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This weekend: Butterflies flutter by at the San Diego Zoo

By JD Rinne
updated September 29, 2021
Courtesy San Diego Zoo

Who doesn't like the friendly butterfly? Starting this weekend, the San Diego Zoo will have thousands of the colorful insects on display at the Butterfly Jungle.

The zoo's Wild Animal Park will play host to the Hidden Jungle, an aviary that looks like a South American rain forest. Guests walk through as thousands of species of butterfly, including the blue morpho pictured here, flit from plant to plant, looking for pollen. A close encounter is almost guaranteed, as the butterflies often mistake people for flowers.

Although butterflies are the stars of the show, no pollinator will go uncelebrated—this year's theme is Pollinators of the Animal Kingdom, including birds, bugs, and bats. A Discovery Station in the park will have educational displays about bugs and the ecosystem; there's even a bat cave with live bats. The event is great for kids, with crafts, puzzles, games, a Butterfly Wrangler performing, and a daily butterfly costume parade (so those leftovers from Halloween will get a second use).

Through April 26. Free with the cost of admission, which is $35 for adults and $26 for kids 11 and under. You can buy tickets online.


Zoo Babies: Where Are They Now?

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London: The first Slow Down Festival arrives soon

Londoners are being encouraged to put down their Blackberries, stop racing from one thing to the next, and take part in the first-annual http://slowdownlondon.co.uk/" target="_blank" >Slow Down London festival. Starting April 24, the informal 10-day series of events includes wine tastings, poetry readings, and meditation workshops, according to the Financial Times. The festival starts with The Big Slow Walk across London Bridge at rush hour on April 24 at 5 p.m., leaving from Embankment Gardens (free). On April 24, poet Miriam Nash will lead a Snail Mail workshop, persuading people to use pen and paper for occasional personal letters instead of sending e-mails or texts. (2 p.m., The Gallery, Foyles Charing Cross, (free). On Sunday afternoon May 3, sample at leisurely pace the fare for sale the Slow Food London Market at the stalls at Southbank Centre Square, all afternoon long. Then at 7 p.m., drop by the National Portrait Gallery for a quirky lecture from David Rooney, curator of timekeeping at Greenwich’s Royal Observatory, who helps set time for the world (free). For details, visit Slow Down London.


A few good links: Lady Liberty to reopen for America's 233rd B-day

Statue of Liberty will open for the public again on July 4th. This would be the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks. [New York Daily News] World's Most Dangerous Countries. The antithesis of the Hot List—the Scary List. [Forbes.com] In Detroit Clubs, the Music Scene Keeps on Rockin’. Times are tough for the Motor City's economy, but its live music scene endures. [New York Times] The Best Pedicures in Sydney. 5 places to get a good foot rub after all that sightseeing. [Gridskipper] Peek-a-Boo Jesus Has a Posse. The paste-up, by street artist Maki105, has become a pilgrimage site. [bostonist.com] FAA plans to keep bird strike records confidential. After promising to release data on airplane bird-strikes, the FAA reversed its decision, fearing that carriers and airports would stop reporting them. [msnbc.com via AP]


Mexico: The elusive truth about safety

If you happened to watch the news or pick up a newspaper (or even just leave the house) this past week, you probably got hit with the flood of news about escalating violence in Mexico's drug war. CNN sent Anderson Cooper to El Paso, Texas, where he reported live in his full war-safari outfit. Larry King had the actor Edward James Olmos telling viewers "don't go to Mexico"—not tourist towns, not megaresorts, not anywhere. But wait a minute: One of our colleagues here at BT just spent the same week in Tulum, doing a lot of beach-bumming and generally enjoying Mexico as never before. No sooner did she return than another friend of mine set off for Tulum. And yet another just got back from five days in Playa del Carmen. None of them has reported anything out of the ordinary. There's a disconnect, it seems, between what the pundits are saying and what some vacationers are seeing on the ground in major tourist areas. The last thing we should do right now is belittle a very serious and tragic situation with the warring drug cartels. But what's the reality for travelers? Is the unrest a legitimate reason not to fly to a major international resort? How much has it spread beyond border areas and cartel hotbeds like the Sinaloa state? The State Department says, essentially, to exercise normal good judgment on your Mexican vacation—and stick to the resort areas: "Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable." Tourism is Mexico's third largest source of revenue, and some 18 million Americans visited Mexico last year—more than any other tourist destination. The country's tourism board is understandably alarmed at the potential for a collapse in bookings, and it plans to hold a series of discussions with the media here in New York City later this week to help separate fact from hysteria. We'll let you know how that goes. In the meantime, we'd like to know: Have you been on vacation in Mexico lately? What was your experience? Are you planning a trip there and/or have you considered changing your plans?


Hotels: Hyatt is the latest chain on sale

Hyatt launched a 20 percent sale today on most of its 370 properties worldwide. If you book by April 8, you'll save 20 percent on the regular rate at participating properties, which include the brands Park Hyatt, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, and Hyatt Regency. Stay through June 30 at hotels in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean; for international locations, stays are through May 3. You can book online or call 800/233-1234. For example, I found a sale rate of about $103 per night, before taxes, at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis Riverfront for a stay in mid-April. The same hotel was going for $115 to $181 per night on various booking sites. Hyatt is also running a Three for Free promotion at its resorts; it includes a free night, room upgrade, and breakfast for two daily when you book a certain number of nights, through May 31, 2009. Rates and night requirement varies. PREVIOUSLY Hotels: Orbitz's biggest sale ever 10 hotel chains on sale: Book 2 nights, get 1 night free