Category: Explore

Museum FREE for all Day!!!

This Sunday, January 28th, 2018, dozens of museums located in through out the Los Angeles area, Orange County, Pasadena, Riverside and Santa Barbara will open their doors for FREE!

Plan your day and be ready to experience art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science. Museums Free-for-All is partnering with  Metro Bus Line to encourage visitors to fully explore participating museums without searching for parking and getting through traffic.

Museum Free for All Day is for general museum admission only and does not apply include any specially ticketed exhibitions. Regular parking fees do apply. Check each individual museum for for hours and directions.

2018 Participating Museums

  • Annenberg Space for Photography
  • Autry Museum of the American West
  • The Broad
  • California African American Museum
  • California Science Center- General admission only. A timed reservation with a convenience fee is required for Space Shuttle Endeavour.
  • Columbia Memorial Space Center
  • Craft & Folk Art Museum
  • Descanso Garden
  • Forest Lawn Museum
  • Fowler Museum at UCLA
  • Getty Center
  • Getty Villa – Free, timed tickets are required. Visit
  • GRAMMY Museum
  • Hammer Museum
  • Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
  • Japanese American National Museum – Free tickets available at
  • Kidspace Children’s Museum
  • La Brea Tar Pits and Museum –General admission only; free tickets available at
  • LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
  • Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
  •  The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA)
  • Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
  • Museum of Tolerance
  • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County – General admission only; free tickets available at
  • Orange County Museum of Art
  • The Paley Center for Media
  • Palm Springs Art Museum
  • Pasadena Museum of California Art
  • Petersen Automotive Museum – Tickets must be reserved in advance at
  • Pomona College Museum of Art
  • Riverside Art Museum
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art
  • Skirball Cultural Center – Noah’s Ark timed-entry, one-hour tickets are limited and distributed first-come, first-served.
  • Sunnylands Center & Gardens – Excludes tours of the historic house and grounds.
  • University Art Museum, CSU Long Beach – Join us for opening reception of Robert Irwin: Site Determined 4-6 pm, January 28. Closed January 27.
  • USC Fisher Museum – Offering free admission on Saturday, January 27, instead of Sunday, January 28.
  • USC Pacific Asia Museum
  • Zimmer Children’s Museum

9th Annual Monarch Butterfly Day

The Ninth Annual Monarch Butterfly Day is coming up! OC Parks invites children and families to come and learn all about Monarch Butterflies.

This FREE event allows children to get a good look at Butterflies and their natural habitat. Children can assist in planting plants to attract Monarch Butterflies and go inside a netted butterfly enclosure.

Butterfly experts will be on-site to provide educational information and answer questions about the beautiful and unique specimens.

Additional activities include interpretive programs, children’s crafts, face painting and a balloon artist. Food will be available for purchase.

  • When: Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Where: Mile Square Regional Park, 16801 Euclid St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708 (takes place in the Forest Shelter near parking lot C)
  • Cost: Event and parking are FREE

2018 National Parks Fee Free Days

Do have plans for your 3 day weekend? How about a visit one of our National Parks on Monday for FREE!!! There are four days in 2018 that you can visit all National Park Service sites that offer FREE admission to everyone.

Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2018:

Sequoia National Park

There are more than 400 parks available to everyone, every day. The fee-free days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite, especially one of the national parks that normally charge an entrance fee. The others are free all the time. The entrance fee waiver for fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.The annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks that normally charge an entrance fee. There are also free or discounted passes available for senior citizens, current members of the military, families of fourth-grade students, and disabled citizens. Learn more about the variety of passes offered by the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass series.

In addition to the National Park Services Fee Free Days the following Federal Agencies also offer Fee Free Days:

  • Bureau of Land Management: January 15 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), February 19 (Presidents Day), June 9 (National Get Outdoors Day), September 22 (National Public Lands Day), November 11 (Veterans Day)
  • U.S. Forest Service: January 15 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), February 19 (Presidents Day), June 9 (National Get Outdoors Day), September 22 (National Public Lands Day), November 10-11 (Veterans Day Weekend)
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: January 15 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), February 19 (Presidents Day), September 22 (National Public Lands Day), October 14 (First Sunday of National Wildlife Refuge Week), November 11 (Veterans Day)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: September 22 (National Public Lands Day), November 11 (Veterans Day, you must be a veteran, an active and reserve component service member, or a family member to be granted a fee waiver)
  • Bureau of Reclamation: January 15 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), February 19 (Presidents Day), September 22 (National Public Lands Day), November 11 (Veterans Day)

If you have a child in the Fourth grade – Every day is FREE! The Every Kid in a Park Pass provides FREE admission to public lands for your fourth grader and the entire family!!!

