Saturday, June 30, 2007
Today we had the chance to visit the newly revamped Griffith Park Observatory. I remember that I was a little sad when I heard that they were closing the observatory for renovations about 5 years ago and that a 5 year shutdown was a long time. Well it's been open now for about 6 months and to be honest those 5 years flew by. I've been wanting to go but was always finding an excuse to not go - well yesterday I decided that it was going to happen today and it did. Admission is free of charge. Okay here is the truth- This is not the best place for children under 8 . It's a fantastic place but it's best enjoyed by older children and adults. It's a bit of a pain to bring your stroller on the bus and the shuttle ride from the parking lot to the observatory takes about 30 minutes. The exhibits are not too child friendly and its just not really fun for them. I do however think it's a great place to visit as a couple. The observatory has some great new exhibits and a new theater. There is also a new wonderful cafe called The Cafe at the end of the Universe. The cafe is operated by Wolfgang Puck and the food is fantastic but the best part is the breathtaking views. You have an amazing view of the Hollywood Sign and of Los Angeles. If I could do the visit over - which I plan on redoing over the next couple of weeks I would try to pick one of the last shuttles on a Saturday night- which would be any of the shuttles between 6 and 7pm. I would go straight to the cafe since it closes early and have a nice romantic dinner with some amazing views. We watched a beautiful sunset over the Hollywood Sign. It would have been breathtaking if it wasn't so darn hazy. I hope next time I visit it won't be a smoggy. After dinner I would try to catch one of the last shows at the planetarium. I would then take my time strolling through the exhibits. After you finish touring the observatory the best thing to do is just enjoy the grounds and the view. You will not be disappointed. This place is definitely more of an Adult adventure and a must see. I enjoyed visiting today but learned that it's just not the place for my family. I will definitely be heading back but next time it will just be my husband and I. Griffith Observatory 2800 East Observatory Road Los Angeles, CA 90027 General Information Line: 213-473-0800 Griffith Observatory is open six days a week Weekdays (Tuesday-Friday) Open Noon - 10:00 p.m. Weekends (Saturday-Sunday) Open 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Mondays Closed The Observatory is open on most holidays, but closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Labels: travel Travel tip
Friday, June 29, 2007
Last Tuesday we took a little day trip to the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. My 2 year old loves it so much that we became members.
Okay before we move on here is a quick tip- If you have little ones sometimes investing in a membership is a great idea. It's usually not much more than for the single price of daily admission and you usually get great perks like "member only events", free merchandise,free passes, etc... Plus usually if kids like the place and you live nearby you will more than likely head back at least once and it will pay for itself.
Now that I got that out of the way let's resume the post... okay this place is fun for kids of all ages. My 2 year old gets a kick out of it as well as my husband's cousin who is 12 and like most typical 12 year olds full of energy!! . There are plenty of things to do to keep you occupied for hours. We started first with the first floor and the different exhibits that are there. The first is my daughter's favorite. It's called Sesame Street presents the Body- It's a temporary exhibit that has been extended until September 9th. This is a hands-on exhibition about the human body. Find answers to questions like “how many ribs does the human body have?” and “how many gallons of saliva does the body produce in a week?” Learn how to keep your body healthy and strong in “Ernie’s Rub-a-Dub Tub,” “Legs and Feet” and “Grover’s Obstacle Course.” The exhibit is a great opportunity to introduce and reinforce healthy habits and choices with your family
There also permanent exhibits that our little cousins could not get enough of. The first is perception- every one's favorite including my 2 year old was lying on a bed of nails. When I asked all of them what they thought of this experience it was in unison- It was cool!!!. Perception is an exhibit that allows your kids to experience science hands on. The other two that they liked was Dynamic Earth which has a hurricane/tornado chamber. This was my favorite. There is also a quake zone and another older kid fave a rock climbing wall. Once we finished the 1st floor we headed outside to DinoQuest. There are life sized models of different type of dinos. I wished I would have paid more attention but I can't tell you what kind... I think there was a real big one like in Jurassic Park... lol- okay that's probaly not much help.. anyways there is a play area by one of the dinosaurs and plenty of room for the kids to run around.
There is also a temporary exhibit where we spent most of our time. It's called Pirates featuring Treasure and will also be there until Sept 9th. There are so many things to do- There is a coloring area, craft area, a replica of a pirate ship where they can climb, air cannons, an astronomy area where you can copy a constellation with marshmallows and pretzels and get to snack on it after. There is also a misting area and much more. This is all located under an air conditioned tent in the parking lot.
