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Home Travel Western Travel Buzz Latest News, Deals & Savings for June 22

Latest News, Deals & Savings for June 22

Arizona’s Kartchner Caverns offering ‘Summer Cave Tour’ discount, see the free outdoors screening of The Wizard of Oz to mark the film’s 70th anniversary, and the Yellowstone Association Institute is scheduling a series of naturalist-led day tours of Yellowstone National Park.

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Kartchner Caverns Offering Summer Cave Tour Discount

From now through Sept. 4, 2009, visitors to Arizona's Kartchner Caverns State Park can enjoy a big discount on visiting the park's remarkable limestone Rotunda/Throne Tour.

The tour is half of a mile in length and takes approximately an hour and a half to complete, 50 minutes of which is underground. Visitors discover the role that water has played in creating the cavern.

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All tours are led by a trained guide; no self-guided tours are available. Tour highlights include seeing the discoverers original trail, 45,000-year-old bat guano, delicate mineral formations and "Kubla Khan," the largest column formation in Arizona.

Adult Cave Tour tickets are $12 (save $6.95), while Youth Cave Tour tickets are $5 (save $4.95). Promotion cannot be combined with other discounts or coupons. To get tickets call (520) 586-2283.

Because of state budget cutbacks, however, the number of summer cave tours at Kartchner Caverns State Park will be reduced to 11 per day from Thursday through Monday and tours will start at 9 a.m. On Tuesday and Wednesday there will be only six tours per day with those tours starting at 10 a.m.

The Discovery Center will be open 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. most of the week, but won't open until 9 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and will close at 5 p.m. These changes will help the agency consolidate tours and staff during the summer when there is less demand and it is more difficult to get volunteers

Make cave tour reservation by calling (520) 586-2283. The $5 entrance fee is waived with that tour reservation for a vehicle with up to two adults, however there is a $2 per adult charge for each additional adult passenger.

The reservation ticket office is open seven days per week for cave reservations. Book tours in advance for Kartchner Caverns State Park. There are no online reservations so you must call for reservations. Walk-up tickets are by availability only, so may not be as accessible as there are less tours per day.

Kartchner Caverns State Park is located in northeast Arizona on Highway 90, nine miles South of I-10 near Benson, Arizona. For more information visit the Web site at
www.azstateparks.com/Parks/KACA/index.html

Free Outdoor Screening of The Wizard of Oz

If you're anywhere near the Grand Rapids, Minnesota High School football field at dusk on June 27, stop by for a free screening of The Wizard of Oz, the centerpiece of the annual Judy Garland Festival, June 25-27 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, birthplace of the stage and screen singer and actress.

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The outdoor screening will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the famous film starring screen legend and Minnesota native Judy Garland.

"Four decades have passed since the acclaimed star passed away," said John Kelsch, executive director of the museum, "but the world has never stopped rediscovering, appreciating, enjoying and loving Judy Garland."

Collector Michael Siewert owns 15 gowns worn by Garland. He will bring them to Grand Rapids along with video showing Judy performing in them. His presentation is followed on Friday by a conversation with Emmy award-winning Garland historian John Fricke about the making of The Wizard of Oz and Garland's legacy from it.

Concert pianist Richard Glazier will present "A Salute to Judy Garland & Friends" at the Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids June 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Festival favorites Sleepyhead Margaret Pellegrini and Lollipop Guilder Jerry Maren are featured at Dinner with the Munchkins Friday and Saturday nights at the Sawmill Inn, next door to the Garland museum.

The Judy Garland Festival takes place in and around the Judy Garland Museum, Children's Discovery Museum and Memorial Garden in Grand Rapids, a northern Minnesota resort town where Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm. The museum has the world's largest collection of Judy Garland memorabilia.

See
www.judygarlandmuseum.com for tickets and information or call (800) 664-5839.

Yellowstone Association Institute Schedules Private Tours of Park

The Yellowstone Association Institute (YAI) is offering a series of naturalist-led day tours for small groups that want to learn more than a self-guided tour will tell them about Yellowstone National Park's wildlife, geology, natural history and hiking options.

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The Yellowstone Association Institute is a non-profit field school operated by the Yellowstone Association (
www.YellowstoneAssociation.org) in partnership with the National Park Service.

YAI Private Tours pick up groups at one of various locations throughout the park. The goal of the tours is to enhance the visitor experience and foster a greater appreciation of the park.

This small group setting, under the leadership of an expert naturalist/guide, creates a personal experience. Tours last approximately eight hours and begin at 6 a.m., 6:30 a.m., or 8 a.m. depending on location, however, multiple days can be combined to extend the adventure.

"The reason so many people return to Yellowstone for an in-depth experience is that they realize the more they learn about the park, the more interesting it becomes," said Jeff Brown, director of education for the Yellowstone Association Institute.

Because the 2.2-million-acre park has so many dimensions - from wildlife to geothermal features -the non-profit Institute recommends visitors try instead to focus on one general geographic area at a time. An Institute naturalist guide shows participants where, when and how to look for animals using high-powered spotting scopes and binoculars. The hiking trips enable visitors to explore backcountry trails with an experienced guide.

Daily rates are $495 for one to five participants, $625 for six to 13 participants and $1,250 for 14 to 28 participants. Yellowstone Association members receive a $10 discount on all courses, and family memberships begin at just $30 per year. Instruction, spotting scopes, binoculars and in-park transportation, are provided. Participants bring their own meals, but the Institute does provide snacks.

To make reservations, call (406) 848-2400; for Lodging & Learning program reservations, call (866) 439-7375. Yellowstone Association members receive a $10 discount on all courses, and family memberships begin at just $35 per year. For more information on any Institute program, go to
www.YellowstoneAssociation.org .


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