4 Paws Up For The Disneynature BEARS Movie!

Disneynature BEARS ~ Meet The Cubs!

Disneynature BEARS

~ Heartwarming ~

My 9 year old daughter and I were invited to attend an advance screening of the new Disneynature BEARS movie. It’s a heartwarming film about an Alaskan brown bear named Sky, and her 2 cubs, Amber and Scout, as they learn what life is like outside the realm of their Winter den. This movie has real footage of the bears in their natural habitat, and is not animated, like most associated with Disney.
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Free Family Fun At The Project Wildlife Baby Shower!

Project Wildlife Baby Shower

5th Annual Project Wildlife Baby Shower!

We found an injured baby Mockingbird on our property a while back, so I called Project Wildlife to find out what we should we do with it. They said to bring it to them, and they would give it the care it so needed. We delivered the baby bird to their facility, and were very happy they were able to help. I joined their mailing list, and recently received notice of the Project Wildlife Baby Shower.

The 5th Annual Project Wildlife Baby Shower is happening from 10am-2pm on Saturday, April 5th, 2014, at the center’s triage facility. It sounds like a fun, family-friendly event. Project Wildlife will offer visitors to view their Triage Center (where they care for sick, injured, and orphaned animals), learning opportunities with Animal Ambassadors, and a festival-like atmosphere with a Kids Zone, vendors, food, and games.

The Project Wildlife Baby Shower is absolutely FREE to attend. We plan to join the fun, and contribute a tax-deductible baby shower supply donation to them when we arrive. We think they’re a great non-profit organization, and know they’re in need of help to assist the thousands of baby wildlife that they rescue each Spring and Summer throughout San Diego County. If you too are interested in bringing them a Wildlife Baby Shower gift, or general donation, you can find ideas on their Wildlife Baby Shower Wish List.

For more information about the Project Wildlife Baby Shower, or general information about Project Wildlife, please visit their Website. The event sounds like great fun, especially for animal lovers like us! Perhaps we’ll see you there!

Event Details

WHAT: Project Wildlife Baby Shower
WHERE: 887 1/2 Sherman Street, San Diego, CA 92110
WHEN: Saturday, April 5th, 2014
COST: Absolutely FREE!

Living Coast Discovery Center Invites You To Celebrate Coastweeks!

coastweeksThe Living Coast Discovery Center, formerly the Chula Vista Nature Center, invites you to celebrate Coastweeks with three fun weeks of family-friendly activities, at their beautiful location in the South Bay area of San Diego! The celebration is from September 15th – October 6th, 2012, and Living Coast Discovery Center has set up daily activities with coastal themes, highlighting the special places and species of their unique local coastline habitats. Activities include hands-on art workshops, special speakers, and more! Best of all, the activities are FREE with admission during Coastweeks!

The Living Coast Discovery Center is located at 1000 Gunpowder Point Drive, Chula Vista, CA 91910. Click HERE for the flyer on their Coastweeks activities, or scroll below for highlights on planned activities. You can check out their website at www.thelivingcoast.org. Perhaps we’ll see you there!


coastweeksCoastweeks Activities Highlights:

Coastal Cleanup at Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge
September 15th ~ 9:00am-12pm

To kick off the celebration, the Living Coast Discovery Center will be hosting a public cleanup day on their very own Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. As a part of the California Coastal Cleanup Day, they will be hosting one of 87 sites state-wide. Participants to the Sweetwater Marsh cleanup site will receive a free reusable tote bag with goodies inside (while supplies last), including a ticket to the Living Coast Discovery Center! Participants must be 10 years of age or older. To participate, preregistration is required at www.cleanupday.org. Choose the Sweetwater Marsh cleanup site. Here’s a direct link to the Sweetwater Marsh Cleanup.


coastweeksCoastal Connections Weekly Lecture Series
Thursdays During Coastweeks

Local experts on coastal issues and species will share with us each week!
Space is limited, so preregistration is required.

Thursday September 20th ~ 6:30pm–8:30pm:
Clapper Rail Comeback! with speaker Charles Gailband of Team Clapper Rail. The light-footed clapper rail is one of the most endangered coastal birds of southern California. However, conservation efforts and a reintroduction program conducted by Team Clapper Rail have helped this beautiful marsh bird double its population since the mid-1980s. Hear the wonderful story of recovery efforts for this rare and secretive coastal inhabitant.

Thursday September 27th ~ 6:30pm–8:30pm:
Ocean Friendly Gardens with Susan Krzywicki of the San Diego Surfrider Foundation. Urban runoff from gardens and hard surfaces is the #1 source of ocean pollution. But gardens can be beautiful, resourceful, wildlife-friendly AND prevent runoff. How? Attend this fun and interesting presentation to find out how to create a garden to help revive our watersheds and oceans!

