Your Journey to Africa Begins Here

Last night, I was among the lucky few that got a sneak preview of the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park’s new African Summer Festival, which opens tomorrow (June 19 – September 6).

This festival is sure to be a big hit, because I only got a small sample of all the new activities and entertainment that will be offered throughout the park and I was blown away! 

Keep your eyes and ears open for:

Robert, the digital talking zebra (who I unfortunately didn’t get to see)

(not Robert)

Adorable animals (don’t forget to check out the baby elephants!!)

cheetah, rawr

These AMAZING Tanzanian acrobats

I can't do that...

can't do that either...

definitely can't do that!

These AWESOME and inventive drummers

rhythmic geniuses

water jug drumming

tether ball drumming

And friendly faces


The Park will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.  Click here for more information on all the festival fun!


5 to Try This Weekend

kids always have all the fun

New Children's Museum pillow fight room! Yet another reason why I never want to grow up

Labor Day weekend is upon us, which unofficially marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall.  And while the transition of the seasons might go unnoticed in San Diego because our beach days and sunshine will last well into November (I’m not bragging, I’m just saying…), this weekend does mean “LAST CALL!” on some of San Diego’s summertime specialties:

  1. This weekend, catch this year’s final celebration of  Summer Nights at SeaWorld with fireworks, live music, special animal shows like Shamu Rocks and Sea Lions Tonite and the award-winning dance show Riptide. The park will be open 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Monday. Note: It’s also the VERY LAST weekend to catch the Dolphin Discovery show before SeaWorld begins construction on a brand new dolphin show, Blue Horizons, coming in May 2010.
  2. Spend your evenings exploring the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park during Park at Dark where you can see the park’s nocturnal creatures emerge, take a sunset tour on the Journey Into Africa tram and catch special summer shows. The park will be open from 9 a.m. – 8p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
  3. Check out the Caras Silvestres celebration during Nighttime Zoo at the San Diego Zoo. Honoring the cultures of California and Central and South America, the Zoo will present live music, colorful dance performances and amazing shows with stilt walkers and exotic animals. The Zoo will be open from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
  4. Hurry over and place your bets at the Del Mar Racetrack for the last weekend of horse races. Races will be in full swing Saturday through Monday but I suggest you try your luck on Sunday when the country’s top horses compete in the $1 Million Pacific Classic, Del Mar’s richest and most prestigious race (and if you win big, you owe me). Later that day, following the last race, stop by the Reggae Festival with featured performances from Ziggy Marley and Nikka Costa; entrance to the concert is free with racetrack general admission tickets.
  5. This Saturday, Sunday and Monday, The New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego is celebrating the FINAL weekend of its first exhibition, childsplay, before they close in preperation for their new exhibition Animal Art, opening in October. So come on by for your last chance to jump in the pillow room, navigate through a two story maze and dance around in the Rain House. Note: Ziggy Marley will also make a special appearance at the museum on Saturday while he debuts his new children’s album, “Family Time.”

5 to Try This Weekend

  1. This Saturday and Sunday, over 300 of the world’s best bodysurfers will be in San Diego for the 33rd Annual World Body Surfing Championships.
    I wonder if he's competing in the Body Surfing Championships?

    I wonder if he's competing in the Body Surfing Championships?

    The event takes place from 6:30 a.m. until late afternoon on both days at the Oceanside Pier and Beach in Oceanside. The public can grab a spot and watch as men and women ages 12 – 65+ surf their hearts out for bragging rights as “the world’s best.”

  2. Enjoy a weekend of family fun and music at the Summergrass San Diego Bluegrass Festival this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The festival features bluegrass bands from around the world, music workshops, kid’s activities and a Kid’s Music camp, food, vendors and even onsite camping. The fun goes down at the outdoor Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in San Diego’s North County from 3 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday, but gates open early and stay open late so feel free to arrive early and settle in. Tickets are $17 – $20 per person or $54 for a three day pass; kids 10 and under get in free.
  3. This weekend, experience a tropical island getaway during the Sunset Luau at the Catamaran Resort & Spa in Mission Bay.  Doors open at 6 p.m., where you’ll receive a lei greeting and complimentary Mai Tai. Dinner starts at 6:45 p.m. and includes a wide variety of Hawaiian and mainland dishes (and even a slow roasted pig), served buffet style. Following dinner is a thrilling fire and knife dance as well as traditional dances from Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand and Hawaii. Tickets are $58 for adults and $25 for children.
  4. This Saturday is the 1st Annual Ocean Beach Summerfest from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at Dusty Rhodes Park in Ocean Beach. The event will include carnival rides, food, live music, a craft fair and a beer garden. This free event is open to the public, and leashed dogs are welcomed.
  5. Hop aboard the San Diego Ferry and enjoy a scenic ride across San Diego Bay to Coronado Island.  The Ferry departs from downtown’s Broadway Pier or the San Diego Convention Center and costs only $6.50 roundtrip.  Once across the Bay, you’ll be at the Coronado Ferry Landing, where a number of shops, galleries, restaurants and live entertainment await.

