Posts Tagged ‘things to do with kids in San Diego’
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.
Art Soup — Yummy!
My friend and fellow Parent Connection mom, Tiffany Golden, just opened a fantastic drop-in art studio in Encinitas called Art Soup. The kids and I made it out for their $5 morning special (weekdays between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.) and found it to be a perfect outing for a 3-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl.
Mallory took her time creating a beautiful pair of fairy wings. Gage set aside his sword craft in favor of painting a real car (cool!). He played with the Lego castle, attempted to write his name in chalk on the fire truck, and really, really wanted to leave with the painted skateboard that is on display promoting birthday party craft projects.
When her fairy wings were complete, Mal decided it was time to draw. The sweetest Art Soup employee, Nadia, helped her sketch a beautiful picture of Rapunzul using her book cover as the model. Now that’s service!
I asked Tiffany to tell me a bit about the inspiration for her business, her plans for the future and what she wants parents and kids to get out of their Art Soup experience…
Me: Why a drop-in art studio?
Tiffany: My daughter is certainly the inspiration. Kids really deserve a creative outlet especially at the those tender young ages when their hearts and minds are so pure and they often don’t have all of the words to verbally express their emotions. I wanted to create an imaginative hands-on environment that doubled as an art studio and social refuge full of larger than life opportunities for them to explore, stretch their imaginations, and have the freedom to get messy free from the rules and confines of mom’s kitchen. In terms of the literal sense of “drop in” life and kids are unpredictable – you can have everyone loaded up in the car with intentions of making it to a certain place at a certain time but something always seems to come up: a melt-down, spilled drink in the lap, someone gets sick. etc. Moms need flexibility and I needed sanity: which meant not being in the “make-up class” business.
Me: Does Art Soup have a cafe, WiFi, flat screens??
Tiffany: Heck no! Art Soup is where you come to soak in not check out. It’s such a magical experience to see your kids so happy, engaged, and proud while they’re making their creative masterpieces. This is definitely a quality time experience and once you’ve been here, you’ll agree and leave feeling great about the time you just spent with your child as he/she/they carry out all of their adorable art. I’d also like to mention that recycled art rocks at Art Soup. We are all about trash to treasure and welcome parents and kids to bring in butter tubs, lids, paper towel rolls ,TP rolls, corks, tissue paper, etc. Our parties feature over 60 different art projects from rockstar to sports and our events launch April 4th.
191 N. El Camino Blvd., Suite 203 Encinitas
Avoiding the Tourist Trap
A reader from Michigan recently contacted me asking for a blog post on the free and low cost outdoor things to do in San Diego instead of just the “tourist trap” attractions and museums.
I love the topic, but need to clarify that the attractions and museums we write about are not at all tourist traps. When we buy annual passes, family memberships or take advantage of one of the numerous special promotions that occur each year, I feel we get MORE than our money’s worth of entertainment and education. Our museums and attractions are awesome and are a major reason why I think San Diego is the best place to raise kids.
However, I am happy to dedicate today’s post to the free and low cost outdoor things San Diego has to offer, especially for those moms like our Michigan reader who might not be aware of just how much America’s Finest City has to offer families.
First, I’ll state the obvious: BEACHES
Tide pooling, sea glass collecting, sand castle building.
Learn to sail, learn to paddle board, learn to swim, surf, snorkel or scuba dive.
Watch the whales, the dolphins or sea lions. Watch our gorgeous sunsets and try to catch the elusive green flash.
We have found that the bay is best for little kids. Mission Bay with its large park and fire pits is super popular for parties, especially when you’re craving s’mores. Our favorite bay spot is Fanuel Park in Pacific Beach, which is more of a neighborhood hangout than tourist attraction.
When visitors think San Diego, they may not be thinking lakes, but our lovely lakes are terrific for picnics, duck feeding, fishing and paddle boating. Santee Lakes is our favorite with its playground, water sprayground, fishing and family-friendly events like the upcoming Spring Eggstravaganza.
A few years ago Santee Lakes built waterfront cabins, and we’ve thought many times about spending a weekend in one. If cabin camping sounds like fun for your family, take a look now, because these cabins sell out months in advance!
San Diego’s nature reserves and lagoons offer family fun in the form of hiking, exploring and bird watching. Many families enjoy volunteering for lagoon clean up and restoration days. It’s a great way to enjoy San Diego’s natural beauty while giving back to our beautiful community.
HIKING AND BIKING
While not always kid-friendly, San Diego offers numerous opportunities for hiking and biking including Balboa Park, Cowles Mountain (which I can see from my backyard!) and Torrey Pines State Reserve, which is gorgeous. Our kids are just at the right age to give Torrey Pines a try, so it’s on the list for spring time family outings.
The boardwalks through Pacific Beach and Coronado are fun for walking, strolling, scooters and bikes as are the paths at Lake Murray and Lake Hodges. Mission Trails Regional Park is a really nice place to hike with kids, plus they offer guided tours, art classes, nature study classes and other special events throughout the year. The annual Explore Mission Trails Day is coming up on May 18th.
Check out this month’s article in San Diego Magazine for more great outdoor ideas.
San Diego has parks on the beach, parks next to lakes, parks in neighborhoods, urban parks, toddler-specific parks…we have no shortage of parks for sure. In addition to our lovely neighborhood parks, we love Fanuel Park in Pacific Beach, the park at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, Kellogg Park at La Jolla Shores.
SDplaygrounds.com is far from a perfect website, but it’s the best I’ve found to help families find the perfect park. The mom who created it doesn’t even live here anymore, but she and her toddler sons spent many months researching and recording all of the parks listed on the site. A really cool feature is that visitors to the site can add their own updates and photos.
It was another beautiful day in San Diego. Did you do something outdoors that was free and fun? Share it here!
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. 🙂
Marissa took her family to Circus Vargas last weekend…they’ll be here for another week in case you want to take your family!
This past weekend, we had the opportunity to see Circus Vargas. When we learned that this year’s show was called “Magikaria, A Fantastical Magical Experience!” it was kind of a no brainer that we would love it. Bean had already been excited for the circus, but now with the magic element thrown in he couldn’t wait to see it.