Upstairs there is even more entertainment. This is usually the highlight for the little little ones - our crowd the 5 and under. There is a sub tunnel, craft are, there is a green screen activity area that the kids just go wild for where they can pretend to be a pirate or a mermaid. This is a must stop for your little ones. There is also an extension of the sesame street exhibit in the back that is designed for our tots where they can explore around. Think Gymboree class. Finally there is the Discovery stadium exhibit which is sports centered. You can test your fastball and play a virtual volleyball game. Trust me after all of this playtime your children will be exhausted and probably hungry. No need to pack a lunch since there is a Taco Bell on site. Of course this is the Taco Bell Discovery Science Center- The visit would not be complete without a quesadilla- LOL!! The prices are the same as your local Taco Bell so it's a pretty cheap eat that most kids love. As we headed to our car I felt a great sense of satisfaction that my goal of a day of fun was accomplished. Hope you can too!!
Taco Bell Discovery Science Center
2500 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Daily
Launch Pad Science Store opens at 11 a.m.
Discovery Science Center is open daily except for Thanksgiving Day and
Open till 8pm Thursday all summer long
Children (ages 3 - 17) $ 9.95
Children 2 and under Free
Parking is $ 3.00
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
These men are my idols. Rick Steves and Huell Howser are rock stars to me. We used Rick's book when we traveled to Italy and he gave us some wonderful tips. If you are planning to head off to Europe, his books are a must.
Huell is quirky and great. His show California's Gold is one of my favorites. He might love California more than I do. Check out his show on PBS. You will surely be entertained!!
A couple of weeks ago we took a little trip down south to Sea World. I can't tell you all enough how much I love this place. I've been there a couple of times and it seems the more I visit the more I like it.. We got there about a half hour after the park opened and as soon as we pulled in you have the option of either choosing general parking or the premium parking. Hmm I thought about it for a split second and chose the premium parking. It's 5 dollars more than general parking but it is worth every penny if you have a stroller or are dealing with young children. I highly recommend this- trust me at the end of the day when you have cranky little ones the shorter the walk the better!! You can either purchase your tickets at one of the automated kiosks-the lines are short and fast but you can't use any discounts or AAA card. If you are a AAA card member you get 5 dollars off each ticket. Sea World has the fun card option which is basically paying 5 dollars more than the daily admission and being able to come back for the rest of the year. We bought the fun card since we plan on going back again this summer.
We were a bit hungry since we didn't stop off for breakfast and ate at Mama Stella's Pizza kitchen. Not the best in my opinion. Their food was a bit stale and bland. If you are looking for a better place try out Calypso Bay smokehouse or if budget is not really a concern for you try Dining with Shamu - It's a close-up experience with Shamu- this is buffet style and reservations fill up early so if you this sounds like something you might want to try make sure to reserve your tables as soon as you come in the park. There are plenty of places to snack and I have to say that both my niece and daughter loved their kids meals. They both said their food was tasty and they loved the cute Shamu boxes that their meals came in.
Once our thirst was quenched and our appetite satiated we headed over to Shamu Stadium to watch Believe-the Shamu show. The kids got a kick of this and if you want to get wet make sure to sit in the wet zone. Get there early since there is limited wet zone seating. Another quick tip- if you have an infant make sure that you also bring a carrier. Strollers have to be left at the bottom of the climb to the park and babies are not so fun to carry around bare arms with the hot sun blazing and throngs of people pushing your way. After the show we decided that Shamu was really the main show we wanted to see since both of our kids are so young and that we wanted more of a hands on experience with the animals. I have seen most of the shows before and I would have to say that Dolphin Discovery is my favorite show(I actually like it more than Believe).
We then headed over to Rocky Point Preserve. This really was the highlight of our trip. You have to head over when it is feeding time. You can buy a tray of fish for 5 dollars(okay I don't know what's up with this but it seems that everything at Sea World is in 5 dollar increments)and experience feeding the dolphins. This was a blast. We all had the opportunity to feed the dolphins and pet them. I can't recommend this enough. After feeding the dolphins we went on to Forbidden Reef. You can pet and feed bat rays. This was also much fun. We also were able to feed the seals at Pacific Point. This was very entertaining. The seals are very animated and they are a crack up to watch. I think they act very much like dogs.
