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Nearby Notes: Thomas visits Tweetsie

THOMAS DOES TWEETSIE Blowing Rock

Thomas the Tank Engine visits Tweetsie Railroad

Thomas the Tank Engine rolled into Tweetsie Railroad for "Day Out With Thomas: The Celebration Tour 2010," which continues through next Sunday. For 65 years, the popular British kids' TV show "Thomas the Tank Engine" has featured the talking train engine. (American children see it on PBS affiliates). At Tweetsie, families can take a ride with a 15-ton replica of Thomas and enjoy Thomas-themed activities, including stamps and temporary tattoos. The show character Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway, will be there; special displays will mark the program's 65-year run.

A train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine will depart every 30 minutes, rain or shine, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. today through Friday and 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturdays. Park hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. through Friday and to 6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets for "Day Out With Thomas: The Celebration Tour 2010": $32; $22 for ages 3-12; 2 and younger, free. Tickets/details: 877-893-3874; www.tweetsie.com.

18 GECKOS! Atlanta

Lovable lizards at Fernbank

The new gecko exhibition at Atlanta's Fernbank Museum of Natural History affords a live-animal look at life through the eyes, tails and sticky toe pads of nature's most adaptable lizards

"Geckos - Tails to Toe Pads," opened Memorial Day weekend with backlit graphics, interactive activities and living geckos from around the world. You can experience gecko night vision, listen to gecko voices, learn unusual facts from gecko experts, try to spot camouflaged geckos, and build a custom gecko for various environments. The exhibition also presents cutting-edge science, from the race to catalog and classify gecko diversity to unraveling the mysteries of how geckos are such masters of adhesion.

Habitats, complete with rock ledges, live plants and waterfalls, showcase 18 species of live geckos from around the globe.

The gecko exhibition continues through Sept. 6; viewing it is included in museum admission ($15; $14 for high-school/college students and for 62 and older, $13 for ages 3-12; 2 and younger, free). Admission packages are available. "Geckos" is also included with City Pass admission.

The museum is located at 767 Clifton Road NE. Details/tickets: 404-929-6300; www.fernbankmuseum.org.

LOTSA BANDS Myrtle Beach

Live entertainment at Broadway at the Beach

Through Labor Day weekend, the "Summer of Live Entertainment" series at the Broadway at the Beach shopping/entertainment complex in Myrtle Beach will offer a series of concerts, contests, fireworks, mascot meet-and-greets and more for the entire family.

The 2Thousand10 Concert Series, co-sponsored by Hard Rock Cafe and Celebrity Square, will run throughout the summer on the Celebrity Square Stage on Thursday nights. It will showcase 15 popular performers and world-renowned bands including Everclear, Pat Benatar, Cowboy Mouth, Little River Band and Blues Traveler.

Admission varies with each show. General admission: $10-$35. Tickets are available at the Hard Rock Cafe gift shop at Broadway at the Beach or by calling 843-946-0007.

Each Tuesday at 7 p.m. through Aug. 31, the free "Sprite Under the Stars" concert series featuring hit acts from across the region including Tokyo Joe, Hot Sauce, The Paul Grimshaw Band, Jah Creation and Liquid Platinum. This will take place at the Heroes Harbor Stage. Fireworks will follow each concert at 10 p.m.

Alcohol is not permitted.

Many June activities commemorate the 15th anniversary of the opening of Broadway at the Beach. June 26 (a Saturday), a complex-wide party will feature numerous free activities such as a mascot meet-and-greet and fireworks show, as well as complimentary cake for more than 500 celebrants.

Complex/series info: 800-386-4662; www.broadwayatthe beach.com .

Singing on the Mountain June 27

Gospel music at Grandfather Mountain

In 1924, the Hartley family held a reunion in a meadow at the base of Grandfather Mountain. The gathering had as its central feature the singing of country gospel music. The gathering stuck, and Singing On The Mountain has been held since and now features performances by top southern gospel groups. The 2010 gathering will be June 27.

The event is free. Camping, without hookups, is on a first-come basis. The grounds are on U.S. 221, two miles north of Linville and one mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The daylong gathering is held outdoors. Music begins at 8:30 a.m. and continues throughout the day, with a break at midday for a sermon. Families often bring lawn chairs and picnics.

Details: 800-468-7325; www.grandfather.com.

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