tampabay.com

Side Trip briefs

By JANET K. KEELER
Published April 2, 2006


Milwaukee lighthouse

A defunct lighthouse surrounded by an elegant public park on the shores of Lake Michigan will open for tours this fall.

In recent months, North Point Lighthouse has had its cast iron and steel sandblasted clean of old paint and been repainted, inside and out. Many of the original brass parts are being restored.

Lake Park is considered a crown jewel of Milwaukee's park system. Walkers, joggers and bicycle riders using the park pass the lighthouse, which is emerging from years of neglect into a glistening restored structure. The lighthouse and a gallery of artifacts will be accessible to visitors. For more information, visit www.northpointlighthouse.org or call (414) 332-6754.

SPORTS TRAVEL

ESPN and Orbitz have teamed up to create ESPN Sports Travel, a booking and travel information site for sports fans.

The new Web site at http://sports.espn.go.com/travel/ allows users to book flights and hotels through Orbitz without leaving the ESPN.com Web site. (It can also be accessed by going to ESPN.com and searching for "travel.")

In addition to ESPN.com's schedules, statistics and sports news, the site includes a sports trip-planner with dates and destinations for all kinds of sporting events, from college basketball finals and the Indy 500 to the Kentucky Derby and the French Open.

It also offers guides to 16 cities, with another 34 to be added in the coming weeks. Each guide includes area stadiums, arenas, golf courses and upcoming local sporting events, as well as nonsports attractions such as museums, historic sites and popular landmarks.

The site does not permit users to purchase tickets to games.

MUMMY PACKAGE

The Atlantic Fort Lauderdale is offering an overnight package that includes two tickets to the "Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of Pharaohs" exhibit at the Museum of Art, a "Mummy Wrap'' for two at the hotel spa and dinner for two at Trina, the hotel's signature restaurant. Package rates start at $599.99. The exhibit continues through April 23. The museum is now offering exhibit showings at 8 and 8:30 Thursday through Saturday evenings to accommodate crowds. For package reservations, call the Atlantic toll-free at 1-866-837-4274.

Caribbean escapes

They may not be easy to get to, and there might not be a lot to do when you get there - but that's the point.

Conde Nast Traveler's April issue showcases some of the smallest and least-known islands of the Caribbean. Here are some highlights:

* Terre-de-Haut - http://antilles-info-tourisme.com - is reachable by boat from Guadeloupe and boasts Pompierre Beach.

* Barbuda - www.antigua-barbuda.com - is a 15-minute flight from Antigua and has several exclusive resorts.

* Saba - www.sabatourism.com - is accessible by boat from St. Maarten and is known for dive sites.

* Canouan, in the Grenadines - www.canouan.com - is still a bit of a secret among island aficionados. But most travelers have probably heard of Puerto Rico's Culebra - www.islaculebra.com - and the Cayman Islands' Little Cayman and Cayman Brac - www.caymanislands.ky - known for diving and birding.

STRUGGLING MUSEUM

A national museum commemorating the Underground Railroad is $5.5-million in the red just 18 months after opening, and officials said they will seek public money to continue operations.

When the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati opened in August 2004 with an annual budget of more than $10-million, officials said they would rely on admissions, donations and grants. But the center's chief executive, John Pepper, said income has not met expectations.

First-year admissions exceeded officials' estimate of 260,000 by 20,000. But the number has fallen sharply since August, contributing to the deficit.

The museum, built along the Ohio River, commemorates the secret Underground Railroad network that helped slaves escape from the South during the 1800s. Cincinnati was considered a gateway to the North. For more information about the museum, go to www.freedomcenter.org.

- Compiled by JANET K. KEELER from staff and wire reports