Posts Tagged ‘Special Events’
My favorite local non-profit, the Scripps Parent Connection, has a Groupon out today! I’ve been a member for more than 9 years and credit them with saving my sanity during the early years of motherhood.
Within three months of delivering Mallory, I was sitting in a Starbucks with another new mom. We both had called the Parent Connection office to say we lived in the East County, had 3-month-old girls and wanted to connect with other mommies. The Parent Connection put us in touch and, as easily as that, the East County Moms Group was created. Within a few months our playgroup had grown to 10 East County moms, and we’re all still friends today!
From training baby to sleep to tackling the terrible twos, the Parent Connection has guided San Diego families through the ups and downs of parenthood for 34 years. Get your $9 Groupon today and start enjoying the benefits like $2 off admission at this weekend’s Fall Harvest Festival and attending Parent Connection-led classes and workshops. Get discounts to favorite attractions like Seaworld, Legoland and Disneyland, and gain access to more than 250 playgroups countywide! Breakfast with Santa is right around the corner … a wonderful way for your playgroup to celebrate the holidays.
I love the Parent Connection so much that I helped organize a Groupon to tell more San Diego moms about it. Click here to view “my” Groupon. Trust me, it’s the best $9 you’ll spend all year!
4 Sale by Owner
Adorable “like new” Halloween costumes.
Strollers in all shapes and sizes.
Something special for Christmas…
We’re just a couple of weeks away from the famous Parent Connection Family Swap Meet, and just about a month away from the next fantastic Just Between Friends consignment event. If you have something to sell or if you are in search of gently used costumes, toys, baby gear, clothes, DVDs and books, do not miss these two events.
I rarely miss a Parent Connection Swap Meet, and I’ll be there again on Sunday, September 21st as a volunteer and to hand out copies of the 2014 / 2105 Mom’s Guide. Admission to the swap is just $2 per person over age 12. Not only will you get $50 in Mom’s Guide coupons, you’re likely to find just the right something special for this holiday season. 🙂
If you need to make room for your new treasures, consider taking a vendor space for just $30 for PC members and $45 for non-members. You can even share a space with your friend! Download the Parent Connection seller registration form here.
Just Between Friends is also looking for sellers. The beauty of this event is that you don’t have to be there. Just tag your items, drop them off before the sale begins and collect your share of the profits (60% or 70% for those who volunteer) at the event’s conclusion!
Unsold items can be donated to JBF’s non-profit partners. If you want to donate any unsold items, you will receive a receipt for your taxes and will benefit Birthline of San Diego and CASA (helping families in the LMSV school district).
For more information, visit facebook.jbfsandiego.com and sandiego.jbfsale.com.
Parent Connection Family Swap Meet
Sunday, September 21
8:30am – 1:00pm
Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley, 5951 E Village Center Loop Rd,
San Diego 92130
Just Between Friends Sale
Saturday October 11 2-6pm
Sunday October 12 9am-3pm
Monday October 13 half price day 9am-noon
DOWNLOAD THIS GET-IN-FREE COUPON!
A Cut-out of Your Cutie
I’m so glad that I will actually get to participate in this year’s special silhouette event featuring renowned scissor artist Karl Johnson. Now the likenesses of my little cuties will be turned into a work of art just like the children of Reese Withersoon, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Garner and Drew Barrymore.
Karl’s work is currently featured in Restoration Hardware Baby & Child, was on The O List in Oprah Magazine and has appeared in more than 30 other magazines. Each silhouette is cut out entirely freehand. Karl simply looks at the subject’s profile (whether in person or from a photograph) and starts cutting their exact likeness out of black paper.
Every silhouette is an original, one of a kind work of art, signed by the artist. Don’t miss your chance to meet Karl on Sunday, November 16th at Magical Child in Encinitas. Book your 5-minute appointment between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. by clicking here. Each original silhouette costs $25, and duplicates can be purchased for $15.
If you’d like a chance to WIN a complimentary silhouette, email me at SanDiegoMom@hotmail.com. One winner will be selected this weekend and announced here and by email. Enjoy!
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!
A Gem of a Day
If you’re making the hour-or-so-long trip to Julian to pick apples this fall, you should consider staying a bit to enjoy some of the town’s other family-friendly activities.
We arrived in Julian around 9:30 on a Saturday morning, while the air was still a bit cool, and the orchards were relatively quiet. Each kid got to “pick a half peck” of apples, which took about 20 minutes.
We then spent the next three hours down the street at the Julian Mining Company enjoying a hay ride, throwing tomahawks, panning for gem stones, making apple cider, feeding farm animals and checking out tee pees.
You can’t see it too well, but the above shot is of my son throwing his first tomahawk… the best part of the day for a 5-year-old boy! These activities are part of the Julian Mining Company’s fall tour schedule, and definitely worth the $6 per kid we paid. We paid extra to do the gem panning, and that was well worth it too.
Just next door to the Julian Mining Company is the Wynola Farms Marketplace with a children’s play area, picnic tables, coffee, ice cream, wine tasting and cute little shops. It was a good place to unwind after all of our outdoor fun.
And nearby is Jeremy’s on the Hill, a wonderful restaurant featuring farm to table cuisine. The kids had chicken strips and fries, but the adults enjoyed garlic and leek soup, candied walnut salads, roasted chicken with roasted brussel sprouts.
On our way in and out of Julian we had to stop on the country road for wild turkeys crossing. We passed a group horse back riding and drove past the beautiful Lake Cuyamaca where kids can fish for free every Saturday.
It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday. The next time we plan to spend the night at one of the cute B&Bs and make a whole weekend out of it!
A Great Escape – Whale Watching
Looking for a different way to spend some alone time with your hubby or friends? How about on board a spacious boat on a beautiful sunny San Diego morning sipping Baileys and hot chocolate while sea-life and birds entertain you with their playful antics? That’s what my best friend and I did recently, and it was so much fun to catch up with the bay and ocean as the backdrop.
This was my first whale-watching trip since moving to San Diego 14 years ago. I can’t believe what I had been missing…
My wonderful whale watching experience was with Flagship Cruises, which partners with wild life experts from Birch Aquarium. In addition to many dolphin and seals, we saw 5 whale tales during the tour. Had we not seen any whales, Flagship would have given us a ticket for a complimentary future cruise.
Flagship’s 3 1/2 hour tour was an exceptional mom’s morning out with my friend, and it would have been great date with my husband. But my 6 and 8-year-olds would certainly prefer the shorter 1 1/2 hour Patriot Jet Boat cruise, also offered by Flagship and Birch.
There’s just about one month left in this year’s whale watching season in San Diego, but with twice-daily tours, escaping your routine to enjoy the magic of migrating whales will be easy to do. Especially if you WIN a free pair of tickets compliments of Birch Aquarium and Flagship Cruises!
Want to go? Just comment below for your chance to win. One reader will be randomly selected this week.
For more information visit www.flagshipsd.com/whale-watching or call 619.234.4111.
Apple Days Are Here Again
The Julian apple orchards are open for business, and we’ll be there early this year.
Last year I purchased a voucher from Living Social for a bag of apples from Raven Hill Orchards, and its 8,000 dwarf trees were picked bare before we made it out. I guess it was a mistake trying to wait for a cool day to visit the historic town of Julian. There’s a Living Social deal for 1/2 priced bags now, so if you get one, don’t wait.
This year we’re going to head out in September — whether it feels like fall or not — to avoid disappointment. And while we’re there we’re going to check out some of the other fun things Julian offers families.
As you drive up to Julian you’ll pass the breathtaking Lake Cuyamaca. This year we plan to stop and check it out. There’s a free fishing class every Saturday and a fishing derby for kids on September 22nd, but you can get a permit and rent a pole anytime. To save time, they suggest purchasing a license online, but permits can also be purchased on site.
My neighbor swears that panning for gold is a must-do activity in Julian. The Julian Mining Company is open to visitors on the weekends and offers gem and gold mining. Pioneer Ways offers gold panning as well as a 1-mile train ride on the Smith Ranch & Julian Railroad.
I know my kids would love to visit the California Wolf Center, a one-of-a-kind education, conservation and research center that was founded to educate the public about wildlife and ecology. The Center currently exhibits several gray wolves.
While we’re in the town of Julian itself, I think we’ll take the 15-minute, narrated carriage ride offered by Main Street Carriage Company. But one of the things we likely will not do is eat pie, even though it’s readily available in many of the town’s charming shops and restaurants.
Why? Well, when we get home with 2 bags of apples we will have enough to bake several pies of our own. It will be a nice way to wrap up one of our favorite fall outings. We’ll talk about gold and wolves and fish as we watch our pies baking.
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.
Bye Bye Max & Ruby
I’m excited about this weekend’s Just Between Friends consignment event because it’s forcing me to do the spring cleaning that I should have done before the new Christmas toys arrived. I’ll be getting rid of some treasures that we no longer need, but I have to admit it’s hard to let some of them go.
Like our Potty Power DVD. No, it didn’t really help speed up the potty training of either of my children, but it did provide hours of entertainment to them. Potty Power represents a time in mommyhood where toilet training was just about the most important thing going on in our home. Like so many moms, I worried, I was frustrated, and I tried just about every trick in the book including DVDs of little princesses learning to sit on the “royal throne.” Now those days are (thankfully) long behind us, but the video is kind of a bittersweet reminder that I don’t have toddlers anymore.
