Family Fun Adventure: Santa Barbara Natural History Museum

IMG_20150712_113147

Hey Lovelies, today’s post covers our family outing to the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum in July. We have been wanting/trying to visit this local museum for a couple of years now. They have a free Sunday at the beginning of the month, except four months in the summer. Call ahead to make sure it’s free if you are interested in this option and save yourself a long drive for a picnic ūüôā Yes, we did that…twice! Once cause it was a Sunday, but not the first Sunday of a full weekend or we had gone on the first full weekend (can’t exactly remember) but not the first Sunday of the month and the next time it was September (or May?) and that was considered ‘summer’ and therefore not included in the free day. Point of long story? Call ahead!

IMG_20150712_114420     IMG_20150712_102733

Our son Azure visited this museum on a field trip in 1st grade with his class and the museum gave each child a free family pass to be used within a certain amount of time. Scientist that he is, he made sure we went again. I found this small museum to be really well put together with a surprising amount of exhibits to see

IMG_20150712_101906     IMG_20150712_103103     IMG_20150712_112119

We brought the whole gang for this outing and we thought spending about 1 1/2 hours would be our max, it was closer to 2 1/2-3 hours. Daddy took Azure and 2 of the more interested older boys to see a 30 minute space show (it was $4.00 a person, since we didn’t pay for admission we were happy to pay for this)

IMG_20150712_103241     IMG_20150712_103024

I thought this museum was perfect for elementary school aged kids and 2-3 hours a good amount of time to wander and discover. Littlest brother at 4 years, just wanted to run around and visit the stream they have as part of an exhibit outside. The only room inside the museum he actually liked was an interactive hands on room and mostly he was interested in building blocks in the play area. Easy to please. Older boys (high school) were fine to wander, but weren’t really interested in anything

IMG_20150712_111009

Build a Tepee and try not to whack any brothers with a giant pole

IMG_20150712_104738

This hand pump was an awesome feature that kept our little one very happy

IMG_20150712_103847     IMG_20150712_103840

There is a nice shady Backyard area to walk/run around in, which we enjoyed

Here is the regular pricing: Under 2: Free, 2-7: $7, 8-17 and seniors: $8, Adults 18+: $12 So not the cheapest outing for a large family. I think its certainly worth it if you only brought the ages/kids that would really enjoy it. If were paying full price, we probably would have taken Azure with a parent or made it a special occasion (like a birthday outing) and gone with the parents and 2 littles. If we lived closer an annual membership would be a nice thing to do as well. I certainly would suggest this place to other families and its definitely worth a visit too. I’ll sign off with these gorgeous photos Hubbs snapped in the Gem exhibit

IMG_20150712_124150

IMG_20150712_124214IMG_20150712_124307

Advertisements

Family Fun Adventure: Living Desert Zoo (Palm Desert, CA)

IMG_20150607_111741

Here are some pictures from our Family Fun Adventure at the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert, CA last month.

IMG_20150607_104942      IMG_20150607_123831

We visited in June so it was hot, hot, HOT! Really hot! The zoo opens first thing at 8 am to take advantage of the cooler time of day and closes by 1:30

IMG_20150607_111811

I have been planning a visit to this zoo since Azure’s birthday in February¬†(they give kids free admission for their birthdays you just sign up for it) we finally made it down there and took advantage of the free Bank of American Museum days. See here: http://museums.bankofamerica.com/mobile. We paid about $20.00 for the two little kids and parking was free. Feeding the giraffes was certainly an interesting thing to do. They didn’t seem terribly interested in the¬†tiny handful of¬†cut¬†carrots we paid $5 to feed them, but Azure enjoyed trying

IMG_20150607_130048     IMG_20150607_125658

Model railway scene that Daddy and Brecklin enjoyed

IMG_20150607_114656     IMG_20150607_114530

Viewing the animals. Unfortunately, they don’t offer camel rides in the summer…I guess we’ll have to come back again

IMG_20150607_113535     IMG_20150607_112431

There is a small animal petting area of the usual barnyard friends. Fun for kiddies

IMG_20150607_112905     IMG_20150607_113001

Check out a giant grain storage pot and pretend you are a baby bird

This zoo felt very natural, kinda wilderness-like. I felt like we were hiking along some desert path. Thankfully there are a couple spots to cool down in the Discovery Center and the Wildlife Hospital were two of the places we made it to. We arrived at about 10 am and did not make around to see everything before we got too hot. We enjoyed what we did see and with the free Bank of America Museum days it made a nice activity on day two of our trip down south.  It was pretty perfect for the kids, remember to take cool off breaks, bring lots of water (of course they do sell bottled water too) hats and sunscreen!

