Posts Tagged ‘free activities’
A Day at the Ballet
Did I mention that I used to want to be a professional ballet dancer?
I started dancing at age 3 and continued until about age 16, dancing several years with the New Orleans Ballet Company. I envisioned my daughter following in my pointe-shoe footsteps, but she prefers to enjoy ballet from the comfort of the audience.
No problem! We are both looking forward to the August 16th performance of Fairy Tales in the Park by San Diego Civic Youth Ballet (SDCYB). SDCYB has been the resident classical ballet school in Balboa Park since 1945, and this summer marks the 6th annual performance of the whimsical, interactive dance event that engages both young audiences and families, introducing them to the art of ballet through familiar stories they know and love.
Fairy Tales in the Park merges the beauty of ballet with the excitement of unforgettable stories. This one-day event features free outdoor activities in “Fairy Tale Village”; a magical journey through an “Enchanted Forest” theater lobby; and staged excerpts of beloved fairy tales. This year’s featured fairy tales include “Cinderella”, “Hansel and Gretel”, “The Emperor and The Nightingale”, and a sneak peek of the full-length spring ballet, “The Sleeping Beauty”.
Mallory and I will enter a magical land of enchantment where fairy tales come alive on the historic Casa del Prado stage. The performance will be professionally narrated and, afterward, we will visit “Fairy Tale Village” for FREE interactive activities like…
Cinderella’s Closet: Dress-up, dream, and find your own inner princess or superhero with the Fairytale Fashionista.
Coronation Station: Create your own royal crown with San Diego Public Library, as well as sign up for a library card.
Rapunzel’s Salon: Let down your hair and receive a special hair-do by the stylists from Pigtails & Crewcuts.
Sing-Along Square: Make music and create a take-home instrument with Nightingale Music School.
Village Depot: Take the reigns as conductor of moving model trains with San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Knight’s Corner: Learn about chivalry and meet modern day knights from Chivalry Today.
Providing young people with the opportunity to study ballet, regardless of their means or background, is an integral part of San Diego Civic Youth Ballet’s mission. Fairy Tales in the Park helps raise support for the school’s scholarship program for the upcoming school year; last year’s Fairy Tales in the Park helped SDCYB provide over $25,000 in financial aid to families in need in 2013-2014.
If you’d like to join us for a magical day of fun and fairy tales on August 16 in Balboa Park simply comment below with the name and age of your child. One lucky mom’s guide reader will receive two tickets to the 3 p.m. performance.
Shows begin at 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm, and tickets are just $10 (General Admission). “Fairy Tales Village” is open from 12pm-5pm.
WHEN: Saturday, August 16, 2014 with shows at 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm.
WHERE: The Casa del Prado Theater in Balboa Park at 1800 Village Place, San Diego, CA, 92101.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Tickets can be purchased at www.sdcyb.org. All tickets are $10, General Admission.
A Few of our Favorite Things/summer edition
These are a few of our favorite summer things.
San Diego is wonderful all year long, but some things only happen in the summer or are better with the warmer weather like our splash pads and spray grounds.
How are you spending the summer? Whatever you do may it be safe and extra memorable!
April Showers You With Family Fun
This coming weekend is Kids’ Day at the Carlsbad Flower Fields. My friends who have gone say, while a lot of fun for the kids, it can be a real zoo on kids’ day. I’m thinking the live music and yoga day during the last weekend in April is more my speed.
On April 13th the Mom’s Guide will have a booth at the Hullabaloo Family Festival. With live music and lots of hands-on activities including my favorite Art Soup creativity station, this is always a wonderful way to spend the day.
The weekend after Hullabaloo fest, we’re hitting the Lakeside Rodeo. Sure, it will be stinky, and it may even be hot, but I think my kids will get an even bigger kick out of cowboys riding bucking broncos than they get out of men driving over giant dirt hills in monster trucks, and that’s saying something. 🙂
When we need a break from the rodeo action, we’ll take on the more relaxed Lady Bug Day at the San Diego Botanic Garden. Although we didn’t spot any lady bugs the last time we were there, it was a fun outing with lady bug crafts, free flower arranging and a beautiful day in the gardens.
Have a Fancy Nancy lover in your home? Robin Preiss Glasser, the delightful illustrator of the popular book series will be in town on April 28th for a fancy adventure, including a book reading and parade through Del Mar.
Last but not least, it’s CELEBRATE CARLSBAD DAY at Legoland on Saturday, April 27. This 6th annual event benefits the Carlsbad Educational Foundation. Participants can purchase admission to Legoland for only $20 and can snag $7 Sea Life Aquarium tickets. For more information and to purchase tickets by phone, call the Carlsbad Educational Foundation Office at 760-929-1555.
Avoiding the Tourist Trap
A reader from Michigan recently contacted me asking for a blog post on the free and low cost outdoor things to do in San Diego instead of just the “tourist trap” attractions and museums.
I love the topic, but need to clarify that the attractions and museums we write about are not at all tourist traps. When we buy annual passes, family memberships or take advantage of one of the numerous special promotions that occur each year, I feel we get MORE than our money’s worth of entertainment and education. Our museums and attractions are awesome and are a major reason why I think San Diego is the best place to raise kids.
However, I am happy to dedicate today’s post to the free and low cost outdoor things San Diego has to offer, especially for those moms like our Michigan reader who might not be aware of just how much America’s Finest City has to offer families.
First, I’ll state the obvious: BEACHES
Tide pooling, sea glass collecting, sand castle building.
Learn to sail, learn to paddle board, learn to swim, surf, snorkel or scuba dive.
Watch the whales, the dolphins or sea lions. Watch our gorgeous sunsets and try to catch the elusive green flash.
We have found that the bay is best for little kids. Mission Bay with its large park and fire pits is super popular for parties, especially when you’re craving s’mores. Our favorite bay spot is Fanuel Park in Pacific Beach, which is more of a neighborhood hangout than tourist attraction.
When visitors think San Diego, they may not be thinking lakes, but our lovely lakes are terrific for picnics, duck feeding, fishing and paddle boating. Santee Lakes is our favorite with its playground, water sprayground, fishing and family-friendly events like the upcoming Spring Eggstravaganza.
