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Posts Tagged ‘Photo Friday’

Photo Friday: San Diego Zoo Galapagos Tortoise Exhibit Relaunch

September 17th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in San Diego Zoo, Uncategorized

 

New Galapagos Turtle Enclosure San Diego Zoo

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. 

SD Zoo Staff Share What's On the Menu

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! 

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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A Kid in a Candy Store: Cousin’s Candy Old Town San Diego

October 16th, 2009 by bsmith | 4 Comments | Filed in Photo Friday, San Diego Adventures

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Cousin's Candy Store, Old Town San Diego

Recently, my friend and I took the Coaster Train from Carlsbad to Old Town San Diego.  Between us we had five kids ranging in age from 13 months to 10 years old.  If you have taken that length of train ride you know, that the ride down is easy.  Everyone is filled with anticipation about the adventure ahead.  The ride home is another story however, everyone is tired and grouchy.  My solution to this thorny problem is Cousin’s Candy Shop in Old Town San Diego.  Take the kids to this marvelous store full of sweet delights, let them pick out one item, give them an opportunity to savor it on the train ride home.
My ten year old made an impressive photo essay out of his candy store visit.  Enjoy!

lollipop-bouqet

every-flavor-of-jelly-belly

a-halloween-favorite-2

yard-stick-bubble-gum

swirling-lollipops-2

famous-home-made-taffy

Happy Trails!

Bridget

P.S.  Family Adventure Guidebooks is happy to participate in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup.  For some delicious travel photos click here.

P.P.S. For information on San Diego Old Town Ghost Tours and other fun Halloween activities in San Diego check out my post on Uptake.com

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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
bill-fitz
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,

Bridget

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Photo Friday: Sonoma Plaza and Rose Garden

August 28th, 2009 by bsmith | 5 Comments | Filed in Photo Friday, Smith Family Adventures

 

 

 

sonoma-plaza-rose-garden2

Growing up in Marin County, one of my favorite family adventures was a Sonoma picnic.  We would north, and stop by the Vella Cheese factory to purchase some of their famous Dry Monterey Jack.  (This is not the Cheese Factory on the Sonoma Plaza.  My family always considered that one more of a tourist trap.)

My parents and I would head for the beautiful green park in the center of town, and enjoy our cheese with salami, sour dough, and apple cider.  Then, tummy full I would make friends at the playground or visit the rose garden.  The rose garden has a lovely assortment of colorful roses and a sun dial in the center that has fascinated generations of young visitors.

This summer I had a chance to recreate this childhood memory when we met my Auntie Carol in the same Sonoma park.  We arrived late in the day and didn’t have a chance to stop by the cheese factory, but my friend Joellen kindly found a gourmet deli that served delicious sandwiches.  The kids put on an elaborate performance on the outdoor stage, and had fun at the play ground.  They met a friendly laborador and worked hard to help him take a drink from the water fountain.

Helping Out Our New Friend

Our visit to this magical place brought back many joyful memories, and also gave me a chance to make some new ones.I enjoyed watching Justin, my ten year old transform himself into a goofy monster using the leaves he fund around the park.  It was a treat for Auntie Carol to see Justin for the first time in nine years and to meet the “new” additions to our family who are now ages four and five!

Wild Man Justin

 

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

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Photo Friday: Antique Steam Engine Museum, Vista California

August 14th, 2009 by bsmith | 6 Comments | Filed in Family Travel, Museums, Outdoor Adventures, Photo Friday, San Diego Adventures

Antique Gas Pump, Antique Steam Engine Museum, Vista

Every year Cub Scout Camp is held at the Antique Steam Engine Museum in Vista, California. As you will see, it’s not exactly a museum, more like a collection of old steam engines, farm equipment, model trains, etc.  Visiting always reminds me of  long quiet summer days visiting my uncle in Minnesota.  Old farm tractors and combines were scattered at the edge of the fields throughout his farm.  I loved to find a good book, and sit for a while just enjoying the peace and quiet.  Unfortunately at the Antique Steam Engine Museum you are not allowed to sit on the machines, but city kids won’t know what they’re missing.