5 to Try This Weekend

There’s fun stuff happening this weekend, especially on Sunday. So if you’re in the mood for great music, good food and whales and mimosas too, check out these weekend activities and events:

  1. Get your groove thang on this Saturday and Sunday at the North Park Music Thing, a two-day concert event. On Saturday
    doin her thing at North Park Music Thing

    doin her thing at North Park Music Thing

    night around 7 p.m., a number of North Park’s most happening bars and clubs will transform into a concert hallapalooza during the Saturday Night Music Fest where over 100 bands will perform on 20 stages at venues like True North Tavern, Bar Pink and The Office Bar. Saturday night admission tickets will be sold at each venue for $20 and provide entry into all 20 venues. Then on Sunday, the North Park Music Thing festivities continue from noon to 7 p.m. with the Sunday Street Fest, which will feature 3 stages of live music, a live art show, international food and street vendors.  Street Fest tickets will be $20.

    *** This just in: Tin Can Alehouse will be selling one-cent beers on Saturday night during the Music Fest. Buy one beer and get the second one for a penny! ***

  2. On Sunday, Hillcrest’s main drag, Fifth Avenue, will come alive during the annual Hillcrest Cityfest Street Fair. Taking place from noon to 9:30 p.m., this free event will have music, arts and crafts, food, entertainment stages, children’s rides and more. Take part in the Lantern Parade at 8:30 p.m. and stay for the countdown to the relighting of the famous Hillcrest city sign at 9 p.m.
  3. This Sunday is a chance of a lifetime…a chance to see the largest mammas on the planet, Blue Whales! They’re here in San Diego for the summer and you can check them out with H&M Landing’s Blue Whale Cruises. The 8 hour cruise departs this Sunday at 9 a.m. from H&M Landing’s home base in Point Loma. The cost of the cruise is $80 for kids and $100 for adults.
  4. Carlsbad’s annual Art in the Village event goes down this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with live jazz performances and over 200 arts vendors selling sculptures, photography, ceramics, handmade jewelry, furniture and more.
  5. I think Sunday’s are the perfect days for brunch and mimosas. There are a number of places in town to kick back and let the bubbly orange juice elevate your mood, but I’m quite fond of the summertime Sunday brunch at The Pearl Hotel. Every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., The Pearl serves up a delicious brunch selection at very reasonable prices. The best part? For just $20 you can enjoy your choice of entrée and bottomless mimosas.

5 to Try This Weekend

can't wait to hang out with my dad!

can't wait to hang out with my dad!

My dad is coming to visit me this weekend and I couldn’t be more excited! I decided to turn our weekend plans into a special “5 to try,” which includes some of our favorite things to do and some new places we’re going to check out. 

I think we’re going to have a great time this weekend and maybe I’ll see you around?

  1. Our first stop will be the Fish Market for oysters and cheesy garlic bread, a little tradition of ours. It’s located right next to the airport and since he arrives in the afternoon, the outdoor patio will be a perfect spot for lunch. The restaurant is located right along San Diego Bay and has awesome views of military ships, sailboats and pelicans. I think this will be a great start to the weekend.
  2. The Del Mar Races are in full swing every Wednesday – Sunday until September 9, we’ve never been but we’re going to try our luck this Saturday. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. and tickets cost $6 for stretch run seating and $10 for clubhouse seats. Wish us luck! In addition to the races, this Saturday at the racetrack is the Craft Microbrew Festival from noon to 6 p.m. The festival will have live music from local bands and tasty taps form over 25 of San Diego’s finest breweries; admission to the festival is free with racetrack tickets. Can’t wait!
  3. Of course no trip to San Diego would be complete without a visit the beach. We’ll probably head over to my favorite, Ocean Beach, on Sunday morning to hang out and walk around. It’s a great location for people watching, something my dad and I both enjoy, as well as grabbing a quick bite and shopping…Hmm, I wonder if I can talk my dad into getting me a new pair of shoes??
  4. The first time my dad came to visit me in San Diego, we went to Busters Beach House & Longboard Bar in Seaport Village. We had such a great time, that we’ve gone back every time he’s visited and this weekend is no exception. We’ll be there sometime between 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the daily happy hour specials, $1 fish taco and $3 Pale Ale, yum! Before we leave, we’ll probably walk around Seaport Village and stay for some of the live music and entertainment.
  5. This weekend is the Latin American Festival and Mata Ortiz Pottery Market in Old Town. This free festival takes place Friday through Sunday at Bazaar del Mundo and will showcase really neat, authentic Mata Ortiz pottery, art, music and live art demonstrations. Since my dad has never been to Old Town, this will be a great stop before dinner on Sunday evening. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Cool Down With Free IMAX At The Fleet

Want to see the BIGGEST movies for free this summer? 

Now through Sept. 7, you can see IMAX flicks for free at The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park by printing out a Summer Splash coupon and paying regular gallery admission – $10 for adults, $8.75 for kids and seniors. 