Ditto with our Max & Ruby video, book and doll collection. Boo Hoo. After years of reading these stories nearly nightly, my big kids now think that Max & Ruby are quite boring. But I feel I owe those sweet little bunnies so much. I seriously believe that Ruby helped teach Mallory how to be a good big sister to Max. (I mean Gage.) I hate to see them go, but they will be loved just as much by some other family I’m sure. (and for up to 90% of what I paid!)
The Just Between Friends sale is this weekend, May 4-5 in San Diego’s East County. It’s not too late to consign and it’s just the right time to think about buying. For more information visit http://sandiego.jbfsale.com.
What: Just Between Friends Consignment Event
When: May 4 & 5
Where: Faith Chapel, 9400 Campo Road, Spring Valley (just off Hwy 94)
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!
Our little family has quite a few holiday traditions. Today we’ll be going to see How The Grinch Stole Christmas at The Old Globe. Greg and I have enjoyed The Grinch together for nine years now, but it’s even better with kids.
Although it’s kid-friendly, Greg and I prefer to be kid-free when we go to Anthology for the house band’s performance of Christmas tunes.
Throw in a few holiday parties, and it seems like there wouldn’t be time for anything else. But this year we are adding a new tradition…something I’ve wanted to do for years now. And, thanks to today’s Christian Youth Theater’s Black Friday special, just could not pass up.
Our family loves live musical performances, especially when children are part of the cast. We have several friends whose kids participate in CYT’s after school acting programs, and my friends swear that this is the best family holiday event in town.
Christian Youth Theater is offering 1/2 priced tickets today through Sunday on online orders for evening performances. I just purchased seven seats very close to the stage for $130!
They are also generously donating one pair of tickets to a lucky Mom’s Guide reader, good for the show of her choice. To enter for your chance to win, simply leave a comment below and include your family’s favorite holiday tradition. 🙂
Community Day at Legoland
One of the largest enrichment organizations in San Diego, The Kid’s College, is being honored at Legoland, and you’re invited!
The celebration begins with $25 admission…
…and ends with more than 500 children from 27 North County schools performing on the MINILAND stage between 2:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Community Day at Legoland will take place on Saturday, May 3rd. This fourth annual event opens the doors of Legoland to families at a discounted price with a portion of proceeds benefitting The Kid’s College, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that has provided affordable enrichment programs since 1996. The Kid’s College’s professionally taught educational enrichment classes align with and enhance school curriculum in Art, Science, Technology and Life Skills. They offer a wide variety of classes in visual arts, performing arts, science, technology, engineering (STEAM), languages, financial literacy, life skills and healthy living.
Community Day tickets are valid only on Community Day, May 3, 2014, 1 pm – 8 pm. To order your tickets, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “tickets” in the subject line, and instructions will be emailed back to you. Or visit this link to download the ticket order form.
Last night’s opening of Toy Story 3 on Ice was a fantastic choice for a family outing…just ask my husband who pointed out that Disney never disappoints.
Tickets start at $18.50, making it one of San Diego’s more affordable special attractions. And, there are lots of special offers floating around out there to help bring that cost down (hint…get your playgroup together and buy group sale price tickets!)
Fans of the Toy Story movies will love seeing the characters come to life on ice. Our kids were thrilled when the green army men arrived, one by parachute, and proceeded to “march” on ice. My favorite part was when Ken and Barbie couple skated to “Dream Weaver.” I just LOVED it.
We’ve been to each Disney on Ice performance over the past three years, and each and everyone has been excellent. But Toy Story was the one that appealed most to our whole family. Even Mallory, who is a princess-lovin’ girl, claimed that Toy Story 3 on Ice was the best show yet.
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.
Fall Fun & First Friends
Even in light drizzle and amongst more than a couple mud puddles, the annual Parent Connection Fall Harvest Festival is one of our favorite family traditions. But this post isn’t about all of the fun you might have missed today. It’s about the organization that hosts the festival and gives its members so much including a day of music, crafts, games, face painting, jumping and treats for only $5 per child.
When I was pregnant with Mallory, a friend handed me a Parent Connection membership registration form and encouraged me to sign up so that I could find a playgroup to join. Mind you, this was before Facebook and Meetup.com when it was a little harder to find moms with similar-aged children. For more than 30 years, the Parent Connection has been connecting families across San Diego.
In my case, the East County Moms playgroup was born just a few short months after my daughter, and within six months we had more than 10 members who gathered once a week at library story times, for picnics in the park, at Java Mama (when it was in La Mesa) and in each other’s homes. Seven years later, we’re still friends who see each other regularly and are grateful for the support our playgroup provided during those stressful early years.
Don’t need a playgroup? The Parent Connection also supports new moms with a number of complimentary classes and workshops. I’ve taken classes on improving infant sleep, toilet training, turing the terrible two’s into the “terrific two’s,” positive parenting and, more recently, when and how to introduce allowance. Because the Parent Connection is a program of Scripps Memorial Hospital, it has access to fantastic medical experts and professionals who know how to help you achieve your parenting goals.
And then there are the annual special events like today’s Fall Harvest Festival which featured a concert by Hullabaloo Band, face painting, cupcake decorating, craft making (thanks Art Soup!), jumpies, slides and games.
Although my kids are 7 and 5, I still enjoy my Parent Connection membership immensely. On a daily basis I access the group’s Yahoo! message boards, which is a terrific forum for anyone with kids. Need a new plumber? Want to know how to get poop stains out of clothes? Looking for a preschool? Pose your question to the more than 1,000 San Diego moms in the group, and you’re certain to get a few helpful answers.
We also take advantage of the discounts offered to members on special events and attractions like Seaworld, Legoland, the zoo and more.
Being at the Fall Harvest Festival today brought back many warm memories of my early years as a member. With so many new moms following this blog and The Mom’s Guide to San Diego on Facebook, I just wanted to share what this organization has meant to me.
Membership dues are a meager $20 per year. Can you believe it’s that cheap to get all of the fun, friendship and support that the Parent Connection offers? It still amazes me that every mom doesn’t sign up. Check them out at www.sandiegoparent.com for more information.
We’ve been Seaworld annual pass holders for years and love it. But San Diego does have two great alternatives to the big shows and big crowds of Seaworld, and they are both offering special reasons to visit this month.
On January 21 from 11am until 4pm, ocean enthusiasts will learn about marine protected areas or “underwater parks” during the Aquarium’s fourth annual Underwater Parks Day. This event is an effort by Southern California aquariums to explain the need for marine protected areas that replenish fish populations and restore the health of coastal waters.
SEA LIFE will host kid-friendly activities including prize giveaways, a special underwater dive show, an educational craft event, a conservation expo with hands-on exhibits and more. Tickets for kids (3–12) are $15 and $20 for adults.
To mark 20 years at its current location along Expedition Way in La Jolla, Birch Aquarium at Scripps is offering San Diego County residents half-off admission on the 20th of every month through this September.
The special deal is valid for residents living in zip codes 91901-92199 who will be asked to show a valid ID to receive the offer (limit two children per paid adult; cannot be combined with other offers).
Aquarium visitors can explore more than 60 marine tanks teeming with fish, corals and invertebrates from the chilly waters of the Pacific Northwest to the warm currents of the tropical seas. A showcase 70,000-gallon tank houses a forest of gently swaying kelp, treating visitors to a serene view of a complex marine community that flourishes off the San Diego coast.
In addition to marine-life exhibits, the aquarium showcases ocean and earth science in its interactive, award-winning museum. Boundless Energy, the aquarium’s newest exhibit, opened last summer. This outdoor, interactive playground – celebrating ways we can harness clean energy from the planet – is a natural extension of Feeling the Heat: The Climate Challenge, an adjacent exhibit that presents the science of global climate change.
You can’t go wrong with a trip to SEA LIFE or Birch Aquarium, and even better is a FREE outing to each. Leave your comment with which aquarium you’d most like to visit for your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets!
Free Car Seat Safety Checks
If you’re not sure about how to install your baby’s car seat, help is available.
Babies R Us and the CHP are teaming up to provide FREE car seat safety checks this weekend. A complimentary car seat safety check event will be held this Sunday, November 2nd from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Babies R Us in Chula Vista.
No pre-registration is required. Just arrive at the Babies R Us located at 1860 Main Ct in Chula Vista between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and let the experts properly install your baby’s car seat.
If you are unable to attend the November 2nd event, here is a list of other San Diego organizations that provide free safety checks:
Kohl’s/Rady’s Children’s Hospital Car Seat Inspection at Kohl’s East Lake, Chula Vista. Click link to schedule your appointment.
Central San Diego
Kohl’s/Rady’s Children’s Hospital Car Seat Inspection at Rady’s Children’s Plaza in Serra Mesa and at the Balboa Kohl’s. Click the link to schedule your appointment.
California Highway Patrol-San Diego , 4902 Pacific Highway twice a month on Saturdays. First come first served, call 619-220-5492 for more information.
La Mesa Police Department at 8085 University Ave. Free inspection on the 1st Tuesday of each month at 9am. First come first served, no appointments needed. Call 619-667-1400 for more information.
California Highway Patrol, 1722 East Main Street in El Cajon. Tuesday mornings, call 619-401-2000 for appointment.
Kohl’s/Rady’s Children’s Hospital Car Seat Inspection; Kohl’s of Rancho San Diego. Click the link to schedule your appointment.
California Highway Patrol, 1888 Oceanside Blvd. in Oceanside. Once a month, first come first served from 9 – 11 a.m. and 1 – 3 p.m.. Call 760-757-1675 for available dates.
Kohl’s/Rady’s Children’s Hospital Car Seat Inspection for Encinitas and San Marcos. Click the link to schedule your appointment.