This was the first circus we took our kids to and they loved it! We were a little worried about how two year old “Pinga” would handle it, but she never once got fussy. We showed up early for the interactive pre-show, where the kids got to create some magic of their own. Bean showed off his feather balancing skills and they had fun throwing colorful scarves into the air.
I was pleasantly surprised that the clowns were actually funny and they did some impressive magic tricks as well! Pinga’s favorite moment was the trapeze act. I only wish there had been more of it. Bean loved the nine ball juggler and we were all in awe of the human cannonball. We couldn’t believe the family in the motorcycle sphere act, especially the eleven year old doing all kinds of dangerous stunts. Definitely a tense moment, but these were true professionals! We did get to meet them, as well as all the other performers after the show, which was a nice touch.
No animals are used in the show, which I was pleased to see. My only complaint was that it was a bit hot and stuffy inside – luckily hubby found a seat across from a fan, so it wasn’t too bad. There are also all sorts of fun light up swords, cups and other trinkets for sale, so if you anticipate your children begging for these things bring some cash! The glamorous costumes, spectacular sets and awe inspiring performers made our first family circus experience a magical one!
If you haven’t experienced Circus Vargas in San Diego yet, there is one more chance to do so! Catch them in Vista at Highway 78 at Vista Village Drive from March 21st -April 1st. Tickets are available on the Circus Vargas website. Have fun!
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.
Gage and I have spent many afternoons fighting the bad guys from World War II, Desert Storm and battles in between. Hanging out on the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier was our special thing to do while Mallory was in school last year.
After the first “this is AWESOME!!!” trip, I knew it would make sense to buy the family membership for $90.
It’s a favorite place to take our friends and family who are visiting from out of town.
There’s so much to learn, to see and explore whether you are a 5-year-old boy or and 85-year-old man. Even girls enjoy the Midway, as I learned yesterday when we took Mallory and her friends to our special place for the very first time.
We only had time to grab a quick lunch at the Fantail Cafe, take a simulated trip on the F18 Hornet and explore the flight deck, so everyone wanted to plan another trip soon. Lucky us! USS Midway Memberships are half-priced through October!
Our own membership doesn’t expire until February 2014, but I was able to extend it until February 2015 for only $45. A terrific deal given that a regular-priced, single-visit adult ticket is $19.
In addition to the half-priced membership offer, the USS Midway is participating in the Kids Free In October promotion. So now’s a great time to check them out!
Both of my kids were introduced to golfing through their sports skills class at Gymoree and loved it. Supposedly Tiger Woods began golfing as a toddler, so I thought with kids ages 4 & 6, this summer would be a good time to look into golf camps.
To my surprise, I was unable to find any camp for children younger than 8. The pee wee golf program through the Ecke Family YMCA gets great reviews, but it’s for ages 3-5. Perfect for my son, but it excludes my daughter.
Happily, with just about a month of summer break remaining, I’ve discovered the Junior Golf Clinics at Carmel Highland Golf Resort. The 2012 summer program offers 1.5 hour clinics that are open to boys and girls age 6-15 of any skill level. Held Wednesdays from 4:00-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 11:00-12:30 p.m., these clinics are sold as punch cards of four clinics for $100.
Each clinic is limited to the first eight students who sign up in the pro shop, and unused punches will not be valid for future programs. With nine sessions remaining, this is something I definitely hope to add to our end-of-summer schedule.
The Carmel Highland Golf Resort is located in Rancho Penasquitos at 14455 Penasquitos Dr. Click here to view the full schedule or call 858.485.4145 for more information.
FREE Demo Day with Super Soccer Stars!
Saturday, September 20th
Carmel Mission Park – (Corner of Carmel Country and Carmel Mission Road)
9:00 – 9:40am: 2-3 year olds
9:45 – 10:30am: 3-young 4 year olds
10:35 – 11:25am: Older 4-5 year olds
9:45 – 10:45am: 5-7 year olds
10:50 – 11:50am: 8-10 year olds
Spaces are limited, so be sure to save your spot!
RSVP to email@example.com or call 619.577.4009!
Super Soccer Stars teaches soccer skills to children 2 and older in a fun, non-competitive and educational environment. Through our age-specific curriculum, we use soccer to nurture, build self-confidence and develop teamwork. Low child-to-coach ratios and positive reinforcement ensure that each child improves at his or her own pace while having a blast!
Get Your Guide
Let’s have a Mom’s Night Out this Thursday night at Humphry’s! The mom’s guide will be in SD Mom’s Night Out goody bags for the first 50 guests, but I’ll be happy to give one to guests number 51-200 if you just ask 😉
Shop for great-priced, gently used kid and baby gear this weekend and pick up a mom’s guide while you’re there. San Diego Kids’ Consignment is taking place this weekend, March 1st through the 3rd in Oceandside.
O’s American Kitchen will hand out mom’s guides to families on Tuesdays during their kids eat free promotion. If you like O’s, you’ll want to get your mom’s guide 20% off coupon! Visit the Carmel Mountain, Mira Mesa, Mission Valley or El Cajon locations. While supplies last.
Join me at the Just Between Friends consignment sale in East County March 8-9. There will be enough mom’s guides available for everyone. And, like all of the other consignors, I’ll be parting with quality kids toys for CHEAP!
Mon Petit Chateau is the best place in South Bay for moms to pick up a guide. Just ask them at the coffee bar for your copy. No purchase necessary, but it will be hard to resist the cuteness you’ll find inside their boutique!
Art Soup in Encinitas is a great North County location to get your guide. Drop in rates are only $12 and your child will have a seriously good time. Again, no purchase necessary to get your guide.
Jungle Gym & Cafe is also a fabulous East County indoor play space that is giving out the guides. They are behind the reception desk so you’ll need to ask for one when checking in. No purchase necessary. Here’s the calendar of mommy workouts and cool kids classes to reference when planning your visit.
In April I will have a booth at the Hullabaloo Family Arts Festival with enough guides for all who visit. Look for the Creative Travel Mugs/Mom’s Guide booth…Melissa and I are sharing a space and looking forward to the new venue, Del Mar Fairgrounds, which will better hold the ever growing crowd following Hullabaloo Band around town!