A few years ago Santee Lakes built waterfront cabins, and we’ve thought many times about spending a weekend in one. If cabin camping sounds like fun for your family, take a look now, because these cabins sell out months in advance!
San Diego’s nature reserves and lagoons offer family fun in the form of hiking, exploring and bird watching. Many families enjoy volunteering for lagoon clean up and restoration days. It’s a great way to enjoy San Diego’s natural beauty while giving back to our beautiful community.
HIKING AND BIKING
While not always kid-friendly, San Diego offers numerous opportunities for hiking and biking including Balboa Park, Cowles Mountain (which I can see from my backyard!) and Torrey Pines State Reserve, which is gorgeous. Our kids are just at the right age to give Torrey Pines a try, so it’s on the list for spring time family outings.
The boardwalks through Pacific Beach and Coronado are fun for walking, strolling, scooters and bikes as are the paths at Lake Murray and Lake Hodges. Mission Trails Regional Park is a really nice place to hike with kids, plus they offer guided tours, art classes, nature study classes and other special events throughout the year. The annual Explore Mission Trails Day is coming up on May 18th.
Check out this month’s article in San Diego Magazine for more great outdoor ideas.
San Diego has parks on the beach, parks next to lakes, parks in neighborhoods, urban parks, toddler-specific parks…we have no shortage of parks for sure. In addition to our lovely neighborhood parks, we love Fanuel Park in Pacific Beach, the park at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, Kellogg Park at La Jolla Shores.
SDplaygrounds.com is far from a perfect website, but it’s the best I’ve found to help families find the perfect park. The mom who created it doesn’t even live here anymore, but she and her toddler sons spent many months researching and recording all of the parks listed on the site. A really cool feature is that visitors to the site can add their own updates and photos.
It was another beautiful day in San Diego. Did you do something outdoors that was free and fun? Share it here!
Check it out!
It’s the next chapter in San Diego’s public library system; the public preview of its new Central Library, and a free family street festival happening this Saturday. Stop by the new library, located at 330 Park Blvd., anytime between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. for your sneak peek. Lots of fun activities are planned, especially for fans of the Fancy Nancy book series.
While the library festival is free, Fancy Nancy illustrator, Robin Preiss Glasser, has donated ten separate ORIGINAL mini Fancy Nancy Paintings, which she will sign and personalize for $125 each. All of the money from the sale of these special collector items will be donated. Other fabulous Fancy Nancy activities include:
- Fancy Nancy hair design courtesy of Little Locks children’s hair salon. For a $5 suggested donation, you can receive a wristband (at the Adventures by the Book booth) for a fun Fancy Nancy hair design.
- Fancy clothes courtesy of Mon Petit Chateau, which is generously donating a portion of all sales. At 2:30pm, Mon Petit Chateau will be conducting a not-to-be-missed Fancy Nancy fashion show.
- Robin Preiss Glasser will be signing books and her paintings at the Adventures by the Book booth from 2:00-3:00pm and again from 4:00-6:00pm, so stop by with your fancy children to see her and have her sign your books. Books will be available for sale at the Yellow Book Road booth nearby.
- At 3:30pm, Robin will lead a short mini-Parade around the area, and thru the first floor of the new library (this is a sneak peak as it is not open to the public until Monday), ending at the Adventures by the Book booth where she will sign books until the event closes at 6:00pm.
For more information about the family-friendly events planned for this weekend, please visit the San Diego Public Library website.
Children & Nature in San Diego
Last weekend’s beautiful weather has me thinking about the bounty of spring events San Diego offers. You don’t need your own garden to inspire a love of nature in your children.
There are many wonderful ways to introduce kids to gardening, farm-to-table cooking, conservationism and the cycle of life in the next couple of months. We’re planning to attend next weekend’s open house at Olivewood Gardens, an indoor-outdoor classroom for children and adults that provides science based environmental education lessons, hands-on gardening, and hands-on cooking to students. We’ll be back at Olivewood on March 8th for hands-on cooking demonstrations and children’s garden activities at the the Kids in the Kitchen event, produced with the help of the Junior League of San Diego.
Nothing quite says spring in San Diego like acres of rolling hills covered in orange, yellow, pink and red blooms. The Carlsbad Flower Fields will open on March 1st and will celebrate Kids’ Day on March 30th. The season lasts a quick 6-8 weeks before the flowers die and the park closes so mark your calendar!
The Japanese Friendship Garden cherry blossoms are also blooming, just in time for their 9th annual Cherry Blossom Festival on March 1st.
On March 8th Alta Vista Gardens presents Kids in the Garden, “Farmer Jones” will lead children in a fun-filled day of learning about planting and eating an edible garden.
The San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy presents a Spring Egg-ucation at its March 29th Family Day. Kids will get an up-close look at all kinds of critters that hatch from eggs. Families will discover an egg-themed Trivia Hunt around the Nature Center Loop Trail.
The Water Conservation Garden celebrates the opening of its new Butterfly Pavilion with a Butterfly Festival on Saturday, April 5th. Participants can learn how to create a butterfly garden, get up close with larvae, caterpillars and butterflies, march in the pollinator parade and more.
Also on April 5th is one of our favorite annual events, Lady Bug Day at the San Diego Botanic Garden. Kids search for lady bugs, make lady bug crafts and create beautiful lady bug-attracting floral arrangements with the help of garden volunteers. It’s a sweet way to spend the day.
If these events are not enough to satisfy your appetite for earthy-outings, spring is also U-pick strawberry season. Yum!
Dive-In Movie Time!
Family Cinema Under the Stars
It’s “dive-in” movie time at the DoubleTree Golf Resort in Rancho Penasquitos. Families are invited to enjoy complimentary access to the hotel’s pool and hot tub every Friday and Saturday through August and stay ’til the sun goes down for a special screening of a family-friendly movie.
Last night the kids swam their hearts out. Hubby and I were serenaded by live music as we relaxed in the hot tub. And we all enjoyed yummy munchies from the pool’s bar & grill.
