A visit to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro!




Last February, my children and I took a day and traveled to the South Bay for two field trips.  First, we stopped by the Western Museum of Flight in Torrance.  Then we jotted over to San Pedro to visit the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.  It was our first time visiting the aquarium and we enjoyed it a lot.


Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is located adjacent to the Cabrillo Beach Coastal park and Port of Los Angeles.  It is best known for its marine science education (numerous field trip options are available) and displays the largest collection of Southern California marine life in the world.


Field Trip Boy testing the strength of his muscles again mussels from the ocean.

CMA has been welcoming and educating the SoCal community since 1935.


IMG_2890[1]Admission to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is a suggested donation of $5.00 adults / $1.00 children and seniors.  It is also a lot less crowded than other aquariums in the area.  Therefore you have more time to explore the exhibits.

My children and I spent a little over two hours at the aquarium exploring all of CMA’s different Southern California Marine Habit Halls including the Kelp Forests, Rocky Shores, Mudflats, Open Ocean and Sandy Beaches.




My personal favorite part of the aquarium was the Aquatic Nursery.  The nursery is a real time working laboratory where we got to see active scientific research in progress and talk with the various CMA’s scientists-in-training.

My children especially enjoyed CMA’s Exploration Center.  Inside they got they to “crawl in” an aquarium and be surrounded by pretend ocean life such as flatfish, sting rays, octopuses and other creatures – and never got wet!  They also tried on various marine life costumes in the Discovery Center.

The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium offers one of the most extensive list of field trips in the area.


“Hands-on programs include everything from hatching grunion to the ancient Japanese art of Gyotaku.  Lectures by noted scientists and authors offer an in-depth look at an array of topics from extreme waves to bioluminescence and our marine biology workshops teach subjects from Ichthyology to Animal Behavior to spark an interest in science at any age.”  On a side note for homeschoolers, CMA only offers age specific field trips.


The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is located at 3720 Stephen M. White Drive in San Pedro.  They are open Tuesday through Friday – 12 noon to 5 pm / Saturday and Sunday – 10 am to 5 pm. 

Plus while you are in the South Bay, make a day of it and visit the Cabrillo Beach Coastal Park’s tide pools and the Korean Friendship Bell too.

Happy Field Tripping,


Scooby-Doo Party Pack giveaway from Party City! #ScoobyParty


Scooby-Doo Party Pack Giveaway, plus a Birthday Celebration in Glendale!

Scooby Party

Scooby Dooby Doo, Where are you

We got some work to do

Scooby Dooby Doo, Where are you

We need some help from you now

Come on, Scooby Doo, I see you

Pretending you got a sliver

But you’re not foolin’ me, cause I can see

The way you shake and shiver

You know we got a mystery to solve and Scooby Doo, be

Ready for your act Don’t hold back!

And Scooby Doo if you come through you’re gonna have

Yourself a Scooby Snack!

Scooby Dooby Doo, Where are you

You’re ready and you’re willing

If we can count on you Scooby Doo

I know you’ll catch that villain

Do you recognize these lyrics?  If so, then you are a member of the official Scooby-Doo generation! 

The original Saturday morning cartoon series, created by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, premiered on CBS in September 1969 and ran for two seasons for a total of 25 episodes.  Scooby-Doo was one of the longest running Hanna-Barbera animated television series in its history.

This year Scooby-Doo turns 45 years old!  Happy Birthday Scooby-Doo!  

Cake 1

To mark this special occasion, Party City and Warner Bros. Consumer Products are celebrating Scooby-Doo’s birthday with the release of Party City’s new line of Scooby-Doo party tableware.

Two weeks ago, my son and I were invited to attend a very special “Scooby-Doo Birthday Bash” hosted by Party City in Glendale, CA. 

The fun-filled event included a Zoinks Points iPad station with Scooby-Doo online games, a scavenger hunt, giveaways and much more to commemorate the special day.  The party store also had a Mystery Machine inflatable jumper and face painting for the kids.


