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Posts Tagged ‘Carlsbad’

Photo Friday: South Carlsbad State Beach

June 11th, 2009 by bsmith | 8 Comments | Filed in Outdoor Adventures, San Diego Beaches, San Diego Day Trips, San Diego State Parks, State Park Sundays

 

Beach Cleanup, South Carlsbad State Beach, Carlsbad, Ca

Beach Cleanup, South Carlsbad State Beach, Carlsbad, Ca

Dear Readers,

Let me introduce you to my soul place here in Carlsbad.  South Carlsbad State Beach is the site of many wonderful family memories. This is where Justin learned to boogie board, and Ken learned to surf.  When we first arrived at this beach three years ago, Destiny was too timid to get anywhere near the water.  Now, on a good day, she’ll splash and be dragged along on a boogie board.

It’s where we bring our dear friends from Santa Cruz when they come to visit.  All the Northern California folk savor the warm water.  We break out the boogie boards and teach the kids to ride the waves.

On summer evenings our family heads down to the South Carlsbad State Beach to picnic and watch the sunset.  Every anniversary Ken and I head to the beach for burritos and boogie boarding until the sun goes down.

This beach is special to our family.  It is our beach and we care for it by packing our own trash and sometimes other people’s.  Twice a year we join our fellow Cub Scouts in a huge beach cleanup.  Happily so many people treasure this beach, that there is usually not much trash to find.

jared-explores-logs-south-carlsbad-state-beach

Exploring the Logs, South Carlsbad State Beach, Carlsbad, Ca

All this may be changing at the end of the summer.  Due to budget cuts, South Carlsbad and many other state beaches and state parks are on a closure list .  Such closures be devastating on a personal level for the citizens of Carlsbad and other local communities.  It will also have a significant impact on tourism.  According to a  recent Sacramento State study California State Parks generates $300 million dollars in California sales tax for “park related expenditures”.    

The budget crisis is very grave here in California.  The Governor and Legislature have tough decisions to make that will have a significant impact on health, human services, and education.  Although State Parks are very important to me and my family, I feel somewhat guilty advocating for them, when there is so much need elsewhere.  Recently , however, I read a great idea from the  California State Parks Foundation that would free up some money in the budget, keep the parks open, and even promote in state tourism.  Last spring, in the midst of the last round of budget battles the foundation proposed the implementation of a California State Access Pass  program.  In exchange for a $10 fee on the California vehicle tax, all vehicles with valid California license plates would receive free admission  and parking at most California State Parks.  The fee would raise $282 million for the State Parks and the current allocation for the parks in the budget would be returned to the General Fund for the next four years in order to assist the State of California in resolving other budget concerns.

What can we do to avert this crisis?

Here are some steps that I have taken so far:

  • Signed the California State Parks Foundation Petition .
  • Joined the California States Parks Foundation Facebook Group as well as my friend Jade’s  Facebook Group Families for California State Parks.
  • E-mailed my City Council to express my concern regarding this issue and educate them about the California State Park Access Pass proposal.
  • Planned  to participate in Save Our State Parks Weekend.  We will head to Carlsbad State Beach on or before the weekend of June 20th and take pictures/ film a Flip video of my family holding the Save Our State Parks sign.   I’ll upload the pictures to the CSPF as well as my blog.

I am also starting a regular feature on my blog to raise awareness entitled State Park Sundays.  Every Sunday I hope to feature a profile of a different California State Park.  It’s a big project and I would love some help.  Spread the word about State Park Sundays.  I also welcome guest blogs about your favorite California State Park.  Let’s make sure that Californians appreciate the treasure that they have before its gone.

Thanks for your patience with my very word intensive Photo Friday Post.  For more Photo Friday Fun check in with my friend Delicious Baby.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Photo Friday: Library Adventures

May 1st, 2009 by bsmith | 8 Comments | Filed in San Diego Day Trips, Smith Family Misadventures
Jared's Favorite Painting @ Canon Art Gallery, Carlsbad California

Jared's Favorite Painting @ Canon Art Gallery, Carlsbad California

Lately I have had several library adventures with and without preschoolers.  At first, this may not seem like an unlikely subject for family travel.  Usually travelers with children don’t head to the library when the reach their destination, but perhaps they should.

I became one of the most voracious readers the world  has ever seen because a kind librarian in Hawaii.  When my family spent a summer sabbatical in Hawaii the year after I finished second grade, she took the time to  find interesting books at my reading level.   I don’t rember too much about snorkeling or sandy beaches from my Hawaiian getaway.  What I do remember  are cracking coconuts with my Dad and the books about Blaze the valiant horse and his young owner that I read on my own summer.