At 7:30 we headed to the golf course to watch The Lion King.
What a great way to spend the evening!
Check out this list of upcoming movies to plan your family outing.
July 13 – RIO
July 14 – Toy Story 3
July 20 – Shrek Forever After
July 21 – Cars 2
July 27 – Puss in Boots
July 28 – Tangled
The live music starts at 5:30 p.m and movies begin at 7:30 p.m. No outside food or beverages, but there really is something for everyone at the pool grill from salads to chicken tenders, from water to mixed drinks.
Admission is free, but space is limited so call the hotel at 858.485.4170 or email Alena.Kortis@hilton.com to RSVP.
FREE Demo Day with Super Soccer Stars!
Saturday, September 20th
Carmel Mission Park – (Corner of Carmel Country and Carmel Mission Road)
9:00 – 9:40am: 2-3 year olds
9:45 – 10:30am: 3-young 4 year olds
10:35 – 11:25am: Older 4-5 year olds
9:45 – 10:45am: 5-7 year olds
10:50 – 11:50am: 8-10 year olds
Spaces are limited, so be sure to save your spot!
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 619.577.4009!
Super Soccer Stars teaches soccer skills to children 2 and older in a fun, non-competitive and educational environment. Through our age-specific curriculum, we use soccer to nurture, build self-confidence and develop teamwork. Low child-to-coach ratios and positive reinforcement ensure that each child improves at his or her own pace while having a blast!
Children’s Physicians Medical Group (CPMG), along with the SDSU Aztec Women’s Basketball Team, presents Girls & Women in Sports Day, Saturday, March 1st, starting at 12:30pm at Viejas Arena. This fun, annual event brings out all the lady Aztec athletic teams to show San Diego girls (and boys!) what college sports are all about. Participants get to stay for the FREE Women’s Basketball game vs. Fresno State at 2pm, and autographs from the team postgame.
To get your tickets, send your name, mailing address and how many tickets you’d like to email@example.com by Wednesday, February 26th. We’ll mail your tickets to you! Sports teams, Girl Scout troops and other groups are encouraged to attend. The tickets are free courtesy of Aztec Sports and CPMG.
Give A Mom a Break
If you’re a mom, you probably drive a family-friendly car like a mini van or SUV, you’re probably a master at multi-tasking and you’d probably like more breaks than you usually get.
Wondering what this has to do with anything?
Well take a look at this picture. It’s me having my new Honda Pilot serviced at DCH Honda. More precisely, it’s my back being massaged by a Simply Spa staff member, while I’m waiting for an oil change…multi-tasking, taking a break…yes! This dealership actually takes the pain out of routine car maintenance by offering free chair massages and free manicures while you wait!
I love my new Pilot because it’s spacious, gets pretty good gas mileage, keeps the kids entertained on longer trips with a backseat DVD player and keeps us all feeling safe driving on the highways of San Diego.
And I love that we bought it at DCH Honda because my life got just a little bit easier by doing so. Every Tuesday the dealership offers free chair massages to its customers. Every Wednesday we can take advantage of the free manicure service provided inside the dealership. Every day there’s free wireless service and two nice computers to use if you didn’t bring yours. And for the life of my car, I can get a free car wash at this dealership. Get the car washed, get a manicure. DCH Honda knows how to give a mom a break!
What: DCH Honda of Lemon Grove
Long before PETCO started its monthly “Meet the Critters” program where families can see, pet, hold and even feed the animals that are for sale, my kids and I were regular visitors of the retailer.
To preschoolers and toddlers, PETCO is like a little zoo where they get to see amazing creatures up close like swimming turtles, tarantula spiders, furry chinchillas and, of course, aquarium fish, parakeets and adoptable cats. They are always as excited about our free PETCO trips as they are with our visits to Seaworld, the Wild Animal Park and the Zoo. Kids just love animals, and it doesn’t seem to matter to mine what kind they are as long as they can see them up close.
So of course we were excited to attend the “Meet the Guinea Pigs” event at PETCO in June. Instead of just pressing their noses to the glass guinea pig cage, they pet and held one for the very first time. Although they were a bit squirmy at first, the guinea pigs settled into comfortable cuddle positions and even made little happy noises. I learned that they live a lot longer than hamsters and mice and that guinea pigs are more kid-friendly pets since they are not prone to biting and are not likely to break the skin if they do bite. Good to know since we had talked about getting the kids a hamster.
While there’s no chance of us purchasing any kind of reptile, we’re all looking forward to the July 17th “Reptile Rally” including reptile feeding time and “meet the bearded dragon.”
Wanna meet the critters too?
What: Reptile Rally
When: July 17th
11am-Reptile Feeding Time
11:30 Habitat set up seminar
12pm: Meet and Greet with the Bearded Dragon
Where: Participating PETCO locations
Great Museums for Kids in San Diego
February is Museum Month in San Diego when 44 local museums offer half-price admission. Families can visit one of the 14-area Macy’s stores to pick up free Museum Month Passes and redeem them at one of the participating museums for up to four half-priced admissions. What a great way to check out some of our county’s incredible museums! A great time to visit the Natural History Museum’s new Real Pirates exhibit, or the New Children’s Museum FEAST exhibit or the Birch Aquarium Sea Days special event.
Of course I love Museum Month, but each year there are a number of opportunities to visit some terrific family-friendly museums and attractions for free or at heavy discounts. We loved being on the USS Midway for FREE last Friday to celebrate the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies.
Several Midway attractions were open to the public, in addition to special events like free ice skating, snow play area and curling demonstrations. We had a blast, and, if we were not already members, we would have likely purchased a membership.
Speaking of memberships, I sincerely believe they are the best deals available. We scored our Midway membership at 1/2 price ($45 for the whole family!) during last October’s special promotion. But we thought it was worth it at full price, as is the RH Fleet membership at $89 for two adults and up to six children. My kids started with the Fleet’s Kid City and are now old enough to enjoy the other permanent and visiting exhibits.