Furthermore, Scooby-Doo was there himself and took pictures with event attendees by The Mystery Machine, an authentic prop vehicle from the cartoon show.


Cupcake tents featured several local bakeries, showcasing Scooby-inspired cakes and cupcakes.


Cake 3

Cake 2

It was a great time for all!

Now for your chance to enter and win a Scooby-Doo Party Pack from Party City, please visit a Rafflecopter giveaway !

Party Pack

Happy Birthday Scooby-Doo!


Disclosure:  This was a free media event sponsored by Party City.  All opinions and points of view are our own.

Giveaway Alert: The Grand Opening of the new See’s Candies store in Laguna Niguel!



On Thursday, my friends and I had the pleasure of attending a special media event to celebrate the grand opening of the new See’s Candies store at Aliso Creek Village in Laguna Niguel.  It was a nice event where we got to mingle with other Orange County bloggers while enjoying the sweet aroma of pure chocolate!


The See’s Candies brand marketing team, led by Nancy, arranged the opportunity for us to taste all the varieties of See’s Candies that they have to offer.  Nancy’s talk actually brought back sweet memories for me, of when I was growing up, and my Aunt Jill use to buy my sister and I candy from our local See’s store.  At Easter time, my aunt would order us See’s Candies Easter Eggs.  Second to Christmas time, Easter is See’s Candies busiest time of year.  This is when they make and hand decorate over 4 million Easter eggs at their facilities in Northern California.  For fun you can watch how See’s Candies make their Easter eggs on their Youtube channel.

While at the Laguna Niguel grand opening, we also got to go behind the counter and make our own 1/2 lb. box of chocolates.


It was a very simple, yet sophisticated process.  What I still don’t understand though is how the employees can serve customers all day long without eating all the chocolate.  I guess someone has to do it, right?

See’s Candies was founded in 1921 by Mr. Charles A. Sees.  “Charles turned to his mother, Mary See, who principles inspired his business ethics and whose recipes for candies like Chocolate Walnut Fudge and Victoria Toffee were the cornerstone of his success.  He put her picture on every box of chocolates.” (See’s Famous Old Time Candies by Margaret Moos Pick)  Today, See’s Candies continues to use several of Mary’s original candy recipes and decorates their local stores similar to her original black and white kitchen pattern.


See’s Candies produces 12 million pounds of chocolate per year and only uses the freshest ingredients.  They are one of the few candy makers left that age their chocolate.  They even have their own Candy Scientist on staff.  How cool is that!

Of course, the field trip planner in me had to ask about arranging a field trip to see their LA facility, but it is currently under renovations.  So in the meantime I have to be content with watching See’s Candies’ Youtube video about the world’s largest lollipop.  Tough life, I know!


The new See’s Candies store is located at 23956 Aliso Creek Road, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677.

GIVEAWAY ALERT!  To enter SoCal Field Trip’s giveaway for a $25.00 See’s Candies Gift Certificate good towards any in store or online purchase, please visit a Rafflecopter giveaway !

Happy Field Tripping,



Discounted Summer Sandwich Special for Four from Sessions West Coast Deli!


Discounted Summer Sandwich Special for Four from Sessions West Coast Deli in Newport Beach!

Last Wednesday, my family and I went to Corona Del Mar to enjoy the final lazy days of summer.  Before my kids head back to school next week, we plan on going one more time to enjoy the beautiful sunset.  But this time, to make the preparation a little easier on myself, I plan to preorder and pick up a beach picnic basket from Sessions West Coast Deli in Newport Beach.

It’s time to take advantage of the last week of summer deals, and Sessions West Coast Deli has assembled a promotion for its Newport Beach Peninsula customers and beyond hoping to get in a few more surf and sand sessions before the summer action ends.


From Aug. 25 through Aug. 29, Sessions West Coast Deli will offer a “Last Week of Summer Sandwich Special” beach picnic basket for $35 (a retail value $75), to serve four people.

