Skeleton of Okefenokee gator to go on display

Associated Press

Associated Press

The most famous resident of Okefenokee Swamp Park in Georgia — an alligator that attracted the stares of tourists for decades — will be immortalized a year after his death.

The skeleton of Oscar, above, is being assembled and will be put on display like a museum dinosaur. The 14-foot, 1,000-pound alligator
had roamed the swamp since the park opened in 1946.

Oscar was a tough customer, surviving a shotgun blast to the face, at least three bullet wounds, broken bones and arthritis. By some estimates, the geezer gator was 95 to 100 years old when he died last summer.

The display also will include what park officials found in Oscar's belly, including a plastic dog collar, a dog's tag, a penny and the top section of a flagpole.

The Okefenokee is a 438,000-acre National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Georgia that attracts 350,000 to 400,000 visitors a year.

Mark Twain sites are open

Historic sites in Mark Twain's hometown of Hannibal, Mo., are open and safe despite reports of some flooding.

The Mississippi River was a few feet above flood stage, and some low-lying streets were flooded as of early May, according to the Hannibal Courier-Post, but downtown is protected by a flood levee.

The eight properties that belong to the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum — including the Becky Thatcher House, Huckleberry Finn House and Grant's Drug Store — are operating normally. Even the Mark Twain riverboat is still taking cruises.

Details at www.marktwainmuseum.org.

It's cheaper to see wax celebs

One of Washington's new high-priced museums is lowering its admission fee in response to the economic slowdown.

The Madame Tussauds wax museum cut its admission price from $21.15 to $18 for adults. The price for children will be reduced from nearly $16 to $12.

Museum officials say they want to make it easier for people to visit exhibits that include lifelike figures of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Hollywood stars and other Washington celebrities.

Mexico and France: pretty nice

Two new books extol the beauty of two places:

One Hundred & One Beautiful Small Towns in Mexico (Rizzoli, $50)

Mexico boasts hundreds of distinctive small towns. As its title promises, this handsome tome concentrates on 101 of them: colonial towns and mountain towns, tourist towns (such as Puerto Vallarta) and artsy towns, mining towns and even a potter's village. Anyone with only a minimal knowledge of Mexico is bound to be surprised by the diversity of towns profiled here. They include Santa Rosalia, where Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame designed the Santa Barbara Church, with its French neo-Gothic-style stained-glass windows; the otherworldly Mexcaltitan, an island town in the middle of a lagoon; the white walls and red-tiled roofs of Tapalpa; and Coyoacan, the home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

One Hundred & One Beautiful Towns in France: Food & Wine (Rizzoli, $50)

It's a wonderful combination: the beauty of its towns, the glory of its food, the delectability of its wine. In France, these three ingredients simply cannot be separated. Indeed, the authors insist, and rightly so, that it is impossible to speak of one without the other. And so they offer literary and visual portraits of winemaking villages, towns associated with particular dishes and towns made famous by particular wines (Bordeaux, Chablis Beaujolais from Beaujeu) and other such libations (Champagne from Reims, cognac from, well, Cognac). There's much more, including a detailed list of restaurants, hotels and shops.

Really green golf courses

The Top 10 list of environmentally conscious golf courses, according to Golf magazine:

Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Island, S.C.

Mauna Lani Resort, Big Island, Hawaii

Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, N.Y.

Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Austin, Texas

Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst, N.C.

Pebble Beach Resorts, Pebble Beach, Calif.

The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island

Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, Ga.

Kapalua Resort, Maui, Hawaii

Times wires

Skeleton of Okefenokee gator to go on display 05/08/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 8, 2008 9:57am]

    

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