If you don’t make it out in February, there’s always Residents Free Tuesdays to help you explore some of Balboa Park’s top attractions. And each October many attractions and museums are open complimentary to children during Kids Go Free Month. Through our county and city library systems, families can “check out” a two week membership to places like the RH Fleet, The Children’s Discovery Museum, the New Children’s Museum and the San Diego Museum of Art through the circulating memberships program.
We have the most wonderful opportunities to teach our children thanks to San Diego’s numerous museums and educational attractions. Get out and enjoy them!
This exhibition uses sophisticated animatronics and imaginative displays to explain the good, the bad and the downright ugly about runny noses, body odor and much more.
With displays involving burps, farts, digestion, vomit and a display of the stinkiest bodily odors you can imagine, it brought hours of snorts giggles and the request to go back the very next day.
Grossology opened during the last week of May, which happens to be the same week that The Fleet kicked off its new “Check It Out” program. Families that use the Check It Out pass enjoy the benefits of annual membership for two weeks including free admission for two adults and up to six children under 18 and discounts for IMAX film tickets, in the museum gift shop, on digital and planetarium shows and in the cafe.
Each City of San Diego’s 36 libraries has two Check It Out passes, and they are as easy to get as a library book. If the passes are checked out, the library will put you on the waiting list, and you’ll receive an email or phone call when your pass is ready for pickup.
If you’re looking for something fun and educational to do with your children this summer, be sure to check out The Fleet. Grossology will be on display until January 1st of 2013, and the Check It Out program will be in place thanks to the support of ScholarShare, for the next 24 months. Added bonus: you can gross out dad this Father’s Day for FREE! Dads get in free on the 17th 🙂
Happy FREE Birthday Party to YOU!
This year, “Bean’s” birthday came right in the middle of us moving to a new house. I was so busy with packing boxes, cleaning and loading everything up that I didn’t exactly do much planning for his big day. Luckily, I didn’t really have to because he still had a super fun party thanks to IKEA!
Ikea San Diego hosts FREE birthday parties for kids 10 and under, on the first Tuesday of every month. How awesome is that? All I had to do was call a few weeks before, and put his name on the list. I will say that I did have a little trouble reaching them on the phone at first, but a quick communication on Twitter fixed that right up.
The actual party was a blast! It took place on Bean’s real birthday so that made it even more special. He was allowed to invite two friends to come along as well as two adults. The party is held in the restaurant area of the store. Kids ate for free and everyone had free drinks. Petals the Clown did a wonderful job hosting the party. She put on a fabulous magic show, twisted animal balloons and passed out birthday cake. She painted all the kids’ faces with her impressive artistic painting skills, and then each birthday kid got a special gift from Ikea! I was pleasantly surprised with the level of thought and detail that went into the party. The gifts given were all age appropriate and fun – there were a variety of toys such as stuffed animals for the babies and toddlers, train sets for the younger children and art supplies for the older ones. Bean got a paint set, which was perfect for him since he loves to paint pictures. He absolutely loved the party and Pinga, my two year old daughter had a great time as well!
I really couldn’t believe that we got a party this fun and well planned out for FREE! I can see us making a tradition out of this. If you’re stumped for what to do for your child’s next birthday, consider a party at Ikea.
Location: IKEA San Diego restaurant
Date: The first Tuesday of every month
Call (619) 563-IKEA ext. 1330 to reserve your place at the party
Visit IKEA for more information on the birthday parties.
Hey Baby, What’s Your Sign?
If you gave birth to a baby this year, The Year of the Dragon on the Chinese calendar, then he or she will have lots of energy, be honest, brave and trusting…according to Chinese astrology.
My kids love knowing their Chinese zodiac sign, and I’m excited to take them to the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum next week when the museum staff will present an interactive storytelling of how the Chinese zodiac came to be, with the kids taking on the roles of the different animals. There will also be a coloring activity, families can tour the museum, and, in back of the museum, is a spacious courtyard with a koi pond, where you can eat a self-provided lunch or snack.
The hour-long zodiac event is planned for Saturday, February 25 at 11:30 am. The museum is located at 404 Third Avenue (at J Street) in the Gaslamp area downtown.
The only cost is $2 per adult; children 12 and under are free. RSVP is required by February 21st for the event, but the museum is open to the public, Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30a.m. until 4 p.m. and on Sundays from Noon until 4p.m.
To RSVP please email your name and number of children to SanDiegoMom@hotmail.com. Hope to see you there!
I Love a Parade!
I grew up in New Orleans, home of Mardi Gras & Jazz Fest. So I really love a great community event.
This year I’m taking the kids to check out a few San Diego festivals and parades, including…
The 30th Annual San Diego Chinese New Year Food and Cultural Fair
It’s the year of the dragon, and this year’s Chinese New Year Food & Cultural Festival will take place downtown at Third Ave and J Street on Saturday, January 28 and Sunday January 29 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The free celebration will include lion and dragon dances, martial arts demonstrations, traditional Chinese music performances, folk dances, taiko drumming and a wide variety of food and craft vendors. Children will be able to make lanterns and masks in the Children Craft Area, and march in the Lantern Parade to the main stage at 2:00 pm each day. A full schedule of events can be found at the Fair website.
San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Festival in Balboa Park
Doesn’t everyone feel Irish on St. Patrick’s Day? Saturday, March 17 will mark the 32nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival including marching bands, floats, police and fire department units, the Emerald Societies, clowns, equestrian entries, bagpipe contingents, dancing groups and more.
The Parade starts at 10:30 am from Sixth Avenue and Juniper Street, and the party continues into the afternoon inBalboa Park. Green beer anyone?
Gator by the Bay Zydeco, Blues & Crawfish Festival
This close-to-my-heart event takes place each mother’s day weekend in Spanish Landing Park at Harbor Island. It’s the real deal with 8,000 pounds of crawfish and authentic music from the bayou. There’s kid-friendly food and activities as well, making this festival a fun outing for the whole family.
KidsFest San Diego
After a one year hiatus, I was glad to see that KidsFest is returning to NTC Promenade in Point Loma with its messy zone, make-and-take creation station, build it construction square and sweet studio for young chefs. KidsFest is scheduled for June 9th – 12th.
