Making Plans for Spring Break? Visit the Nat!

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Microorganisms add red and yellow hues to Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring.

My kids love the Nat! The Natural History Museum in Balboa Park is a fun place for kids (and adults) to explore.  The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is one of California’s oldest and most respected cultural and science institutions. Founded in 1874 by a small group of citizen scientists, today the Museum studies and works to preserve the incredible diversity of life in this amazing region we call home. The Museum is located at 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 in Balboa Park and is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. For more information, call 877.946.7797, or visit sdnat.org.

I am looking forward to taking the kids to check out the new photography exhibit: Photography Exhibitions Bring Nature to Life this Spring and Summer National Geographic’s 50 Greatest Landscapes, which opened on March 9, serves as a virtual tour of the world’s most stunning landscapes, from underwater vantages to the expansive countryside to dominating mountain peaks. The exhibition, inspired by the book “National Geographic Greatest Landscapes: Stunning Photographs That Inspire and Astonish,” illuminates the beauty of our planet through its exquisite collection of 50 images shot by some of the world’s finest photographers.

The kids love the 3-d movies at the Nat too! Did you know that Paid general admission to The Nat also includes access to the Subaru 3D Experience in the Charmaine & Maurice Kaplan Theater? The Theatre features the recently opened Flight of the Butterflies 3D showcasing the extraordinary migration of the monarch butterfly. National Parks Adventure 3D is also currently playing, and will be replaced by Conquest of the Skies 3D on July 1. The film invites visitors to travel through time to unravel the 320-million-year story of how flying animals first appeared and then evolved into the huge variety of aeronauts that fill our skies today—from nectar-drinking hummingbirds to armored airborne beetles to bats hunting in the dead of night. Ocean Oasis, a 2D, 40-minute film produced by the Museum, continues to screen daily. The theater schedule is available at sdnat.org/giantscreentheater. I love the theatre because it’s totally kid friendly, the seats are comfy, and the movies are always so well done, even my three- year old will sit mesmerized (and quiet). 

If your kiddos need to get their wiggles out and play, don’t forget to stop by The Backyard, a fun place for littles to play and parents to relax.

The Nat participates in the Free Tuesday in the Park program, which gives locals free access to museums in Balboa Park on Tuesdays. For the complete schedule of free museums, click here.

Enjoy The Great Outdoors at Mission Trails Regional Park!

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Exploring the Dam is one of our favorite activities!

IMG_2796When I was a kid, my dad took my brother and I hiking a lot. We had all kinds of fun adventures, but I always loved Mission Trails Regional Park, specifically Old Mission Dam.

As Lil’ Man gets bigger, we are looking for more fun outdoor adventures. This last rain storm would be the catalyst for two days of big outdoor fun.

Friday, we loaded up and headed over to to dam. The past week of rain has really changed our usual path, so we got to explore some areas we’d never seen together.

IMG_2833It was a great chance for him to check out new trails, see erosion in action, splash in the cold stream water (there were a couple times we had to jump over streams to continue on, and well, we didn’t quite make it!), and see shells. There are a lot of little fresh water clams that make the river their home, as a result, we saw lots of shells!

We climbed, discovered, and navigated our way through the park for about 2 hours. IMG_2817By far the most exciting thing we found was an old, rusted car that had been shot at many, many times in the past. When you area four year old boy, nothing is more exciting than a rusty old car.

After stopping for snacks and water, we continued on to explore nature and hopefully find some cool rocks (another favorite pastime).IMG_2818

On Saturday, we headed over after lunch to the Visitor & Interpretive Center. It was closed, but we checked out the nature flora and the amphitheater. Then we did the loop around the center. It was a fun, easy walk (no pictures, we were too busy exploring).

It’s a quick 1 mile loop with a couple foot bridges and it overlooks the river, which is “raging” (as much as it can here) right now.

If you are in the San Diego area and haven’t been to Mission Trails Regional Park, you are missing out. There is tons of fun to be had and nature to explore. There are paths and trails for every skill level, and there is even a paved path along Father Junipero Serra Trail if you aren’t feeling adventurous, but still want to get outside. Parking is free, admission to the park and Visitor & Interpretive Center is free (but they do accept donations!). Most paths, except the paved road are not stroller friendly. Most paths are bike and/or Equine friendly, and leashed dogs are welcome.

And of course what better IMG_2835way to end a fun day of hiking, than with a little park yoga: