FREE ZOO VISITS:
Beginning this week, animal lovers can take advantage of free Friday admission at Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Columbia. The offer will run through February.
Many animal are more active during winter months, as zoo-goers will discover. Also, horticulture staff are hard at work in the Botanical Gardens where dormant plants and winter bloomers form a collage of surprising colors.
The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Riverbanks is at the intersection of Interstate Highway 126 and Greystone Boulevard. Regular admission is $6.25 for adults, $3.75 for children ages 3-12 and free for children age 2 and younger.
Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder" -- Produced in 1998, this drama recounts the youth of the Little House author, played as a teen in 1881 Dakota Territory by Meredith Monroe (Dawson's Creek). Richard Thomas and Lindsay Crouse are cast as her parents. CBS
TWO LEFT FEET?
Help is on the way thanks to wwww.bustamove.com, a new learn-to-dance Web site. Jeff Grossman and Kate Moschandreas started the site, which features salsa, swing, the fox trot and the waltz. Soon to come: the cha-cha, Lindy Hop and hip hop.
Mr. Grossman and Ms. Moschandreas, both 30, wanted to put their mutual love for swing and salsa to good use. They set up the Web site after noticing last New Year's Eve that people out dancing usually have a great time.
At Bustamove, a digitized couple shows you the basic dance steps for free, and each additional move -- like spins -- is $1.
THE FARMER SAYS:
The Old Farmer's Almanac has about an 80 percent accuracy rate on predicting the weather -- not bad compared to the National Weather Service's 85 percent to 90 percent track record.
So maybe we should pay attention to the special millennium edition of the 207-year-old plain-folks' prognosticator (still printed with a handy hole for hanging in the outhouse). The almanac, a fixture on the publishing scene since George Washington's second term (and not to be confused with that 1817 upstart, The Farmers' Almanac), is known as a source for planting charts, household hints, yearlong weather forecasts and nuggets of cracker-barrel wisdom.
-- From staff and wire reports