It’s a Gym! It’s a Playground! It’s a Spa! It’s a…
However, step inside San Diego’s most unique mommy & me play space, and you’ll quickly discover that Jungle Gym & Cafe offers as many goodies for you as it does for your kiddos.
During the hour-long instruction, I had the chance to answer emails using the Jungle Gym’s complimentary WiFi while savoring a wonderful lemon sorbet served in the biggest lemon I’d ever seen.
This afternoon the kids will enjoy a 25-minute yoga class while I kick back and catch up on my reading.
Then they will play with their classmates under the supervision of the Jungle Gym staff while my friend and I take an hour-long yoga class of our own. Adult fitness classes are offered before the Jungle Gym & Cafe’s indoor play space is open and after it closes, so the only children inside belong to the moms taking the classes.
Next week I will take advantage of their free childcare again when I get a pumpkin peel in the newly opened med-spa facilities. There’s also acupuncture and they’ll soon offer massage.
I know it sounds like I go to The Jungle Gym & Cafe to get a break from my kids and to take advantage of some mommy pampering and stress relief. That is true!
But I also have a lot of fun with my babies while we’re there playing badminton and air hockey together.
Join me at The Jungle Gym & Cafe (and spa!) this month. Any two classes are free, and I’ll cover your childcare for up to two kids. Just check out the fitness schedule and tell me which classes you’d most like to take. 5 winners will be selected this week!
Lowe’s Build & Grow For Kids
This is one of the best things our family has done together lately…so simple, as much fun for Mallory and me as it was for Daddy and Gage, and completely free.
The Saturday before the Indianapolis 500, we went to a Lowe’s Build and Grow kids’ clinic to build our own race car out of wood.
Oh yes we did! We wore goggles, used hammers and created from the bag of wooden wheels, block body and nails they distributed to each child, a miniature replica of the number 48 Jimmy Johnson Nascar sponsored by Lowe’s.
Lowe’s recommends this twice-a-month clinic for children ages 7 and older, but our kids were able, with our help, to easily assemble the car and had a blast working with the wood.
Each Lowe’s is set up to accept 75 children for the clinic, and even if you pre-register, they suggest you come a bit early to line up. The registration process is super simple, a nice reminder email was sent out the day before and the staff members assisting were great with the kids.
Now, as a woman, I’m not really into hardware stores, but Lowe’s was bright and cheery. We were greeted with smiles from every employee we saw, the bathrooms were super clean and even pretty, and my kids are still enjoying racing their cars together at home.
Thanks Lowe’s for introducing our family to wood working. We’ll be back next month!
What: Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinic for Kids
Where: Your local Lowe’s hardware store
When: 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month @ 10 a.m.
Who: Recommended for children ages 7 and older
My Kids Go to College
I am so glad that we made it to Grossmont College for its 50th anniversary celebration today. It was a little rainy when we left and very chilly (for San Diego), but I knew most of the educational activities I wanted to share with the kids would be indoors so out we went. What we got in return was an unforgettable day of firsts…better than any children’s museum and any class we’ve paid to attend.
It was a wonderful experience for the whole family, and I want to thank all of the staff and students from the college who did such a fantastic job with my young children. Happy 50th!
Oh The Places Your Kids Can Go (for free!) in October
Is your child fascinated with space?
Does she have a thing for seahorses?
Would he be mesmerized by model trains?
October is a great month to explore San Diego with your family since some of our city’s finest attractions offer free admission for children 12 and younger. In addition to 24 museums, Hornblower Cruises, the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park each admit children for free with a paying adult for the next month.
Visit the Museum Council website to print your Kids Free in October coupon, then click the links below to find out more about the places you can go!
Barona Cultural Center & Museum, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, Coronado Museum of History & Art, Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, Hornblower Cruises, La Jolla Historical Society, Lux Art Institute, Marston House Museum & Gardens, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Oceanside Museum of Art, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (gallery only), San Diego Air & Space Museum,
San Diego Archaeological Center, San Diego Botanic Garden, San Diego History Center, San Diego Model Railroad Museum, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park, The New Children’s Museum (10/15-10/31), Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center, Timken Museum of Art, Veterans Museum & Memorial Center, Water Conservation Garden, Women’s Museum of California
Play at the Bay!
San Diego Cooking Classes for Kids
Today is my little brother’s birthday. He just finished his freshman year at Texas A & M and is ready to learn to cook, so I sent him my favorite Sam the Cooking Guy cookbook and Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer. But I really wish I could have gotten him a cooking class. I caught the cooking bug in elementary school when I took a summer cooking camp and made cream puffs and chicken-salad-stuffed avocados for my family.
They say kids will love healthy eating when they learn to prepare healthy foods, so I’m committed to inspiring my kids before they get to college. This week Mallory participated in Jamie Oliver’s Big Rig Kitchen where she used a chef’s knife for the first time while helping prepare crispy oven baked garlic chicken.
The mission of these free “learn to cook” classes is to improve health and spread food education in underserved communities. It was way cool, and Mal is eager to prepare a dinner for her family!
There is still time to sign up for Jamie’s free classes since the Big Rig Kitchen will be in town until May 31st. But if you don’t make it, here is a list of places in San Diego where kids can learn to cook…
2. Chef Jenn offers private cooking parties for kids.
5. Local grocery stores also offer occasional kids’ cooking classes like the Wholefoods in Del Mar’s Kids’ Club, which is hosting strawberry shortcake from scratch this Saturday.
6. The owner of Cook for Thought instructs this month’s Wholefoods Kids’ Club cooking class. Through Cook for Thought, she also offers cooking classes, summer camps, school assemblies and private cooking events for children.
8. Sur la Table has three San Diego locations, and each offers a summer cooking camp for kids in addition to the occasional child-oriented class.
9. My Cool Kid Cooks provides mobile junior chef cooking classes, birthday parties and summer camps.
10. Harvard Cookin’ Girl in La Jolla offers kids’ cooking classes, camps and birthday parties.
Saturday Fun Day For the Whole Family!
