Mesquite and Justin, Cave Explorers, Valley of Fire State Park, Las Vegas Nevada
Twelve years of parenting has taught me that bringing the dog along is one of the best ways to get kids hiking. My friends and neighbors thought I was crazy to bring the dog on our last vacation, but Mesquite had an awesome time and provided the kids with motivation to keep moving.
Sniff Stop, Valley of Fire State Park, Las Vegas Nevada
My sweet eight year old puppy scaled rocks and hiked to the petrified forest at Valley of Fire State Park. She reminded us to stop and rest in the shade from time to time.
Even back at the swanky Oasis RV park, she motivated us to walk several blocks to get the the Doggy Park which provided an hour of kid friendly entertainment as the kids happily through ball and bones for the Doggy Park visitors while Mequite hung out in the shade and enjoyed being petted.
The great thing about Nevada State Parks is that they let dogs on almost all the trails as long as they are on a leash. Because of this liberal policy Mesquite was able to join us for most of our adventures. Something to keep in mind when planning a dog and kid friendly trip.
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.
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!
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
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!
PS Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup.
OK, I admit it, this travel blogger will not be traveling during spring break this year. We had considered a vacation, but have a lot going on right now and decided that it would be wiser to stay close to home. My kids are actually quite happy about the prospect. We will attend an annual Easter Egg hunt tommorrow morning and enjoy a quiet Easter luncheon with the Grandparents and some neighbors on Sunday.
We will be spending our spring break being tourists in our own home town. Since I am starting a new guidebook there will be trips to the San Diego Zoo to check out the polar bears and to the Wild Animal Park to visit with the butterflies. I’m hoping for hike at Elfin Forest to or Mission Hills to see if the wildflowers are still out. We might head North to ride in the big orange balloon in Irvine.
I’m a little disappointed that there won’t be a hotel stay and new places to explore in our near future, but on the other hand:
Everyone sleeps in their own bed
DH and I can spend private evenings alone instead of sharing a room with three kids.
No waiting for food in restaurants.
We still have a great (albeit cold) pool to swim in.
Hope your spring break Adventures are just as fun.
The media is starting to recognize the dire straights faced by the California State Park System. This past week, a local reporter came upon my blog and interviewed me for a piece on the California State Park closures. Reading the North County Times article I learned something new. The Colorado Desert District which includes local treasures such as Palomar Mountain State Park and Anza Borrego Desert State Park spends significantly more than it collects in revenue. This may put both parks on the closure list.
Anza Borrego is famous for the wild flowers that bloom in the midst of the desert every spring. Local volunteers in the area come together to greet and assist the large numbers of visitors who flock to Anza Borrego in order to experience this natural wonder. During my parents last visit the line was so long that they were unable to enter the visitor’s center!
I didn’t make the trek to go wildflower hunting last spring, but I was certainly hoping to head out there this year since my little ones are a bit more patient and better travelers. Unfortunately, if Anza Borrego is one of the one hundred parks that will be closed, my children will lose this opportunity to observe a desert spring.
Anza Borrego offers alot more than wild flowers. It is the largest state park in Calfornia and has numerous hiking trails. The website says that visitors may see a wide range of animals including roadrunners, golden eagles, kit foxes, and big horn sheep. If you plan to visit in the spring, check the park’s website for weekly flower updates.
Hope that you are all enjoying your last days of summer. State park closures will be announced after Labor Day. Visit the California State Parks Foundation for updates and action alerts. Also, Knudsen is making a donation for every one of their products purchased before September 6th up to $100,000. Food for thought next time you head to the grocery store.
PS The beautiful pictures in this post were provided my my talented mother and Family Adventure Guidebooks correspondent Lee Gillin. Thanks mom .
PPS I am cheating a wee bit and entering this post in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday in order to call attention to the potential closure of many of California’s State Parks. To enjoy Debbie’s beautiful pictures of a Japanese Garden in Seattle and more great travel posts from around the world click here.
What adventures do the Smith Family have planned for this weekend? I’ll give you some hints.
Here’s the Smith Family Itinerary for Memorial Day Weekend:
Represent Family Adventure Guidebooks preview event for the new Elephant Odyssey exhibit at the San Diego Zoo. I’m so excited to be invited, and the best news is I get to bring the whole family! I sure hope those preschoolers behave themselves. My son is a little disappointed that we won’t be sleeping over at Mataguay on friday night, but I’m hoping that a close encounter with an exotic animal will cheer him up. I’m also glad for an extra night in my own bed!
We will leave for Cub Scout Camp Mataguay at the crack of dawn. Mataguay is located near Julian in San Diego county. We plan to get really dirty, canoe, fish, look for lady bugs, climb rocks, and just have a generally wonderful time. The kids will just generally run amok like wild animals from dawn until dusk. Hope we will get some sleep after the campfire on Saturday night.
My kids love Camp Mataguay. Our trip last year was one of the best family adventures ever! The kids love the freedom of climbing on boulders, exploring new trails, and catching fish. Here are some of my favorite pictures from our 2008 camping adventure.
On Top of the World, Mataguay 2008
Mugging on the Mountain, Mataguay 2008
The big Boy Scouts and Venturers will make us a pancake breakfast. We’ll attend a sweet ecumenical morning prayer service. I hope that Jutin can squeeze in a little more fishing and fun before heading home.
Thanks for Bringing Us Mom! Mataguay, 2008
If you have a chance stop by Delicious Baby and see more great Photo Friday posts. May your weekend be filled with family adventures.
A Sunken Garden Peek, Butchart Gardens Victoria BC
I just got back from an amazing trip to the Pacific Northwest. We were in Seattle on business and my husband surprised me with a getaway to Victoria, BC. What an enchanting place! Lots to blog and brag about later. For now it’s late Thursday night, my kids will be up early. I’ll let a few of my photos speak for themselves. Enjoy!
My Favorite Flower, The Forget Me Not Was Scattered Throughout the Garden
Happy Trails, Butchart Gardens, Victoria BC
For more great travel photos check out the Photo Friday Travel Blog Roundup @ Delicious Baby .
I am exhausted. It has been a very busy week playing tourist with our friends from Watsonville. Adventures with 5-6 kids are a little harder than with just three. Still, we’ve had lots of fun, and I have plenty to blog about when I catch my breath.
In the mean time, I hope that if you live here in Southern California, these pictures will inspire you to visit the Carlsbad Flower fields. I get to drive by these beauties several days a week.
The admission is affordable. Keep your eye out for coupons or bring your AAA card. While you’re there pick up some discount coupons for Legoland (Free Child admission with paid adult)
There is a fun playground for the kids and a sweet pea maze. The Poinsettia collection is fascinating with numerous varieties of this symbol of Carlsbad. The fields themselves are breathtaking. You can enjoy them by tractor or on foot. If you go, you are in for a treat. Stop by soon. The season is very short.
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.