Once we had our fair share of animal interaction we cruised the aquarium and on to Shamu's happy harbor-this is what I wished someone had told me - if you want your kids to play here make sure to bring a towel or two and an extra extra outfit. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. You can play in a water maze, splash down slides, climb a two-story net or even build a sand castle. The 5 and under set will love this. Trust me on this one!!!
Once we had horsed around for a bit we headed off to the Wild Artic exhibit. This is where the polar bears are - the polar bears are breathtaking. They are beautiful and I was just intrigued that I could be observing Polar bears in sunny San Diego!! I felt like I was in an episode of Lost!! There are also beluga whales, walruses, arctic foxes and seals. You'll feel the freeze as you pass through Wild Arctic's ice tunnel, complete with foggers, misters, simulated snow and a 25-foot-long ice wall.. Next door to Wild Artic is the Penguin encounter. There are over 300 penguins on display and they also are so fun to watch. After this much excitement we were all exhausted and our warm weather soon vanished- I think this happens quite often- better safe than sorry - make sure you pack some light jackets or blankets. I can't tell you enough as we headed out the park after our exciting day how happy I was that I had chosen the premium parking- I could see our car from the gate and I realized that the 5 dollars I could have used for some cheesy souvenir were definitely spent well!!
SeaWorld San Diego-500 SeaWorld Drive
San Diego, CA 92109
Please call (800) 25-SHAMU (1-800-257-4268)
Open 9am -11pm every day in July- and most of August- the rest of the year open usually from 10-5 weekdays and either 10am -6p or 10-7:30 on weekends
Admission $57 for guests age 10+.
$47 for guests ages 3 through 9.
Free for guests 2 years old and younger
Hope you visit soon.
Labels: travel San Diego
Hello!! I'm Aracely, a thirtysomething mom of two very cute kiddos that always keep me on my toes. I love the outdoors and discovering beautiful Southern California. I work from home full time and keep pretty busy between my kiddos, husband, daytrips, school and my job. I love museums, the beach and living in the OC. I love visiting new places and sharing my knowledge of So Cal with others. I am passionate about my love for Southern California. If I could be anyone for the day- it would for sure be Huell Howser. Did I also mention that I'm a Disney Geek? Oh yes- you will find me and the kiddos on the Disney tram at least once a week. Join me on my journey to discover every square inch of magical Southern California.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Summer is here and what a better place to enjoy a warm summer day than at the beach. Laguna Beach is one of my favorite places on earth. I've loved it ages before there was a MTV show that has made it a must stop for tourists(okay I've watched the show and yes I liked LC way more than Kristen) The weather is perfect and the beaches are great. I like the main beach which is right around the area of pch and Broadway/hwy 33. It gets busy there but it's a great place to people watch, there are picnic tables, a tot lot and tidepools. There is no better time to visit than this time of year. Starting this weekend is the annual Sawdust art festival. This is a great place to expose your children to art in a beautiful and relaxed environment. You can meet the artists, ask them questions and there is usually a craft area for children. The festival also offers live entertainment daily. After you've had your share of art and the beach head over to my favorite bakery for some great eating. Scandia Bakery is a must when you are visiting Laguna. They have the best fruit tarts, eclairs and my favorite tiramisu. My two year old is a great fan of their chocolate cake but I would guess that all tots love cake. They also serve great salads, sandwiches sand the best quiche I've ever had. Their prices are very reasonable- just a bit more than fast food prices. Once you've filled your tummy take a leisurely stroll through the downtown village. It's a great place to window shop and peek in at some great galleries. My kids love this stroll because there are so many dogs around. I could go and on about Laguna and I'm sure there will be many posts to follow about this beautiful gem but do yourself a favor and head on down soon and see for yourself!!
Sawdust Art Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, CA. 92651
Phone: 949.494.3030, June 29-Sep 2 Day Admission $7 - Adults, Children 6-12 $3, Chidren under 5 are free- Open 10 am to 10pm everyday.
