Day 1. New York Botanical Garden   (23 Dec 2006 Saturday)
7:00am depart Norfolk, MA for New York Botanical Garden (200 miles 3 hours 15 minutes)
New England Thruway South (I-95) to Pelham Parkway West (Exit 8C). Pelham Pkwy turns into Fordham Rd after 2 miles. Turn right onto Kazimiroff Blvd, and continue to the Garden entrance on the right.
10am to 3pm New York Botanical Garden
With 250 acres and 50 gardens and plant collections, there’s something to see in every season across the Garden’s landscape.
Gingerbread Adventures
November 18, 2006 to January 7, 2007 In the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. Bring home sweet holiday memories from Gingerbread Adventures! This "sense-sational" experience invites kids to discover the plant parts that make up a gingerbread recipe—like cinnamon, from the bark of a tree, and ginger, from an underground stem. Their imaginations will light up as they taste, touch, and smell the spices and other ingredients along the way. They can make spicy sachets, decorate gingersnap cookies, and explore a kid-sized gingerbread house. It’s a delicious adventure filled with all the wonder of the holiday season.
Holiday Train Show
November 18, 2006 to January 7, 2007 An Exhibition in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory “All aboard” for the Holiday Train Show, one of New York City’s most beloved holiday traditions! This 15th anniversary year is set to be the best ever. A dash of holiday magic transforms the Conservatory into an enchanting world featuring replicas of more than 140 New York landmarks —from the Statue of Liberty to Yankee Stadium—made entirely from plant parts like berries, leaves, and seeds.
Large-scale model trains and trolleys zip through this wondrous landscape, disappearing into tunnels, crossing bridges overhead, and gliding under waterfalls and twinkling lights. New this year: Replicas of “Magical Missing Mansions,” elaborate Manhattan homes that were once highly celebrated but didn’t stand the test of time.
The Little Engine That Could™
Shows at 1pm, 2pm, & 3pm. Arthur and Janet Ross Lecture Hall
Bring the whole family for this holiday tradition at the Garden, presented by Ralph Lee, New York City's puppet master. Trains and fun literally go hand in hand as a classic story comes to life through puppets of old-fashioned steam engines, each with its own eccentric personality. Kids will love cheering on The Little Engine That Could™ as she tries to make it over the mountain.
Buried Treasures: The Nature and Art of Bulbs
October 7, 2006 to January 7, 2007. An exhibition in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Surely you’ve admired beautiful bulbs, like tulips or daffodils, on a spring day. For centuries bulbs have provided us with food to nourish our bodies and flowers to nourish our souls. Come discover the nature and art of these versatile plants at an exhibition in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library. It celebrates the lush beauty of flowering bulbs while presenting their intriguing nature and many practical uses, from culinary to medicinal.
A World of Plants
At the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. A World of Plants showcases the wonders, diversity, and uses of plants and the valuable work of the Garden's scientists. It's like an "ecotour" of the world, via 11 distinct habitats and galleries: You'll see the largest collection of New World palm trees under glass; the rich diversity of life that inhabits the Lowland and Upland Tropical Rain Forests; and plants that have adapted to their harsh environments in the Deserts of the Americas and Africa. From banana trees and moth orchids to coffee plants and cacti, a world of indispensable plant life awaits you all year-round. Adults $13, seniors/students $11, kids 2-12 $5. Add $5 for the Holiday Train Show. Parking $10. Open 10am to 6pm. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Dec. 25th, and Jan. 1. Website http://www.nybg.org/
3pm to 4pm drive to Manhattan
4pm hotel check-in
Travell Inn
515 West 42nd Street
New York NY 10036
(between 10th and 11th)
Phone (212) 695 7171
Total of $307.44 for 2 nights
  includes on-site parking and taxes
Confirmation # 18624
website: http://www.thetravelinnhotel.com/index.asp
5:00pm til late Rockefeller Center and Rink
Rockefeller Center is a fascinating combination of contradictions: at once futuristic and classical, with soaring buildings and underground tunnels, inspired by both hard-headed commercialism and philanthropic idealism. Below street level, the Center's buildings are linked by a pedestrian shopping concourse. This is an oasis of order in the heart of the busiest city in the world, a city within a city, functionally efficient and aesthetically elegant.
The Rink at Rockefeller Center is the ultimate destination for winter fun. Gather friends and family for a spin on the ice. It's the perfect way to spend a winter afternoon or evening. Weekend admission $10 / $6.
website: http://rapatina.com/iceRink/
Day 2. NBC Tour and Met Museum   (24 Dec 2006 Sunday)
NBC Studio Tour
Since 1933, NBC has offered this historic tour that takes you through the halls and into the studios of NBC's New York operations. An NBC Page will be your guide to the world of the Peacock Network. Some NBC Pages have gone on to become famous entertainment personalities, including Willard Scott, Ted Koppel, Regis Philbin, Steve Allen, Marcy Carsey, Kate Jackson, Michael Eisner, and Dave Garroway. The first stop on the tour is the NBC History Theatre, where you will learn about NBC's early days in radio. Your NBC Page will tell you about some of the network's early sound effect techniques and NBC's transition into television.
