Saturday is Museum Day
Get into a museum without getting out your wallet on Sept. 21 thanks to Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day. The annual event gives people tickets for free admission to one of 1,300-plus museums and cultural institutions across the country. Eighteen museums in Minnesota are included, such as the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona and the Runestone Museum in Alexandria. Go to smithsonianmag.com/museumday to see a list of all the participating venues. That’s where you can download your ticket, which covers the cost of general admission for two people. Only one ticket is allowed per e-mail address.
Chicago Tribune/Star Tribune
Spirit to upgrade seats
Spirit Airlines is planning the installation of new seats with more legroom and better fits for the backs of passengers. The discount airline says each seat aboard its fleet of 135 Airbus jetliners will have thicker padding and better support. Middle seats will gain an inch of width. Spirit’s so-called “Big Front Seats” also will get an upgrade with the installation of headrests and memory foam cushions. The company said it will dispose of its small tray tables for bigger ones. The new seating program is part of a broader campaign begun last year when senior management signed a public pledge to upgrade the airline’s customer service.
Sun Sentinel (Fla.)
Free dining at Disney
Walt Disney World resorts are offering free dining plans for guests who book a five-night stay. Stays at select resorts — including Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club Resort and Coronado Springs Resort — will include either Disney Dining Plans or Disney Quick Service plans. The Quick Service plan features two quick-service meals and two snacks per person for each night. The Dining Plan includes one quick-service meal and one sit-down service meal plus snacks each day. Rooms must be booked on or before Sept. 29 for stays through Dec. 23 (disneyworld.disney.go.com; 1-407-939-7216).
Discover the night sky
Death Valley National Park’s 3.4-million-acre expanse and the region’s clean, dry air combine to provide an ideal vantage point for observing shooting stars, meteor showers, the Milky Way and constellations galore. The conditions have earned the park Gold-Tier Dark Sky status. The area shares a strong commitment to avoid light pollution and keep the night sky visible. Stay at the Oasis at Death Valley and join the Las Vegas Astronomical Society for Star Parties on selected evenings or enjoy the gem-studded sky on your own (oasisatdeathvalley.com; nps.gov/deva).
Not coming to America
Travelers can’t get enough of globe-trotting. But have they had enough of the United States? According to the World Tourism Organization, the number of international tourist arrivals around the world reached 1.4 billion last year — a 6% increase. But in the first half of 2019, the number of international visitors coming to America has actually dropped 1.7%, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. “Ongoing global economic cooling, prolonged and expanding trade tensions, and uncertainty surrounding the Trump administration remain major risks to international traveler sentiment,” said a new U.S. Travel Association report. The U.S. dollar also remains strong, making travel more expensive for visitors.