Courtney

Child’s Play: Plans for LEGOLAND Hotel Unveiled

Who's gonna clean up that mess? More than 28,000 thousand multi-colored DUPLO® bricks were poured out of a big front loader in celebration of the LEGOLAND Hotel announcement.

LEGOLAND California announced yesterday that plans for a three-story LEGOLAND Hotel are underway. Slated to open Summer 2013 on the site of the current LEGOLAND California Resort in Carlsbad, the LEGOLAND Hotel will be the first of its kind in North America.

Children invited from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Carlsbad wore pajamas to the press conference to get in the “hotel mood” and squealed with delight as the bricks came pouring down on to the bed.

Like LEGOLAND California and the SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium, the hotel will be designed for families with young children and will feature rooms and suites themed after the most popular LEGOLAND areas. The 250-room LEGO-themed hotel will feature brightly colored LEGO décor, a pool, and restaurant.

Courtney

10 Great Ways to Beat the Heat in San Diego

With mild coastal temperatures in the 70s complemented by refreshing ocean and bay breezes, San Diego is the perfect place to beat the heat during this sweltering summer. Here is a list of 10 Great Ways to Beat to the Heat in San Diego.

Sunset on Coronado, rated the #2 beach in the country by Dr. Beach

1. Swim, snorkel, surf, kayak, paddleboard and build sandcastles along San Diego’s 70 miles of picturesque coastline. With refreshing Pacific waters, San Diego’s beaches offer a variety of unique settings, from the white sandy shores of Coronado Beach (rated the 2nd best beach in the country by Dr. Beach) to the Mediterranean-like coves of luxurious La Jolla.

SeaWorld San Diego's 25-degree Penguin Encounter is home is five species of Antarctic penguins

2. Chill out at the Penguin Encounter at SeaWorld San Diego and spend time with some of the park’s coolest inhabitants. Guests can watch the playful antics of nearly 300 penguins including regal emperor penguins and smaller Adelie, gentoo and macaroni penguins.

3. Sample chilly, creamy treats from San Diego’s top sweet shops. Guests of all ages can indulge with an exotic Pineapple Chili or Lavender Lemonade popsicle from Viva Pops in Normal Heights or blend their own custom creation at MooTime Creamery in Coronado.

4. Enjoy an entertaining outdoor Summer Pops concert by the world-class San Diego Symphony along San Diego Bay. During the summer, light jackets and blankets are often recommended after the sun sets above San Diego’s most beautiful outdoor music venue.

Splash Zoo at LEGOLAND California

5. Build a raft and float down a lazy river at the LEGOLAND Water Park in LEGOLAND California Resort. Visitors can enjoy a variety of splash-filled water activities including a wet-and-wild climbing structure, six-person raft slide, tube slides, body slides and much more.

6. Take a libation break with a frosty pint of some of San Diego’s award-winning craft beers. Rated the “#1 Beer City in the U.S.” by Men’s Journal magazine, San Diego’s 35 local breweries are sure to quench the thirst of the most parched beer lovers.

Tatqiq (left) and Kalluk (right) at Polar Bear Plunge. Photo by Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo.

7. Embark on an expedition to the Conrad Prebys Polar Bear Plunge at the world-renowned San Diego Zoo and encounter the rulers of the frozen tundra: the mighty polar bears. Along the way, guests can also come across other northern neighbors like reindeer and Arctic diving ducks.

8. Let the wind blow through your hair as you take a thrilling ride on San Diego Bay with San Diego Speedboat Adventures. Guests sit in the captain’s seat and charter their own two-person mini speedboat around San Diego’s busy harbor, enjoying one-of-a-kind views of U.S. Navy ships, the sweeping San Diego-Coronado Bridge,  downtown skyline, USS Midway Museum and more.

The gentle waters of Mission Bay are ideal for SUP (standup paddleboarding)

9. Take a relaxing, carefree bicycle ride along the 27 miles of pathways on the shores of Mission Bay. After bike riding, guests can enjoy waterskiing, jet-skiing, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, or SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) in this 4,600-acre water playground.

