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Archive for the ‘Special Events’ Category

Photo Friday: Crunchy Meal Worms and Missed Butterfly Kisses, San Diego Wild Animal Park

April 16th, 2010 by bsmith | 5 Comments | Filed in San Diego Adventures, San Diego Day Trips, San Diego Wild Animal Park, Special Events, Spring Adventures

We have been San Diego Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park members on and off for the last three years, and I have never attended annual “Butterfly Jungle” exhibit.   This year Spring Break fell during the tail end of this fabulous event and nothing…not dishwasher deliveries or kids with colds was going to stop us!  So a bit sniffly we ventured out after lunch in search of some Wild Animal Park butterflies.

Silly Butterflies, SD Wild Animal Park

Upon our arrival we met some pretty amusing butterflies.  My kids were a bit skeptical and didn’t want to stop and dance with these unusal  creatures.  There were a bunch of two year olds boogying down with Latin American instruments however.  We followed the giant silken butterflies posted throughout the park until we came upon… a pretty substantial line!

Luckily the Wild Animal Park made waiting in line both amusing and enjoyable.  There was a guy in butterfly wings giving out barbecue flavored meal worms and crickets for the guests to try.  It was fun to see people’s responses when they were offered real live bugs.  My ten year old, Justin and I tried these delicacies.  Justin was a little hesitant to eat the cricket, but in the end he found it delicious!  He made me eat the legs, however.

 

 

 

 

 

Bottoms Up!

Not So Sure About the Crickets!

Not So Sure About the Crickets!

The highlight of our wait in line was a visit with the Butterfly Queen who was giving out bookmarks.  Destiny and Jared thought she was delightful!

Butterfly Queen, San Diego Wild Animal Park

Once again I was amazed by the patience and creativity of the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park’s staff and volunteers.  They are truly a priceless gift to the visitors.

The kids were very bummed.  Despite being decked out in our most colorful threads, we didn’t have a single butterfly land on us.  Justin and I had fun taking pictures though.

Green Butterfly, Butterfly Jungle, SD Wild Animal Park

 

 

Taking Flight

 The kids had fun spinning for the volunteers as we left the exhibit.  They need to check to make sure that there aren’t any hitchhikers since the FDA prohibits these butterflies being released into the wild.

If you want to catch this colorful exhibit before it leaves, head to the San Diego Wild Animal Park this weekend.  Say hi to those silly butterfly folks from me!

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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

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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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Photo Friday: Sea Life Aquarium (Carlsbad, Ca)

June 5th, 2009 by bsmith | 12 Comments | Filed in Sea Life Aquarium, Special Events, theme parks, Travel Discounts
Jared Fish Explores a Tank

Jared Fish Explores a Tank

I must confess that I have had a major change of heart about the Sea Life Aquarium.  When I visited a few weeks after opening, I wasn’t really sure if this aquarium was worth the trip.  The Sea Life Aquarium is pretty small, and it was very crowded the day of my first visit.   My three year old kept running ahead and getting lost in the crowd. 

A few weeks ago I returned to the aquarium on a Tuesday.  The crowds were gone. They had done some tweaking with the exhibits, and I began to see that the Sea Life Aquarium is perfect for little kids.  The tanks are designed so the kids can actually come up inside and have close encounters with the fish.  There are plenty of down low peek holes, so no one has to be lifted up to see the tanks. 

Enjoy these pictures from our latest Sea Life Aquarium Adventure:

Jared and Friends Explore the Touch Pool

Jared and Friends Explore the Touch Pool

 

Fascinating Fish, Sea Life Aquarium

Fascinating Fish, Sea Life Aquarium, Carlsbad, Ca

 Another wonderful thing about the Sea Life Aquarium is its dedication to marine conservation.  They have many special events and celebrations including beach clean ups and the upcoming World Oceans Day Celebration which takes place on Sunday June 7th.  There will be special arts and crafts and a reading of  Surf Angel  by local children’s author Terry Krazewski. You can also check out the aquarium’s  brand new shark exhibit.  Get a discount coupon here .

Lego Sand Castle Building, Sea Life Aquarium, Carlsbad, Ca

Lego Sand Castle Building, Sea Life Aquarium, Carlsbad, Ca

World Oceans Day,  is Monday June 8th.   The Ocean Project encourages ocean lovers to “wear blue” and tell two.  This means, wear blue on Monday and tell people two facts that they may not know about the ocean.  If you live in California, I have one fact you can share.  Many of our state beaches may be closed at the end of the summer due to budget cuts.  I will be talking more about this at Family Adventure Guidebooks throughout the summer, but for now you can get  more information from the California State Parks Foundation website.

Finally, Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicous Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Round Up. Be sure to check it out.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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An Unforgettable Evening at the San Diego Zoo Elephant Odyssey

May 29th, 2009 by bsmith | 6 Comments | Filed in San Diego Adventures, San Diego Day Trips, San Diego Zoo, Special Events
My New Elephant Friend, San Diego Zoo

My New Elephant Friend, San Diego Zoo

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 and Justin's Avian Adventure

Destiny Meets a Marsupial

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

San Diego Zoo Elephant Management Facility from a Distance

 Even Zookeepers Need to do Laundry

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

Waiting for the Skyfari Tram

We Got the Elephant Tram.  How Cool is That?

We Got the Elephant Tram. How Cool is That?

View of Balboa Park from Skyfari Tram

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.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

PS Please pray for my friend Deana.  She is having trouble getting enough white blood cells to receive a potentially life saving procedure.