1907478_10153867498995130_5353532395144774745_n     10313329_10153867499185130_3226086363881681309_n

After the zoo we headed out for lunch at a fabulous Mexican restaurant called Las Casuelas Nuevas after it was recommended to us from a cashier at the local Target. Seriously good food here people http://www.lascasuelasnuevas.com/

Next we¬†met up with friends to cool off at the pool…that was definitely needed after all the heat! It kept the kids in happy spirits then we drove home after they were all tuckered out and the evening cooled off.

I hope you guys are making this a memorable summer with lots of family fun

Family Fun Adventure: Rose Valley Falls Trail, Ojai CA


2015-03-01 12.59.54

 

Today’s Family Fun Adventure post is from Rose Valley Falls Trail near Ojai, CA. Lately our weekends have been pretty filled up with birthday parties, track meets and other miscellaneous busy stuff. Other than our weekly beach trips we haven’t found the time to go in search of adventure. So I was delighted when quite spontaneously the Hubbs suggested this place. Unbeknownst to him, its been on my pinterest board for quite some time now.

The Rose Valley Falls Trail is off of the 33 past Ojai and located in the Los Padres National Forest

2015-03-01 13.24.08     2015-03-01 13.19.25

The trail head you are looking for is located inside the Rose Valley Campground. Just outside the campground is the day use parking area, which is just a thin shoulder on the road in front of a bulletin board. After a short walk through the tiniest campground ever (I think there is 9 camping sites. So cutesy!) You will see the sign for the falls trail. There is a vault toilet available, but bring your own drinking water as there isn’t any

2015-03-01 12.46.48     2015-03-01 12.45.48

Keep in mind this place is at 3,450 thousand feet. We left the sunny coast and within an hour it was overcast, rainy and even hailed! All but Daddy were immediately freezing cold and didn’t feel like the hike would be enjoyable in the cold. Turns out we were fine and warmed up within a few minutes of walking and it was actually was a very nice change from normally being SO hot when we hike

2015-03-01 13.03.21     2015-03-01 12.49.55

The nice shady half mile trail was an easy walk for the littles and we pasted at least five families with little kids. I think you could manage a stroller easily except for a two spots where there was some puddling

2015-03-01 13.04.05     2015-03-01 13.33.39

L: Follow the Leader on the trail R: Some huge fancy mushrooms

2015-03-01 12.59.22

The moss covered falls had some water running in February

2015-03-01 12.57.53

2015-03-01 12.54.56

Very peaceful

2015-03-01 12.55.03     2015-03-01 13.05.48

L: A little adventurer R: The stream leading away from the falls

Unfortunately we weren’t able to get a family photo due to a couple people taking their sweet time getting lots of pictures in…the older kids got tired of waiting. Truthfully, they were tired of the walk before we started. Teenagers!

2015-03-01 13.06.45     2015-03-01 12.54.46

L: A small waterfall downstream will a few little splash pools. I wonder if there is enough water in the summer? R: Another shot of the big falls. The water comes down all over the the rock, instead of one big stream. All the moss gave it a wild jungle-y feel

2015-03-01 13.44.02

 The view from a hill on a different trail that starts by the bulletin board outside the campground. Beautiful country! I would definitely suggest this short hike for some good, free family fun. I want to come back during warmer weather and see if the water is still running in the summer

Legoland California Photo Round Up

IMG_20140207_023518

Since our membership to LEGOLAND California is coming to a close, I thought I ‘d post a bunch of pictures of a few of the many awesome creations at the park for your viewing pleasure. Sit back and imagine planning your future trip. (*Disclaimer: I am not all affiliated with LEGOLAND and have not received any compensation for writing this post. All opinions and pictures are my own)

IMG_20140207_023602    IMG_20140207_023629

L: My handsome family in front of Miniland R: Uhuh, raise your hand if that has ever been you?

