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Feb 22nd
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Home Travel Western Travel Buzz Latest News, Deals & Savings for June 29

Latest News, Deals & Savings for June 29

New Mexico readies the state’s biggest Fourth of July fireworks show, California’s Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is offering steam train rides for the Fourth, and Texas will be showing its patriotic fervor at many state parks

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New Mexico State Parks Plan Variety of Fourth of July Events

Fireworks, patriotic crafts and memorials are just some of 2009's Fourth of July holiday weekend highlights at New Mexico State Parks throughout the state.

There's a park event for just about every interest. Festivities actually begin July 3 at a number of New Mexico state parks and run through Monday, July 6.

The big party, however, takes place on July 4, and there are several events from which to choose. Below is a list of parks and their major events.

Elephant Butte Lake - Grand Fireworks Display
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
This is the largest fireworks display in New Mexico! The largest and most popular lake in New Mexico, Elephant Butte Lake State Park provides a setting for every imaginable water sport. The visitor center offers regional interpretive exhibits.

Conchas Lake  - Fire on the Water
9 p.m.
In Partnership with Conchas Dam Volunteer Fire Department, donations from the American Legion & Private Donors - Guaranteed to fill hearts and senses.

Ute Lake - Fireworks at Play
9 p.m.
A prism of lights reflected from the lake, presented by Logan Chamber of Commerce.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial -American Flag Retirement
10 a.m. -11 a.m.
Bring your torn or tattered ensigns. American flags will be retired with honor, dignity and grace.

Bottomless Lake - Enchanted Evenings
8 p.m. - 9 p.m.
"Raptors and Birds of Prey" by Steve Patterson, Park Superintendent, and meet "Scarlett," a live red tail hawk, up close and personal.

Oasis Park- Nature Walk
7 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Take a walk amongst the newly filled three acre pond & re-discover Oasis.

Manzano Mountain - Natural Crafts and Classic Movie Showing
10 a.m. -12 p.m., 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. (Movie at 8 p.m.)
Create patriotic and natural theme crafts through out the day. In the evening enjoy a classic American Film.

For more information about Fourth of July weekend celebrations, call 888-NMPARKS or visit www.nmparks.com .

Enjoy an Old-Fashioned Fourth at California's Railtown

Visitors can celebrate America's Fourth of July heritage by taking a steam train ride and picnicking on the shaded grounds of California's Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, about two hours east of San Francisco.

Railtown's excursion trains will depart on Saturday, July 4, and Sunday, July 5, from the Railtown Depot, on-the-hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The six-mile, 40-minute roundtrip ride takes passengers through the rolling Gold Country foothills, passing through meadows and along grassy hillsides covered with ancient oak trees.

Families are encouraged to bring a picnic, set up a BBQ on the park's shaded lawn, or enjoy lunch at the new Carriage Room Café and Snack Bar at the Freight Shed.

During the 2009 holiday weekend, visitors will have the opportunity to ride first-class on Railtown's restored Pullman car, and also see the San Diego & Arizona Eastern's Ford Model AA 1931 Fire Engine in service. Additional activities throughout the weekend include live music, old-fashioned games and demonstrations in the roundhouse shops.

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park's Depot Store, Interpretive Center, and grounds are open daily April-October from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Guided Roundhouse Tours are available daily. On Saturdays and Sundays, Trains depart hourly 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from the Railtown Depot; regular train tickets are $8 adults, $3 youths ages 6-17, ages 5 and under ride free.

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Reservoir Road in Jamestown. For more information, call (209) 984-3953. Jamestown is about 130 miles east of San Francisco in the Sierra foothills, located near Yosemite National Park in California's Gold Country.

Operated by California State Parks with assistance from the nonprofit California State Railroad Museum Foundation, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is known as "The Movie Railroad," the park and its trains have been featured in hundreds of feature films, TV shows, and commercials.

For more information, call (209) 984-3953, or visit the Web site at
www.railtown1897.org .

Texas State Parks Offer Patriotic Fervor Celebrations

From two diamond-anniversary celebrations and fireworks extravaganzas to live music performances and bicycle parades, more than a dozen Texas state parks are planning a host of special events to commemorate 2009 Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Two of Texas' oldest and best known state parks - Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle and Caddo Lake in the northeastern corner of the state - will celebrate 75 years of welcoming the public to some of the Lone Star State's most spectacular natural wonders.

Both parks were developed in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's most ambitious public works programs instituted during the Great Depression era.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park's 75th anniversary celebration stretches over two days, with Saturday, July 4, events including a special daytime program on the canyon's history and the Independence Day version of the renowned outdoor musical drama, "Texas!" that night. Park entry fees are waived.

On Sunday, in the same Pioneer Amphitheater, music fans will be treated to a rare concert by Texan-born music legend Boz Scaggs and his band. Amarillo's famous Big Texas Steak Ranch will cater both events. Tickets for both nights' entertainment can be purchased by visiting www.texas-show.com  or by calling (806)655-2181.

Caddo Lake State Park and Wildlife Management Area will commemorate the park's opening on July 4, 1934, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a special program on the CCC and Caddo Indians that will include traveling exhibits, the unveiling of a time capsule buried 15 years ago and collection of items for burial in a new time capsule to be recovered at the park's 150th anniversary in another 75 years.

Local park supporter Mary Jane Sanders, who attended the original park opening in 1934, has been invited to share stories of the park's early days.

The seat of Texas independence - Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site between Navasota and Brenham - will host a full day of 4th of July events from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., culminating with "Fireworks on the Brazos" presented by H-E-B. Festivities will include strolling Western entertainers, a Kid Zone, free music concerts at the amphitheater, a performance by the Brenham Children's Chorus and at 7 p.m. free Blue Bell ice cream and Coca-Cola. The celebration event is free, but tour fees apply. Call (936) 878-2214 for details.

Another Texas Parks and Wildlife Department-operated site - the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens - will host "Fireworks at the Fishery" on July 4. What is touted as one of the largest fireworks displays in East Texas will follow a day of free fishing. Call (903) 676-BASS for more information.

Several other state parks will be hosting traditional holiday activities. Kids can decorate their bikes for 4th of July parades through Inks Lake, Martin Dies Jr. and Purtis Creek state parks, and participate in sack races, egg relays and three-legged races at the World Birding Center at Estero Llano Grande State Park.

For more information, visit Texas Parks and Wildlife at