TEDDY BEARS EMERGE FROM HIBERNATION.
Independence, Mo., is hosting a citywide "Bear Affair" Feb. 19-21. Not only bears of the teddy variety, but panda bears, Winnie the Pooh bears, even polar bears, will be on display. Events especially for children include marionette and puppet shows, photo ops with costumed bears, even a teddy bear tea party. The Saturday night auction featuring handcrafted bears from noted bear artists is among the weekend's highlights. 800-748-7323; www.visitindependence.com
ST. LOUIS FOR MARDI GRAS.
It seems that New Orleans isn't the only place to go for Mardi Gras. This will be the 26th year that St. Louis puts on a party to celebrate its French heritage. Events take place from Jan. 21 through Feb. 8 (Fat Tuesday) and include a Cajun cook-off, a children's art fair, a pet parade, and the Charter Communications Grand Parade on Feb. 5. A nighttime parade on Fat Tuesday will wend its way through the Washington Avenue Loft District. 800-916-0040; www.mardigrasinc.com
UP, UP AND AWAY.
The tiny town of Dayton, Wyo., west of Sheridan and on the eastern edge of the Big Horn Mountains, is becoming for hang gliders what Moab, Utah, is for mountain bikers. Most people consider hang gliding a spectator sport. Hang gliders themselves consider Dayton one of the best spots in the Rockies to practice their craft. Two annual events bring hang gliders to the area. The New Hang Glider Fly-In Festivals take place May 29-31 and Sept. 3-5. 307-672-2485; www.sheridanwyoming.org
TWO GARDENS FOR PRICE OF ONE.
Longwood Gardens and Winterthur share genealogical roots: Both were du Pont family homes. Each has exquisite gardens that are open to the public. And from Jan. 15-April 30, visitors will be able to go to both for the price of one. The tickets, which also get you into the Winterthur mansion, are $20 per person. Request a brochure, called "Two du Pont Gardens — One Price," by calling 800-448-3883 or go online to longwoodgardens.org or www.winterthur.org. The two sites are relatively close to each other in the Brandywine Valley, which straddles the Pennsylvania/Delaware border.
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