California Law (Effective 01/01/2012):
Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
Children under the age of 8 who are 4′ 9″ or taller may be secured by a safety belt in the back seat.
Children who are 8 years and over shall be properly secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system or safety belt.
Passengers who are 16 years of age and over are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law.
For accurate, up-to-date car seat safety information, visit http://www.thecarseatlady.com/.
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.
Go Green This Spring!
I’m not a “green” mom, but, according to Ecocrazymom.com I am taking baby steps in that direction with my love for children’s resale. Here in San Diego we have a myriad of options for buying or selling gently used children’s clothing, toys and gear.
I know many moms who wouldn’t dream of purchasing a “used” item (or even selling one for that matter), but I have found some truly awesome goodies through resale, and their great prices made them just that much more fabulous.
For example, at Cory’s Closet I bought a blue “Bratz FM Cruiser” for my son for only $10. It didn’t say Bratz anywhere on it…I had no idea it was supposed to be a girl toy…but it is one of the most fun cars he has ever owned because the doors and trunk open, the steering wheel moves, the seat belts click shut AND the radio really works! Thanks Cory!
In San Diego there are three types of children’s resale; consignment stores, swap meets and consignment events. Here’s a bit about each:
Consignment stores: Consignment stores operate all year long and will purchase your items outright as long as they meet the store’s standards and are something they are interested in selling. Some stores specialize in upscale items and others are less picky. Some require appointments to sell and some have set walk-in sales times. They will usually offer you 50% of the price they expect the item to sell for in their store. So, if you had a Bratz FM Cruiser that sells at Toys R Us for $29.99, then the store will likely try to sell it for $15 (half the retail value) and will give you half that amount ($7.50) for your item. You will usually earn a bit more money if you take store credit instead of cash. You should definitely look around before you sell…there’s bound to be something you need or want!
Consignment Events: Trunk Treasures is the original seasonal consignment event in San Diego. I’d love to ask Stacey, the stay-at-home mom turned entrepreneur exactly when she began her business, but I know she’s swamped preparing for this weekend’s sale. And in this past year she’s found competition from three other local moms who have started their own events, Just Between Friends and San Diego Kids’ Consignment.
I participated in both Trunk Treasures and Just Between Friends last year as a seller and ended up spending even more money at both events than I earned. Of course I ended up with lots of terrific treasures. 🙂
At consignment events you decide what to sell and can price your items at any amount you’d like. You do all of the work here, from setting the price, to tagging your items, to delivering them to the event site and picking up any unsold items at the event’s conclusion. There’s a fee to participate (about $10) and a percentage of your sales is taken by the event (between 60% – 70%). Volunteers who work the event enjoy early bird shopping opportunities and greater percentages of their sales. Consignment events last a couple of days…usually over a weekend. Once the event is done and the accounts are settled, a check is mailed to you, usually within a couple of weeks. Each of these companies has a spring event, so be sure to check them out!
Swap Meets: Many schools have family swap meet fundraisers, but the largest and oldest (that I know of) benefits my favorite non-profit, The Scripps Parent Connection, and happens twice a year in Carmel Valley.
The Parent Connection Swap Meet attracts hundreds of sellers and about a thousand buyers to each event. There is a $2 admission fee to buy and a $35 fee to sell in a 10×10 spot in the parking lot. As with consignment events, you’ll set your own price, you’ll tag your own items, you’ll get them there and bring whatever doesn’t sell home. You’ll also have to work your booth from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., but you’re sure to unload many items and you’ll certainly find a few to purchase as well.
The next event is Sunday, March 25th at Canyon Crest Academy. I’ll be there and hope you will be too!
For all of these resale opportunities, please be sure to visit the resale section of our family friendly business listings by clicking here. Happy shopping!
Good-bye 2011, It Was a Blast!
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!
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 Baby = Happy Mom!
Learn Techniques for Successfully Parenting Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers While Supporting a Great Cause!
**This blog post was submitted by the Postpartum Health Alliance **
The Postpartum Health Alliance (PHA) is a local non-profit organization that offers support and referrals to San Diego mothers and families struggling with Postpartum Depression and related disorders. PHA is thrilled to have Dr. Harvey Karp, creator of The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block as the keynote speaker for the First Annual Happy Moms, Healthy Families Luncheon.
Dr. Karp will speak for 90 minutes about his landmark techniques for defusing tantrums fast and helping even easy tots be more patient, cooperative and confident…in just days! Dr. Karp has been featured everywhere from Time Magazine to The Dr. Phil Show, and is endorsed by celebrities, sleep experts, pediatricians, and thousands of happy parents.
Not only does attending the Happy Moms, Healthy Families Luncheon provide attendees the opportunity to hear from Dr. Karp (and a delicious lunch at a beautiful venue), but it is a chance to support the work done by the Postpartum Health Alliance here in San Diego.
100% of the proceeds from the Luncheon are used by PHA to run its programs, including the warmline, which takes calls from mothers and families struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety and offers a listening ear, a supportive peer, and referrals to a wealth of resources for help and healing. The proceeds also support PHA’s outreach efforts which focus on informing professionals and the community at large about postpartum depression so it can be identified, treated, and even prevented.
As a mother who suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety, I can attest to the importance of reaching out to new mothers and letting them know that they are not alone as they struggle. Few people know that as many as 15-20% of new mothers will suffer from postpartum depression or anxiety. Even fewer people know that there is help. We at PHA work to ensure that all mothers know that feeling terrible is not their fault and that they can, with treatment, get better.
Please join us at the Happy Moms, Healthy Families Luncheon. Tickets can be purchased at www.happymoms.eventbrite.com.
If you or someone you know needs to talk to one of our volunteers, please call our warmline at 619-254-0023.
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.
People Magazine knows how cool Hullabaloo Band is. Do you? I’m always surprised how many moms I meet who have not heard of this San Diego band that People featured in its “8 Cool Kids’ Albums Now!” spotlight.
We got to know Hullabaloo through the monthly Parent Connection concerts that they still perform. My kids grew to love their original songs as much as the traditional favorites they always play. We own several Hullabaloo CDs and a music video DVD. We even hired Hullabaloo to play at Gage’s 2nd birthday party!
My new favorite way to enjoy this brand of kid rock is sitting on a blanket in the sun with lots of happy kids dancing around at the twice-a-year Hullabaloo Family Arts Festival.
I guess many, many other families agree because the festival has outgrown its original location at the Bernardo Winery and will be held this September 22nd at the Liberty Station NTC Promenade. The festival will feature music, of course, but also art, dance and stories. At just $7 per ticket, this has got to be the most inexpensive way ever to spend time with People Magazine stars. 🙂
Let’s Pick a Winner
Want to win some cool prizes in advance of the Fleet Science Center’s Gross Olympics?
Just share this post on your Facebook wall or in an email to friends with kiddos for your chance to WIN this prize pack worth $150!
**Trade in those smelly sneakers (after the smelliest sneaker contest on July 7th, of course) for a fresh new pair using your $50 DSW Shoes gift card!
**Clean up your “gross” kid with a free haircut, compliments of Kids Hair Salon
**Show your pride with the Boy Mom Designs boutique t-shirt of your choice
**And join us at the Gross Olympics with a family 4-pack of tickets to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center!
Be sure to tag The Mom’s Guide to San Diego or comment below so I know you’ve entered the contest by sharing The Gross Olympics with your friends and family.
For those brave enough to post a photo to your FB wall of your kid doing something gross or silly, you’ll be awarded 3 chances to win instead of just 1! Be sure to tag The Mom’s Guide to San Diego so I know to give you the extra points. Something like “We want to win the Gross Olympics Prize Pack from @The Mom’s Guide to San Diego” will work. Good luck! 🙂
Little League Love Affair
With closing ceremonies this weekend, our third Little League season has officially ended. I say “our” because Little League really is a family affair.
From the dads (and a few moms) who volunteer to coach, to the other family members who work the snack bar, keep score, plan the celebrations and happily sit together during weekly practices and games cheering their children, siblings, teammates – even opposing team players – for their progress.
We became a baseball family when Gage joined Rolando Little League T-ball at age 4. So, of course we see every baseball movie, including Million Dollar Arm. This PG rated movie, in theaters now, is funny, inspiring and uplifting. My kids liked it better than Frozen. (comment below for a chance to win tickets and see if your kids agree!)
We also make it out to cheer the San Diego Padres each chance we get. Little Leaguers have a special day at the stadium, but any kid under age 14 can become a “Junior Padre.” Registration is free, and every Sunday Junior Padres enjoy events like batting clinics, running the bases, playing catch on the field and special autograph signings.
The Padres’ commitment to kids doesn’t stop there. The team helps refurbish baseball diamonds across the county and, since 2012 they have generously donated more than 14,000 jerseys and caps to local Little League teams, including ours. Families so appreciate the cost savings and love to see which of the twelve different styles their team will get.
The Padres even support The Mom’s Guide, offering a generous 50% discount on select games, especially the ones featuring Junior Padres activities. Woo hoo!!
While this year’s Little League season has come to an end, here are a few ways your baseball-loving children can still enjoy the game…
- Purchase Padres tickets to select games at up to 50% off using the code SDMOM14
- Watch “Angels in the Outfield” for free on June 7th at the Summer Movies in the Park
- Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see “Million Dollar Arm” at UltraStar by commenting below
- Sign up for Little League “fall ball” or the 2015 season by joining your community team.