Antique Frontloader, Antique Steam Engine Museum

 

Other features of this unique museum:

  • One of those fun metal merry go rounds that we enjoyed at the park when we were kids.  Jared spun on this for hours.
Old School Merry Go Round, Vista, Ca

Old Fashioned Merry Go Round, Vista, Ca

  • A short track  miniature railroad and an excellent model railroad museum

Rail Road Crossing

  • A one room school house.
  • A blacksmith shop.

Call to find out about special events.  Not every part of the museum is open every day.

Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup.  Check out some more great travel posts here.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Photo Friday: Lego Las Vegas

July 24th, 2009 by bsmith | 8 Comments | Filed in Las Vegas Adventures, Legoland, Photo Friday
Lego MGM Grand, Miniland Las Vegas

Lego MGM Grand, Miniland Las Vegas

Just got back from a trip from Vegas.  Since it was 112 degrees during most of our visit, I didn’t have a chance to snap many shots of the famous Strip.  Luckily Legoland has me covered.   Here is the Lego version of our Las Vegas adventures:

Lego Excalibur, Miniland Las Vegas

Lego Excalibur, Miniland Las Vegas

Lego New York New York, Miniland Las Vegas

Lego New York New York, Miniland Las Vegas

Lego Treasure Island, Miniland Las Vegas

Lego Treasure Island, Miniland Las Vegas

 We tried to see the Treasure Island sirens show when we were in Vegas.  The crowds were so huge we could only catch a glimpse.  Probably a good thing since this show is decidedly PG-18.  Those sirens wear some skimpy lingerie!  I think we will be sticking to viewing the Legoland version in the future.

I have a blog post about family friendly Las Vegas pools on Uptake this week.  Check it out.

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

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Photo Friday: Shark Tank Pool (Golden Nugget, Las Vegas)

May 15th, 2009 by bsmith | 8 Comments | Filed in Family Travel, Las Vegas Adventures, Road Trips
The Smith Boys Enjoy The Shark Tank Pool, Golden Nugget, Las Vegas

The Smith Boys Enjoy The Shark Tank Pool, Golden Nugget, Las Vegas

Las Vegas is know for its amazing pools.  I’ve only had a chance to see and/or experience about four of them.  From what I’ve seen so far ,The Golden Nugget should definately be on your must stay list if you value a fun, kid friendly pool. 

 

Destiny Gets Splashing at the Golden Nugget Pool, Las Vegas

Destiny Gets Splashing at the Golden Nugget Pool, Las Vegas

This lovely pool is completely shallow all the away around.  It encircles a giant fish tank filled with large colorful fish and even a few sharks.  A highlight for the adults and older kids is a water slide that passes directly through the tank.  It is transparent in the part that goes through.  I found myself going so fast that it was hard to see.  My ten year old managed to slow down enough to look around and even make funny faces as he went down.  There is a height requirement for the waterslide.  Also, your little one must be a good enough swimmer to exit the pool by his or her self after they splash down.

Ken Reacts to the Golden Nugget Waterslide

Ken Reacts to the Golden Nugget Waterslide

Other great ammenities in the pool area are: pool lounge chairs to cool off on a hot Las Vegas day, lots of comfy cushioned lounge chairs to hang out on, and a hot tub that is shaped like a flower.  Your family can hunker down in one petal while the couple on their honeymoon can hide out in the other. 

One thing to be aware  of  is that this pool can get busy.  During the day it was very crowed and difficult to find a lounge chair for our stuff.   Justin got tired of waiting  in line for the water slide.  When we visited early evening it was almost deserted.   We enjoyed our “private pool”. 

 I purchased life jackets for Jared and Destiny that they wore throughout their Golden Nugget  pool adventure. The jackets gave me piece of mind and gave my preschoolers the freedom to explore  the shallow water.

