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Posts Tagged ‘Family Adventure Guidebooks’

Happy Easter from Family Adventure Guidebooks!

April 24th, 2011 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in At Home Adventures

A few photos of our at home Easter adventures:

Saturday Easter Egg Hunt:

Jared enjoyed the eggs, but not the bunny!
Much happier cuddled up to big sis!

Easter Egg Hunt at Nana and Baba’s After Church:

Easter Joy

Baba’s Easter Smile

Swimming and Crafts with My Sister In Law’s Family

Justin Splash Down

Destiny and Jared Hard at Work on Their Easter Birdhouse

The Final Product

 Hope you had a Blessed Easter with your family.  Stay tuned for Move it Monday…

Happy Trails,




Family Adventure Guidebooks 2011: Beyond the Travel Blog

January 6th, 2011 by bsmith | 6 Comments | Filed in Family Adventure Guidebooks

Carolina at one of my favorite blogs, Kids Go West, inspired me to write this “state of my blog” post.  For a while now, I have been reflecting upon my life as a “travel blogger” and the direction of my blog.  Here’s the thing, I love to travel and love to write about it.   However sometimes I think I fall into the easy trap of doing writing that is less authentic and more P.R. oriented.  I also look at my friends who have “arrived” as travel bloggers.  I see the amount of time they spend on the road, sometimes away from their families, and I know deep down that both my kids and I would not be able to handle that kind of schedule.  As I stand of the verge of my 38th birthday, I think life’s too short  not to write  authentically about subjects I care about without limiting myself to  a single facet of my interests and of our family’s adventures.

Here’s what you can expect from this blog in 2011:

Travel Writing with a Twist:  I am going to try to be more honest about the challenges of traveling with three kids.  I will still write a lot about travel, but hopefully I will be a bit more reflective about our adventures.  Plan to see travel in the larger context of raising great kids,  being the best parent I can be,  and teaching my children about what I value (nature, history, faith, service, and maintaining an active lifestyle).

San Diego Adventures and Events: Although I don’t want to be too PR oriented, San Diego has a lot to offer and I’ll still keep my readers up to date about fun activities and events in my home town and beyond.  I love this place  and hope you will grow to love it to.

Adventures in Motherhood: I have found that some of my favorite non travel blogs are those that give an honest look at parenting, where mom’s share their experiences in a thoughtful way.  I’m not a parenting expert.  I won’t give rigid advice, but I will  share some of my parenting adventures with you, and hope that  through comments you will do the same.  Want to read some blogs of this genre?  Check out Stark Raving Mad Mommy and San Diego Momma .

Coping with ADD and the Search for a Balanced Life: This past year it came to my attention (pun intended) that I may have Attention Deficit Disorder.  At first the news really through me for a loop as well as explaining a lot about who I am and some areas of life that have truly been a struggle for me  (being a first grade teacher, keeping a clean house,  establishing family routines and enforcing consequences).  As I have done more reading and thinking about ADD, I have become thankful for the gifts that this condition has given me including:  creativity, inspiration, impulsivity/spontaneity, a sense of humor, empathy, and the ability to hyperfocus on things that I am passionate about.    ADD has also presented many challenges and has caused disruptions and even grief in my own life and that of my family.

Therefore after my year of reflection, I am determined that 2011 will be a year of action.  I am going to dedicate myself to finally learning to be an organized parent and human being.  I will give my children the gift of routines and limits that they need to thrive.

I don’t know how much my adventures as a mom with ADD transforming her world will factor into this blog this year, but I just wanted to give you a heads up that perhaps  they will.

So my friends and readers, here’s what’s in store for 2011.  If you are among my travel blogging friends and colleagues I hope you’ll still stop by. As I said travel writing continues to be my passion, and you will still have much to read and explore.  For all my readers, if you like what you read, please pass it on to a friend who might appreciate it .  As someone who is easily distracted, social networking is a slippery slope I can not slide down, but I would love to have some new readers.  Although I mostly write this blog for myself, a few comments every once and a while make feel that I’m not the only one who reads it and that is something that truly makes me happy.

Happy Trails,


Trekaroo’s Spotlight Thursday is a great way to learn more about Family Travel.  They have a great post on Winter fun up this week.  Check it out!



Family Travel Tip Tuesday: Park Workout

April 27th, 2010 by bsmith | 1 Comment | Filed in Santa Cruz County Adventures, Travel Tips

Bridget and Jared's Park Workout

 A trip to the park with Jared today reminded me that park playgrounds are not just for kids.  Usually I just sit back on a bench and relax, but one of my goals for this new year is to get moving every day.  With appointments and homework supervision I knew I wasn’t going to find an opportunity to walk the dog or get some other form of exercise. 

There was not a judgemental grownup in sight at the deserted Leo Mullen park in Encinitas, so I seized the moment and started swinging on the swing.  Before I knew it I was climbing ladders, joggy across  the jumpy bridge and sliding down the slides.  My heart was beating fast, and I even worked up a little bit of a sweat.  Best of all Jared described this as “the best park day ever!”.  I like to think this had more to do with Mom’s participation and less to do with the ordinary play equipment pictured here:

Leo Mullen Park, Encinitas

 Looking back at my files, I realized this wasn’t the first time that the Smith grownups have enjoyed a park work out.  Here are some pictures of my husband Ken enjoying Louden Nelson Park during our Santa Cruz vacation.



Ken and Justin go for a Spin, Louden Nelson Park, Santa Cruz, Ca

 So next time you’re on vacation find a park and hit the monkey bars.  You’ll build some muscle and your kids will have a blast.