Here in Carlsbad we are blessed with two great libraries.  Year round they offer puppet shows and story times.  The Dove Library also houses a small art gallery.  In the summer there are fun special events including an overnight campout in the library , magic shows, and a visit from lots of crazy critters.  Now that the kids are old enough to enjoy it all, I plan to spend the summer playing tourist in my own town and attending some of these events.

Last week I made three very different library visits.  One day , I was able to sneak away to the library by myself.  I took the opportunity  to pop into the art gallery and take some photos .  Later that week, I joined my two preschoolers for a preschool fieldtrip which included a  guided tour of the Cole library located just east of downtown Carlsbad.  Yesterday in a moment of foolishness, I attempted to take Destiny age 5 and Jared age 4 to the Cannon Art Gallery at the Dove Library.

Considering we arrived with 20 kids, the preschool library fieldtrip was somewhat successful.  We arrived early, but the Cole library has a beautiful grassy area  that invites running around as well as picnic benches and a little garden.  Here are some fun photos of Destiny and Jared getting their energy out before settling down for the tour.

destiny-in-motionjared-in-motion

The tour was a bit challenging with that many kids, but they did surprisingly well.  One of the highlights was the Carlsbad History Room . The librarian shared a letter written by Santa at the turn of the century.  Seems at that time he delivered presents by motor car…hmm. 

Cole Librarian Reads a Vintage Letter from Santa, Carlsbad California

Cole Librarian Reads a Vintage Letter from Santa, Carlsbad California

 Emboldened by the success of the Library fieldtrip, I decided to stop by the Cannon Art Gallery with Destiny and Jared later in the week.  I have always been a big fan of Chicana Artist Carmen Lomas Garza.  The kids have her children’s book Family Pictures .  I knew that my preschoolers would enjoy the bright colors of  Cardinal Points:Puntos Cardinales, the exhibit of Mexican and Chicano art on display at the Dove Library until May 8th.  Well they did enjoy it…way too much!  They loved the paintings so much that they wanted to touch them, much to my chagrin and that of the gallery employee who shadowed us throughout our visit.  They  were so enthralled by each work of art that they rushed from painting to painting.    With one child I might have made it work.  With two wiggly preschoolers, I gave up after a short visit.  I have read that other  travel bloggers prep their kids by role playing art gallery at home.  We may give that a try before our next museum outing.

Off to Seattle on business next week, so you may not hear from me for a while, dear readers.  Until then enjoy a few more beautiful works of art and be sure to check out Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday http://tinyurl.com/dxmpjo when you have a chance.

The Carmen Lomas Garza Work That Inspired Our Visit

The Carmen Lomas Garza Work That Inspired Our Visit

The Kids Loved the Whimsical Shapes and Colors of the Houses and Trees

The Kids Loved the Whimsical Shapes and Colors of the Houses and Trees

As you enjoy your summer, make sure you make some time for your own library adventures.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Photo Friday: Carlsbad Flower Fields

April 16th, 2009 by bsmith | 9 Comments | Filed in San Diego Day Trips, Spring Adventures
Carlsbad Flower Fields in Bloom, Spring 2009

Carlsbad Flower Fields in Bloom, Spring 2009

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.

Destiny and a Friend Explore the Sweet Pea Maze

Destiny and a Friend Explore the Sweet Pea Maze

 

See more fun travel photos on Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday http://www.deliciousbaby.com/journal/2009/apr/16/photo-friday-arc-de-triomphe-baby/

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Photo Friday: Mugging for the Camera at Legoland California

April 2nd, 2009 by bsmith | 6 Comments | Filed in Family Travel, Legoland, San Diego Day Trips, theme parks
Justin Makes a New Lego Buddy

Justin Makes a New Lego Buddy

In honor of my friend Delicious Baby’s trip to Legoland, I decided to publish some of my favorite Legoland pictures.  One thing that makes Legoland, California such a great themepark are the giant Lego creations that you find around every turn.  Something about them makes my usually reticient kids want to strike a pose!  Best of all, you usually don’t have to wait in line to take your picture as you do with Disneyland Characters.  (Thomas the Tank Engine, Darth Vader, and Santa’s Sleigh are the exceptions to this statement).

Having a Squealing Good Time at Legoland California

Having a Squealing Good Time at Legoland California

Check out more cool travel photos at Delicious Baby’s, Photo Friday blog roundup http://www.deliciousbaby.com/journal/2009/apr/02/photo-friday-persian-new-years-no-ruz/.  While your visiting, scroll down and read about Delicious Baby’s adventures in Carlsbad California at : Legoland,  The Sealife Aquarium, and the Four Seasons Aviara .  That woman travels in style!