IMG_20140207_023545     IMG_20140207_023126

The smallest boy getting his lego play on

IMG_20140207_023208     IMG_20140207_023141

Kids racing their lego creations

IMG_20140207_023050     IMG_20140207_023035

IMG_20140207_022833     IMG_20140207_022820

Star Wars display at Miniland

IMG_20140207_021756     IMG_20140207_021818

Lots of life sized creations for posing with

IMG_20140207_022727      IMG_20140207_022916

Each time we visit we try to go on a new ride. The lines can be SO long, its difficult for a five year old to wait for 45-60 minutes at a time.

 IMG_20140207_022706     IMG_20140207_022650

They have fun seasonal activities like Trick or Treating at Halloween, Fireworks and a Christmas display and Snow Days

IMG_20140207_022632     IMG_20140207_022522

Super fun play areas for Little people.

IMG_20140207_022506     IMG_20140207_022407

IMG_20140207_022428     IMG_20140207_021739

IMG_20140207_022329     IMG_20140207_022314

IMG_20140207_022214     IMG_20140207_022157

IMG_20140207_021725      IMG_20140207_021705

My almost 3 and 5 year old LOVE this place. It is included in the annual pass and is a cute smallish aquarium. I don’t know that I’d pay full price to visit it, but its been a great add on and you can get through the place without the kids getting bored.

IMG_20140207_021649     IMG_20140207_021632

Tide pool and large tanks

IMG_20140207_021444     IMG_20140207_021359

Viewing fish up close

IMG_20140207_021613     IMG_20140207_021555

IMG_20140207_021538     IMG_20140207_021515

We have certainly enjoyed all the great visits to this park and would totally suggest it to visitors with children ages 5-10 years that would get the most out of the park in my opinion. There is also a small water park that is included in the annual membership that we only visited once as its not open during the whole year. Keep in mind like most touristy attractions this place can be, ok well, its always crowded! Except the one day where it rained buckets, you have to wait in long lines to ride. Hope you enjoyed seeing a few more pictures of this fun park.

Here is a link to pinterest for saving the pictures http://www.pinterest.com/hellokate81/jugglingfivemonkeys-blog-adventure/

Family Fun Adventure: LA Natural History Museum

20141019_111234

Hello there Lovely People our latest Family Fun Adventure is a special one indeed. It was a rare one-on-one occasion I got to spend with my budding scientist son, Azure. At age 6 (nearly 7, gosh I am having such fun with this age) he absolutely devours all things science! Everyday he comes home with a book from his classroom library about volcanoes, rocks, the solar system, weather and animals. These are the types of books we read for bedtime stories. When the opportunity came up during fall break, just the two of us headed off for our very own Family Fun Adventure to the LA Natural History Museum! Hang with us awhile and check out some of the fun this museum holds.

IMG_20141020_204929     IMG_20141020_204909

The first area we checked out was of course the dinosaur exhibit, filled with fossils, information and friendly staff to answer our questions.

Since we have visited the LA Science Center (Awesome, FREE museum!) several times¬†and had¬†walked by the LA Natural History Museum, Azure has been asking to come here. I really wanted to bring Azure alone so he could enjoy looking and discovering to his hearts content instead of¬†being hurried along by the big kids or missing a lot due to small brother not being interested. Its¬†a next to ever treat that we both enjoyed thoroughly. The cost of admission is $12 for adults and $5 for under 13 yrs. So¬†while $17.00¬†plus snacks¬†and a long drive isn’t the cheapest of excursions,¬†it was definitely worth it as we spent a good 5 hours exploring and¬†¬†it was something he really appreciated seeing. Parking is $10 for all day as well