Starlight Starbright Night Hike

Have you ever gone on a night hike with your little’s? Here’s the perfect opportunity! Kids love going on night hikes and this ranger led night hike is a great and safe way to do just that!

Although the picture above wasn’t taken at Carbon Canyon – you can see just how magically the evening can be. So bring a flashlight and a jacket as you prepare for the evening with some cookies and hot chocolate at the Nature Center, go out for a ranger led night hike to the Redwood Grove and return for a live animal presentation by Nature of Wildworks.

  • When: Saturday, January 20, 2018 from 5:30pm – 8:00pm

  • Where: Carbon Canyon Regional Park is located at 4442 Carbon Canyon Rd, Brea, CA 92823.

  • Cost: FREE – parking is also free

This is really fun hike and space is limited. Please email to register:


All About Snakes

OC Parks

Hiking season is in the air! One of the ways to prepare the kids for upcoming hikes is to make them aware that snakes live in the parks and trails we hike in.

O.C. Parks invites you to join local herpetologist Steve Bledsoe at O’Neill Regional Park to learn all about snakes that can be found in Orange County.

This family-friendly event will feature a live reptile display with local snake species.

Come learn how to identify snakes, where they live and what to do when you encounter one on park trails.

There will also be an informative presentation on rattlesnakes of Orange County.

  • When: Saturday, May 13, July 8 and September 2, 2017 from 7:15 – 8:30 pm
  • Where: O’Neil Regional Park, 30892 Trabuco Canyon Rd, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678 – Meet at the O’Neill Nature Center and Amphitheater. Parking at the O’Neill Nature Center lot.
  • Cost: The event is free event, parking fee  is $5.00

Free Kids Fishing Clinic

OC Parks, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Izaak Walton League and Berkley Fishing host the inaugural Kids’ Fishing Clinic at Yorba Regional Park.

The Kids’ Fishing Clinic (for ages 15 and under) is designed to teach kids how to fish, while giving them the opportunity to catch a few. The lake will be stocked with more than 1,000 pounds of trout or catfish for the clinic.

Fishing experts will be on site to assist kids. Don’t forget your fishing rod! If you do not have your own fishing rod, a limited quantity will be available for loan. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Rain will not cancel event.

  • When: Saturday, April 1, 2017 from 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Where: Yorba Regional Park 7600 E. La Palma Anaheim, CA 92807
  • Event is free! Parking is $5 per vehicle

To register, please call (714) 973-6615 or email


Insect Fair 2016

Insect Fair at the Bronco Student Center

Put this on your calender now! Come see over 500,000 live and preserved exotic insects from around the world at the Cal Poly Insect Fair Insect Fair at the AGRIscapes Visitor Center (next to the Farm Store).

Have you ever touched a millipede or a Madagascar Hissing cockroach with your bare hand? Well you can at the Insect Fair. Learn how insects impact our lives and how you can make a career as an insect expert.

Some of the insects on display include:


  • Vibrant moths and butterflies from around the world.

  • Beautiful cicadas from Asia . . . many having unique wing patterns and colors. These insects are the loudest on the planet!

  • A colorful array of exotic grasshoppers and katydids. Many displayed to show patterned underwings.

  • Beetles! These are the largest, most diverse group of insects. Make sure to look closely because many displayed are small but full of color, texture, and unique patterns.

***This event is a perfect for opportunity for Girl Scout Brownies to complete several steps of their Bug Badge*** 

  • When: October 8, 2016 and October 9, 2016 from 9am to 5 pm
  • Where: Cal Poly Pomona, The AGRIscapes Visitor Center  – next to the Farm Store at Kellogg Ranch , 4102 S. University Drive., Pomona, CA 91768 (Located just south of Temple Ave.) 
  • Cost: Admission is $3 for adults; $2 for students and children 2-12, FREE for kids under 2.


Museum Day Live!

museumdayliveMusuem Day Live! is an annual celebration of free admission to over 1,100 museum and cultural institutions nationwide. This fantastic event is hosted by Smithsonian magazine. provide entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket. 

The Museum Day Live! ticket provides free entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket on September 24, 2016. Each ticket provides admission for two people, per email address. My husband and I will both be signing up in order to get our family of four in.    

Where will your curiosity lead you on Museum Day Live!? Tag your visit on social media with @MuseumDay  #BoundlessCuriosity  #MuseumDayLive


BBQ at Tanaka Farms

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Here’s some great FREE family fun this weekend! Come down and enjoy Tanaka Farms End of Summer Festival.


