Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Giveaway ~ San Juan Capistrano Mission

See bottom of post for Giveaway Contest.
An amazing jewel sits quietly on the coast of San Juan Capistrano. Home to the oldest building and the first inhabitants of Orange County lays a pristine piece of history that we can see and touch. The Mission of San Juan Capistrano has such a unique presence in today's modern world. As we live our daily lives in a place where there is not much remnants of past, the building blocks of a world that began what we enjoy today, sits quietly waiting to tell you its story. The walls of these buildings have seen so much. My experience at The Mission San Juan Capistrano was incredible. I usually travel to far away places to learn about and see incredible monuments with historical relevance and impact but I have realized that our native land has much rich history to absorb and appreciate.
The staff at The Mission was warm and friendly as we arrived. We were greeted at the entrance by a gentleman who gave us the handheld device we could use for our self-guided audio tour (which is available in 5 languages). They have adult and children's audio tours available, which make the experience interesting on each level of attention span. The greatest part was being able to hear the basic information on the landmarks and displays and then if a particular spot of interest was more appealing to me, I could hear a more in depth story by a push of a button.
The South Wing exhibit, which houses museum rooms that replicate the dormitory, kitchen, pantry, guest bedroom, Padre's dining room and The Rancho Room has only been open for two weeks and we were lucky enough to be able to see it. It really gives you a feel for how life was during this time over 200 years ago.
The Mission is a large compound with so many areas to visit so plan to spend a couple of hours and enjoy this at your own pace. The Mission San Juan Capistrano is featuring its upcoming exhibit "Gold Fever" which will give the opportunity to relive the California Gold Rush through the stories and exhibits from this time. Learn about the legacy that lured frenzied gold seekers to California. This exhibit will run from October 15 ~ March 30. There are so many family events that take place at The Mission so be sure to check their calendar of events. You an visit their website directly by clicking here.
The Mission San Juan Capistrano was gracious enough to offer 2 free admission tickets to one lucky OC Fun Guide Winner! Just leave a comment here by Monday, October 5th and you will be automatically entered into the contest for this giveaway. The Winner will be announced on Tuesday, October 6th.
For more information on free or low cost activities in Orange County visit or click here.
Happy Exploring!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall Is Here ~ Irvine Railroad Pumpkin Patch

You wouldn't know it from our extraordinarily Hot weather this year, but Fall is Here! What better way is there to celebrate the Fall season than to visit the pumpkin patch. Irvine Park Railroad is one of the first of the season in Orange County to host it's annual pumpkin patch which runs from September 19th - November 1st. This is one pumpkin patch you won't want to miss this season. There are so many fun activities happening here. From the John Deere Tractor Races to Hay Rides in a real John Deere Tractor, a huge pumpkin bounce house, the coolest Hay Maze I've seen (well it's the only one I've seen but cool nevertheless), face painting, an awesome haunted house and carnival games. Of course there is the train ride throughout the park and you can print discount (buy one, get one free) coupons directly from their website.
There are so many size pumpkins to choose from and the prices are reasonable. I believe they even have a coupon for a discount on pumpkins as well. So be sure to print all your coupons before your trip. While you're there you can stop in and visit the animals at the OC Zoo. So gather up your kids and make a day of it. Fall is here! Celebrate!
To visit the Irvine Park Railroad website click here and for more fun free or low cost local activities in Orange County click here to visit
Happy Pumpkin Pickin!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Orange County Museum of Art

Imagination, Creativity and Illumination. This was our family adventure yesterday at The Orange County Museum of Art. Target sponsors FREE admission to The Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach every second Sunday of the month.
The museum hosts a program of events all day from 11am-4pm with entertainment consisting of various performances, hands on art projects for children, and family art exhibits. This month's display at the museum was Illumination. It is really a great way to introduce your children to art. My daughters were able to create their own landscape scene with construction paper and an illumination design with paints and the help of the great staff. After they completed their projects we visited the family art exhibition where they were able to see Illumination artists' work on display and really understand more of what it takes to create this type of art. I was really amazed at how their analytical skills were stimulated by just relating to the art from the projects they worked on.
Target's sponsorship of the arts with their free museum days in cities across the US is such a great gift. We love Target FREE days and will be sharing many more of our visits througout the year. To find out more information on the future free Target days at The Orange County Museum of Art, you can click here to visit their website. The next Target Free Second Sunday is October 11th featuring "October Rush" with live entertainment provided by students freom our local Newport-Mesa Unified School District.

For a list of FREE activities in Orange County visit

Happy Museum Hunting!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Birthday Celebration at Disneyland

Celebrating our daughter's 5th birthday at Disneyland was our latest family adventure. Birthdays are the few times I splurge on activities. We gave our little one a choice between a birthday party or a family adventure to Disneyland. Of course she choose to spend her special day with the princesses. What five year old princess loving girl in her right mind would pass that up?

We started our day early so we could make the most of our adventure. So much to see, so little time. The parks are great in the morning because the crowds don't arrive until after 10am. Season pass holders can arrive at 8am and have privilege of experiencing the parks for an hour before they open to the general public at 9am. This weekend was a hot one so we made sure to pack at least a 12 pack of water and stuffed it in the ever-handy stroller. The little one is getting big but she still gets tired mid-day so the stroller eliminates half the whining. Plus it is a great place to store food, water and other essentials so we didn't have to carry much. On hot days I would recommend packing water to bring because you pay about $3-4 per bottle. Our family of went through 14 so that can add up.

We started at California Adventure which was full of exciting construction for the new upcoming attractions "The World of Color" (Opening Spring 2010) and "Ariel's Undersea Adventure" (Opening Spring 2011). The park was not as full as I expected. Upon arrival we visited the City Hall and the birthday girl was given a special pin to wear. She was recognized all day long for her birthday. On rides they gave her special recognition over the loud speaker and all. She really felt like a star.

Our special engagement for the day was lunch at Ariel's Grotto. This is where she was able to meet the princesses all in one place. The prices is a little high for the food but you really are paying for the experience this brings to the little ones so this was definitely worth it in my book. After lunch was served each princess was announced before making their grand entrances to the dining room floor. All of the princesses stopped at each table for photo ops and a meet and greet. This is a surefire way to meet them all in one place. There was so much excitement from the kids during this time it really was contagious. At the end she was serenaded with Happy Birthday and served her very own birthday cake with candles and all. The cake was served in a souvenir treasure box with a few treasures to go with it. It has now become her special jewelry box at home.

After lunch we headed over to Disneyland and had a blast for the remainder of our day. We were able to ride Pirate's a few times and I am so excited that It's A Small World was finally open again after all that time in construction. We ended our day with the "Celebration Parade" where our little one was a dancing queen. Disneyland is a great place to celebrate a birthday and the best part is that you get in FREE on the day of your birthday.

For more information on Disney's California Adventure or Disneyland you can click here to visit their website.

Happy Celebrating!