In 2014 the boundary rules for Little League were changed allowing families to choose a league that serves either their home or school community. For more information click here. If multiple teams come up in your search, and you are not sure which league is the appropriate one, click on the link for the District Administrator in your area, and he/she can help you identify the correct league that serves your area.
Mai Tais at Sunset
So I have one final favorite that I want to share with you this Mother’s Day. Here’s a hint…it includes mai tais at sunset.
If you live near Pacific Beach, you are probably familiar with the annual summer luau party that the Catamaran Resort hosts. You don’t have to be in Hawaii to feel like you’re on vacation. The Catamaran luaus are pretty authentic and are definitely a great way to spend a San Diego evening.
From the moment you step foot onto the grassy lawn that overlooks Mission Bay, you’ll be serenaded with tropical music, greeted with colorful leis and handed your soothing cocktail. After the ceremonial entrance of the pig, a fabulous buffet of fresh salads and fruits, Kalua pig, pork loin, miso glazed salmon, guava chicken and assorted rice and vegetable dishes awaits you.
While you feast, you’ll enjoy the sounds of the South Pacific and authentic dances and stories of the islands. As the sun goes down, the fire dancing begins, delighting all ages.
The Catamaran Resort Summer Luaus start in late June and run through August. There are generous discounts for military, and their children are invited to attend free. But readers of The Mom’s Guide to San Diego have the chance to win a pair of tickets to the Tuesday evening luau of their choice. (an $116 value!)
To enter to win, simply reply here with how you are planning to spend Mother’s Day. This prize will be awarded to one reader this Sunday!
Enjoy this special guest blog post and giveaway from Amber Rukaj, LMFT, Mommy, and President of the Postpartum Health Alliance.
With Mother’s Day just weeks away, come and enjoy Mamafest this Friday at the La Costa Resort and Spa! Keep reading for a chance to win a package of four tickets for a Mom’s Night Out!
Mamafest, the annual fundraising event for The Postpartum Health Alliance, gives San Diego moms (and expecting moms) a chance to get out of the house and make local connections to support them through all stages of pregnancy and motherhood. The event not only draws hundreds of local moms for a fun night out at a beautiful venue, it also raises awareness about The Postpartum Health Alliance (PHA) and the all-volunteer network they have to support San Diego moms suffering from postpartum depression and related disorders.
“Six weeks after my twins were born, I found myself dreading each new day, constantly anxious and hopeless about the future,” confides Jessica Heldman, now Program Director of PHA. “When I reached out for help, I discovered that I was not alone and that the way I felt was not my fault. I also learned that I could get better,” she continued.
Mamafest aims to not only raise funds for PHA’s annual non-profit operating budget, but also to provide local moms with an opportunity to connect with mom-friendly vendors and services. The event will feature a vendor marketplace, swag bags, light food, a cash bar, educational and engaging speakers, and a silent auction full of great items for mom and baby. This year’s event will take place Friday, April 27, 2012 from 7pm-10pm at the La Costa Resort.
Mamafest is presented by Stroller Strides and is the official San Diego event for Pregnancy Awareness Month (PAM). Tickets are on sale for $20 in advance. Learn more online and buy tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com. In addition, the first person to comment here and leave their email address will win a package of four tickets to the event!
Hope to see you there!
Meet The Martha Stewart of Men!
It’s not very often that my husband shows interest in my mom’s guide goings-on, but when we were invited to this weekend’s free IKEA store seminar on “refreshing and updating” kitchens with celebrity designer & dad, Stephen Saint-Onge, he volunteered to attend!
This seminar could not be better timed for us since we are planning to update our kitchen this year. If you could use a few design tips, and if you like gift giveaways, why not join us at IKEA in Mission Valley this Sunday at 1 p.m.?
Stephen Saint-Onge is Contributing Home Editor for Family Circle. His work has been seen in This Old House, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Romantic Homes, Renovation Style, In Style and Ladies Home Journal. Stephen has also been a featured guest on Today, The Early Show, CNN, Fox News, Better TV and The View.
If you love IKEA, free gift giveaways and would like to attend this FREE event, join us!
IKEA Life Improvement Seminar
Sunday, March 10th
IKEA Mission Valley, 2149 Fenton Parkway
No reservations required, event is free and open to the public, gift giveaways are limited, this is a sponsored blog post and you get a chance to win a $25 Visa gift card just for reading it and posting your comment below! One winner will be randomly selected on Saturday, March 9th. Good luck! 🙂
SoCal attractions are kicking-off Christmas this week — yes, the week before Thanksgiving. There are so many ways for you to make merry memories with your families that you’ll need to start now to fit it all in. This list is not inclusive, just a few of our favorite things, and a few newbies we’re looking forward to experiencing this year.
Expensive But Extra-Special
It’s hard to believe that Disneyland could be any more magical for kids than it already is, but Christmas is an extra special time to visit. We were among the first to see Disneyland transformed for Christmas this week. Not only is the park beautiful and the crowds relatively light, but every night on Main Street there’s the sweetest Christmas music, the “Believe in Holiday Magic” castle lighting with “snow” fall, spectacular fireworks and a wonderful Christmas parade. This is our newest favorite family tradition.
Visiting the “North Pole” via the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum’s North Pole Christmas Limited train will cost a family of four $100 or more, but for fans of The Polar Express, it’s worth every penny. I thought about skipping this event in favor of something new this year, but the kids said “no way!” Step aboard the train, and you’ll be treated to Christmas carols led by elves, a reading of The Polar Express, hot chocolate and warm cookies baked by the Polar Express chef and a personal visit to every seat by Santa and Mrs. Claus. Kids will love taking the train to pick up Santa. It’s truly something special.
Most people know that Dr. Seuss himself lived in San Diego, so it’s only fitting that How The Grinch Stole Christmas at The Old Globe has been a beloved San Diego tradition for 14 years. We’ve seen this show several times (even before we had children!) and think that, by far, the first Sunday performance followed by the Christmas tree lighting in Copley Plaza is the best. Not only are the tickets reasonably priced since it’s more than a month before Christmas, but the after party (aka tree lighting) is super fun with the opportunity to see the cast up close, sing carols and enjoy snowfall on the plaza.
Christian Youth Theater of San Diego presents Traditions of Christmas, a musical journey of greatest Christmas songs and traditions from around the world. We are not among the 250,000 San Diegans who have already seen this show, but it comes highly recommended by my playgroup captain who has gone for 4 straight years so it’s on our must-see list this year!
Have you gotten your tickets to A Christmas Tabernacle yet? I’m excited about this first year event and hope it turns into a San Diego tradition. Just check out this line up of wonderful musical and dance performances…all free with admission that is as low as $9 per ticket if you catch one of the daily deal specials running this month!
Last year we took the kids who, at 3 and 5, surprised us by how much they enjoyed the jazz house band at Anthology performing favorite Christmas songs. This year we’re turning it into a date night experience. The food is excellent, and the atmosphere is sultry. A perfect way to ring in the holidays with your honey.
Obviously we don’t get much real snow in San Diego County, but this holiday season you’ll be able to enjoy snowballs, sledding and snowmen with your kids at the following venues:
A Christmas Tabernacle’s Snow Hill…be sure to check out the snow board simulator too!
Legoland’s Holiday Snow Days … build a Lego snowman while you’re there!
Seaworld’s SnowWorld … we can’t wait to see The Polar Express 4-D show too!
Mom, Be My Valentine?
Hopefully you’ll be celebrating in a sweet way on February 14th, but why not give yourself the extra gift of a girls’ night out just before Valentine’s Day? The fabulous ladies of SD Moms’ Night Out have put together another terrific event.
I’ll be there…will you?
When: Thursday, February 9, 2012 from 7-9pm
Where: Sè Spa at Hotel Palomar San Diego, a Kimpton Hotel,
1047 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Parking: Valet $7/hour or Park at Horton Plaza – parking is free for 3 hours with validation
Cost: $20 online through midnight on Thurs., Feb 2, 2012/ $25 at the door – tickets can be purchase on the SD Moms’ Night Out website.
Your MNO ticket includes:
– Entrance to Sè Spa
– Complimentary wine throughout the evening!
– Light appetizer fare courtesy of Hotel Palomar Salt Box Dining & Drinking
– Special discounted mom menu for future spa services when book at the event.
– Hand masseuse and chair massage on-site
– Live acoustic entertainment
– (1) raffle ticket
– Opportunity to win amazing raffle prizes
– Support the American Heart Association. Click here to visit our Go Red for Women Campaign fundraising page and make a donation today!
– A night to relax, mix and mingle with like-minded women
– A fabulous night out!
Like most kids, mine LOVE the rides at Disneyland, Legoland, Knotts Berry Farm, etc. Every year we spend a lot of money to enjoy what these parks have to offer.
But this week on our family vacation we experienced the wildest ride yet…on a 22-passenger boat floating down the Pearl River in Slidell, Louisiana.
We “met” lots of gators.
And even got to feed one!
You see, I’m from New Orleans, and every summer we head back South to vacation with my family. For the first time ever I decided to search for special things to do with kids in the area and up popped a number of swamp tours. Our tour was AMAZING. It was beautiful, it was thrilling, and it was educational.
To my surprise I found that none of my Louisiana relatives had ever taken their kids on one of these fantastic tours. In fact, they had never heard of Cajun Encounters even though the swamp tour is a quick 40 minute drive outside their hometown.
Sure, amusement parks are wonderful for families, but being up close with nature can be even more exciting. Now that we’ve caught the bug, here are a few wild San Diego adventures our family plans to explore.