If you’re in the market for a new pediatrician, be sure to visit Children’s Physicians Medical Group, which has great docs all over the county. Three of them contributed to this year’s mom’s guide, and they are handing out guides to their new patients and at the various community events they attend each year. I am so pleased to partner with quality health care providers in this issue on articles like “Is My Kid Normal?” “The Scoop on Poop” and “Good Night, Sleep Tight.” Thanks CPMG!
Are you a playgroup captain? I will arrange to ship or deliver enough guides to your members asap. Just send me an email @firstname.lastname@example.org so we can arrange the details.
MOPS, Mom’s Club, Mothers of Multiples…check with your local chapters to pick up your copy.
Military moms, check with your local Fleet & Family office.
You can also have an individual copy of the guide mailed to you for a small shipping/handling fee of $2. Just email me at email@example.com.
I hope you enjoy this 5th annual guide! -Jennifer
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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!
Harnessing Their Energy
The kids and I got charged up about the future of energy at last week. Boundless Energy at the Scripps Birch Aquarium is an interactive exhibit that celebrates ways we can use natural forces to power our world. It also lets children harness their own energy to power the reusable energy stations on display.
Of course, in addition to Boundless Energy, the aquarium is a wonderful place to visit with sea creatures of all sorts including sharks, starfish, seahorses, sea urchins and more. There really is something to capture the attention of any age child. We all really enjoyed the different varieties of sea dragons we met…
September 20th is the last day to celebrate the Birch Aquarium’s 20th anniversary with 1/2 priced admission, and next month kids go free to the aquarium all month long with a paying adult. But I’m excited to be able to give one lucky playgroup 12 free tickets to visit anytime.
If you have kids whose energy needs to be harnessed, take a trip to this San Diego treasure. To enter to win, simply reply below with the name of your playgroup and age range of the kiddos. One entry will be randomly selected this weekend!
How Do You Spell Family Camp? F.U.N.!
I had a most wonderful and memorable Mother’s Day weekend. There was no spa in site. Nor a gourmet meal. Although we did eat well, and I didn’t have to clean up a thing. Our kids did all of the cleaning for five meals in a row. Enthusiastically, I might add.
I don’t recall my kids whining or complaining once in the two days we were gone, and they played outside happily all day each day without asking for IPads, TVs or XBox.
Where is this magical, electronics-free land where kids clean up and moms don’t cook? As close as Julian, a quick 1 hour drive from East County, at the 92-year-old Camp Marston.
Some of my best childhood memories were made at a similar YMCA camp in Texas. Our days were filled with horses, hiking, sailing, swimming, archery, rifle shooting (yep!), crafts, songs and friendship. I’ve thought many times that I would like my children to experience the same type of fun in the great outdoors, and last weekend they did. We ALL did!
YMCA Camp Marston in Julian is much like the Y camp I loved many years ago. In addition to its overnight camp program, Marston offers “family camp” four times a year when the whole family stays in a lodge cabin together and participates in a variety of activities including canoeing, archery, target shooting (with BB guns instead of .22s!), games, crafts, climbing wall and more.
Our very good meals were provided in the camp dining hall and served buffet style. The camp cook told us that they prepare 98% of what is served and even bake their breads from scratch every night. During Mother’s Day Camp weekend we enjoyed sandwiches made with that fresh bread, yummy lasagnas and pastas, wonderful salads, a spectacular fresh fruit buffet, sausage, eggs and cooked-to-order pancakes.
YMCA camp strives to teach kids about responsibility, so campers are responsible for cleaning up their own mess. This was possibly my favorite part of each day.
Now, I realize that not every mom is a “camper.” But the beauty of Camp Marston is that you do not have to pitch a tent, pee in the woods, freeze in the cold or swelter in the heat, cook a meal, organize activities, etc. You and your husband might suffer a bit in the single bunk bed, but your kids will love it and you’ll have heat, a fan, a clean bathroom with showers just steps away and activities to keep the whole family entertained for the weekend.
At 5 and 7, our children were the perfect age for family camp. We met many lovely SoCal families, some with older children, some with younger. Most had attended family camp numerous times before. Those experienced family campers came prepared to fish Lake Jessop with their own fishing poles and bait. Many also came prepared to participate in the annual talent show. Next time we’ll be ready for both!
The next family camp will take place over Memorial Weekend, and it’s already sold out. If this type of outing seems like fun to your family, be sure to register early for the upcoming Halloween or Thanksgiving family camp weekends. Maybe we’ll see you there!
Indoor Play – the Good, Bad & Sad
Last week I read that Kid Ventures is now charging parents $5 to accompany their kiddos to the indoor play land. The mommy forums are blowing up with complaints, and many are vowing to give their business to the competition; FUNbelievable, Playtown, Playwerx and Gymboree.
What was Kid Ventures’ motivation for adding a charge for parents? We asked owner Darren Solomon who shared the following:
“We believe strongly that a day at Kid Ventures is a great value. In needing to do a price increase, which we have not done in years, while all of our costs have increased every year (rent, labor, utilities, supplies etc) we felt that adding a nominal adult fee would be a good way to keep up with the rising costs while minimizing the impact on our loyal customers for the following reasons:
**since military and seniors do not pay the adult fee, they still get to benefit from the same affordable pricing where as if we raised the child fee or went to an hourly pricing model like many places, it would be a lot more costly to everyone
**we did a lot of research in the market around Southern California and did see that it was very common for places to charge an adult admission so we felt that adding a small fee for adults was in line with this.
**we have great alternatives for families who want to come to Kid Ventures and save including our membership and multi-visit punch card, which include adults at no extra fee. We don’t ask for any long term commitment (membership is month to month and the multi-visit card never expires which is a unique benefit when you compare with many other places).
**lastly, our day admission is for the entire day for kids and adults and we offer enrichment activities every half hour, in and out privileges at no extra charge and also a great, safe, clean and healthy environment that is designed with both children and adults in mind. We feel that Kid Ventures offers a lot more than just fun…we offer learning, enrichment, structured and unstructured activities and social connection. We hope that our KV families agree and of course we are always open to suggestions and feedback as ultimately we are hear for the customer and want to be around to serve families in San Diego for a very long time.
