Suzie’s Family Friendly Organic Farm Offers Tours, Camps, U-Pick, and More!


Organic Farm Offers Educational Tours, Camps, U-Pick, and More!

Suzie's Organic Farm ~ www.socalwithkids.com


140 Acre Family Friendly Organic Farm!


Suzie’s organic farm offers educational tours, camps, classes, U-Pick organic farm produce, and more! The kids and I visited the farm, which is located in the South Bay area of San Diego, on a media tour. The tour took us through the fields, and across much of their 140 acre organic farm. We loved every minute of it!
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Take A Step Back In Time At Historic Old Poway Park!

old_poway_parkWhen you visit Old Poway Park, it’s like taking a step back in time. Back to a time when horse drawn carriages and steam trains were the main modes of transportation, and artisans handcrafted everything from clothes, to toys, to furniture. We took a trip there this past weekend for the Train Song Festival, and once again I was reminded how much we enjoy this special park as a family.

I originally wrote this post as a printed article for the 2012 Mom’s Guide To San Diego, but am just now sharing it here. I’ve updated the article, and included some new information that wasn’t in the printed format. I hope it inspires you to take a trip there with your family as well.

DAY TRIP TO OLD POWAY PARK!
Living in San Diego, we are so lucky to have an abundance of options for fun day trips. We live in a city where we can visit the mountains, desert, and ocean all in one day! One day trip my family loves is to Old Poway Park.

old_poway_parkWhen you go to Old Poway Park, it feels like you take a step back in time. It’s a beautiful park with mature trees, plentiful grass, nice walking paths, and a cute little creek. It also has a neat and informative Heritage Museum, historic buildings which were brought to the site, working railway, Blacksmith Shop, and a toy train shop inside the Train Depot.

Our kids love trains, and the antique ones which are part of the Poway Midland Railroad, at Old Poway Park, are no exception! They have a steam locomotive, trolley, and a Speeder Car that take turns running most weekends of the year. Train tickets are reasonably priced between $1.50 – $2.50 for adults depending upon the train running, and just .50 cents per child (kids under 2 are free!). It’s fun to take a few spins around the 1/2 mile track.

old_poway_parkOld Poway Park is a great place to picnic. You can pack a lunch and enjoy the afternoon on the grass, or at one of the picnic tables. If you like to barbeque, they have barbeques available for use. If you’d rather buy lunch or dinner, The Hamburger Factory, located within the park, has delicious food in a fun atmosphere. Sometimes we go there just for the dessert!

The park hosts the Poway Farmer’s Market from 8:00am – 11:30am on Saturday mornings. The Boardwalk Craft Market, with arts and crafts made by local artisans, happens on certain Saturdays as well. The park also has special events for the family including a Train Song Festival, Old-Fashioned 4th of July, Halloween festivities, and Christmas in the Park. Oftentimes they have persons dressed in 1800’s attire, and include fun activities such as train robbery reenactments, which are make the experience all that more memorable.

old_poway_parkBe sure to set aside a few hours for your first visit. It’s fun to take your time exploring. Also, bring your camera, as it’s a great place to take family photos. As you’ll see when you visit, it’s very popular with professional photographers!

Although there is no playground equipment at Old Poway Park, there is a playground right across the street at Aubrey Park. Parking is free at both Aubrey Park, and in and around Old Poway Park. Restrooms are available at both parks as well.

Old Poway Park is located at 14134 Midland Rd., in Poway. For more information, visit www.poway.org, and search for detailed info about the park using the drop down menu on the left. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

Experience Whale Watching in San Diego with Flagship Cruises and Birch Aquarium Naturalists!

gray_whaleEach year, for the past 13 years, Birch Aquarium at Scripps has teamed up with Flagship Cruises and Events for whale watching adventures in San Diego. Naturalists from Birch Aquarium narrate each of the expeditions, which happen twice daily through April 14th, 2013. Our daughter and her grandpa took one such cruise last week, and had a fun adventure.

Naturalists Enhance the Cruise
Although I did not go on the cruise myself, I waited in line with my father and daughter prior to them boarding the vessel. While in line, Naturalists from Birch Aquarium spoke with us about the gray whale migration from the Bering Sea all the way down to Baja, as well as what those on board the cruise could likely expect to see while on the whale watching expedition. I was amazed how much I learned from speaking with them for just a few minutes, and my father said the narration continued throughout the trip.

whale_watchAbout the Experience
Aside from seeing gray whales, my father and daughter saw a seal, sea lions, dolphins, and different species of birds. The cruise was about 3 hours in length, and the boat ventured somewhere around 3 miles out to sea for this particular cruise. I was told by the Naturalists that they can normally spot gray whales closer to shore during the beginning of the season (January), and that they normally travel farther out during the mid to later part of the season.

