With the dollar catching up to the Euro for the first time in many years, it’s a great time to think about a European family vacation! Here’s a link to a piece I wrote about our recent trip to Spain for family travel site, CiaoBambino. We have found that our family’s European holidays have created so many incredible memories. I hope reading this may inspire you take some European adventures of your own.
“Barcelona and Madrid are two very different cities, but both offer wonderful cultural opportunities for families to explore while in Spain. I’m so glad we had a chance to visit both destinations with our kids recently. Here are some highlights of our fun-filled Spanish cultural extravaganza…” Click here to view complete article.
I love any excuse to go the Santa Monica Pier and Aquarium. They are hosting a fantastic whale themed event Valentine’s Day weekend which will be great for families. Here’s the info below. Sounds like a whale of a time for sure!
“Santa Monica, CA (Jan. 27, 2015) – Sightings of whales along the Southern California coast are already exceeding last year’s record-breaking numbers. Come show some love for the whales at Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium during “Whale of a Weekend,” February 14th & 15th.
The Pacific gray whale completes one of the longest migrations of any species, traveling as many as 14,000 miles round trip between the arctic seas and the warm lagoons of Baja California, Mexico. This migration takes the whales past the Santa Monica Pier — sometimes within viewing distance from the west end observation deck.
Aquarium visitors can feel the heft of a whale rib, check out bristly baleen and try on a layer of (simulated) whale blubber for warmth. Kids of all ages can have their faces painted and make a whale visor to take home. Learn more interesting facts about these gentle giants – and other marine mammals – at the Aquarium through story time and film screenings. “Whale You Be My Valentine?” scheduled for 1:30 p.m. both days in the Aquarium’s Green Room, is a staff-led presentation chock full of facts about California cetaceans.
Aquarium naturalists, along with representatives of the American Cetacean Society, will staff a wildlife observation station at the west end of the Santa Monica Pier. Those who stop by are welcome to spy for whales through binoculars and field guides will be available to identify local birds and other marine life.”
Learn more at HEALTHEBAY
WHERE 1600 Ocean Front Walk, located beach level at the Pier.
WHEN February 14th & 15th.
Whale-themed activities will be ongoing both days from 12:30 to 5:00 p.m. at the marine science center
This just in from my intrepid editor Beth Szymkowiski, – a great idea for some chilly family holiday fun!
“The holidays always get me hankering for some of the snowy fun I enjoyed growing up on the East coast, so I was eager to check out CHILL at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. One price gets you onto the Queen Mary and into the adjacent winter wonderland complete with an ice skating rink, a snow tubing hill and the most spectacular of the attractions, an ice slide and ice sculpture display. The latter two are in an enclosure kept at a frosty 9 degrees. Long parkas are included in the cost and protect sliders from getting a wet bottom. The sculptures are fantastic and it’s hard to heed the warnings not to touch (or lick!) them. We had dressed warmly thinking the entire area was kept cold, and ended up stripping off layers on a typical SoCal night.
My sons, aged 7 and 10, are not fans of ice skating so we skipped that and spent almost all of our time tubing. We had Elf Passes, which are the equivalent of a theme park fast pass. They allowed us to go to a line that was pretty much nonexistent on the Thursday we visited so we could get off and get right back on again. Again, and again, and again. If they had their druthers, we’d still be there.
The tubing is limited to kids 5 and up and at least 42 inches, but littler ones can enjoy the winter wonderland spread around with lots of holiday lights and giant candy canes, two bounce houses (which are included in the entrance fee), costumed characters walking about, entertainment on two small stages, a gingerbread house and, if they’re not terrified of him, a chance to sit on Santa’s lap.
CHILL will be open Dec. 4-7, Dec. 9 – Jan. 4 & Jan. 8-11.