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Off to Vegas, Baby! (Well With Two Preschoolers and a Big Kid!)

April 3rd, 2009 by bsmith | 3 Comments | Filed in Road Trips, Special Events

The race is on.  I leave in less than 48 hours,  and I can’t find my camera.  Prayers to St. Anthony requested throughout the blogosphere!  I can’t tell you how many cool photo ops I have missed while tooling around Carlsbad these past couple of days.  Moonlight beach…the wildflowers on the trail behind my house…must find camera!!!!  I have a sneaking suspicion that  my four year old has hidden it, but I can’t get him to fess up.

Here’s what we have on tap for next week:

  • Lied Children’s museum and perhaps the Natural History Museum depending on how we are doing that day.
  • Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur-Hopefully Destiny can endure the Hulabaloo.  She’s pretty timid.
  • The Adventure Dome at Circus Circus-That one is for my big boy Justin.
  • The Ethel M Chocolate Factory Tour-inspired by one of our friend Soultravelers3 You Tube videos of a European Chocolate Factory.  Destiny loves that one.  She has quite the sweet tooth.
  • Springs Reserve-This is a big outdoor park/museum combination to explore.  I’m hoping it will get us moving and enjoying an outdoor adventure-No rain please!
  • The Gregory Popovich Pet Show-Four year old Jared can hardly wait to see this one.  He thinks it will be just like the time Clifford joined the circus!
  • Fun in the pool at the Golden Nugget (Sliding Among the Sharks) and the MGM Grand (Tubing on the lazy river)

Went to Walmart and spent way too much money on stuff we “needed” but now everyone has the appropriate amount of socks and underwear as well as hats, flip flops, and their very own “adventure guidebook” to take notes for the next Smith Family Adventure e-guidebook to Las Vegas.  Hope the rain stays away, I figure out how to navigate the streets of Vegas in a giant Yukon that I have only driven twice, and we generally have a good time.

Finally if you live close to San Diego and are reading this on Saturday April 4th head down to Balboa Park for the Science Festival.  I’m keeping the little guys at home to rest up for the trip (and find the camera!), but Ken and Justin are going .  I’m very jealous! Free admission to lots of science related museums, booths, demonstrations, entertainment.  It looks like it will be an amazing day of cheap fun in San Diego.  Always a good thing.  Find out more at http://www.sdsciencefestival.com/.  More than 500 free science activities what could be better than that!

Well dear readers, won’t be posting much next week due to the ridiculous cost of hotel internet connections (Maybe after I sell a few Legoland  guidebooks, I’ll be able to afford them).  Stay tuned though.  I’ll have plenty of Vegas goodness to share on my return.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Fun Family Activities in San Diego for Superbowl Weekend

January 30th, 2009 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Special Events

I will be cleaning up my kids preschool, attending a kids birthday, and celebrating my Dad’s 83rd birthday on Super Bowl Sunday this weekend.  You can enjoy the following fun family activities and tell me what I missed :)

  • San Elijo Nature Center grandopening is this Saturday 1/31.  This is a super eco friendly educational nature center off of Manchester in Cardiff.  I can hardly wait to check it out!
  • The Da Vinci Experience opens at the Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park this weekend.  It will have replicas and models of designs described or created by Da Vinci.  Should be amazing.
  • The Lux Art Institute in Encinitas is offering free admission and lots of family friendly activities.
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Undersea Fun for Martin Luther King Weekend

January 13th, 2009 by bsmith | 3 Comments | Filed in Legoland, San Diego Day Trips, Special Events, Winter Adventures

A three day weekend looms ahead.  What is the adventurous  parent to do?  Head to Legoland of course!  The Sea Life Aquarium is busy with special activities and a great discount offer.  Legoland is paying tribute to MLK with a Lego mural depicting Kings “I Have A Dream Speech”.  That must have kept those Lego builders busy for quite a while.

The weather is gorgeous here in Carlsbad right now.  It’s eighty degrees and everyone is wearing shorts.  Even though it is cooling off it should still be in the 70′s this weekend.  Perfect weather for some Legoland fun.

January 17th is Under Water Parks Day.   The Sea Life Aquarium has fun activities planned to help kids learn about marine protected areas and the world’s ocean ecosystems.  In honor of Under Water Parks Day the Sea Life Aquarium is offering a great coupon for free admission for up to four kids for each paid adult. I think that the Sea Life Aquarium is usually overpriced, so this is a great deal!  Find out more information here http://www.sealifeus.com/whats-new_2009_01_08 .

To get ready for your Legoland and Sea Life adventure, download my e-book The Unauthorized Legoland Guidebook from Lulu.com

If you live near the coast, celebrate Under Water Parks day and head to the beach!  Find a great beach side playground like those in Oceanside, Ca and kick your heels up while the kids play.  The Ocean Institute in Dana Point is hosting a seaside hike and other activities.  Admission for kids under twelve is free at the Ocean Institute that day.

 Rumor has it the weather is also pretty nice up north. Head to Monterey and rent a kayak to explore the beautiful Monterey Bay Sanctuary. Go Whale Watching.  Explore a local tidepool. 

At either end of California you can take a hike on the coastal trail http://www.californiacoastaltrail.info/cms/pages/trail/complete_trail.html.

Finally, at the risk of being a little political.  As you celebrate Under Water Parks Day, look out and enjoy that oil rig free view.  Let’s try work together to keep it that way.  There’s a lot of political pressure  right now to develop this finite resource.

Hope you all have a great weekend.  Pretty soon we will be back to dreary winter so let’s take advantage of the sunshine get out and have an adventure!

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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