Surfers as well as grab-and-go sunbathers have made Sessions Sandwiches a locals’ favorite, with the restaurant’s unique combinations of flavors, highest quality meats on the market, farm-fresh produce and preservative-free bread baked fresh and delivered daily. 

Picnic basket 01

Sessions West Coast Deli’s picnic basket features fans’ favorites including:

  • Meddock Melee sandwich
  • Summer Zephyr sandwich
  • Greatfella sandwich
  • Pirate Coast sandwich
  • Cucumber Salad
  • Potato Salad
  • Pasta Salad
  • Shaka Spuds
  • Any four fountain drinks

To learn more about the menu items and place an order please visit http://sessionssandwiches.com/index.php/menu

Sessions is located at 2823 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, CA 92663 and opens its doors to guests every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

See you at the beach!


Disclosure: We received a complimentary picnic basket from Sessions Sandwiches for review purposes.  All points of view are our own.  Picnic basket image used by permission from Wikimedia Commons.

Get back to nature with these two unique locations in The Inland Empire!



One of my favorite parts about blogging is sharing with you some of the most unique and unusual places to spend a day or weekend exploring in Southern California.  Today, I take you back out to the Inland Empire to discover 2 MORE great places to visit either on a school field trip or with your family.

Fortcross Wilderness Education, Cherry Valley


Archery at Fortcross Wilderness Education

Last September, Celebration Education kicked off their school year with a field trip to Fortcross Wilderness Education located within the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains.  When you visit Fortcross you feel like you have stepped back in time.   In fact, one of the employees named TJ Black, lives on the mountain full time and is a true mountain man!  He lives with no power and is often accompanied by his blind horse Bridger, who can only see with TJ on his back.

Fortcross Wilderness Education’s purpose is to educate, inform, and experience nature through the use of hands on activities.  They offer a variety of day trips, overnight camping and guided tours.

Panning for gold at Fortcross Wilderness Education

Specifically, our students went on the Native American tour where they participated in acorn grinding, tomahawk throwing, bow and arrow making, swimming in the lake and taking a canoe ride.  We were there from 9 am to 3 pm and could have stayed longer.

Fortcross Wilderness Education also hosts monthly U-pick fruit and vegetables tours.  The cost is $25 person and includes fruit, a guided nature hike, t-hawk throwing, archery, canoeing and musical entertainment.

Apple picking at Fortcross Wilderness Education

Apple picking at Fortcross Wilderness Education

Their monthly U-pick schedule is as follows:

  • January thru April – Mushroom Hunt
  • May – Strawberries
  • June – Cherries
  • July thru September – Raspberries & Blackberries
  • October – Apples
  • November – Beautiful Scenery and Fall Leaves
  • December – Mistletoe

To learn more about Fortcross Wilderness Education’s story and living history tours visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVYPEuRpNmY&feature=youtu.be

Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center, Jurupa

Field Trip Boy at The Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center

Field Trip Boy at The Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center

Last spring, my kids and I went with my friend’s homeschool co-op to The Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center in Jurupa.  When you visit Jurupa imagine pure dessert.  It is very hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

We went on their Rock Collecting at the Dinosaurs tour and collected some very interesting rocks.  We learned about minerals, how rocks and fossils were formed, saw giant dinosaurs as we hiked up to the dinosaur mesa and collected 12 rock and mineral specimens to take home.

Field Trip Girl and Field Trip Boy collecting rocks at The Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center

After our rock collecting tour, we visited their museum which includes specimens of rocks, minerals and fossils from around the world.  Inside they have the largest Dinosaur Egg Collection from China on display in United States, a Mining display, Fluorescent Mineral display, Crestmore Quarry display and much more.

Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center in The Inland Empire

The Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sundays 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm.  Also every Saturday is Family Day at the JMDC!

