| Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, 9:01 p.m.

National Zoo opens solar-power carousel

The Smithsonian's National Zoo has openeda new solar-power carousel with hand-carved, hand-painted figures representing many endangered animals.

The Speedwell Foundation, a private family foundation based in Summit, N.J., donated $1.5 million of the $2.3 million cost to build the carousel. A zoo spokeswoman says donations covered the remainder.

The ride was named the Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel. It opened Monday, and costs $3 per person to ride.

Proceeds from ticket sales will support animal care and conservation research at the zoo.

The carousel is powered by 162 solar panels donated and installed by Pepco Energy Services. The zoo says any excess energy is redirected to the zoo's electrical grid.

There are 58 animals represented on the carousel. They include elephants, pandas, frogs, hummingbirds, blue crabs, lions and other critters.

Vandals strike Baltimore's Poe House

Vandals have made off with wooden steps that, at one time, led to the front door of Edgar Allan Poe's Baltimore home — vandals also scribbled on the door of the home.

The graffiti has been painted over, but members of a group working to reopen the now-closed museum say they are worried the property is vulnerable to vandalism. City officials say crews regularly check on the home once lived in by the author of macabre short stories and poems including “The Raven.”

The Baltimore Sun reports the city plans to pay the B&O Railroad Museum $180,000 to renovate the home. After that, a nonprofit called Poe Baltimore is set to take over. The museum had been operated by the city, but closed in September.

Day trippers still can gamble at The Greenbrier

Bus tour day-trip patrons still can gamble at The Greenbrier's casino under a revised state policy that clarifies who can access the facility.

Media outlets report that the West Virginia Lottery Commission adopted a new definition of “event” on Tuesday.

The move addresses concerns that bus-tour companies in Virginia were promoting day trips to The Greenbrier as casino trips, in violation of the state's historic resort gaming law.

Under the law, only registered overnight guests, or those attending conferences or similar events are permitted to gamble at the casino, if 400 or more rooms are booked.

The revised policy adds unique activities such as weddings and concerts to the definition of “events.” Other activities are allowed if they aren't confined exclusively to the casino and meet other requirements.

Zip line to zing tourists through downtown Vegas

Tourists will soon have a new way to see the lights of Las Vegas: By being spit out of the mouth of an 11-story slot machine and zinged down a five-block zip line past some of the city's oldest casinos.

Officials on Tuesday unveiled plans for a permanent zip line on the downtown Las Vegas promenade known as the Fremont Street Experience.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman says the SlotZilla thrill ride was destined to become an iconic city landmark.

The attraction is expected to open in June. It is an expansion of a much- smaller, temporary zip line that has, for two years, scooted families, newlyweds and Elvis impersonators beneath a metal canopy that displays an hourly light show.

— Wire reports

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