Happy Trails,



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Happy Trails, 2009!

December 31st, 2009 by bsmith | 4 Comments | Filed in Disneyland, Family Adventure Guidebooks, Family Travel

Fireworks Over Disneyland, 2009

Can it really be New Year’s Eve already?  Hard to believe that it has flown by so fast!  I’m thankful for this year filled with Smith Family Adventures and for you my faithful readers.  One of my resolutions for next year is to go back to bi-weekly posts.  This fall I returned to life as a college student, and it has taken some adjustment to discover a work/school/life balance.  Well actually I’m still searching…

The above picture is one of my favorites of 2009.  I captured it while leaving Disneyland before the end of the fireworks show to beat the crowds.  It was a magical moment and a small miracle to catch the shuttle without the lines.

This year I hope to develop another Family Adventure Guidebook, perhaps take an international trip with the kids, and enjoy some family camping adventures.  I hope you’ll join me!

Happy Trails,



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Photo Friday: Little League Victory at Legoland

September 25th, 2009 by bsmith | 8 Comments | Filed in Autumn Adventures, Legoland, theme parks, Travel Discounts
Chula Vista Little League Victory, Legoland, California
Chula Vista Little League World Series Victory, Legoland, California


One of the things that I love about Legoland is how they bring the real world into the park through their Miniland displays.  A few weeks ago, a team from Chula Vista in Southern San Diego County won the Little League World Series.   To honor this historic event, model builders installed a replica of the winning game at Miniland.  This is the first time that Legoland has immortalized local heroes.  How exciting this must be for the preteens on that team!

When I heard about this display, I had to share it with all of you.  The photos of the game were furnished by Legoland California and taken by the multi talented Lego Master Model Designer Gary McIntire who designed and constructed this amazing display.

Note the boys celebrating their victory with a dog pile.  I think that’s my favorite part :) .

If you would like to check out this amazing display, but don’t have the cash for full admission you have two options.

A) Enter my Family Adventure Guidebooks Birthday Giveaway to win four free Parkhopper Passes to Legoland.

B) Looking for a Legoland bargain? Visit to purchase tickets to Legoland’s Brick or Treat Celebration.  This fun after hours Halloween party starts at 5pm and includes a number of areas including Miniland so you can check out the display then enjoy some Halloween fun.  Night admission is only $25 or an all day admission is $55.  If you order online this includes a second visit free between November 1 and December 25th so this is really a great deal.

Activities include a dance party, costume contest, balloon artists, and roving musicians.  Kids get to come in costume and do some trick or treating.  Here’s a photo of  Justin, Destiny, and Jared enjoying some Halloween fun at Brick or Treat last year. 

Legoland Halloween

Brick or Treat only takes place a few nights in October, so act now to be sure you don’t miss out on the fun.

Happy Trails,


P.S. You can also check out my post on Uptake for more tips on how to save money on your theme park adventures.

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


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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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Family Adventure Guidebooks Birthday Giveaway-Legoland Passes!

September 17th, 2009 by bsmith | 47 Comments | Filed in Legoland

This week Family Adventure Guidebooks turned 1 !  How will we celebrate?  With a Legoland Giveaway of course!   Legoland California is providing  4 park hopper passes good for Legoland and the Sea Life Aquarium to the lucky winner.

Here are eight ways to enter:

1)Leave your favorite Family Adventure Guidebooks Blog Post below.

2) Read and Comment on my Uptake Post on how to save money on your theme park adventures.  Then leave a comment below to let me know.

3)Follow me on Twitter @bridgetasmith. Leave your Twitter name below.

4) Retweet this Giveaway.  Leave your Twitter name below.

5) Subscribe to my RSS Feed. Leave a comment below.

6) Follow me on Networked Blogs. Leave a comment below.

7) Mention this giveaway on your blog.  Leave a comment below.

8) Retweet the Uptake Post.  Leave your Twitter name below.

Please leave a separate comment for each action.  Make sure that you include your e-mail when filling out the comment form so I can contact you if you win!

Selection will be made by based on the number of comments received on Saturday October 3, 2009.

Good luck!  Look forward sharing many more years of family travel adventures.

Happy Trails,



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State Park Sunday: Sonoma State Historic Park

August 30th, 2009 by bsmith | 1 Comment | Filed in State Park Sundays

I thought I would continue the Sonoma theme of my recent post, by taking a moment to highlight Sonoma State Historic Park.  This area encompasses a number of significant historical landmarks including the Sonoma Mission and General Vallejo’s home.  Here you can delve into the rich history of early Calfornia including the northernmost California Mission, the birth place of the Bear Flag, and the home and army barracks of General Vallejo, Commanding General of Alta Calfornia.


What makes this historical area so special is it is located in the heart of town, directly across from the beautiful town square pictured in my Photo Friday post and right down the street from local businesses.  As a child I remember browsing the upscale thrift shops and getting ice cream cones.

 Sonoma State Historic Park is part of what gives Sonoma it’s charm and sense of history.  It is a fun and educational family outing to complement any Sonoma getaway.  My Auntie Carol who lives in nearby Yountville commented that the whole area had been hard hit by the loss of tourism due to the recession.  I sincerely hope that Sonoma State Historic Park not be included in the impending park closures.  Sonoma needs interesting and affordable activities to draw tourists to this beautiful region.

Unfortunately, I didn’t stop by the Sonoma State Historic Park on my last visit due to time limitations, I’ll be sure to stop by on a future visit to capture this beautiful piece of Calfornia History.

Happy Trails,



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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.


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,



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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,


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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