The center’s field trip options include:

  • Gold Panning (With Gold & Pyrite)
  • Introductory Lapidary*
  • Fossil Shack
  • Archaeology Dig
  • Geology of California*
  • Rock Collecting at the Dinosaurs (their most popular)
  • Indian Pictograph
  • California Rockhound
  • Dinosaur Dig
  • Adobe
  • Brick Making
  • Magic of Minerals

So the next time you have a free weekend, think about traveling to the Inland Empire for some exploration and fun!

Happy Field Tripping,


Disclosure: Non-sponsored post.  All points of view and opinions are our own.

Apple Picking Season kicks off on Labor Day Weekend in Oak Glen!




Jonagold (8167935405)

Oak Glen’s Apple Picking Season officially kicks off on Labor Day weekend and runs through Thanksgiving weekend.  You may find a few apple farms open prior to this date, but the majority of the farms officially start welcoming visitors in September.

Oak Glen’s apple orchards produce a variety of apple selections including the Vasquez and King David varieties, which are grown only in Oak Glen, as well as antique varieties no longer commercially available such as Ben Davis, Gravenstein and Pink Pearl.

Before 1940, Oak Glen grew apples mainly for export purposes.  Then several farms began to sell apples, apple pies, apple cider and apple butter at roadside stands.  Today now growers earn the majority of their profit from visitors who pick apples directly off the trees in the orchards.

Field Trip Boy and Field Trip Girl visiting Oak Glen, CA (2012)

My family and I have visited Oak Glen on two separate occasions.  Once in 2011 to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary and in 2012 to go apple picking with our children.

In 2011, while visiting Oak Glen, my husband and I stayed at the Serendipity Ranch The Serendipity Ranch is the only bed and breakfast located in Oak Glen and is surrounded by an abundance of nature and animal life.  You can sit by the koi pond and relax in the park-like setting, or read a book under the wisteria-laden gazebo in the English garden.

Field Trip Girl enjoying the nature in Oak Glen, CA

The Serendipity Ranch is also a Certified Wildlife Habitat.  During peak wildlife season (spring through fall), woodland creatures from weasels to coyote, bobcat and bears visit the ranch.  If you are lucky enough, and visit in the wintertime, you may find snow on the mountain too.

In 2012, my husband and I took our kids back to the Serendipity Ranch to visit with the inn keepers and spend time with their animals.  For guests only, the ranch is home to llamas, goats, deer, ducks and more.

Field Trip Boy hanging out with the animals at Serendipity Ranch in Oak Glen, CA

After visiting the Serendipity Ranch, we went to Riley’s Farm for some apple picking.  Nestled in the apple growing foothills of historic Oak Glen, Riley’s Farm is a working apple orchard and living history farm featuring pick-your-own fruit, living history education, dinner theater, group banquet facilities and extended and historically-themed overnight stays.

Field Trip Girl visiting Riley’s Farm in Oak Glen, CA

They also offer year round educational trips for schools and homeschool groups.

Revolutionary War Adventure
The Civil War Adventure
Gold Rush Adventure
Old Joe Homestead Tour
Colonial Farm Life Adventure
Overnight Revolutionary War Adventure.

Riley’s Farm is located at 12261 S. Oak Glen Road in Oak Glen.

However, I bet you didn’t know that there are two additional apple farms in Oak Glen that are owned and operated by different members of the Riley family?

Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho features apple-wood smoked BBQ dishes and a bakery with homemade pies, hand-held pies, turnovers and cookies.  Picnic grounds, a petting zoo, nature trails are also on the property.  During apple season, they are open 7 days/week from 9am to 5pm.

Riley’s Apple Farm is celebrating 33 years of apple growing where families are entertained with old fashioned harvest fun!  Their apple picking season runs Labor Day thru Thanksgiving Weekend.  On the weekend they are open 10am – 4pm and weekdays by reservations only.

