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Weird and Wonderful Museums

By Jean Strauber, Travel Editor

Did You Know That…..

There Is a Museum Of Hoaxes?

Established in 1997 by Alex Boesc, you can find humbugs and hoodwinks from ancient deceptions to modern day “urban legends” at this intriguing museum. It’s open 24/7, and is divided into different sections. There’s a historical wing which presents hoaxes in chronological order, a gallery of April Fool’s Day hoaxes, a Tall-Tale Creature Gallery that includes jackalopes and the elusive fur-bearing trout. Check out the exhibits. Go to www. museumofhoaxes.com to learn more.

There is a Museum Of The Confederacy?

The Museum of the Confederacy, open since 1896, has now opened a second facility in Appomattox. In the 5,000 square feet of exhibit space you’ll the museum has focused on events surrounding the end of the Civil War, the surrender at Appomattox and the reunification of the country. It’s the premier national repository of Confederate artifacts, located in the historic Court End district in downtown Richmond, Virginia. The complex also include the White House of the Confederacy, a National Historic Landmark restored to its wartime elegance. The museum’s three floors contain the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Confederate artifacts, belonging to the most famous of generals and the unknown common soldier alike. For more detail go to www.moc. org.

There is a Wright Brothers National Monument?

Located on the site of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s successful experiment in powered flight, the memorial is near what is now called Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, just outside Kitty Hawk. Atop the 90-foot Kill Devil Hill is a 60-foot granite monument which was dedicated in 1932. Alongside the monument are busts of Wilbur and Orville. A boulder marks the spot where the Wright Flyer left the ground and remained aloft for the historic 12 seconds and 120-foot flight. At the Wright Brothers Visitor Center you’ll see the story of the two brothers and their history-making achievement with exhibits; full scale reproductions of a 1902 glider and the 1903 Wright Flyer; an original engine block from the 1903 flyer; and a reproduction of the Wrights’ first wind tunnel. The 20,000 foot Centennial Pavilion offers movies, educational programs and additional exhibits. For more information go to www. nps.gov/wrbr. Historic Fact: On December 17, 2003 an attempt was made to re-create that historic flight but, the plane crashed upon take-off.

There is a Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site?

Located adjacent to the Morton Field Municipal Airport in Tuskegee, the Tuskegee National Historic Site is now operated by the National Park Service. The site includes two World Ward II-era training planes, oral history stations, an orientation room and a fourminute video detailing the role of Morton Field in its training of Tuskegee Airmen. There’s also bookstore and gift shop. For more details go to www. nps.gov/tuai

There is an Unclaimed Baggage Center?

In Scottsboro, Alabama, where since 1970 a 40,000 squarefoot store is the final resting place for all those pieces of luggage that have gone unclaimed by their owners. The airlines (or bus or train companies) send this baggage after 90 days to the center in Scottsboro, where items are sorted, cleaned, tested and priced before being put up for sale. Some get donated to charities while others, like some ancient Egyptian artifacts, were sold through Christie’s in New York. On their web site I found comments from people who had made purchases at the store, which ran the gamut from very impressive to the other direction. For more details go to unclaimedbaggage.com.

Emu

Emu

There is a Virginia Air & Space Museum?

The Virginia Air & Space Center is the official visitor center for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Langley Research Center. At the Virginia Space Center you will find more than 30 historic aircraft, among them the Apollo 12 Command Module, a Mars meteorite, and a 3-billion-year old moon rock, to name a few. Visitors will find interactive artifacts and exhibits in the museum’s Adventures in Flight Gallery, the Space Gallery, including working as an air traffic controller, flying an airplane, piloting a space shuttle, and programming a Mars rover for a mission. Another gallery features an all-digital Ham Radio station. Why not try “wing walking” on a Jenny bi-plane, working as an air traffic controller to land a crippled passenger jetliner, or sitting in the cockpit of an FA-22 fighter jet? Future astronauts can rake a ride on a MaxFlight simulator, a Hampton carousel, bumper boats or a Simulated Ride Vehicle (SRV). For details go to www.vasc. org.

There is The Kentucky Down Under Australian Animal Park?

In the town of Horse Cave, Kentucky, it has been suggested that they change the name to Kangaroo Cave because it’s home to many Australian marsupials. Located between Louisville and Bowling Green, Horse Cave has become known for the kangaroos, Emus (pictured) lorikeets, didgeridoos and other Australian favorites that would more likely find in Melbourne or Sydney. The Kentucky Down Under Animal Park is home to a flock of native Australian birds. Grab a cup of seed to feed these feathered friends at Terra Rosella and the Bird Garden, home to resident budgies, the laughing kookaburra, the budgies and the lories. In the section known as Camp Corroboree will be an interpreter-led demonstration of Australian music, tools and other traditions, like dog-herding demos. At the Outback Walkabout, there’s a 30 minute guided tour where you’ll meet many of these animal visitors from “Down Under” who do enjoy all the attention they get from the park visitors. The name, Kentucky Down Under, also aptly describes the network of caves that meander below the surface of the park. Your guide will point out the “cave popcorn” and the “cave cauliflower” during your trek. The animal areas are closed between November and Mid- March the caves are open all year For more information go to www.kdu.com.

Jean Strauber

Entertainment Writer

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