10. Feast on local fresh seafood and produce at one of San Diego’s many waterfront restaurants. Peohe’s on Coronado offers foodies award-winning meals along with spectacular downtown views, while George’s at the Cove in La Jolla offers a chic, modern dining experience with gorgeous views of La Jolla Cove and the Pacific.

Click the link below and enter the Thank a Million sweepstakes from Smart Destinations

Go San Diego Card (from Smart Destinations) is a  multi-attraction ticket that gives you access to many of these “cool” San Diego attactions and activities. Throughout the entire month of August, Smart Destinations is running a sweepstakes as part of their “Thanks A Million” promotion to celebrate the passing of their millionth customer. 

Click here and get entered to win one of the great prizes: a 3-day Go City Card for any destination (including San Diego) or an Explorer Pass for any 3 attractions in New York City or Las Vegas; plus the Grand Prize of a 4-day/3-night vacation for two to any Smart Destination locale, along with two 3-day passes for that destination!

Suzzanne

Top 5 Reasons to Fly to San Diego From Heathrow

With the new non-stop flight on British Airways arriving in San Diego daily, there has never been a better time to visit!

1. Short Queue: The BA flight will be the only flight using the International facility when it lands making customs and luggage retrieval easy.

2. We have it all: With over 70 miles of beaches, year-round great weather and world class attractions including the San Diego Zoo and Legoland California, it’s so easy to experience the So Cal lifestyle.

3. Easy distance to other top destinations: Take the Pacific Surfliner train to Disneyland for a day or experience the desert and drive or fly to Las Vegas, Phoenix or the Grand Canyon.

4. Location: The San Diego International Airport is a five minute drive from the city center, train station and thousands of hotel rooms.


5. So many experiences..so little time: No matter what you’re looking for San Diego has it all. Outdoor adventurer? Try whale watching or surfing among world-class surfers. Family time? How about Legoland California, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park or the USS Midway Museum. Arts & Culture buff? Visit Balboa Park, the nation’s largest cultural urban park.

Suzzanne

5 Reasons to Visit San Diego’s Attractions This Summer

LEGOLAND California Star Wars Miniland

1.This past March, LEGOLAND California unveiled its newest exhibit, STAR WARS Miniland. Guests will be taken to a galaxy far, far away with six new live-action LEGO displays of memorable scenes from the classic Star Wars movies. Over 1.5 million LEGO bricks create life-size models and interactive features from famous Star Wars scenes including Tatooine, Endor, and the Millennium Falcon.

San Diego Zoo's Red Panda

2. This summer, the San Diego Zoo is unveiling Panda Trek. This giant panda reserve will include newly built homes for the red pandas, takins and pit vipers as well as feature six species of bamboo and other Chinese plants including camellias and azaleas.

Splash Zoo at LEGOLAND Water Park

3. Opening May 26, 2011, the new Splash Zoo, just for toddlers, will open over at the LEGOLAND Water Park. This brand-new area will feature zoo-themed animals, interactive spray pads, fountains and a teeter totter.

SeaWorld's Sea Turtle Bay

4. Scheduled to open in June 2011 is SeaWorld San Diego’s Sea Turtle Bay. This new attraction will offer an up-close look at more than 60 threatened or endangered sea turtles. The attraction’s highlight is Turtle Reef, a 300,000-gallon aquarium, with a massive, underwater viewing window where visitors can watch as many as 60 green and hawksbill sea turtles.

Cheeta Run San Diego Zoo Safari Park

5. Be part of a Summer Safari at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. From July 2 – August 21, 2011, visitors will be treated to entertainment, activities and animals that embrace the spirit of Africa in its Summer Safari-An African Extravaganza. Acrobats, artisans and Ethiopian circus performers will entertain in the Safari Park’s village. Guests can join African artisans to create beaded necklaces and decorate safari hats in the African Activities Plaza.