Today, Saturday, 9/3 and tomorrow, Sunday, 9/4 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm., enjoy samples of sweet watermelons, grilled farm veggies, start a seedling at the planting station, free ATV rides for younger guests, and other fun activities for kids.

tanakasign Also, Chef Joni Newman will be holding a FREE cooking demo at 11:00 each day. She is making Watermelon Poke and there will be samples to try!

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

The Tanaka Farms Food Shack will be grilling up some juicy baby back ribs, corn, and hot dogs in addition to their La Taqueria menu – carne asada and carnitas tacos, nachos, and tamales. Don’t forget Strawberry Lemonade and Strawberries and Ice Cream…YUM!

Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours
Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours

Melon Tours and U-Pick Tours will be running at the follow times:

  • Melon Tour times this weekend are: 9;30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30 and the price is $18 per person (2 and under free). No reservations needed – arrive 15 minutes before tour time.
  • U-Pick Tour times are: 10:00, 11:00, and 12:00. This is a free wagon ride – just pay for what you pick. No reservations needed – arrive 15 minutes before tour time.

Also – get a sneak peek into the acres of pumpkins that are growing for the upcoming Pumpkin Patch! Please note that Tanaka Farms will be CLOSED on Monday, Sept. 5th for the holiday, so get out there today or tomorrow and enjoy the farm!

Tanaka Farms is located at  5380 University Dr, Irvine, CA 92612


Hikes & Bikes


If for some reason you can’t make it out to visit one of our National Parks this weekend to celebrate our National Park’s 100th birthday, here’s a few local hikes and a intermediate bike ride you can take part in.

These guided hikes and the bike ride are all courtesy of our Orange County Parks and are all FREE – just cover the parking!

Saturday, August 27, 2106

Intermediate Bike Ride: Shoestring Canyon, Loma Ridge, to the Back Side of The Sinks – Irvine Ranch Open Space
Join a strenuous, extremely challenging early morning mountain bike ride through Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve. Riders will visit the East Sinks Viewing Deck and gain beautiful vistas of Agua Chinon Canyon and beyond.

  • Pre-registration is required.
  • Driving directions will be provided after registration.
  • For more events in Limestone Canyon,click here.

Online Registration

Date:  8/27/2016
Time:  6:00 AM – 8:00 AM
Laurel Loop Geology Hike – Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Enjoy an afternoon of unspoiled canyon views and learn about the geology of this area.  The rocks and fossils reveal fascinating stories about the park’s ancient environments. This will be a 3.5-mile hike over steep and uneven terrain (600-ft. elevation gain).

  • Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Rd, just south of El Toro Rd intersection).
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon-Fri & (949) 923-2235 Sat/Sun.
  • Parking: $3 per vehicle.

Online Registration

Date:  8/27/2016
Time:  8:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Walk with a Naturalist – O’Neill Regional Park
Join O’Neill Regional Park naturalists and learn about the animals and nature of Trabuco Canyon. This will be a light to moderate walk on mostly paved roads.

  • All ages welcome.
  • Fee: Free
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle

Event is conditional on the weather.

Date:  8/27/2016
Time:  9:00 AM – 10:30 AM


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Guided Nature Hike – Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park
Join the Park Ranger for a one mile nature hike in the beautiful Bell Canyon area of Caspers Wilderness Park. Hike lasts approximately one hour and is suitable for all ages.

  • Contact park office for hike updates.
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle (day use fee).
  • Meet at the Old Corral Day Use Area.
Date:  8/28/2016
Time:  8:00 AM – 9:15 AM
Bird Walk – Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Spot year-round and summer resident birds with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists on this 2-mile hike over uneven, sometimes steep terrain (up to 200-ft. elevation gain) through one of the most diverse plant communities in the United States.

  • For ages 12 and up (minors must be accompanied by an adult).
  • Wear hiking or walking shoes and bring your binoculars. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (west side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, just south of El Toro Road).
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon-Fri & (949) 923-2235 Sat/Sun.
  • Parking: $3 per vehicle.

Online Registration

Date:  8/28/2016
Time:  8:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Today marks the 100th birthday of our National Park Service and they are inviting everyone to celebrate with special events and FREE admission to all of the 412 National Parks from today through Sunday, August 28th.

Our National Park Service is encouraging everyone to #FindYourPark and attend one of the special events they have planned.

We’ve been pretty busy this summer with our summer exploring trips. We’ve visited Sequoia and Kings Canyon as well as two trips to Yosemite. One of which included camping inside Yosemite National Park. The parks are all surrounded with beauty and wonder at every turn.

