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SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2007
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Spring it on!

By Danielle Komis
dkomis@decaturdaily.com · 340-2447

If you and your family opted out of hitting the beach or visiting out-of-town friends this spring break, don’t despair!

There’s no reason children should mope around the house when there are plenty of activities to do and nearby places to visit in town and in surrounding cities. So throw on some sunglasses, hop in the car and start enjoying your mini-vacation.

Happy travels!

SUNDAY, MARCH 18

Kite Expo: See special kite demonstrations at the Huntsville Botanical Garden, 4747 Bob Wallace Ave., from 1-3 p.m. Call 830-4447.

ATLANTA

Boredom is not an option when you hit Atlanta and all its parks, shopping and fun places to go.

Check out Stone Mountain Park, Georgia’s most popular attraction. Adults and children will enjoy colorful light laser shows, and the brave ones will enjoy a trip to the top of the mountain in a skylift. www.stonemountainpark.com

The CNN Studio Tour is a fun way to discover how a newsroom really operates, learn a little news history, and find out what it’s like to be in front of a weather map or behind the anchor desk! www.cnn.com/StudioTour

For a cheap, fun meal children will enjoy, head over to The Varsity! The World’s Largest Drive-In Restaurant in downtown Atlanta for chili, hot dogs and to hear the famous, “What’ll ya have ... Have your order mind and your money in your hand” that helps the restaurant serve its steady stream of patrons quickly. www.thevarsity.com

“Hurricane on the Bayou,” “Magnificent Desolation,” “Roving Mars,” now showing, IMAX theater, U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville. See www.spacecamp.com or call (800) 637-7223 for showtimes and ticket prices.

NASA’s interactive exhibit, “Vision for Space Exploration Experience Dome,” through March 24 at EarlyWorks Children’s Museum, 202 Madison St. in downtown Huntsville during regular museum hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Visit www.nasa.gov or www.earlyworks.com.

SUNDAY, MARCH 24

Easter Planetarium Show, Monte Sano State Park Planetarium, Huntsville. 7:30 p.m. Why does Easter fall on a different date each year? Find out the relationship between the full moon, the vernal equinox and the date of Easter. Call 539-0316.

“Roadside Vistas” by George Taylor, Carnegie Visual Arts Center, 207 Church St. N.E. Hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m., March 20-23; Closed Saturdays in March. Call 341-0562.

MARCH 19-21

Story Discovery and puppet shows, Decatur Public Library, Monday at 1 p.m., Tuesday at 10 p.m.

Ryhme time and puppet show, Decatur Public Library, Wednesday at 10 a.m., ages 3 and under. www.decatur.lib.al.us

NASHVILLE

Head north up I-65 to Centennial Park, where the Parthenon is the main attraction. The Parthenon, built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, is the only full-scale replica in the world of the Athenian structure. www.nashville.gov/parthenon

Break for lunch at Nashville’s Rainforest Café location, where your family will get a kick out of mechanized gorillas and other jungle animals as well as a thunderstorm every half hour. www.rainforestcafe.com

For a light and unique dessert, head to Las Paletas for homemade Popsicles in a variety of distinctive, seasonal flavors such as honeydew, plum, lime and even chai tea. But check the address carefully, because there is no sign outside! Visit www.wheresthesign.com or call (615) 386-2101.

The artsy will enjoy the “Matisse, Picasso, and the School of Paris” exhibition at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts. The exhibit covers Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism. www.fristcenter.org.

Glaciers Rock Your Ice, Saturdays, 7-10 p.m., ice complex, 3185 Leeman Ferry Road, Huntsville. A special concert series that puts great music on ice for fans of both rock and skating. Call 883-3774.

BIRMINGHAM

Travel south to Birmingham and check out the Birmingham Zoo where 80 species of birds, 80 reptile, and 60 mammals reside. www.birminghamzoo.com

Break for a snack at the inspiration for the Whistle Stop Café in the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes.” The well-known Irondale Cafe cafeteria-style eatery sits beside train tracks and does, in fact, serve green tomatoes daily as well as other Southern favorites. www.irondalecafe.com

Then, head to Vulcan Park to check out the world’s largest cast-iron sculpture of the Roman god of fire and forge, built in 1904 for the St. Louis World’s Fair. Stay at the park until the sun goes down for spectacular panoramic views of the city. www.vulcanpark.org

The Big Adventure at Sci-Quest Hands-On Science Center, interactive exhibit, 102-D Wynn Drive, Huntsville. Hours are Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Admission prices are as follows: under 3, free; ages 3-18, $8; adults $9; seniors $8.50. Please call (256) 837-0606 or visit www.sci-quest.org for more information.

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