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, chihuly.com/bridgeofglass— 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; si.edu/visit— 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, www.wvculture.org— Jayne Clark

Wisconsin

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; travelwisconsin.com— Kitty Bean Yancey

Wyoming

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,sheridanwyoming.org/info/act-polo.php— Chris Gray Faust

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