IMG_20141020_204841     IMG_20141020_204729

Some fossils on display. Those horned dinosaur heads were amazing

IMG_20141020_204656     IMG_20141020_204637

 North American animal display

IMG_20141020_204558     IMG_20141020_204616

IMG_20141020_204804     IMG_20141020_204747

Learning about extinct and endangered animals. He was interested in touching all the computer screens to do the activity or hear the information as we went along

IMG_20141020_114018     IMG_20141020_114005

Checking out a few of the live snakes and bugs in their homes

20141019_123845

Getting¬†up close to some ‘wildlife’

IMG_20141020_113934

One thing that took me by surprise was how fast he was moving along and checking everything out. Normally he likes to look at all the pages when we read and ask questions, but he was zipping through this place pretty quick and I had to remind him to ‘check this out’¬†or ‘look here at this’. My guess¬†is that there was¬†SO much to see, it was¬†a bit overwhelming
IMG_20141020_114313     IMG_20141020_114249

The Gem exhibit

IMG_20141020_113146     IMG_20141020_113916

IMG_20141020_113844     IMG_20141020_113858

Outside for a little snack and a stroll around the garden section. This was a big woven willow branch shelter and we found a few sticks to add to the creation

At this point he was getting a little tired of walking and asked to head over to see the Science Center building and get a treat, so we made our way back inside and ended up in the best part (tons to do)…

IMG_20141020_113200     IMG_20141020_113830

This is on the bottom floor of the Natural History Museum an exhibit called the Nature Lab. Ooooo, very fun and we almost missed it!

Everything is hands on stuff to do and we ended up spending another hour in this area

IMG_20141020_113512     IMG_20141020_113456

Basically, this area leads you on a nature walk of different areas of LA. Trace an animal you might see on your walk and do some bird watching

IMG_20141020_113358     IMG_20141020_113258

Look at creatures through a magnifying glass or microscope  and learn about animals habitats disappearing over the years

IMG_20141020_113339     IMG_20141020_113322

He found this little guy right away and said ‘Hey, that’s my name!’

IMG_20141020_113238   IMG_20141020_113217

See yourself as a rattlesnake does and a view a native bird close up

IMG_20141020_113130     IMG_20141020_113050

Finally did make it over to the Science Center for an 1 1/2 visiting our favorite areas

IMG_20141020_113111

A happy smile and a special treat ends our super day at the LA Natural History Museum. What fun we you up to this fall break?

Wanna pin any of these pictures? Head here: http://www.pinterest.com/hellokate81/jugglingfivemonkeys-blog-adventure/

Family Fun Adventure: Gardens of the World, Thousand Oaks, CA

IMG_1746

We have reasonably happy, not-so-happy and definitely NOT thrilled faces on display above and that is just¬†what comes with¬†trying to please everyone and getting everyone to pose! You will have¬†a wide spectrum of attitudes. We as parents¬†do our best and everyone takes a turn being in various states of happiness or lack there of.¬†My post today comes from a short trip to the Gardens of the World park, located in Thousand Oaks, CA.¬†This¬†small garden park is a perfect tranquil place for a stroll,¬†a good book, a picnic or some quiet reflection. Which we did none of! Ha. That is very ‘us’. Usually we don’t know what to expect on a first trip somewhere, so therefore we aren’t as prepared as we should be

IMG_1747IMG_1771

The park was modeled after the original owners favorite gardens of the world. There is an Italian, French, English, Japanese and California mission style gardens. You can easily make your way around and see everything fairly quickly, however that’s not really the point of this park. It’s all about slow, relaxing enjoyment. Again, I laugh inwardly, because we hurried from one area to the next, while trying to keep our preschooler out of the fountains.¬†¬†We had to be a bit concerned about keeping the kids quiet and orderly for those trying to enjoy the peace and the lovely volunteer ladies had to tell our kids to not run…a few times. SO, not the best fit for our active family, but I had been wanting to visit this place for going on four years now!

