My idols

Rick Steves
Huell Howser

These men are my idols. Rick Steves and Huell Howser are rock stars to me. We used Rick’s book when we traveled to Italy and he gave us some wonderful tips. If you are planning to head off to Europe, his books are a must.

Huell is quirky and great. His show California’s Gold is one of my favorites. He might love California more than I do. Check out his show on PBS. You will surely be entertained!!

Sea World

A couple of weeks ago we took a little trip down south to Sea World. I can’t tell you all enough how much I love this place. I’ve been there a couple of times and it seems the more I visit the more I like it.. We got there about a half hour after the park opened and as soon as we pulled in you have the option of either choosing general parking or the premium parking. Hmm I thought about it for a split second and chose the premium parking. It’s 5 dollars more than general parking but it is worth every penny if you have a stroller or are dealing with young children. I highly recommend this- trust me at the end of the day when you have cranky little ones the shorter the walk the better!! You can either purchase your tickets at one of the automated kiosks-the lines are short and fast but you can’t use any discounts or AAA card. If you are a AAA card member you get 5 dollars off each ticket. Sea World has the fun card option which is basically paying 5 dollars more than the daily admission and being able to come back for the rest of the year. We bought the fun card since we plan on going back again this summer.

We were a bit hungry since we didn’t stop off for breakfast and ate at Mama Stella’s Pizza kitchen. Not the best in my opinion. Their food was a bit stale and bland. If you are looking for a better place try out Calypso Bay smokehouse or if budget is not really a concern for you try Dining with Shamu – It’s a close-up experience with Shamu- this is buffet style and reservations fill up early so if you this sounds like something you might want to try make sure to reserve your tables as soon as you come in the park. There are plenty of places to snack and I have to say that both my niece and daughter loved their kids meals. They both said their food was tasty and they loved the cute Shamu boxes that their meals came in.

Once our thirst was quenched and our appetite satiated we headed over to Shamu Stadium to watch Believe-the Shamu show. The kids got a kick of this and if you want to get wet make sure to sit in the wet zone. Get there early since there is limited wet zone seating. Another quick tip- if you have an infant make sure that you also bring a carrier. Strollers have to be left at the bottom of the climb to the park and babies are not so fun to carry around bare arms with the hot sun blazing and throngs of people pushing your way. After the show we decided that Shamu was really the main show we wanted to see since both of our kids are so young and that we wanted more of a hands on experience with the animals. I have seen most of the shows before and I would have to say that Dolphin Discovery is my favorite show(I actually like it more than Believe).

We then headed over to Rocky Point Preserve. This really was the highlight of our trip. You have to head over when it is feeding time. You can buy a tray of fish for 5 dollars(okay I don’t know what’s up with this but it seems that everything at Sea World is in 5 dollar increments)and experience feeding the dolphins. This was a blast. We all had the opportunity to feed the dolphins and pet them. I can’t recommend this enough. After feeding the dolphins we went on to Forbidden Reef. You can pet and feed bat rays. This was also much fun. We also were able to feed the seals at Pacific Point. This was very entertaining. The seals are very animated and they are a crack up to watch. I think they act very much like dogs.

Once we had our fair share of animal interaction we cruised the aquarium and on to Shamu’s happy harbor-this is what I wished someone had told me – if you want your kids to play here make sure to bring a towel or two and an extra extra outfit. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. You can play in a water maze, splash down slides, climb a two-story net or even build a sand castle. The 5 and under set will love this. Trust me on this one!!!

Once we had horsed around for a bit we headed off to the Wild Artic exhibit. This is where the polar bears are – the polar bears are breathtaking. They are beautiful and I was just intrigued that I could be observing Polar bears in sunny San Diego!! I felt like I was in an episode of Lost!! There are also beluga whales, walruses, arctic foxes and seals. You’ll feel the freeze as you pass through Wild Arctic’s ice tunnel, complete with foggers, misters, simulated snow and a 25-foot-long ice wall.. Next door to Wild Artic is the Penguin encounter. There are over 300 penguins on display and they also are so fun to watch. After this much excitement we were all exhausted and our warm weather soon vanished- I think this happens quite often- better safe than sorry – make sure you pack some light jackets or blankets. I can’t tell you enough as we headed out the park after our exciting day how happy I was that I had chosen the premium parking- I could see our car from the gate and I realized that the 5 dollars I could have used for some cheesy souvenir were definitely spent well!!

SeaWorld San Diego-500 SeaWorld Drive
San Diego, CA 92109

Please call (800) 25-SHAMU (1-800-257-4268)

Open 9am -11pm every day in July- and most of August- the rest of the year open usually from 10-5 weekdays and either 10am -6p or 10-7:30 on weekends

Admission $57 for guests age 10+.
$47 for guests ages 3 through 9.
Free for guests 2 years old and younger

Hope you visit soon.

Laguna Beach

Summer is here and what a better place to enjoy a warm summer day than at the beach. Laguna Beach is one of my favorite places on earth. I’ve loved it ages before there was a MTV show that has made it a must stop for tourists(okay I’ve watched the show and yes I liked LC way more than Kristen) The weather is perfect and the beaches are great. I like the main beach which is right around the area of pch and Broadway/hwy 33. It gets busy there but it’s a great place to people watch, there are picnic tables, a tot lot and tidepools. There is no better time to visit than this time of year. Starting this weekend is the annual Sawdust art festival. This is a great place to expose your children to art in a beautiful and relaxed environment. You can meet the artists, ask them questions and there is usually a craft area for children. The festival also offers live entertainment daily. After you’ve had your share of art and the beach head over to my favorite bakery for some great eating. Scandia Bakery is a must when you are visiting Laguna. They have the best fruit tarts, eclairs and my favorite tiramisu. My two year old is a great fan of their chocolate cake but I would guess that all tots love cake. They also serve great salads, sandwiches sand the best quiche I’ve ever had. Their prices are very reasonable- just a bit more than fast food prices. Once you’ve filled your tummy take a leisurely stroll through the downtown village. It’s a great place to window shop and peek in at some great galleries. My kids love this stroll because there are so many dogs around. I could go and on about Laguna and I’m sure there will be many posts to follow about this beautiful gem but do yourself a favor and head on down soon and see for yourself!!

Sawdust Art Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, CA. 92651
Phone: 949.494.3030, June 29-Sep 2 Day Admission $7 – Adults, Children 6-12 $3, Chidren under 5 are free- Open 10 am to 10pm everyday.

Scandia Bakery, 248 Forest Ave- Laguna Beach, CA

Main Beach Park – Intersection of PCH and Hwy 133/Broadway

Parking- Tip- take plenty of dollar bills- The City maintains more than 2,300 parking metered parking spaces in Laguna Beach including parking lots with meters or ticket machines. Meters in the Central Business District (Downtown) are primarily two hour meters with a scattering of 30 minute meters near service-oriented businesses such as the Post Office and dry cleaners. There are more than 800 metered spaces in the immediate downtown area. Other areas were meters are located include Cliff Drive, from the 500 block near Diver’s Cove across Coast Highway to Broadway, Coast Highway, Glenneyre Street, Broadway and Laguna Canyon Road.

Meter rates are $1.00 per hour or $0.25 for each increment of 15 minutes. Hours of operation are generally Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Meters along Laguna Canyon Road/ Broadway are enforced from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.