SEE WILLY -- AT HIS NEW HOME
A trip to visit "Free Willy" star Keiko at his new home in Iceland's Westmann Islands is being offered by Oceanic Society Expeditions. The killer whale's confinement in a small tank in Mexico City was the inspiration behind both the movie and a rescue effort to place him in a more natural habitat. After rehabilitation at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, he was returned to a sea pen in the waters off Iceland.
Besides interacting with the famous whale, visitors on the May 30 to June 9 expedition will whale watch, search for dolphins and see many different species of birds. Also included is an exploration of dramatic volcanic formations and the famous lunar landscape around Lake Myvatn on mainland Iceland.
The trip costs about $3,000 per person, depending on point of departure, and does not include departure taxes, tips, lunches or personal items. Call 800-326-7491.
Airline travelers beware: long-term use of the popular jet-lag reducer melatonin may not be safe, according to the Travel Medicine Service at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The over-the-counter hormone, often sold as a food supplement, is also used to prevent jet lag. Although increasingly popular for this purpose, melatonin has not yet been determined safe for extended use.
Technology can't promise we'll all make it to the moon someday, but most of us can get to Chicago. There, the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum just opened its Sky Pavilion, offering simulated space odysseys to the moon, Jupiter, the sun and the Milky Way.
This 60,000-square-foot wing contains four galleries and a 3-D theater. Its centerpiece is the "StarRider" Theater, where an interactive virtual-reality show allows visitors to travel through space to the destination of their choice. Three-dimensional graphics are created by a powerful computer system and projected on a dome with a 55-foot diameter. Visitors vote where they want to go using a keypad, and some lucky participants get to steer the spaceship on its voyage.
Other attractions include: the Ameritech Gallery and its cruise around the Milky
Way; the Formation Theater, showing the birth of our solar system; the Pritzker
Cosmology Gallery and its exhibit of his-toric astronomical instruments; the Galileo cafe; and the Shooting Star Gift Shop.
The original Adler building is under construction now and scheduled to reopen in October.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; until 9 p.m. on Fridays; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends. Summer hours (from Memorial Day to Labor Day) are extended. Admission: $5 adults; $4 for seniors and children 17 and under; free on Tuesdays. Additional $5 for the "StarRider" show.
Information: 312-922-7827, fax 312-322-2257 or www.adlerplanetarium.org.
'The Strap' keeps tabs on your luggage
Thanks to a new travel accessory, spotting your luggage amid the heaps of bags rolling by at airport baggage carousels just got easier. The Strap - an adjustable, 66-inch-long and 1-inch-wide elastic belt emblazoned with your name - fastens around bags with lock and key. Crafted in England and sold by Signature Plus Ltd. in New York, The Strap is red and blue with names woven in white. One strap costs $15.95; orders of two or more cost $14.95 each. Call 888-30-STRAP.
This year Gettysburg and Adams County, Pa., offer a range of activities, from the 136th Anniversary of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address to the Eisenhower World War II Weekend and the New Oxford Outdoor Antique Show. These and many more are listed in the free flier of 1999 events available from the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau. Call 717-334-6274 or write 35 Carlisle St., Dept. G-76, Gettysburg, Pa. 17325.