Tours depart every 15 minutes. Sundays 9:30am to 4:30pm. Admission $18.50 / $15.50. Combination ticket $23.45 includes both Rockefeller Center and NBC Studio Tours.
website: http://www.nbcuniversalstore.com/index.php?v=nbunbcmktnbt
Metropolitan Museum of Art
At 1009 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028 (Location: 5th Ave. & E. 82nd).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the preeminent cultural institutions in the world. In formation since 1870, the Metropolitan Museum's collection now contains more than two million works of art from all points of the compass, ancient through modern times. It spans the history of world art. Hundreds of world-famous masterpieces. Gift shop.
Special Exhibition: Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde
September 14, 2006–January 7, 2007 This is the first comprehensive exhibition devoted to Ambroise Vollard (1866–1939)—the pioneer dealer, patron, and publisher who played a key role in promoting and shaping the careers of many of the leading artists during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It includes 100 paintings, as well as dozens of ceramics, sculpture, prints, and livres d'artistes commissioned and published by Vollard, dating from the time of his appearance on the Paris art scene in the late 1880s to his death in 1939. The exhibition features works by Bonnard, Cézanne, Degas, Derain, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Maillol, Matisse, Picasso, Redon, Renoir, Rouault, Rousseau, Vlaminck, Vuillard, and others. Highlights include five paintings from Vollard's landmark 1895 Cézanne exhibition; a never-before-reassembled triptych from his 1896–97 Van Gogh retrospective; the masterpiece Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? from Vollard’s 1898 Gauguin exhibition; paintings from Picasso's first French exhibition (1901) and Matisse's first solo exhibition (1904); and three pictures from Derain's London series, painted in 1906–07 at Vollard's suggestion.
Special Exhibition: Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Sculpture
September 26, 2006–February 19, 2007. “Set in Stone” presents more than 80 medieval sculpted heads, half from the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and half selected loans from American and European collections. Because historical events isolated these objects from their original settings, they became objects that could be collected, and objects whose lost histories curators and scholars would hope to recover.
The exhibition considers several artistic and historic themes, including: the destruction of statues as an act of iconoclasm, the evolving notions of the “portrait,” the use of science in the search for provenance, and more. Created from materials as diverse as marble, limestone, polychromed wood, and silver gilt, the carved heads date from the third century A.D. through the early 1500s and represent French, German, Italian, Spanish, Byzantine, English, and other medieval sculptural traditions. The exhibition draws together science, connoisseurship, archaeology, and history to examine these stunning works from different points of reference.
American Paintings and Sculptures
The collection of American paintings and sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum is one of the finest and most comprehensive in the world. More than one thousand paintings, six hundred sculptures, and 2,600 drawings—exceeding four thousand works in total—by approximately nine hundred different artists constitute an encyclopedic survey of fine art in the United States, from the late colonial period in the eighteenth century through the early twentieth century. These works have been gathered over the course of more than a century, beginning almost immediately after the Museum's founding.
Modern Art
The Department of Modern Art surveys painting, sculpture, drawings and watercolors, decorative arts, design, and architectural representations from about 1900 to the present day in more than 10,000 works, primarily by European and American artists. The Metropolitan Museum has been concerned with the art of its own time, as well as that of the past, since its founding in 1870. Many of the objects acquired as contemporary in the early decades of the Museum's existence are now in the collections of other departments—The American Wing, for instance, or the Department of European Paintings.
Adults $20, seniors/students $10, kids free. Open 9:30am to 9pm. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Dec. 25th, and Jan. 1. Source: http://www.metmuseum.org/home.asp
Times Square
195 W. 43rd - When the New York Times erected a new building on 43rd Street at the turn of the 20th century, the neighborhood took on the name "Times Square." In celebration of the new building, the Times publisher threw a New Years Eve party. In the early 1980s, the city made major efforts to restore the neighborhood to its former, more wholesome, glory. Now it is the site of the most famous New year's Eve countdown in the world. The famous ball drop atop One Times Square has been a tradition dating back to 1906.
The theaters of Broadway and the huge number of gaudy animated neon and television-style signage have long made it one of New York's iconic images, and a symbol of the intensely urban aspects of Manhattan. Times Square is the only neighborhood with a zoning ordinance requiring tenants to display bright signs. The density of illuminated signs in Times Square now rivals Las Vegas.
