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The Lowdown on New Family Playgrounds

May 23, 1999

A plethora of playgrounds aim to open Memorial Day weekend to kick off the family travel season. Among them:

San Diego: "Shipwreck Rapids" at SeaWorld, the marine park's first adventure ride. A raft-like inner tube whirls passengers down a river with rapids, waterfalls and obstacles. Opens Saturday. Park admission, $38 adults, $29 ages 3-11. Telephone (619) 226-3901. Also, Ituri Forest at the San Diego Zoo. A two-acre African rain forest habitat with jungle sounds and animals and a re-created camp of the Mbuti people. Opens Saturday. Park admission, $16 adults, $7 ages 3-11. Tel. (619) 234-3153..

Kapolei, Hawaii: Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park, a 20-minute drive west of Honolulu. Water theme park with two 65-foot-high free-fall slides and separate play areas for children, teens and adults. Opens Friday. Hours 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Opening weekend tickets ($27 for people over 48 inches tall, $16.70 under) must be bought locally in advance; no tickets at gate. Regular tickets are $31.25 over 48 inches, $20.82 under. Tel. (808) WILDWAVE.

Dearborn, Mich.: Spirit of Ford, across from Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. A 50,000-square-foot museum devoted to automotive technology. Exhibits include computer kiosks where you can design your own auto and a motion simulator in which you "become" a vehicle being built on an assembly line. Opens Saturday. Hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission, $9 adults, $7 ages 5-12, $6 ages 3-4. Tel. (313) 317-7474.

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