Be a mermaid

At Hawaii Mermaid Adventures on Maui, dreamers of all ages can take the first step toward becoming a lifelong steward of the ocean. And a mermaid. Sign up for this salty adventure and your guides, all of whom are CPR-, lifeguard- and marine naturalist-certified, will demonstrate proper water etiquette (stay 10 feet away from turtles), teach youngsters how to identify native fish and highlight important conservation issues. Young adventurers will also learn about the legends that surround mermaids (

Dallas Morning News


Make your own gelato

Travelers can try their hand at gelato making by taking one of the several classes for amateurs offered throughout Italy. In Turin, IC Bellagio offers a two-hour private class at a popular gelateria. The head gelataio — the name for the person who makes the frozen treat — teaches the session in the shop’s kitchen and begins with an explanation of how gelato differs from ice cream. After tasting more than 20 kinds of gelato including coffee and licorice, guests use the shop’s machine to make their favorite flavor. (About $685, for two people; e-mail

New York Times


Mining ban at Yellowstone

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke wants to speed up a proposal to block new gold mining claims on forested public lands in Montana near Yellowstone National Park. Federal officials are undergoing a two-year review of mining on more than 30,000 acres among the towering peaks of the Absaroka Range of mountains just north of the park. The review was launched last year by Zinke’s predecessor, former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, in response to local concerns that two proposed gold mines could profoundly alter the character of a region heavily dependent on hikers, hunters and tourists.

Associated Press


Encounters at Devils Tower

Just like in the science-fiction movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” UFO enthusiasts are being drawn to a strange geological formation in Wyoming. Devils Tower played a key role in the classic UFO film that came out 40 years ago this year. The first Devils Tower UFO Rendezvous will be held at the site from Sept. 14-16. The formation is actually the solidified core of an ancient volcano. Experts on UFOs will speak at the convention. Organizer Brian Olson tells KOTA-TV that there’s a fun side, too, with plans for a parade, live music and barbecue cook-off. Devils Tower stands more than 800 feet tall and can be seen for miles (devilstower­UFO­

Associated Press


Saying no to pilotless planes

In 20 years, the aviation industry might be operating fleets of commercial jets flown by remote control. Analysts predict that pilotless planes could be carrying cargo and passengers by 2025 and could save up to $35 billion a year. There is one major barrier: A UBS survey of 8,000 people found that 54 percent said they were unlikely to take a pilotless flight. The outcome did not change much when people were told that a pilotless flight would be much cheaper than a flight with pilots. “Perhaps surprisingly, half of the respondents said that they would not buy the pilotless flight ticket even if it was cheaper,” the UBS report said.

Los Angeles Times