Since starting the Mom’s Guide we’ve seen numerous indoor play spots close down including two Java Mama coffee shops, two My Kids’ Clubhouse locations, two Kidville gyms, several JW Tumbles, the Royal Fairytale, Pump it Up Mira Mesa, Bears, Buddies & Toys, the Chula Vista Gymboree, My Gym and a few others that didn’t stay open long enough for us to remember their names. All of these places were reasonably priced and fun, but ever-increasing rents and the down economy undoubtedly made it hard for those small businesses to stay afloat.
So what’s the best way to enjoy some indoor fun without breaking the bank? Here are our tips . . .
1. When it’s a place you and your child love, purchase the membership. Memberships make multiple visits very affordable. Plus, if you have to leave due to crankiness, nap time or some other reason, you never feel like you didn’t get your money’s worth!
3. Get your friends together and enjoy a group rate. If you don’t see a group rate listed on the company’s website, simply call and ask for one. You’ll be surprised how often you can snag a good deal!
4. Literally, “check out” a circulating family membership from your local library to some of San Diego’s best indoor play spaces including The New Children’s Museum, the RH Fleet Science Center (Kid City is perfect for the under 5 set) and the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum. The libraries of the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego and the City of Escondido each participate.
Perhaps most importantly, be sure to give your business to the companies you would like to see stay open. Many of them are owned by parents like us who appreciate your patronage.
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. 🙂
Kids Eat Free @ Legoland This Summer!
Did you know that kids can eat free (with adult purchase) at many of Legoland’s restaurants this summer? If you’ve been to the park, you know they offer good food with lots of healthy options. Free dining and bringing in your own food are just two ways to save on your next trip.
We are fans of Legoland California, especially now that my daughter is 48″ tall and can ride on her own and my son is 42″, making him eligible to ride anything he wants when accompanied by an adult. This is the first summer that everyone is tall enough to really take advantage of all that the park has to offer. And when we were invited to purchase discounted educational group tickets through the community college district’s parent participation preschool, the $21 per adult and $12 per child price was too good to pass up.
We were there ALL DAY yesterday and were able to take advantage of very short lines most of the day even though the park seemed crowded. In fact, toward the end of the day (they are open until 8 p.m. now) we were able to ride The Dragon three times without ever getting off!
The Parent Connection’s, discount on Legoland tickets is one of the best. For $66 Parent Connection members can purchase a LEGOLAND® California Resort Hopper Ticket Plus 2nd Day FREE for $66 or the non-hopper ticket (w/2nd day included) for $56. The military and Costco also offer great deals, and here’s a special offer for 5-days-for-the-price-of-one.
We really had a great day yesterday and will definitely be back this summer. What are your tips for an enjoyable Legoland visit?
Let’s Get Physical, Physical…
San Diego’s newest indoor play space for kids comes with a cool twist for parents. Yes, there’s a cafe. Yes, there’s free WiFi. Yes, they offer birthday parties, memberships and drop in pricing. In many ways the Jungle Gym & Cafe is like the other indoor spots your kids love. But for the first time in San Diego we have an indoor play center that offers fitness classes for the whole family and spa services for those of us craving a little extra TLC.
I am so excited for my friends, the Larsons, who are set to open the Jungle Gym & Cafe in Santee this coming weekend. Tonya Larson’s enthusiasm for fitness has led to what I think is a brilliant idea…moms get to work out while the kids are playing. I’m looking forward to cardio dance and athletic yoga. Maybe I’ll add a few pure pump and zumba classes too. If I can get even half as fit as Tonya already is, I’ll be psyched. (so will my husband!)
I also cannot wait for the massage and acupuncture services that will be online in the coming months. Childcare is available during fitness and spa sessions for kids ages 4 months to 12 years. Babies and toddlers have their own special play space, while older kids can jump, run, climb and play on Jungle Gym’s bouncer slides, jumper and obstacle course, safari cycle rides, jungle themed playground with airplane, hammock and rope swings and a campsite and costumes for imaginative play. There’s also badminton, soccer, basketball, foosball and air hockey. WOW!
The “safari cycles” are just one of the many unique goodies you will find at Jungle Gym & Cafe. Kids use their whole bodies to power the animals around the room. Too cool!!
If you want to be among the first to visit this amazing 8,000 square foot indoor wonderland, mark your calendar for the grand opening, this Saturday, August 11th. Take advantage of the 25% sale off fitness and play space memberships through August 18th.
Want to win it?
Leave a comment below for your chance to win a 3-month combination fitness and play membership valued at more than $150. This membership is good for two adults and up to two children and the benefits include:
Unlimited Adult Exercise Classes
Free Childcare for children 4 months to 12 years of age during classes up to 2 hours daily.
Free OPEN PLAY Membership included
Members have no time limit in the Jungle Gym & Cafe.
Unlimited Open Play Visits
All Children’s Classes are FREE!
1 FREE Open Play Guest Pass for a friend
2 FREE Guest passes for 1 Exercise Class (Childcare fee not included)
10% off of any BIRTHDAY PARTY PACKAGE
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.
Love to Play?
Did you see this awesome deal from PlumDistrict.com for a $65 semi-private party at Play Town? Play Town is a great place for kids 6 and younger, and my 6 and 4-year-olds have loved going there since they started walking.
I am fond of East County’s first indoor play space for so many reasons. Before we had Play Town, we used to drive out to Poway for this kind of indoor fun!
I like that there is space for non-walkers as well as bigger kids, free WiFi and that families are allowed to bring in their own food and drinks. They have a wonderful calendar of events chock full of character visits, face painting, specialty classes and boutique shopping days. Play Town’s owner, Jillian, is a fun, sweet fellow mom who purchased Play Town from its original owners after hosting her son’s 2nd birthday party there. “I took over Play Town when I got separated and needed to provide for myself and my son. I thought owning an indoor playground would still allow me to enjoy all the great things that come along with being a mom.”
AND Jillian has generously provided mom’s guide readers with a buy-one-get-one free coupon in the 2012 printed resource guide. In honor of Friday the 13th, the first 13 moms who comment on this post will be mailed their own copy of The Mom’s Guide to San Diego with its Play Town BOGO coupon.
Have a great day!
My Budding Artist
This is a picture that Gage drew in kindergarten just a couple of months ago.
