Chickens Beware

In case you don't have enough to worry about, listen to this: By just walking around in the American Southwest, you can brush up against stinging nettles that can wreak neurological havoc on your body. Visiting Australia? Watch out for the venomous blue ring octopus -- it'll kill you. And don't get us started on the Goliath bird-eating tarantula. The 12-inch spider causes uncomfortable rashes by flicking hairs at its enemies. These and other fearful creatures are (presumably) kept behind safety glass at Moody Gardens' new exhibit "Deadly and Dangerous." Snakes, scorpions and other critters that bite and sting work together to create a scary atmosphere that'll thrill your kids. Just try to keep them from scratching while gazing at the poison ivy display. "We are very excited to have this extensive collection of toxic and venomous plants and animals on display," says Greg Whittaker, a manager at Moody Gardens. Whatever, Greg. Is calamine lotion available in the gift shop? Exhibit opens Saturday, March 8. Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid, One Hope Boulevard, Galveston. For information, call 1-800-582-4673. $14.25; $6.95 for kids four to 12.-- Troy Schulze

SUN 3/9
Underground Theater Yeah, yeah, kids need to read more books. But theater might be just the ticket to get them interested in history. Actress, performance artist and storyteller Melissa Thibodeaux's one-woman show, The Underground, brings Harriet Tubman to life to tell children about America during the days of slavery. Specifically, they'll learn about the bravery of both the slaves who escaped and those souls who helped them reach freedom along the route known as the underground railroad. Noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through the end of March. Buffalo Soldiers National Museum's Henry O. Flipper Theater, 1834 Southmore. For information, call 713-942-8920. $8. -- Cathy Matusow

SAT 3/8
Do the Locomotion Some kids get really steamed about model railroads. This weekend, fanatics young and old from across Texas and Louisiana will flock to the Greater Houston Train Show, co-hosted by the National Railroad Association and the San Jacinto Model Railroad Club. The event features 18,000 square feet of train layouts and offers clinics, contests and vendor booths. Hospitality, however, is what makes train lovers a special breed of hobbyist. Some models are either impossible to transport or site-specific to the modeler's residence, so as a side attraction to the event at the Humble Civic Center, local model owners will allow visitors into their homes for special viewings. Just ask around for the juice on where the "masters" live. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 8. Humble Civic Center, 8223 Will Clayton Parkway. For information, call 713-926-2993. $5; free for kids 15 and under. -- Troy Schulze

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