Hotel booking scams up

Hotel booking scams are on the rise partly because one in three vacations are set up online, with many hotel and airline reservations punched in on hard-to-read smartphone screens. Now a hotel trade group is asking Congress and the U.S. attorney general's office to take action on the problem, which may be bilking 2.5 million travelers each year. In the most common scam, travelers will book on an online site that resembles a legitimate booking site, only to find out later that the site was bogus, said Maryam Cope, vice president for government affairs at the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Bogus sites may resemble legitimate hotel sites, and it may be hard to tell the difference on a tiny smartphone screen, she said.

Los Angeles Times

Children's Museum opens in Mankato

The Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota has finally opened after a decade of planning and fundraising. The doors first opened May 1 after construction began last year on the permanent $5 million home in Mankato. "We wanted someplace where a parent could come in, and if they have more than one child, they're able to pretty much see everywhere," said Linda Frost, an early childhood parent who co-founded the museum with Mary Jo Hensel. Frost said the museum is still trying to raise another $400,000 to finish a water exhibit. Last summer, just as construction was getting underway, widespread flooding destroyed almost all of the museum exhibits in storage and insurance didn't cover the damage. So they had to replace all of the hands-on exhibits. Some of the museum features are a tree fort, grow-it gallery, engineering explorers lab, farm yard, and a cafe. The museum is offering such activities as robotics competitions and summer camps. Admission is $8 per person, free for children under 1. More information: 1-507-386-0279; Associated Press

Deal of the week

Specials offered at historic lodging

The Jefferson, a storied hotel in Richmond, Va., has a summer deal. The Summer at the Jefferson package includes one night's lodging, valet parking and a $50 gift card for the hotel's restaurants and retail shops. Rates are $334 for a traditional room, $436 for a grand premier room. Stay June 28-Sept. 7. Use promo code PKGSUM. Info: 1-888-918-1895; Another historic hotel — Whitehall, in Camden, Maine — is celebrating its post-renovation opening with 30 percent off rates, a $20 restaurant credit and a 10 percent discount on a Schooner Surprise sailing. Stay at least two nights May 15-June 11. Use promo code GRAND. Info: 1-800-789-6565; Post

Eat here now

Dutch design center doubles as restaurant

On paper, the plan for Kazerne must have sounded pie-in-the-sky: Renovate a beat-up, cavernous building in the center of Eindhoven, a southern Dutch city in the midst of a reawakening. Transform it into a restaurant/showcase for design and technology. Throw in meeting spaces, a design shop and lodging. To the delight of locals, that dream, concocted by a Dutch couple, was realized late last year when Kazerne opened its doors in an industrial space. The art enveloping Kazerne's diners ranges from kinetic sculpture to mesmerizing lighting in exhibits rotating every few months. The Mediterranean-influenced menu changes weekly, offering four starters and main dishes. New York Times