Take a toddler-friendly kayak tour with Family Kayak Adventures: http://www.familykayak.com/children-toddlers
Go blue whale watching with The San Diego Natural History Museum: http://www.sdnhm.org/education/naturalists-of-all-ages/blue-whale-watching/
Stay up late for the Birch Aquarium Grunion Run:
Feed the giraffes during the San Diego Zoo Safari Park Kids’ Caravan Adventure:
Nutcracker in the Park
By Sarah Nguyen, Mom’s Guide contributor
Looking for a fun holiday activity for your family? The annual production of The Nutcracker produced by the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, is a lovely, budget-friendly treat for parents and kids alike.
I had never been to a youth ballet before and I was pleasantly surprised. Professional lighting, wonderful costumes and virtually all of the roles are played by ballet students age 4-18. It really was magical and fun to watch. While I had to leave our 2 year old son at home (sitting quietly for two hours would have been a Christmas miracle) our 3 year old, ballerina loving daughter was in a trance the entire time. She loved it.
San Diego Civic Youth Ballet provides classical instruction to students ages 4-adult and produces full length ballets each year in Balboa Park, including The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Fairy Tales in the Park.
Performances of The Nutcracker run December 10-21 at the historic Casa del Prado Theater in Balboa Park, with Special Education and Girl Scout shows held on the 10th and 11th respectively. Tickets, $10-$18, and information can be found at www.sdcyb.org or by calling 619-233-3060.
October is Awesome in San Diego!
It felt like an East Coast fall day in Julian yesterday, which just increased the pleasure of picking crisp, juicy apples and eating them right off the tree. It was the perfect way to kick off fall, and got me thinking about all of the wonderful activities that will happen in San Diego during the next several weeks…
Fall Festival at KOA San Diego
October 18-20 and October 25-27
You might recall how much we loved our first stay at KOA San Diego Campground. If we can swing it, we want to head back for their Fall Festival weekend. KOA has its very own pumpkin patch and is hosting a pumpkin carving contest over the weekends of October 18th and October 25th. There will be hayrides, movie under the stars (Hotel Transylvania), safe trick-or-treating, pancake breakfast in the park and more.
For more information visit http://koa.com/campgrounds/san-diego/.
Weekends September 28 – October 27
We’re going to enjoy SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular this year and,while we’re there we’ll be checking out the Dine with Shamu dinner show for the first time (kids go free in October!). The spooktacular weekend includes special shows and activities, photo ops with wacky characters and gob of ghoulish goodies. Kids are encouraged to come to the park in their costumes.
Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25-26 – 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Ghosts, goblins, pirates and princesses alike will love this scary storytelling session aboard the Star of India as storytellers reveal the eerie legends of the past and tales of ghostly encounters. Kids are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes, and creepy treats will be handed out to all who attend. The Haunting Tales are included with Maritime Museum admission.
For more information visit www.sdmaritime.org.
Marie Hitchkock Puppet Theater
Kids love the Balboa Park Puppet Theater. And who wouldn’t love to spend a fall day in Balboa Park? This year there are two non-scary Halloween productions scheduled.
October 23-27 is “The Polka Dot Ghost” about a not-scary ghost who needs help getting ready for Halloween night.
October 30-November 3 is “Witches Brew” about a witch who plans to become a nice person.
For more information about these Halloween-themed shows and others, visit www.balboaparkpuppets.com.
HAUNTED AQUARIUM: Shipwrecked!
Discover what lurks beneath the surface at Haunted Birch Aquarium: Shipwrecked! Enjoy close encounters of the fishy kind, BOO-gie down with Billy Lee and the Swamp Critters, and explore our wreckage for sunken treasures. Wander the aquarium’s galleys for tricky treats and discover a sea of glowing creatures while having a monstrous good time. Dress to impress!
For more information visit www.aquarium.ucsd.edu.
Balboa Park Halloween Family Day
Saturday, October 26 – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
With more than a dozen Balboa Park museums “treating” children 12 and under to free admission with paid adult admission, the 5th annual Balboa Park Halloween Family Day is sure to please. Participating museums will also present special, spooky activities, tours, storytelling and other goodies.
For more information visit www.sandiego.org.
Spooky Sleepover at the San Diego Zoo
October 19 and October 26 – 4 p.m. to 9 a.m.
Get into the spirit of the Halloween season with a Spooky Sleepover at the San Diego Zoo led by ghostly camp director, Dr. Zoolittle. Participants get to make their own personalized treat bags and take an exclusive bus tour to visit some scary and strange animals. Families will then settle in for the night at “haunted” Camp Timbuktu where they can partake in a costume parade, ghost stories, dinner, snacks around the campfire and an optional night prowl through the Zoo.
For more information visit www.sandiegozoo.org.
October 5, 12, 19 and 26 – 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Held every Saturday in October, the Brick-or-Treat Party Nights at LEGOLAND boasts several special areas open late, including Miniland USA, Land of Adventure and Castle Hill. Activities include a dance party, the “Mail Order Monsters Show,” a live performance from a group called The Witchettes, a magic show and a costume contest.
For more information visit http://california.legoland.com.
Oh Yes I Did!
I wasn’t going to do it.
I was not going to spend $40 plus a service fee per ticket to take my 6-year-old to see The Fresh Beat Band. I mean $40 for crappy, second to the last row seats that were not even side-by-side but instead one in front of the other. The LAST two seats at the “regular” ticket price that were remotely near each other even though the show was more than a month away.
Especially no way was I going to buy one of the closer seats that were available through “ticket brokers,” or “scalpers” as I call them. Those babies were selling for double and more face value per ticket, and there were lots of great seats available through the brokers, but, NO WAY. I can’t even believe that scalpers would get involved with a kids’ show. Boo!
But then I noticed there was an after party where we’d get to learn a Fresh Beat dance, enjoy “healthy snacks” and meet the band…all for the low, low price of $60 per ticket plus a service fee. But the back stage pass was only available if you had a show ticket.
Were those crappy $40, one-in-front-of-the-other seats still available? YES they were and YES I did spend more than $200 to take my daughter to her first concert and then backstage to meet the band.
Was it worth it?
Well, I’ve easily spent $200 on less important things than sharing an awesome first concert experience with my child.
And, I could afford these tickets, even though I wish they had cost less.
I knew it would be great, girly fun for my daughter and me. (hey, I know all The Fresh Beat Band songs too!)
But maybe the main reason I splurged on this experience was because of a mom named Anna, who is suffering terribly after the recent death of her son. Anna asks a lot of “what if,” type questions, and I find myself living for today more than ever.
You know what else? The Fresh Beat Band music is innocent, upbeat, positive…just what I want my children singing and dancing to. I’m happy that Mal has their poster up on her wall and that she went to sleep that night listening to their new cd with the backstage pass and lanyard sitting on the night stand right next to her bed.
I think she’ll always remember that day, and I KNOW I will. Oh yes I will!
Once Upon A Time…
Once upon a time there was a sweet little girl who loved to dance, get manicures, dress up, create beautiful crafts, go to tea parties and make new friends. Happily, she was able to do all of her favorite things at a magical place called The Royal Fairytale.
For four wonderful afternoons this summer the little girl enjoyed the best of girlhood during The Royal Fairytale’s princess camp. She learned how to create a rainbow of carnations using food-colored water. Her new favorite toy bunny, “Sugar,” came to life at the Fairytale’s stuffie station. She learned how to sip tea from a china cup with “pinkies up.” She enjoyed a first — blue fingernail polish and purple toe polish– and she performed a special dance with her new friends to the song “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”
Her mother, the Queen (ha, ha), loved that princess camp cost only $99, that it was offered by the sweet store owners of The Royal Fairytale whom she likes and trusts very much, and that the camp was limited to 12 girls so that every princess got the royal treatment she deserved.
If you have a special little girl in your life, check out The Royal Fairytale. There are only a handful of spots left in the last session of princess camp, but she can feel like a princess all year long at the store’s birthday parties, monthly tea parties, pajama parties, glamour parties, stuffie station and adorable gift shop.
The Royal Fairytale
Westfield Parkway Plaza
Pick A Peck of Pumpkins
Ahhhh, fall is finally in the San Diego air, and I’m glad that we chose this weekend for our annual pumpkin picking. And, yes, you can pick a peck of pumpkins! From what I can tell your peck will weigh anywhere from 8-24 lbs. (pecks aren’t translated easily into pounds) But that’s a whole other confusing subject.
Anyway, each year I write about our favorite fall activities and, while you can find inexpensive carving pumpkins at local grocery stores, it’s sooo much more fun for the kids if you make a trip to one of San Diego’s pumpkin patches.
I was hoping to experience Bates Nut Farm for the first time this year, but with gas at nearly $5 a gallon, I’m not eager to take the drive to Escondido from East County.
Instead, we spent yesterday evening at our preferred patch, Oma’s Pumpkin Patch, where we ran through the hay maze, slid down the cotton seed hill, played some games and picked a few pumpkins. There is also a petting coral, playground and hay rides on the farm all included in the $8 per child price. One adult is free with each child admission, and each child will leave with a small-to-medium-sized pumpkin, which is also included with admission.
There are no pumpkins to pick at next weekend’s Fall Harvest Festival but it is another fabulous way to celebrate the season.
At only $5 per child for Parent Connection members and $10 per child for non-members, kids will get their faces painted, make fall art with the terrific staff of Art Soup, dance to the kid-friendly music of Hullaballoo Band, sit for storytime with the author “Becka and the Big Bubble,” have a caricature made by Court Jones and decorate cupcakes compliments of Cupcake Love. You don’t want to miss it!
