5 Things We Love About Knott’s Berry Bloom!


Knott’s Berry Bloom Is Springtastic!


Knott's Berry Bloom ~ www.socalwithkids.com
We loved going to Knott’s last year for Berry Bloom, their Springtime event, and are excited to be invited back to experience it again this year. When we went a year ago we were amazed at how the Park was transformed by the decor. Huge blooming flower decorations, and beautiful floral chalk drawings were found throughout Knott’s. We visit lots of Southern California theme parks, but hadn’t experienced this level of Spring festivities elsewhere.
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SeaWorld San Diego’s 50th Celebration Holds A Sea of Surprises For Guests!


SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration Holds A Sea of Surprises For Guests!


It was 50 years ago this month that SeaWorld San Diego first opened its doors on Mission Bay. To honor this momentous occasion, SeaWorld is having a 50th Celebration, known as Sea of Surprises™, which starts March 21st 2013, and extends for an entire 18 months!
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The LEGO® Movie, Where “Everything Is Awesome!”


The LEGO® Movie, Where “Everything Is Awesome!”


The LEGO® Movie

Our kids are HUGE fans of LEGO®, and after months and months of anticipation, we received an invitation to a media viewing of The LEGO® Movie. We were already familiar with the characters, and we even got to see the main ones, Emmet and Wyldstyle, when they made a surprise visit to LEGOLAND® California for the Celebrity Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony a month and a half prior.
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Disney FROZEN Movie Review Plus Free Printable Activity Sheets


~ Disney FROZEN Is Heartwarming ~

Disney Frozen Movie

Once upon a time, in a far away land, lived two sisters, one of whom had a special gift of “icy powers”. These special powers which brought both good and bad upon the kingdom. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s book “The Snow Queen“, Disney’s film FROZEN, will take you on an epic journey of two sisters overcoming their fears and finding true love.

Disney Frozen

Prior to seeing the film I wondered how in the world princesses, a talking snowman, and a semi-goofy looking reindeer would all mesh, but they did. Although this movie contains princesses, it’s hardly a princess movie. My entire family had the pleasure of previewing the film, even my dad and stepmom, and each of us enjoyed it thoroughly. In my honest opinion, it surpassed my expectations.

Disney Frozen

Just as you would expect from any movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios, FROZEN has an incredible soundtrack, and awesome animation. The film had us laughing, awing, and pleasantly surprised by some of the twists and turns of the plot.

Disney Frozen


FROZEN Is Full Of Warm Characters!


Although there were many memorable characters in the film, my absolute favorite was Sven, the lovable reindeer. He’s just adorable! A movie clip with he and Olaf, the snowman, is below. I kid you not, I REALLY want a plush Sven for Christmas!


FREE Fun & Educational Prinatable Downloads!


Disney has come up with some fun and educational printables, which are absolutely FREE to you! You’ll need a PDF viewer to download the sheets. Here’s a LINK to one in case you need it. Click the links below to download the PDF documents of your choosing. I particularly like the Olaf activity and mazes!
Build Olaf
Frozen Maze 1
Frozen Maze 2
Frozen Maze 3
Anna Coloring Page
Elsa Coloring Page
Kristoff Coloring Page


FROZEN Opens 11/25/13


FROZEN opens in theaters in 3D on Wednesday, November 27th, 2013. We truly enjoyed the movie, and are looking forward to adding it to our movie collection. We hope you enjoy it as well!

Disclosure: Many thanks to Walt Disney Animation Studios for the opportunity to preview FROZEN. Our opinions are our own. This site contains affiliate links.

Disney PLANES Movie Review Plus Printable Activities For Kids!


~ Take Flight With PLANES ~


dusty2_sm
There once was an underdog named Dusty. He had sweet blue eyes, a gentle smile, and BIG dreams! Although he could talk, and had a great personality, he wasn’t what you might think. You see, Dusty was a crop hopper. Yes, an agriculture plane. The type that you might find on a farm.
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Move It, Move It at Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation at SeaWorld San Diego!

Madagascar Live!


Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation


An all new live interactive musical show, Madagascar Live! Operation Vacation, is now at SeaWorld® San Diego! We had the opportunity to see a sneak preview of the show, courtesy of SeaWorld®, just before opening day, and our kids each loved it!

Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation will have you wanting to dance, clap, and sing along with the cast, including Madagascar characters Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, King Julien, and the Penguins to name a few. Even our 9 month old baby was dancing in my lap!


“I Like To Move It, Move It!”

The production features a live band playing original and some favorite rock/pop music from Madagascar, with singers and dancers in the newly renovated Mission Bay Theater. It’s one of only two productions of its kind in the U.S., and will run year-round, with up to 8 shows per day!

The show is a 20 minute production, so it’s not too long, or too short. Guests have special meet and greet opportunities with the characters after the show, giving them the chance to take a picture or give a hug to their favorite performer. Unique Madagascar merchandise, exclusive to the Park, is available for sale as well.

For more information about Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation, check out the SeaWorld® San Diego Website. We really enjoyed the show, and as pass members, we’ll likely be seeing it many times! Perhaps we’ll see you there!



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As stated above, we were invited to preview Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation. We received complimentary entry to SeaWorld® San Diego (although we are members). We believe many of our readers are interested in knowing more about the new show, and our opinions are own. Thank you, SeaWorld® San Diego, for inviting us to preview this fun new show!
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National Comedy Theatre (NCT) Brings Family-Friendly Improv To San Diego

We were recently invited to an evening improv show in San Diego. My initial thought was that it would be good to attend to see if this might be a fun Date Night or a Girls Night Out option to share with our readers.

nct_sandiegoThe Show
I picked up a girlfriend and off we went to see the live show. We arrived in Mission Hills, parked, and found National Comedy Theatre (NCT) nestled away at the top of some stairs high above India Street. When arrived we saw several young kids, probably around 8 years old, with their parents at Will Call. I kind of figured they must be progressive parents, alright with exposing their littles to language and ideas which are usually forbidden for youngsters.

When we entered the theater I realized there more kids seated inside. LOTS more! I thought myself, I must be missing ~something ~. We took our seats, and waited for the show. A man went on stage, and gave us the run down on what to expect. He explained that it was improv, not stand-up comedy, and that although they took prompts from the audience, that it was a good, clean family-friendly show.

The performance we saw was hilarious! The performers doing the improv were really well, and it didn’t appear that there was a bad seat in the house. The kids in attendance all seemed to love it, and the entire audience was laughing out loud throughout the show. I didn’t expect the entertainment to be a fun way to introduce children to the world of live comedy, but it turned out to be just that. As I expected, it would also make a great Date Night or Girls Night Out / Moms Night Out.

The Location
NCT’s live performances take place in their theater on India St., in the Mission Hills neighborhood of San Diego. In this area you’ll find many restaurants, including El Indio, Shakespeare’s Pub, and Gelato Vero Cafe, to name a few. It’s a great location to have a bite to eat prior to a show.

About National Comedy Theatre (NCT)
NCT has performed more than 3600 shows in their 13+ seasons, since their opening night in October 1999. It’s the longest continuously running show in San Diego history, and is clean and appropriate for all ages. Tickets range in price from $10-$15 each, and group sale options are available. NCT also conducts improv workshops, performs at corporate and private events, conducts team building workshops, and now offers improv classes and camps for kids and teens, as well as instruction for adults.

For more information about NCT, checkout their website at this LINK. We truly enjoyed the show, and plan return with our children. My personal opinion is that it would be best understood and appreciated by kids age 8 on up. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

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Many thanks to National Comedy Theatre for inviting us to attend a live show. We had a wonderful time, and believe many of our readers would enjoy the show as well. It was seriously funny!

CAVALIA ~ An Incredible Family-Friendly Show!

cavaliaIf you live in Southern California you’ve likely seen advertisements with a beautiful horse, for a show called CAVALIA. Like me, you may wonder what it’s all about. According to their billboards Larry King stated it’s the “Best show ever!”.