IMG_1760IMG_1752

There are restrooms and a large area with picnic tables. The walkways are paved and a stroller is a great way to keep toddlers contained. Too bad we forgot ours

IMG_1751IMG_1647

We were told there are free concerts at the bandstand on the weekends in August. Call ahead for details

IMG_1643IMG_1640

The volunteers gave the kids food to feed the fish. Small guy there was more interested in trying to swim with the fishes! That boy will take water however he can get it

IMG_1763IMG_1762

Great place for taking lovely pictures. They ask that you check in with Guest services if you want to take pictures. However no one had a problem with me snapping a few quick shots

IMG_1765IMG_1768

The English Rose Garden

IMG_1764IMG_1766

IMG_1773IMG_1774

My favorite area was the California mission garden. Olive, fig and citrus trees surrounding a beautiful Spanish  courtyard. I would definitely love to return to this garden by myself one day or with some similarly quiet grown up, until then I have these pictures to remind me of a lovely little spot in Thousand Oaks, CA.















Family Fun Adventure: Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park

 IMG_20140712_115623



We have visited Sequoia National Park several times in the last couple of years and love this amazing place. On this trip up north we thought we’d explore Kings Canyon National Park. And boy were we rewarded with gorgeous views, shady hikes and refreshing dips into cool mountain streams. Once again, for some reason I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that a place that gets real snowy in the mountains to be so blazin’ hot in the summer, but yeah, it was! Thank goodness there was opportunity for the kids to cool off, get clean, break up the drive and in general recover from grouchy moods that seem to settle when you are hot, bored and stuck in a van with your annoying brothers :). Just keeping it real. We definitely have those struggles too! Here are some of the pics we snapped along the way

    IMG_1567IMG_1564

 

  There are plenty of different trails varying in difficulty. Certainly some thing for everyone of any size. We started out walking the General Grant Trail, which is wide and easy to follow (see above left picture) with the littlest turkey determined to carry the water pack the entire hike. Such a funny fellow. It barely fit on his shoulders and was almost touching the ground, but he HAD to carry it

IMG_1559     IMG_20140725_104742

IMG_1574IMG_20140725_104642

Check out this massive hollowed out tree trunk called the Fallen Monarch. This naturally¬†fire burned trunk was used as a camping shelter by a couple of logging brothers by the name of Gamlin while they built themselves a cabin¬†back in 1872! It’s still intact and¬†doesn’t look like its¬†decomposed at all since then. The kids are running the length of it in the above photo

  IMG_1602IMG_1603

Next we hit up the Big Stump Trail and here are some photos we took along the way. The trail is again, quite easy for kids. It is a real dirt trail, not like the paved General Grant Loop. There are restrooms and water fountains at the trail head

IMG_1568     IMG_1594     20140712_153550

Some giant trees! One of the kids favorite things to pose in…a hollow trunk, we could barely pass a single one without taking a pic. Above: A stump that reminded me of a fairy castle or fortress

20140712_160452     20140712_145445     20140712_145314

Left: Azure beside a downed tree trunk, he was about 1/2 as tall as the width. Trees always make a hike more enjoyable to me. It was very hot in spite of the shade and after making it to the Shattered Giant (see below) we turned around and headed back to the van in search of a way to cool off

     IMG_20140725_104103     IMG_20140725_104445

Left: Hubbs and Azure in the meadow of the Mark Twain Stump Right: All 5 monkeys on a giant stump

IMG_1618

Hmmm, and some reason I failed to get a picture of the kids on¬†THE BIG stump named The Mark Twain Stump…anyhow its massive! It was cut down and a cross section sent to put be on display at the Natural History Museum New York where it¬†is still on display today. The Shattered Giant looks like the tree fell and well, shattered. The kids got to climb over it and by now were getting a bit¬†hangry

IMG_20140713_193919     IMG_20140725_104406

The little munchkin needed some carrying from Dad and biggest brother even stepped in. He took all the hair pulling in relative good spirits

IMG_1728     IMG_1667

IMG_1671      IMG_1664

Picnic spot at Grizzly Falls. Boy, are you spoiled for choice of gorgeous views up here. It seems this is kind of a dry year (July 2014) by the looks of the falls. The parking area is super close to the waterfall. There are also picnic tables and outhouse facilities