For more great information about Legoland  see The Unauthorized Legoland Guidebook  which is available in paperback or affordable download.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Sea Life Aquarium Closed for Modifications

November 13th, 2008 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Legoland, Uncategorized

The Sea Life Aquarium at Legoland California will be closed for modifications from November 11, 2008-December 26, 2008.  A Legoland press release says that the modications will include, ” adding an interactive Lego sand castle building area; enhancing the Lego animation in the Lost City of Atlantis display; adding decor to the Lake Tahoe area; remodeling the fron and Park-side Sea Life entrances; and improvements to the interactive audio/visual techologies currently being used throughout the aquarium.”

I am excited that they are remodeling the entrances and hope that this will include eliminating the little scary dark room that you are forced to stand in to listen to the orientation talk before entering the aquarium.    The new Lego Sand Castle building area sounds great.  This aquarium was in need of some fun hands on activities.

I am disappointed that it doesn’t sound like they have plans to alter the access to the touch pools.  I would really appreciate having my preschoolers be able to touch the creatures in the touch pools without having to do heavy lifting!  Well…maybe next year.

On another note,  we have had some beautiful weather here in Carlsbad this Fall.  Keep an eye on the weather report.  We may have some nice warm days to visit Legoland over Thanksgiving break.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Legoland is Spooktacular on Saturday Nights in October!

October 5th, 2008 by bsmith | 2 Comments | Filed in Autumn Adventures, Legoland
Destiny and Justin Show off the Headless Pumpkin

Destiny and Justin Show off the Headless Pumpkin

The kids and I had a blast at Legoland tonight!  It was crowded, but since we stayed until closing we were able to have the rides all to ourselves at the end of the night.  For those who are curious, if you come during the day you do not need to exit the park and then re-enter.  You do need  to come to the front of the park and pick up a wristband for the night time festivities.

Castle Hill is alive with music and stilt walkers.  The Rides in Land of Adventure were also open.  Jared tried Knights Tournament for the first time.  The kids enjoyed the Brick or Treat Trail and collected an assortment of doodads and unhealthy goodies.  Justin made friends with fellow Clone Troopers at the Hideaways and they captured the fortress.  We opted out of the costume contest since we were dressed in rather generic costumes, and I’m somewhat glad we did.   The lines didn’t seem worth the goodie bags.  During the contest we built Lego pumpkins and received some great balloon creations.

The party was a very fun way to enjoy Legoland, but I don’t think I’d recommend attending the night time party alone since your access to the park is limited and the price is steep.  If you purchase a regular admission on a Saturday in October you can get added value from your entrance by enjoying the night time party.  If you are a member make sure you use your coupon and enjoy the party!

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A Shout Out to Carlsbad My “New” Home Town

September 22nd, 2008 by bsmith | 3 Comments | Filed in San Diego Day Trips, Uncategorized
The Smith Kids Clean Up Carlsbad at a Ponto Beach Cleanup

The Smith Kids Clean Up Carlsbad at a Ponto Beach Cleanup

 

I want to take a minute to pay homage to my new home town Carlsbad, California.  I have lived here for less than three years, but already I can’t imagine raising my family anywhere else.  It is at once a wonderful, kid friendly community and a premier family travel destination.

Most of my friends who are newly relocated to Carlsbad, came here as tourists and decided to stay.  My friends who relocated from Orange County said that they came because here people say hi to you in the grocery store.  It’s a medium sized city with a small town feel. All the elementary schools get out early so they can participate in the Carlsbad High Homecoming Parade.  Where ever you go: the library, down town, the hiking path by your house you are bound to run into someone you know.   The seasons are marked by city events: Artsplash and Oktoberfest in the fall,  The Carlsbad Marathon in the winter,  The Carlsbad Village Street Faire and the Pointsettia Park Eggstravaganza in the spring, and Jazz in the Park all summer long.

The ocean provides a back drop to living in Carlsbad.  My neighbors jog down to the beach.  I drive along the water as I head to my son’s baseball game.  Carlsbad High offers surf P.E.  My kids love to walk the dog and watch the water birds at a local lagoon.

Visiting on vacation?  Legoland is Carlsbad’s main tourist attraction.  Kids love to see the elaborate Mini-land filled with models of most major US cities.  There is interactive fun for all ages throughout the park.  Don’t come to Legoland expecting to be passively entertained.  Plan to pump hard to win a fire truck race, build  race cars out of Lego bricks and race them down a track, and even participate on stage during a musical production about an Indiana Jones type adventure.  The new Sea Life Aquarium is pretty small in scale, but if you have little ones, they will enjoy the specially designed tanks that let them pop up in the middle of the fish!   Check out my Unauthorized Legoland Guidebook for more information about this outstanding theme park. 

If you come in the spring make sure you also take some time to visit the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch.  They are stunning to behold, and also offer a Santa’s Village for the kids to explore as well as an extensive collection of rare poinsettias.

So go ahead, pay Carlsbad a visit.  Perhaps it will become your new home town.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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