The zoo has lots of fun and active kids activities planned for the month. I hope to make it there sometime in the next few weeks to give you a first hand account, but in the mean time you can visit the San Diego Zoo info site for event details.
Today I’m off to LEGOLAND for their annual Brick or Treat celebration. This fun Halloween themed activity including a Brick or Treating Trail, costume contests, etc. starts today and continues weekends through Halloween.
Yesterday I had the chance to catch the preview of Reptilemania Days at the San Diego Zoo. The zoo is celebrating the opening of a beautiful new enclosure for the Galapagos Tortoises with four days (September 16-19) of reptile oriented fun. I spoke with a zookeeper and learned that this new environment is really benefiting the tortoises. Their shells are much cleaner, and they are exhibiting mating behavior that hasn’t been seen among these animals in quite some time! I’m hoping to cover the hatching of some baby tortoises in the future. If that happy event does occur, the zoo has a special baby enclosure to keep those young ones from being stepped on and increase their chances for survival.
Feeding the Tortoise, San Diego Zoo
The Galapagos tortoises are pretty much the oldest residents of the zoo. One tortoise was 100 years old when he arrived at the Zoo in the 1930′s! New tortoises have been added to the collection by breeding and donations from other zoos. With this new exhibit, Zoo visitors have an opportunity to get up close and personal with these amazing animals. When a docent is present, visitors can feed the turtles carrots and give them a good scratch under the chin. They love that!
San Diego Zookeeper and Tortoise
The Zoo’s amazing staff and volunteers are hard at work making Reptilemania memorable for the Zoo’s visitors. The Zookeeper for the Reptile Area was happy to share her wealth of knowledge regarding tortoises. The Zoo landscaping staff had a booth set up to teach visitors about what tortoises eat. Zoo Ambassador Rick Schwartz had just returned from the Galapagos. Check out the San Diego Zoo Blog for more information about his adventures.
San Diego Zoo Staff Share What's on the Menu
I can hardly wait to bring my kids to Reptilemania this weekend!
Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Round Up. This week Debbie muses about the power of a Waikiki beach to sooth her kids into slumber. Might have to try out the Carlsbad version of that remedy!
The kids and I were invited to the media preview of the Elephant Pool Party at the San Diego Zoo. This fun and mellow event is free with the price of zoo admission. It takes place July 1-4, then every Saturday through September 4th. If you find yourself at the San Diego Zoo on any of those dates, head to the Elephant Odyssey exhibit between 11 am and noon.
During the pool party the zoo provides special enrichment activities for the elephants including giant elephant sized beach balls and fresh fruit floating in the water. The day we were there the elephant rejected the beach balls in favor of the floating treats. She enjoyed apples, oranges, and pineapples. Surprisingly her favorite treat appeared to be the lettuce. She set a great example for my little animals by eating plenty of fruits and veggies!
Watching the Elephant Beach Party, San Diego Zoo
Hopefully their curiosity will get the best of them and they’ll eventually they will start exploring the balls. During a recent interview with Zoo Ambassador Rick Schwartz, he explained to me that although the zoo keepers supply plenty of enrichment, they give the animals the opportunity to choose whether or not to participate.
Hula Hoop Diva, San Diego Zoo
The zoo was kind enough to provide enrichment activities for their young visitors. Destiny loved hula hooping and visiting with Dr. Zoolittle. Jared had fun cuddling up to the life sized statue of an elephant baby.
Jared's New Buddy, San Diego Zoo
Dr. Zoolittle was a very friendly guy and once again proved that San Diego Zoo volunteers are some of the nicest around!
Destiny and Dr. Zoolittle, San Diego Zoo Elephant Beach Party
Hope you have a little beach party in your 4th of July weekend plans!
P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup. Stop by to read exciting travel adventures throughout the world.
With three kids and the price of airfare, we tend to stick close to home for many of our vacations. That doesn’t mean we spend all our time at Disneyland, however. There are lots of fun ways for families to enjoy their California vacations. Here are some of our favorites from North to South.
View from the Train, Train Town Sonoma
Picnic in the Sonoma Plaza: This was one of my family’s favorite day trips as a child. Last summer I returned with my kids and am happy to say it continues to be very fun. Grab a picnic from a local gourmet deli and play at the Children’s Playground.
Ride a train at Train Town: Admission is affordable and the ride on the miniature train is perfect for all ages. You stop to take on water at a kid sized town that the little ones enjoy exploring.
US Pampanito, Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco California
San Francisco Adventures
Visit Fisherman’s Wharf Play vintage games at the Musee Mechanique and take an audio tour of the USS Pampanito Submarine.
Explore the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park This National Historic Park has a cheap entrance fee and plenty of big vessels to explore. They also have a wide assortment of tours and kids programs.
Roaring Camp Railroads, Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz Adventures
Ride a Train Through the Redwoods Roaring Camp provides old fashioned family fun. You can ride a steam train through the redwoods or catch a diesel down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
Ride the Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk This is my favorite roller coaster in the world. It’s more than 100 years old and you can catch a glimpse off the ocean and the town of Santa Cruz as you zoom along.
