April 2010
Driving North or South along the US East Coast?



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We don't know why people think car trips are boring. On the last one, we got to watch rats playing basketball! Even though I-95 is in the EAST, if you know where to look, you can catch some bisons roaming the range. And after kayaking around Africa (yes still on I-95), we were tall enough to be at mouth level with giraffes in order to feed them. Who wouldn't love to buy some paintings done by penguins for an eco-friendly and fun Mother's or Father's Day gift?


Penquins Painting Paintings

VA-Rats Playing Basketball
RI-Bison Sightings
FL-Go Eye-to-Eye with a Giraffe
 See What We Look Like on TV - Believe it or Not!

1 - Penquins Painting Paintings

CT Exit 90: Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration - You can buy paintings created by African penguins here. About 50 will be available for each of Mother's Day and Father's Day. How do the penguins paint? Creating these paintings is a form of enrichment for about half of the 27 penguins who have unleashed their inner artistes to create them. Here’s how they do it:

- All of these African penguins have been trained to stick out their feet in order for the trainers to examine them as part of their animal care program
- Next, the trainer dabs non-toxic paint on the penguin’s feet
- A canvas is laid on the floor and the penguin is set down on the canvas to roam freely
- Once the paint begins to fade, the penguin's feet are cleaned and a new color is applied. The penguins once again waddle across the canvas to create a layer of hues
- The 16"x20" paintings are available in two three-color combinations: purple, blue and green and dark red, blue and green. For $124.99 they come already double-matted in white with black inner trim in a black wood frame.
Photo: Mystic Aquarium

The penguins here play an integral role in the African Penguin Species Survival Plan, and a portion of the proceeds from each sale goes towards that. Over the last eight years, the world’s African penguin population has decreased by 42%.

Once you’re at the aquarium, the sea lion show is bound to please the whole family. Ever wonder what it would be like to touch a whale? In their Beluga Contact Program you can go into the water with a whale: you’ll hear it breathe, spout and vocalize, and you'll get to touch it. Besides all their exotic fish, underwater explorer Dr. Robert Ballard's team's findings are on view. Walk through the Fluorescent Coral exhibit and find out how fluorescence is being used for research projects to find cures and treaments for Alzheimer's and cancer. Check out the Sting Ray Touch Pool or sign up for an encounter program with African penguins or sharks. Hours: Apr-Oct 9-6, Nov & Mar 9-5, Dec-Feb 10-5. 55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic. www.mysticaquarium.org Tel: 860-572-5955.

2 - Rats Playing Basketball - Click HERE for Video

VA Exit 78: Science Museum of Virginia - Who would ever think you could watch rats play basketball? You can and we did! If you get here at the right time (daily 11:30 am & 2:30 pm and Sun at 1:30), you will get a lesson on the behavioral conditioning of rats. There are 2 teams, and they’re all female. They fight for the ball and the chance to jump into the hoop with it, because they will get a pellet of food if they do. The museum holds basketball competitions too

In the rest of this building, which was a grand old rail station, you can check out how the drive is affecting your blood pressure, see a visual of your heart beat, or calm down watching fish in aquariums or snakes and lizards slither. Wanna see a tarantula up close?

Hours: Sept-May Tues-Sat 9:30-5, Sun 11:30-5; May-Sept Mon-Sat 9:30-5, Sun 11:30-5. 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. www.smv.org Tel: 800-659-1727 or 804-864-1400

3 - Bison Sightings 

RI Exit 16N or 17S: Roger Williams Zoo and Park - Open in 1872, one of the country’s oldest zoos teems with foliage, giving you a sense of meeting animals in the wild - you can even walk through a rainforest. You don’t have to go to the plains out west to oogle some gi-normous bison; you can, in the wilds of the East Coast, right off I-95, watch the mighty graze.
Image by:  Rauch, Ray - USFWS
At this zoo, you can get up close to a dromedary camel and meet George and Gracie - the moon bears, find the tree kangaroos and listen to the laughing kookaburra. See if you can spot the golden lion tamarins, and we know you will have no trouble finding the elephants or giraffes. Experience the “Journey through the Wild” daily programs.

Zoo Hours: Daily 9-4 (last admission sold at 3:30 p.m.). 1000 Elmwood Ave. www.rwpzoo.org Tel: 401-785-3510

4 - Go Eye-to-Eye with a Giraffe

FL Exit 191: Brevard Zoo - Usually you’re craning your neck to look way way up to see giraffes, but at this zoo they’ve designed a feeding platform where you can get an entirely different perspective when you go eye-to eye with the giraffes - and you can feed them too!Photo: Brevard Zoo

We had one of our favorite surprises here when for a mere $6 we enjoyed the guided kayak tour around Expedition Africa and saw lemurs being fed, giraffes frolicking, and rhinos, camels, oryx and cheetahs. Stan loved hand-feeding the lorikeets, and we bumped into a lady holding an owl. Then there's the vultures, jaguars, wallabies, warty pigs, giant anteaters and even a kookaburra. Expect a gift shop, cafe and our favorite Dippin’ Dots ice cream. Hours: Daily 9:30-5. www.brevardzoo.org Tel: 321-254-9453

6 - See What We Look Like on TV - Believe it or Not!

While on our research trip for the next edition of Drive I-95, we stopped in to entertain local TV audiences with our tales of the road. One of the shows we taped this latest time was "The Tarheel Traveler" in Raleigh NC with Scott Mason. If you missed the show, it's available for viewing at any time here.

Believe it or not, we taped a fun radio show with Tim O’Brian for Ripley Radio about funky unusual sites you can find along I-95. It starts airing on April 15th, and you will be able to catch it here.

What's inside Drive I-95 : Here's a FREE look

Look ahead exit by exit to see which motels (with 800 numbers), gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, 24-hour pharmacies, auto mechanics, radio stations or radar traps are there, and where you can stay with your pet. We share our stories of the road : history on I-95, museums, trivia, towns to explore or places to run the kids. These can be read for entertainment during the drive, and may entice you to stop, stretch your legs and discover someplace new.

Don't forget that our radio and TV interviews can always be seen HERE on our site, as well as some of our YouTube videos.

PS: Buy the book to find more funky wildlife on I-95. Click here

 To Contact us: Stan Posner and Sandra Phillips-Posner, Travelsmart email: info@drivei95.com Phone: 1-877-GUIDE95
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