In Yosemite, we were able to go to sleep to the sound of Yosemite Falls in the background and wake up to look up at Half Dome. There is always so much to see and do in our National Parks and never enough time to finish exploring.


In addition to their special centennial programs offered through out the country this weekend, the NPS offers their Junior Ranger Program everyday as well as  the special Girl Scout Ranger Program and the Scout Ranger Program for Boy Scouts.


If you have other plans this weekend – break them and go FindYourPark  (EncuentraTuParque).

Don’t forget if you have a 4th grader – your entire family gets into the park for free for a full year with the Every Kid in a Park program.

Every Kid in a Park


Pokémon Go Hike

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Here’s a fun hike for all you gamers out there! Get your game on at this upcoming Pokémon Go Hike. This 4 mile hike in Whiting Ranch does require reservations and there are still a few spots available, so act quick! 

whiting ranch

Come mingle with other like-minded gamers while you explore the great outdoors. Join us at the active Poké Stops at the Whiting Ranch trailhead with three Poké Stops waiting for you. Arrive early to grab an egg from the Poké Stops or join us with one from a previous stop.

As you incubate your egg, venture out and see Mother Nature’s own version of Beedrill, Rattata, Spearow, Ekans and the elusive Persian. Along the way, learn which plant Pikachu would have used to name the city of Hollywood, and the plant that Muk would use to cover up his obnoxious odor. Keep an eye out for poison oak and hear about nature’s remedy should you get tangled up in it during your search for Ditto, the most powerful Pokémon.

Pokémon Go is a location-based augmented reality game that allows iOS and Android users to locate, capture, train and battle virtual creatures known as Pokémon. Come with the Pokémon app downloaded on your smart phone and at least one or two Pokémon finds.  And definitely have your smart phone charged up to the max..

  • When: Sunday, August 21, 2016 from 9:00 am – 11:30 am
  • Where: Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park – Borrego Parking Area
  • Cost: FREE – parking fees will apply.

Visit to register


Girls in the Garage


Girls in the Garage is a FREE event held once a month from the very fine folks at Mission Viejo Transmission and Auto Repair.

This FREE monthly event, sponsored by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the Orange County Fire Department, M.A.D.D., and AAA, helps women and girls learn basic car maintenance in a fun environment.

A few months back, my family, a few of my Girl Scouts and their Moms attended and had a fantastic time. You walk into an immaculate garage that has been set up with 12 hands-on participation stations. Before you get started you are given a necklace to help you keep track of each station.

Each station is taught by a team member of Mission Viejo Transmission that is dedicated to teaching you how perform basic vehicle checks.

You’ll learn basics from knowing how to read the warning lights on your dash board, to checking the oil and tire pressure to changing a tire.

The garage is not only immaculate but it’s transformed into a place of celebration with a live band, state of the art lighting & sound, catered food, beverages, and cocktails. Make sure to check out their amazing 4 coat epoxy floor.

Make an evening of it – bring your family, invite your friends and tell your neighbors.This is a great service to the community – it’s fun, informative and FREE!

  • When: The First Wednesday of every month from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
  • Where: Mission Viejo Transmission is located at 27210 La Paz Rd, Mission Viejo, CA 92692
  • Cost: FREE – Reservations are not required however if your taking a group please call and let them know in advance.

Playing and Staying in Big Sur

Big Sur is one of the “must-see places” in  America and located on one of the most iconic road trips in our Country, Highway 1, a designated American National Scenic Byway. With approximately 85 curvy miles between San Simeon and Carmel, this stretch of highway hosts breath-taking views of both the mountains and the coast.

You could definitely stay in the car and drive through Highway 1 and be awestruck by its beauty (I’ve done that) or you could spend some time there and enjoy it to the fullest. Big Sur has plenty to do for the outdoor enthusiast. From hiking, to waterfalls, to the purple sandy beaches –  Big Sur is amazing!

You can spend the day to discover Big Sur by stopping along the highway and visit places like Mc Way Falls, Pfeiffer Beach and the Bixby Creek Bridge. We wanted to go on some hikes, see the redwoods and feel the purple sand of the beaches in Big Sur.

AndrewMoleraBeach1We decided to camp in Big Sur and made our base at the Fernwood Resort. To make reservations you simply call them, that’s right – no internet reservations here. The friendly staff at Fernwood Resort, answers the phones (crazy right?) checks the dates your interested in and lets you know what’s available. Take note – campsites fill up quick as most of the campers I talked to while we were there book their camping spots a year in advance.


Highway 1 is filled with gorgeous resorts, inns and camping spots along the way. The Fernwood Resort came as a recommendation to us and I’m glad we stayed here. We were fortunate enough to scoop up a couple of cancellations for our trip.

