Adorable Dora

WED 5/28
Since the debut of Dora the Explorer on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr., the program has become the No. 1 television show among preschool kids. In every episode, Dora goes on adventures with her buddies, teaching the audience basic Spanish words along the way. "It's a great way to introduce language basics to a younger audience," explains Gip Hoppe, who's directing a stage show based on the series, Dora the Explorer Live! -- Search for the City of Lost Toys. "It's a nice bridge between the cultures."

In the stage version, many of the cartoon characters are portrayed with puppets. "We have a giant snake puppet that's really cool," says Hoppe. Dora, however, will be played by adult actress Christina Bianco.

Kids will recognize popular Dora songs such as "We Did It" and "The Backpack Song," and they'll also hear new tunes, such as the Dora-tized version of Gloria Estefan's "Get On Your Feet."

Though the stage show is geared toward the same audience as its televised counterpart, Hoppe says that "there's a lot of cool stuff to look at." Even big kids who think they're too cool for Dora will be amazed when a rain forest rises up from the stage and a dark cloud releases an honest-to-God shower. 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, through Friday, May 30. Matinees: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 31 and June 1, with an additional show at 5 p.m. Sunday. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 713-629-3700. For information, visit $15 to $27. -- Eric A.T. Dieckman


FRI 5/23
A Bug's Life
Nobody likes cockroaches or fleas, but some bugs are cool. The new 3-D IMAX film Bugs! features more than 40 of the coolest tropical insects, including tarantulas, scorpions, vipers and "jungle nymphs," as well as the bats that prey upon them. The 40-minute film, narrated by British actress Judi Dench, is shot from the perspective of the insects as they crawl on the ground or flit above the rain-forest canopy. Kids can learn about a praying mantis and a butterfly, magnified up to 250,000 times their normal size. 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily starting Friday, May 23. Moody Gardens IMAX 3D Theater, 1 Hope Boulevard in Galveston. For information, call 1-800-582-4673 or visit $5.95 to $8.95. -- Mary Specht

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