IMG_20140725_104013    IMG_1624

After lunch we were off to explore before dinner. We found out about Hume Lake. There is a big private camp at the lake and we weren’t sure if visitors were allowed on the beach itself. I didn’t think to ask…I guess I was tired at that point ūüôā That’s the story I’m going with anyways. After parking at the day use area (there are a couple picnic tables, bbq grills and outhouses) and walking a short distance along Hume Lake Trail until we found a little clearing in the trees for the kids to take a dip

IMG_1630     IMG_1633

The water was on the cold side in the evening so they only splashed for about half an hour

IMG_1679     IMG_1676

Day 2 after breaking up camp, we headed to along the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway for the views! Wowza

IMG_1689      IMG_1699

After a few hours it was time to turn around and start heading towards Sequoia National Park and homeward. But first, time to cool off in the South Fork of the Kings River. There were plenty of families enjoying the water in various places, so we drove around a bit until we found a spot without crowds

IMG_1705      IMG_1701

It was cold. But after a few numbing minutes it wasn’t too bad the kids told me. Not a chance I was getting in, so I was the picture taker

IMG_1710     IMG_1698

Daddy was a dear and got a little wet to keep track of the baby monkey. The river was a bit swift in spots

IMG_1712     IMG_1715

Sitting on a log at the waters edge watching the kids play made me dream of one day having a property near water. What a wonderful paradise for a kid

IMG_1695     IMG_1690

At this point we started to make our way towards Sequoia National Park…only to¬†get wet again!

IMG_1735      IMG_1733      IMG_1744

One last short splash stop at Lodge Pole Campground where they let us park for free day use (We just asked the ranger, otherwise park at the visitor center and walk a bit). There was plenty of little areas of the river to wade in, since it was SO hot, there were a lot of other people with the same idea in mind. The bigger kids went further upstream to some natural slides and a deeper pools that were quite crowded while littlest monkey stayed to throw ‘rockies’ in the water and try to catch some small fish

And this long post wraps up our latest Family Fun Adventure!

Family Fun Adventure: Big Sur, CA

IMG_20140524_151924

Skipping back to May to play a little blog catch up brings you a Family Fun Adventure from Big Sur, CA! I believe this drive along Highway 1 and exploring this area should be on everyone’s bucket list and certainly so if you live in Cali. It IS just that amazingly beautiful. We barely scratched the surface of visiting here in the day and a half that we spent there and look forward to returning again soon.

IMG_1333IMG_1348

Left:  A foggy Bixby Bridge Right: A tiny happy camper

Remember when I mentioned that we had decided to do some camping this year with the kids? Well, we basically took a look at our schedule and made the call to kickstart our summer camping idea Memorial Day weekend. Hooray, we have 3 days to make a trip in, not such good news is that because of the holiday everything that can be reserved has been. We had a couple friends driving down to meet us and they were able to score a camp spot at a private campground about an hour north of the area we wanted to hike around.

IMG_1338

First order of business after arriving at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park which is a day use area is to A. Find a place to park (SO crowded! Probably made worst by the holiday), B. Have lunch and C. Restroom break. The parking is $10 (if I remember correctly) you can also park on the street across from the park. After accomplishing those listed items we were off on a very short walk  (about 10-15 minutes) to see McWay Falls.

IMG_1360IMG_1365

The¬†cool McWay Falls and a lovely little cove. It was a really foggy day so we didn’t get real great pictures. You can definitely take the jogging stroller along¬†for this walk¬†and its¬†a very manageable stroll¬†for all ages. That being said you are gonna wanna hold tightly or keep the¬†little kids within arms distance. The board walk right at the viewing area of the falls, has a wooden railing, but huge holes that curious littles can easily fall through. Especially be careful when taking pictures that there is¬†always at least one pair of eyeballs¬†on the kids! We had four adults and¬†three older children keeping tabs on our one¬†preschooler while trading off to take pictures. Geez-Oh-Petes…all I wanted to do was get a couple pictures and get away from that dangerously scary spot!

