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T+L Family's Hot Tips: Kid Rock, Family Spas, Luxury Trips

KID ROCK...LITERALLY
So your son wants to be a Backstreet Boy, and you could be Sheryl Crow if it weren't for the car-pool?Head to the On Stage exhibit at Seattle's year-old Experience Music Project, the $240 million Frank Gehry—designed interactive music museum and shrine to local hero Jimi Hendrix, where future pop stars and adults with dashed rock fantasies can perform in front of thousands of virtual fans. To transform your family into a rock-and-roll band, concoct an outrageous name (sorry, Partridge is already taken) and divide the duties—drums, guitar, keyboards, and, of course, lead vocals (no experience necessary). In minutes, you'll morph into stars, striding onstage before a sea of adoring (projected) faces and singing along with a pre-recorded "Wild Thing." Other museumgoers can watch your debut on closed-circuit TV. Dare to dream that there's a talent scout among them. Experience Music Project, 325 Fifth Ave. N.; 877/367-5483 or 206/367-5483.

ALPHABET SUIT
Chicago's Lincoln Park is full of froufrou children's stores, but local designers Adriene Booth and Jane Saltzman Baird had something more sophisticated in mind. LMNOP specializes in kids' lines with more attitude than the Gap and less lace than the rest. Labels include L.A.'s Claude, which recuts vintage rock-concert tees down to toddler size ($36), and Booth's own Booth Child, which incorporates checks, florals, stripes, and corduroy into one fetching pair of pants ($42). LMNOP, 2574 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773/975-4055.

THE FAMILY THAT SPAS TOGETHER
The latest mother-and-baby programs at European spas prove that post-delivery Zen doesn't mean leaving your infant behind. At Maternal Bliss (13 Moreton Terrace, London; 44-207/592-9557; from $336 per night), moms shed pregnancy pounds with a trainer before joining baby for yoga and a side-by-side massage. Kumpf Spa at Rogner Hotel Birdie Therme (1 Golfstrasse, Stegersbach, Austria; 43-33/2650-0810; four-day packages from $265) has an infant swim program (think Esther Williams in a onesy). And at Les Thermes Évian (Évian-les-Bains, France; 33-4/50-75-02-30; six-night packages from $541), both generations partake of massage, yoga, and music classes. Sadly for stateside mamas, the trend has yet to cross the pond.

FORT WORTH GOES WILD
Saturday morning cartoons aren't the only place to see a roadrunner and a coyote. Texas Wild!, the newest exhibit at the Fort Worth Zoo, re-creates the Lone Star state with more than 200 native animals on display in six habitats. The $40 million project features the latest in high-tech interactivity so that you and a Texas black bear—separated by a mere mesh barrier—can share a hollow log. At the simulated ranch, tycoons-in-training learn how to manage their own spread. Kids also learn about conservation and ecological issues facing the state. And there's no need to worry about falling anvils. Texas Wild!, 1989 Colonial Pkwy., Fort Worth; 817/871-7050.

BOOK BUZZ
In Lisa's Airplane Trip, a pup is flying high her first time traveling solo—until she runs into trouble with a tippy glass of orange juice. In Gaspard on Vacation, a pooch gets lost paddling through Venice's canals. French pre-schoolers are crazy about the two stars of this series by husband-and-wife team Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben, and now that the books are being published in America, yours will be too (Knopf, $9.95 each).

SHRUNK TO FIT
Looking for wear-anywhere, wear-anytime staples to toss into your vacation bag?With the launch of J.Crew's new children's line—shown here (from top): tank ($28); capri pants ($34); flip-flops ($8.50)—the whole family's suitcases are packed. 800/562-0258; www.jcrew.com.

LONDON: MARKET-FRESH FASHION
London's latest must-stop for fashion-obsessed families is Old Spitalfields Market, housed in a grand wrought-iron shed that's increasingly known as much for designer children's clothes as for housewares and organic fruits and vegetables. Check out the Uptight Clothing Co.'s photo transfer T-shirts and studded tops (shown above; from $25). Elsewhere are mini seventies men's suits by Roughneck & Thug ($37) and leopard-print party dresses by Brazilian Dalva de Oliveira James ($30). Moms and their designer babies have been spotted buying matching outfits—less of a fashion faux pas now that Spitalfields has raised the style quotient. Old Spitalfields Market, Commercial St.; open daily, except Saturday.

THREE FOR THE ROAD

  • www.bnm.com Car-rental agencies offering deep discounts.
  • www.besttoilets.com Rates the public bathrooms in 12 major cities.
  • www.roadfood.com Tasty pit-stop fare, from Miami to Seattle.
  • BAHAMANIA
    The biggest news on Grand Bahama is Our Lucaya, a new $400 million resort with two golf courses, 10 restaurants, and a camp where children can swim with dolphins. Luxury-seekers will feel right at home in the $5,000 per night guesthouse. Our Lucaya, 877/687-5822; doubles from $200; Camp Lucaya is $52 a day per child.

    ADVENTURE + EASE
    Calling all parents and grandparents itching to go places—and willing to pay for impeccable planning: Butterfield & Robinson has more than doubled its family program. The undeniably pricey trips feature just-exotic-enough destinations and itineraries that balance family time with supervised kids-only activities (scavenger hunt, anyone?). New for 2001: Biking Holland (ages three and up; seven days for $4,925 per person); kayaking British Columbia (eight and up; six days for $2,995 per person); biking Tuscany (12 and up; six days for $3,850); and kayaking and walking Belize (12 and up; eight days for $3,650.) And for a bit of mad money, kids under 18 get a 10 percent discount. Butterfield & Robinson, 800/678-1147.

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