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BEST BETS

1. SKY HIGH.

Last chance to get a good look at Mars until its next "close approach" in 1997. There promises to be a thin crescent moon setting early Saturday evening, and a chance to see bright star clusters and gaseous nebula among departing winter stars.

Don't have a clue how to do any of this?

Join the star-gazers of the Buffalo Astronomical Association, who welcome the public on the first and third Saturday of each month from April through October from dusk to 10 p.m. On cloudy nights there are computer demonstrations, slide shows and talks by amateur astronomers.

The observatory is located adjacent to the Beaver Meadow Nature Center, 1610 Welch Road, North Java. Donations are accepted.

2. Saturday is April Fools' Day.

And Rochester's Strong Museum has gotten into the spirit by offering "Foolishness" from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. It's a chance to try juggling, to do karaoke with 1,764 tunes including the "Flintstones" theme song and to attend a Backward Tea Party, presented every hour between 11 a.m and 3 p.m. It includes the film "Lady Fishbourne's Complete Guide to Better Table Manners." (A limited number of passes is available.)

The day ends with Dr. Loof-Lirpa presenting a slide show on snipe hunting.

Admission is $5 for adults; $4 for senior adults and students with ID; $3 for children 3 to 16; children under 3 are admitted free. The museum is in downtown Rochester. Phone number is 263-2700.

3. If you didn't have a chance to see "Nature Photography -- A Current Perspective" at Jamestown's Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, here's your second chance.

The exhibit opens Friday and remains at the Buffalo Museum of Science through July 2. If you have any interest in nature, in art, in photography, in beauty, this is a show that will delight you. It contains nearly 50 of the most significant images from recent nature calendars.

Curated by Peterson himself, the photographs were selected from thousands of entries and judged by a panel of national experts. There are birds, landscapes, mountains, the sea, animals and fish -- all caught on film at a wonderful moment.

Museum admission is $5.25 for adults; $3.25 for children, senior citizens and students with ID.

4. There's food. Things for kids to do. And entertainment.

The Marketplace, hosted by the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce at the International Agri-Center on the Erie County Fairgrounds, will have a food court that includes the Coyote Cafe, Oscar's Waterfront and RJ's Eatery. Children can get into a petting zoo, do arts and crafts, jump on a moon bounce and try carnival games. Entertainment features BJ's Western Dance Club and the Hamburg Gymnastic Club.

The Marketplace will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission and parking are free. For information, call 649-7917.

5. No resting allowed.

It's Healthy Kids Day on Saturday at YMCA branches.

Each location is having an open house with games and activities designed to teach parents and children how to live healthy lives, plan nutritious meals and incorporate physical activity into their lives. There will be family aerobics, swimming, relay races, obstacle courses and youth fitness testing.

Call 875-1558 or the YMCA nearest you for details.

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