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Travel Treasures departments
Jan/Feb 2010 Issue

World War II Museum unveils ultimate theater experience

More than a year in the making, the much-anticipated expansion of The National Word War II Museum in New Orleans opened its doors this past November with three new attractions: the cutting edge Solomon Victory Theater, Stage Door Canteen and The American Sector restaurant.

The centerpiece of the 70,000-square-foot expansion is the 250-seat Victory Theater. A state-of-the-art venue, it boasts a 120-foot-wide screen with technology designed to thrust audiences into the titanic struggles of the war via a 4-D cinematic experience entitled “Beyond All Boundaries.”

The film incorporates Hollywood special effects and digital animation with original war footage. The experience plunges audiences into a sensory world where they will feel the steam rising from Guadalcanal’s jungles, brush snowflakes from their cheeks tailing troops in the Battle of the Bulge, and flinch at deadly anti-aircraft fire as they fly with bomber crews thousands of feet above Nazi Germany.

After the 40-minute film, theatergoers can catch their breath at the Stage Door Canteen, a re-creation of the wartime venues found in New York, Los Angeles and other cities that entertained troops. Patrons can hear the old songs and grab a bite, a soft drink or a cocktail while enjoying the ambiance of the era. On select nights, dinner and a new signature live show or local musical performance will be offered.

The American Sector restaurant is the brainchild of Chef John Besh, the celebrated New Orleanian known for his award-winning restaurants. He is also a former Marine who fought during Operation Desert Storm. Besh plans a menu inspired by the simpler fare of the 1940s but with a New Orleans flair.

The National World War II Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war. Through its exhibits, the museum celebrates the spirit, teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and on the home front.

The museum, located at 945 Magazine St., is open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. Admission is $16 for adults; $12 for seniors 65–80; $8 for seniors over 80, children 5–12 and students with an ID; and free for children under 5. For details, call (877) 813-3329 or (504) 527-6012 or click on www.nationalww2museum.org.

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Above: The Victory Theater has a 120-foot screen and offers a 4-D experience.

Below: The museum has an array of exhibits that recall America’s role in the war. National World War II Museum photos

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Tupelo Automobile Museum’s exhibit is going topless

This January, get a taste of summer with a visit to the Tupelo Automobile Museum, where the convertible will be celebrated in a special exhibit, “A Salute to Sunshine.”

On display Jan. 9–23, the exhibition will feature a variety of classic convertibles from car collectors in the area, joining the museum’s impressive collection of cars from the 1880s to the present. The tribute to ragtops will be followed by a new exhibit, “The Chevelles,” from Feb. 6–27, featuring the first of “the fast and the furious” automobiles.

The Tupelo museum features 120,000 square feet of automobile displays and open- view restoration bays. More than 100 antique, classic and collectible automobiles, chronologically displayed, illustrate the progress of more than 100 years of automobile design and engineering.

The self-guided tour begins with an 1886 Benz, representing the birth of the automobile, and culminates with a never-driven 1994 Dodge Viper. The collection, valued at more than $6 million, includes a rare Tucker, a Lincoln previously owned by Elvis Presley, other movie and celebrity vehicles, Hispano Suizas, a Duesenberg and other rare brands. The newest display brings the collection into the 21st century with a 2007 Special 50th Anniversary Edition Toyota Camry Hybrid and a 2010 Prius Hybrid.

The museum is located at 1 Otis Blvd., a half block off Highway 45 from the Main Street exit and adjacent to BancorpSouth Arena. Special admission rates for the exhibit are $7.50 for adults and $5 for children 5–12.

For more information, call (662) 842-4242 or visit online at www.tupeloautomuseum.com.

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The museum has more than 100 classic cars on display. Tupelo Automobile Museum photo

 


 

Rosedown preserves plantation life, gardens

The Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site in St. Francisville, La., is marking its 175th anniversary this year, and garden-lovers can rejoice in the meticulous preservation of the antebellum home’s “pleasure gardens,” especially during a festival of camellias.

Rosedown Plantation, encompassing 374 acres, is one of the most intact examples of a domestic plantation complex in the South. It truly embodies the lifestyle of the antebellum South’s wealthiest planters. The plantation’s landscape is a laboratory for the study of the cultural traditions of slavery, the lifestyle of the gentry and scientific experiments in horticulture.

The 1835 Federal-Greek Revival-style great house, complete with Grecian style wings, is at the head of a 660-foot oak alley. But what distinguishes Rosedown’s landscape are its pleasure gardens, notable for their size, sophistication and plant collections.

Among the many types of plants on display, the camellia will be the featured flower this February. Rosedown will join with the Feliciana Nature Society and St. Francisville Main Street on Feb. 5–6 to present the sixth annual “Camellias in the Country.”

The two-day event kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5, with a wine and cheese reception at the Audubon Market Hall in St. Francisville followed by a special program on camellia wines hosted by Chef John Folse. Then on Saturday, there will be a workshop at Rosedown on camellias, a luncheon and a garden walking tour.

The price for the two-day event is $25. Advance reservations are recommended. Call (800) 488-6502 for details or visit www.audubonbirdfest.com. Rosedown is located at 12501 Louisiana Highway 10. Hours are 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and $4 for children 6–17. For details, call (225) 635-3332 or click on www.crt.state.la.us/parks.

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Rosedown’s main house was built 175 years ago. Louisiana Office of Tourism photo.

Arkansas park proposes Valentine’s event

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be spent in a restaurant surrounded by candles and soft music. Pinnacle Mountain State Park in central Arkansas is setting its own romantic scene with a campfire, hayride and the peaceful winter beauty of the Great Outdoors.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park near Little Rock is offering an out-of-the-ordinary idea for couples and even families: the Sweetheart Hayride and Campfire. Blankets and snuggling are recommended for the event, which will be held from 3–5 p.m. on Feb. 13, 14 and 15.

The hayrides will begin at the Visitor Center and travel down into a lowland forest with a rocky, forested slope on one side and the Big Maumelle River on the other. After a stop in a grassy field offering a great view of Pinnacle Mountain, the excursion ends back at the Visitor Center where a cozy campfire will be waiting, along with hot chocolate and marshmallows for roasting.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park, located just west of Little Rock, was set aside in 1977 as Arkansas’s first state park adjoining a major metropolitan area. The park’s namesake feature rises 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River Valley.

Reservations and advance payment are required for the hayrides. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children 6–12. The park is located off Arkansas state Route 300 on Pinnacle Valley Road. For details, call (501) 868-5806, or visit online at www.arkansasstateparks.com.

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Museum of Discovery will explore engineering

From blenders to vacuums, see a new side to everyday items and find out what makes them work at “Constructive Destruction,” a special education event at the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, Ark., from Feb. 17–20.

Celebrate National Engineer’s Week as you learn about everyday objects by taking them apart. Engineers continually develop new technologies that help people work, live and play, and this event will give visitors a chance to look inside these creations.

Visitors will use tools such as screwdrivers and hammers to discover the hidden mechanics of familiar objects. By taking things apart, visitors will learn the science of engineering and glimpse challenges engineers face in designing products.

Founded in 1927, the Museum of Discovery is Little Rock’s oldest museum and is a fixture of the River Market District. With dozens of hands-on exhibits and events, the museum is a family destination that ignites a passion for science, technology and math.

Admission is $8 for adults and $7 for seniors and children 1–12. Hours are 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1–5 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is located at 500 President Clinton Ave. For details, call (800) 880-6475, or click on www.museumofdiscovery.org.


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