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February 01, 2009|Brady MacDonald, Susan Derby and Mary E. Forgione

The Ultimate in Travel

Welcome to the second Ultimate Guide. This week's issue of the Travel section focuses on the best of the Golden State. You'll find even more information, including photo galleries and videos from reporter Christopher Reynolds' coastal trip, at Next week, look for the Ultimate Guide to the World.

-- Times staff

New clothes

Legoland California quickly updated the new presidential inauguration scene at the Carlsbad theme park to more closely resemble the wardrobes worn by First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha. Lego Michelle, who wore a red dress in Miniland USA before the inauguration, has changed into a yellow ensemble (no "lemon grass" Lego bricks were available). The Lego first daughters switched from patriotic colors to their Inauguration Day finery: Malia in a periwinkle coat and Sasha in a pink jacket with orange scarf. Info: (760) 918-5346,

-- Brady MacDonald


Zoo attraction

Did you know that female opossums can get pregnant while they're pregnant? For a lesson on the birds and the bees -- and giraffes and penguins, for that matter -- check out the 20th Annual Woo at the San Francisco Zoo in February. Jane Tollini will lead the multimedia program. Cost for the 21-and-over event is $75 per person, which includes a meal, parking and zoo admission. Dates: 6 p.m. Feb. 7, noon Feb. 8 and noon and 6 p.m. Feb. 14. Info: (415) 753-7236,

-- Susan Derby


Eagle count

It's time to take a census -- of bald eagles. The U.S. Forest Service needs volunteers to help map and count the number of birds as they pass through Southern California; no experience is necessary. Winter bald eagle counts will be from 8 to 11 a.m. Feb. 14 at the marina at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area, about 20 miles north of San Bernardino, (760) 389-2281; Big Bear Lake at the Big Bear Discovery Center, (909) 382-2832; and at Lake Hemet, (909) 382-2945.

-- Mary E. Forgione


Making the list

Santa Barbara was the only California venue to make the 2009 list of "America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations" compiled by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Each year the organization gives high marks to places that offer "an authentic visitor experience by combining dynamic downtowns, cultural diversity, attractive architecture, cultural landscapes and a strong commitment to historic preservation and revitalization." Santa Barbara was singled out for its Mediterranean look ("white-washed buildings with red tile roofs"), comfy beaches and iconic landmarks. For a complete list, go to

-- M.E.F.


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