Are you an East County mom like me? A Central mom? A South Bay mom?
If so, you’re just a short drive away from a day of FREE family fun, compliments of Grossmont College, which is turning 50! There are dozens of hands on activities for all ages. The are all educational, and all free. Yay!
Here’s how we are spending this Saturday at the Grossmont College 50th Anniversary Community Open House…
9 a.m. — There’s no way we would miss the interactive science and engineering demonstrations and exhibits from SPAWAR Education Outreach: lasers, robots, rockets, light bulbs and more (inside Griffin Gate). Hello?! My engineer husband and I have a 4-year-old son who loves Star Wars, Transformers, etc. and a 6-year-old daughter whom we hope will love science!
9:30 a.m. — I’m super excited for the vintage aircraft flyover from Gillespie Field (I love flyovers as much as my son!)
10:00 – 10:45 — We’ll be at the tennis courts for the free youth sports clinics supervised by Grossmont College coaches. This will be a first tennis experience for my 6 and 4-year-olds 🙂
11 a.m. — I know my daughter will love making her own lipstick, and my son will definitely want to make his own super bouncy ball, courtesy of the chemistry department’s exhibits in building 30!
12:30 p.m. — We’re headed to building 34 for the “Observing the Sun” exhibit where we’ll get a unique look at the sky through the rooftop telescope. My kids are fascinated by the universe!
I really, really hope there’s time for us to check out the Ceramics Lab open house for some hands on fun, but, then again, we’ll be hungry in the afternoon, and there will be 12 gourmet food trucks on campus.
The Grossmont 50th Anniversary Community Open House begins on Friday, April 13th at 6:30 p.m. with live musical performances and a family-friendly sock hop. The demonstrations, performances and hands on activities that take place on Saturday, April 14th begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 2. There are so many interesting things to see and do, this is definitely not enough time, but at least it’s a great way to spark some new interests in every member of your family.
Click here to view the entire schedule of events or visit www.grossmont.edu/50years. See you there!
Say Cheese, Santa
Although I have a soft spot in my heart for pictures of my kids crying on Santa’s lap and other less than perfect holiday moments…
There’s nothing like a great photo with Santa.
When my friend Brandi posted this picture of her kids visiting “The Santa Lady” at Seaport Village, it got me thinking about the best places in San Diego for Christmas photos.
La Mesa’s Christmas in the Village takes place next weekend, and we love visiting Santa at his workshop.
We enjoyed our time with Santa on the North Pole Limited this past weekend.
And the amazing “Santa House” will be opening in Rancho Bernardo on Monday. I’ll post directions and photos on Tuesday!
You can also snap a free picture with Santa at City Lights, San Diego’s year-round Christmas wonderland, each Saturday between 12 and 4 p.m.
So where is your favorite San Diego Santa? Tell us with your comment below, and you will automatically be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to City Lights, where you are sure to find something that will make your home a little more magical this Christmas.
I guess I’m coming to the table a little late, but I’ve just learned of the Seaworld “preschool pass.” I followed this link that a friend shared on FB, filled it out and, viola, my preschooler has a Seaworld pass.
There’s conflicting information on the website and on the link (expiration dates, how to redeem, etc.), so I’m putting a call to Seaworld for some clarification. Still, don’t wait. It only took a minute to fill out the form and, as long as it’s valid, your 3-5 year old can enjoy the shows, the character interactions, the rides and animal experiences at Seaworld San Diego — for free!
Stay tuned for more info.
Moms, sorry for the confusion. I told you in my post earlier this week that I would contact Seaworld for more information about their newest, most awesome promotion, the Preschool Pass, and here it is! Yes, you will need to visit the site and fill out a new form, but, hey, it’s worth it, right?
See it for FREE! The New Children’s Museum
The kids and I had an excellent time at The New Children’s Museum recently and, visiting it for free, made the outing especially wonderful to me.
How did I get the three of us into the museum at no cost? I checked out a Circulating Membership through our La Mesa library, a branch of the County of San Diego library system.
New Children’s Museum circulating memberships are also available through branches of the City of San Diego library system. You check them out just as you would a book. Ask the librarian to locate one for you, and for two weeks your family will enjoy the benefits of regular museum membership including $5 parking.
FEAST is the current museum exhibition, and it’s my favorite one yet. It begins with scratch-and-sniff ripe bananas as you pass over the rainbow bridge into the museum, and continues with incredible displays and hands-on activities…
There are quite a few ways to enjoy The New Children’s Museum on a budget. The current Mom’s Guide has a buy-one-get-one admission coupon, Target sponsors the “free second Sunday” program, and there is currently a $5 happy hour admission promotion running. But, by far, the circulating membership program from county and city libraries is the best deal in town to get a “taste” of FEAST at The New Children’s Museum.
Snow in San Diego
San Diego: sunny beaches, palm trees, laid back atmosphere, friendly people, and coastal towns. But, San Diego is more than just a beach city. The dynamic county is also home to annual snowfall in its local mountains.
During the winter months when the beaches are cold, northeast San Diego has a few mountain getaways perfect for a snow-day with the family. Moms and Dads, grab your family’s winter jackets, and head out to one of these four destinations for a day of snow playing, sledding, and even some apple pie.
Sixty miles northeast of San Diego, the historic mountain town of Julian rests between the Cuyamaca Mountains and the southern slope of Volcan Mountain. From central San Diego, it is about a 60-90 minute drive to explore the quaint area.
This rural town was founded by Civil war veterans and cousins Drue Bailey and Mike Julian who traveled west to start a new life. Julian was San Diego’s only gold rush area, and the place was named for Mike Julian who was the San Diego County Assessor during that time.
Because of its ideal apple growing climate, Julian is perhaps most famous for its apples, apple pies, and apple cider which are enjoyed throughout San Diego county but can be picked fresh in the mountain area.
The mountain is 4,235 feet high and receives quite a few feet of snow during the winter which generally covers the entire mountain. Besides sledding and playing in the snow, the small village has plenty of antique shops, horseback riding, hiking, wine tasting, mine tours, apple picking, and, of course, apple pie eating to enjoy.