If you’re looking for a low-key pumpkin picking experience, you should visit Summers Past Farm.
I see that they are having a fall harvest festival of their own next weekend, and if it’s anything like their annual Fairy Festival, it will be a zoo (a fun zoo, but not low-key). However, last year we visited Summers Past and had a really enjoyable and quiet afternoon of wandering through rows of pumpkins.
What’s your favorite fall tradition?
Play at the Bay!
Resolutions, part I
I love to make resolutions. They give me direction each year, and I’m pretty good at sticking to them.
I’m sharing a few here this week because, if you’re like me, making sweet memories with family and friends is a great goal no matter what the year. Here’s how I’ll go about it in 2013.
More time in the snow
There’s 3-inches of snow on the ground at Mt. Laguna today, so it’s highly likely we’ll take the quick 30-minute drive out there for a bit of fun in the snow. SoCal kids do love snow play!
It’s even more likely that we’ll head out to Mammoth in the next month or so. We skipped our annual Mammoth trip last year because of poor snow conditions, but with 6 feet on the ground right now, we’re a go in 2013.
Most families we know prefer the shorter drive to Big Bear, but there really is no comparing the two mountains. Mammoth is well worth the 7 hour drive to us (or the reasonable flight).
We love to rent condos with hot tubs that are near the slopes. We’ve also rented houses through VRBO, which are great for backyard sledding, snowman building and checking out the snow plows as they come down the street.
If you don’t rent a place with backyard sledding, be sure to visit one of the many public snow hills you will find around town, or head out to Woolly’s Tube Park. Even kids who don’t want to tube will have fun in Woolly’s snow play area. Getting there is as easy as catching a shuttle from the village, but street parking and lots are also available.
Every Saturday in Mammoth’s village there’s a family hour complete with music, face painting and a little parade. Most of the restaurants are family-friendly and there are a number of cute shops. We always make a stop into the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
In 2013 I resolve to do one thing in Mammoth that we’ve never done before, and that’s dog sledding.
A 50-minute tour through the Eastern Sierras for our family will cost about $300, but I expect it to be one of our more memorable experiences. And, as always, top on my list of things to do is create wonderful memories with my husband and kids.
Happy New Year!
San Diego Circus
If you want to share the thrill of a circus with your kids, but without the smelly animals or the stinky ticket price of some other traveling shows, then mark your calendar, and make a date with Circus Vargas. You’re bound to see the giant blue and yellow big top tent in your part of town soon, and you might be wondering if it’s worthy of a family outing. Yes, I have to tell you, yes it is!
Circus Vargas presents its newest spectacular, Magikaria! A Fantastical Magical Experience, at:
Mission Bay Park Feb. 21-March 4
Westfield Parkway March 7-11
Mira Mesa Community Park March 14-18
Vista at Highway 78 at Vista Village Drive March 21-April 1
Magikaria will transport families to a world of magic under the big top, an amazing production bursting with mystery, magic, acrobats, daredevils and more!
Parents are encouraged to arrive thirty minutes early for the interactive pre-show where kids can create magic of their own!
To enter, simply leave a comment. You’re going to have a blast at Circus Vargas!
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?
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
Baby Shamu has arrived, we have a Circus Vargas winner, another fabulous birthday spot bites the dust, and your mom’s guide is waiting for you. This is one action packed post, so let’s get started.
Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect day to activate my son’s new Seaworld preschool pass. Our date turned even sweeter when we discovered that we would be among the first Seaworld guests to meet baby Shamu, the killer whale who had been born that very day at 6:33 a.m.
It was incredible to sit in Shamu Stadium and watch the “tiny” 6-7 foot calf swimming along its mom. It surfaced many times, provoking oohs and ahhs from the crowd. It’s a great time to visit Seaworld, and if you have a preschooler, don’t forget to get your pass before the March 31st deadline.
Baby Shamu was the good news of the week. The bad news, for us, was to discover that The Royal Fairytale is closing. We have enjoyed many special times with the owners and staff of this business including Mallory’s 4th birthday, several princess camps, tea parties and pajama jams. Visit them before February 25th for one last tea party with the princesses. Happily, The Royal Fairytale will continue to offer a mobile party service. Stay tuned for details.
Next week Circus Vargas opens its 2013 show to San Diego, and one lucky family wins a 4 pack of tickets. I’m drawing the winner right now and…it is…Melissa Velzis!
Congrats Melissa, you will be sent instructions on how to claim your prize via email.
Finally, if you would enjoy buy-one-get-one-free coupons to places like Mon Petit Chateau, the Natural History Museum, Chick-fil-A, San Diego Botanic Garden, Java Mama, SeaLife Aquarium, The New Children’s Museum, Balboa Park Puppet Theater, Birch Aquarium, Living Coast Discovery Center and for the kiddie train at UTC mall, you need a copy of the 2013 Mom’s Guide to San Diego. Email me at SanDiegoMom@hotmail.com to get your copy!
Later today I will be updating the events calendar with great springtime family-friendly happenings. And check back later in the week when I post a SUPER birthday party blog and contest. I love delivering the latest, greatest news and contests to my readers!
Tea Time (re-post)
Have you ever met a little girl who doesn’t enjoy a tea party?
Mal’s birthday is eight months away, but she has already decided on an Alice in Wonderland-themed tea party. So I’m on the lookout for the perfect way to celebrate. I thought I’d share some of what I’ve discovered about tea time in San Diego.
The Royal Fairytale
The magical castle located within this sweet boutique was the site of Mallory’s 4th birthday party, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with how that party turned out. The staff at The Royal Fairytale is superb, and parties can include instruction on how to properly sip tea, the teaching of a royal dance, a game of “hot tiara,” dress-up time with princess and knight costumes and special hair styles complete with sparkles. The tea is usually apple juice and/or lemonade, and the food includes finger sandwiches and favorite childhood snacks. They use real china, provide place cards for each child and can provide a costumed princess character.
I have not been (yet!), but I’ve heard that the Westgate sets the standard for upscale tea service in San Diego. Traditional tea services are offered Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 2:30 until 5:00 p.m. and there are special teas throughout the year including a Teddy Bear Tea at Christmastime, an Easter Bunny Tea and a mother-daughter tea for Mother’s Day. You’re able to work with the catering staff to create your own special event. I’m excited to announce that on April 29th I will be co-sponsoring a very special “mommy & me” tea at the Westgate with our guest of honor being the illustrator of the Fancy Nancy series, Robin Preiss Glasser. More on this later, but please save the date if you, like me, would like to get fancy with your little girl and meet one of the creative minds behind a favorite book series.
Like the Westgate, the Hyatt Aviara offers upscale high tea each weekend and special events throughout the year. The tea menu is quite extensive, and the holiday teddy bear tea gets rave reviews.
There are a number of tea shops in San Diego, and I’ve been to three that offer a terrific children’s service. The Aubrey Rose in La Mesa is my favorite not only because it’s in our home town, but because it is just so wonderfully sweet…beautifully decorated and small enough to feel quaint, but large enough for a large group. We enjoyed dressing up in the shop’s fancy hats, gloves, “pearl” necklaces and feather boas and sipping their chocolate tea. There is so much to choose from at the Aubrey Rose including a gluten free service. You won’t be disappointed!
Mrs. Burton’s Tea Room in Old Town is another fun place for moms and their daughters. While not as charming as The Aubrey Rose, this tea room is small, quaint and offers dress up fun and great food too. They actually offer a Mad Hatter Tea Party, which would be perfect for us except it’s only available for ages 7 and older after school during the week or on minimum school days. Hmmm…I’ll have to think about that.
We recently attended a small party at Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe (near the airport on India Street), and the tea and food were wonderful. The 6-year-olds had a fantastic time, loved sipping their delicious tea from real china and eating their pastries, tea sandwiches, fresh fruit and clotted cream. While Shakespeare’s is a great and authentic British service, they do not offer the quaint tea room feel or dress up opportunity that’s fun for the girls as well as their moms. We were, however, able to enjoy the beautiful Saturday afternoon on the outdoor porch.
At Home Party
I would be happy to host Mallory’s Mad Hatter/Alice In Wonderland Party in our own home and found a mobile cooking business that will bring the tea party to us. My Cool Kid Cooks can combine two of my daughter’s favorite things…tea party and cooking! They will bring all of the party supplies including groceries to my home, we’ll all cook and play then eat the fruit of our labor.
To help make our at home party more authentic, both The Aubrey Rose & Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe sell their delicious scones and other goodies that I can bring home and bake in our oven. I’m also tempted to buy the La Tea Da tea party set from Posh Party Box or to hire “Alice” to visit from Parties Unique, our favorite character company.
I’ll let you know what we end up doing this November. Until then, if you have any tea party suggestions, please leave a comment here!
I cannot believe that FUNbelievable is turning 1! Where has this year gone?
It is also pretty incredible that in less than a year this indoor play space has become one of San Diego County’s most popular meeting spots for playgroups. With 6,000 square feet of play space including a large toddler area, climbing structure, sport court and giant slides that are fun for any age (moms included!), there is something for kids up to age 12 at FUNbelievable. My neighbor was there with her 3 and 1-year-olds for six hours the other day!
FUNbelievable’s owners had their fantastic play structures built in the UK and shipped over when they couldn’t find exactly what they wanted in the USA, so you know when you visit your children will have a truly unique experience.
Break out your 2012 Mom’s Guide to San Diego and use the buy-one-get-one coupon to FUNbelievable! Or stop in this Sunday, June 24th for their 1st birthday party complete with the music of Clint Perry and the Boo Hoo Crew, a free gift for every child and special $5 per child entry (adults are free).