In addition to the Riley farms, there are several other smaller farms available for apple picking: Willowbrook Apple Farm, Law’s Cider Mill & Ranch, Wood Acres, Snow-Line Orchard (see California’s oldest Chestnut Tree here), Stone Soup Farm & Heritage Orchard and Parrish Pioneer Ranch.

Oak Glen, California

My top 5 tips for apple picking in Oak Glen:

1. The best time to go apple picking is during the week when the farms are not as crowded.

2. The weather up on the mountain in unpredictable at times.  I recommend that you bring a hat, sunscreen and a jacket for all scenarios.

3. You can bring your own reusable bags for apple picking.

4. There are a few public parks in the area where you can have a picnic.

5. Purchase a few homemade apple pies to take home with you for Thanksgiving.  They freeze well.

To get your children inspired to go apple picking this fall, check out these apple learning activities on Pinterest.

Happy Field Tripping,


Disclosure:  This is a non-sponsored post.  All opinions and points of view are our own.  Some images used by permission from Wikimedia Commons.

A visit to The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater in San Diego






During our family’s recent staycation in San Diego, we visited The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater for the first time.  We saw a cute puppet show called Giddy Goat based upon the book by Jamie Rix.


The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater is a 234 seat, indoor theater located within Balboa Park, home to several world renown museums such as The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, The San Diego Air & Space Museum and The San Diego Museum of Man.

San Diego’s Balboa Park Puppet Guild was formed in 2001 with the mission of operating the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater.  They offer workshops, apprentice opportunities, children’s programs and a year round performance schedule offering shows Wednesdays through Sundays.

According to Theater Seat Store online, “Puppetry is an ancient form of artistic expression that is a variation on storytelling or human theatrical productions.  In puppetry, a drama unfolds that is entirely or primarily acted out by specialized representational objects, which are manipulated by a puppeteer.  The human animator may or may not be visible to the audience.  Cultural variations of puppetry developed independently in many parts of the world, with distinctive types still carried on today in Japan, China, Germany, Indonesia, and the United States, among other places.  Some specific puppets became international icons in the age of television, including Howdy Doody, Lamp Chop, and Jim Henson’s Muppets.”


Field Trip Girl and Field Trip Boy enjoying a puppet show at The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater.

When you enter The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater you will notice a few key differences about this theater.  For example, there are no movie screens or high tech production equipment.   Instead, you will observe a return to classic puppetry where the focus is on the art form itself.

The San Diego’s Balboa Park Puppet Guild uses a variety of puppetry, staging and vocal techniques in their productions; including hand puppetry, ventriloquism, marionettes, large format puppets, life-size puppets, shadow theater, muppet style puppets (like in Giddy Goat) and full stage black light shows.


Field Trip Girl and Field Trip Boy enjoy drawing outside the theater.

The group’s current list of resident puppeteers include Enid Bartnicki, Zachary Crook, Joe Fitzpatrick, Eva Kvass, Millie Patterson and Gaston Morineau.


The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater hosts shows for people of all ages, from pre-school, grade school to adultIf you live in the San Diego area or plan to visit anytime soon, it makes for a great family outing or class field trip.

There are two remaining puppet productions this summer, before they plan to launch their fall line up.

August 20 – August 24

King Midas – The king has everything he wants, or does he?  When everything he touches turns to gold, including his beloved daughter, the king is very sad.

August 27 – September 1

Jungle Show – This charming hand puppet variety show includes Aesop’s fable, The Lion and the Mouse, and African tale, Who is in Rabbitt’s House?

The cost to see a show is $5.00 per person.  Each show lasts approximately 30 minutes.

The theater also offers group discounts.  For groups of 10-24 people, receive 10% off.  For groups of 25 or more, receive 20% off.

To learn more about The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater and preview one of their past shows called Whispers of the Forest, visit http://balboaparkpuppets.com.

Happy Field Tripping,


Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets to The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater for media purposes only.  All points of views and comments are our own.  Images used by permission.