Last week my eight year old daughter and I had the opportunity to experience CAVALIA ourselves, and what an incredible experience it was! CAVALIA combines 50 gorgeous horses and fantastic riding with beautiful live music and astonishing acrobatics. The show includes neat visuals, such as images displayed on a backdrop of falling water, autumn leaves made of paper gently floating to the floor, and streams of soft cloth flowing aross the stage behind magestic galloping horses. It’s an experience of both sight and sound that kept us at the edge of our seats, and received a well deserved standing ovation across the audience.

Here are some interesting Facts and Figures about CAVALIA:

The Artists
• The 36 artists, acrobats, dancers and riders are from Canada, France, Belgium, the United States, Morocco, Spain, Australia, Moldavia, Poland and Russia.
• The troop also includes 5 musicians (guitar, keyboard, bass, drums, and cello) and a singer.

The Horses
CavaliaCAVALIA features 50 horses representing 11 different breeds.
• The horses are from France, Spain, Portugal, Canada, the United States and the Netherlands.
• The horses annually consume 17,500 bales of hay, 36,500 pounds of grain and 1,750 pounds of carrots.
• The stables span more than 16,500 square feet.

cavaliaThe White Big Top and The Site
• The CAVALIA village includes nine tents: the White Big Top, the Rendez-Vous tent, the General Entrance tent, two artistic tents, two warm-up tents, the stables and the staff cafeteria.
• 150 people are required to erect the tents and work on the preparation of the site. The set-up takes 12 days, while the tear down is completed in three days.
• The White Big Top is 110 feet high or the equivalent of a ten-story building. 71,400 square feet of canvas were used to create the Big Top, which spans more than 26,264 square feet.
• A 200-foot wide screen serves as a backdrop for the projections and special effects. The stage is 160 feet wide, the equivalent of the width of a regulation NFL football field. 2,500 tons of sand and dirt (100 truckloads) are required to build the stage.

Touring and Traveling
• The tour employs 120 people on a permanent basis.
• 100 people are hired locally in each city visited.
• 100 trucks are required to move the material.
• The transport is done over land, sea or air, based on the distance.

CAVALIA is showing in downtown San Diego, next to PETCO Park, until December 30, 2012. They offer both Daytime and Nighttime Shows, and even offer experiences which include a tour of the horse stables. After viewing the show myself, I can attest that this a wonderful show for both young and old. The audience at the show we attended was quite diverse, all of whom seemed to love it!

CAVALIA currently has a Holiday Family Pack Offer (see link for details), which includes 5 FREE tickets with the purchase of 5 tickets. Tickets are limited, and certain conditions apply. The gift of a performance of CAVALIA could make a great holiday gift for the family! Perhaps we’ll go again, and see you there!

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Where you can find CAVALIA Across The Web:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

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Disclosure: We were invited to attend CAVALIA Tweet Night in San Diego. We were not asked to write a formal review of the event, but loved the show, and wanted to share info about the event with our readers, as we believe many would also enjoy the show. Our opinions are our own.

Summer Safari ~ A Wild Time at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park!

explorer_sdzsafariparkIt’s that time of year again at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, time for Summer Safari! This special event includes extended hours, live entertainment, hands-on activities, neat animal encounters, and more! We had the opportunity to check out the festivities the day before the official kick-off, and saw much of what’s in store for Safari Park visitors.

Summer Safari entertainment and activities, which are all included with Park admission, are happening in the Safari Base Camp area, not far from the entrance. Here you can make a beaded bracelet, participate in an African Drum Circle, and watch performers such as drummers from Ghana and Kenya, Zuma Zuma Acrobats, performers from the African Dream Circus, pole climbing acrobats, foot jugglers, and life-size animal puppets. The performances happen approximately 15 minutes apart, and run from 11am – 7pm. You’ll also find neat Animal Encounters in this area, which are up close interactions with Animal Ambassadors and their Keepers. Our kids always love the Animal Encounters!

Aside from the special events happening for Summer Safari, you’ll want to check out all the Park has to offer. If you haven’t been before, be sure to pick up a map at the entrance. The back of the map is filled with a daily schedule of events, as well as dining and guest service information.

