Ithaca, N.Y. (June 23)- Families looking for a smart end-of-school getaway will find a brainy deal in Ithaca this weekend.
Just stay at a participating hotel, inn or B&B and get free family passes to the Sciencenter, Museum of the Earth and Cayuga Nature Center-three of the hottest attractions on Ithaca's Discovery Trail. It's a $56 value (based on a family of four).
That's just part of Ithaca's Discovery Weekend, an event that celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Discovery Trail and the start of summer in one of America's most unusual college towns.
Discovery Weekend participants will have free access to eight popular attractions on the Ithaca Discovery Trail, unlimited recreation in the area's parks, waterfalls and gorges and a rare chance to experience the weird science inside Cornell's Wilson Lab for particle physics-the local atom smasher. Complete details are online at VisitIthaca.com. Discovery Weekend events include:
Meet a Mastodon
Get up close & personal with one of America's largest fossil collections including the Hyde Park Mastodon. Special Event: opening weekend of the museum's newest exhibit, Forest Journey, an interactive exploration of the amazing forest ecosystem. Details: www.museumoftheearth.org/Mousetrap Explosion
Find out what happens when 750 mousetraps, armed with 1,500 ping pong balls "explode" in a wacky scientific demonstration of chain reactions (Sat. 2pm) at the Sciencenter, Ithaca's hands-on science museum for all ages. Details: http://www.sciencenter.org/Fireflies, Tree Houses and Animal Feedings
Explore the fields, ponds and gorges of the 120 acre Cayuga Nature Center where you can join an evening firefly walk (Fri. 8:30pm), meet & feed 40 live animals (Sat. noon), and climb high into the forest canopy in a six-story tree house. Details: http://www.cayuganaturecenter.org/Weird Science at the Wilson Lab
At the Wilson Lab open house (Sat. 1-4 pm), you'll see sparks fly from cosmic rays, observe shaving cream and marshmallows expanding in bell jars, listen to the radio through your teeth and more. Free admission to everyone (no lodging required). Details: Cornell University, Wilson Lab, (607) 255-2319, http://www.lepp.cornell.edu/Education/
Non scientists can enjoy Ithaca's other affordable summer thrills including swimming beneath a waterfall at Buttermilk Falls or Robert Treman State Park. Beach fans can grab some sun on Cayuga Lake at Taughannock Falls State Park. The best part: admission is just $7 per carload for all three! Enjoy wine? You can taste the best of the Cayuga Wine Trail for about $3 per adult at winery tasting rooms. And at night, Ithaca is hopping with theatre, live music and great food. What a great way to begin your summer.
To qet your free Discovery Weekend family passes to the Sciencenter, Museum of the Earth and Cayuga Nature Center, just book a room at a participating hotel, B&B or inn, June 26-28. Participating properties are listed at http://www.visitithaca.com/hotdeals/hotdeals.cfm, look for the "Discovery Weekend" deals. Bring your room key or a reservation receipt to the Visitors Center (904 East Shore Drive) to pick-up your passes. That's it. Free family passes limited to the first 100 families.
Ithaca/Tompkins Convention & Visitors Bureau