Fernwood16One the first night, we stayed at camp site #63 – This campsite is located along the river on the other side of the bridge after entering the campsite. My first thought upon pulling up to our campsite was that the space was small, beautiful but small. We got out, set up camp and realized there was plenty of space.

As it turns out your campsite goes all the way down to the river, you can actually set up your tent near the river (just be careful if rain is in the forecast). Each campsite comes with a picnic table and a fire ring. All of the campsites along the river surprisingly have electricity and water and most importantly easy access to the river. You fall to sleep to the gentle sound of the river.


The campsites located on the opposite side are set among the Redwood Trees but do not have electricity and water. The restrooms, free showers, a dishwashing area (with hot water) and a coin operated laundry area are all conveniently located to all of the campsites.

As for our second night we moved to “primitive” Tent Cabin # 8 – which means a cabin with no electricity or bathroom. The Tent Cabins sleep 4 are also located along the river, have a picnic table and fire rings.

The Tent Cabins do offer a little more privacy as they sit between the Redwood trees. Our girls loved playing inside the cabin while my husband and I prepared meals and sat around the campfire with the sound of the river below us.

There are trails that leads down to the river from the tent cabin sites, my girls had a blast playing in the river.

The restrooms were a short walk from the Tent Cabins as well as private coin operated showers rooms. The downside for me was that the dishwashing station was located on the other side of the camp near the tent camping sites.

Fernwood Resort also offers Adventure Tents (a Tent Cabin with electricty, a bed, night stand, lights and bedding), a Motor Lodge, Fully Furnished Cabins with bathrooms and kitchens, RV sites and group camping spots. If you arrive here and realize you forgot something, don’t worry – they’ve got you covered.


There is a very fully stocked market (which includes vegan and vegetarian options), a very fully stocked camping supply store, a restaurant with an outside patio with heaters and a ping pong table, an Ice Cream shop (that serves very healthy servings) and live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights.

A couple of things to consider – if were a camper, the camp sites are a little higher then your usually campsites (still far less than a motel room) and you can only get Wi-Fi service in the store/restaurant area, so be prepared to unplug during your stay.

Both Pfeiffer Beach and Andrew Molera State Beach are located within 5-10 minutes from Fernwood Resort. Staying here gave us the the perfect opprtunity to explore Big Sur, see the Redwoods, play in the oceans purple sand, play in the river, relax by a campfire and of course  – make s’mores! How perfect is that!

Fernwood Resort has a gorgeous walking trail (great for the littles) a hiking trail and also happens to be home to one of the very rare “Albino” Redwood.

I highly recommend Fernwood Resort, no matter what level of adventure your at. If your looking to stay in a room, relax in a cabin or rough it in a campsite, they have something for you. You can’t go wrong staying here while you while you discover this beautiful area of California.

Happy exploring!


Zookeepers Appreciaton Day


It’s time to thank our Orange County zookeepers for all their hard work caring for our zoo animals!

Kids activities include making thank you cards for our zookeepers, crafts, playing games, and a special scavenger hunt where you can enter to win a Zookeeper Shadow Experience!


Kids are encouraged to come dressed in zookeeper attire/costume!

The first 100 children ages 12 & under will receive a free train ride ticket for Irvine Park Railroad!

Image courtesy of Irvine Park Railroad
Image courtesy of Irvine Park Railroad

Zookeepers will be giving “keeper chats” throughout the day and giving out special treats and toys to the zoo animals.

Special talk on “So You Want To Be A Zookeeper” will be given by two of our zookeepers at 10:30 a.m. Visitors can learn what a zookeeper’s day is like, see some of the “tools of the trade” and meet some zoo animals up close! Reservations are not needed.

  • When: Saturday, July 23, 2016
  • Where: OC Zoo located inside Irvine Regional Park,  1 Irvine Park Rd, Orange, CA 92869
  • Cost: $2.00 per person, ages 2 & under are free, parking is $5 per vehicle

All About Snakes

OC Parks invites you to join local herpetologist Steve Bledsoe at O’Neill Regional Park to learn all about snakes that can be found in Orange County.

This family-friendly event will feature a live reptile display with local snake species. Come learn how to identify snakes, where they live and what to do when you encounter one on park trails.

There will also be an informative presentation on rattlesnakes of Orange County.

  • When: Saturday, July 23, 2016 from 7:15 – 8:30 pm
  • Where: O’Neil Regional Park, 30892 Trabuco Canyon Rd, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678 – Meet at the O’Neill Nature Center and Amphitheater. Parking at the O’Neill Nature Center lot.
  • Cost: The event is free event, parking feess apply. .