Thursday October 4th ~ 6:30pm-8:30pm:
Of Skimmers & Sea Turtles with Sheila Madrak and Chris Millow, UCSD research biologists. Local researchers share their discoveries of the local endangered green sea turtles and black skimmers of South San Diego Bay!

Members: FREE with preregistration
Non-members: $10 with preregistration

Click HERE to register online.


coastweeksCoastal Connections Marine Debris Art Workshops
Hands-on fun for the whole family! Travel to a different coastal destination each week with local artist and environmentalist, Teresa Espaniola, and create fun take home works of art using marine debris. Artistic ability not necessary! Attend all four sessions for the most fun. Themed door prizes will be awarded each week plus we’ll have snacks,games, festive music and getting an up-close and personal encounter with one of our Discovery Center animals. Appropriate for age 5 and older. Limited space available, so preregistration is suggested.

Saturdays: 1pm-3pm

September 15th ~ Japan
Become a master synthetic sushi chef! Create your own platter of decorative sushi from marine debris and recycled materials while tracking and learning about the tsunami debris and its impact on our coastal habitats.

September 22nd ~ Venice Italy
Come to coastal Venice for a Masked Ball! Decorate your own mask out of recycled materials and marine debris in a carnival-like atmosphere with games for everyone. Learn about pollution in coastal Venice and how it impacts all of us – and the little things we can do at home.

September 29th ~ Australia
Experience and learn about Australia’s coastal habitats as you create the Great Barrier Reef out of colorful marine debris and recycled materials! Take home your own creatively crafted starfish magnet! You will never look at trash the same way again.

October 6th ~ California

Gain a new perspective about our own California Coastal kelp forests and the animals that call it home. You will not believe the mini kelp forest that you will make using recycled plastic bottles and marine debris!

Members: Adults and Children – $17
Non-Members: Adults – $31; Children- $26 (Admission to the Center Included)

Click HERE to register online.


coastweeksMarsh Monday Kayaking Trips
Take a paddle through the coastal waters of South Bay with a guided naturalist in search of birds, sea turtles and other local coastal wildlife. Great for kids and adults! Single and tandem kayaks are available for use, and are included in the registration costs. Preregistration is required.

September 17th ~ 8am-10am
September 24th ~ 4pm-6pm
October 1st ~ 8am-10am

Members: Single Kayak ~ $15; Double Kayak ~ $20
Non-Members: Single Kayak ~ $25; Double Kayak ~ $30

Click HERE to register online.

For additional information, please call (619) 409-5908.
You can also visit their kayak tours page, HERE, for more information.


coastweeksDaily Coastal Themes!
The Living Coast Discovery Center is open daily from 10am-5pm. Enjoy a different, super-fun coastal theme each day of the week during Coastweeks! All activities and events are included in the admission costs for the Center.

Shark and Ray Sundays
Sunday is the day for sharks and rays! Through interactive stations, hands on games, and an up-close and personal look at some adorable baby sharks, discover how these amazing animals have survived for over 400 million years. Make your trip extra special by signing up for a VIP animal encounter to get to feed our sharks and rays (limited space available and preregistration required).

Marsh Mondays
The Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge is a unique ecosystem that many animals, birds and plants call home. Join us for an opportunity to see the marsh from all angles by pre-registering for a unique kayaking trip or searching for crabs on our protected beaches. Learn about the marsh through a variety crafts, experiments, hands-on stations, animal encounters and onsite exhibits all while visiting with local wildlife.

Tidal Zone Tuesdays
Take a look beneath the surface! Many spineless wonders, also known as invertebrates, make their home along San Diego’s coasts. Come explore the wide range of life that exists in each of the tidal zones. Touch sea stars, urchins and snails, and other marine critters. Discover the most intelligent invertebrate, the octopus, and see if she can open the most challenging of toys to retrieve a special treat. Head to the shoreline for a plankton tow to see how most marine creatures begin life in this unique habitat.

Watershed Wednesdays
Wednesday is water day! Chula Vista’s watershed includes more than 350,000 human residents plus our wildlife neighbors. Come learn how you can reduce your water footprint through small, easy changes that can make a big difference. Learn how to be a part of the solution while enjoying a variety of hands-on stations, an interactive local plant tour given by horticulturalist Mark Valen (2pm) and even participate in a wild water fight!

Turtle Thursdays
Did you know that the endangered Eastern Pacific green sea turtle makes its home right here in San Diego Bay? Watch the Center’s four sea turtles through our up-close viewing windows, and enjoy a variety of turtle crafts, turtle games and other hands-on stations. Make your trip extra special by signing up for a VIP animal encounter to get to feed our sea turtles! (limited space available and preregistration required).

Fishy Fridays
Catch a glimpse of the awesome fish that make the waters of San Diego their home. Explore their diverse habitats and unique anatomy up-close through dissections, dress up, games and crafts! Don’t forget to grab your Seafood Watch card, or download the app, before leaving to be a powerful part of the solution towards healthier fish populations on our coast.

