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Archive for the ‘Photo Friday’ Category

Photo Friday: Eaten by an Alligator, Loxahatchee Florida

June 30th, 2011 by bsmith | 4 Comments | Filed in Family Travel, Florida With Kids, Photo Friday


Justin Gets Eaten Loxahatchee Florida


As we reach the mid point of our Florida adventures,  I wanted to share one of my favorite pictures so far.  Our family took an air boat ride at the Loxahatchee  National Wildlife Refuge.  After our tour, we took a few minutes to explore the tour company’s museum.  Destiny was a bit hesitant to pose, but twelve year old Justin embraced the opportunity.

Happy Trails,


Visit Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday for more great travel photos.


Photo Friday: Suffragette Parade at Wilder Ranch State Park, California

October 28th, 2010 by bsmith | 1 Comment | Filed in California State Parks, Photo Friday, Santa Cruz County Adventures

Suffragettes at Fourth of July Parade, Wilder Ranch State Historic Park

One of the things I love about state and national historic parks is that they serve as a tangible reminder of our nations colorful and sometimes bitter history.  I also appreciate the many dedicated rangers and docents who make history come alive for their visitors.  In 2009, I was lucky to attend a Fourth of July Celebration at Wilder Ranch State Historic Park  in Santa Cruz, California.  A group of dedicated volunteers ranging  from high school students to retired teachers made history come alive for their visitors at this annual event.

One of the highlights that will always stay with me was a Fourth of July Parade led by a group of suffragettes whose ages ranged from 6-69.  Their presence was a poignant reminder of the reality that when my grandmothers were youngsters in 1909, women could not vote.  The struggles of these brave suffragettes, their hunger for the vote, makes our freedom to choose our elected officials at the ballot box possible.  Because of their sacrifice, voting is a responsibility that I take very seriously.   I expect those running for public office to do the same.

This election day all California voters have the ability to go to the polls and to vote for Proposition 21 which will  keep state parks like Wilder Ranch open.  The passage of this proposition would secure the future of the  California’s state parks and give all Californians with registered vehicles the opportunity to explore California’s great historic parks.

Thanks Ladies!

This weekend take a minute to honor these dedicated State Park volunteers by sharing the news about Prop 21 with your friends and family.  Blog about it, retweet it, post info on Facebook.  Together we can make a difference.

Happy Trails,


P.S.  Coleen Lanin of Travel Mamas has a nice post up about two state parks that I really must visit, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Torrey Pines State Park.  Pay her a visit to find out about her adventures in two very different parts of California.

P.P.S.  Thanks to Debbie at Delicious Baby.  She doesn’t even live in California, but she has dedicated her Photo Friday blog round up to state parks posts this week.  I love the pictures that are up so far. They reflect the diversity of California’s State Park system. Debbie’s Photo Fridays are a great way to share your favorite travel pictures with the world.  If you blog, stop by and add a post and photo about your favorite state park today.


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Photo Friday: Flamingo Flock Out for a Stroll (Seaworld, San Diego)

May 14th, 2010 by bsmith | 2 Comments | Filed in Photo Friday, San Diego Zoo, Sea World

Flamingos Out for A Stroll, Seaworld, San Diego

 Last Month, my son’s preschool class enjoyed a field trip to Sea World San Diego.  This is an annual event for all six preschool classes so I have been lucky enough to take my kids for the past three years.  I thought I had seen everything at Sea World until a flock of flamingos paraded by soon after our arrival.  School groups are allowed in early, so I’m not sure if this is something that the average tourist would be able to experience, but it was surreal fun for our group to make way for our flamingo friends.  I captured this picture of my son’s very first preschool teacher enjoying this spectacle.   I’m sure Jared will treasure it  in the future.

 A few days later, Ken and I took the kids to the San Diego Zoo and captured another happy flamingo moment.


Off to the Zoo on Sunday.  Hopefully I’ll have some great pictures to share next week!

Happy Trails,


P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s  Photo Friday Blog Roundup.  Love this post about her visit to Turkey!


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Photo Friday: San Diego Cityscape, Porto Vista Hotel

May 7th, 2010 by bsmith | 4 Comments | Filed in Family Travel, Photo Friday, San Diego Adventures, San Diego Zoo

Boats Sail by Porto Vista Hotel, San Diego

Living up in Carlsbad, a tony suburb in Northern San Diego county, sometimes it’s easy to forget that I’m minutes away from a metropolitan city.  Last night I ventured down town to Little Italy for a Mom’s Night Out event at the elegant Porto Vista Hotel.  We met at the Porto Vista’s rooftop bar which offers  a stunning view of the San Diego Harbor and downtown.

San Diego Cityscape from Porto Vista Rooftop Bar

This hotel has a very distinctive vibe of retro urban chic.  Step into the lobby and you are greeted by a bright yellow vintage vespa.  Everything is sleek and post modern.  I stopped by The Glass Door Restaurant, which offers city views through wall length windows or share an intimate cocktail with  your  love out on the balcony.