FUNbelievable is located at 11655 Riverside Drive, River Run East Business Park, Unit 155-157 in Lakeside. Visit www.funbelievableplay.com.
The Adventures of Pug & Doug
Do you remember when I collaborated with Adventures by the Book to bring the illustrator of the Fancy Nancy series to San Diego last spring? That event was incredibly popular and will be repeated this year, but I’m super excited to tell you about another Adventures by the Book event for kiddos; The Pug & Doug Drawing Adventure with author Steve Breen at Mon Petit Chateau.
In addition to being a children’s book author, Steve Breen is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist. So, in addition to a reading of his book to our children, this “adventure” includes multiple drawing demonstrations by the author. If your child has shown any interest at all in art, this is a not-to-miss event.
Adults go free with a child, and the child’s $39 ticket includes the event, an autographed copy of Pug & Doug and a day pass to play at the fabulous Mon Petit Chateau. I hope you’ll join Mallory, Gage and me at this unique event next week.
Here’s the scoop:
PUG & DOUG DRAWING ADVENTURE
When: Saturday, January 26, 2013 starting at 2:00pm
Where: Mon Petit Chateau Mommy Cafe
861 Harold Place, Suite 204
Chula Vista 91914
Cost: $39 per child (includes autographed book and Mon Petit day pass); accompanying adults are free
For more information visit www.adventuresbythebook.com
The Grosser the Better
Boys can be gross.
Girls can be gross too!
Do your chidren have the smelliest sneakers? The loudest burp? Can your child spit great distances? It’s time to reward them with fabulous prizes at the Gross Olympics.
It’s all in good fun, and should be pretty funny too. The Gross Olympics are being held in conjunction with The Fleet’s newest exhibit, Grossology. We’ve already been three times — both my son AND my daughter think it’s really cool. We will definitely be watching the Gross Olympics, and I may let Gage wear his Clone Wars sneakers without socks that day so that he has a fighting chance in the competition!
The Gross Olympics will be held at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park on Saturday, July 7th.
While you’re there, be sure to check out the Fleet’s Family Science Saturday event in the tinkering studio. We’ve never tinkered before, so looking forward to this family first.
All events are free with admission. Hope to see you there!
The Hills Are Alive…
I love that my kids think that the San Diego Junior Theater‘s production of The Sound of Music is the best junior theater musical they’ve seen so far. I totally agree, but I wasn’t expecting that reaction from them. The performance is intended for children ages 6 and older because of mature topics like falling in love, becoming a nun and the Third Reich. But the music and the talent of those young actors transcend the grown-up themes and leave even little ones humming “The hills are alive, with the sound of music….” all day long.
The Sound of Music opened last weekend and is the first of eight shows coming to the Casa del Prado Theater in Balboa Park for the 2012-2013 season. Some performances, like The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) and Guys and Dolls, are recommended for ages 10 and older, but others will be fun for all ages including Doctor Dolittle, A Little Princess, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Go, Dog, Go!
Just before The Sound of Music began, the sweetest little girl was brought up on stage and everyone in the theater sang “happy birthday” to her. She was presented with a personalized and autographed show poster and, apparently, had partied with the cast before the 2 p.m. performance. I didn’t know that the San Diego Junior Theater offered birthday parties in addition to camps and classes. In light of how much Mallory loved The Sound of Music, I wish I had booked her birthday party with this cast. What a special memory that would be.
It doesn’t have to be your birthday for you to get a chance to treat your family to The Sound of Music or another Junior Theater production because I’m giving away a family 4-pack of tickets good for the 2012-2013 season show of your choice. If you would like to be entered to win, simply reply below with your name and whether or not your children have ever been to the theater for a live performance.
The Reason for the Season
We took our first trip to Bethlehem last weekend, compliments of Faith Chapel‘s “Bethlehem Story” Living Nativity.
We had no idea what to expect, and were awed by what a terrific job the church and their members did to bring alive the times of Jesus.
As far as I know, none of the congregation are professional actors, but they certainly created believable characters who peppered the streets of this “Bethlehem” bazaar selling their wares, making arts and crafts, tending to animals and telling Bible stories.
Gage enjoyed chopping wood and sharpening knives.
Mallory learned how to write Shalom in Hebrew.
Faith Chapel’s Living Nativity took place last weekend, and we enjoyed it so much I’ve started to research other nativities in San Diego. Here are the ones I am aware of, but please comment if you know of some that I have missed.
Bethlehem Walk; First United Methodist Church in Escondido:
Friday, December 13, 2013 – 5:30 pm to 8:55 pm
Saturday, December 14, 2013 – 4:00 pm to 8:25 pm
Sunday, December 15, 2013 – 4:00 pm to 7:55 pm
Living Nativity; St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Clairemont:
Saturday, December 14 at 5:00 pm
Walk-thru or Drive-thru Live Nativity; Pathways Church in Santee:
Friday, December 13, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Saturday, December 14, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Living Nativity; Grace Lutheran Church in Escondido
Friday, Dec 20 at 7:00 pm
Saturday, December 21 at 6:00 pm
The Santa House
Disneyland, Legoland, Seaworld…they all offer magical holiday fun this time of year. But, if you’re looking for some simple, low-key and free holiday magic, consider visiting “The Santa House” in Poway.
The Santa House is the private home of the Huish family. Each year they transform their massive front yard, most of the first floor and their beautiful backyard into a Christmas fantasyland and open it for public viewing from 6 – 8 p.m. each evening except Sundays.
When we visited last week, “Arthur Christmas” was playing on the giant Fun Flicks outdoor movie screen, Santa was sitting in his sleigh, meeting with children and taking photos. Mrs. Claus was handing out candy canes, and the elves were handing out one free gift per child.
In the gazebo, kids were writing their Santa letters and leaving them for the Macy’s mailbox, which donates $1 per letter received to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
There were complimentary cookies and hot chocolate. “Snow” was falling from the sky, Christmas carols were playing and nearly every inch of viewing space was elaborately decorated.
Even the port-a-potties are wonderful…complete with lights and running water!
The Santa House is an incredible display of generosity and holiday spirit. Within the home you’ll see displays honoring police and fire fighters and children in need. You’ll leave the home filled with the true meaning of Christmas!
To visit the Santa House on Joyas Court in Poway, take the 15 to Rancho Bernardo Road and turn right.
Turn left on Valle Verde
Go to the end of the street and turn right
You will likely start seeing cars parked and you can just follow the foot traffic to the street and walk up the hill to the house.
The Word of Mom
I’ve always really appreciated the word-of-mouth of moms. All of the best things we’ve experienced have been suggested by others. So in the mom’s guide I pass on all of my favorites as well as those things I have heard were fantastic.
San Diego Junior Theater performances are wonderful, so even though we were not planning to attend the current production of Disney’s Peter Pan, I wanted to let subscribers know about it. When I received this message back from a mom, I decided to make time for this play…
“I wanted to say thank you for your email of events a few weeks ago which included the Peter Pan play in Balboa Park. We went last weekend and it was a fun family outing! I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. Thanks so much!”
So tonight we were there in beautiful Balboa Park in a packed theater watching the live performance of a show we’ve seen so many times in cartoon form, and it was definitely a “fun family outing” as the mom’s guide reader had exclaimed. The young actors were very talented, the set was fun, and the music was lovely.
More than the actual performances, I love watching my kids watch other kids performing. Neither of them has expressed any interest in being on stage, but they are mesmerized by those young actors. Gage, who normally wants nothing to do with photos would not leave without meeting Peter Pan. When I asked him if he wanted to take lessons or attend the Junior Theater camp this summer so that one day he could play Peter Pan, he gave me his biggest signature smile.
There are five performances of Peter Pan left, and tickets start at $8. If you go and like it, be sure to spread the word…
I Love Ya, Tomorrow, You’re Only A Day Away…
I’ll probably have that song in my head for days now that we’ve seen San Diego Junior Theater‘s production of Annie. But that’s OK, it’s a great little song, and it was a great musical to take the kids to.
Neither of my children has expressed any interest in taking acting or singing lessons, but they certainly enjoy watching other kids perform. Our bonus today…our neighbor, Brooke, was one of the orphans, and she looked great on stage. All of the child actors were adorable. The adult talent was really impressive. (Did you know that San Diego Junior Theater alumni include Dennis Hopper, Raquel Welch and Annette Bening?) The live orchestra was especially captivating to my kids. (oh yes, and we all loved Sandy the dog too!).
San Diego Junior Theater offers fantastic family entertainment at affordable prices ($8 – $14 for Annie). The child actors are students of San Diego Junior Theater’s classes and camps. I imagine the packed audience consisted primarily of friends and family of the actors, but even if you don’t know the talent, you should consider making it to a performance with your child of any age. The theater is incredibly family-friendly, and after the performance we were able to meet the cast outside of the beautiful Casa del Prado Theater in Balboa Park.
Are your school-aged children looking for something to do during Thanksgiving Break? Click here for details on San Diego Junior Theater’s new Thanksgiving camp. They also offer winter, spring break and summer camps that might jump start your little star’s career and make you one of those enthusiastic audience members at a future Junior Theater performance.
San Diego Junior Theater is the oldest continuing children’s theater program in the country. Its productions have entertained well over a million theatre-goers since its beginning in 1948.
For more information about the organization, performances, camps or classes, visit www.juniortheater.com.
Treat Your Pumpkin to the Fall Harvest Festival
Looking for a sweet way to celebrate the season with your little pumpkin that doesn’t involve huge crowds and spending lots of money?
