Summer travel '09: Freebies across the USA

Unleash your inner Top Gun at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. The world's largest naval aviation museum sports 150 restored military aircraft. Free options include guided museum tours, outdoor trolley tours and the chance to get your hands on the controls (via the cockpit trainers) of an F-14 Tomcat, A-6 Intruder and more. Plus, the Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron rehearses here most Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. 850-452-3604,— Jayne Clark


They may be turning 25 this year, but the Cabbage Patch Kids haven't aged a day since creating a frenzy at toy stores nationwide when they were first mass-marketed in 1983-84. About 120 million "adoptions" later, a new BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland, 1½ hours north of Atlanta, is due this fall. (Meanwhile, the original birthing center nearby remains open.) The tours may be free, but the kids aren't. Some of the original soft-sculpture babes have been "re-adopted" for up to $50,000. 706-865-2171,— Jayne Clark


Honolulu's revitalized Chinatown not only provides a glimpse into Oahu's multi-culti heritage, it's a hotbed of hip galleries, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Check out the scene at the neighborhood's First Friday, when artists open their doors from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and musicians often play.— Chris Gray Faust


There's something for both ski bums and literature lovers at the Ketchum Ski & Heritage Museum. One building is dedicated to ski history in Sun Valley, including ski fashion and a display on Gretchen Fraser, the first American skier to win an Olympic gold medal. The other has an exhibit on Ernest Hemingway, a frequent valley visitor who lived there permanently from 1958 until his 1961 suicide. The museum, which is closed most of May, reopens for the summer May 30. 208-726-8118,— Chris Gray Faust


Honest, visitors to Springfield can see the former home of Abraham Lincoln in the 200th year since his birth without spending a penny. The modest two-story structure is a National Historic Site run by the National Park Service. Springfield is packed with Lincoln attractions, including a library and the late president's onetime law office. The Illinois capital plans a year of bicentennial celebration. 800-545-7300;— Kitty Bean Yancey


The Indianapolis Museum of Art, which once charged admission, has expanded and now is free (save for special touring exhibits). Among its many attractions: a permanent collection of more than 54,000 works including African, American, Asian and European pieces and Impressionist and contemporary art. Also gratis are rambles on its 152-acre grounds, including the former home of a member of the Lilly pharmaceutical family, which is also free.317-920-2660;— Kitty Bean Yancey


Folk in Butler County in north central Iowa near Allison have pieced together a self-guided quilt driving tour that passes by more than two dozen patterns painted on barns and farm buildings. 319-267-2858;— Kitty Bean Yancey


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