Roughly 40 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Cuyamaca Peak resides within Cuyamaca Rancho State Park east of San Diego and southwest of Julian. This is on of the highest peaks in San Diego at 6,512 feet. On clear days, the view is absolutely breathtaking with visibility of both the Coronado Islands and El Cajon Mountain. It is not uncommon to have thigh high deep snowfall during the winter ideal for snow shoeing and sledding
Located on the eastern edge of the Cleveland National Forest, this rural community sits at almost 6,000 feet. Mount Laguna is known for its campgrounds adjacent to the Pacific Crest Trail. The small town also offers a quaint general store, rustic lodges, and local restaurants. In the winter months, there are plenty of recreational activities from sledding to cross country skiing to hiking and just playing in the snow.
In northern San Diego County, Palomar Mountain sits in the Peninsular Ranges. It is famous for the Palomar Observatory, Hale Telescope, and Palomar Mountain State Park. Until 1992, the Hale Telescope was the world’s largest and most important. Now, two more telescopes reside within the Observatory.
At this California State Park, there are campgrounds for vacationers and other campgrounds specially designated for local schools to use on field trips. A densely wooded area, the forest boasts many hiking trails and unique tree species. Dwarfed by the San Bernardino Mountains, this range is 6,140 feet which is almost as tall as Cuyamaca Peak.
San Diego provides plenty of activities to enjoy year round. And the winter months might be the perfect time to explore its beautiful mountain areas.
About this contributor: Jessica Socheski is a freelance writer who loves having family adventures around San Diego. She is also an editor at The Teaching Box. Follow her at https://twitter.com/JessicaSocheski.
Is there something great going on this weekend that you’ll have to miss because you don’t have a baby sitter?
If you are searching for a sitter save the date for next week’s Urban Sitter “Speed Sitter Meet & Greet” event. I went to one in November, and it was truly a unique and fun way to find help.
All I had to do to be a part of the event was respond to a Facebook invite. Before I knew it I was sent profiles of the Urban Sitter representatives who would be attending. On paper, they all looked great with varying degrees of experience with children and varying degrees of availability. Several were education majors, all of them were in college or had already graduated college. One wanted to be a pediatrician. So far so good.
On the evening of my event, I walked into the beautiful Hapa Yoga studio where the speed sitter event was being held. I enjoyed a glass of wine, some delicious peppermint bark and mingled with several really nice parents before we all moved into the main yoga studio, which was aglow in candlelight.
Each family took a seat on a comfy cushion in front of a prospective sitter, and we just casually chatted for about 5-7 minutes before being directed to move onto the next sitter. There were 12 Urban Sitters in all to meet, and each was better than the next in my experience.
Speed sitting is modeled after speed dating, and really is a great way to start the sitter seeking process. You get to meet face-to-face and tell each prospective sitter about your children and your family’s needs. You get to ask questions, and by the end of the evening you know who you’ve clicked with.
My sitter event was during the holiday season, and I haven’t had a need to hire anyone (yet!). However, I did come home with the profiles and photos of each sitter and showed them to my children, telling them a bit about my favorites. They’re really excited to meet Rachel, or Abby or Heather soon.
When I’m ready to book a sitter, I just log into my FREE Urban Sitter account, search the profile of my sitter and request help. Or, I could post a job and see who responds. But, of course, I’ll be directly contracting with the lovely ladies that I clicked with at my speed sitting event.
Check it out for yourself either in person or online:
When: Tuesday, January 29th from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Nature’s Whisper Yoga
To Read or Not to Read
You don’t have to have a child who reads to enjoy the San Diego library system’s summer reading program. Both the San Diego County Library system and the City of San Diego Library system offer a summer full of events for children of all ages. Each and every week your children can be engaged and entertained for free at your local libraries!
Science? Krypton Yvonne and Mad Science are our faves.
Magic? Music? Face painting? Clowns? The companies hired by the libraries are some of the very best entertainers in San Diego County and many can also be found providing quality programming in local schools, festivals and at birthday parties.
You won’t regret making time to hit the library summer programs that are fits for your family. I’ve noticed that most performers will be at most county and city libraries and many have the library schedules available on their own websites.
Because we were at the Serra Mesa library for its 4 p.m. show, it only made sense to grab a delicious dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants, Casa Machado, located in the terminal of Montgomery Field airport.
The taking off and landing of planes is enough to keep even toddlers entertained long enough for parents to enjoy a decent meal (and maybe a margarita!).
I hope you’ll add these ideas to your summer bucket list!
The post you’re about to read was updated in 2014 here: https://www.momsguidetosandiego.com/2014/05/san-diego-water-break-2014/
It’s heating up in San Diego, but there are lots of ways to cool down. Of course, you can head to the beach and the neighborhood pool, but spray pads and water parks are also a great way to celebrate summer in our town.
Here’s a list of places toddlers to school-aged children (and their parents!) will enjoy.
Santee Lakes Spraygrounds: For ages 13 and younger, this is a terrific play area with buckets that dump, water that spouts from the ground and it all overlooks the beautiful lakes of this park. The cost is $3-$5 per car to drive in and $2 per child to play on the sprayground. Have a picnic lunch and feed the ducks while you’re there!
Hilton Head Park: Also located in the East County, this Rancho San Diego park includes a popular pirate-themed aquatic park free of charge.
Mountain Hawk Park in Eastlake: This South Bay park overlooks Otay Lakes, nearby mountains and offers a tot lot and picnic shelters in addition to the play fountain. Also in South County you’ll find the Sweetwater Regional Park‘s aquatic park for kids.
Viejas Interactive Fountain: There are lots of fun things to do at the Viejas Outlet Center with the kiddos in addition to the interactive fountain including a new mini-golf, bowling alley and, in the winter, ice skating and an ice princess show!
Otay Ranch Town Center Popper Fountains: Located right in the middle of the food court, this is a great opportunity to splash around. Those who want to stay dry might enjoy coloring the walls of the garden with the provided chalk.
