Travel briefs

Published: Sunday, January 5, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 4, 2003 at 10:58 p.m.

Race car preview

Before the Winston Cup racers can start their engines for a new season at the track, they meet-and-greet their fans and sign loads of autographs at North Carolina's biggest single-day sports charity event. The T. Wayne Robertson NASCAR Winston Cup Preview has raised $2.4 million for local charities in its 13-year history. At least 50 drivers are expected Sunday, Jan. 18 to sign autographs in four separate sessions. (Wristband entry is required for autograph sessions of the most popular drivers.) Attracting fans from all over the country, the day offers auctions of racing gear worn by last year's winners, among them Tony Stewart, Gregg Biffle, and Mike Bliss; new paint schemes for this year's cars; appearances by former race drivers; and, of course, souvenir trailers. (Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 2825 University Parkway; 336-725-5635;;

Creepy crawlies

It's a buggy winter in the Windy City. The popular ''Monster Creepy Crawlies'' toured England for four years and now has crossed the Atlantic for the North American debut at the Chicago Academy of Sciences Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (showing through March 13). Robotic and live insects introduce all ages to anthropods, the phenomenal and important animal world critters who have jointed legs and are made up of rings or segments. North America is home to 90,000 species of insects.

In the touring exhibit, 17 human-sized flies, beetles, and spiders, among others, portray the bug's life, such as a ladybug chasing dinner up a rose bush. On the ''Creepy Crawly Bus,'' visitors get up close to all kinds of live bugs. In interactive displays, visitors can see like a fly, jump like a flea, or smell like a bug. (Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive; 773-755-5100;

Just bring your feet

At the seventh annual Winter Trails showshoe festival, the slogan is ''We'll bring the snowshoes; you bring your feet.'' The event will be held Jan. 18 in locations across the nation including the Weston Ski Track in Weston and the Green Mountain Club in Waterbury, Vt., and on Feb. 15 at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colo. Attendees will be able to try out different types of snowshoes, and participate in guided walks, children's obstacle courses, fun races, and seminars. All events are free. (The fine print: There could be parking or site maintenance fees.) Visit

- The New York Times

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