Day 3. Central Park   (25 Dec 2006 MOnday)
9:00am hotel check-out
9:00am to 2:00pm Central Park
Central Park has been in the works for 150 years. New York's Central Park features 843 acres filled with classic architecture, gorgeous statuary and up to date sports, educational and performance facilities. Besides all of this there is the world famous Central Park Zoo and Wildlife Center and the Children's Zoo. The park also boasts two full service restaurants (including the world famous Tavern on the Green and the scenic Boathouse Restaurant on the Lake). And all of this doesn't even come close to the natural splendor of the landscape. Central Park has a wide variety of carefully crafted topograhical aspects all created by the genius of Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. From the beautiful centerpiece of the Park, Bethesda Terrace to the more rustic charm of the North Woods Central Park changes from festive fountains to pastoral retreat all in the space of a few city blocks. Website: http://www.centralparknyc.org/
Belvedere Castle
Rising out of Vista Rock, the second highest natural elevation in the Park, Belvedere Castle harmonizes perfectly with its site, as it was constructed from the same Manhattan schist. Providing views of the Park and the city, the Castle's tower is truly a belvedere — an architectural term for lookouts and observatories, the Italian word translates literally as beautiful view. The Castle itself was originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux as a Victorian folly. In architectural terms, a folly was a fantasy building — a miniature Greek or Roman temple or a pint-sized Gothic castle — that offered a dash of the unexpected in a carefully calculated pastoral landscape. Today, Belvedere Castle has true windows and doors and is home to the Henry Luce Nature Observatory, run by the Central Park Conservancy. Inside are simple displays that show how naturalists observe the world to learn how it works, and how they share their findings. There are telescopes and microscopes and skeletons and feathers - all designed to pique the curiosity of young visitors. Location: Mid-park 79th Street. Source: http://www.centralparknyc.org/virtualpark/thegreatlawn/belvederecastle
Central Park Zoo
Here, just a few yards from 5th Ave. you’ll find over 130 different species ranging from giant Polar Bears to the Brazilian black tarantula. A walk around the Zoo’s five plus acres will take you through a variety of habitats, all carefully designed to recreate the natural environment of the animals they house.
Zoo History: The first incarnation of the zoo in Central Park came about almost by accident. It began with New Yorkers dropping off unwanted animals at the arsenal. These included everything from 72 white swans to a black bear cub (everything, that is, except the apocryphal alligators that found their way to the sewer system.) In 1864 the legislature approved the construction of a several buildings to house the growing collection and the Central Park Menagerie was born. In 1934 Parks Commissioner Robert Moses used Works Progress Administration (WPA) funds to construct what was, for its time, a state-of-the-art facility. Designed with a storybook theme the new Central Park Zoo provided a greatly improved home for the animals and a wonderful place to visit them.
The Polar Zone contains two of the Zoo's most popular guests – Polar Bears Ida (on the right) and Gus. Alongside Polar Bears lies an exhibit shared by an Artic Fox and a Harbor Seal. Nearby is the Ice Pack building which houses 61 Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins along with the Tufted Puffins.
The Tropic Zone houses a brilliant collection of tropical birds including the Fairy Blue Bird of Southeast Asia and the Scarlet-chested Parrot of Southern Australia. Here you’ll also find enough frogs, lizards, snakes, toads and various other squirmy things to keep any little boy enraptured for his entire visit. Then there are the Colobus Monkeys, as well as three species of Tamarins, to represent the primates of the tropics.
The Temperate Territory includes the California Sea Lion tank at the center of the exhibit and stretches around the rear of the Zoo. This section is home to the Red Pandas, Japanese Macaques and the almost urbanly manic North American River Otter. Here you’ll also find the Mandarin Ducks (happier residents then their cousins at nearby restaurants) and the lovely Swan Geese.
Open 10:00am to 4:30pm. Admission $8 / $4. (212) 439 6500. Fifth Avenue and 64th Street.
source: http://www.centralpark.com/pages/central-park-zoo.html
Alice in Wonderland
At the northern end of Conservatory Water sits one of Central Park's most beloved sculptures, a bronze grouping of characters from Lewis Carroll's 1865 classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Alice holds court perched on a giant mushroom, reaching toward a pocket watch held by the March Hare, the host of the book's zany tea party. Her serene calm contrasts sharply with the manic expression of the nearby Mad Hatter, who appears poised to launch one of his nonsensical riddles. Crowding the edge of a smaller mushroom and nibbling on a tea goodie, is the timid dormouse who seems ready to flee any impending insult. And peering over Alice's shoulder in all the activity is the Cheshire cat.
Location: East 74th Street. Source: http://www.centralparknyc.org/virtualpark/thegreatlawn/aliceinwonderland
2:00pm to 6:00pm drive back home to Norfolk, MA
6:00pm Home Sweet Home

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