Free IMAX Summer Splash Flicks at the Fleet

The Summer Splash IMAX movies are:

ADVENTURES IN WILD CALIFORNIA – Careen down an icy raven; skysurf on thermals above the clouds; swim through the oceans with otters; explore the heart of a thirty-story tall Giant Sequoia and ride one of California’s biggest, surfable waves in this virtual  Golden State expedition. (Showing daily July-Aug.)

UNDER THE SEA – Be transported to some of the most exotic and isolated undersea locations on Earth, including South Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Coral Triangle islands of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, for face-to-face encounters with mysterious sea creatures. (Showing daily July-Aug.)
LEWIS & CLARK – The journey of exploration that shaped a nation is re-created in this film.  (Showing Aug. 1-9)
EVEREST – The true story of climbers who found strength in tragedy on the world’s highest mountain. (Showing Aug. 10-16)
JOURNEY INTO AMAZING CAVES –  Explore unusual caves, including ice caves in Greenland and underwater caves in the jungles of Mexico.  (Showing Aug. 17-23)
MYSTERIES OF EGYPT –  Journey through the Land of the Pharaohs against the wondrous backdrop of the sweeping Nile and the majestic Giza pyramids.  (Showing Aug. 24-31)


5 to Try This Weekend

  • It’s prime time for pride time because the 34th Annual San Diego LGBT Pride Parade and Festival takes place this weekend. On Saturday at 11 a.m. the pride parade sweeps the streets from Hillcrest to Balboa Park with over 180 celebrating floats. Then on Saturday and Sunday, the party continues with the pride festival in Balboa Park featuring multiple entertainment stages, musicians, bands, comedy and dance performers, art exhibits, music and great food. The parade is free and single day tickets to the festival are $20. 
  • The Annual U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition takes place this weekend in Imperial Beach with a street festival
    hopefully this sand guy won't sneeze

    hopefully this sand guy won't sneeze

    pre-party on Saturday and the official competition on Sunday. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., teams of professional and amateur “sand carvers” get down and dirty as they create some of the most extraordinary sculptures out of sand and water. The sand masterpieces will be available for viewing until 4 p.m., before the tide comes in and Mother Nature shows those sand carvers what she really thinks about their work.  

  • If you like visors (what? how random!), head down to PETCO Park to help the San Diego Padres celebrate their 40th anniversary this Saturday as they play the Colorado Rockies. The games start at 7:05 p.m. and all fans in attendance will receive a complimentary Padres retro visor as a thank-you gift… See, I was going somewhere with that. 
  • This weekend is opening weekend for the World Premiere of The First Wives Club at the Old Globe theatre. Bound for Broadway you can catch it here in San Diego first! Daytime and nighttime performances are available and ticket prices vary. “And remember girls, don’t get even, get everything!”
  • This Saturday, check out the Old Town Saturday Market on Harney Street, one of the largest weekly artisan fairs in San Diego. Here, you’ll find handmade pottery, jewelry, clothing, blow glass and more. There will also be live music and festive entertainment. Ole!

Ahoy, Matey! It’s Sailor Days

Hop aboard the Pilot during Sailor Days!

Hop aboard the Pilot during Sailor Days!

Did you ever want to be a sailor?

Well, beginning July 15, you’ll get your chance because Wednesdays are Sailor Days this summer at the Maritime Museum on San Diego Bay. 

Every Wednesday through August 26, the historic Star of India and all the other ships in the museum’s collection will offer hands-on activities designed to give you a taste of the sailing life.

Adults and kids can make rope for sailing, move cargo around the decks, raise and lower the huge sails, tie sailor’s knots, climb through a steam engine and much more.

Kids are also invited to take part in a scavenger hunt through the ships, searching for fun historic maritime facts and then choosing a prize from the museum’s treasure chest.

The best part?  Sailor Days activities are included with regular museum admission – $14 for adults and $8 for kids. 

Plus, when you book tickets online in advance and choose the Discovery package, you’ll get a free one-hour historic boat cruise on San Diego Bay aboard the Pilot. (You also have the option to purchase tickets at the door and add the boat tour for $3.)


Deals, Steals and VIP Treatment at SeaWorld

Jump on these summer deals at SeaWorld!

Jump on these summer deals at SeaWorld!

Summer vacation is officially here and SeaWorld has awesome deals to save you money when you visit Shamu and friends:

  • score an adult ticket at the kids’ price and get a second visit free
  • AAA members show your membership card and get an adult ticket at the kids’ price and a kids’ ticket at half price
  • if you live in the area, spring for the SeaWorld Fun Cardand get free repeat admission to SeaWorld through the end of 2009
  • and, especially appropriate as we head into the Independence weekend, the Here’s to the Heroesprogram provides free single-day admission to SeaWorld service members and as many as three direct dependents. 

When you visit this summer through Aug. 30, keep your fingers crossed as you enter the gates.  One lucky group is chosen each day to be the SeaWorld VIP Guests of the Day and win free tickets to the Dolphin Encounter, Quick Queue passes for all the rides, reserved seats at all stadium shows and an extra special shout out during Shamu’s show.