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Last chance to ferry to Vallejo?

It's the fastest ferry on the Bay, and it's fast losing money.

This month, the Red & White Fleet will decide whether to continue operating its ferry between Vallejo and San Francisco. Now through the end of the year may be your last chance to catch this ride-unless an increase in ridership saves it.

The catamaran-with indoor and outdoor seating makes the trip between San Francisco (piers 41 and 43 1/2) and Vallejo in just under an hour. The ride takes you past Angel Island, under the RichmondSan Rafael Bridge, and on to great views of San Pablo Bay

On board, you sit in train-type seats, or on padded benches at tables for playing cards. The ride is quiet enough for conversation and generally smooth enough to keep your hot chocolate from spilling (snack bar on board).

Round-trip fare between the city and Vallejo is $13.90, $10.90 for seniors, $6 ages 4 through 12. On weekends the boat stops at Angel Island (25 minutes from the city, 45 minutes from Vallejo); the round-trip fare from the city is $7.10, $4.05 ages 4 through 12; from Vallejo, $9.45, $5.45.

You can take the ferry to Marine WorldAfrica USA for a round-trip fare (including shuttle to the park and park admission) of $29.95, $23.95 seniors, $18.95 ages 4 through 12. Leave San Francisco at 8:30 or 11:15 A.M., return from Vallejo at 3:30 or 6:20 Pm. Marine World is open Wednesdays through Sundays.

With a Wine Country Sail package, you can take the 8:30 A.M. weekend ferry from San Francisco, pick up a rental car in Vallejo (shuttle to rental agency provided), drive to the wine country, return the car at 6, and hop on the 6:20 ferry ftom Vallejo. Round trip, with car rental included, costs $28.95 per person (twoperson minimum).

Commuters can buy a monthly ferry pass for $129.80, or 18 one-way tickets for $89.10. For a complete schedule or more information, call (800) 445-8880 or (415) 546-2896. Tickets are available on the boat or through Ticketron. Package deals can be purchased at Pier 41.

A $20 million modernization has given a fresh look to one of the West's oldest natural history museums. Work has brought the 1908 Denver Museum of Natural History up to safety codes, improved exhibit and storage spaces, expanded the building, and linked old and new sections with soaring twin glass halls. And with several new exhibits now in the improved structure, it's a good time to revisit the familiar Denver landmark. If you're just passing through town, make the museum a brief stopover (it's 3 miles west of Stapleton Airport).

Dinosaurs stalk the halls

Colorado is fossil-rich, and many of the pieces on display came in the early 1900s from digs within the state-as well as from neighboring Utah, Montana, and Nebraska. And the exhibit deserves its renown. For dinosaur fans, it's one of the West's best displays.

Most striking are three complete, articulated dinosaurs: a 75-foot-long Diplodocus, a 30-foot Anatosaurus, and a 20-foot Stegosaurus (the state fossil of Colorado). You'll also see two lesser-known marine reptiles: Plesiosaurus and Mosasaurus. Nearby are casts of dinosaur footprints and fossils of the ancient bison, the mammoth, and three-toed horses.

Standing tall in the airy new entryway is the latest addition: a fierce-toothed, whiptailed Tyrannosaurus rex greeting visitors. A 25-foot-tall fiberglass model cast piece by piece ftom .original fossil bones found in Montana, it's exemplary of the cast models that are becoming increasingly common in dinosaur exhibits. Infamous Tyrannosaurus is one of the most popular dinosaurs whenever it turns up in exhibits, and this is the only fully constructed one in the West.

In the Coors Mineral Hall, you'll see impressive gemstones, crystals (including a wall of massive specimens found in a Mexican cave), and a display of gold from Colorado.

On the upper two floors, you'll find birds and mammals native to four continents. Some are in new additions to another museum trademark-lifelike dioramas (scenes showing animals in their native habitats).

The museum gained fame early for its dioramas. A few were created at great risk; to bag the polar bear for the Alaska birds and mammals exhibit, built in the 1920s, a museum staffer trekked 800 miles into the Arctic by dogsled. The dioramas feature painstaking detail-note the mat of tundra lichen in the moose and caribou display, the squirrels hiding among the tiny wildflowers in the whitetailed deer exhibit.

Also new: space technology, new Imax and planetarium shows

Just opened this summer is an exhibition calle "New Visions of Earth" (through November 5). With actual rockets and weather satellites, and models of the space shuttle, skylab, and other space vessels, it gives an overview of the technology used to "read" our planet. You'll see a display of 25 years of space photography as well as huge photomurals including a high aerial one of Bryce Canyon. Many of the pieces come from Colorado-based computer and aerospace companies.

Running October 28 through April 2 is an exhibit called The First Egyptians, with some 130 objects ftom the everyday life of pre-dynastic Egyptians. Dating back to 3400 B.C., items range from coins and petroglyph castings to a mummy's mask. Now through January, you can see A Freedom to Move and On the Wing in the museum's Imax theater; call (303) 3706300 for a schedule. The planetarium shows Gateway to Infinity and A Christmas Star (November 25 until December 24); for times, call 370-6351.

Open daily from 9 to 5, the museum is at 2001 Colorado Boulevard on the east side of City Park. Admission is $4, $2 for seniors and ages 4 through 12. A cafeteria is open 9 to 4; the gift shop, open 9 to 5, sells science-related books and toys as 1well as jewelry and art.
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Date:Oct 1, 1988
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