I’m not sure if that’s a horse on the left or who those “people” are supposed to be. Let’s just say that this is exactly the type of art I expected of my 6-year-old son who has never had patience for coloring or shown an interest in drawing. It didn’t bother me that all of his pictures needed captions.
But after just four classes at Art with Larisse, we no longer need him to explain what his pictures are about…
Can you believe that these were drawn by the same 6-year-old boy? I was surprised when he said he wanted to take summer art lessons with his sister and even more surprised when I saw how quickly he began to create beautiful pictures.
Gage is so thrilled and proud. We always though of Mallory as our little artist, but now we have two thanks in large part to Art with Larisse!
When I dropped the kids off last week I was admiring the window filled with the blue ribbons won by Larisse’s students at this year’s fair. They’re being honored with an ice cream social next weekend, and you’re invited to go and learn more about how Larisse can help develop a love of art in your child. To attend simply RSVP here.
If you would like to see the difference four classes can make in your child’s drawing, comment below with why art is good for kids. One lucky mom’s guide reader will be selected to enjoy four classes at one of Lariesse’s art studios.
Art with Larisse offers classes for children and adults ages 5 and up. There are three studios to choose from located in La Mesa, Santee and Kearny Mesa. Art with Larisse also offers camps and birthday parties. For more information visit artwithlarisse.com.
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 The Places Your Kids Can Go (for free!) in October
Is your child fascinated with space?
Does she have a thing for seahorses?
Would he be mesmerized by model trains?
October is a great month to explore San Diego with your family since some of our city’s finest attractions offer free admission for children 12 and younger. In addition to 24 museums, Hornblower Cruises, the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park each admit children for free with a paying adult for the next month.
Visit the Museum Council website to print your Kids Free in October coupon, then click the links below to find out more about the places you can go!
Barona Cultural Center & Museum, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, Coronado Museum of History & Art, Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, Hornblower Cruises, La Jolla Historical Society, Lux Art Institute, Marston House Museum & Gardens, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Oceanside Museum of Art, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (gallery only), San Diego Air & Space Museum,
San Diego Archaeological Center, San Diego Botanic Garden, San Diego History Center, San Diego Model Railroad Museum, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park, The New Children’s Museum (10/15-10/31), Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center, Timken Museum of Art, Veterans Museum & Memorial Center, Water Conservation Garden, Women’s Museum of California
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!
San Diego Cooking Classes for Kids
Today is my little brother’s birthday. He just finished his freshman year at Texas A & M and is ready to learn to cook, so I sent him my favorite Sam the Cooking Guy cookbook and Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer. But I really wish I could have gotten him a cooking class. I caught the cooking bug in elementary school when I took a summer cooking camp and made cream puffs and chicken-salad-stuffed avocados for my family.
They say kids will love healthy eating when they learn to prepare healthy foods, so I’m committed to inspiring my kids before they get to college. This week Mallory participated in Jamie Oliver’s Big Rig Kitchen where she used a chef’s knife for the first time while helping prepare crispy oven baked garlic chicken.
The mission of these free “learn to cook” classes is to improve health and spread food education in underserved communities. It was way cool, and Mal is eager to prepare a dinner for her family!
There is still time to sign up for Jamie’s free classes since the Big Rig Kitchen will be in town until May 31st. But if you don’t make it, here is a list of places in San Diego where kids can learn to cook…
2. Chef Jenn offers private cooking parties for kids.
5. Local grocery stores also offer occasional kids’ cooking classes like the Wholefoods in Del Mar’s Kids’ Club, which is hosting strawberry shortcake from scratch this Saturday.
6. The owner of Cook for Thought instructs this month’s Wholefoods Kids’ Club cooking class. Through Cook for Thought, she also offers cooking classes, summer camps, school assemblies and private cooking events for children.
8. Sur la Table has three San Diego locations, and each offers a summer cooking camp for kids in addition to the occasional child-oriented class.
9. My Cool Kid Cooks provides mobile junior chef cooking classes, birthday parties and summer camps.
10. Harvard Cookin’ Girl in La Jolla offers kids’ cooking classes, camps and birthday parties.
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?
Shake Your (baby) Booty
Our daughter Emma likes to shake her groove thang. Simple as that.
She will shimmy that 2 year old rump anywhere and everywhere. She will break it down at the grocery store, the mall, in her carseat, riding in the elevator, and her favorite place of all…the living room during our daily afternoon “Dance Party USA”. Music moves her, so I decided it was time for a music class.
While researching classes in the San Diego area, I found some great options. After consulting my “Council of Parents” (aka my Facebook friends) I decided Music Together was the place to be.
Music Together is a program that was introduced in 1987 as a fun and educationally sound approach to music learning. It grew quickly, and licensed Music Together centers opened all over the country. The classes are based on the recognition that all children are musical. They can learn to sing in tune and keep a beat in a family-like setting of children ages 0-5 and their caregivers.
Ms. Tejal Kaji is the Director of Kids Beats Music Together, LLC. She is energetic, welcoming, fun, and you can tell she loves her job! One thing I was a little nervous about before class is the fact that caregivers are encouraged to sing along. Whoa. Luckily, Tejal makes even tone-deaf…ahem, “musically-challenged” folks such as myself, feel right at home.
And, once all of the other adults are belting out the tunes, you (may) want to join right in. There is singing, dance time and an entire portion of the class dedicated to the kids making their own music with drums, egg shakers, bells and other instruments. Between learning some new songs, watching Emma and the other kids dance a jig and taking home a great cd, we were really happy with the class. Tejal also offers free sample classes if you’d like to try it out before committing.
The nitty gritty:
12636 Poway Rd.
Poway, CA 92064
9474 Black Mountain Rd
San Diego, CA 92126
12621 Poway Rd
Poway, CA 92064
9919 Hibert St., Ste B
San Diego, CA 92131
Current Spring Schedule (which may change based on enrollment)
Mondays: 9:30A — Scripps Ranch
Tuesdays: 10A and 11A — Academy of World Dance n Arts (Poway)
Wednesdays: 9:45A and 11A — Rhythm Studios
Thursdays: 10:30A — Scripps Ranch
Fridays: 9A — My Kids Clubhouse (Poway)
Saturdays: 9:30a at Rhythm Studio (9474 black mtn rd.). 9 week class rather than a 10 week class
Currently Scheduled FREE Sample Classes:
Thursday, March 14 at 10A — Scripps Ranch
Friday, March 15 at 9A — My Kids Clubhouse
Monday, March 18 at 9:30A — Scripps Ranch
Wednesday, March 20 at 9:15A — Academy of World Dance n Arts
Thursday, March 21 at 10A — Rhythm Studios
Friday, March 22 at 9A — My Kids Clubhouse
Friday, April 12 at 9A — My Kids Clubhouse
An RSVP is required for the free classes by calling Tejal at 858.248.9034 or going online to www.kidsbeatsmt.com.