Scandia Bakery, 248 Forest Ave- Laguna Beach, CA
Main Beach Park - Intersection of PCH and Hwy 133/Broadway
Parking- Tip- take plenty of dollar bills- The City maintains more than 2,300 parking metered parking spaces in Laguna Beach including parking lots with meters or ticket machines. Meters in the Central Business District (Downtown) are primarily two hour meters with a scattering of 30 minute meters near service-oriented businesses such as the Post Office and dry cleaners. There are more than 800 metered spaces in the immediate downtown area. Other areas were meters are located include Cliff Drive, from the 500 block near Diver's Cove across Coast Highway to Broadway, Coast Highway, Glenneyre Street, Broadway and Laguna Canyon Road.
Meter rates are $1.00 per hour or $0.25 for each increment of 15 minutes. Hours of operation are generally Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Meters along Laguna Canyon Road/ Broadway are enforced from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Okay so you have a toddler or preschooler that is bored at home and you are looking for something that is fun, interactive and can keep them entertained for hours. Well then the La Habra Children's museum is the place to go. The museum is located in the City of La Habra. It's a couple of blocks north of Imperial Ave on Euclid Ave. It's located on the grounds of Portola Park. The museum is small but it will keep your children entertained for a couple of hours at least. My daughter's favorite thing to do there is play in the mini market. They have a little mart set up with a register, shopping baskets, carts and plastic produce. They have a carousel that runs every half hour for children under 6 and in the same room a real OCTA bus that the kids can horse around in. There is a stage/dress up area that is a big hit with the preschoolers and also a preschool play room which contains a tree house, kitchen , dolls, toy area and a storytelling corner with many books. There is also a real caboose that you can board and explore. Currently there is an exhibit that I think young and old will love- It's called Bubble Mania. I must admit that I had a great time playing with the bubbles. I think you will get a kick out of it too. I have made a day trip out of this by bringing a picnic lunch and letting the kids loose on the park's playground. I love this place and hope you enjoy it too. La Habra Children's Museum301 South Euclid Street, La Habra, CA 90631
Admission is 6 per person- 2 and under are free. It's closed Mondays and open from 10 am to 4 pm Tue-Fri, Sat from 10-5 and Sundays from 1-5pm. Closed all major holidays.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
There are many websites that are already out there that discuss the pros and cons of travel to theme parks such as Disneyland. In my husband's 23 years of annual pass experience at Disneyland, he's also picked up a few tips that might not be found on those websites, especially when dealing with young children.
Did you know that there is a baby care center located at the end of Main Street on the east side? Not only can you buy any baby necessities and find a quiet place to nurse, but they also have little potties for the recently potty trained set.
Did you know that most of the Fantasyland rides and rides like Pirates of the Carribean and the Haunted Mansion do not have age or size restrictions? That means you take your newborn on the Haunted Mansion or Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (that is, if you feel they are up for it!)
Since you are not supposed to bring in your own food, did you know that you can get relatively inexpensive food at several of the food service restaurants in Downtown Disney? A particulary good place to hit is Wetzel's Prezels where you can get a pretzel dog and soda for about the price of just a soda inside Disneyland. Even better yet, get your handstamped and walk out of Disneyland and head east. Cross Harbor Boulevard and have lunch at McDonalds. Just make sure you keep your ticket stub to show with your handstamp for re-entry. If you decide to eat inside the park try to eat between 10:30 and 11:30 AM, 2 PM and 4 PM or after 8 PM to avoid lines and busy tables.
Did you know that even during the busy summer and Christmas seasons that if you arrive when the park opens and head to the Fantasyland rides, your little ones can get in a ride on all of the attractions with minimal wait times. The crowds don't really start building until 11 AM.
My favorite tip for your 5 year old is aboard the Mark Twain steamboat. Just as soon as the boat gets underway, head to the top deck and knock on the door leading to the wheelhouse where the pilot sits. If you don't get an immediate answer, open the door and politely ask if you and your little one can come up for a ride. More often than not, they'll oblige and your child will have a memory to last a lifetime. You will have the opportunity to sign a guestbook and sometimes your child will even get a certificate.
There are lots of changes that have happened at Disneyand in the past month. Once we scope them out, we'll come back here and make a post about them. This includes the new Pirates Cove themeing at Tom Sawyer's Island and the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.
Hi and welcome to Daytripingmom.com. I decided to create a place to share the many wonderful places and events geared for families in Southern California. Daytrippingmom.com is the quintessential guide to living and playing in Southern California with children. I search high and low for fun places to visit with my family and love to share them with you. With the current state of the economy I try to find places that are fun and easy on your wallet. I hope you visit often and please feel free to email me with any suggestions or comments.