Lewis and Clark weren't dummies. They knew they were going to need a big, fluffy friend to accompany them on their tireless journey into the unknown. Before heading off to search for the fabled Northwest Passage, Meriwether Lewis purchased a dog for $20 and named him Seaman. There is no record in Lewis' journals of the canine's color or size, but historians agree that he was a black Newfoundland. Lewis' writings do, however, mention that Seaman displayed unusual "sagacity."
Starting Thursday at the National Frontier Trails Museum (318 West Pacific in Independence), the Puppetry Arts Institute recounts the adventures of Lewis and Clark through the eyes of Seaman in Lewis and Clark: A Dog's Eye View.
Pady Blackwood, the man behind Howdy Doody, helped construct some of the twelve puppets for the production and even had some Disney friends work on the original soundtrack. Tickets cost $6, and performances start at 10 a.m. and noon on Thursdays and Fridays and at noon on Saturdays. For details, call 816-325-7575.-- Michael Vennard
3/15 & 3/17
We live in a competitive world today. It's all about being at the right place at the right time and, most important, knowing the right people. If you want to have the brightest future possible, you have to learn the fine art of networking. One cannot start too early. With that in mind, get out your finest playtime clothes and head to the Lenexa Community Center (93rd Street and Pflumm). The Gym for Me Playground sounds innocent enough, a chance to run around and play with various toys provided by the community center, but you must see past that. Think of it as Schmoozing 101 for the five-and-under set. These play dates run from 9 to 11 a.m Mondays and Wednesdays through May 19 and cost just $1 a day. You'll have to bring along some grown-ups, though; adult supervision is required. For more information, call 913-541-0209.-- Sarah Steele
Spring break might have started for some, but that doesn't mean that the learning -- or the fun -- stops. The Ernie Miller Nature Center (909 North Highway 7 in Olathe) has plenty of fun activities to keep kids interested and entertained -- in short but intense bursts -- all next week. Daily programs starting at 10 a.m will investigate insects (Monday), Lewis and Clark (Tuesday), birds of prey (Wednesday), reptiles (Thursday) and other aquatic animals and water wonders (Friday). We're most excited about testing our survival skills on Tuesday. The 45-minute sessions cost $1.50 a person (including adults). For details, call 913-764-7759.-- Vennard