Family with 1 child: $195
Family 2nd child: $155
Family 3rd child: Free*
New family fee: $20
*Please note: for additional child discounts, the additional children need to be a sibling of the first registered child. Also, siblings under 7 months of age at the start of the semester are FREE with a registered child. I honestly think our 4 month old son enjoyed the class just as much as our daughter. Or maybe Tejal’s beautiful singing put him in a trance!
Now the part you’ve all been waiting for. Get ready. This is big.
The first 5 moms to leave a comment at www.facebook.com/kidsbeatsmt will receive $50 off of the next 10 week session of classes beginning April 12th. Winners will receive 2 CDs, a song book and 10 weeks of FUN for $145.
Snow in San Diego
San Diego: sunny beaches, palm trees, laid back atmosphere, friendly people, and coastal towns. But, San Diego is more than just a beach city. The dynamic county is also home to annual snowfall in its local mountains.
During the winter months when the beaches are cold, northeast San Diego has a few mountain getaways perfect for a snow-day with the family. Moms and Dads, grab your family’s winter jackets, and head out to one of these four destinations for a day of snow playing, sledding, and even some apple pie.
Sixty miles northeast of San Diego, the historic mountain town of Julian rests between the Cuyamaca Mountains and the southern slope of Volcan Mountain. From central San Diego, it is about a 60-90 minute drive to explore the quaint area.
This rural town was founded by Civil war veterans and cousins Drue Bailey and Mike Julian who traveled west to start a new life. Julian was San Diego’s only gold rush area, and the place was named for Mike Julian who was the San Diego County Assessor during that time.
Because of its ideal apple growing climate, Julian is perhaps most famous for its apples, apple pies, and apple cider which are enjoyed throughout San Diego county but can be picked fresh in the mountain area.
The mountain is 4,235 feet high and receives quite a few feet of snow during the winter which generally covers the entire mountain. Besides sledding and playing in the snow, the small village has plenty of antique shops, horseback riding, hiking, wine tasting, mine tours, apple picking, and, of course, apple pie eating to enjoy.
Roughly 40 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Cuyamaca Peak resides within Cuyamaca Rancho State Park east of San Diego and southwest of Julian. This is on of the highest peaks in San Diego at 6,512 feet. On clear days, the view is absolutely breathtaking with visibility of both the Coronado Islands and El Cajon Mountain. It is not uncommon to have thigh high deep snowfall during the winter ideal for snow shoeing and sledding
Located on the eastern edge of the Cleveland National Forest, this rural community sits at almost 6,000 feet. Mount Laguna is known for its campgrounds adjacent to the Pacific Crest Trail. The small town also offers a quaint general store, rustic lodges, and local restaurants. In the winter months, there are plenty of recreational activities from sledding to cross country skiing to hiking and just playing in the snow.
In northern San Diego County, Palomar Mountain sits in the Peninsular Ranges. It is famous for the Palomar Observatory, Hale Telescope, and Palomar Mountain State Park. Until 1992, the Hale Telescope was the world’s largest and most important. Now, two more telescopes reside within the Observatory.
At this California State Park, there are campgrounds for vacationers and other campgrounds specially designated for local schools to use on field trips. A densely wooded area, the forest boasts many hiking trails and unique tree species. Dwarfed by the San Bernardino Mountains, this range is 6,140 feet which is almost as tall as Cuyamaca Peak.
San Diego provides plenty of activities to enjoy year round. And the winter months might be the perfect time to explore its beautiful mountain areas.
About this contributor: Jessica Socheski is a freelance writer who loves having family adventures around San Diego. She is also an editor at The Teaching Box. Follow her at https://twitter.com/JessicaSocheski.
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 San Diego
My friend, Lindsay, of LindsaysTeaParty.com recently met me at San Diego’s newest spot for afternoon tea, Tee Party in MIra Mesa. She and I share a love of treating our children to tea parties, and we compiled this list of local businesses that serve you in their restaurants as well as a few that travel to you …
Visit a local tea room
The Aubrey Rose Tea Room in La Mesa: $22.95 per child ages 5-10 years or $25.95 for the gluten free children’s tea
Coral Tree Tea House in Old Town: $16.95 for children 6-10 years old
The Grand Tea Room in Escondido: $18 for children ages 10 & younger
Julian Tea & Cottage Arts in Julian: $8.95 for children ages 12 & younger
High Tea at Keys Creek Lavendar Farm in Valley Center: Seasonal events, $22.50 for children 4 – 10 years.
Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe and Afternoon Tea near downtown: $14.95 for children 12 & younger
Tea Upon Chatsworth in Point Loma: $22.95 per child ages 4-10 years
Tee Party in Mira Mesa: $24.95 for princess tea service for two.
Host a tea party in your home
Fairytale Princess Parties: Providing in home tea parties with or without a princess visit
My Cup of Tea: Offering décor and tea setting rentals
It’s My Tea Party: Tea china rentals and party hosting
Starry Eyed Children’s Event Planning & Design: Planning the tea party of your child’s dreams
Tea Time San Diego: Bringing you a traditional English tea experience
The British Bakery: Two British bakers bringing their twist on afternoon tea to Southern California. Perfect for birthday parties, baby showers, picnics and more.
Traveling Tea Party: In home tea parties with costumes, crafts and more
Hotel holiday and high tea service
The Grand Del Mar: $25 per child Wednesday – Sunday except during the month of December when the special holiday tea is $36 per child.
Hotel Del Holiday Tea: December 13th through the 31st enjoy holiday tea. Children 6-10 $27 and 5 and under are free.
Park Hyatt Aviara: Children’s tea is $15 Saturdays and Sundays from 2-4 p.m.