IMG_1355IMG_1364

Left: Another angle of the gorgeous cove¬†Right: View¬†right next door of the coastline.¬†Like I said it was really¬†foggy, but I’ve seen breathtaking photos of the bright blue water here

Here is a link with more information: http://www.hikinginbigsur.com/hikes_mcwayfalls.html

IMG_20140525_205556     IMG_1401

Left: 3 big boys hiking Canyon Trail Right: For some reason Azure was smitten with a piece of bark he was pretending was a boomerang. Funny boy! He also wanted a picture in front of this burnt tree

The Canyon Trail to Canyon Falls a 60 foot waterfall is a wonderful 1/2 mile hike round trip. It took us quite a bit longer than a 1/2 mile usually does and the credit goes to McWay Creek that runs alongside the trail. My littlest LOVES to throws rocks into water and pretend he’s fishing. We spent a lot of time trying to coax him away from the waters edge. The creek is small, so it is quite safe to let your littles hang out there while the grown up have some lunch.

IMG_1374     IMG_1361

This hike is like a wonderland for kids and grown ups alike. There are many fallen log bridges to keep things interesting. Its such a¬†peaceful and shaded forested trail. It was quite crowded with many hikers all over. But it wasn’t too uncomfortable as most of the trail is a wide path. It was easy for our littles aged 3 and 6, but I don’t think its jogger stroller friendly.

Next we headed up the Ewoldsen Trail which was equally as beautiful. This trail climbed and it did have a steep drop off the side, though with all the trees and brush it didn’t feel dangerous. Our little guy was pretty tired by now and he got Hubbs to carry him, so it worked out well. We made it about 2 hours up the trail and could make out an ocean view. Again, this trail had quite a few hikers and since its a bit narrow in parts we found our big group of 7 plus 2 friends, stopping from time to time to let others pass us. Most people were pretty patient letting the kids move off the path but sometimes we felt a bit in the way. Maybe I have a complex ūüôā

Here is more information: http://www.hikinginbigsur.com/hikes_ewoldsen.html

Next we headed back to camp for a cookout and some campfire smores and that completed day one.

The next morning was spent breaking down the camp and packing up the gear. It was a late morning when we arrived at our hiking area so instead of carrying lunch with us we opted for getting lunch out of the way first. Today we hiked in Limekiln State Campground. There is a $10 day use fee, if I remember correctly and there are restrooms and a few picnic tables.¬†This is a small 28 site campground, really beautiful with huge shady trees and a creek. Or yeah, there’s also the beach across the street. More on that later.

IMG_20140606_155120IMG_20140606_154954

First we took the¬†Falls Trail which is¬†a lovely easy walk for all ages. Their were quite a few other families with young children making this hike. It’s about 1.5 miles round trip and takes about an hour.

IMG_20140606_155202     IMG_20140606_155228

There is something about water that makes a hike magical. At least it keeps things fun and the kids really enjoy it. Personally, I love the sound of the water and all the shade! I would definitely push to hike more often if I found these types of trails near home.

IMG_20140606_154927     IMG_20140606_155047

Left: Little hiker Right: This guy was convinced by his big brothers that this plant was giant clovers, so he HAD to have a picture with them and tuck one behind his ear

IMG_20140606_154809     IMG_20140606_155306

Here are the bottom of the Falls.¬†It was nice that you¬†could walk right up to the base of them and even climb up, as there were a¬†ton of people trying to do just that and since we didn’t want¬†to be wet for our drive home, we¬†decided to enjoy them from the bottom. The falls are about 90 feet high and it was nice and full of water at this time of year (May 2014)

IMG_20140606_154742IMG_20140606_154707

Next we back tracked¬†and took the other trail to the limekilns¬†that the park gets its name from. They look like giant chimneys, not particularly interesting to the kids…but it was another great and easy hike

Here’s a link with more information: http://www.hikinginbigsur.com/hikes_limekiln.html

After completing the hike we walked across the street to the beach. Now the beach is just a small little cove, not too amazing, but what IS special about it is the stream!

