Summer travel '09: Freebies across the USA

Walk across a one-of-a-kind work of art in Tacoma, where the 500-foot Chihuly Bridge of Glass, built by native glass artist Dale Chihuly in 2002, spans the Thea Foss Waterway. The blue pedestrian-only bridge connects the city's three museums —Washington State History Museum, Tacoma Art Museum and the Museum of Glass; admission to all three is free every third Thursday. 800-272-2662,— Chris Gray Faust

Washington, D.C.

The Smithsonian already draws more than 10 million visitors a year, but the National Air and Space Museum is bracing for extra crowds this summer, thanks to this weekend's opening of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. The movie sequel reprises Ben Stiller's role as a security guard, and much of the action is set at Air and Space — including a thrilling scene in which the Wright Brothers' 1903 flyer swoops through the museum. (The real thing is safely displayed in its own second-floor gallery.) 202-633-1000;— Laura Bly

West Virginia

The new West Virginia State Museum opens June 21, with bells and whistles like surround sound and theatrical lighting to embellish exhibits along a chronological path leading from a prehistoric forest through a dark coal mine and into the present. The 24,000-square-foot facility, in the cultural center at the state Capitol complex in Charleston, will showcase the state's art, music and industry. 304-558-0162,— Jayne Clark


The upcoming movie Public Enemies has a friend in Wisconsin. Many locales are film sites for the July Johnny Depp/Christian Bale movie based on the exploits of '30s mobster John Dillinger and his cronies. The free, self-drive Wisconsin Gangster Tour covers a dozen venues used in filming or frequented by Chicago mobsters looking to get out of town. On the tour: The Little Bohemia Lodge near Mercer, where Dillinger actually stayed to beat the G-men heat, and left abruptly when they closed in. Legend says he left a cache of money behind that never has been found. See bullet holes and Dillinger's traveling bag at the resort; the Wisconsin Department of Tourism has a guide to filming and real-life gangster-related places. 800-432-8747;— Kitty Bean Yancey


Chukkers in Cowboy Country? In Sheridan, where two Scottish brothers brought the game in the 1890s, polo matches are held every weekend. The Big Horn Polo Club — the oldest polo club west of the Mississippi — has matches on Sundays and the Flying H Polo Club has games on Saturdays, with some rehearsals during the week. 888-596-6787,— Chris Gray Faust

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