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California state park fees take a hike

August 23, 2009|Jane Engle; Rosemary McClure; Brady MacDonald; Judi Dash

It will cost you more to visit California state parks -- in some cases, double what you've paid in the past, thanks to increases implemented last week. Among Southern California parks affected, with sample fees, were Bolsa Chica State Beach (parking now $15 a day, up from $10; premium beachfront sites now $65, up from $39 to $44); Carpinteria State Beach (parking now up $2 to $10; hike-and-bike sites now $10, up from $5); Malibu Creek State Park (parking now up $2 to $12; drive-in, developed campsites now $35, up from $20 to $25). Info: For a full fee schedule, visit www.parks.ca.gov, click on the "Visit a Park" tab, then "Reservations & Fees."

-- Jane Engle

If you're hooked on the Discovery Channel, you might enjoy the network's new venture into reality travel for viewers: Discovery Adventures. The travel site offers soft-adventure-style trips to 18 domestic and international destinations that "immerse viewers in the diversity of cultures as seen every day on Discovery Channel," said Elizabeth Bakacs, a spokeswoman at Discovery Channel. Travelers will be able to explore regions featured on programs such as "Man vs. Wild" (Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska), "Out of Egypt" and "Discovery Atlas" (China). Trips are booking now and will depart beginning in December. Tours last three to 24 days, with prices starting at $499 per person, excluding airfare. Participants will not be filmed. Info: (877) 277-9847, www.discoveryadventures .com.

Park price hike

Discovery site

-- Rosemary McClure

Web Legoland

Legoland California has become the first U.S. theme park mapped by Google Street View, the Web giant's interactive, walk-through mapping application. Google employed a camera-mounted, three-wheeled cycle to photograph the Carlsbad kiddie park during park hours. Visitors' faces have been blurred for privacy reasons -- giving some of the images the surreal feel of a top-secret trip inside a totalitarian state. To view the virtual Legoland, go to www.maps.google .com, type "Legoland California" into the search field and drag the little yellow peg man onto the aerial photo of the park.

-- Brady MacDonald

Bottle secured

There's nothing like a picnic on the grass with a bottle of wine, some lovely wine glasses . . . and a wet mess when it all falls over. Not to worry, thanks to the Wine Server Tray, a 12-by-10-inch bamboo tray with removable raised metal supports at each end, removable metal braces in the center to keep a wine bottle steady, and deep indentations along the perimeter to keep four stemmed wine glasses (not included) from toppling over. There's also room on the tray -- which has raised edges to keep items from sliding off -- for some cheese and crackers. Let the toasting begin. Wine Server Tray is $32.95. Info: (800) 356-8466, www.wineenthusiast.com.

-- Judi Dash

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