mcfam's Passport
 

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Member since:
27 May 2010

Icon_superoo_orangeSuperoo '11, '12, '13

Icon_pictureBeen to 628 Attractions
Icon_star542 Reviews
Icon_star1318 First to Review
Icon_camera22361 Photos
Icon_thumbsup239 Helpful Votes
Compliments
About Me & My Family

My husband and I have 4 kids... 3 boys and then our girl. We homeschool them all and travel when possible. We just started letterboxing and are finding ourselves a little obsessed with it.
Our Family's Travel Personality
adventurous, curious, structured, relaxed, simple, independent, spontaneous, easy_going
We Just Got Back From
White Stallion Guest Ranch in Arizona
Our Favorite Vacation Spot
Camping in Kings Canyon or Yosemite
A Place We'd Love To Visit
The Redwoods in Northern California
Favorite Vacation Memory
Walking the meadows of Yosemite with my family. The quiet, the sparkling water, the rustling grasses, and a dip in the river made for an amazing day.
Worst Travel Moment With My Kids:
Anytime throw up is involved. Especially when one kid triggers another. And when we are in the car. And when they choose to use the box that is holding all their library books and toys.
Websites I Like:
www.atlasquest.com

Celebrate the New Year as a family in San Diego, CA

Ring in the New Year with your own noise makers or watch the fireworks over SeaWorld or LEGOLAND early in the evening.
On New Year's Day, make new memories with your kids with an outing to one of these fun activities.

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1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive
San Diego, California

Comment:
Drive out to the Point of San Diego and enjoy amazing vistas, an historic lighthouse, and tide pools. Kids can get a Jr. Ranger badge.


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Strand Way, between Pacific Beach Drive to Ventura Place
San Diego, California

Comment:
Every day is a perfect beach day in San Diego, even if it may be too cold to swim. Take a volleyball and play a game with your kids, or take a walk along the long stretch of sand.


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2920 Zoo Drive in Balboa Park
San Diego, California

Comment:
Visit the amazing variety of animals at the zoo and enjoy the holiday spirit with "Jungle Bells".

reviewed on: July 08 2012

"Great zoo, the best!"
I'm proud to say that I finally visited the San Diego Zoo for the first time, even though I grew up in California.  Even though I had heard of it's grandeur, I was blown away by the amazing animals, the clever enclosures, and the great interactions that my kids had with everything.  

BUS TOUR:  We started our day by hopping on the bus (after a 20 minute wait!), because of some great Trekaroo recommendations.  It was the greatest introduction to the zoo and set the stage for a great day.  We sat on the top and saw so many great animals up close within the quick 35 minute tour.  Our guide, Wendy, was amazingly humorous and informative and I felt like we had seen most of the zoo first thing.  That made the rest of the day more relaxing because we could take our time with everything else, knowing we probably wouldn't make it back to many of the exhibits.
TIPS for the bus:  For best viewing, sit on the top, right-side, in the middle.  Most of the animals to be seen (except the polar bear) can be seen on the right side.

REPTILE WALK: The new Reptile Walk opened July of 2012, and is located behind the Reptile House.  My kids were thrilled with seeing 2 Chinese alligators, and HUGE galapagos turtles.  We were rewarded by seeing California natives and amphibians such as lizards, turtles, frogs, and snakes.  We couldn't get over the snake-necked turtles and watched them swim around for quite a while.
TIPS for the Reptile Walk:  This is located behind the Reptile House.  Plan to visit this area in conjunction with the Children's Zoo, and the Camp Critter Show located right next to it.

SKYFARI AERIAL TRAM:  Thanks to Trekaroo reviewers, we planned on riding the tram to the top of the zoo and then to walk down.  Perfect plan!  My kids had a blast on the tram and we got to see lots of the zoo on our way.  The polar bear exhibit was too crowded to see anything, so we headed downhill towards the Pandas.  The line snaked for about 1 hour (it was the busy July month!) so we headed towards one of the escalators that led up to the orangutans and the aviaries.  We hardly walked up hill all day!

NIGHTTIME ZOO: CHINA CELEBRATION:  From June-Sept 3, 2012, there are lots of activities, exhibits, shows, and even a Pinterest and Instagram contest to enter.  We enjoyed the Dr. Zoolittle: Explores Asia show in the Children's Zoo very much.  It was hilarious and entertaining, and we learned a tiny bit about endangered animals.  The Jasmine & Jade Jumpers were amazing trampoline acrobats that hopped around and up high and entertained us all.  Seeing their high-calibur performance convinced me that all the other shows we missed were just as amazing.  
TIPS: The shows start around 1pm and run at different times and many locations throughout the zoo until the finale at 8pm at Front Street.  Check out the map for locations and times.

