NEW COASTER ON THE BLOCK
Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif., has unveiled its 15th roller coaster. Its name, "X," is a spin on the park's new image as a place of Xtreme rides. "X" vehicles spin independently on their own axis during the 2 1/2-minute ride, which includes 360-degree front and back flips as well as two 200-foot climbs followed by a plummet to earth.
It's whale-watching time along the West Coast. January-March is peak season for viewing California grays as they migrate from the frigid waters off the coast of Alaska to the warm waters of Baja and back. Newport Beach (1-949-673-1434) and Dana Point (1-949-496-1094), both in Orange County, are two of many places along the California coast that offer whale-watching excursions. Points along the coast with good vantage points include Point Reyes National Seashore (Marin County, 1-415-464-5100) and Ricochet Ridge Ranch on the Mendocino coast (1-707-964-7669). A glassed-in whale-watching observatory at Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma in San Diego has whale exhibits and a taped narration (1-619-557-5450).
TRAVELING WITH KIDS
Suggestions from Family Fun Magazine: Bring a jump-rope. At rest areas kids can work out some wiggles by jumping rope for even five minutes; give each child a budget for souvenirs; have each child record his impressions of the trip on postcards and mail them home.