IMG_20140606_154546IMG_20140606_154514

IMG_20140606_154336     IMG_20140606_154454

Yeah, hmmm. So I let one of my older boys take photos of the stream, but he ended¬†up taking pictures of his brothers instead. Anyhoo, there is an awesome stream which I’m guessing is the one that runs through the campground. It is definitely a fun element you don’t normally find on the beach. It’s a nice decent size with large rocks¬†lining the stream. Perfect for making little splash pools for the kiddies. We certainly could have spent hours letting the littles play and¬†the beach was pretty full of families with the same idea. I imagine most¬†of the people¬†were campers from across the way. Sadly, we needed to head back home by this time, but the day was nice and clear so the drive was spectacular! The views of the cliffs and water is absolutely gorgeous.

IMG_1412IMG_1415

Left: Seals sunning themselves Right: A couple of seals fighting

On the¬†way home we stopped by the elephant seal rookery near Cambria, CA. We had been here before but it was a super cold windy day in April¬†last year. This time perfect sunny weather. There are always¬†lots of people viewing the seals here, but there is plenty of space to walk along and¬†get¬†a good look. Our kids were being lazy (the older ones) and sleeping (littles) so Hubbs and I got to have a look-see on our own! We even held hands, really enjoying the couple of minutes we wandered around ūüôā Hey, gotta’ take what you can.

Here is more information: http://www.elephantseal.org/

IMG_1416

 

And one close up to close up this post. Have a fun summer all!

 

Family Fun Adventure: Cozy Dell Trail Ojai, CA

 

IMG_20140521_175316

Hey Again Lovelies, Today I’m sharing a Family Fun Adventure: Cozy Dell Trail hike in Ojai, CA. Originally we were trying to hike to Matilija Dam in Ojai. For some reason we could not find any roads or trails to this lake! If any locals know the secret to getting there, please share! Anyhoo, since we couldn’t find any way to get to the lake we came across the Cozy Dell Trail on highway 150. We hiked this on Mother’s Day, May 11th this year.

IMG_20140521_175000     IMG_20140521_175048

¬†¬†Left: Here is the trail sign on the left side of the road, where you park and carefully cross the highway Right: This is the sign on the trail side of the road. This trail isn’t jogger stroller¬†friendly¬†and¬†there are no restrooms. We found the trail really nice and easy for the little guys (6 and 3 years) that being said, we only hiked about a mile and a half this time. The ground was dry, but it was made of clay, so after a rain there will definitely be lots of mud. The trail is lovely and half shaded¬†on the portion we travelled, it was well maintained and easy to follow. There were tons of native wildflowers out¬†to be enjoyed along the way. They smelled lovely too.

IMG_20140521_175147     IMG_20140521_175423

Some of the characters that were along for the hike

IMG_20140521_175344     IMG_20140521_175123

I’m really not sure how long this trail is, some reviews say 3-4.5 miles. We made it to the first marker (see picture below), maybe it was the only one as some people mentioned the lack of them. We saw lots of bees, lizards and two snakes. Thankfully, that was all! I read that some saw bear tracks and even a bear. Yikes! I would not think a bear would like this area, its hot and dry, not like the cooler lush forests you normally think of. Maybe I just don’t know what to look for, as I’m always nervous about large wildlife and look for tracks. Anyway, just a heads up.

IMG_20140511_202537     IMG_20140521_175214

This is where we stopped to rest and turn around. There were about 7-10 cars parked at the street and we met a few hikers along the way. Not enough to feel crowded, but enough to make you feel a bit safer should you need help. In any case be sure to bring water, snacks, discuss safety with your kids and tell someone where you are going.

IMG_20140521_175520     IMG_20140521_175104

We decided to do some camping this summer, since we haven’t been in probably 7 years and all the kids can hike with¬†their own legs.¬†We got the tents and a little stove and made our first camping trip¬†to the Big Sur area up north. BEE-U-TI-FULL!!! Post coming soon. Get out and enjoy the great outdoors this summer ya’lls. What adventures do you have planned?

 

Family Fun Adventure: Shell Beach (Pismo Beach, CA)

Family Fun Adventure: Shell Beach (Pismo Beach, CA)

The beach is such a strong part of California culture¬†often times¬†I don’t¬†think about¬†how amazing having these wonderful treasures so close at hand effects our lives and days. Looking at all the posts I’ve written about the beach or some place … Continue reading