McGrath YMCA Spray Pad: Look for this new addition to the East County Y this summer. We love their water playground in Santee.
The City of San Diego has at least two Recreation Center Pools that have water features designed for kids. Carmel Valley Pool has two water slides for the big kids, a spash-zone, and a zero-depth entry pool that is perfect for toddlers and parents alike. The Tierrasanta Pool features a children’s pool along with a 30 foot slide and play area.
Splash Landing at La Costa Resort: Why not take a family stay-cation and check this one out?
Seaworld Bay of Play: This pop up fountain is just perfect for little kids. Of course at Seaworld you can get soaked in a variety of ways including sitting in the soak zone of the shows and riding Shipwreck Rapids or Journey to Atlantis.
Legoland Water Park: New to the Legoland Water Park this summer is the Splash Zoo toddler area. Splash Zoo features interactive spray pads, fountains, a teeter totter and giant interactive DUPLOÒ animals.
Knotts Soak City: Better known as a way to entertain older kids, Knotts Soak City does offer a children’s pool and activity area called Gremmie Lagoon.
As I always say, there’s never a shortage of fun things to do with kids in San Diego!
We Wish You A Twinkling Christmas!
Sometimes it’s fun to just throw the kids in the car and drive around town looking at Christmas lights. Many neighborhoods are already decorated. Others won’t be ready until next week. For a nice list with addresses, check out this article.
We’ve enjoyed so many neighborhoods over the years from Chula Vista, to Santee to Point Loma. No matter the part of town you live in, there is sure to be something sweet to see with your family. We like to play The Polar Express soundtrack when visiting our favorite decked-out neighborhoods…
On the top of our list this year is a visit to “The Santa House” in Rancho Bernardo. This is a private home located on Joyous Court that is transformed into a Christmas wonderland — both inside and out. Families are invited to tour the entire property, enjoy complimentary cider and hot chocolate, sit with Santa in his sleigh, and each child receives a small gift.
Every year it is rumored that this family will retire from their tradition. They don’t do any kind of promotion, so we will just take our chances and drive out. If it is open this week, I’ll update this post with dates, hours and directions. If you live in RB and know more about the 2012 Santa House, please let me know. 🙂
Christmas Card Lane in Rancho Penasquitos is so popular that it has its own Wikipedia page! Although many houses have lights, this community is best known for the plywood “cards” and figurines that grace the front lawns of about 200 homes.
Knob Hill in San Marcos is another popular stop with its own website and regular visits by Santa. On our way back from San Marcos, we like to stop at the San Diego Botanic Garden for their Garden of Lights where we roast marshmallows, take a horse drawn carriage ride through the gardens, play in the snow and enjoy Christmas carols.
Every Saturday from 12 – 4 p.m. through December 22nd, Santa will visit San Diego’s year-round Christmas wonderland. City Lights is SoCal’s largest holiday store with over 28,000 square feet of beautifully decorated trees, Christmas village displays, toy trains and collectibles. Just walking through the store will put you in the holiday spirit!
Keep an eye out for other holiday happenings and GIVEAWAYS that I’ll be posting about this month. Maybe Santa will be sending something special your way!
Welcome to My World
We had our new neighbors and their two little boys over for a BBQ this Memorial Day weekend. They just moved to San Diego and can’t wait to discover all that our county has to offer. Of course I’m full of suggestions and thought I’d tell you what I told them just in case you’re also a newbie or are just in need of some reminders of why San Diego is the best place to be a mom with young kids…
So, next Tuesday will be the first Tuesday of the month of June, which means it’s a great time to visit some of the most kid-friendly museums in Balboa Park because they happen to be FREE. During the first, second, third and fourth Tuesdays of each month many of the museums are free to residents of San Diego County (ID required) as well as to active military and their dependents. We love the Air & Space Museum’s Kids Aviation Action Hanger, Ms. Frizzle at the Natural History Museum and everything about the Model Railroad Museum. But probably our favorite Balboa Park museum is the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. For years it was a go-to spot because of its toddler and preschooler-friendly Kid City discovery area. But now that my children are a bit older, the rest of the museum has become a wonderland. We really can’t wait to check out their newest exhibit, Grossology, “The Impolite Science of the Human Body,” AND I snagged a free two-week family membership through their new Check It Out program. More on this later in the week.
One of the best things about being an East County mom is our proximity to fun farms tucked below beautiful rolling hills. Summers Past Farm will host its annual Fairy Festival this Saturday. And in honor of National Dairy Month, Van Ommering Dairy will host Family Day this Saturday (probably a bit more fun for our neighbor boys than the fairy festival will be). A real working dairy farm that boasts a cotton seed hill for “sledding,” a petting corral, a hay bale maze and more, Van Ommering’s is also known as Oma’s Pumpkin Patch, a great place to pick a pumpkin each fall.
Another exciting East County outing for kids of any age is the Wings Over Gillespie Air Show in El Cajon’s Gillespie Field. They’ll have stationary displays as well as performing aircraft on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. And La Mesa’s annual Flag Day Parade will take place on June 2nd starting at 10 a.m. If you’re looking for a real taste of Americana, check out our small town event. Did you know that La Mesa is 100 years old this year??
Between all of the special events like these and trips to the beach, zoo or Seaworld, we love spending time at any of the cool indoor play spaces that are a short drive from our home. FUNbelievable has a great toddler area, a huge climbing structure with awesome (even for moms!) slides. Playtown always has a calendar full of special events from face painting to character visits to craft making. (but we think the indoor jumpy, air hockey and play structures are fun enough!) Kid Ventures in Chula Vista is always good for hours and hours of imaginative play. Mon Petit Chateau is a dreamy spot for moms and kids alike with a gorgeous boutique and a bright, cheery play space. And My Kids Clubhouse is still a perfect outing for my kids offering a rock climbing wall, ball pit and its own wonderful climbing structure with slides.
Listen, I could really go on and on about all of the wonderful things my neighbor can do with her kids in our part of San Diego, but I don’t need to overwhelm her. I think this is a good starting point 🙂