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Travel on the big screen

Can't afford that trip to Italy this year? Does news of a deadly plague keep you from boarding a plane bound for India? Is it just too cold to consider trekking the Yukon?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions and still want to see the sights, the Florida Geographic/Travelventure Films' 1994-95 Discovery Series may be your ticket to adventure.

The three-film fall series, which starts Thursday, and the six-film winter series will take you on a trip around the globe and then give you the opportunity to meet each film's producer following the show.

The fall films will be shown at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater and the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg. In addition to the Clearwater and St. Petersburg locations, the winter films will be shown at University Square Mall, Fowler Avenue, Tampa; AMC-8, Seminole Mall, Seminole, and Sheraton Inn, 5316 U.S. 19, New Port Richey.

The fall series schedule:

Italy: Tip to Toe with Stan Walsh _ 2 p.m. Thursday, Bayfront, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7, Ruth Eckerd.

Ageless India with Ken Wolfgang _ 2 p.m. Nov. 22, Bayfront, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 28, Ruth Eckerd.

The Hawaii Happening with Frank Nichols _ 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, Ruth Eckerd, and 2 p.m. Dec. 6, Bayfront.

The winter series schedule:

Argentina: Land of Passion with Buddy Hatton _ 10:30 a.m. Jan. 9, Seminole; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10, Ruth Eckerd; 10:30 a.m. Jan. 12, University Square Mall; 10:30 a.m. Jan. 18, New Port Richey, and 2 p.m. Jan. 24, Bayfront.

Finland with Ed Lark _ 2 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23, Ruth Eckerd; 10:30 a.m. Jan. 24, Seminole; 10:30 a.m. Jan. 26, University Square Mall; 2 p.m. Jan. 31, Bayfront, and 10:30 a.m. Feb. 1, New Port Richey.

Canadian Maritimes with Jim Cole _ 2 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6, Ruth Eckerd; 10:30 a.m. Feb. 7, Seminole; 10:30 a.m. Feb. 9, University Square Mall; 10:30 a.m. Feb. 14, New Port Richey, and 2 p.m. Feb. 21, Bayfront.

Discovering Spain with Willis Butler _ 2 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20, Ruth Eckerd; 10:30 a.m. Feb. 21, Seminole; 10:30 a.m. Feb. 23, University Square Mall; 10:30 a.m. March 1, New Port Richey, and 2 p.m. March 7, Bayfront.

The Yukon/Highway to Alaska with Don Cooper _ 2 p.m. Feb. 21, Bayfront; 10:30 a.m. March 7, Seminole; 10:30 a.m. March 9, University Square Mall; 2 and 7:30 p.m. March 13, Ruth Eckerd; 10:30 a.m. March 15, New Port Richey.

Hooray for Hollywood with Clay Francisco _ 2 and 7:30 p.m. March 20, Ruth Eckerd; 10:30 a.m. March 21, Seminole; 10:30 a.m. March 23, University Square Mall; 10:30 a.m. March 29, New Port Richey, and 2 p.m. April 4, Bayfront.

The Caribbean: Islands of Eden will be shown only at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Cinematographer Dale Johnson will host the lecture following the film at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28.

Season tickets, ranging from $16-$18 for the fall series and $32-$36 for the winter series, and single tickets, ranging from $5-$7, are available at Travelventure, East Bay Junction Plaza, Keene Road and E Bay Drive, Largo. Call (813) 536-8497 or (800) 446-0418 for information or to obtain a free season brochure. The film series is sponsored by Patchington, Royal Cruise Line, WDUV-FM, the Florida Lottery and University Community Hospital.

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