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Archive for March, 2010

Family Travel Tip Tuesday: Choose Their Own Adventures

March 30th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in San Diego Adventures, San Diego Day Trips

 

Batiquitos Lagoon, Carlsbad

This morning I attemped to take the dog and a very reluctant preschooler on a walk at one of my favorite spots, Batiquitos Lagoon here  in Carlsbad.  Jared started out being unwilling to participate in our adventure, but  a promise that we might get to pet some dogs along the way allowed me to coax him out of the car.  Once at the lagoon, we listened for birds and spotted some bunny rabbits. Our adventure didn’t really get rolling however until I started to let Jared take the lead on our hike.

“Where do you want to go,”  I asked.  Surprisingly he pointed to a path thatwound up a steep hill.   So, off we went, up the hill and along a ridge overlooking the lagoon.  We listened to the bird calls and tried to interpret their messages.  Jared decided that they were saying it was a beautiful day or maybe they were in church.  We admired the brillant purples and yellows of the spring wild flowers.  Eventually it was time to head back.  Jared decided to return to the path another day with his brother, sister, and a picnic.

Unfortunately I forgot my camera so the picture above is of Jared on a Batiquitos lagoon hike almost precisely one year ago.  We will return within the next few days to capture those wild flowers in photos and share them with you in a future post.

I am a mom and a travel blogger.  I love to plan and execute elaborate adventures for my kids.  Time after time,  however, I find that the adventures that have the most success are the ones where the kids can take the lead.  The  power of choice is almost magical.  It makes the difference between an ordinary day trip and a true adventure that the kids remember long after their return home.

So this week have your kids lead you on a spring adventure.  Get out and enjoy the sunshine!   Until my Batiquitos Lagoon post is up here is more information about this beautiful, kid friendly place to get outdoors and enjoy an adventure.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Polar Bear Plunge Preview, San Diego Zoo

March 26th, 2010 by bsmith | 6 Comments | Filed in San Diego Adventures, San Diego Day Trips, San Diego Zoo, Special Events

The San Diego Zoo graciously invited me to attend the preview for  the revamped Polar Bear Plunge exhibit at the San Diego Zoo.  Little did I know I would be attending a star studded event.  Tori Spelling also attended with her family.  I caught glimpses of Denise Richards and the cast of The Modern Family.

I dined on delicious finger sandwiches and nibbled on delectable polar bear cookies.  Tomorrow morning I will be enjoying the fancy “Zoo Brew” organic coffee that was included in the swag bag.  The Zoo is starting a coffee club where you can help the environment and have your daily cup of joe.  For more information click here.

Of course the real stars of the show, weren’t the sophisticated travel bloggers like myself or the tabloid celebrities like Denise and Tori.  The real stars were the majestic polar bears who grace the exhibit.  One of  our polar bear friends had fun observing the kids observing her.

I was lucky enough to meet some members of the polar bear’s supporting cast who work hard to promote conservation and make a visit to the exhibit memorable.  First I introduced myself to Daniel Straub, the Zoo’s  Teen Arctic Ambassador who shared with me his experiences helping researchers with Polar Bear International.   He described waking up in the morning during his research and peeking out his tent at the polar bears.  Daniel also explained the differences between the kelp and beaches of San Diego and the kelp and beaches of the Arctic.  Apparently in the arctic the kelp leaves are shaped like maple  leaves! If you know a teenager who would  be interested in becoming an arctic ambassador click here.

I also had fun watching the zoo staff, spread out some kelp for the polar bears to enjoy.

 

Finally I was privileged to meet some of the enthusiastic volunteers who will be sharing what they their extensive polar bear knowledge  when your  family visits the exhibit.  They did an amazing job of explaining to me how we can make lifestyle changes that can slow global warming and improve the conservation outlook for our polar bear friends.  Even if you won’t be visiting the San Diego Zoo in the future, be sure to check the Polar Bear Plunge website.  It contains lots of great information that was shared at the exhibit today.

For those of you who think every blog post should include a picture of a celebrity, here you go.  Enjoy my not so great shot of Tori, Dean, and the kids enjoying a day at the zoo (while being photographed constantly by the paparazzi).  So glad I am not a celebrity!

