By Jean Strauber, Travel Editor
HOT! HOT! HOT!
Last January I was invited to review the Palm Springs Follies. It had been several years since I had seen these “seniors” perform their high-stepping kicks and was uncertain if the quality of performance was the same. It certainly was! The performers, though seniors by age, most definitely are not the stereotyped senior sitting in a rocking chair and knitting or whittling. These ladies and gentleman from their late fifties and older know how to put on a show. And, I enjoyed myself so much that I am coming back for a third time this January. The new show, HOT! HOT! HOT! will be opening November 1st.
The Follies Box Office has already reopened for those who want to purchase their tickets now. There will still be the lavish production numbers, a star-spangled finale and, through December, 31, a special Yuletide celebration. In addition to The Follies Man (Riff Markowitz), the Long-Legged Lovelies and the Follies Gentlemen (from 57 to 82 years young) will be three world-renown guest stars and a remarkable variety act. From November 1 to December 31, 2011 John Davidson will be returning. Then, from January 5 to March 10, 2012 the Grammy®-nominated artist Maureen McGovern will be making her long awaited Follies debut. The next guests are The Diamonds (remember Why Do Fools Fall In Love?) who will be performing from March 13 to May 20, 2012. On stage all season will be ventriloquist Brad Cummings and his prehistoric sidekick, Rex the dinosaur. The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies is housed in the downtown Palm Springs historic Plaza Theatre, a charming neon-encrusted old movie house. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Box Office at (760) 327-0225.
OTHER SITES TO VISIT IN PALM SPRINGS
Why not make it a weekend visit to Palm Springs to enjoy the Follies? You might want to visit the Palm Springs Art Museum (101 Museum Drive) to see the “Blast from the Past: 60s and 70s Geometric Abstractions” which will be on display through December 23, 2011. On display will be about 100 works, a selection from the museum’s permanent collection of geometric abstract paintings, sculptures and prints, from the 1960s and 1970s. You’ll view a variety of ideas in Optical Art, Kinetic art, Minimalism, Hard-Edge and Color- Field. Another exhibition utilizes the Mesoamerican collection at the Palm Springs Art Museum, commissioned videos, and historical sculptural elements, to create a multinuanced environment that presents the dynamic relationship between victor and vanquished. If you and your family plan to see the Palm Spring Follies later in the year or in 2012, I suggest that you bring your children to the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert.
Slated to be completed in November 2011, you’ll find a second hands-on gallery featuring 11 new exhibits, an outdoor play area and even a children’s garden area for the “Good to Grow” program supporting healthy choices. For more information go to www. cdmod.org. The museum is located at 71701 Gerald Ford Drive in Rancho Mirage. Another venue for your family are the lush botanical gardens at the Palm Spings Living Desert Zoo and Botanical Gardens. It’s been many years since I’ve been there, and I’m impressed with what I have seen on their web site. Now, one can stroll through the Cahuilla Indian Gardens, tour a state-ofthe- art Tennity Wildlife Hospital, explore the Eagle canyon, view the amazing Model Train Garden, spend time at Village WaTuTu or enjoy their Wildlife Wonders show. From October 1 to May 31 the hours are daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and closed Christmas Day.
They recommend that you need four hours to enjoy it all. For those who might have difficulty walking a regularly scheduled, nonnarrated shuttle service with stops at Eagle Canyon, Oasis Aviary, Wildlife Hospital, Giraffic Park, Village WaTuTu (a reproduction of an authentic African village with an Elder’s Grove where native musicians and story tellers gather to entertain the guests), African Wild Dog and Bighorn Sheep Mountain and Gecko Gulch. Only for a cost of $5 per person for all day. Other programs are Wildlife Wonders, an all-live animal presentation featuring mammals, birds of prey and reptiles located in the Amphitheater and informal talks about small animals are held on the Main Patio. Within the developed acreage you’ll find the Ecosystems of Mojave, Upper Colorado, Yuman, Baja Canyon, Sonoran Aviary, Desert Tortoises, Vizcaino, Chihuahuan, Cahuilla Indian Ethnobotanical Gardens. The Living Desert Zoo and Botanical Gardens are located at 47-900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert CA 92260.
For more information call (760) 346- 5694. There are many different kinds of tours offered for the Palm Springs area. You can visit the San Andreas Fault, hike through Indian Canyons, learn more about the windmills that greet drivers as they enter Highway 111 from the Interstate 10. But, among the top-ranked tours is the Palm Springs celebrity tour, “The Grand Tour” It’s a 2-1/2 hour bus ride that shows off the luxurious history of the Coachella Valley and the estates of the stars that helped put Palm Springs on the map. “The Grand Tour” departs at 10:00 am Monday- Saturday and costs $44 for adults, $40 for seniors, and $19 for children and under. On Saturdays the Grand Tour offers more of Frank Sinatra’s properties in Rancho Mirage. If you want a private tour, they begin at $79 per person which includes pick up from you hotel or vacation home.
For more information call (760) 770-2700 or go to www.celebrity-tours.com. Finally, there’s the Palm Springs Air Museum. Located at 745 North Gene Autry Trail, the museum is dedicated to the restoration, preservation and operation of America’s legendary fighters, bombers and trainers. The airplane museum contains one of the world’s largest collections of flying World War II airplanes, including the Robert J. Pond Collection. Besides having a close-up view of aerial history inside enormous air-conditioned hangers, and afterwards watch a movie in the Buddy Rogers Theater at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Twice monthly on Saturday afternoons at 1 pm the museum schedules Airplane Flight Demonstrations with actual in-flight exhibitions and demonstrations of historic World War II aircraft! Tickets Adults: $15; Children $8 (6-12), Family $30 (2 adults + 3 children), Children under age 6 are Free. Military, Seniors, Students are $13. Hours are form 10 am-5 pm daily except on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. For more information go to Palm Springs Air Museum or call (760) 778-6262.