The Westgate Hotel: Ongoing special event teas including Christmas and Teddy Bear Tea service.
Did we miss anyone? Let us know if there are any other tea party businesses that we should add to this list!
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 Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch®
The hills are alive with the sound…wait, that’s not right. But the hills ARE alive with
breathtaking beauty at the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch®!
The Flower Fields were originally cultivated by horticulturist, Luther Gage, in the
1920’s. The 90-year, rich history of the fields is very interesting and lengthy, but in the
end, Paul Ecke Jr. joined forces with grower Mellano & Company to purchase the land
and create what we now refer to as The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch®. Mr. Ecke
knew that tourism was the key to supporting this beautiful local landmark.
In my 10 years in the San Diego area, I had never been to the flower fields until this
season. Boy, was I missing out. After a slow start to the season, the colors are even
more intense and breathtaking than usual. With over 80 million blooming flowers, it
really is absolutely beautiful.
One of the greatest surprises was the number of kid-friendly activities. In addition to the large playground, there is a Sweet Pea Maze, gem mining, tractor wagon rides, rose and theme gardens, a tadpole pond and picnic areas. If you only have time to do one thing at The Flower Fields take some photos of your family in the fields. The colors are just magnificent and our daughter loved being right in the middle of flowers taller than her!
Season: March 1st – May 12th
Open 7 days a week, 9am-6pm
There is free parking every day and food sales on the weekends.
Seniors 60+: $10
Kids 3-10: $6
Kids 3-10: $3
Bonsai Show and Sale: May 11& 12th
Mother’s Day Celebration: May 12th
With just a few weeks left, it is definitely worth your time to make the trip up to Carlsbad for this beautiful site to see!
This post brought to you by the wonderful Sarah Nguyen.
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 Happiest Place in San Diego?
Gymboree Play & Music may just be the happiest place for little ones in San Diego!
With 4 convenient locations across town (out of 550 worldwide!!), many San Diego toddlers and their families experience some of the best times to be had at Gymboree. Classes are offered for children ages 0-5, and thrive on parent involvement, which is my favorite part about this program!
I took my son, Oliver, to our first free trial class when he was 4 months old. We were both hooked right away. It was the first time I had ever heard him really “belly laugh.” With a newborn at home, it is hard to know how to interact with your child, but Gymboree proves that with a few simple tools and songs, you can connect with your baby on a whole new level and see immediate results in their development. Over the following year, we moved from level 1, 2, 3 and now 4. Each one better and more engaging than the last. To this day, I still sing the Gymbo the Clown song to distract him during diaper changes!
Gymboree structures their classes in 6-month increments to closely follow and support the developmental milestones of your child.
As a member, you and your little one can attend a weekly class, and have unlimited access to the family open gym times. My favorite part…if you can’t make your class, your “make ups” never expire, and you can use them for music and/or art classes too! We always make an effort to attend our regular weekly class time since we’ve made so many great friends along the way who we enjoy seeing.
Starting at age 3, Gymboree even offers Sports Classes, which “Encourage healthy habits and a positive attitude toward physical exercise through fun and physical sports play.”
Another member (and non-member!) benefit is the option to have your child’s birthday party at one of their locations! Choose your child’s favorite theme and let Gymboree take care of the rest. Here we are at the Gymboree in Poway celebrating our friend Caleigh’s first birthday party!
Thinking about giving it a shot? You’ve got nothing but fun to loose by doing a free trial class. After that, you won’t need anyone to tell you what a great experience it is and I’m positive you’ll be hooked like we were.
And, there’s no better time than now, because there are only TWO DAYS LEFT to take advantage of this irresistible fall promotion: $359 for 6 months of play, which, if you don’t want to take out your calculator, is less than $60 per month. What a deal! Not ready to commit to a full 6 months, they’ve got a deal for that too!
The Gymboree Tip of the Week:
Is your young child struggling with separation anxiety?
Here are Gymboree’s two favorite books on the topic:
Make sure you “like” our Facebook page for additional tips from our friends at Gymboree!
The Power of a Playgroup
Last week one of my playgroups took a trip to FUNbelievable, and it was fun. As we sat around watching our kids play, we chatted about our upcoming Disneyland mom’s night out and the birthday party for a 4-year-old that was happening the next day.
But the party didn’t happen, because that very night his dad died of a sudden heart attack leaving behind that little boy and his 7-months pregnant mom.
Now, I am a huge fan of playgroups. I am on the board of the Scripps Parent Connection, which has been known for its ability to connect young moms through play groups for more than 30 years. My own Parent Connection playgroup first met nearly 6 years ago when our babies were only a few months old, and just last week we were together again for one last middle of the day meetup before our kiddos were off to kindergarten. In addition to my PC group, I belong to a MOPS group and several Meetup.com groups like the one that was chatting happily with its member on the very day her husband would tragically die.
For as much of a playgroup advocate as I’ve been for 6 years, I never imagined how one would pull together to help a member in need. The FUNbelievable, Disneyland, Meetup.com group pulled together in person and through Facebook to raise more than $2,000 in just a few days to support this member. The owner of Playtown generously opened her business for an after hours fundraiser. Members who sell products and services like Thirty One Gifts, Stella and Dot jewelry and Pampered Chef donated proceeds from sales and silent auction items. Lots of people simply contributed money to a Pay Pal account that was set up to take donations. Others are sending meals to the family. It is a total outpouring of support like I’ve never been a part of before.
Let’s hope that the only support you and I will ever need from our playgroup pals is for our sleepless nights with newborns, our desperate days of potty training, the bitter sweet celebration of kindergarten, friendship and Moms’ Nights Out. But, it’s nice to know that they will be there for much, much more if necessary.
Please feel free to submit your own playgroup link in the comments section below if you’d like to be added to the new “playgroups” resource tab on this website!
To Read or Not to Read
You don’t have to have a child who reads to enjoy the San Diego library system’s summer reading program. Both the San Diego County Library system and the City of San Diego Library system offer a summer full of events for children of all ages. Each and every week your children can be engaged and entertained for free at your local libraries!
Science? Krypton Yvonne and Mad Science are our faves.
Magic? Music? Face painting? Clowns? The companies hired by the libraries are some of the very best entertainers in San Diego County and many can also be found providing quality programming in local schools, festivals and at birthday parties.
