SoCal Holiday Lights Bring Sparkle To The Season!

holidaylightsOne of our family’s favorite holiday traditions is to view holiday lights. Luckily, there are many incredible displays throughout Southern California! Below are some ideas of places to find holiday light displays in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire.

San Diego
Nothing’s merrier than a Sparkling Christmas Light Display! From decorated private homes and streets, to entire neighborhoods. Some of our favorite places to view lights in San Diego are at San Diego Botanic Garden’s “Garden of Lights” and the big Christmas tree at Coronado’s historic Hotel Del.

Orange County
Some of our favorite holiday light displays in the OC include those at Irvine Park Railroad, Irvine Spectrum, and of course, Disneyland!

Los Angeles
The Decorated Pines of St. Albans in the San Marino area of Los Angeles are some of our favorite lights to view in L.A. The Christmas tree and decorations at The Grove are also at the top of the list.

Inland Empire
I have yet to personally see any Christmas light displays in the Inland Empire myself, but I’ve heard over and over that Tom’s Farms, located in the Temescal Canyon, is a great place to go for their Festival of Lights, as well as The Mission Inn’s Festival of Lights, located in Riverside. Both look to be pretty incredible from the pictures online, and the SoCal Kids love Tom’s Farms, so it’s likely a great place to go for the holidays with kids.

Do you know of a great place to view lights that are not listed within the places below? If so, please comment and share the sparkle! Perhaps we’ll see you at one of the displays!

Smithsonian Magazine’s FREE Museum Day

sdairspaceSaturday, September 24th is Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day! Museum Day happens once a year, and is a day in which hundreds of participating museums and organizations across the U.S. offer FREE admission with a printable coupon through Smithsonian Magazine’s website.

Last year we enjoyed the Museum of Making Music for free with this special offer. The MoMM is participating again this year, as well as many other kid-friendly museums and organizations in SoCal including the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego Botanic Garden, the California Science Center, and more! Click HERE to find a participating museum near you.

One FREE Museum Ticket is good for up to two people. Only one ticket per household accepted. Check Smithsonian Magazine’s Website for more details. Perhaps we’ll see you at a museum!

Highlights Magazine Free Booklet

National Parks FREE Day, 9/24, for Worldwide Day of Play!

jr_rangerIn recognition of National Public Lands Day, and Worldwide Day of Play, the National Park Service is offering a FREE day this Saturday, September 24th, 2011. Parking fees are also waived on Saturday! This is a great way to check out one of our many incredible National Parks.

Earlier this year we took advantage of another one of their fee-free days, and visited Cabrillo National Monument, in Pt. Loma, California. It was a fun and educational outing. Our son even got to earn a Jr. Ranger Badge! As you can see from the look on his face, he was DELIGHTED!

If you can’t make it to a National Park on September 24th, don’t fret! There’s still one more opportunity this year to visit one or more of the National Parks that normally charges entry fees for free. Mark your calendars for Veteran’s Day Weekend, November 11th-13th, for a fee-free weekend. Click HERE to find a park near you. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

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It’s Shark Week! Where will you celebrate?

It’s Shark Week! Where will you be celebrating? Some fun places to visit in SoCal that have sharks are below. Perhaps we’ll see you at one or more!

Birch Aquarium at Scripps
The Aquarium of the Pacific
The Living Coast Discovery Center
SEA LIFE Aquarium
The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
SeaWorld San Diego
The Ty Warner Sea Center
The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Go San Diego Card: Now including admission to SeaWorld San Diego!

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is a great way to keep kids up on their reading while they’re out of school for the summer. You can either download an Imagination’s Destination Reading Journal from the Barnes & Noble website, or pick one up at a participating Barnes & Noble store.

After reading and logging 8 books, kids earn 1 free book from the featured list on the back of the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Imagination’s Destination Journal. It’s super easy to participate, and the free book is a fun incentive for kids to read. Our daughter participated, and picked out a fun book on dolphins. She’s excited to get started reading an additional 8 books, and earn another fun read.

The Imagination’s Destination program runs through September 6th, 2011. Click HERE for more info about this great Summer Reading Program. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

A Behind The Scenes Peek At The Ringling Bros Animals!