If yes, join me on Sunday, October 5th for San Diego’s annual Fall Harvest Festival where for just $10 per child (adults are free), your family will enjoy the kid-friendly tunes of Hullabaloo Band, pumpkin decorating, animal encounters, face painting, crafts, obstacle courses, bounce houses, story time activities, professional photos and more.
That’s right…more…and for only $10 per child. No activity tickets or long lines.
We have loved the Fall Harvest Festival for years. I keep waiting for Mal & Gage to outgrow it, but every year the Parent Connection adds something else we want to try. This year it’s laser tag for the older kids. They’re also looking forward to the “spooky” petting zoo and meeting a skunk and lizards up close.
The Fall Harvest Festival will be held in Carmel Mountain Ranch at Manna’s Martial Arts. Activities will be held both indoors and outdoors. Food trucks will serve up lunch and tasty treats like gluten free cupcakes and organic cotton candy. Hope to see you there!
Oct. 5, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Manna’s Martial Arts
12285-B World Trade Drive
San Diego 92128 (in Carmel Mountain Ranch near The Home Depot)
$8/child for Parent Connection members before Oct. 1
$10/child for nonmembers
$10/child on or after Oct. 1
Children under 1 year old and adults will be admitted FREE
Tickets on sale now at www.sandiegoparent.com
Tickets will be sold at the door
If you’re looking for a fun, educational, tasty activity for your little ones, Carlsbad Strawberry Company in Carlsbad is the place to be!
Located east of I-5 and Cannon Road, at the intersection of Paseo del Norte, this cute little stand is full of helpful folks, ready to hand you a bucket, give you a few rules and point you in the right direction.
For a few more weeks, they’ll allow the public to stop by their patch to pick strawberries to your heart’s content (or your bucket is full).
While asking for more details about the patch, I was introduced to Stanley. Stanley is the man. The Strawberry Man. He knows everything there is to know about growing, harvesting, weather, cycles, hybrids…okay, I’ll stop there. I’ll stick to the basics Stanley would like everyone to know.
Stanley: No bags, no stems, no outside containers, don’t overfill your bucket!
Translation: Don’t steal strawberries or destroy the plants.
Stanley: Pay first, don’t step on the plants, pick within boundaries!
Translation: Don’t steal strawberries, don’t destroy plants and pick where they tell you.
Stanley: These strawberries aren’t quite as sweet as usual due to the heavy spring rains.
Translation: Stanley is a strawberry perfectionist. This is another reason why he is The Strawberry Man. The strawberries we picked were great!
Stanley: If you would like to bring a group, we can help you out.
Translation: Stanley will cut you a sweet deal if you bring a group of 15 or more pickers. Fill out the form on the website before bringing your group. Also, bucket prices below were current when we visited. They may change as the season comes to a close.
Stanley: These strawberries are not organic.
Translation: If that’s important to you, this may not be the patch for you.
A few things we learned during our strawberry picking adventure:
Sunhats, sunscreen and long sleeves/pants aren’t a bad idea. It’s hot out there.
Some areas were a little muddy, so closed-toe shoes are helpful.
It’s a little messy (strawberry juice), so keep that in mind when planning your outfits.
I wish I would have worn pants. The plants are kind of scratchy.
It is an awesome photo opportunity.
Coming back with a group would be a lot of fun.
Open 9am-5pm daily
Season ends – Mid-July (approximately)
Large buckets – $20
Small buckets – $10
**Good for all ages**
While I am sure there is a rule somewhere about not eating strawberries while picking, I turned around to find that this child couldn’t stand it any longer.
I mean, how could I deny THAT face? Ugh, my heart. So I let her finish and removed a berry from our full bucket.
No stealing strawberries! : )
It’s a very Veggie birthday, and the present is for you! Enter here to win a pair of tickets. 5 winners will be chosen!
Join Bob & Larry and the entire VeggieTales crew as they put on the biggest birthday party ever celebrating VeggieTales’ 20 years of stories, songs and fun. The show is filled with silly song favorites and memorable entertainment for the whole family! You won’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind celebration!
Happy Birthday Bob & Larry!
La Mesa, CA
Saturday, October 12th
DOORS OPEN AT 2PM
SHOW STARTS AT 3PM
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
Use the rafflecopter form below to enter. Good luck!
PS — looks like Rafflecopter failed to list the address for the Veggie Tales Live FB page: https://www.facebook.com/events/474717629282156/
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 🙂
What to do and How to Save at the San Diego Fair
Wow, the price of everything seems to have gone up in the last year, but Costco’s San Diego County Fair pack costs the same. We bought this last summer and found it to be a terrific deal… 4 adult admissions, 50 ride tickets, one parking pass, 4 drink coupons and a coupon book that gave us great deals on all of the food we wanted to sample at the fair.
Here’s what you should know:
1. Children 5 and under are free every day!
2. Yes, you can bring your own food and drinks (sealed) into the fair.
3. During the Fair, free parking is available at three off-site lots, one that is open each day of the Fair and two that are open on weekends and July 4th. The buses drop off and pick up at the O’Brien “main” gate. On site parking is $10 (cash only) per car.
4. Families love the Pepsi-sponsored pay-one-price ride days when a $35 wristband allows for unlimited rides on select days. Head to your local Albertson’s to take advantage of a $5 wristband discount (with Pepsi purchase). Of course, the pay-one-price days will be the busiest as far as rides go.
5. The fair is more fun with friends! Get a group together to take advantage of great group sales rates like a $14 unlimited visit ticket.
6. Children 12 and younger get free admission to the fair on Kids’ Days (June 24th and July 1st) and any day of their choice if they participate in the reading certificate program. 5 and younger are free each day.
7. Sample fantastic and unusual fair foods for only $2 each during Taste of the Fair days (June 24th & July 1st). More than 100 fair food booths will participate in the popular promotion from the time the fair opens through 5 p.m.
The San Diego Fair is so much more than food and rides. Before you visit, be sure to view the daily schedule of activities to help plan your day. Catch (and even enter to win!) the different daily contests like pie-eating, bubble gum blowing and baby races. Visit the 4H exhibits, petting zoo, turkey stampede and pig races. Check out the equestrian contests and monster truck races. See the magic show, play bingo, visit the Creative Youth exhibit.
The Mom’s Guide to San Diego is giving away one Costco Fair Pack to one lucky reader. Please comment below with your favorite fair activity for kids to be entered for a chance to win. One winner will be selected on Tuesday, June 10th.
Why We’re Probably Not Going To The Fair This Year
Don’t get me wrong, the kids and I really enjoyed the San Diego County Fair last summer. In fact, when I asked if they wanted to go back they were both a definite yes. But while I was there last year I kept thinking to myself that I really didn’t want to do it again.
Why? Well, because just about everything we did at the fair could be done in other parts of San Diego County for less money, with fewer crowds and in a more quality way. It’s something to experience, for sure, but I’m not so sure it needs to be done more than once every few years.
Fairs are known for their greasy foods, rinky dink rides, animals, music and other attractions. The San Diego County Fair certainly has it all. But there was hardly anything at the fair that we don’t already enjoy on a regular basis.
My kids love rides. From the carousel at Parkway Plaza mall with the fastest spinning tea cup I’ve ever encountered, to the fair-like rides at Belmont Park and Boomers, to “real” rides at Legoland and other local amusement parks, we get our fill of rides all year long. So we didn’t actually go on any of the fair rides. The lines were too long and the cost too high.
Instead we spent about $25 in hard-to-win arcade games, which really took the wind out of my kids’ sails. They just couldn’t believe that it was so difficult to actually win those giant stuffed animals. If you don’t want to seriously bum your young children out, keep away from the arcade games. Maybe the arcade games at Belmont and Seaworld are easier?
My kids love food and, interestingly, the greasy fair item they enjoyed the most was Hot Dog On A Stick‘s fried cheese, which of course we can get at the mall.
My kids love animals, and we all loved the 4H displays and the petting corrals at the fair. Oh and the “swifty swine” races are awesome. I haven’t found any other places in San Diego to race pigs, but we do love the petting corrals at the San Diego Zoo, Van Ommering’s Farm, Summer’s Past Farm and the recently closed Victoria’s Gardens. We’ve happily driven several times to Zoomer’s Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano, and we’d love to visit the animals at Bates Nut Farm soon. I recently found out that you can see these same 4H exhibits at other times of the year at the various “junior fairs” in East County and Ramona. Cool.
I see that the fair has a few dog show competitions this summer, which would be quite fun to see. My kids love the Pets Rule show at Seaworld, which has rescued cats and dogs running obstacle courses and performing tricks.
One really special thing we did at the SD Fair was ride on a monster truck. Oh yes, even momma loves the monster trucks so we sat through a couple of races one day and were thrilled to find out that we could all ride on a giant firetruck-turned-monster for only $5 per person. It was a fabulously bumpy and silly ride over dirt hills. Earlier this year we enjoyed Monster Jam at Qualcomm Stadium, but I admit it would have been more fun had we been able to hitch a ride with one of the trucks.
Another treat was the Three O’Clock Family Fun event with old fashioned contests like potato sack races, three legged races, and hula hooping. Typing this reminds me that I need to get some of those contests going at our next backyard BBQ!
If you check out the list of special events, you’re certain to find several reasons to visit the fair. I see things on there that I know my kids would like, so I am tempted to return. But whether we go or not, it doesn’t matter because we live in a town where the visiting fair isn’t the most fun thing going on all year! Don’t you love that?