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June 17, 2007|Susan Lendroth; Jane Engle; Mary E. Forgione; Valli Herman

Ooh! Ahh! Dive! Dive!

Is it a bus? Is it a boat? It's a duck! New York Splash Tours now offers amphibious tours of the Big Apple. Its new fleet of AquaBuses ferries visitors from Times Square through the streets of New York before driving into the Hudson River for a view of the famed Manhattan skyline. Enter the river through a short tunnel ride that simulates a stormy sea voyage. Join the captain for a one-hour tour. Adults $29, children 3 to 11 $20. Info: (877) 527-4691,

-- Susan Lendroth

Sequoia shuttle

A new transit system for Sequoia National Park features bus service from Visalia, Calif., to the park, and two shuttle routes link the park's top sites. The bus from Visalia, about 35 miles southwest of the park, costs $10 round-trip per person and includes park admission; reservations are recommended. Buy tickets, which carry a $1 fee per order, at by phone at (877) 287-4453 or in person at several places in Visalia. Once in the park, visitors can board free shuttles, which run about every 15 minutes, to Sherman Tree, Moro Rock, Lodgepole Visitor Center, Wuksachi Lodge and other sites. Go to

-- Jane Engle

Storybook career

Danish illustrator Kay Nielsen crafted the chilling Satanic fest "Night on Bald Mountain" for the 1940 film "Fantasia," but he also created lighter images such as his ornate 1920s illustrations for fairy tales by the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen. Walt Disney Animation Studios, museums and collectors loaned 120 drawings and illustrations for the show at the GL. Holtegaard museum near Copenhagen. Info: 011-45-45-80-08-78; To see some of Nielsen's fairy tale illustrations, go to

-- Mary E. Forgione

Delish defined

Long after "ritzy" became a synonym for luxury, the hotel chain that inspired the word has come up with a new idea of indulgence. Wine, cheese and chocolate come together on one menu in Eno, a new 36-seat tasting bar just off the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel. Eno offers flights of wines from a selection of 50 by the glass and 500 on the list, cheeses from around the world and chocolates from local artisans. Flights of chocolates, cheeses and wines from $11 to $125. Info: (949) 240-2000;

-- Valli Herman

Up periscope

How do you get a photo of the two of you on vacation without resorting to kindly strangers? The Quikpod is an 18-inch-long arm that screws into the tripod socket of a still or video camera. Set your self-timer, grab the Quikpod, extend your arm and let the shutter snap a picture or video. Also good for above-the-crowd shots. The Quikpod collapses to 8 inches for easy carrying. $29.85, with bag, clip, wrist strap and mini-tripod. Info: (800) 962-4943,, or (800) 567-0878,

-- Jane Engle

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