Boo Hoo. I’m not ready for 2011 to come to an end. It’s been a great year.
I thought I’d close out the year with 11 favorite things of 2011.
Did you do something wonderful in 2011? I would love to know what we should plan for in 2012 so please do share! 🙂
In no particular order…
1. Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland
2011 marked our first visit to Mickey’s Halloween Party, which required its own special $49 ticket (no passes allowed). The park shuts down to anyone without the Halloween party ticket, which means it was less crowded than I could have imagined. There were lots of free trick-or-treating stations throughout (they were shoveling candy at us even as we left the park!), a fun, all-ages dance party, special “villain” meet and greet opportunities and, best of all, little-to-no-waiting on all rides. We are making this a family tradition!
2. Daily Deals
Groupon, Living Social, Circle Buzz, Plum District and Juice in the City were a few of my favorite things in 2011 because they afforded me the opportunity to do so much more with my kids than I would otherwise have been able to do. I especially loved buying the family memberships to museums (Chula Vista Nature Center, San Diego History, Museum of Making Music…)
3. Pennypickle’s Workshop (The Temecula Children’s Museum)
If I didn’t have a friend in Temecula with a daughter the same age as Mallory, I might have missed out on this most unique children’s museum. I can’t count the number of times my kids have asked to go back, which is interesting to me since they are really a bit young to completely “get” it. The museum’s focus is on science and experiments, but it’s funky and fun for all ages, and my kids have literally asked to go back more than they’ve asked to go to Disneyland.
4. San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum (formerly the Escondido Children’s Museum)
When The New Children’s Museum opened, I imagined that it was going to be the kind of hands-on awesomeness that the former Escondido Children’s Museum actually is. I will say that the new location of this museum is not fully operational, so it is less wonderful at this moment than it was the last time we were there. But when the outdoor area opens in the spring, it should be completely fabulous again.
5. The Royal Fairytale Princess Camp
This was the first year we let Mallory attend a camp, and what a wonderful choice we made. There were mini-manicures, dancing, crafts, stuffed animal making, tea parties and more. Just the type of sweet, girly-fun we were looking for!
6. Zoomars Petting Zoo
For this one I can thank the daily deal companies again because, while I had heard of Zoomars in San Juan Capistrano, it was unlikely that I was going to make a special trip there just to pet some animals. However, when several daily deal companies starting offering discounted tickets, and when our favorite San Diego petting zoo closed (Victoria’s Gardens), we headed north. The visit was so worth it for the mini-train ride, the pony rides, the playground and petting zoo that I bought the deal the next time it crossed my inbox and, we want to go again! The part my kids enjoy most is the bunny and guinea pig corral where there must be 100 little animals hopping around for them to cuddle with and feed. My advice to you…get there early before those animals are stuffed and weary of being man-handled. I know several families who enjoy taking the train from San Diego to San Juan Capistrano and then staying for a lunch at Ruby’s Diner.
7. Park in the Park @ Petco Park
Parents enjoy the vibe of a professional sports events while the kiddos enjoy the freedom of running around the park area just outside the stadium, rolling down the hills and hitting balls with the help of Padres staffers. A limited quantity of these tickets are sold for each home game, so get yours early in the 2012 baseball season.
We aren’t sure how we managed to live in the East County for five years before discovering that just a half hour away, near the Viejas Outlet Center, lies a winter wonderland called Mount Laguna. Thanks to our playgroup buddies, we made a spontaneous trip up there after a particularly rainy and chilly week and, voila, see for yourself!
9. Feed the Ducks, Ride the Trolley, Go to the Beach
There are a lot of free or cheap things to do in San Diego that thrill kids as much as anything else. It’s one of my personal goals for 2012 to enjoy more of the simple things our fine city has to offer.
10. Circus Vargas
I really never had an interest in going to the circus with my children because I’ve been completely spoiled by Cirque du Soleil and find every other show to pale in comparison. But I’m so glad that we went to Circus Vargas, and we will definitely be back in 2012. There were motorcycle stunts, trapeze artistry, balancing acts and some of the best clown comedy. While it wasn’t as polished as Cirque du Soleil, Circus Vargas did a fantastic job of entertaining.
11. Fancy Nancy Tea Party
Each year the Junior League of Orange County hosts a super fun Christmas shopping extravaganza at the OC Fairgrounds. At this year’s children’s event, the illustrator and the author of the Fancy Nancy book series were the special guests at a Fancy Nancy Tea Party. It was stupendous, fantastic and fabulous for the kids. The best part of the event for me? Meeting the ladies behind the series and, now, working with them to bring a Fancy Nancy tea party to San Diego in 2012! More details to follow, but let me just say, it will be splendiferous!
Happy 2012 Everyone!