DINING:  We devoured our cheeseburgers and kids meals at Poppy's Patio, even though we packed lots of snacks.  So much walking and animal watching made for hungry kids and adults.  We ate dinner at the Treehouse Cafe and found the pasta there to be pretty good and satisfying.  The view was amazing too!  
TIPS: Bring food to snack on.  Save money by buying kid's meals and the $9.99 free refill souvenir bottle for sodas.  

GENERAL TIPS: The month of July is one of the most crowded at the park, but we were still able to see most things and find quiet corners.  The day was drizzly and grey in the morning and the tour guide said it is the best weather for seeing the big animals and cats.  Don't be discouraged by any foul weather!  It usually only discourages humans from coming out which can mean a better day at the zoo.

My favorite part of the day had to be the time we spent in the Insect House, also known as "Spineless Marvels" which is located in the Children's Zoo.  This little building housed a full wall of leaf-cutter ants that were spellbinding.  A see-through bee house entranced my little kids.  I loved staring into the various tanks, looking for the bugs located inside, only to be shocked when they were right in front of my nose, so well camouflaged that I couldn't see them at first.  A little spine-chilling, but at least I have a spine!

My family received complimentary passes to the zoo to review the new Reptile Walk and the Nighttime Zoo: China Celebration including bus tour, express bus and Skyfari Arial Tram tickets.  I was not required to express a particular point of view and all opinions are my own.  

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910 North Harbor Drive
San Diego, California

Comment:
Explore this vast aircraft carrier and discover all the hands on activities that make it enjoyable for kids to learn history.

reviewed on: April 18 2013

"Great tour for all ages"
I heard from Trekaroo families that you could spend 6 hours on this ship and I couldn't really wrap my mind around what could take that much time, but after spending an afternoon there, I get it! There were a ton of things to see, but even better, there was a lot for the kids to interact with and enjoy.

Whenever we visit museums with posted signs detailing what we are seeing, I struggle with getting my kids to read it and understand what it is. The USS Midway offers individual audio tour gadgets with plug-in headphones. The genius of it is that there are specific tours. Family tours, Student tours, and the full tour. The family tour takes about 2-3 hours and you can easily see the numbers on the map and in the area of the ship. Just put those numbers in the audio gadget and then listen on the headphones. The family tour was engaging for all my kids and we really liked listening to it too. They learned a TON without much difficult effort on my part. Any visitor can choose whatever numbers to listen to at any time so you can travel the ship at your pace, and skip or go back to any areas you choose. I used an audio tour with double plugs that I shared with my 4 year old. That way she didn't have to carry the slightly heavy gadget, just her own head phones. I just plugged hers into mine whenever we stopped to listen.

**KEY** Be sure to stop by the Junior Pilot Program Desk on the main deck, just after you get your audio tour sets. My 10 and 12 year olds were given a brochure with about 15 questions of things that they could easily learn by listening to the audio tour at all of the family stops. The friendly attendant told us that our 4 and 6 year olds could earn their "wings" too, just by participating with us. By having questions to get answers to, my older ones were eager to visit all the stops and find out the info they needed. When we were done, they turned in their answers and were given a small pin with wings. They were proud of them!

During our tour we had to go up and down many stairs and step over the foot-high thresholds (called "knee knockers") between rooms. Some of the stairs were very steep and narrow. Our kids did well, but it was a challenge at times.

Many hands-on and interactive features were available for the kids to touch throughout the ship. They practiced tying knots, climbed into the tight bunks, sat in the flight briefing chairs, and pretended to be dentists. Mannequins dressed in flight gear were great models of what life looked like. We told the kids about their great grandfather who served on the USS Midway as a dentist and they gawked at the pretend man squirming in the dental chair.

On the main deck there were flight simulators (extra fee) and many climb-in cockpits that the kids (and adults) could experience. I was fascinated by all of the airplanes on the main deck and the stories behind some of them.

Up on the flight deck we stopped to listen to a veteran explain the light signals on the ship that directed airplanes to land on the deck. My 12 year old was shocked at the speed in which they landed and then came to a complete stop in 2 1/2 seconds. He learned a lot by listening to the veteran. There were many airplanes and helicopters to walk around, study, and climb into on the top deck. My husband especially enjoyed the Top Gun aircraft.

We wanted to tour the bridge located up above the flight deck but the tour was a guided 30 minutes, there was a line waiting for the tour, and we were starving. So, we decided to skip it. I do believe that we missed a very important part of the USS Midway and one that we will have to plan on coming back to see. In fact, when I looked at the map and all the things to do and see I realized there are a lot of parts of the ship to explore and we look forward to returning soon!

Disclosure: I received two complimentary tickets in order to visit the USS Midway and share our experience. I was not asked to present a certain point of view and all opinions are my own.


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35899 Canfield Road
Palomar Mountain, California

Comment:
View the stars and the Hubble telescope at this mountain observatory. Check road conditions before driving.