Guest Blogger

Hitting the Bricks at LEGOLAND

Rose and Angelo at LEGOLAND Driving School

LEGOS are part of the furniture at our house. I find them in the couch and some mornings wake to a coffee table topped with LEGO monuments from imaginary worlds.  So a visit to LEGOLAND, California in Carlsbad is a treat for my family. I ventured out with my six-year-old boy and two eight-year-old girls. We had the Park Hopper Pass that covers LEGOLAND, the new Water Park that is still adding on features (coming May 26, a Zoo-themed area for toddlers) and SEA LIFE Aquarium. There’s definitely more to see and do than a family can cover in a day.

My only request was that mom was able to start off at the Water Park renting a family size locker so I didn’t have to haul our beach towels, swimsuits and snacks all day through the park. Once relieved of my responsibilities thanks to a nifty, high-tech locker (no key to lose; it opens with a wave of a wristband), I gave the kids the map and let them plot out the day. Continue reading

Suzzanne

Escape to San Diego Sweepstakes: Perfect 5 Day Itinerary Part 3

In our Escape to San Diego Sweepstakes, we are giving away round trip airfare for two and a five night stay at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront Hotel. You can enter here! How would you spend it if you brought the kids? Well, I must say, this might be the easiest blog I’ve ever written. Of course I have help, my two kids ages 8 and 10. They are the true ambassadors to San Diego and are experts on all things San Diego kid friendly. In fact, all five of these were handpicked by them. The hardest part was limiting them to five!

SeaWorld's Journey to Atlantis

1. One of the first things our out-of-town friends say when they come to visit is, “we want to go to SeaWorld.” And who wouldn’t? With live shows, animal encounters and fun rides, it’s a day well spent. Our favorite, Journey to Atlantis.

Crusin' Coronado Island

2. While staying at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront Hotel, take one of the water ferries over to Coronado Island and rent bikes. The island is almost entirely flat and it’s a great way to see the island. We love riding around and then stopping at one of the great restaurants along Orange Avenue.

Corvette Diner (and yes those are straws in my hair!)

3. Looking for somewhere to take the kids for dinner? Head over to Corvette Diner located in the historic Liberty Station. Hands down, their favorite spot to eat. With a 50’s theme, yummy shakes and a huge game room, everyone will leave happy.

Another cool thing at Legoland that my son can stick his head into

4. My son’s favorite place is Legoland. We’ve been there so many times, I’ve lost count. If you have kids under 12, I highly recommend it. Insider Tip: Bring along a Lego minifigurine and if you see any Legoland worker wearing one on their badge, ask to trade them. It’s a fun way to interact with the staff and get some fun and funky new figurines.

Plane at the USS Midway Museum

5. The USS Midway Museum is one of my favorite places to bring my kids and any visitors. From grandparents down to 5 year olds, I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t had a great time there. Touring the retired aircraft carrier is so fascinating and I learn something new every time. Be prepared to walk up and down a lot of very narrow stairs and take time to visit “The Island.”

Remember to enter our Escape to San Diego Sweepstakes!

What San Diego family activity do you think is missing?

Brent Bernasconi

Sneak Peek at Star Wars MiniLand

On Thursday LEGOLAND debuted its newest attraction, Star Wars MiniLand. LEGOLand staff took thousands and thousands of Lego bricks and created a scene from each of the six movies and a scene from a Star Wars television series. Carrie Fisher was on hand to help cut the red ribbon and officially open up Star Wars Miniland. Below are just glimpses of the awesome new exhibit. Now if I can only take one of the Lego scenes home!

Suzzanne

Spring Break in San Diego

Travel & Leisure recently named San Diego as the #3 destination for Best Time to Visit – Spring Break. And why wouldn’t we be? From beaches to attractions to the best weather in the country (we were named #1 for weather!); San Diego has so much to offer.