Build and Test at LEGOLAND California Carlsbad, California is a charming family oriented beach town with a great family attraction. Legoland California is an interactive theme park for young children. The Sea Life Aquarium and the new LEGO themed Water Park give families more reasons to visit.
Play at the Flower Fields. Unfortunately the Flower Fields have finished their season, but if you return next spring, you will be awed by the fields of flowers. Kid’s enjoy a quaint Santa’s Village themed playground.
Soar Over the San Diego Zoo
San Diego Adventures
Go on Safari at the San Diego Zoo. It may be clique, but a visit to the world famous San Diego Zoo is a must see for family travelers. Keep an eye out for The Unauthorized Guide to the San Diego Zoo releasing later this year.
Stop by Cousin’s Candy in Old Town. Old Town San Diego is a great location for family adventure. Kids enjoy visiting the old buildings and learning about life in old San Diego. The highlight of your trip will be the trip to this old fashioned candy store- trust me .
PS “I wrote this blog post while participating in the Williamsburg Tourism and TwitterMoms blogging program for a chance to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here .
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!
P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup. Love this post about her visit to Turkey!
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 thebobbypin.com. 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.
This little cutie is currently named “Tiny Tiny” but she will be growing soon so the San Diego Zoo is in search of a new name. Stop by their blog and vote for your favorite. You can also read Tiny Tiny’s story. The San Diego Zoo website has a dizzying array of fun animal facts and information and is worth a visit with your little ones.
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.
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.
Last Friday evening my family and I had the chance to attend the Elephant Odyssey VIP party at the San Diego Zoo on behalf of Family Adventure Guidebooks. Justin, my oldest, loved being a VIP. He showed everyone my badge announcing “We’re VIPs!” at every opportunity. Very embarrassing! We all had a great time. The food was delicious. The kids got airbrush tattoos and rode home cuddling the soft woolly mammoths that we discovered in the elegant swag bags. The kids also enjoyed some close animal encounters.
Destiny and Justin's Avian Adventure
Destiny Meets a Marsupial
One of the most interesting parts of our visit was the opportunity to explore the Conrad Prebys Elephant Management Facility that is located in the center of the exhibit. I have read that there has been some controversy about whether zoological institutions can care for elephants in captivity, but I must say that this structure was pretty comprehensive. The bottom was like a huge open air barn. The elephants respond to their keeper’s call, and come in for check ups, husbandry, and training. When the elephants are not in the care center, it is sealed off so visitors can get a closer look. My four year old Jared and I enjoyed peeking into the laundry room and seeing the zoo keeper’s boots.
Another hi-light came as I went in search of the zoo’s PR person. I walked back towards the entrance to the exhibit and came upon a tired preschooler running back and forth in front of the glass jaguar enclosure. The playful jaguar on the other side of the glass joined his new found little friend in doing laps. It was an amazing sight. If you have the opportunity to make it to Night Zoo this summer, it is worth a visit. Many of the animals were more active and fun to watch as we prepared to leave the park.
San Diego Zoo Elephant Management Facility from a Distance
Even Zookeepers Need to do Laundry
Even if a swag bag full of woolly mammoths and a picture frame made out of elephant poop is not in your future, I would highly recommend checking out the new exhibit. When the Monterey Bay Aquarium first opened its emphasis on featuring the history and wildlife of the surrounding ecosystems was revolutionary. The San Diego Zoo is taking a similar tact with this new exhibit. The entrance to the exhibit teaches visitors about pre-historic San Diego. Recently, fossilized skulls and bones of Columbian Mammoths were unearthed during a construction project in downtown San Diego. The Elephant Odyssey uses giant life-size statues of Columbian Mammoths and other prehistoric creatures to give visitors a sense of what San Diego life was like before humans. These statues make for a great photo op. They can also cause a stir. In the latest edition of Zoo Nooz, Rick Schwartz the Elephant Odyssey Ambassador noted that he got some strange looks as he escorted the models from Wisconson to San Diego.
Jenny Mehlow who works in media relations at the zoo recommends visiting the exhibit early in the day. She also suggested riding the Skyfari Aerial Tram to get there. I whole heartedly agree! Here are some pictures of our own Skyfari adventure:
Waiting for the Skyfari Tram
We Got the Elephant Tram. How Cool is That?
View of Balboa Park from Skyfari Tram
Thanks to my good friend Deb at San Diego Momma for securing me an invitation to this spectacular event. Check out her fun take on the VIP party entitled This Post is Made With Real Poo . Other San Diego Mom bloggers who did great posts about the event are Tonya, Mel, and Sondra.
I am including this post, albeit belatedly, in my friend Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup. Funny, her post this week is also about a very big creature. Stop by and check out wonderful photgraphs and writing from around the world.
PS Please pray for my friend Deana. She is having trouble getting enough white blood cells to receive a potentially life saving procedure.
If you are planning to visit the Legoland theme park in Carlsbad, California, this book contains all the information you need to make the most of your family adventure. The book also includes information about other area attractions, local restaurants and hotels.
Bridget Smith, mom of three, loves to blog about everyday adventures. Her mission is to change the world; one kid, one destination, one effortless trip, one overworked mom, one frazzled dad... one day at a time! Come and join her.