You won’t regret making time to hit the library summer programs that are fits for your family. I’ve noticed that most performers will be at most county and city libraries and many have the library schedules available on their own websites.
Because we were at the Serra Mesa library for its 4 p.m. show, it only made sense to grab a delicious dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants, Casa Machado, located in the terminal of Montgomery Field airport.
The taking off and landing of planes is enough to keep even toddlers entertained long enough for parents to enjoy a decent meal (and maybe a margarita!).
I hope you’ll add these ideas to your summer bucket list!
The post you’re about to read was updated in 2014 here: https://www.momsguidetosandiego.com/2014/05/san-diego-water-break-2014/
It’s heating up in San Diego, but there are lots of ways to cool down. Of course, you can head to the beach and the neighborhood pool, but spray pads and water parks are also a great way to celebrate summer in our town.
Here’s a list of places toddlers to school-aged children (and their parents!) will enjoy.
Santee Lakes Spraygrounds: For ages 13 and younger, this is a terrific play area with buckets that dump, water that spouts from the ground and it all overlooks the beautiful lakes of this park. The cost is $3-$5 per car to drive in and $2 per child to play on the sprayground. Have a picnic lunch and feed the ducks while you’re there!
Hilton Head Park: Also located in the East County, this Rancho San Diego park includes a popular pirate-themed aquatic park free of charge.
Mountain Hawk Park in Eastlake: This South Bay park overlooks Otay Lakes, nearby mountains and offers a tot lot and picnic shelters in addition to the play fountain. Also in South County you’ll find the Sweetwater Regional Park‘s aquatic park for kids.
Viejas Interactive Fountain: There are lots of fun things to do at the Viejas Outlet Center with the kiddos in addition to the interactive fountain including a new mini-golf, bowling alley and, in the winter, ice skating and an ice princess show!
Otay Ranch Town Center Popper Fountains: Located right in the middle of the food court, this is a great opportunity to splash around. Those who want to stay dry might enjoy coloring the walls of the garden with the provided chalk.
McGrath YMCA Spray Pad: Look for this new addition to the East County Y this summer. We love their water playground in Santee.
The City of San Diego has at least two Recreation Center Pools that have water features designed for kids. Carmel Valley Pool has two water slides for the big kids, a spash-zone, and a zero-depth entry pool that is perfect for toddlers and parents alike. The Tierrasanta Pool features a children’s pool along with a 30 foot slide and play area.
Splash Landing at La Costa Resort: Why not take a family stay-cation and check this one out?
Seaworld Bay of Play: This pop up fountain is just perfect for little kids. Of course at Seaworld you can get soaked in a variety of ways including sitting in the soak zone of the shows and riding Shipwreck Rapids or Journey to Atlantis.
Legoland Water Park: New to the Legoland Water Park this summer is the Splash Zoo toddler area. Splash Zoo features interactive spray pads, fountains, a teeter totter and giant interactive DUPLOÒ animals.
Knotts Soak City: Better known as a way to entertain older kids, Knotts Soak City does offer a children’s pool and activity area called Gremmie Lagoon.
As I always say, there’s never a shortage of fun things to do with kids in San Diego!
We Wish You A Twinkling Christmas!
Sometimes it’s fun to just throw the kids in the car and drive around town looking at Christmas lights. Many neighborhoods are already decorated. Others won’t be ready until next week. For a nice list with addresses, check out this article.
We’ve enjoyed so many neighborhoods over the years from Chula Vista, to Santee to Point Loma. No matter the part of town you live in, there is sure to be something sweet to see with your family. We like to play The Polar Express soundtrack when visiting our favorite decked-out neighborhoods…
On the top of our list this year is a visit to “The Santa House” in Rancho Bernardo. This is a private home located on Joyous Court that is transformed into a Christmas wonderland — both inside and out. Families are invited to tour the entire property, enjoy complimentary cider and hot chocolate, sit with Santa in his sleigh, and each child receives a small gift.
Every year it is rumored that this family will retire from their tradition. They don’t do any kind of promotion, so we will just take our chances and drive out. If it is open this week, I’ll update this post with dates, hours and directions. If you live in RB and know more about the 2012 Santa House, please let me know. 🙂
Christmas Card Lane in Rancho Penasquitos is so popular that it has its own Wikipedia page! Although many houses have lights, this community is best known for the plywood “cards” and figurines that grace the front lawns of about 200 homes.
Knob Hill in San Marcos is another popular stop with its own website and regular visits by Santa. On our way back from San Marcos, we like to stop at the San Diego Botanic Garden for their Garden of Lights where we roast marshmallows, take a horse drawn carriage ride through the gardens, play in the snow and enjoy Christmas carols.
Every Saturday from 12 – 4 p.m. through December 22nd, Santa will visit San Diego’s year-round Christmas wonderland. City Lights is SoCal’s largest holiday store with over 28,000 square feet of beautifully decorated trees, Christmas village displays, toy trains and collectibles. Just walking through the store will put you in the holiday spirit!
Keep an eye out for other holiday happenings and GIVEAWAYS that I’ll be posting about this month. Maybe Santa will be sending something special your way!
Worth the Drive
Even though Mallory is “way more into kittens than horses,” I just couldn’t pass up the Plum District deal I found several months ago for a horse back riding birthday party. And while Miller Equestrian Services is 36 miles from our home, it was definitely worth the drive for our family and party guests.
You won’t be blown away by the owner Ann’s warmth, but don’t let that deter you from considering Miller’s for horse back riding lessons, summer camps, scout programs or birthday parties. Our children were divided into seven teams of two, and each were led by sweet, fun and talented young ladies who made the afternoon terrific.
This party was a lot of work for the kids. Fun, educational, different, but definitely work.
They learned to walk their horses, groom their horses, saddle them, mount them, ride and trot.
Miller Equestrian Services is in Escondido at Valle Vista farm. The property is just beautiful, easy to find and filled with gorgeous horses and a number of adorable dogs too. I enjoyed our horse party so much that it inspired me to create a new blog post category called “worth the drive.” Of course, if you are already near Escondido and have a child who is into horses, then a trip to Miller Equestrian is definitely in order!
936 Vista Avenue
Escondido, CA 92026