Shore Bird Saturdays
Get to know the beautiful birds that make the coastal California wetlands their home. Discover the endangered light-footed clapper rail and what the Discovery Center is doing to help this rare local bird. We’ll have bird games, bird stories and even the ability to sign up for a special shore bird feed (Limited space available)!

Early Bird Saturdays ~ Especially for Birders!

Have you ever wished you could access the refuge eariler in the day for bird-watching? Now is your chance! During COASTWEEKS we will be opening the refuge early every Saturday, September 15th – October 6th. Grab your binoculars and bird book and meet the shuttle in the parking lot. A shuttle will arrive on the half hour to pick up birders beginning at 7:00am and going until 9:00am. Note: The Discovery Center will not open until 10:00am, however the trails will be open for hiking and bird-watching.

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Disclaimer: We are supporting the Living Coast Campaign, and will receive an Animal Encounter/Private Behind-the-Scenes Experience/Animal Photo Op, plus a family four-pack of admission tickets for our participation.

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

La Jolla Cove, Scripps Park, & Children’s Pool ~ Outdoor Family Fun!

lajollaLa Jolla Cove, Scripps Park, and the surrounding area is a great place for families to explore together. It surprises me when I talk with native of San Diegans who have never been to this area of La Jolla! It is, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful places on Earth!

La Jolla Cove is actually an Ecological Reserve known for it’s beauty and as a popular destination for scuba divers, snorkelers, kayakers, and strong swimmers. The cliffs to the east of The Cove have some GREAT hiking trails, which are easy enough to use with a jogging stroller. The paved path to the west of The Cove takes you on one of the most scenic walks above the Pacific Ocean.

Above The Cove is Ellen Browning Scripps Park, which is a very popular place to picnic. There is no playground here, but plenty of grass to run around. There’s also a sprawling paved path you can take from The Cove, and along Coast Boulevard which is a really scenic walk. From this path you may see dolphins, seals, sea lions, and if you go at the right time of year (generally mid January through early March) you may even see the migration of the gray whales.

If you follow the path away from The Cove, south of Scripps Park, you’ll come to some stairs which take you to what’s known as Shell Beach. At low tide you may be able to see some tide pools. This is not my favorite tide pooling area, but if you happen to be there at low tide you might want to check it out. Be careful of the tide, as it can be very strong when it comes to shore.

Follow the path further down Coast Blvd., look out toward the ocean, and you’ll see Seal Rock just south of Shell Beach. Out on Seal Rock you’ll likely see sea lions and seals on the rocks. A large wave may come and knock them into the ocean, and you’ll see them hobble back up on the rocks again. It’s a lot of fun to watch them and take pictures.

Keep walking past the cliffs above Seal Rock, and you’ll come to what’s known as The Children’s Pool. Here you’ll find more seals and sea lions on the beach. This is not a destination to have children go on the beach, but it’s a great place for kids to view the beach and mammals from a distance. Have fun!

For more information about La Jolla Cove, Scripps Park, & The Children’s Pool, check the links below.
La Jolla Cove
Ellen Browning Scripps Park
La Jolla Children’s Pool

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Connecting With Nature At Lake Miramar

lakemiramarLake Miramar, located in the Scripps Ranch neighborhood of San Diego is a great place to connect with Nature! It’s fun to bring food to feed the ducks. Our kids love coming here for outings.

When you come to the lake you’ll likely see ducks, geese, squirrels, and many different types of birds. I’ve never done so, but many people fish here as well. The lake itself was built about 50 years ago, and is owned by the City of San Diego. It has bathrooms, barbecues, and picnic tables, hiking trails, and more.

If you were to make a circle around the lake, it’s five miles round trip. It’s a popular place for hikers, cyclists, inline skaters, walkers, and runners. I used to skate here daily when in college. We usually bring scooters and our kids scoot along the path. There are some little hills here, so we like to follow the paved path and head toward the farthest West area of the lake, and turn around when the kids get tired. This is not the most scenic part of the lake, but is relatively flat and easy for scooting. I always bring our jogging stroller along, and have them jump in if they get tired of scooting.

A few precautions I can tell you when visiting the lake are as follows:
• Stay on the paths, and always keep your eyes open for snakes. I have never seen a snake here, but have heard of others having an occasional encounter with a rattle snake. This is their natural habitat.
• The geese can be loud, and intimidating. I always use caution when near them, and do our best to bypass them to get to the ducks, which are usually hanging out by the boat dock and pier.
• If you ever go on a boat, be sure you use floatation.

Lake Miramar is a beautiful, fun place to visit. If you’d like more info about Lake Miramar, please click HERE. Perhaps we’ll see you there!

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