Tuff Hedeman) at Las Vegas' South Point Arena.

During three rounds of competition, riders will try to stay atop angry bulls for eight seconds. Prize money will also be awarded to the owners of the bulls most capable of quickly tossing their riders to the ground.

Participants will be hoping to advance to the Championship Bull Riding World Finals scheduled for July 21 in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Although most seats are already sold, $60 tickets are still available.

Info: (702) 797-8055

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The Glass House in New Canaan, Conn., designed by architect Philip Johnson, who also designed the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, will open for tours beginning May 1.

Connecticut home of Crystal Cathedral designer to open for tours

The New Canaan, Conn., home of the architect who designed the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove will open for tours next month, but best to keep an eye on his Glass House because it could disappear.

The Glass House, designed by noted architect Philip Johnson, was true to its name but for one thing: It had  a brick-enclosed bathroom. Johnson's house was completed in 1949, and the noted architect used his Connecticut home, about 50 miles northeast of New York, as a retreat from workaday pressures.

He  designed the Crystal Cathedral in the late 1970s. It is is now owned by the Diocese of Orange and is closed for renovation for its transformation into the Christ Cathedral. It is expected to reopen in 2016.

Johnson also worked on the Seagram Building (with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) and the American Telephone and Telegraph headquarters (now the Sony building) in New York City, and the IDS Center in Minneapolis. He received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1979. He diedat his New Canaan...

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Visitors stand on the glass-floor platform of the Glacier Skywalk hovering 918 feet above Sunwapta Valley in Canada's Jasper National Park. The skywalk is to open May 1.

Canada: Glacier Skywalk to make its debut in Jasper park on May 1

Depending on how you feel about heights, you'll utter “wow” or “uh-oh” when you walk out on the new curved Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park in western Alberta, Canada.

Visitors may feel as though they are walking on air as they stroll along the 918-foot-high curved Glacier Skywalk,which is set to open May 1. The skywalk’s clear glass floor juts out of native Alberta bedrock, and its steel, glass and wood construction are designed to blend into the natural landscape.  

An interpretative walkway details the area’s geology, ecology, plants and wildlife as guests head to the skywalk, which won its first architectural design award in 2011, before construction even began. Other design, engineering and environmental awards have followed. In January, Travel & Leisure chose Glacier Skywalk as one of the world’s 27 coolest attractions.

The eco-friendly Glacier Skywalk operates on solar power so it matches the environmental footprint of Tangle...

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Karen Harris' garlicky fish sticks won over the judges at the 2013 cook-off at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. The festival is set for July 25-27 this year.

Gilroy: Garlic fest invites cooks to enter favorite aromatic recipes

Got a great recipe for which garlic is a key ingredient? It could earn you a spot in a popular cook-off during this summer’s Gilroy Garlic Festival in Central California.

Each July, people flock to the festival in Gilroy, about 80 miles southeast of San Francisco, to fill up on foods featuring the pungent perennial.

The strong aroma of garlic will be impossible to escape during the July 25-27 festival. Each year, visitors consume more than 2 tons of garlic grown at the local Christopher Ranch.

The Great Garlic Cook-off, a contest among amateur chefs, is one of the highlights of the annual festival. On July 26, eight cooks will compete for the $5,000 grand prize.

Each recipe must use at least six cloves of garlic, according to the contest rules.

Karen Harris of Colorado took home last year’s first prize after wowing the judges with her “Carnival Style Fish Sticks with Lemony Jalapeno Mayonnaise and Spicy Apple Kohlrabi Slaw.”

The foods typically served up along...

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Ripe Pixies await harvesting at Churchill Orchard in Ojai.

Ojai rolls out citrus-colored carpet to celebrate mandarin harvest

The harvest of the seedless citrus known as the Pixie is underway in Ojai and the community is rallying behind the beloved mandarin with a variety of flavorful and fun activities throughout the month.

“Our weather is perfectly suited to growing these late-season mandarins,” Lisa Brenneis, co-founder of Churchill Orchard, told me. Brenneis, one of the area’s more than 40 tangerine growers, started selling Pixies on Monday.

The town is rolling out the orange carpet to celebrate the harvest. Bowlfuls of free Pixies can be found in shops throughout the community, and several businesses are featuring specials showcasing the fruit.

Ojai, 15 miles north of Ventura, is about a 1 1/2-hour drive from Los Angeles. Here’s a taste of what’s on offer:

Azu restaurant is featuring Moon Valley Marmalade, a  blend of blood oranges, ginger, vanilla bean and, of course, Pixies. Info: (805) 640-7987.

Throughout April, Bliss Frozen Yogurtwill include Pixie among its flavors....

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Celebrity Cruises executive chef John Suley, pictured at an event last year in Malibu, will be serving up dishes generally found in the restaurants of Celebrity Cruises ships at a festival next month in Irvine.