One great way to see San Diego’s best attractions, museums and general sightseeing is the Go San Diego Card. With the Go San Diego Card, visitors can purchase 3, 5, and 7 day cards that will give you entrance into over 50 San Diego area venues. Popular itineraries include the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, Legoland California, Safari Park, USS Midway Museum, and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. But those are just suggestions, with so many options, you can customize your Spring Break into whatever you like. The folks at Go San Diego Card tell us that some popular options for Spring Break include the rides at Belmont Park, Bike and Kayak tours in La Jolla (kayak rentals or beach cruisers) or “ride the wave” at the Wave House Athletic Club. And even better, the Go San Diego Cards are unlimited and work for consecutive days.


Interested in trying the Go San Diego Cards for your Spring Break? Comment on the blog below and one lucky winner will win 4 Go San Diego Cards. Comment by Monday, March 21st at 10:00 a.m.

Suzzanne

44 Things I Love About San Diego


Today, most of us were home to celebrate President’s Day. My son and daughter reminded me there have been 44 US President’s so far. In honor of that, we decided to come up with our 44 favorite things about San Diego. In NO particular order, this is some of what makes us happy to call San Diego home.

What do you think we are missing?

1. The weather
2. The Chargers
3. San Diego Bay
4. Hiking Torrey Pines
5. Legoland
6. Balboa Park
7. Mission Bay
8. Little Italy Farmer’s Market
9. Safari Park
10. Cucina Urbana Restaurant
11. The fire pits at the beach
12. Riding your bike in Pacific Beach
13. Sunny Jim Cave
14. La Jolla Playhouse
15. San Diego Padres
16. Coronado
17. San Diego Zoo
18. San Diego Museum of Art
19. Gaslamp Quarter
20. Moonlight Beach
21. Old Globe Theatre
22. Fashion Valley Mall
23. Model Railroad Museum
24. Wild Flowers in Anza-Borrego
25. Wine Steals (any of them!)
26. Tide Pools
27. USS Midway
28. Birch Aquarium
29. Influx Restaurant in Little Italy
30. Dog’s Beach in Del Mar (any)
31. Cabrillo National Monument
32. Sailing
33. Fish Tacos (insert favorite spot)
34. Corvette Diner
35. Sunset at the beach
36. La Jolla Shores
37. Extraordinary Desserts
38. Carlsbad Flower Fields
39. Phil’s BBQ
40. San Diego Comic Con
41. SeaWorld
42. Cafe Chloe
43. The view from Mr. A’s
44. THE PEOPLE!

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend


Wow it’s going to be a great weekend in San Diego! With the weather forecasted to be in the 70’s, get outside and head to the beach, or do something a little different. From a multi-cultural festival to a Whale Watching Festival, San Diego has no shortage of fun things to do! Which one sounds fun to you?

Stephen Strasburg 5k Walk with Tony Gwynn: Come join Stephen Strasburg and Tony Gwynn in a 5k walk and fun run benefiting the Aztec Baseball program. This is a family-friendly event that will include games, live music and fun for everyone.

13th Annual San Diego Multi-Cultural Festival: Cultures come together in celebration at this free, family-friendly fun festival with cultural entertainers, food, vendors, global villages and an education fair. The fair will take place Saturday, January 15 from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. along Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade downtown.

24th Annual Whale Watch and Intertidal Life Festival: Cabrillo’s annual Whale Watch Weekend kicks off tomorrow and Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and features presentations, exhibits and films. Rangers will be on hand all weekend to help visitor’s spot whales in the ocean and explore the park’s magnificent tide pools.

San Diego Restaurant Week: Restaurant Week kicks off Sunday, January 16th! Diners can choose from over 160 of San Diego’s best restaurants and enjoy a fixed price, three-course dinner for $20, $30 or $40 per person. Whether you crave seafood, organic, American or ethnic, there is something for everyone during San Diego Restaurant Week! Be sure to check out our foodie blogger Kate as she highlights some great spots to check out during Restaurant Week.

Underwater Parks Day at SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium: On January 15th, young ocean enthusiasts at SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium will learn about Marine Protected Areas or “Underwater Parks” during the Aquarium’s 3rd Annual Underwater Parks Day. Underwater Parks Day is an effort by Southern California aquariums to explain the need for Marine Protected Areas that replenish fish populations and restore the health of coastal waters.