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    A view of midtown Central Park is shown from the 62nd floor of the Courtyard-Residence Inn Central Park in New York. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in Illinois is listing it as the tallest hotel in North America. The hotel is 750 feet high, according to Marriott spokeswoman Nina Herrera-Davila. It opened Dec. 29 at 1717 Broadway at 54th Street and stands 68 stories tall, with 378 rooms in the Courtyard hotel and 261 suites in the Residence Inn. Nightly rack rates will run around $300, Herrera-Davila said.

Land saved for zoo herds, flocks

NEW ORLEANS » A planned 1,000-acre range on New Orleans’ west bank will serve as a haven for antelope and bird species that aren’t breeding as well as zookeepers would like, giving some of the animals a chance to roam in herds that zoos don’t have space for.

Groundbreaking on the project is set to begin Wednesday. New Orleans’ Audubon Nature Institute and the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy are partners on the project. The Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife will use most of the 1,400 acres at the Audubon Species Survival Center, where scientists began breeding endangered cranes, hoofed animals and cats in 1996.

Joel Hamilton, Audubon’s vice president and general curator, said Alliance officials hope to get the first okapi, bongo and giraffes into their 12- to 46-acre pens in October.

Robert J. “Bob” Wiese, chief life sciences officer at San Diego Global, said sable antelope, which have sweeping horns and mohawk-style manes, also are likely to be early arrivals.

He said the range will probably start with about 10 giraffe, two to four okapi and about five to eight bongo and sable antelope — one male per species.

Google provides more hotel views

NEW YORK » Google is expanding its hotel business, offering several new ways for travelers to learn about accommodations.

The most noticeable change will be the introduction of a series of high-resolution panoramic photos that are stitched together to create a 360-degree experience, similar to that found in the Street View feature in Google maps.

These aren’t independent photos, but they are another resource for travelers.

Best Western is rolling out photos of its 2,200 North American properties and hopes to have all online by the end of the year.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group said it is also working with Google to get photos up of its 100 of its Radisson and Country Inns & Suites hotels across the U.S. and Canada.

Photos will include the lobby, bars, restaurants and guest rooms. Where applicable, guests are able to tour conference and meeting areas as well as the swimming pool.

Carlson is also testing a feature in Google Maps that will let guests move through a floor plan of the hotel.

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