Fun quirks of this sophisticated hotel are the fact that you can bring your dog to the Friday HappyHour or attend a free yoga class.  Although it’s not the first place you would think of when planning your family vacation, it’s proximity to the airport and down town as well as shuttles to many nearby attractions make it a destination to consider.


As twilight fell over the city and I headed home, I took a moment to reflect on my downtown San Diego adventure.  I plan to return with my children this summer.  It’s time that they get a taste of  life in the big city and see the world outside their sheltered corner of San Diego.  I’m looking forward to exploring the restaurants of Little Italy, and maybe going in search of the best gelato San Diego has to offer.

I enjoyed networking with other bloggers including  ,Meladramatic Mommy, Mommy of Many, Ali Starkey, Natalie at   I had a chance to reconnect with my friend San Diego Momma.  I always turn to her blog when I need to laugh…and think, or maybe think…and laugh.  I also had a chance to talk with Charity Lacey, a San Diego Marketing expert with a new business venture  You + Me Marketing designed to connect bloggers and brands.

Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup.  Other places you could find me this week are Mother of All Trips Mondays are for Dreaming,  The Carnival of Cities currently visiting Travel Savvy Mom, and Trekaroos Spotlight Thursday .    My post about the new Polar Bear Plunge exhibit at the San Diego Zoo is now live at Uptake. Phew!  I’ve been busy this week.

Off for a well deserved rest ;) .  Have a great weekend!

Happy Trails,



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Photo Friday: Friendly Frog, San Diego Botanic Garden

October 23rd, 2009 by bsmith | 10 Comments | Filed in Photo Friday, San Diego Adventures

Friendly Frog: San Diego Botanic Gardens

Until now Quail Botanical Gardens has been one of the best kept secrets of San Diego.  Located in picturesque Encinitas, this is a gorgeous botanical garden.  It includes two children’s gardens and plenty of other beautiful gardens to explore.  On our last visit, we had to park in overflow parking and discovered a breathtaking Monet lilypond complete with resident frogs.  I will post more about my Quail Garden adventures at a later date, but I wanted to share this moment that my ten year old Justin captured, by sneaking a shot from the bushes at the edge of the pond.  It was the highlight of our August visit.

Quail Gardens has changed its name to San Diego Botanic Garden, hopefully it’s new name will attract more visitors and donors to this San Diego treasure.  You can learn more about the garden here.

Happy Trails,


P.S.  Family Adventure Guidbooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday.  Read more travel adventures here.


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A Kid in a Candy Store: Cousin’s Candy Old Town San Diego

October 16th, 2009 by bsmith | 4 Comments | Filed in Photo Friday, San Diego Adventures


                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Cousin's Candy Store, Old Town San Diego

Recently, my friend and I took the Coaster Train from Carlsbad to Old Town San Diego.  Between us we had five kids ranging in age from 13 months to 10 years old.  If you have taken that length of train ride you know, that the ride down is easy.  Everyone is filled with anticipation about the adventure ahead.  The ride home is another story however, everyone is tired and grouchy.  My solution to this thorny problem is Cousin’s Candy Shop in Old Town San Diego.  Take the kids to this marvelous store full of sweet delights, let them pick out one item, give them an opportunity to savor it on the train ride home.
My ten year old made an impressive photo essay out of his candy store visit.  Enjoy!







Happy Trails!


P.S.  Family Adventure Guidebooks is happy to participate in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup.  For some delicious travel photos click here.

P.P.S. For information on San Diego Old Town Ghost Tours and other fun Halloween activities in San Diego check out my post on


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Photo Friday: Happy Birthday Family Adventure Guidebooks!

September 17th, 2009 by bsmith | 17 Comments | Filed in Photo Friday
Legoland or Bust

Family Adventure Guidebooks

Last Sunday Family Adventure Guidebooks celebrated its  first birthday.  It’s hard to believe that I have been blogging for over a year.  You can read my historic first post “Don’t Forget Your Shoes” here.  It is still one of my favorites!
What was started on a whim as a way to promote my book, has become a source of great  joy for me.  It has given me a chance to make some really wonderful virtual friends around the world as well as opening up new opportunities.  Thanks to Travel Savvy Mom, TrekarooWandering Educators, San Diego Bargain Mama, and Best Kid Friendly Travel for reviewing my book and/ or giving me the opportunity to guest blog for your sites.   
I hope that my readers have enjoyed the Smith Family’s Adventures this year.  I look forward sharing more with you in the future!
This Friday I wanted to share some of my favorite photos and to announce the Family Adventure Guidebooks Birthday giveaway: 4 tickets to my favorite theme park Legoland, California!  Legoland, which turns ten this year, generously offered four parkhopper tickets.  Click here  before October 3rd to learn more about how to enter.
Here are a few of my favorite photos from our adventures this past year:
Destiny at Bates Nut Farm, San Diego, Ca
Ken Splashes Down in Golden Nugget Shark Tank Pool
jared-battles-the-dark-side2 Justin Above Fort Point,  San Francisco, Ca

As always, I am grateful to Delicous Baby for her Photo Friday Blog Roundup.  Stop by and see what my fellow travelers have been up to.

