DANGER LURKS IN TINY BEAUTIES
They're tiny and they're deadly, and they're on display at the National Maritime Center in Norfolk, Va.
The "Fatal Beauty" exhibit explores different methods of venom delivery from some of our least favorite creatures: stingrays, eels, scorpions and tarantulas, which rear up on their hind legs before they stab with their deadly fangs. Bees are part of the buzz as well. Fact: More people die from bee stings than from any other venomous creature.
The show, divided into four sections -- skin, fangs, stingers and spines -- includes a "Wall of Wounds" lined with pictures of dangerous critters and the injuries they've inflicted. And the "Toxic Drive-In" flashes vintage '50s monster movie clips starring out-of-control animals. But the "Snake Strike" is where the real excitement is. Here you can test your speed against that of an angry, simulated copperhead snake.
The exhibit runs through Oct. 31. Call 757-664-1000 for information.
A festival of note
If a visit to Germany sounds like music to your ears, start planning your trip now. This year marks the 250th anniversary of composer Johann Sebastian Bach's death, and the country is in major party mode.
In many German cities, and especially those where the composer worked and lived, "Bach Year 2000" events are planned. Leipzig, where Bach held a choirmaster position, will sponsor a citywide festival featuring musical tours July 21-30. Dresden and Berlin ring in the summer with street parties (beginning in June), and the tiny town of Wechmar is throwing a shindig July 21-23 that includes a musicians' market and gala evening concerts.
The German National Tourist Board is keeping track of all the activities, musical and otherwise, and has compiled them into a 60-page brochure with a full calendar listing of events through the end of the year. For a free copy, call 212-661-7200.
Disney World, the real story
"Hidden Walt Disney World Orlando & Beyond" dishes the real dirt on one of America's biggest theme parks. The guide offers candid reviews (Mike Fink Keel Boat ride: "Passengers are crowded into a small space, and the narrator uses an annoyingly loud microphone to deliver a dull spiel") along with advice on what not to miss, little-known bargains and opportunities in areas surrounding the park.
Order online at www. ulyssespress.com for $13.95.
Travel bargains made at home
Roomsaver.com lets you print hotel discount coupons on your home printer. Just click on "coupon book" and choose the state and city to which you'll be traveling. A list of lodgings offering discounts -- up to 50 percent off regular rates -- will pop up on your screen along with area maps and links to other attraction information.