Interesting Facts
• Gray whales migrate around 10,000 miles round-trip! One of the longest mammal migrations in the world!
• Approximately 20,000 gray whales pass through San Diego! That’s a lot of whales!
• The whales migrate to lagoons in Baja, where they rest, play, give birth, and breed.
• Gray whales eat the majority of their feed at the Bering Sea, and very little on their migration.

whale_watchWhat To Bring
Some things you might want to plan to bring on a whale watching trip are a warm jacket, mittens, cap, camera, binoculars, and sunglasses. You likely won’t have much cell phone reception, so don’t plan on using yours much while on the boat. You can take snacks in a soft snack bag (no hard coolers), or purchase snacks and beverages on the Flagship cruise.

Where, When, & Pricing
Daily whale watching with Birch Aquarium and Flagship Cruises embark from the foot of Navy Pier, at 990 North Harbor Dr., in downtown San Diego. Cruises are from 9:45am-1:15pm, and 1:30-5:00pm, and as previously mentioned, are happening through April 14th, 2013. Easy parking is available next to the Midway, just steps away from the Navy Pier, for $10 for 10 hours, or at 5 Star Parking, at the corner of Broadway & Pacific Highway,for $12.00 for the entire day.

Whale watching cruises with Flagship range from $18.50 – $42.00. You can find a $5 off adult fare coupon (valid for up to 6 people), HERE. Reservations are recommended, and you may reserve by calling 619-234-4111, or online at this LINK. Whale sightings are guaranteed. If you do not see a whale, you ride again for free! Proceeds from the cruises help support educational programs, as well as exhibits at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Perhaps we’ll see you on a future whale watching cruise!


Helpful Links
Birch Aquarium at Scripps:
~ Website
~ Twitter
~ Facebook

Flagship Cruises and Events:
~ Website
~ Twitter
~ Facebook

Discount Whale Watching Through Our Affiliate
~ Go San Diego Card


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Disclosure: We were invited to attend a Media Whale Watching Cruise with Birch Aquarium and Flagship Cruises and Events. We wanted to share info about it with our readers, as we believe many would also enjoy the activity with their families. No compensation was received for the post. Our opinions are our own. Many thanks to Birch Aquarium at Scripps and Flagship Cruises for inviting us to experience whale watching with them in beautiful San Diego.

Our Incredible Nature Week

tidepools

Exploring Tidepools in Del Mar

This past week we had an incredible time discovering nature. Our adventures included a trip to the San Elijo Nature Center, a hike at Torrey Pines State Reserve, Tidepooling in Del Mar, a Mommy & Me Class at SEA LIFE Aquarium, and simple things like making a stop above The Flower Fields, to catch a glance of their beauty.

We discovered that the humming bird that nested at our house last year is back for another year of nesting. We spotted a high jumping grasshopper, and admired a ladybug we found at the playground above the beach in Del Mar. We had a wonderful time adventuring with Michele, & her family, from Fun Orange County Parks.com. All in all, it was a great week discovering nature.

Most every day in SoCal could be an incredible time to get out and discover the natural beauty that surrounds us. Many of these opportunities are free, & can be found as close as our own backyards or neighborhood parks. What are your plans or ideas to discover nature? Give us some good ideas, and perhaps we’ll see you there!

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch® ~ A Yearly Spring Tradition!

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch®

flowerfields

The Flower Fields

Visiting The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch is absolutely one of our favorite Springtime family outings! Our son talks about it year-round, and always looks forward to our visit. If you’re not familiar with all there is to do and see, other than viewing a beautiful sea of ranunculus, read on! I’ll inform you of the fun you have in store for your visit!

Tractor Ride, Playground, Sweet Pea Maze, Gem Panning, & More!

The Flower Fields are a place of beauty, magic, and splendor. It’s fun for people of all ages. There’s a lot to do, including a tractor ride with an audio history about the location, Santa’s Playground, a sweet pea maze, rose garden, gem panning, an “artists garden” with a pond and birds, and so much more. If you visit on a weekend you might hear a band play, or attend on the day of a Special Event.

passportflowerfields

Passport Stamping

The Flower Fields Passport

When children enter, they receive a Flower Fields Passport. Kids look for specially numbered wooden posts, and stamp their fun little booklet with the corresponding number from the posts. Once they have all their stamps, they can take the passport to the gem panning area for $1.00 off.

What To Bring

The Flower Fields allow strollers, and you might want to bring one if you have a little tot. Be sure to bring sunscreen, hats, and wear comfortable walking shoes. You might want to bring a light jacket as well, as the fields are just above the Pacific Ocean, and there’s often a nice breeze. You can bring food and beverages to enjoy at designated tables for eating. They have fresh lemonade for sale, and I believe they sell other food items on certain days of the week.

sweetpeaflowerfields

Sweet Pea Maze

What’s Included With Entry?

Most activities within The Flower Fields are included in the price of admission, but the gem panning and tractor ride are a bit extra. Buy your tractor tickets prior to entering the gates. You can pay your gem panning fee at the panning station. Parking is FREE, and you can either buy your admission tickets online, or at the ticket booth.

The Ranunculus Bloom In Patches

Something to keep in mind, is that The Flower Fields are never in full bloom all at once. They bloom in patches. From my personal experience, I’ve found many of the flowers tend to be blooming around April, but it varies each year, depending upon the weather, time of planting, and other factors. You can call 760-431-0352 x3 for current blooming conditions.

