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NEWS, TIPS & BARGAINS | TRAVEL LOG

November 16, 2003

Glamour jets strut their stuff

Three supersonic Concorde jets, which British Airways and Air France retired after more than 25 years of whisking the wealthy across the Atlantic, are being displayed in the U.S. One has already landed at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, the only West Coast museum to get the jet.

The Concorde in Seattle, from British Airways, has been on display, although closed to tours, since arriving earlier this month. It was expected to open for tours for museum members only on Nov. 22, then to the public Nov. 28.

It once cost about $14,000 to fly these sleek aircraft -- the typical price of a round-trip ticket between London and New York. For only $11, the museum's adult admission price, visitors will be able to walk through the front cabin "where all the rock stars and movie stars sat," said museum spokesman Craig O'Neill. As of the Travel section's deadline Tuesday, the museum was not planning to sell advance tour tickets, although it would offer rain checks, he said. (206) 764-5720, www.museumofflight.org.

Another British Airways Concorde landed last week at New York's JFK airport, destined for the city's Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum in Midtown Manhattan. Weather permitting, it was expected to be barged 12 miles to the museum the week of Nov. 23 and put on display. The museum hoped to begin cabin tours by Christmas and, by spring, open a museum of supersonic travel on the barge, said spokeswoman Denise Nash. Tours will be included in museum admission ($14 for adults until Dec. 31, then $14.50). (212) 245-0072, www.intrepidmuseum.org.

A third Concorde, this one from Air France, will be displayed at the new annex of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. The annex is expected to open Dec. 15 on airport-owned land about two miles south of the main terminal of Dulles International Airport in suburban Virginia, said museum spokeswoman Claire Brown. The museum, which had 10.7 million visitors last year, hasn't decided whether to open the jet for tours, she added. (202) 357-2700, www.nasm.si.edu/museum.

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Museum gives mammals new

room to roam

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., this weekend was to have opened a 25,000-square-foot hall filled with hundreds of mammal specimens preserved by taxidermy. Many are posed in dramatic vignettes.

About three-fourths of the 274 specimens are newly on display, said Sally Love, the museum's exhibit developer. Some of these were in the museum's archives, some were recently acquired and some were refurbished. Among the refurbished specimens is an African rhinoceros shot by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909.

The new hall, five years in the making, was renovated from a series of smaller rooms devoted to subtopics such as marine and North American mammals.

Its grand scale restores the original 1913 plan for the museum.

Highlights include a giraffe bent low to drink water and a diorama in which two lionesses bring down a water buffalo. There are also interactive exhibits and a museum shop.

The $31-million Kenneth E. Behring Family Hall of Mammals is named for the Northern California real estate developer who donated $20 million to the museum in 1997, plus $80 million to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in 2000. Open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily; admission is free. (202) 357-2700, www.mnh.si.edu.

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Mustang Ranch

fetches $145,100

in Web auction

The former Mustang Ranch, Nevada's first legal brothel, sold for $145,100 during an EBay Internet auction to Lance Gilman, owner of the Wild Horse Resort and Spa, another Reno-area brothel-hotel.

Gilman bought the pink and neon-lighted building from the federal Bureau of Land Management, which owns the property on which it is located. He said he would move the ranch and was evaluating what to do with it.

Possible uses include eventually reopening it as a brothel or turning it into a museum, he said.

Though Gilman also bought the federal government's right to the Mustang Ranch trademark, several other organizations and individuals have laid claim to it. Meanwhile, the BLM intends to leave the 360-acre ranch property on the Truckee River undeveloped.

Susan Spano

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DEAL OF THE WEEK

Paying your age

in San Francisco

The Galleria Park Hotel in San Francisco offers a deal in which rates are based on the last two digits of the guest's birth date. If you were born in 1971, the rate is $71 plus tax. This year's deal comes with new restrictions. You must pay the regular rate, which varies from $99 to $189, for the first night and on alternate nights thereafter; on the other nights, rates are based on your age. The deal, good for stays Nov. 21 to Jan. 11, is subject to availability. The hotel, 191 Sutter St., is rated three diamonds by AAA. (800) 792-9639, www.galleriapark.com.

-- Compiled by

Jane Engle

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