Shuttle's new home
The California Science Museum said it has raised nearly half the $200 million needed to build a permanent exhibit for the space shuttle Endeavour. The museum recently received a donation from the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation that will allow it to start the design phase of the project. The museum didn't disclose the amount of the gift, citing an agreement it made with the foundation. When the display opens in 2017, it will be called the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center in memory of a real estate developer and astronomy enthusiast, and will feature Endeavour in a vertical position, as if it's ready to launch.
Birds mean business
Audubon New York is spreading the word about how birders help local economies. The group has launched a campaign that will distribute calling cards for bird-watchers to hand out at restaurants and other businesses. The idea is to show businesses and tourism agencies how much money is spent by people traveling to see birds. The cards feature the slogan, "Birds mean business." On the back, birders are supposed to write their name and contact information.
Free shuttle service between the Grand Canyon and the neighboring town of Tusayan has resumed.Visitors can park in any of three areas in nearby Tusayan. Those who take advantage of the service will get into the park quicker than other motorists. More than 92,000 people boarded the shuttles last year as a way to cut down on vehicle congestion inside the national park. The popular South Rim can see as many as 10,000 vehicles a day.
Passengers on certain Virgin Atlantic flights now can use their cell phones to make and receive phone calls at 35,000 feet, the airline announced Tuesday. The British airline's new service could be a blessing for business travelers who want to stay connected during eight-hour flights across the ocean. It could also be a nightmare for the passenger sitting next to them. Only six passengers at a time will be able to use the system, which the airline says is intended "for use in exceptional situations." Passengers will be able to send text messages, make a call or access email on mobile devices. An airline spokesman could not say how much a call would cost.
Greek tourism slow
European travel companies are planning for a possible Greek exit from the eurozone, as the country's political leaders gave up trying to forge a government Tuesday and announced fresh elections for June. British travel firm Thomas Cook Group said Tuesday that while Greece remains a "great value" for holidaymakers, the company is working closely with hotels and other suppliers to position itself for a possible euro exit. Last year tourism contributed about 15.7 percent to Greece's GDP, amounting to revenues of $13.5 billion.
Super Bowl costs
City officials in Indianapolis say it lost more than expected in hosting this year's Super Bowl. Leaders of the city's sports and convention board say final figures on tax revenue and expenses show it lost $1.1 million on the February game, about $300,000 more than expected. The biggest expenses were paying $3.6 million toward police and fire protection.