Landlubbers can sample line's fare, wine at Celebrity Cruises OC event

Now you can try cruise-ship cuisine as well as fine wine without ever setting sail at a Celebrity event in Irvine.

Celebrity Cruises is a driving force behind the Great Wine Festival May 31 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine.

The cruise line will provide landlubbers with tastes of the fare usually served at sea. Executive chef John Suley and sommelier Chanelle Duarte will welcome guests. 

Ten of Celebrity’s floating restaurants have won the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine.

Several California vineyards will provide wine for the event. They include Cakebread Cellars, Grgich Hills Estate and Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards

Restaurants from around the Southland will also be serving their fare, including Clay Oven of Irvine, James Republic of Long Beach and Slapfish of Huntington Beach.

The event runs from 2 to 5 p.m. May 31. Proceeds will benefit Legal Aid of Orange County.

Tickets cost $100.

Info: (714) 571-5220.

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The Sea House restaurant, set on crescent-shaped Napili Bay in Maui, celebrates its 50th anniversary with throwback prices.

Hawaii: Maui's Sea House parties like it's 1963 (with prices to match)

A landmark West Maui restaurant known for its legendary view is celebrating its 50th anniversary with dining specials that will continue throughout 2014.

The Sea House, which is beachside on crescent-shaped Napili Bay, opened in December 1963.

To celebrate, the dinner menu features a mixed grill for $19.63. It includes coconut and porter-braised short rib, bacon-wrapped scallop and herb-grilled prawn, accompanied by Molokai mashed potatoes and sauteed asparagus and sweet peppers.

The seaside setting provides for some killer sunsets. Happy Hour patrons can toast the day’s end with tropical drinks such as the Lava Flow ($7). It contains pineapple juice, coconut syrup, ice cream, strawberries, banana and rum.

Happy Hour also includes a Golden Anniversary appetizer called Tutu's Tots ($5). They are Molokai sweet potato tots filled with pepper jack cheese and kalua pork served with a jalapeño ranch dipping sauce.

Sea House is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Info: Sea House...

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CNN: The 15 best places to keep your kids happy

if you're looking for places that will delight children, consider San Francisco's Exploratorium, Legoland California and the Twirl Toy Store and Play Space in Taos, N.M., Those are among the 15 attractions that CNN says will keep kids&#151and their parents&#151 happy.

CNN created its "15 Best Spots for Kids" list from the Travelers’ Favorites list compiled by travel site Gogobot.

No. 1 on the list: San Francisco’s Exploratorium. You'll see nearly as many adults as you will kids in this "learning lab" that's now at Pier 15. Its exhibits deal with sound, color, biology&#151really the gamut of life, including the quirky toothpick sculpture above by Scott Weaver, a 37-years-in-the-making creation that consists of more than 105,000 toothpicks. 

Legoland California in Carlsbad ranks eighth. Legos are so popular that they inspired "The Lego Movie," released in February. A sequel has already been announced.

Besides four museums, the list also features some offbeat attractions,...

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Travel agents often have news of great cruise bargains.

Taking advantage of last-minute travel bargains

Question: A reader writes that she and her husband are retired, older than 70 and want to travel. They can leave at a moment's notice, so they want to know whether they can take advantage of last-minute deals and, if so, where. (For security reasons, we are not using their names, which are unusual and could make them a target of thieves.)

Answer: Travel industry providers have trained us to expect to pay a premium for last-minute travel, except when it's to their benefit, such as moving unsold inventory that will otherwise go unused. Then we are their new BFFs.

It's a twisted relationship, but if you're like the letter writer, you can put up with a lot to save a lot.

First, look for package discounts that combine a hotel stay or cruise with airfare, for example. That's the advice of Sarah Gavin, an Expedia travel expert. Not doing so, she says, is the No. 1 travel mistake. You'll save at least 10% on average, she says, and often more if you're traveling to a big vacation market such as...

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Sand castle builders will compete for $17,000 in prize money during the Sun & Sea Festival in July in Imperial Beach, Calif.

Sand castle makers to compete for $17,000 in prizes at Imperial Beach

Beautiful—if fleeting—works of art will be sculpted from sand when the the Original Imperial Beach Sandcastle Competition returns July 19 to the San Diego County town.

Professional sand sculptors will compete for $17,000 in prize money as they spend five hours on the beach creating their masterpieces as part of the Sun & Sea Festival.

The competition will take place from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. During the same time, children can test their skills in the “Kids ’n Kastles” sand castle contest. The winners will be announced at a 5 p.m. awards ceremony at Pier Plaza.

Other children’s activities are also planned, as is live entertainment from a beachside stage.

Several Imperial Beach restaurants plan to offer special menus to coincide with the popular event.

Visitors are encouraged to park at Mar Vista High School (505 Elm Ave, Imperial Beach) and either walk or take a shuttle bus to the beach.

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Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger Mary Forgione likes to hit the dirt when she's on vacation. An avid hiker and runner, Mary likes speed-touring cities on foot and sightseeing by running marathons.


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