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Things to do, places to go 01.31.2008

I’ve been remiss in posting the Thursday look-ahead/deal roundup in accordance with my blogging editorial calendar, but good intentions are always there.

Things coming up….

**  It’s Fabulous First Friday on February 1 at the Miami Science Museum. This month’s planetarium “Live Star Show” will feature information about the Total Lunar Eclipse, which will be visible from Miami Wednesday February 20th.

**  What will happen with Punxsutawney Phil on Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania? It’s Groundhog Day Feb 2nd.

**  The St. Kilda Festival in Melbourne, Australia February 2-10.  Australia’s “largest outdoor festival” is a huge beach festival with live music, tons of summer activities (since it’s the Southern Hemisphere) and Kid Zones.

**  Sample Oman’s heritage and culture at the Muscat Festival Feb 1-2.

**  It’s Candlemas, the formal end of the holiday season in Mexico, February 2nd.

**  For the Japanese, it’s “out with the demons and in with good fortune,” plus ceremonial bean-throwing, at Setsubun February 4th.

**  In London, it’s Magic Carpet Storytelling for toddlers at the National Gallery February 3rd, and the Great Spitalfields Pancake Race (for charity) on Feb 5th.

**  Oh, yes, it’s Mardi Gras on Feb 5th, with parades in New Orleans (and other cities.) Sure, you can take the kids. Really. Just stay away from Bourbon Street with them. Come to think of it, that’s always good advice….

**  On top of everything else, it’s the Year of the Rat, Chinese New Year, on and around February 7th.

Good deals and opportunities right now….

**  Whale-watching in Virginia Beach, Virginia and 2nd day free at Universal Studios Hollywood.

**  Tips and tricks if you’re thinking about sun and fun at family resorts in Cancun, Mexico, a family reunion on a cruise ship, deals for skiing, a last-minute Caribbean vacation, advance booking for popular London summer events and planning those summer holidays.

**  This is the time of year for good deals at US national parks, at Club Med all-inclusives and even for hotel/travel packages to Bali and tied to the American Girls dolls.

**  Arthur Frommer’s blog recommends the Top Picks section of the Spirit Airways Web site, and Roe Gruber’s Escapes Unlimited to Central & South American and Asia.

**  Finally, Frommer’s recommends deals to the French & Italian Riviera, Botswana, the Rivera Maya in Mexico, Hong Kong (sigh – I’d kill to go) and Cape May, New Jersey.