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TOURS & CRUISES

May 11, 2003|Rosemary McClure | Times Staff Writer

UTAH

Commune with four-footed friends at a sanctuary

Take a vacation that's a breed apart this year at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, where you can spend a weekend -- or a week -- helping to care for the 1,500 cats, dogs and other animals that live there. Best Friends, the nation's largest shelter for abused and abandoned animals, is near Kanab in the red-rock country of southern Utah.

"Last year over 20,000 people visited Best Friends," said spokeswoman Barbara Williamson. "Some came for a few hours, days or a week; others spent a month or more."

Guided tours of the 3,000-acre sanctuary are offered daily. Volunteers perform a variety of tasks, including preparing food and feeding animals, walking dogs, brushing cats, grooming trails, cleaning runs and litter boxes and working with such animals as horses, goats, sheep and rabbits.

"We want it to be a good experience for our volunteers, so we try to accommodate what they want to do," Williamson said.

Cost: There is no charge to volunteer or take a tour. Volunteers can camp or find accommodations in nearby Kanab, which caters to visitors to Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon national parks, all within a 90-minute drive.

Tours and volunteer assignments should be arranged in advance.

Contact: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary; (435) 644-2001, www.bestfriends.org.

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CALIFORNIA

Wildlife, history and geography of the Golden State

Introduce your family to the missions, marine life and mother-lode Gold Country of California on an eight-day tour that traces the history of the Golden State.

The June 22 trip, designed to appeal to children, parents and grandparents, will include a visit to Monterey Bay Aquarium, rides on cable cars, a steam train and a ferry, and guided tours of the Capitol in Sacramento and Sutter's Fort State Historic Park. The group also will visit Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park and Columbia State Historic Park.

Cost: $935 per person, double occupancy; child fee is $895. Included are hotel, bus transportation, 10 meals and sightseeing admissions. Bus pickups will be made in Palos Verdes, West L.A. and the San Fernando Valley.

Contact: Palos Verdes-based S.T.E.P. Inc., (310) 377-1601.

CANADA

Private gardens, tea and dinner in British Columbia

Brighten up your summer with a seven-day tour that focuses on the gardens of Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.

The June 25 trip will begin with four nights in Victoria, where the group will visit several private gardens and have tea at the Empress Hotel and dinner at renowned Butchart Gardens.

Three nights will be spent in Vancouver, where the group will meet Canadian gardening expert Thomas Hobbs and tour his garden, visit VanDusen Botanical Garden and attend a Shakespearean play.

Cost: $1,995 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, most meals, round-trip British Columbia ferry rides and admissions. Airfare to British Columbia is not included.

Contact: Armstrong & Hedges; (877) 838-5142, www.teagardentravel.com.

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PERU

Educational tour of museums and archeological sites

Study the art and culture of ancient and contemporary Peru on a 12-day tour that visits museums, archeological sites and native craft markets.

The Aug. 7 trip, led by Raoul De la Sota, professor emeritus at Los Angeles City College, will begin in the Peruvian capital of Lima. From there the group will go to southern Peru and fly over the mysterious and ancient Nazca Lines -- figures, symbols and designs carved into the desert surface. Some experts theorize that the lines had astronomical uses.

De la Sota, who spent a year in Peru on a Fulbright Fellowship, will then lead the group to Cuzco and the ruins of Machu Picchu before moving on to Ollantaytambo and Pisac.

Cost: $2,550 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip airfare from LAX to Lima, accommodations, many meals and sightseeing. Peru airport taxes and tips are not included.

Contact: Raoul De la Sota, (323) 255-9913.

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WISCONSIN

Boating, hiking and history in

the heartland

Soak up some history along with the scenery during an eight-day bus, boating and hiking trip to Wisconsin.

The July 12 trip, organized by the Sierra Club's Los Angeles chapter, will focus on locations significant in the lives of three of Wisconsin's native sons: naturalist John Muir, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and wildlife biologist Aldo Leopold.

Participants will visit Muir's boyhood homes in Fountain Lake and Hickory Hill; Wright's home, architectural school and estate at Taliesin East in Spring Green; and Leopold's restored prairie and shack in Baraboo, made famous in his book "A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There."

Cost: $1,145 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip airfare from LAX to Chicago, bus tour, accommodations, boat tours and admission fees.

Contact: Trip leader David Czamanske; (626) 458-8646, www.angeles.sierraclub.org/Pasadena.

The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with travel agents, cruise lines or tour operators.

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