Jareds Ready For a Swim at The Golden Nugget Pool, Las Vegas

Jared is Ready For a Swim at The Golden Nugget Pool, Las Vegas

Congratulations to my friend Debbie at  Delicious Baby who just had her third baby.  She is so organized that she managed to get her Photo Friday Travel Blog Roundup up the day after she gave birth.  Reward her efforts by checking out great the great travel photos from bloggers around the world.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Photo Friday:Butchart in Bloom (Victoria, BC)

May 7th, 2009 by bsmith | 8 Comments | Filed in Business Travel, Canada Adventures, Spring Adventures
A Sunken Garden Peek, Butchart Gardens Victoria BC

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

My Favorite Flower, The Forget Me Not Was Scattered Throughout the Garden

Happy Trails, Butchart Gardens, Victoria BC

Happy Trails, Butchart Gardens, Victoria BC

For more great travel photos check out the Photo Friday Travel Blog Roundup @ Delicious Baby .

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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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Photo Friday: Nana and Baba’s Anza-Borrego Adventure

March 20th, 2009 by bsmith | 5 Comments | Filed in San Diego Day Trips
Nana and Baba Among the Wild Flowers at Anza-Borrego

Nana and Baba Among the Wild Flowers at Anza-Borrego

My kids are very lucky in that most of their Grandmas and Grandpas live near by.  My parents, affectionately referred to by the grand kids as Nana and Baba recently joined us in Carlsbad.  Even though my mom had been a Northern California girl all her live she has become acclimated some what to Southern California life.  Since they are retired they have the chance to take a break from watching grandkids and enjoy their own grown up adventures.  They fill me in on the beautiful places that I can not necessarily visit with small children, like the gardens at the Self-Realization Temple in Encinitas.  (My brood is apparently too loud for such a quiet, meditative locale.)   I’m keeping a list though.   As soon has these wild ones are tamed, we will be heading off on some of these great adventures.

Last week, Nana and Baba’s friend Karen took them to Anza-Borrego State Park.  Every March visitors are rewarded with a brief season of blooming wild flowers.  The rains were plentiful this winter and wildflowers continue to bloom in this area of the desert.   The location of the flowers is ever changing, however.  Check the Anza Borrego website for an up to date wildflower report http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=638.  The visitor center which is staffed by local volunteers is also supposed to be very helpful, but also very busy during wild flower season.

I Loved the Colors on this Big Fat Caterpillar

I Loved the Colors on this Big Fat Caterpillar

Nana and Baba had a few set backs along the way.  At first the flowers were no where to be seen.  They were ready to head home when my Dad noted a few cars turning up a road.  They followed the road to the end and were  rewarded by a burst of color.   Karen’s favorite restaurant was booked solid, but they consulted with a local realtor and had an elegant lunch at a restaurant next to a golf course.  Just goes to show that a good adventure requires patience and creativity.

Flower season is almost over, so we may need to wait another year to try this adventure.  If you are free this weekend, the website reports that there are still some beautiful flowers tucked in the valleys.  If you have big kids who don’t mind the drive, it might still be worth the drive. Don’t delay, the flowers will be gone before you know it.

BREAKING NEWS!  Now we all have one more reason to take a family adventure to Anza-Borrego.  Dennis Avery, of the Avery label family has erected gigantic Ricardo Breceda sculptures of dinosaurs and other early inhabitants of the desert on his property.  Now that is art even my nine year old, Justin can appreciate!   Thanks to San Diego Travel Tips http://www.sandiegotraveltips.com/ for alerting me to this fun family adventure opportunity.  If you are ready to explore the quirky side of San Diego…these ladies have some excellent suggestions.  Sign up today!

The flowers in these pictures were so beautiful I just had to share them with you.  If you want to enjoy a multitude of beautiful travel photos, head over to my friend Delicious Baby’s website today at http://www.deliciousbaby.com/journal/2009/mar/19/photo-friday-push-boats-luxembourg-gardens/.  She is highlighting a fun Paris tradition and also features links to a number of beautiful travel photos from all over the world.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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