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Family Fun in Monaco

From impressive classic car collections and illuminated underground cave exploration to tempting excursion opportunities and vibrant festivals, a number of family-friendly hotels, engaging summer activities and unique attractions are redefining Monaco as a destination with broad appeal for families with children.

This summer, while the Monte-Carlo International Fireworks Festival lights up the evening sky, Monaco plays host to two cultural events with a Big Apple twist: the highly-anticipated and influential New York, New York exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, and Grease, the Principality’s first-ever Broadway musical performance. Just in time to get American travelers closer to all the action, Delta Air Lines added new non-stop service from Atlanta to Nice on May 9, making it even easier to reach Monaco.

Offering aquatic adventures for aspiring Jacques Cousteaus, the newly renovated Ecole Bleue, Académie de la Mer (Blue School Sea Academy, www.pierrefrolla.com) will provide those between the ages of 8 and 14 with the tools to become excellent independent swimmers and divers – and provide them with a greater understanding and appreciation for the Mediterranean’s fauna and floral treasures when it reopens on July 3. Headed by Monaco’s Pierre Frolla, holder of multiple deep-sea-diving world records, the academy offers specialized classes in swimming, scuba diving and other marine activities for beginners and experienced divers alike. Summer enrolment begins on June 1 for one-week/five day courses (offered July 3 through September 1) and fees start at approximately $320 per person (or approximately $575 for two). Accommodation packages are also available.

Parents and their children can enjoy these summer delights and more by taking advantage of the family-friendly offerings at several Monaco hotels. At the new Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort (www.montecarlobay.com), children between the ages of six and 12 enjoy a specially-designed spacious junior activity area featuring supervised games and activities (June through September). In addition, the hotel has an indoor heated pool with games, a children’s pool and a dramatic sand-bottomed lagoon pool, stretching 320 feet, that is a perfect gathering spot for older kids. Acres of tropical gardens encourage leisurely afternoons exploring.

Nearby, the elegant Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo offers a collection of off-property family-friendly excursions that introduce kids to some of the most engaging attractions in the area, including the zoo and the Confiserie Florian candy factory, where parents and children can delight in the renowned sweets. Hotel staff will help arrange every detail, including securing a fully-trained nanny and driver to escort kids on their trip to see an amazing array of wildlife at the zoo. For information on summer offers, including a Summer Holidays in Monte-Carlo and Metropole Loves New York, visit www.metropole.com.

“Today, travelers with children are discovering the magic of Monaco with the Principality’s natural beauty, rich culture, history and plethora of family-friendly attractions,” said Maguy Maccario-Doyle, Director, North America, Monaco Government Tourist Office.

Travelers also can find excellent vacation values to Monaco by bidding on value-priced packages at www.MonacoAuction.com, the premiere online travel auction marketplace dedicated to luxury travel within the Principality.

Attractions and events in Monaco offer wonderful fun for every member of the family no matter what their age or interest -- outdoor and underwater exploration, antique dolls or one-of-a-kind performances.

Summer highlights include:

Monte-Carlo International Fireworks Festival – Since 1966, pyrotechnic specialists from around the world have gathered in Monte-Carlo in the summer to showcase their talent at this world-renowned festival. Featuring some of the most beautiful and original fireworks around, this free event from Monaco’s yacht harbor is scheduled for July 10 and 27 and August 7 and 24 and features participation this year by England, Austria, China and France.

New York, New York exhibition – This exhibition runs July 14 - September 10, 2006 at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco – and celebrates 50 years of art, architecture, film, music and video. It highlights the pivotal period of post-war contemporary art through seminal works of painting, sculpture, architecture, video, performance, photography, cinema and music that illustrate the dynamism of the American arts scene.

Grease - Monaco will host its first-ever Broadway musical when Grease takes to the stage for a one-week run, July 25 - 30, 2006.

Year-round highlights include:

Oceanographic Museum & Aquarium – Inaugurated in 1910 by its founder, Prince Albert I, this exceptional museum of marine sciences is a monumental architectural masterpiece with a majestic façade rising above the sea to a height of 279 feet.

Exhibition of H.S.H. The Prince of Monaco's Private Collection of Classic Cars – Featuring more than 100 gleaming vintage cars made by Europe’s most prestigious firms, this collection includes the 1903 De Dion Bouton, the 1929 Bugatti and the 1986 Lamborghini Countach.

Aquavision – This 55-minute catamaran trip includes a stop to let passengers explore the Mediterranean seabed through two windows in the hull.

Zoological Terraces – Opened in 1954 by H.S.H Prince Rainier III, the Zoo is home to 250+ animals representing 50 different species (exotic birds, white tiger, hippopotamus among them).

Exotic Gardens and Observatory Caves - One of Monaco’s oldest and finest tourist attractions, this “magic garden” features several thousand “succulent” plant varieties landscaped on the rock-face. Nearly two hundred feet below the gardens, visitors find the immense chambers of the prehistoric Observatory Caves, whose stalagmites, stalactites and limestone concretions are illuminated.

National Museum of Automatons and Dolls - Housed in a magnificent villa, this fascinating collection features automats and dolls made in Paris during the 19th century dressed in period costume displayed with miniature furniture and everyday objects recreating a refined atmosphere.

Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival - Held each year in mid-January, the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival offers thrilling acts by the world's greatest Big Top performers and was created in 1976 by H.S.H. Prince Rainier III.

For more information on the Principality of Monaco, please contact the Monaco Government Tourist Office (MTGO) at 565 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017; telephone (800) 753-9696 or (212) 286-3330; or e-mail info@VisitMonaco.com. Information and links are available via the Monaco Government Tourist Office web site at www.visitmonaco.com.

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