Happy Trails,



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Photo Friday: Sonoma Plaza and Rose Garden

August 28th, 2009 by bsmith | 5 Comments | Filed in Photo Friday, Smith Family Adventures





Growing up in Marin County, one of my favorite family adventures was a Sonoma picnic.  We would north, and stop by the Vella Cheese factory to purchase some of their famous Dry Monterey Jack.  (This is not the Cheese Factory on the Sonoma Plaza.  My family always considered that one more of a tourist trap.)

My parents and I would head for the beautiful green park in the center of town, and enjoy our cheese with salami, sour dough, and apple cider.  Then, tummy full I would make friends at the playground or visit the rose garden.  The rose garden has a lovely assortment of colorful roses and a sun dial in the center that has fascinated generations of young visitors.

This summer I had a chance to recreate this childhood memory when we met my Auntie Carol in the same Sonoma park.  We arrived late in the day and didn’t have a chance to stop by the cheese factory, but my friend Joellen kindly found a gourmet deli that served delicious sandwiches.  The kids put on an elaborate performance on the outdoor stage, and had fun at the play ground.  They met a friendly laborador and worked hard to help him take a drink from the water fountain.

Helping Out Our New Friend

Our visit to this magical place brought back many joyful memories, and also gave me a chance to make some new ones.I enjoyed watching Justin, my ten year old transform himself into a goofy monster using the leaves he fund around the park.  It was a treat for Auntie Carol to see Justin for the first time in nine years and to meet the “new” additions to our family who are now ages four and five!

Wild Man Justin


Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup.

Happy Trails,



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Photo Friday: Antique Steam Engine Museum, Vista California

August 14th, 2009 by bsmith | 6 Comments | Filed in Family Travel, Museums, Outdoor Adventures, Photo Friday, San Diego Adventures

Antique Gas Pump, Antique Steam Engine Museum, Vista

Every year Cub Scout Camp is held at the Antique Steam Engine Museum in Vista, California. As you will see, it’s not exactly a museum, more like a collection of old steam engines, farm equipment, model trains, etc.  Visiting always reminds me of  long quiet summer days visiting my uncle in Minnesota.  Old farm tractors and combines were scattered at the edge of the fields throughout his farm.  I loved to find a good book, and sit for a while just enjoying the peace and quiet.  Unfortunately at the Antique Steam Engine Museum you are not allowed to sit on the machines, but city kids won’t know what they’re missing.

Antique Frontloader, Antique Steam Engine Museum


Other features of this unique museum:

  • One of those fun metal merry go rounds that we enjoyed at the park when we were kids.  Jared spun on this for hours.
Old School Merry Go Round, Vista, Ca

Old Fashioned Merry Go Round, Vista, Ca

  • A short track  miniature railroad and an excellent model railroad museum

Rail Road Crossing

  • A one room school house.
  • A blacksmith shop.

Call to find out about special events.  Not every part of the museum is open every day.

Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup.  Check out some more great travel posts here.

Happy Trails,



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Photo Friday: Dinner at the Blue Crab, Victoria British Columbia

July 31st, 2009 by bsmith | 7 Comments | Filed in Canada Adventures, Photo Friday
Dinner at the Blue Crab, Victoria BC

Dinner at the Blue Crab, Victoria BC

As I mentioned in a previous post, membership has its privileges.  Ken taught several classes at the Coast Hotel in Santa Cruz (now the Dream Inn) and accumulated guest reward points.  We never had enough for an overnight stay,but he did earn enough to pay for most of a luscious dinner at the Blue Crab Restaurant in Victoria British Columbia.  This romantic restaurant overlooks the bay and has amazing sea food.

Crab Dinner at the Blue Crab

Crab Dinner at the Blue Crab

Our meal included steak and crab as well as assorted clams and mussels.  The service was excellent.  As you can see we savored every bite of this outstanding meal.

Blue Crab Aftermath, Victoria, BC

Blue Crab Aftermath, Victoria, BC

 We finished just as the sun was setting and caught a water taxi back to the Empress Hotel.  It was a romantic ending to our culinary adventure.

Waiting for the Water Tax, Victoria Harbor

Waiting for the Water Taxi, Victoria Harbor

Happy Trails,
PS Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Fridays.  Check out her amusing post about her Seattle “Heatcation” here.  Way to be creative, Debbie :) .
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