News, Tips & Bargains : The Bard Comes to Boise

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival, which celebrates its 19th season this year, has inaugurated a toll-free number. Travelers calling (800) 98-PLAYS can get information about festival activities and a schedule of plays, including "Love's Labour's Lost," "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," "King Henry IV, Part I" and "King Henry IV, Part II." The festival runs from June 15 through Sept. 23 in an outdoor amphitheater along the Boise River in Idaho's capital city. Ticket prices range from $13.50 to $16.50.

Country Festival in Northern California

The California Countryside Festival--five weeks of events including concerts, Gold Rush re-enactments, art shows, craft fairs and a fiddle festival--will take place April 28-May 29 in Northern California's "Gold Country."

The events are organized so that in any weekend, a traveler can attend a number of different activities in adjoining communities in Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Nevada, Madera, Mariposa, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra and Tuolumne counties. Many events will occur along historic California 49. To obtain a brochure about the festival, co-sponsored by the California Arts Council and Division of Tourism, call (800) 201-6201.

Day Tripping Via the Chunnel

Have a yen for a quick trip through the Chunnel? BritRail has added a fully escorted day trip from London to Paris to its lineup of "Britainshrinker" high-speed day tours. The trip, available from April 22 to Dec. 9 for $199 per person, includes reserved seats for round-trip standard class Eurostar Channel Tunnel train service between London and Paris, a guided motor-coach tour of Paris and free time for shopping.

BritRail has also established special fares for passengers who purchase a round-trip Eurostar ticket and stay over a Saturday night in Paris, Brussels or London. The APEX fares, which must be purchased 14 days in advance, are $125 for London-Brussels and $134 for London-Paris. APEX fares are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. Availability is limited.

Information: (800) 677-8585.

Wildflower Center Moves to New Home

The National Wildflower Research Center, founded in 1982 in Austin, Tex., by Lady Bird Johnson, moves to a new 42-acre botanical garden that will be opened to the public with a two-day festival April 8 and 9.

The new center is expecting more than 20,000 visitors between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. both days. The center is dedicated to the preservation and re-establishment of native plants in natural and planned landscapes. The new site includes a 45-foot observation tower, a children's discovery room and a rainwater collection and harvesting system. For information, contact the center, 4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin, TX 78739; tel. (512) 292-4100.

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