Where Are The Flower Fields?

The Flower Fields are located at 5704 Paseo Del Norte, in Carlsbad, CA. Click HERE for more hours of admission and other information about The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch®. It tends to be less crowded on weekdays. We suggest you designate a good 3 hours or more for your visit. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

arboretumThe Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden is located in Arcadia, on the grounds of the historic Rancho Santa Anita. It’s a wonderful place to walk around, and explore. The Arboretum encompasses 127 acres, and has many different plants, wildlife, and fun things to see such as lakes, a waterfall, and outbuildings. Many scenes from movies and TV have been filmed here, some of which are spotlighted inside the barn. Be sure to take a walk through it.

Our kids really enjoy going to the Arboretum. One of their favorite things to see are the turtles in Baldwin Lake. They also love seeing all peacocks, ducks, the Queen Anne Cottage, and area near the adobe house.

You can easily push a stroller or jogger through the paths, trails, and walkways here. You’ll want to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Since you’ll be outside, you might also want to bring hats, and sunscreen. If you’ve never been before, you could spend at least 4 or more hours walking around, but you always have the option of exploring less. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

P.S. The Arboretum is FREE the 3rd Tuesday of each month!

Website: Los Angeles County Arboretum
Twitter: @LAArboretum


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The Huntington

The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens are located in the San Marino area of Los Angeles, California. Check the link to their website for more info. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

Website: The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens
Twitter: @thehuntington


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Chula Vista Nature Center ~ A unique place to visit with kids!

cvncThe Chula Vista Nature Center is a unique and fun place to visit with kids. It’s located at the Sweetwater Marsh Wildlife Refuge, which occupies 316 acres. Since it’s located on a refuge, when you arrive you park and wait for a bus to take you on a short ride to the Nature Center. Don’t worry if you have a stroller, you can bring it along.

Once at the Nature Center you’ll find some great aquariums, as well as a shark and ray exhibit, sea turtles, and rescued birds, including owls, hawks, and even a bald eagle! Much of the marine life found at the Nature Center can be found in San Diego Bay.

The Nature Center operates an endangered species breed and release program for the Light-footed Clapper Rail. This particular species is one of California’s most endangered water birds. There’s lots of information about the Light-footed Clapper Rail here, so be sure to walk through the outdoor aviary devoted to them.

One other neat thing about the Nature Center is that they have a good number of displays of art, and offer arts and crafts as an option for kids most days of the week. When you arrive, be sure to ask the person at the front desk for paper and crayons for their crayon rubbing tables (located outside near the shark & ray exhibit, and the life-sized nest). Look around, and you’ll see mosaic benches, an outdoor sculpture, and other displays of art in and around the area.

Nature Discovery Tours are free with admission or membership, and are held at 2pm on Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays. Call to verify time and days prior to attending. You might also enjoy exploring the 1 1/2 miles of walking trails. Also, be sure to check out their native plant gardens and composting areas. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

Website: Chula Vista Nature Center
Twitter: @CVNatureCenter
Facebook: Chula Vista Nature Center on Facebook

The Flower Fields ~ More Than Just A Sea of Ranunculus!

pollennoseWe recently took our yearly trip to The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. While there, it occurred to me that not everyone may be familiar with all there is to do and see other than viewing a sea of (beautiful) ranunculus. If you haven’t been before, read on, and I’ll inform you of the fun you have in store for your visit.

The Flower Fields are a place of beauty, magic, and splendor. It’s a fun place for people of all ages. There’s a lot to do, including a tractor ride with an audio history about the location, fun playground, sweet pea maze, rose garden, gem mining, an “artists” garden with a pond and birds, and so much more. If you visit on a weekend you might hear a band play, or attend on the day of a special event.

If you’re a child, they’ll give you a Flower Fields Passport upon entry. Look for the numbered posts, and stamp your passport with the corresponding number. Once you have all your stamps, you can take it to the sluice mining area for $1.00 off gem mining.

The Flower Fields do allow strollers, and you might want to bring one if you have a little tot. Be sure to bring sunscreen, hats, and wear comfortable walking shoes. You can bring food and beverages, and they have tables with benches for eating. You can buy lemonade there, and I believe they sell other food on certain days.

Designate a good 3 or more hours for your visit. Most activities within The Flower Fields are included in the price of admission, but the mining and tractor are a bit extra. Buy your tractor tickets prior to entering the gates. You can pay your mining fee at the mining station (you may need to pay with cash). Parking is free, and you can either buy your admission tickets online, or at the ticket booth.

Click HERE for a Buy 1 Get 1 Free Entry coupon, which is good through April 30, 2011. In case the pictures below are not enough, you can click HERE for the write up we posted in March, 2011. Click HERE for the official website of The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

P.S. The Flower Fields have extended their 2011 season through May 15th.


Bubbles ~ Such Sweet Innocent Fun

It was a very hot Spring day today. Hot like the hot in the middle of Summer. The kids asked if we could break out their new bubble wands. I thought it was a perfect idea. We had so much fun! I can only wish that such sweet, innocent fun could always bring such joy to my children. I treasure moments like these.