We love taking a trip around the Park on the Africa Tram. By taking the tram, you’ll get a closer look at the animals than you would by foot. The trip is a 25 minute guided tour, and a great way to get off your feet, relax, and learn fun facts.

One of our favorite areas to walk around the Park is the African Loop, past the Africa Tram entry. It’s a beautiful walk, and has a neat water play area near James Research Island. Follow the loop all the way around, and you’ll see animals such as Okapi, which look like they might be related to the Zebra, but are actually related to the Giraffe. I highly suggest you take the time to explore this incredible area.

If you time it right, you can exit the African Loop, and check out the Cheetah Run Safari, which I believe happens at 5pm during the summer (check the schedule on your map). The area surrounding the Cheetah Run Safari fills up fast, and it’s a good idea to get there a good 1/2 hour to an hour before the time of the run. If the area is filled when you arrive, another good vantage point is high on the deck, next to the elevator that leads to and from Nairobi Village. It’s amazing how fast the cheetah runs!

One of the SoCal Kids’ favorite things to do in the Park is to feed the Lorikeets, located in the Hidden Jungle. They also love playing in the water play areas (located in Lion Camp and in the African Loop), and playing at the Fisher-Price® Samburu Jungle Gym, located below the Samburu Terrace restaurant. The water play area near Lion Camp, as well as the Fisher-Price play area are great places for parents to sit, relax, and watch the kids play.

Other ideas for fun are the Frequent Flyers bird show, Conservation Carousel, Hidden Jungle (lots of neat botanical and birds), and a walk around the Lagoon Loop. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, as you’ll likely do a lot of walking. If you’re visiting with little ones you can easily push a jogger or stroller along the paths. Be sure to bring your camera.

Summer Safari happens June 30th – August 19th, 2012. Be sure to check out our images below from the Safari Park. You can find more information about the event HERE. As yearly pass holders, we visit often, especially during the extended summer hours, so perhaps we’ll see you there!


Disclosure: We were invited to visit the Safari Park for the Summer Safari Preview. As yearly passholders, we would have visited the Park to experience the fun on our own had we not been invited. We were treated to lunch, and the kids were given nice goody bags, but we were not compensated by any other means. Our opinions are our own. Thank you to the Safari Park for hosting us. We had a great day!

TOTEM by Cirque du Soleil Comes To San Diego!

totem_by_cirque_du_soleil

TOTEM by Cirque du Soleil

TOTEM, by Cirque du Soleil comes to San Diego’s Del Mar Fairgrounds in it’s only Southern California stop in 2012! We received two complimentary tickets from Cirque du Soleil to see the opening night of this incredible production, which is in town for a limited engagement. This was the first Cirque du Soleil show we had ever seen, and we were blown away!

From the moment you walk into the blue and yellow Grand Chapiteau (big top) you enter another world. You are taken away, for a few hours of magical entertainment. The show captivates your senses with music, amazing visuals, and of course, incredible acrobatics. Our seven year old daughter and I attended together, and we were both enthralled throughout the entire production. There were many young children, including babies seated near us, all of whom were entirely entertained.

TOTEM, which premiered in 2010, has enchanted over a million people, and visited more than 10 cities in North America & Europe. The show is “inspired by many founding myths between science and legend, and explores the ties that bind Man to other species and his dreams.” The production is based on the principal that we each carry the potential to fly like a thunderbird to the top of the totem pole.

There were so many incredible parts of the show, including the use of Russian bars, a rings trio, roller skates, perches, a hoops dancer, fixed trapeze duo, unicycles, and so much more! Of course, the costumes are incredible, and the set design and choreography are top notch. I can’t say that there was a certain part of the show that was my favorite, because the entire production was astounding. It even received a standing ovation!

The production is running in San Diego through May 27, 2012. TOTEM by Cirque du Soleil would be an incredible gift to a mom for Mother’s Day, and Cirque du Soleil is offering certain tickets for select performances discounted 25%. Click HERE for more a sneak preview of the show, as well as info about the discount available. Now that I’ve been to the show, I know I’d love the gift of TOTEM myself!

Photos courtesy of TOTEM by Cirque du Soleil.