Category Archives: Nature

Living Coast Discovery Center

Although museum month has now been over for 11 days, I have not yet documented any of our adventures. We were too busy having fun! Our first museum we visited was the Living Coast Discovery Center. I was kind of bummed we chose this place first because when I got home that day, we had a mailer from Birch Aquarium telling us that members of the Birch Aquarium could go to the Living Coast Discovery Center for free in the month of March. Oh well, we’ll have to go back. We really did enjoy it and now that the weather’s a bit more cooperative, it might even be better.

I love how open this museum is. There are some trails we could follow to the beach. They are short and very easy to just walk around with the kids. I loved that we could be in nature, just how this area really is naturally. We had a great view of the city and of the Coronado bridge from where we were.

When you arrive at the parking lot, it is still a ways from the museum. There is a free shuttle from the parking lot to the museum entrance. The inside of the museum itself is quite small. It’s more of an aquarium. There is an octopus and a number of other fish. Then out back there is a big tank with sting rays and another big tank with small sharks and a few other fish. There is a short walk just outside the aquarium that takes you to see a few other animals, including a bunch of different birds. I hope we find time to go back this moth while we can still get in for free!

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This starfish that captured a fish was so interesting to me

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This big guy was moving all over the place

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Bird Rock

We have lived in the San Diego area for about four and a half years now.  We have spent a lot of time at the beach, but usually beach trips consist of playing in the water, building sand castles, and trying to find Taylor out on his surf board (which is always a challenge because everybody has a white board and a black wetsuit).  Sometimes we head to the children’s pool to see the seals.  But we never go to the tide pools.  That, my friends, is going to change.  We went on Saturday.  We checked on the tides and they were negative lows.  Usually when they get that low, it’s at a time that is very inconvenient.  This weekend was perfect.  Although it’s been quite cold (and still was there), it was so worth it!  We went to Bird Rock in La Jolla and it was amazing!  We got there about an hour before sunset and there was lots to see.

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We ran into some boy scouts we knew from church who were also exploring.  They found lots of cool animals and helped us know where and what to look for.  They had found a few lobster, some small octopi, and even an abalone!

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The Girl touching the abalone

She thought this octopus was especially cool.

She thought this octopus was especially cool.

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sea slugs

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We had a great time and will definitely do it again.

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Mission Trails

I have recently discovered Mission Trails Regional Park. I always knew it was there, but I never realized what a gem it is to have in the middle of this large city. There are a number of hikes and adventures to be had. I was informed about guided nature walks that take place every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday morning.

It’s free and I thought it would be a nice way to get out and get active as a family. We arrived just in time for the guided walk and as we were walking through the parking lot into the visitors center, The Boy decided to run, and in turn fell and skinned up his knee and arm. We were off to a bad start. Once he was cleaned up and bandaged up, we started with our guide. The Boy was still cranky, so I decided to break out the stroller. Let me just mention here that the guide was not an ideal guide for a group with small children. He talked a lot about the vegetation, which could have been interesting if I wasn’t trying to keep a 2-year-old in a stroller and entertain a 5-year-old who kept asking when the hike was going to start. The guide didn’t seem to notice that his pace was way too slow. I kept thinking the pace would pick up and it never did, so after about a half hour, we took off on our own. We took the stroller back to the car and walked the whole visitor’s center loop (1.4 miles) as a family. About halfway through, The Girl started whining about needing to go potty.

Off he goes. That's what I get for trying to take a picture and letting go of the chubby little hand

Luckily our adult to kid ratio in our family is 1-1 because each of us had to be holding on to a kid’s arm the whole time so that there would be no more injuries (be it skinned knees or broken elbows).

The hike itself may have been enjoyable if it would have started out better (and if The Girl didn’t need to go to the bathroom for half of it). There were a couple of really cool oak trees that grew out from the ground and then the branches grew back down all the way to the ground, making an umbrella effect where we were able to stop and rest in the shade for a bit.

The Boy thought it was a great big tungle (tunnel, he’s kind of obsessed) so he was happy about it. All in all, I think this would be a good trail for kids a little older than ours (or maybe just a little less wimpy). I did carry The Boy for a bit and The Girl whined a lot (which I knew would be the case). It would also be a great trail to carry a kid in a backpack. I also saw somebody running with a jogging stroller. I guess I should have kept the stroller. Things might have turned out better. I’m sure we’ll be back someday with the kids. Just not this summer.

P.S. Don’t forget your sunscreen and water. It can get hot and there’s not much shade.

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Vacationing

Please excuse the lack of posts lately.  We’ve been on vacation.  And having said that, I’ll post some pictures of our trip (or at least one.  My camera battery died halfway through our vacation so most of the pictures are elsewhere.).  We didn’t stay around here.  We drove to the south rim of the Grand Canyon, then up to Zion National Park and back down through Las Vegas.  Soon, when I get the pictures from The Hubby’s phone, I’ll show you exactly what I did and prove to you that I really did climb to the top of a really, really big rock.  (And I was kind of freaked out as I looked down thousands of feet on either side of me.)

Grandpa and the kids on the edge of the Grand Canyon

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Spring Garden Festival Visit

We ended up making an appearance at the Cuyamaca College Spring Garden Festival on Saturday.  It was a fun event!  There was an area set up on the lawn for vendors.  My favorite tent was the SD Creative Weavers Guild.

They had bags full of llama hair that they were spinning into yarn.  Then others were using that yarn to make a sweater.  The goal was to have the hair turned into a sweater by the end of the event.  I never went back to check if they finished, but it was quite interesting.  From there we went across to the Water Conservation Garden.

It is a fun little botanical garden with a lot of good information on (obviously) using water conscious vegetation, among other things.  My kids were fascinated with this miniature house that gave information about creating a fire buffer zone.

If you look in the mailbox, you can take a flyer home with you.  The conservation garden and the nursery were also holding plant sales and had all sorts of plants.  The Girl learned about the life cycle of a butterfly.

There was plenty of fun for the kids, including coloring and face painting.  They both came home with plants of their own that they planted at the nursery.  There was lots of food and even some entertainment.  Our last stop of the afternoon was the Heritage of the Americas Museum, which is right outside the Water Conservation Garden, but the museum deserves a post of it’s own.

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Spring Garden Festival

Every year Cuyamaca College’s Water Conservation Garden puts on a free festival.  I have heard that it is really great, one of the best garden festivals around.  It’s a wonder I’ve never been!  This year’s festival takes place tomorrow.  For more info, go here.

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Flower Fields

The Flower Fields are now open in Carlsbad!  I’ve never been there.  Okay, I’ve seen them, but we’ve never stopped.  Hopefully we’ll make it this weekend and can report on our adventure.  I’ve heard they’re amazing.  If you want to go, don’t forget to print off this BOGO coupon here.

Here’s a description of what The Flower Fields are (from their website):

For over sixty years, Mother Nature has transformed the rolling hills of North San Diego County into one of the most spectacular and coordinated displays of natural color and beauty anywhere in the world. The nearly fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that make up The Flower Fields® at Carlsbad Ranch, in Carlsbad, California, are in a full bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year – from early March through early May – literally bringing the famous fields back to life. This annual burst of color, which has become part of the area’s local heritage, is also one of nature’s official ways of announcing the arrival of spring here in Southern California.

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