Thanks to the San Diego Zoo for the invite!  I had a wonderful time and can’t wait to bring my kids back to enjoy this amazing exhibit.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday.  Click here to see what my fellow travel bloggers  have been up to.

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Family Travel Tip Tuesday: Ending Those Lost in the Parking Lot Blues!

March 24th, 2010 by bsmith | 4 Comments | Filed in Travel Tips

I am an expert at getting lost in parking lots.  I have been late to get Justin’s friend home because I couldn’t find my van among the ocean of cars at a local water park.  I spent 45 minutes wandering around in the dark with two kids at Magic Mountain until we finally made it to our vehicle.

Saturday, while searching for my car in the busy parking lot of the San Diego Zoo it came to me… take a picture of the nearest handy dandy parking lot sign.  In a pinch you can find it on your camera, and you’ll know where to go.  Still, to be on the safe side, next time I head for a theme park I’m packing my compass.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

P.S. If you want to know the best place to park at Legoland pick up my guidebook.  I never get lost in that parking lot ;) .

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How to Support a Great Cause and Get Free LEGOLAND Admission on March 16th

March 14th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Legoland, Travel Discounts, Uncategorized

One Carlsbad business owner has pledged to do something extraordinary.  Greg Nelson has pledged to donate Gregorio’s entire profit from 2010 to the Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad.  That alone should give your family the motivation to head over for some great Italian food, but wait…there’s more.

This Tuesday Legoland  General  Manager Peter Ronchetti will be serving as a “celebrity host”.  He’s bringing along a LEGO Master Builder who will be giving kids tips as they participate in a LEGO model builder competition.  Everyone dining at Gregorios the evening of March 16th will receive a coupon for free LEGOLAND admission with a paid admission.

Make your reservations now.  Gregorios will be a very busy place this Tuesday night.  Call (760) 720-1132 or visit the Gregorios website to reserve your table.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Elfin Forest Adventures

March 12th, 2010 by bsmith | 2 Comments | Filed in San Diego Adventures, San Diego Day Trips, Uncategorized

As my cub scout den was working on their Webelo Forester Badge, I set out to find  a forest in close proximity to Northern San Diego.  Good luck…we are blessed to experience a wide variety of ecosystems, but forests are not one of them.  Still, just a few miles away from our house I discovered Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve which is run by the Olivenhain water district.  The rangers kindly agreed to lead the boys on a hike and educate our scouts about the plants and animals of the reserve.

Elfin Forest Stream, Elfin Forest, Ca

 

When we arrived on site,  I immediately felt like I was home.  I love San Diego, but I really miss access to wild spaces for hiking and exploring.  So much of San Diego is about palm trees and immaculately landscaped yards, it was nice to discover a place with a rushing stream and plenty of oak trees.

Hiking Sticks are Available at the Foot of the Trail

Two of my favorite things about this hike:  dogs can hike with you as long as they are on a leash and there is a “hiking stick loaner box” at the foot of the trail.  I have found that my kids will go almost anywhere as long as they can have a stick to help them along the journey. 

Elfin Forest is the perfect place for a spring outing.  Pack a picnic, wear your hiking shoes, and get ready for adventure.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup.  Click here to enjoy more great travel adventures.

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A Visit With Laughing Sal

March 5th, 2010 by bsmith | 2 Comments | Filed in San Francisco Adventures

Laughing Sal and Me.

 Last month my husband and I enjoyed a weekend getaway to San Francisco.  We had a marvelous romantic time.  However, I must confess we spent most of the weekend exclaiming, “The kids would love this…we’ll have to bring the kids here.”  One Fisherman’s Wharf attraction that will be equally fascinating for the kids and adults in your family is the Musee Mechanique.  It is a collection of many vintage mechanically operated arcade machines.  One of my favorites is “Laughing Sal” a talking clown.  My mother and grandmother both remember visiting him (her?)  at its former location by the Cliff House in San Francisco.

For more great ideas on fun and cheap family activities at Fisherman’s Wharf check out my post on Uptake.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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