The SoCal Kids had the opportunity to have a true Behind The Scenes peek at some of the animals of the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey® circus!
They got to get up close and personal.
It was fun seeing where the animals are kept!

They also enjoyed seeing Asia, one of the African elephants have her daily bath!
They learned that the elephants and horses travel by train, while the rest of the animals travel by truck to the circus. The elephants and horses walk from the train station to the circus venue. The also found out that the animals get exercise each and every morning.
After the Ringling elephants retire from the circus, they get to make their new home at the Center for Elephant Conservation, in Floida.
This was an incredible treat! They were so happy to be able to attend, and they loved their fun kid swag! Thank you, Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey®!

Want to know more about Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey® coming to SoCal? Check out our post HERE. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

Website: Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey® Circus
Facebook: Ringling Bros
Twitter: @RinglingTweets

Go San Diego Card: Now including admission to SeaWorld San Diego!

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey® Circus Comes To SoCal!

ringlingbrosLadies & Gentleman!
Children of All Ages!” The Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey® Circus is coming to Southern California with a new show, Fully Charged!

If you go to see one circus, this is THE one you’ll want to see! It’s known as “The Greatest Show On Earth”® for good reason. Even as an adult, this circus always amazes me. It’s so entertaining with true “high flying” acrobatics, dare-devil stunts, fun clowns, and you can’t forget the animals!

If you go to see this circus, I highly suggest you go to the Animal Open House, which is free for ticket holders, and starts 90 minutes before show time. After that, head on over to the arena floor for their All-Access Pre-Show to meet some of the animals & performers. This pre-show starts 1 hour before show time, and is also free with your circus ticket!

Ringling Bros has several special offers through their website. Have a new baby? Check out their offer for a free ticket for Baby’s 1st Circus. This offer is good for U.S. babies up to 12 months. Click HERE for more info. Want a free commemorative certificate? Click HERE to print one of your own! Military family? Click HERE for more info about special savings & promo codes for military.

Below are cities and dates of upcoming Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey® shows in SoCal. Check the Ringling Bros Website for location, and ticket information. We can’t wait to see the show! Perhaps we’ll see you there!

San Diego
July 14 – July 17, 2011

Los Angeles
July 20 – July 24, 2011

July 27 – August 7, 2011

August 10 – August 14, 2011

August 25 – August 28, 2011

Website: Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey® Circus
Facebook: Ringling Bros
Twitter: @RinglingTweets

P.S. You might also like A Behind The Scenes Peek At The Ringling Bros Animals.

Update: We were given complimentary tickets to attend the circus in San Diego, and had a great time! Our favorites were the elephants, rocketing man, and the dare devil on the wheel of steel! Thank you, Ringling Bros!

Images compliments of Feld Entertainment and Ringling Bros.

Go San Diego Card: Now including admission to SeaWorld San Diego!

SoCal Independence Day Fireworks & Festivities

Happy Independence Day weekend! Below are links to info on locations of July 4th weekend fireworks & festivities in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire. Please note, some events are happening on days other than the 4th. Have a fun, and safe July 4th celebration!

San Diego County Fireworks & Festivities

Orange County Fireworks & Festivities

Los Angeles County Fireworks & Festivities

Inland Empire Fireworks & Festivities

Go San Diego Card: Now including admission to SeaWorld San Diego!

“Museums On Us” by Bank of America

The 1st full weekend of each month is Bank of America’s “Museums On Us” weekend! Bank of America cardholders (credit or debit) receive FREE admission to a handful of great museums on the first full weekend of each month. Show your ID + your Bank of America card, and receive 1 free general admission per cardholder to many fun places in SoCal including but not limited to the museums and attractions below. More info HERE as well. Perhaps we’ll see you at one more!

The Living Desert
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
The Autry
Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA)
Hammer Museum
Palm Springs Art Museum
Museum of Latin American Art
Discovery Science Center (No Saturday admission)
Skirball Cultural Center (Noah’s Ark is awesome for kids! Call days ahead to reserve a time slot.)

Get a FREE full-color guidebook with the purchase of a Go City Card or Explorer Pass